Poison, Poisson, Passion

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The Passion of the Fish is a lost film by Pier Paolo Pasolini. Set in a small medieval village on the coast of Italy, it documents the steady and relentless erosion of the narrator's faith as he attempts to endure virtual imprisonment and social isolation. Unusual for its use of documentary footage in the service of fiction, it hadn't previously come to life, as shooting just completed yesterday. When I left the hole. Because that's what Pasolini was shooting. Even though he's dead, at the hands of a roadside pickup. Or the mafia. Or political enemies. Or in an enactment of his own script. When his body was discovered in the trunk of the car, the cans of undeveloped film were found with him. Even though that was 33 years ago. The film couldn't be developed, since it had been exposed to three decades of changing climatic conditions in the car's trunk. Even though shooting was just wrapped. He wasn't entirely happy with it, as I understand. But then again, my perceptual faculties were severely compromised at the time, and he had been dead for quite a while. You can see the difficulty in all this.

But it pales next to the difficulty of the poison, which followed the fish; even though the word "passion" is in the title (translated from the original "la passione dei pesci") when distributed in the States through Godard's  association with Janus Films (and released straight to DVD as "la passion des poissons" - although both Godard and Janus deny any participation in, or knowledge of, this release), the real passion came later. But we will get to that, because, although the fish was present from the start, the transitional point - the so-called "plot pivot" - came via the poison.

Have you ever found yourself lost in a forest, with no hope of finding your way out, and no food supplies remaining? I'm sure you have. Like me, you probably looked for something - anything - to eat: roots, berries, small animals, insects, tasty leaves, and so on. And, like me, you probably didn't find anything. And, like me, you probably sought a soft bit of earth on which to lie, on which to wait patiently for sleep, and then, for death - inevitable, the only question is how long - either by starvation, exposure, or, best of all, at the hands - or teeth - of a predator.

I am so sorry - I did not mean to awaken unpleasant memories! I know you did not travel all this way - across the many, seductive and varied Internets - to be accosted by such memories - even though they are yours, and you cannot escape them - you know you should stop trying to escape them - look, even here, where you expected to find nothing, or less than nothing, they have found you! Don't you understand? Really, it is completely futile to even imagine escaping them - not to mention actually doing so. I'm sure you see that now.

I'm glad that we have that settled. Does your neck hurt? I think I must still have some poison in my system, but no worries - it's not contagious. I, on the other hand, don't know what you might be carrying, but I put my trust in you, and I hope and pray that you will not violate it by exposing me to some deadly virus or impulsive murderous impulse. OK? I mean, give me a break! We haven't even met! Let's, uh, just slow things down a bit, OK? I don't feel so well, you know.

In fact, it evokes feelings of great sadness in me to let the sick sensations bubble up from my veins, forever compromised by the extremities to which I have been subjected. You may feel sympathetic; you may be indifferent; you may think I am a fool. And you would be right. But it is not my fault. Sucking the bones seemed such a simple pleasure; who would have known what it would lead to? God! I'm not religious, but, please, God: save me! It's your fault: you put those bones there, and made them what they were. Oh, they just got that way by themselves? A likely story. You can't expect me to believe that. I know you wouldn't. Uh, I guess I am not supposed to speak that way. Apologies - or something.

I need to lie down for a bit.

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This page contains a single entry by the false blogger published on December 23, 2008 4:54 PM.

Take a Chance was the previous entry in this blog.

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