Friday, November 09, 2012

Street of No Return

In connecting more of the dots observed throughout Jean-Luc Godard's conciousness-raising Notre Musique (2004), the coherence of content in the film becomes increasingly evident. There's Janus again. A Jewish character is compared to Hannah Arendt -- Arendt (1906-1975), the Jewish social theorist who left Germany during the rise of the Nazi menace, then left Vichy France, resettled in the USA and after the Second World War, became a US citizen. Arendt wrote many books dealing with human relationships within the framework of a larger society that out of necessity included politics. From Between Past and Future (1961, 1968): "Humans . . . must permanently think to exist, and each [individual person] is required to learn thinking."

I remember while in graduate school at Temple University in Philadelphia twenty years ago, playing chess with Café Diva owner and "serial entrepreneur" Nga Mai  -- who was born in Vietnam during the US-Vietnam War -- discussing Hannah Arendt for the first time. It makes even more sense now than it did then.

Arendt's The Human Condition was first published in 1958. It focuses on ancient Greek social and philosophical concepts and contrasts their mind-body-society balance to the way of the modern world.

In the Paradise section of Notre Musique, someone reads David Goodis' Sans espir du retour (literally "Without Hope of Return"). Goodis (1917-1967), another graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia, wrote a slew of noir novels, several that have been adapted into movies. Titles include: Retreat from Oblivion (1937), Street of the Lost (1952), Street of No Return (1954) and Dark Passage (1946). Not coincidentally for the purposes of Godard's film, Goodis, like Arendt, was Jewish.

Today's Rune: Gateway.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

Greece is everywhere for me all of a sudden. Your post connects to it. I just watched Clash of the Titans and WRath of the Titans, and happen to be reading a horror novel called "She WAkes" by Jack Ketchum, which is set in Greece.