Flick Review < The Prowler | Joseph Losey (1951)

Trailer of The Prowler, Joseph Losey, 1951

Crime novelist James Ellroy ("L.A. Confidential", "The Black Dahlia") once called this his favorite film and described it as 
"a masterpiece of sexual creepiness, institutional corruption and suffocating, ugly passion."

The Prowler (1951) / Joseph Losey 
Stars: Van Heflin, Evelyn Keyes, John Maxwell 
Cinematography by Arthur C. Miller


Book//mark - Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter | Simone de Beauvoir, 1958

Simone de Beauvoir, Memoires d'une Jeune Fille Rangee, 1958                       Simone de Beauvoir, her mother Françoise and Hélène, her younger sister

“On the evenings when my parents held parties, the drawing-room mirrors multiplied to infinity the scintillations of a crystal chandelier. Mama would take her seat at the grand piano to accompany a lady dressed in a cloud of tulle who played the violin and a cousin who performed on a cello. I would crack between my teeth the candied shell of an artificial fruit, and a burst of light would illuminate my palate with a taste of blackcurrant or pineapple: all the colours, all the lights were mine, the gauzy scarves, the diamonds, the laces; I held the whole party in my mouth.”

“Suddenly I was struck motionless: I was living through the first chapter of a novel in which I was the heroine; she was still almost a child, but we, too, were growing up.”

“I was very fond of Lagneau’s phrase: “I have no comfort but in my absolute despair.”

“In fact, the sickness I was suffering from was that I had been driven out of the paradise of childhood and had not found my place in the world of adults. I had set myself up in the absolute in order to gaze down upon this world which was rejecting me; now, if I wanted to act, to write a book, to express myself, I would have to go back down there: but my contempt had annihilated it, and I could see nothing but emptiness. The fact is that I had not yet put my hand to the plow. Love, action, literary work: all I did was to roll these ideas round in my head; I was fighting in an abstract fashion against abstract possibilities.”

“All success cloaks a surrender.”

“Alone: for the first time I understood the terrible significance of that word. Alone without a witness, without anyone to speak to, without refuge. The breath in my body, the blood in my veins, all this hurly-burly in my head existed for nobody.”

“If I were to share Jaques' existence I would find it hard to hold my own against him, for already I found his nihilism contagious.”

“But I know my only defense is to answer, “I think it because it is true,” thereby eliminating my subjectivity;”

“All those minds that are interested in finding out the truth communicate with each other across the distances of space and time. I, too, was taking part in the effort which humanity makes to know.”

“At night I would climb the steps to the Sacre-Coeur, and I would watch Paris, that futile oasis, scintillating in the wilderness of space. I would weep, because it was so beautiful, and because it was so useless.”

“I had to call the past to life, and illuminate every corner of the five continents, descend to the centre of the earth and make the circuit of the moon and stars”

Simone de Beauvoir, Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter 1958

Hélène & Simone de Beauvoir

Summer in Mexico | Photos by Lola Álvarez Bravo & Manuel Álvarez Bravo, 1934- 55

Manuel Álvarez Bravo, México, 1934                                                              Manuel Álvarez Bravo, A Fish Called Sierra, 1944   
Lola Alvarez Bravo, Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico, 1950
Lola Alvarez Bravo, El baño, 1940
Lola Alvarez Bravo, México, 1950 
Lola Alvarez Bravo, México, 1949
Lola Alvarez Bravo, Mexico, Puerto Vallarta, 1940 
Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Good Reputation Sleeping, Mexico, 1938
Lola Alvarez Bravo, México, 1955

Portraits | Paintings by Helene Schjerfbeck (1862-1946)

Helene Schjerfbeck, Boys Head, 1906-1907
Helene Schjerfbeck, Katkelma, 1905
Helen Schjerfbeck, Red Head Girl II, 1915
Helen Schjerfbeck, Girl with a Swan Neck

Helene Schjerfbeck, Reading, 1920                                                                           Helene Schjerfbeck,  The Baker’s Daughter, 1913
Self portrait with black mouth (1939)                                                                                 Helen Schjerfbeck, Untitled (date unknown)
Helene Schjerfbeck, Naisprofiili, 1884                                                                                             Helene Schjerfbeck, The landlord, 1928
Helene Schjerfbeck, The motorist (1933)                                                        Helene Schjerfbeck
Helene Schjerfbeck, Young Couple (1915)                                                 Helene Schjerfbeck,  Before the mirror (1937)
Helen Schjerfbeck, School Girl II (Girl in Black), 1908                                                      Helen Schjerfbeck, Girl in white, 1914
Helene Schjerfbeck, The Tapestry, 1914-16

The Map of Places | Laura Riding (1928)

Lyonel Feininger, 1871-1956, Sailboat 

                                                                                            The map of places passes.
                                                                                            The reality of paper tears.
                                                                                             Land and water where they are
                                                                                            Are only where they were
                                                                                            When words read “here” and “here”
                                                                                            Before ships happened there.

                                                                                             Now on naked names feet stand,
                                                                                             No geographies in the hand,
                                                                                             And paper reads anciently,
                                                                                             And ships at sea
                                                                                             Turn round and round
                                                                                             All is known, all is found.
                                                                                             Death meets itself everywhere.
                                                                                             Holes in maps look through to nowhere.

                                                                                             Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing,
                                                                                             Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness;
                                                                                             So on the ocean of life we pass and speak one another,
                                                                                             Only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence.

                                                                                             The Map of Places, Laura Riding, 1928

Lyonel Feininger, Ship at Sea (Marine), 1918

A Pure Moment of Crepuscular Naturalism | Gisèle Prassinos & the Surrealist Group, 1920- 2015

 Man Ray, Gisèle Prassinos reading her Poems to the Surrealists, 1934 
André Breton, René Char, Paul Éluard, Henri Parisot, Benjamin Péret, Gisèle Prassinos, Mario Prassinos

“I never knew how to write a realistic story. I never knew how to draw or to write 
life as it is. Each line, each word distracts me and pulls me towards the impossible.” 

Gisèle Prassinos, Le Temps n'est rien, 1958

Gisele Prassinos, La Sauterelle arthritique (The Arthritic Grasshopper) GLM, 1935

Of Greek parentage, Gisele Prassinos was born in Istanbul. Her family emigrated to France when she was two years old. 
A precocious writer, whom Andre Breton is credited with discovering, she was only fourteen when her first texts appeared in 1934. 
They were published in the French surrealist-oriented magazine Minotaure and in the Belgian periodical Documents 34
The following year, her first book came out under the title La Sauterelle arthritique (The Arthritic Grasshopper), 
prefaced by the surrealist poet Paul Eluard, who also wrote a postface for her subsequent collection, Le Feu maniaque, in 1939.

Gisele Prassinos, Le Feu maniaque, 1939

Noting that in La Sauterelle arthritique "enchantment beats its wings among the strange attractions of crepuscular naturalism," Eluard praised in 
Gisele Prassinos' work the spirit of "disassociation, suppression, negation, revolt," in which he saw "the ethics of children, of poets who refuse 
to improve, and who will remain freaks so long as they have not awakened in all men the wish to face squarely everything separating them from themselves."
 Later, Le Feu maniaque prompted Eluard to remark of its author, "She offers all comers a pure moment in exchange for centuries of boredom."

Gisèle Prassinos, 34 autographed letters to Mario Prassinos, 1939-1941. Printed in 1935 by Guy Lévis-Mano

Breton, for his part, declared in the Anthologie de l'Humour noir, "Gisele Prassions' tone is unique: all poets are jealous of it." 
That tone marks the early story reproduced here: Journoir (Blackday) dating from 1934. This text is characteristic, in that it makes us 
witness to the operations of a child's imagination, as yet unrestrained by the adult's sense of the world as stable and limited by rational predictability. 
The narrator's attitude is consistently closer to curiosity than to horror, while no moral preoccupations color her account.

Gisele Prassinos, The Traveller, 1961                                                 Gisele Prassinos

Bringing together a number of her early texts under the heading Les Mots endormis (Sleeping Words), 
Gisele Prassinos spoke of them in 1967 as "the result of a certain absence":

"There is a pocket of darkness in us that, with the help of a drowsiness of consciousness, writing succeeds in penetrating. 
Once the first word has been set free, the wave breaks. Then comes them moment when the pen drops, discouraged by its own hesitation. 
Something has intervened; returning, consciousness reclaims its rights, wishing to put things in order. Consciousness is now surprised, 
sometimes filled with wonder by the word from the dark, often tempted to make a contribution of its own." 

Gisèle & Mario Prassinos, 1934 

Born of the absence brought about by the practice of automatic writing, the stories of Gisele Prassions lend support 
to Eluard's affirmation that automatism "ceaselessly opens new doors on the unconscious and, 
as it confronts the unconscious with the conscious, with the world, increases its treasures."

After World War II Prassinos's association with organised surrealism was limited, but she continued to publish widely.

Gisèle Prassinos, works, 1920- 2015

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