Notiz zu City Streets von Ruben Mamoulian

Einer der schönsten Filmbeginne: Reifen aus Asphalt, schäumendes Bier und dann ein Hut, der von der Strömung hinfortgerissen wird. Mehr muss man nicht sehen, um zu begreifen, dass es hier nicht mit rechten Dingen zugeht. Dann die, die dieser Welt fliehen wollen, es sind die schönsten Menschen, weil es im Hollywood dieser Tage immer die schönsten Menschen sind: Sylvia Sidney, in ihrer ersten Starrolle und Gary Cooper. Sie treffen sich an einem Schießstand (wo sonst?) zwischen Cowboy-Gehabe und Lebensfreude. Beide Stars noch so weit entfernt von ihrem brutalen Fall, dass man ihrem Glück fast glauben könnte. Später sitzen sie am Meer, die Wellen brechen herein über die Felsen und ihre Zukunft. Alles ist so zerbrechlich, aber gefilmt in Bildern für die Ewigkeit.

Ruben Mamoulians Gangsterfilm hat kein Interesse an Gangstern, sondern an den Situationen, in denen er sie filmen kann. Oder nicht filmen kann wie in einer berühmten Sequenz, in der er statt eines Dialogs, der über den Tod eines Mannes entscheidet, lieber die Katzenstatuen filmt, die auf den Tischen stehen (sie entstammen der hauseigenen Sammlung des Filmemachers). Von allen großen Hollywoodregisseuren ist Mamoulian der Innovativste. Er scheut sich nicht vor Taschenspielertricks, man kann der Kamera genausowenig trauen wie den Figuren. Ansonsten geht es wie meist um eine Liebe, die vom Gangsterdasein bedroht wird, den Kampf zwischen den materiellen und den emotionalen Werten.

Irgendwie versteht man ja, dass Menschen, die Bier schmuggeln und auf andere schießen, die nächtelang auf Jahrmärkten herumlungern, nicht so schön sind wie in diesen Filmen. Aber wenn man diese Filme sieht, kann man sich auch nicht vorstellen, dass sie es nicht sind.


Or lie a coward in my grave: High Noon and Gary Cooper

When I first saw High Noon I somehow immediately connected to it. I must have been 13 years old. There was a growing disappointment in the eyes of Gary Cooper, his hanging arms, his walk, his skin and sweat soaked with tears of alcoholic hymns. I surely couldn’t understand why but when he kills all the bad guys in the end I felt that he had lost anyway. Something inside of him was killed instead. A fire. Now I understand better. I also sense that the reason for killing those guys is exactly that he had lost already. There was nothing to lose anymore.

Lost the star which he throws in the dirt of this soil that seems so far away, the dirt that is reflected in those avoided gazes of the people around him. It is the bitterness of a torn conviction buried under footsteps in the sand. Footsteps that will vanish when the rain comes. The tin star thrown to the ground in High Noon is one of those eternal shots in cinema and like the ending of Morocco, though in a completely different direction, it is the dust that keeps and hurts Gary Cooper. It is the dust that makes him disappear. He might be there but he is also gone. In High Noon there exists the body of someone who was betrayed by what he believed in most: Hearts and people, justice and the good.

The film shows many things you could believe in: Love, the church, marriage, friends, partners, guns, fear, justice. In the end a combination of fear, guns and love come to help Gary Cooper in the white despising, cold piety of someone called Grace. She needs – like so many – the sound of a gun to realize what is wrong. Her answer is an American one: She shoots back. So this Grace does what she does not believe in, thus saving the one who is betrayed by what he believed in. As far as shame goes, this is it.


There is a moving time in High Noon, one that gets closer. Instead aiming at a showdown the film is over once it is lunchtime. The showdown is just a coda like an escape out of frustration, it is the jump where nothing hurts anymore, the necessity to somehow go on. It is over when the showdown begins. There is a montage of almost frozen edginess at 12pm, it is the biblical rooster we hear crowing. Wrong and lost faces, expectation and guilt. Resignation when even the camera leaves Gary Cooper alone and moves up to save itself. The times comes closer in High Noon, it is a countdown to the point where time does not play any roll at all. In the end this might be a time counting down to the point of no hope.

Still, there is something like survival, a tiny light outlasting. It is a deception in this barren film, one which many go for because it feels better than accepting that it isn‘t there. We can find this ghost light not only in the weak, sick and young ones trying to help but also in this violated body which does not fall though it is dead. It is almost cruel when Gary Cooper survives, like the bitter realization that it is not over just because it is over. An actor who existed in Lubitsch knows about those brutalities.

No, you might say, High Noon is not that bleak. Gary Cooper holds on to himself and in the end he defeats the bad guys. Just the reason he does it is no longer valid, it is like a heating system installed in an abandoned house. Heating into nothingness.

(Maybe love will save him. With a gun.)     

Youth Under The Influence (of Pedro Costa) – Part 1

How is it that we find cinema? This might be a rather big question, maybe too big for any satisfying evening among cinephile friends, maybe one of those existentialist questions that seduce us from time to time, to make it short: We can’t answer such a question and we won’t try to. Nevertheless there are moments when we clearly feel inspired. Such a moment sometimes occurs because of a memory, something we see in an image, a color or an actor, something we want know more about. It may also occur when we read about something we haven’t seen, we feel an urge to see, to know, to feel. Sometimes it is just the idea of something provoked by the name of a director, a title or a prize. And sometimes it is someone we talked to, someone whose opinion is valuable, someone we trust or someone in whose eyes we see the fascination, the struggle and joy we also want to have.

In June, during the Fontainhas-Retrospective at the Filmmuseum in Munich, Michael Guarneri and I had the chance to talk with Pedro Costa about cinema. Naturally we talked a lot about his cinema, but there were also occasions when Mr. Costa before or after a screening or while talking about his own work dropped names, mentioned films and filmmakers with a sudden blink of fever (almost invisible) in his eye and made us thirsty for more. It could happen that during a Q&A, while he talked about gangsters being the most sensitive characters in cinema, he just wandered in his thoughts, whispered “Nicholas Ray?”, looked calmly into the audience and went on after a few seconds. Later while we had a drink he would just face anyone and ask: “Have you seen Foolish Wives?”, in this case the answer was positive which made Mr. Costa smile in agreement. Additionally his whole confidence concerning his view on cinema must necessarily be seducing for young film-lovers, it sometimes feels like there is a secret in cinema, a secret people like Mr.Costa tell you with their blinks and nods, their smiles and adjournments.



Mr. Costa at the Filmmuseum in Munich

Knowing what you like or dislike seems to be a religion in cinema circles. The ability to bring on a strong opinion sometimes seems more important than actually being able to talk about a film. Of course, such empty words are not what Mr. Costa is all about. He is very well able to tell you about the details and ideas behind certain filmmakers and their work which makes his attitude even more seducing.

A few weeks after meeting Mr. Costa, Michael and myself found that we were still under the spell having watched many films that Mr. Costa recommended or just mentioned, following his taste and discovering new plants in the garden of cinema. We then decided that – in order to deal with our experience and make it more profound – we should have a conversation about the films and filmmakers we discovered due to Mr. Costa. This way we could also check if the secrets of cinema are really secrets, if smiles were entitled and if the desire to see and find is matched by the actual experience of watching the films. Of course, our conversation which will be published in parts went into many directions and is therefore also a testimony of the certainties and uncertainties of different kinds of cinephilia.It might entirely fail as what it was supposed to be, but still, it is something we tried with honesty and passion.

Patrick: I just give it a start. First of all, I want to say that I don’t recall Mr. Costa mentioning any filmmaker I haven’t heard about at all, which kind of reassures me. But he created a sort of appetite in me for people like Jacques Tourneur, Erich von Stroheim, Ernst Lubitsch, João César Monteiro, the Straubs (naturally), Godard (naturally) and anything with Gary Cooper in it. I think the first film I saw at home after the retrospective was Canyon Passage by Tourneur. I expected a Western and somehow got a film that didn’t really want to be a Western, it wanted to escape to some other place, somewhere where it can just rest. I pretty much liked it, though it did not blow me away as other Tourneur films like I walked with a Zombie or Cat People did. Can you remember what your first Costa-inspired screening was, after we met?


Canyon Passage

Canyon Passage

Days of Glory

Days of Glory


Michael: I think it was Days of Glory by Tourneur, or, as Mr. Costa dubbed it, “Gregory Peck in the cellar”. At that time, I was finishing up this piece about Tourneur’s The Flame and the Arrow , and reflecting a lot about Tourneur’s role in the US propaganda machine before and after the end of WWII, so it was either anti-nazi Days of Glory or anti-communist The Fearmakers.

From Days of Glory I kept on exploring the anti-nazi genre with Lewis Milestone’s The North Star; whereas The Fearmakers led me to William Wellman’s The Iron Curtain and Robert Parrish’s Assignment: Paris. Suddenly, with the last four films I mentioned, a common denominator began to emerge: actor Dana Andrews playing an average guy – exhausted, trapped in planes, taxis, hotel rooms, prison cells, bureaus, offices, embassies, at the mercy of higher, hidden powers. Through the course of these four films we can really see him turning from idealistic war hero to a brainwashed, breathless, paranoid, insomniac war vet; a chain-smoking compulsive drinker tormented by splitting headaches. Canyon Passage might just be one of the few all-round hero roles in his career…

Patrick: I am not so sure about Dana Andrews being a hero in Canyon Passage. Well, there is a whole bunch of arguments speaking for it, of course, but something in his face aims to be the average guy you described. The way he sits on his horse, there is exhaustion in it, too. He always leans to the left or right, there are always wrinkles in his shirt. Furthermore, he is not really active in pursuing the two ladies of the film, oh, I think he very much would like to be an average guy there, just like Tourneur didn’t really want to make a Western like a Western.

In terms of anti-nazi films (I am hesitating calling it a genre because I am very much against taking ideology to arrange movies), I had only one experience in the wake of Mr. Costa’s recommendations: Man Hunt by Fritz Lang. Thinking about this film and the ones you mentioned, as well as some others I watched like Distant Drums or The Strawberry Blonde by Raoul Walsh, I recognize a certain tiredness and exhaustion everywhere… just like with Dana Andrews. In Man Hunt there is this middle part where the film doesn’t want to be paranoid anymore,there is always a flirt with those tormented headaches.

Michael: If you liked Man Hunt, you should try Ministry of Fear and Cloak and Dagger. In the latter, Gary Cooper is the lead. Anyway, what’s the reason behind your fascination with him?


Dana Andrews

Dana Andrews

Gary Cooper2

Gary Cooper

Patrick: I have seen Ministry of Fear and I like it. Will check out Cloak and Dagger as soon as possible, thanks for pointing it out. It would be too easy for me to talk about Gary Cooper’s exhaustion now, wouldn’t it? But just look at his tired face…

Distant Drums5

Colossal Youth8

It is something Mr. Costa mentioned when he compared Ventura to Cooper, the way he acts as himself and as something completely different while being there for the camera, for the other actors in the scene and for himself at the same time. There is sensuality in his acting that clearly comes from presenting itself as acting; it is like a Kiarostami and maybe also a film by Mr.Costa just with acting. The illusion comes when you know it is an illusion. But I think my fascination derives from his movement, his gestures. They way he beckons in Morocco by Von Sternberg, the way he marches in Distant Drums, the way he navigates his carriage in Friendly Persuasion and so on. It is different with Ventura for me though. I can understand why one can compare them but Ventura is something emerging from the shadows whereas Cooper is in broad limelight. They meet each other in the power Ventura shows despite the shadows and the shadows Cooper shows despite the fame. Something like that… Haven’t you had your Gary Cooper phase sometime? It somehow feels obsolete describing my fascination with him because after all, it is Gary Cooper…

Michael: No, I must confess that I have always felt very little attachment or sympathy to the big Hollywood stars, and to Hollywood cinema in general (except maybe for Bogart in High Sierra, for reasons I don’t want to disclose). In watching the films, I enjoy some of them, I like some of them… Of course, I am not immune to their power, or spell… They are made to be liked, aren’t they? Still there is always something very sneaky about them that troubles me, keeps me on my toes and even frightens me. A voice inside my head saying: “Woah, this is dangerous, they are trying to sell you something; watch out, don’t buy all the things they show and say”. So I never fall 100% in love with them. It must be because I come from a certain tradition of studies that sees Hollywood cinema as a sort of brainwashing machine at the service of an evil empire. Throughout the years, and thanks to wise people like Mr. Costa, Chris Fujiwara, Tag Gallagher, and so on, I have softened this approach, but I do not want to let it go completely. It is good to always be suspicious of the products of the cultural industry, I think.

Let’s take Night of the Hunter, for instance – a big influence on Costa’s O Sangue, and a personal favorite of many, many people. I watched it a couple of times in the past, and I rewatched it recently… Well, the movie is gorgeous, Mitchum is great as a deranged psycho and all that, but, man, all that Lillian Gish talking about children as little lambs who must abide and endure… it just pissed me off. I was like: fuck you, old lady! I guess I am more a “If the kids are united” kind of guy…

Patrick: I know exactly what you mean and I’m glad you have brought it up. First things first: Night of the Hunter. It’s a fragile one for me because my girlfriend loves it so fucking much (her way of whispering “Lillian Gish” when talking about this films resonates like an eternal echo in my ears)… but I’m more with you. I have seen it only one time and despite its obvious merits it left me cold. But it is certainly not a film I would like to bash, there are much, much worse. But I really don’t get the point of all those people mentioning how beautiful it is and so on. Yes, it looks great, but why don’t they talk more about Jean Vigo for instance? Is it childhood memories? Or is it because there is a certain romanticism about beautiful things appearing in the middle of this evil empire you are talking about? I don’t know. I know that it is not very simple.

With Mr. Costa I always had the feeling that it has to do with the craft. Hollywood after all means daily business, means going to work on a regular basis, it means living a life with certain restrictions, but still trying to build something personal or maybe poetic. And then you can start looking at some shots, some cuts, some gestures, and you will find them there with guys like Walsh or Lang. But you can also find them in a film by Jean Epstein or early Renoir (who Mr. Costa also loves, I think) and I always will prefer them because of the whole package, because of the testimony of their work as artists.Of course, a Hollywood film can also be art and an independent or European production can very much be part of the evil machine. As I said, it’s not so easy.

Last year we had this John Ford retrospective in Vienna. Mr. Costa was also there, he was talking a lot about it, I tried to watch as many films as possible and there were moments I really believed in Ford, in Ford as the peak of cinema… When I think of films like The Long Voyage Home or The Lost Patrol, I’m still shaking. But sometimes I found myself thinking of filmmakers like Bresson or Tarkovsky (to name the cliché) and I was thinking that I respect them more, the way they worked, the way they did not compromise with the machine, the way they don’t want to sell… Because after all you can always look at entertainment from two different angles. You can watch how they try to sell you something all the time, or you can look how sometimes a soul appears while selling you something. It’s the same with Ford and there is something in those films I always forget, it just slips through my mind. I think I want to forget it.

And while forgetting I am able to love certain things like an actor or a shot. It’s very naïve but I think this is what cinema is all about in the end. And there was a time in Hollywood when they were selling beautiful things. Gary Cooper is one of them because there is a soul visible sometimes… Maybe just in one shot, but then it is true. It is as true as it is in Dreyer or Dovzhenko. What do you refer to when you say “a certain tradition of studies”? I am always afraid of categorizing, I somehow have the feeling that cinema is wiser and richer than I will ever know. I feel that there are things in cinema beyond selling and not-selling, and therefore I would not speak of evil empires though I have a similar tendency as you. If cinephilia means loving cinema then sometimes you have to be blinded by love and if we hesitate here than it is maybe a problem of cinema, maybe we come from a generation where cinema has already betrayed us too often?

The Long voyage home

The Long Voyage Home



Cavalo Dinheiro

Cavalo Dinheiro

Michael: I don’t know about this betrayal business, I really have to think about it. Let’s come back to it later.

When I said “a certain tradition of studies”, I meant Adorno, Horkheimer, and all those who – to paraphrase Laura Mulvey – analyze pleasure or beauty in order to destroy it, so that beauty won’t blind us anymore. But we are not in a class, so let’s skip that. Here are two provocations.

First, you mentioned a girlfriend: aren’t cinephiles supposed not to have girlfriends?

And, secondly, you have the feeling that cinema is wiser and richer than you will ever know. In your view, who makes cinema wise and rich? Filmmakers or spectators? Most of the times, I have the feeling that, in order to make a very interesting movie, filmmakers just have to be vague or mysterious or “lazy” or ambiguous or contradictory enough so that spectators have the opportunity to make their own, custom-cut, “good film” in their heads. Take the ending of Stagecoach: ok, typical saccarine happy end from Hollywood, the couple of outcasts falls in love and they flee towards their new life; but wait a minute, they flee from the US, this rotten society ironically named “Lordsburg”… this doesn’t sound like a happy end at all! Choose one option, choose both, make up a third one, stay in the shadow of doubt, do as you please, please yourself as you please. Ford was not only a great storyteller but also a clever businessman… It is not by chance that they call it “narrative economy”!

Patrick: Then there was beloved president Nixon who said: I prefer Hollywood films.

I don’t know about your first provocation. The point is: I wouldn’t love cinema if I didn’t love that woman who knows so much more about it than me. And she knows a lot about the mysteries and vague things in cinema, a lot of things I wouldn’t understand otherwise. Mr.Costa spoke a lot about the Straubs… just to name an example (I don’t smoke as much…). And having four eyes helps a lot. Maybe she is writing to you now… it’s very mysterious.

Which leads me to your second provocation… I have some problems with it. First: Sharunas Bartas is also a clever businessman, so is Mr. Costa. The problem, I think, is not the selling, it is what they sell. They can sell me cinema as dirty as they like. As long as they don’t sell in order to sell. In my opinion cinema as an art form is beyond its makers and its spectators. I am very much opposed against intelligent people giving meaning or finding deep things everywhere. I know that one can do that, I have seen and read it but I often find it to be intellectual masturbation, worthless for anybody except the one who is masturbating and those who just like to watch (thinking of Giraudie now). There is a difference in filmmakers trying to be ambiguous and filmmakers finding an ambiguous truth. There are certain things cinema embraces and rejects and it is the task of viewers (critics, scientists and also filmmakers) to detect those aspects, to serve cinema, to use cinema, to play with cinema, to respect cinema. That might sound rather emotional but my point is that cinema just IS rich. Nobody needs to make it wise and rich. And this is also why in the first place it needs to be filmmakers that use this richness.

Is a good film for you something that is in accordance with your political believes only? Is it, to use Amos Vogel’s famous title, a subversive art?

Mes petites amoureuses

Mes petites amoureuses

Michael: Let’s say that, as an act of “intellectual honesty”, I try to like movies that are not right up my alley, and to dislike movies that are right up my alley. And, of course, I always fail. I guess I don’t really try that hard: too much pride and prejudice, not enough sense and sensibility.

I like a lot the expression “film as a subversive art” – this idea that cinema can take the world upside down. It is a wonderful mantra, it really gives me courage and strength when I think about it and repeat it in my head. But I cannot really think of a film that actually managed to subvert the status quo, right now. Can you?

Patrick: I think a single film didn’t, but maybe the idea of cinema as the only modern mystery like Breton said, had a few moments. What is your explanation for filmmakers like Mr. Costa, Godard or the Straubs liking a certain kind of Hollywood so much? I ask you because they seem to be right up your alley without having your dislike for the evil machine.

Michael: I think that, for Mr. Costa and the Straubs, it is like you said – the love for the craft, the production side, making ends meet, how can I do this with this much money. At least, this is how they rationalize it these days. But I suspect it also has to do with more mysterious things, like having seen these film at a young age, the dark theater, the giants on the screen, details in their personal biographies, and all the stuff you see in Mes petites amoureuses by Jean Eustache.

For Godard, I really don’t know. I read some of the things he wrote as a critic in the Cahiers, and I understood very little. But I don’t want to give you the impression that I reproach people who like films I don’t like. On the matter of taste, I agree with the Marquis: “Je respecte les goûts, les fantaisies: quelque baroques qu’elles soient, je les trouve toutes respectables, et parce qu’on n’en est pas le maître, et parce que la plus singulière, la plus bizarre de toutes, bien analysée, remonte toujours à un principe de délicatesse“.

Which might be a good starting point for discussing our cinematic guilty pleasures… Do you want to start?


Widerwillen im Film

Einige skizzenhafte Gedanken zum Widerwilligen im Film, vielleicht auch zum Verachtenden.

Wir denken an die abweisenden Küsse von Jeanne Moreau. Ihre Augen hassen die Welt und in ihren Augen verliebt man sich. Diese Szene im Regen bei La notte von Michelangelo Antonioni, diese mächtige Hilflosigkeit, dieses Nicht-Wollen und dennoch über die nächtlichen Jazz-Straßen gehende in Ascenseur pour l’échafaud von Louis Malle. Es ist eine Würde und Schönheit, die diese nicht akzeptieren kann. Deshalb ist es auch so unüberlegt, wenn Filmemacher sie manchmal als „Schönheit“ verwenden. Jeanne Moreau muss sich selbst hassen. Louis Malle, ein Filmemacher, der immer wieder das Widerwillige einfängt, jenes Widerwillige, das immer dann die Seele touchiert, wenn es auf das Leben an sich gerichtet ist wie in Le feu follet. So wie es sich mit Jeanne Moreau und dem Sex verhält, so ist es mit Gary Cooper und der Gewalt. Gary Cooper geht einen Schritt aus der Leinwand in den Zuschauersaal, wenn er Gewalt anwenden muss, er drückt dabei eine Unbeholfenheit und Stärke zugleich aus und genau darin liegt die Bedeutung dieses Widerwilligen, es ist eine zweite Ebene auf klaren Überzeugungen, es ist der Zweifel vor der Angst, der bei Cooper in Filmen wie Friendly Persuasion oder High Noon so deutlich zum Vorschein tritt. Es ist auch eine amerikanische Idee: Der Mann, der tut, was er tun muss. Jede Gewalt, die angewendet wird, will vermieden werden und daraus entsteht das Aufplatzen der Illusion, die man von sich selbst aufbaut, es entsteht Selbsthass, der im amerikanischen Kino oft vergessen wird, nicht aber bei Gary Cooper.

Gary Cooper Grace Kelly

Dieser Zweifel am Tageslicht in den letzten Stunden der Nacht, das Vergessen der Nacht in der Sonne; großes Filmemachen findet die Dunkelheit im Glanz der Sonne. Es ist die Müdigkeit der Bewohner von Fontainhas bei Pedro Costa, die nicht wie in Hollywood von A nach B gehen können, da sie zu müde sind, zu müde, um einen Liebesbrief zu schreiben, es sind die versteckten Frauen bei Mizoguchi, die Frauen bei Mizoguchi, auch wenn sie sich nicht verstecken, sie scheinen nie gefilmt werden zu wollen, es sind die Figuren bei Renoir, die keine Lust auf das Framing haben, die das Bild verlassen wollen, oft auch die Welt verlassen wollen im Anflug von Gewalt oder Liebe, es ist die Art wie Jacques Tourneur in Canyon Passage einen Western inszeniert, als hätte er keine Kraft, keine Lust auf dieses Genre, die Beiläufigkeit des Lebens, die Geschwindigkeit, die keinen Film zulässt, Film, der den fatalen Augenblick festhalten kann und der fatalen Schönheit in ihrem Zerfall beisteht und sie dabei doch entblößt. Die Schönheit des Kinos ist widerwillig, sie ist eine Illusion. Widerwillige Illusionen wie bei Abbas Kiarostami, bei dem der Zweifel am Licht jederzeit mitschwingt und ein neues Licht generiert. In Canyon Passage scheinen die Figuren schneller zu gehen, als in anderen Western, sie sprechen ihre Zeilen trocken herunter, aber das Trockene ist nicht unbedingt das Widerwillige, denn das Trockene strahlt eine gewisse Souveränität aus, eine Abgeklärtheit gegenüber der Machtlosigkeit, während das Widerwillige deutlich mehr leidet und deutlich weniger akzeptiert.

Nehmen wir drei Szenen, in denen das Widerwillige hervortritt. In Opening Night muss Gena Rowlands betrunken auf die Bühne treten. In ihrem Widerwillen und ihrer Verachtung taucht ihr Wille auf, ihre Kraft und Würde, denn das Widerwillige ist keineswegs die Ausnahme, es ist die Regel und das nicht nur in diesem Film. Film ist hier in der Lage einen unsichtbaren Kampf gegen innere Kräfte sichtbar zu machen. Selbsthass, Trägheit oder Angst können (im Kino) zu Hindernissen werden, die weit über die billigen Drehbuchkniffe von teuren Drehbuchratgebern hinausreichen. Es ist die Zeit, die nicht nur in Opening Nights dieses Hindernis bedingt, Zeit als auf uns zukommender Druck, als Schwüle, der wir uns nicht entziehen können, Schwüle, die unsere Schönheit zerfließen lässt; es ist Film, der dieses Zerfließen in Schönheit verwandeln kann. Die zweite Szene stammt aus Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy von Adam McKay. Steve Carell als Brick Tamland ist an der Reihe mit dem Versuch, ein Date mit der neuen Nachrichtensprecherin Veronica Corningstone zu bekommen. Er will das gar nicht. In dieser herrlich komischen Szene offenbart sich die ganze Absurdität des Widerwillens, der eben nicht zuletzt darin besteht, dass man so viele Dinge tut, die keinen Sinn ergeben. Beim Sprechen seines fehlerhaft auswendig gelernten Anmachspruchs bewegt sich Carell schon leicht nach hinten, hier wird der Widerwille zur Flucht während man nach vorne geht, ein Vertigo-Effekt des menschlichen Verhaltens. Gibt es einen Schwindel im Widerwillen? Schwindel als Lüge, Schwindel als Krankheit. Es ist sicher eine Lüge dort, eine Lüge, die sich selbst belügt, aber noch viel mehr den Gegenüber, denn der kann – im Gegensatz zur Kamera – den Widerwillen oft nicht erkennen. Das ist es auch, was den Widerwillen so geeignet für das Kino macht. Es ist eine Chance für den Kinematographen etwas Unsichtbares zu entdecken, was sich nur durch die Kamera festhalten lässt; nur durch das Kino können wir den Widerwillen in einer fremden Person wirklich spüren und ihre Lüge zu unserer Wahrheit werden lassen. Mit dem anderen Schwindel verhält es wie in Vertigo von Alfred Hitchcock, denn das Vertrauen in Überzeugungen und Bilder löst sich mit der Zeit und in der Zeit und durch die Zeit auf. Dieses schwindende Vertrauen bricht den Willen, es ist als würde man den Partner beim Betrug erwischen, dann schwindet der Wille zur Liebe wie am Ende von La notte, bei dem der Widerwille allerdings schon vor dem Betrug kommt. Wenn Jimmy Stewart am Ende auf den Turm klettern muss, dann ist da ein Wille und das Wider liegt im Ungreifbaren, in der Erinnerung, im Psychologischen. Hitchcock verbindet den Widerwillen auch mit dem Glauben an das Übernatürliche, Übersinnliche. Ohne diesen Glauben herrscht oft ein Zweifel, der das Überwinden des Widerwillens nicht zulässt. Das Kino als Über-Sinn, also müssen wir ans Kino glauben, um unseren Widerwillen aufzuheben, aber das Kino ist tot, also glauben wir noch an die Präsenz seiner Geschichte? Ein Widerwille gegenüber der Gegenwärtigkeit der Gegenwart, eine Emotion des Museums so wie Vertigo.

Gena Rowlands Opening Night

Wir denken an den Widerwillen zur sozialen Interaktion in Cristi Puius Aurora, an die fehlende Bereitschaft zu einem normalen Leben in Filmen wie Casino von Martin Scorsese oder Zero Dark Thirty von Kathryn Bigelow, wir denken an die Selbstzerstörung von Erich von Stroheim, bei dem sich Widerwillen gegenüber des Anderen in jeder Geste manifestiert und der Kleidung immerzu abschätzend trägt und wie Jeanne Moreau genau darin seine Würde findet, die driftende, treibenden Gestalten des Kinos, die nicht genau wissen, wohin es sie führt, wie Mouchette, die konsequent nur im Selbstmord sein kann, wie die Erinnerung (oder mehr) einer Liebe in Solaris von Tarkowski, die wir hinter Türen sperren, gewaltvoll, im Kino ist Widerwillen immer viel gewaltvoller als im echten Leben, weil im Kino das Gefühl, der Impuls reagiert, wie in den Melodramen von Douglas Sirk, in denen ein riesiger Spalt zwischen dem was man will und dem was man rational tun muss, klafft.Und dann gibt es da Ingmar Bergman. Bei ihm spielt sich immerzu ein Melodram und die Vernichtung dieses Melodrams zur gleichen Zeit ab. Das Melodram, das sind seine Naheinstellungen und die Schreie in seinem Kino, diese Blicke in die Seele, plötzliche Panik, Ausbrüche des Gefühls, der Trauer. Und der Rest, das ist immerzu der Widerwille, jenes Element, das diese Gefühle nicht herauslassen will, das abgehärtete oder abgeklärte Versteckspiel der Emotionen, das sich vielleicht mit Existentialismus beschreiben oder zumindest damit erklären lässt. Der heftigste Ausbruch dieses Widerwillens sind das Schweigen, das Lachen und das Spielen der Figuren bei Bergman. Ihr Lachen versteckt oft ein Grauen, ihr Spielen vergisst es und transformiert es und macht es dadurch greifbar und ihr Schweigen ist genau jener Druck der Zeit, der uns verstummen lässt, ein Widerwille zu sprechen, ein Widerwille gegenüber sich selbst, es ist nicht nur Persona, dieses Echo einer Selbstverachtung, einer Angst und eines unterdrückten Melodrams, das selbst zum Melodram wird, findet sich von Kris bis Saraband. Der Unterschied scheint mir nur, dass Bergman manchmal den Willen hatte, diese Gefühle zu filmen und manchmal den Widerwillen zu filmen, selbst gefilmt hat. Letztere sind seine besseren Filme.

Erich von Stroheim

Dieser Konflikt dominiert das Kino und egal was einem schlaue Industrielehrende verkaufen wollen, das Kino ist dafür geboren, diesen inneren Konflikt darzustellen: Was man will und was man nicht kann, was man kann und nicht will. Darunter liegt die zitternde Schwäche einer Wahrheit, die zerfließt und die wir nur für flüchtige Momente der Einsamkeit erspüren können, in einem Schnitt bei Godard, den Augen Gary Coopers, dem Gang von Jeanne Moreau oder Robert Mitchum oder einer Kamerabewegung bei Josef von Sternberg.