“In this five-minute video essay, filmmaker Ernie Park compares two different versions of a 1953 film: one edited for Hollywood audiences and one for Italian filmgoers. By comparing two different versions of the same footage, the video essay comes across like a think piece on how seemingly cosmetic changes can affect meaning, tone, and content in movies.
Park, who goes by the name Kogonada, created this short video essay for the British Film Institute (here’s Park’s interview with NPR last week about the essay). The short film compares the Hollywood and neorealism by using David O. Selznick and Vittorio De Sica’s unsuccessful collaboration as a case study. In the early 1950s, legendary Hollywood producer Selznick, best known for his work on Gone with the Wind, commissioned Italian neorealist director De Sica to make a film. Because of unresolvable stylistic clashes, two films resulted from the footage:Terminal Station in Italy and Indiscretion of an American Wife in the U.S”.
“But I never liked doing things systematically. Not even my Ph.D. research was done systematically. It was done in a random, haphazard fashion. The more I got on, the more I felt that, really, one can find something only in that way—in the same way in which, say, a dog runs through a field. If you look at a dog following the advice of his nose, he traverses a patch of land in a completely unplottable manner. And he invariably finds what he is looking for. I think that, as I’ve always had dogs, I’ve learned from them how to do this. So you then have a small amount of material and you accumulate things, and it grows, and one thing takes you to another, and you make something out of these haphazardly assembled W.G Sebald interviewed by Joe Cuomo, 2001
We worked with this text once before and we identified the dog as a kind of frenetic flaneur, a wanderer (see Pat’s recent post, Dérive).
Now, watching my own puppy Lois, I can identify with this text differently. There is a really interesting paradox in her search, one that I think I share…
Lois is searching for what is known, a ball or a rubber chicken but this search is almost constantly interrupted by noticing and being distracted by other unknown or unexpected things: chicken bones, poos, other dogs. This gives rise to what seems to be an almost sadistic confusion of progression and diversion. By the advice of her nose, she is simultaneously excited and frustrated by the stream of information. And added to that, because she’s a pup who is learning the rules, she is intermittently looking back to me to check that she’s doing ok.
The pace might be different but this seems so like being in the studio, so like planning the summer school, so like learning:
I remember going to see Patrick Keillor’s London at the ICA back in 1994. I’d only been a year in London and I’d just moved in to a flat in Battersea. I loved the film and Scofield’s telling of a London flaneur Robinson. But one short scene near the beginning is the thing that resonated with my own wonderings. Pat has mentioned noticing with your body and there is nothing like being new to a city to heighten this. The depiction of the gateposts (5’57” – 6’34″) is by a brief verbal introduction, followed by the laying of the sounds of the park over the locked off shot of the Victorian sandstone columns. I remember enjoying the simple device and the implication that the post absorbs and emits the sounds of the events in its range.