Errant sedentary traveler
A couple of evenings ago I re watched Michael Deville’s stylised film on a VHS tape I recorded years ago from the TV. I first saw it in the 1980s in the now defunct Hull Screen. It introduced me to the work of the controversial Polish-Swiss painter Balthus; one of his works, The Street, was, is, one of the inspirations for my street photography.
The younger wife of a rather sadistic industrialist traps the young guitar teacher hired for their teenage daughter, Vivianne, in her amorous web to get rid of her husband. A contract killer befriends David, the teacher (the magnus opus of his father was to perfect a bomb), through a kind of surreal conversations between them we learn that he has been hired to kill an industrialist, who happens to be Vivianne’s father (Michel Piccoli), and steal a microfilm hidden in a globe. I found then, and now, the end quite surprising, as David, now rich as he collected the reward of the killing, flies away with Vivianne. Visually a very compelling film, the sensuality of the love scenes being was would be expected from a French film…
More information about Death in a French Garden at IMDb.
produced by the 90mm f5.6 Fujifilm wide angle lens for the 5×4 large format camera is quite impressive, to my eyes. Not only, and merely, bokeh, but a sense that one can walk into the photographs, that one can breathe in the place…
Tonight, checking on the redecorated walls of the room, I noticed that my eyes perceived a much sharper differentiation between the shades of white on the walls (chalky emulsion of Chinese white) and the ceiling plus woodwork (brilliant white) under artificial light (LED bulb rated at 2700 Kelvin) compared to viewing under daylight, where the colour temperature would be at least 5000 K if it is a warm sunny day, and colder on cloudy weather.
I was leaving after my ritual visit to La Alhambra when I spotted this girl going up to the palace.
What struck me what her assured attitude, as if she knew where to go, as if she had done that journey uncountable times before.
I re-traced her steps, and my own, to find her perched on a wall quite high up in the compound, with a cat who seemed to be quite comfortable near her…
immersed in a world that surrounded her as if it had been made for, and only for, her.
Even the cat had left, and I became a stone.
Then she disappeared as silently as she had arrived. She never acknowledged me, or my camera, all the time she was there.
The cat was nowhere to be seen, and I became a person again.
That was 30 years ago.
I quite often I wondered what happened to her. Did she ever went back to that corner in an upper wall of La Alhambra? Is she still in Granada? Is she gone?
I can feel my heart…
El caserón destartalado, musgo en las paredes, en los cielos rasos, I had been there for weeks, I had been ignored for weeks, until that last night when I was invited into their den. The woman was my aunt, however she was not my aunt, somehow. There was a litany of what was bad in that old house, missing wood panels on the walls, damp in the ceilings, yet, the magazine editor was too circling the house, the family, dropping hints of how good it would look on the fashion magazine pages after it had been done up… I also noticed that Amelia, the old woman master of the kitchen, was no longer there, that immense wood burning cooker I had fond memories of, glimpsing from the gallery into that forbidding place, was no longer there, either. The kitchen was Amelia, and that cast iron cooker. My enquiries drew no response.
This was half a century ago. This was now.