This is my favorite Bara movie so far. I may transcribe more of the scenes. In my opinion, years of non-existence have increased this film’s power–it seemed so relevant to me today! Changes in viewing technologies between 1917 and my obelisk also deeply affected my experience of the film…in this case, my experience of the plot. The inter-stellar resonance introduced by the image transmission process became the epic content of the film.
Here’s scene one!
HER GREATEST LOVE
SCENE: Exterior of library on small-town Main Street.
(HAZEL, eyes upon earth, arms around books, approaches.)
(Her worsted wool coat, blue, true blue, because she is.)
(CLOSE-UP: HAZEL looks up, revelatory lustre of dream-dark eyes which see which see–)
(–gang of her peers in which a white-eyed BOY laughs, his arm around a pony-tail GIRL. His coat? Blue, like forsaken, because HAZEL is.)
(White-eyes spy HAZEL, quickly evade.)
(Jocular jostling. Elbows jab ribs. Pony-tails spray fiber-optic fountains of static.)
(CLOSE-UP: HAZEL’s face, unable to appear OK.)
(Meanwhile, the library portico where vestal virgins bear lamps to light the way.)
(Meanwhile, arithmetic problems of distance, angle, pace, demand immediate solution.)
(HAZEL, eyes upon earth, continues toward library.)
(Obstacles. Boy legs stuck in soft shoes, pocket-books full of mirrors, the glare of lip-glossed smiles. Pony-tails hum with electrical potential, wisps stray from rubber bands, filaments for electrocution.)
(HAZEL, at last upon library steps, stumbles. Her books spill.)
(Behind her, chirping girls barred and flickering like a television frequency intermittently received.)
(Above HAZEL, the library pediment, engraved:)
HAPPY IS THE MAN THAT FINDETH WISDOM
AND THE MAN THAT GETTETH UNDERSTANDING
(HAZEL gathers books, feels absence of white-eyed boy’s arm upon her.)
(Where arm is absent, bruises swell to welts which pop, pierced by sticky, keratinous extrusions that tunnel out of her back. Bow-shaped shafts. Unfurling to horrific span & splendor.)
(CLOSE-UP: HAZEL’s eyes shudder shut as wings test themselves: open, closed.)
(Passionate shame. Ludicrous endowment. Appallingly displayed.)
(Meanwhile, the eternal heaps of uncataloged books, frenetically searched by the light of stars.)
(Meanwhile, consonants excised from penciled passages, admitting nebulous vapors amongst wide a’s, arched e’s, long o’s.)
(Meanwhile, forgotten charts of starry populations fall from flipped pages: monsters, beasts with wings from where, from whence they soon shall come…)
(HAZEL beneath pediment, monstrous winged beast, bereft of white-eyed boy.)
(BOY disconnects himself from pony-tail GIRL, hands trembling as if he would weep.)
(Compacts rapidly issue from pocket-books. Crystal blue eyes retro-flash signals through the recesses of mirrors into the far regions of space.)
(Pony-tail GIRL tilts her head coyly, smiles all mother-sweet, enforcing blithe, oblivious complacency.)
(A car, chrome-cased like a spaceship, approaches at a super-sonic speed. All pony-tails flare in a unified direction, aligning the inescapable magnetic field.)
(Ionic dusts assemble, obfuscating judgment and vision.)
(CLOSE-UP: One half of BOY’s face twitches, involuntarily.)
(CLOSE-UP: HAZEL opens her eyes.)
EVIL FORCES CONSPIRE.
THE EMPIRE IS DIVIDED.
ONLY LOVE CAN TOPPLE THE IMPENETRABLE WALL.
EARTH’S ONE REMAINING HOPE.
(Silence machines begin.)
END OF SCENE
In MOVIE NIGHT I wrote about Owl & I’s proclivity for the lost films of Theda Bara. Last night we watched GOLD AND THE WOMAN, a film made in 1916 which is now considered lost. In this film, Theda played Theresa Decordova.
GOLD AND THE WOMAN
SCENE: A motel room.
(Blast of light. Cataclysm. Two glaciers collide, slip, cleave, crest, peak, lock in angular apex.)
(A wrecked ship, its cruciate mast.)
(Wash to white. Fade to shadow, deeply creased.)
(THERESA crawls out of bed, stumbles towards camera. Small table, paper box, golden lamp.)
(Drawl of her gestures in acquisition of fag. Lit.)
(THERESA smokes. Posture, as if figurehead of pagan font.)
(Emerge spiritous smoke.)
(Dry, white vesper in darkling room. Drift.)
(Chin down., eyes up, THERESA. Speak:)
“WHAT DO YOU OFFER?”
“I WANT PEARLS, SPILLED THROUGH MY FINGERS,
GOLD, STUFFED IN MY PURSE.”
(Ice heaves. Mast erects.)
(MAN rises from bed.)
END OF SCENE
This movie inspired me to make a piece of paper-doll porn:
In MOVIE NIGHT I wrote about Owl & I’s proclivity for the lost films of Theda Bara. Last night we watched A WOMAN THERE WAS, a film made in 1919 which is now considered to be lost. In this film, Theda played Princess Zara.
A WOMAN THERE WAS
SCENE: A corporate board room, high above the metropolis.
(Bird shadows from birds, out-of-frame, move through otherwise spare room: shiny, long table. carpet. chairs.)
(ZARA at wall of glass, looks out. Revery: sweet gag petal wad swallowing torn flower. Rosy fumbles. Tissue.)
(A bird hits the glass.)
(ZARA touches finger to crystalline cracks.)
(ZARA abruptly turns to door.)
(PAGE enters with cart. Tea is served. PAGE departs.)
(Upon tray, an unmarked letter.)
(ZARA reads: decry whisper lonely embrace–)
(-reclining lovely abandon–)
(-creased marker remind no–)
I hope you will let me come to your court from time to time. As the wind comes. Then goes.
(ZARA’s mouth opens as in O.)
(Crumple wretched paper note.)
(CLOSE-UP: ZARA’s tear-streaked face tightening like puddles freezing o’er with ice. Her upper lip curves like an archer’s bow:)
“I HOLD NO COURT BUT WITH BIRDS ON THE WING.
IF THE WIND COMES, I HAVE SUMMONED IT.
IF NOT, I HAVE BOTTLED IT.”
(VIEW FROM DOOR: ZARA drinks tea. Shadows assemble. Thousands of birds gather, hovering, outside.)
END OF SCENE
In MOVIE NIGHT I wrote about Owl & I’s proclivity for the lost films of Theda Bara. Last night we watched UNDER THE YOKE, a film made in 1918 which is now considered lost. In this film, Theda played Maria Valverda.
UNDER THE YOKE
SCENE: Forest, early spring.
(Gnats, infinitesimal murmuration, in a shaft of light. )
(Cinnamon ferns, sporing.)
(MARIA upon forest floor, drowses.)
(Around her body ephemerals flower in visionary time-lapse.)
(Lured be. Hepatica. Bloodroot. Dicentra Cucullaria.)
LADY, LADY, BOREAL BE.
WITHOUT IS NOT THROUGH, THROUGH IS NOT TOWARDS.
LIFT UP YOUR SKIRTS! BESTOW YOUR FAVOR.
(CLOSE-UP: MARIA within corona of ephemerals. Encroaching ominous bar-shaped shadow. )
(Muzzle slides under chin, nuzzles soft of throat. Presses.)
(Lurid be. Hepatica. Bloodroot. Cucullaria.
(VIEW FROM TREES: MAN stands over MARIA pressing rifle to her throat. Their bodies at ease. Hers, langorous, as if rising to the surface of a pond.)
BOUND HOME. BOUND. BY CREEPERS AND THORNS.
(CLOSE-UP: her eyes. Ineluctable weary.)
END OF SCENE