Sunday, December 11, 2011

Motion Studies: A Celebration

         For Isabelle Adjani in Possession (1981), a slow miscarriage against the backdrop of an ongoing tunnel of the German subway system need not be a simple performance piece. It should be a feat of full-body conniptions, and by extension, a celebration of bodily derangement. She starts off looking distrught as she exits a subway and walks in to the tunnel carrying a brown bag. Then she cackles to herself. She moves further in to the empty tunnel, a stretch of grays and blacks that curls around in strange reminiscence of other images that populate Andrejz Zuwalski’s film. When her cackles turn in to strange noises of pain, it is like watching a seizure as opera. When she smashes her bag against the wall of the tunnel, and it spews white material everywhere (what is that?), it is like watching forbidden performance art. When she falls to the floor and rolls around in the white residue, now a victim of spasms that must lead to something horrible, it is like watching something a woman might privately fantasize of doing to relieve frustration. When, in the next shot, she finally miscarries some ooze of blood and yellow murk on the tunnel floor, it is like watching this celebration come to an end we still didn’t want to consider. But it was inevitable.