4 January 2008

P.T. Anderson interviewed about his new movie There Will Be Blood.
A beautiful quote about editing:

You learn that omitting things is the same as writing things.


A while back I wrote a definition of choreography for Corpus and now the complete issue, with definitions from 52 of the usual and not so usual suspects, is up online. Some great contributions there – lots to explore in English and German. For brevity there’s Jonathan Burrows;  Choreography is about making a choice, including the choice to make no choice.  For more extended playfulness try this (below) from Superamas. The Corpus site won’t let me link to individual entries so I’m quoting in full here, with apologies, since otherwise finding this is hard.


I was reading a novel of Dashiell Hammett, “The Gutting of Couffignal”.

“Stop!” I ordered.
“I shan’t,” she said, but she did, for the time at least. “I’m going out.”
“You’re going out when I take you.”
I thought: Choreography is the art of giving orders.

She laughed, a pleasant laugh, low and confident.
“I’m going out before that,” she insisted good-naturedly. I shook my head.
“How do you propose stopping me?” she asked.
“I don’t think I’ll have to,” I told her. “You’ve too much sense to try to run while I’m holding a gun on you.”

Choreography is the art of being obeyed: no drama, no psychological matters, only shapes and moves. Like for a military parade, you decide and off they go.

She laughed again, an amused ripple.
“I’ve got too much sense to stay,” she corrected me. “Your crutch is broken and you’re lame. You can’t catch me by running after me then. You pretend you’ll shoot me, but I don’t believe you. You’d shoot me if I attacked you, of course, but I shan’t do that. I shall simply walk out, and you know you won’t shoot me for that. You’ll wish you could, but you won’t. You’ll see.”
Her face turned over her shoulder, her dark eyes twinkling at me, she took a step toward the door.
“Better not count on that!” I threatened.

The point is: how to grasp the reality which always escapes from our will and our understanding. Why this rather than that? Is choreography a means to be more objective? There is always a part of the “indeterminable”, of the “not discernible” in things.

For answer to that she gave me a cooing laugh. And took another step.
“Stop, you idiot!” I bawled at her.
Her face laughed over her shoulder at me. She walked without haste to the door, her short skirt of gray flannel shaping itself to the calf of each gray wool-stockinged leg as its mate stepped foward.

Choreography is a projection. It is based on the gaze of the spectator.
It’s the onlooker who decides if what he sees is not only what he sees but also a piece of art with choreographic qualities.

Sweat greased the gun in my hand.
When her right foot was on the doorsill, a little chuckling sound came from her throat.
“Adieu!” she said softly.
And I put a bullet in the calf of her left leg.
Here we are! One can easily take a part of reality and reframe it, and doing so in a specific context, can create a choreography.
She sat down – plump! Utter suprise stretched her white face. It was too soon for pain.
I had never shot a woman before. I felt queer about it.
“You ought to have known I’d do it!” My voice sounded harsh and savage and like a stranger’s in my ears.
“Didn’t I steal a crutch from a cripple?”

So does Superamas: Choreography is a dirty business.