Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Meaning of History

I recently saw Karel Reisz's We Are the Lambeth Boys, his Free Cinema documentary from 1959. It had an oddly happifying effect on me. What can happen to a world where we have moving, talking images of the past? No vicious tampering, no calculating denial - just the strangely enduring similarity of humanity across time.

I am being naive, I know. But the older I get, the more I am moved by this kind of stuff.

Watching the documentary I was reminded of Slavoj Zizek's comment that in Children of Men "the true infertility [depicted in the movie] is the very lack of meaningful historical experience." In Cuaron's movie, this historical experience is encapsulated in a significant scene by Michelangelo and Picasso. In Reisz's film, history is the likes of Beryl, the damn serious dancer with the curly blonde hair. I wonder what she's doing these days.

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