Jay Hoffmann

Books, movies, and code

Did we tell you how the marmoset saved us from Hitler?


It was a big Tarkovsky week. From Sculpting in Time, I finished Chapter 5: The Film Image and Chapter 6: The author in search of an audience. The way that this book builds, he often returns to the same point over and over again, each time layering something new on top of it. So first, we talk about the filmic image as an objective and personal vision of truth, then we talk about the mechanics of how it creates that truth, then we move to a discussion of how the film auteur can use the camera to tell their own truth and the responsibilities of an artist.

The image is indivisible and elusive, dependent upon our consciousness and on the real world which it seeks to embody. If the world is inscrutable, then the image will be so too. It is a kind of equation, signifying the correlation between truth and the human consciousness, bound as the latter is by Euclidean space. We cannot comprehend the totality of the universe, but the poetic image is able to express that totality.


Starting out on Welcome to Wrexham.

Solaris is a poetic film, as much as I’m sure Tarkovsky would want to deny this. And I don’t mean that it is lyrical, but simply that it’s aim is to use filmic language to communicate emotional experiences, rather than to advance a narrative. And in this case, it actually does a good job of doing both. It is an intriguing enough scenario to motivate a suspension of disbelief, but it is pointed and disjointed enough to feel viscerally. It is a story of love and loss and there is much to find welcoming for all of its distncing.
Quick synopsis: A psychologist is sent to a space station orbiting a mysterious, living ocean to determine if it is worth continuing explorations, but finds instead a station mostly empty and haunted by hallucinations from his past.

The story from Marginalian this week is about Virigina Woolf and her experience with the Nazis

Did we tell you how the marmoset saved us from Hitler?