Girl And Gun - Poem by gershon hepner
“All that you need is a girl and a gun
if you making a film, ” said Jean-Luc Godard.
In the dark with a girl you can have as much fun
as a guy who’s been laid in a film that is noir,
but if, when you switch on the light, you discover
the girl isn’t loaded, walk out of the trailer,
and if she complains that you’ve been a bad lover,
take out a revolver with which you can nail her.
Inspired by Manohla Dargis’s review of Gustav Deutsch’s “Film 1st, a Girl & an Gun” in the December 2,2009 NYT (“The Old Clips, A Paradise Found and Lost”) :
“To make a film, ” Jean-Luc Godard once memorably said, “all you need is a girl and a gun.” (A little money helps.) In “Film Ist. a Girl & a Gun, ” the Austrian director Gustav Deutsch complicates this witty, deceptively simple formula with a wealth of found footage (material shot by others for other purposes) borrowed from film archives from around the world. As the title suggests, there are girls (voluptuous, ecstatic, threatened) and there are guns (hard, phallic, threatening) along with something of a narrative. If the narrative that Mr. Deutsch has created is rather less thrilling than his mostly silent and often glorious images, this is nonetheless a story well worth considering, and watching. Using material gathered from the likes of the Imperial War Museum (in Britain) and the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction (at Indiana University) , he has fashioned something of an origin story about cinema itself. It’s a tale that begins with an unidentified image of a woman in buckskin shooting at some targets and ends with a cowboy bandit pointing his gun at the camera, an image appropriated from Edwin S. Porter’s 1903 short, “The Great Train Robbery, ” one of the most famous in cinema history. Tucked between these loaded images, as it were, is a vision of cinematic paradise, found and lost.
Tumult of a kind pursues the shooting woman (nothing new there) in the form of a mesmerizing, mysterious shot of what looks like an archery target in flames and some text (“at the first Chaos came to be”) from “Theogony, ” an epic Greek poem by Hesiod about the origin of the world. The archery target gives way to fiery orange images of billowing smoke and some electronic thrumming. (The intermittent score tends to underscore the obvious.) The thrumming turns to droning, the smoke turns to lava, followed by more Hesiod (“wide-bosomed earth”) , a woman with bountiful breasts, “Paradeisos” (Greek for paradise) and naked beachfront frolickers…
Women turn out to be the fly in the ointment in “a Girl & a Gun.” (“Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savor” or so it says in Ecclesiastes.) Among the many images that follow, many beautifully and floridly tinted, are sleeping, dreaming and fornicating clothed and unclothed women. In one early section, a woman drowsing in a steam room seems to dream of both an undulating jellyfish and a swimming man. In another section, a woman watches a man spin four strange dials hidden behind a cabinet, as if he were initiating her into a secret world. (On the soundtrack, you hear “she dies.”) A world, a subsequent shot suggests — of a woman reading a newspaper with the headline “Cine Monde” — that has been made from images…With “a Girl & a Gun, ” Mr. Deutsch brings in Eros and Thanatos to a seductive if familiar end.
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