Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The dazed brutality at the heart of Roman Polanski's films

The dazed brutality at the heart of Roman Polanski's films

A world of cruelty, where men are cold-blooded and women cold-hearted … The BFI begins a Roman Polanski retrospective – with extended runs of Repulsion and Chinatown – that showcases the director's fascinating pathology
Leo Robson
Friday 28 December 2012 22.55 GMT

ny hopes that the BFI's forthcoming retrospective – its second in less than a decade – will turn attention away from the glum key terms of Roman Polanski's life (the Kraków ghetto, Manson, statutory rape) back to the riches of his work are based on false reasoning and certain to be dashed. To watch Polanski's films is to be reminded of what produced their dazed brutality, those early experiences of the oppression of the weak that stole his innocence and distorted his sense of things. If ever there was a body of work on intimate terms with cruelty and domination, and steeped in a vision of men as cold-blooded and women as cold-hearted, this is it.

Roman Polanski / Repulsion / Chinatown / Reviews

Roman  Polanski

Repulsion; Chinatown – review

n 1964 Polanski came to Britain to make his first three English-language films, beginning with Repulsion, a brilliant, low-budget psychological horror movie. Ten years later he made the sociopolitical thriller Chinatown, his second and last Hollywood movie before his enforced withdrawal to the continent. Both are masterpieces about puzzled men, troubled women and perverse fathers, and it's good to have them back on the big screen as part of the BFI Southbank's Polanski retrospective.

In Repulsion Catherine Deneuve gives an astonishing, clinically accurate performance as a French beautician staying with her sister in South Kensington, whose descent into homicidal insanity is triggered by loneliness and thwarted sexuality. Made for under £50,000 for an exploitation company, it doesn't look cheap or hurried and took the Silver Bear in Berlin where the following year Polanski's Cul-de-sac won the Golden Bear. The subtle black-and-white photography is by Gilbert Taylor, who had just shot Dr Strangelove and A Hard Day's Night.
Chinatown is, I think, Polanski's greatest achievement to date, a neo-noir classic set in the 1930s, in which Jack Nicholson is remarkable as a sleazy Los Angeles private eye discovering his carefully concealed humanity when drawn into a labyrinthine web of southern California corruption. From the film's eerie art nouveau poster you pass entering the cinema to the unforgettable final line ("Forget it Jake, it's Chinatown"), this film is flawless.


Roman Polanski / "D’après une histoire vraie" de Roman Polanski / Invraisemblablement plat

El triángulo amoroso entre Roman Polanski, Eva Green y Emmanuelle Seigner

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Roman Polanski's wife Emmanuelle Seigner shows off eye-popping cleavage in a loud red dress in Cannes

Yes, they're still there! Emmanuelle checks she hasn't made a boob on the red carpet

Now that's daring! Roman Polanski's wife Emmanuelle Seigner shows off eye-popping cleavage in a loud red dress (and matching underwear) in Cannes

By Lucy Buckland
PUBLISHED: 19:43 BST, 25 May 2013 | UPDATED: 11:34 BST, 27 May 2013

She is the leading lady so perhaps it was only fitting that Roman Polanski's wife Emmanuelle Seigner stole the show on the red carpet in Cannes.

Looking loud in her red dress, which took plunging necklines to a whole new level, all eyes were on the blonde as she waltzed along the red carpet with her husband in her custom Alexandre Vauthier low-cut silk jersey gown which she styled with red Christian Louboutin sandals.

Roman Polanski sparks controversy after complaining that birth control pills are making women masculine and calling gender equality 'idiotic'

Roman Polanski sparks controversy after complaining that birth control pills are making women masculine and calling gender equality 'idiotic'

Controversial director Roman Polanski has lamented that the birth control pill has had a ‘masculinizing’ effect on women and called the leveling of the sexes ‘idiotic.’

The 79-year-old filmmaker made the comments Saturday at the Cannes Film Festival, where he came to premiere Venus in Fur, a film adapted from the David Ives play which stars Polanski's wife and toys with the subject of gender.

High-profile event: The filmmaker (left) made the comments at the Cannes Film Festival, where he came with his wife, actress Emmanuelle Seigner (center), and her co-star Mathieu Amalric (right) to premiere Venus in Fur

High-profile event: The filmmaker (left) made the comments at the Cannes Film Festival, where he came with his wife, actress Emmanuelle Seigner (center), and her co-star Mathieu Amalric (right) to premiere Venus in Fur
Polanski said the pill has ‘changed the place of women in our times’ while talking to reporters. He further bemoaned the fact that ‘offering flowers to a lady’ has become ‘indecent.’

‘There are other elements,’ he added. ‘I think it chases away the romance from our lives and that's a great pity.’

The 79-year-old Oscar-winning director was famously convicted of having sex with a minor in a 1977 case. 

He was initially indicted on six felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, child molesting and sodomy, but pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse.

Polanski, whose past films include Chinatown and Rosemary's Baby, fled the United States after a Los Angeles judge threatened further sanctions.

SeignerPolanski called the leveling of sexes 'idiotic' and bemoaned the fact that ‘offering flowers to a lady’ has become ‘indecent’

He's restricted by an Interpol warrant in effect in 188 countries, but he moves freely between Switzerland and France. 

He was freed from Swiss house arrest in 2010 after the government refused to deport him to the United States.



Roman Polanski / "D’après une histoire vraie" de Roman Polanski / Invraisemblablement plat

El triángulo amoroso entre Roman Polanski, Eva Green y Emmanuelle Seigner

Monday, May 29, 2017

Frida Kahlo / Letter to Nicholas Muray

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo, Paris, France letter to Nickolas Muray, New York, N.Y., 1939 Feb. 16

My adorable Nick. Mi Niño,

I am writing you on my bed in the American Hospital, yesterday it was the first day I didn’t have fever and they aloud me to eat a little, so I feel better. Two weeks ago I was so ill that they brought me here in an ambulance because I couldn’t even walk. You know that I don’t know why or how I got coli-bracilus on the kidneys thru the intestines, and I had such an inflamation and pain that I thought I was going to die. They took several eXrays of the kidneys and it seems that they are infected with those damn colibacilus. Now I am better and next monday I will be out of this rotten hospital. I can’t go to the hotel, because I would be all alone, so the wife of Marcel Duchamp invited me to stay with her for a week while I recover a little. Your telegram arrived this morning and I cried very much –of happiness, and because I miss you with all my heart and my blood. Your letter, my sweet, came yesterday, it is so beautiful, so tender, that I have no words to tell you what a joy it gave me. I adore you my love, believe me, like I never loved anyone-only Diego will be in my heart as close as you-always. I haven’t tell Diego a word about all this trouble of being ill – because he will worry so much – and I think in few days I will be allright again, so it isn’t worthwhile to alarm him.
Don’t you think so?

Besides this damn sickness I had the lousiest luck since I arrived. In first place the question of the exibition is all a damn mess. Until I came the paintings were still in the custum house, because the s. of a b. of Breton didn’t take the trouble to get them out. The photographs which you sent ages agohe never received. So he says- the gallery was not arranged for the exibit at all and Breton has no gallery of his own long ago. So I had to wait days and days just like an idiot till I met Marcel Duchamp (a marvelous painter) who is the only one who has his feet on the earth, among all this bunch of coocoo lunatic son of bitches of the surrealists. He immediately got my paintings out and tried to find a gallery. Finally there was a gallery called “Pierre Colle” which accepted the damn exibition. Now Breton wants to exibit together with my paintings, 14 portraits of the XIX century (Mexicans) about 32 photographs of Alvarez Bravo, and lots of popular objects which he bought on the markets of Mexico – all this junk, can you beat that? For the 15th of March the gallery supose to be ready. But…. The 14 oils of the XIX Century must be restored and the damn restoration takes a whole month. I had to lend to Brenton 200 bucks (Dlls) for the restoration because he doesn’t have a penny. (I sent a cable to Diego telling him the situation and telling that I lended to Breton that money – he was furious, but now is done and I have nothing to do about it) I still have money to stay here till the beginning of March so I don’t have to worry so much.

Well, after things were more or less settled as I told you, few days ago Breton told me that the associated of Pierre Colle, an old bastard and son of a bitch, saw my paintings and found that only two were possible to be shown, because the rest are too “shocking” fir the public!! I could of kill that guy and eat it afterwards, but I am so sick and tired of the whole affair that I have decided to send everything to hell, scram from this rotten Paris before I get nuts myself. You have no idea the kind of bitches these people are. They make me vomit. They are so damn “intelectual” and rotten that I can’t stand them any more. It is really too much for my character- I rather sit and sell tortillas, than to have any thing to do with those “Artistic” bitches of Paris. They sit for hours on the “cafés” warming their precious behinds, and talk without stopping about “culture” “art” “revolution” and so on and so forth, thinking themselves the gods of the world, dreaming the most fantastic nonsense, and poisoning the air with theories and theories that never come true. Next morning they don’t have anything to eat in their house because none of them work and they live as parasites of the bunch of rich bitches who admire their “genius” of “Artists”, Shit and only shit is what they are. I never seen Diego or you wasting their time on stupid gossip and “intelectual” discussions. That is why you are real men and not lousy “artists”- Gee weez! It was worthwhile to come here only to see why Europe is rottening, why all this people - good for nothing - are the cause of all the Hitlers and Mussolinis. I bet you my life I will hate this place and its people as long as I live. There is something so false and unreal about them that they: drive me nuts.

I am hoping to get well soon and scram from here. My ticket will last for a long time but I already have acommodations for the “Isle de France” on the 8 of March. I hope I can take this boat. In any case I won’t stay here longer than the 15th of March. To hell with the exhibition in London. To hell with everything concerning Breton and all this lousy place. I want to go back to you. I miss every movement of your being, your voice, your eyes, your hands, your beautiful mouth, your laugh so clear and honest. YOU. I love you my Nick. I am so happy to think I love you – to think you wait for me – you love me.

My darling give many kisses to Mam on my name, I never forget her. Kiss also Aria and Lea. For you my heart full of tenderness and caring. One special kiss on your neck your give my love to Mary Skear if you see her and to Ruzzy

Cannes 2017 / Ruben Östlund wins Palme d'Or for The Square

Ruben Oustland with the Palme d’Or for The Square. Photograph: Stephane Cardinale 

Cannes 2017: Ruben Östlund wins Palme d'Or for The Square

Swedish director takes Cannes’ top prize for an art-world satire featuring Elisabeth Moss and Dominic West

Andrew Pulver
Sunday 28 May 2017

The art-world satire The Square has won the Palme d’Or at the 2017 Cannes film festival. Directed by Ruben Östlund, The Square is about a museum director (played by Claes Bang) who is desperate to make a success of his gallery, and stages a new installation called “The Square” to promote it.

The Square was well received after its debut on 19 May, earning a string of glowing reviews. The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw gave it four stars, saying it created “some gobsmackingly weird and outrageous spectacle, with moments of pure showstopping freakiness”.

Swedish director Östlund is best known for his previous film, Force Majeure, which also addressed the toxic nature of middle-class guilt. The film also starred Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss and The Wire’s Dominic West, as well as an already-celebrated appearance from animal-movement expert Terry Notary, as a performance artist who impersonates an ape.
The Square’s victory somewhat upset the formbook, as much attention appeared to be focussing on Andrei Zvyagintsev’s eerie fable Loveless, an apocalyptic study of a failed marriage and the subsequent disappearance of a child, and Robin Campillo’s 120 Beats per Minute, about the French arm of the Aids-activist Act-Up movement. In the end they were awarded the jury prize and grand prix, respectively, the festival’s notional third and second prizes.
The jury, presided over by Spanish film-maker Pedro Almodovar, gave two awards to Lynne Ramsay’s sex-traffic thriller You Were Never Really Here: a joint best screenplay award and best actor to Joaquin Phoenix; the latter appeared shellshocked to win, and took to the stage wearing Converse sneakers.

The best actress award went to Diane Kruger, who played a woman seeking revenge for her husband’s death in a terrorist bombing in In the Fade, directed by Fatih Akin; although the film itself received largely negative reaction – including a two-star review from the Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw – Kruger’s first performance in her native German was well-liked. Kruger dedicated her win to everyone who “has survived an act of terrorism and who is trying to pick up the pieces and go on living after having lost everything”.

Sofia Coppola became only the second woman to win Cannes’ best director award (the first being Yuliya Solntseva in 1961 for the Russian film The Story of the Flaming Years). Coppola’s adaptation of Thomas Cullinan’s The Beguiled won many plaudits, and in a statement read out by jury member Maren Ade Coppola thanked Jane Campion, the only female Palme d’Or winner to date, for being a “role model”.
The Camera d’Or for best first film went to Jeune Femme, from French director Léonor Serraille, while the maker of the best short film, Qiu Yang, declared the award “fucking amazing”.
As suggested earlier in the festival by Almodovar, neither of the Netflix-backed selections in the competition – the ensemble comedy The Meyerowitz Stories and giant-pig eco-fable Okja – received any award recognition.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Tree of Smoke author Denis Johnson dies aged 67

Denis Johnson

Tree of Smoke author Denis Johnson dies aged 67

Poet and novelist, who described his work as a ‘zoo of wild utterances’, was the winner of the National Book Award and twice shortlisted for the Pulitzer prize

Danuta Kean
Friday 26 May 2017 15.58 BST

The acclaimed author and poet Denis Johnson has died aged 67. Best known for his classic short-story collection Jesus’ Son, Johnson won the National Book Award for his novel Tree of Smoke in 2007 and was twice shortlisted for the Pulitzer prize for fiction. His work has been compared to that of Raymond Carver and William Burroughs.
Alex Bowler, his UK publisher at Granta, called him a “singular writer and author of at least two immortal masterpieces”.
“His writing was so vital and distinct,” Bowler said. “It never patronised the reader and was work of such sympathy and energy. He was a genius.”

According to Bowler, Johnson brought “the unseen to life”, whether addicts, labourers or CIA operatives. “But he didn’t just make them visible, he made them incandescent and gave the authentic voice of their experience. They were works of huge empathy.”
Born in Munich in 1949, the son of a US state department official who liaised with the CIA, he spent his childhood in Tokyo, Manila and Washington DC among diplomats and the military. John Updike said his writing had “the gleaming economy and aggressive minimalism of early Hemingway”.
A student of Carver’s at the University of Iowa, Johnson was 19 when he published his first poetry collection, The Man Among the Seals. His first novel, Angels, was published to critical acclaim in 1983, but it was his 1992 short-story collection, Jesus’ Son, that saw him break through to a wider audience. Taking its title from the refrain in the Velvet Underground song Heroin, it features 11 stories about a group of addicts living in rural America. It is written in a style that seems chaotic, to reflect the mental state of the characters, and was adapted into a 1999 film starring Dennis Hopper and Billy Crudup.
In 2003, he told an interviewer: “The stories of the fallen world, they excite us. That’s the interesting stuff.” He later went on to describe his work as a “zoo of wild utterances”.

Tree of Smoke was set in the Vietnam war and revived the character Bill Houston, who first appeared in Angels. In the Guardian, Geoff Dyer described it as a “whopping mega-ton” of a novel. Calling Johnson “an artist of strange diligence”, Dyer wrote: “Central to Johnson’s dramatised worldview is the belief that it is the mangled and damaged, the downtrodden, who are best placed to achieve – ‘withstand’ is probably a better verb – enlightenment.”
He published, among other work, nine novels, five poetry collections, a novella, three plays and two screenplays. His last published book was the 2014 novel The Laughing Monsters. A convoluted, cosmopolitan tale of espionage set in Africa, it is narrated by a Swiss-educated, Dutch-based Danish-American sent by Nato to Sierra Leone to spy on Michael Adriko, an Israeli-trained Ugandan mercenary gone awol while serving with the US army in the Democratic Republic of Congo after spells in Afghanistan and the Middle East. Johnson spent a month in Uganda researching the novel. In an interview during his time in Africa, he joked: “I’m not trying to be Graham Greene. I think I actually am Graham Greene.”

Denis Johnson Interview / "I think I actually am Graham Greene"


At 19, Denis Johnson published his first book of poetry, Man Among Seals. A couple of years after that, he got a BA from University of Iowa and MFA from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, where he studied under Raymond Carver. Johnson is prolific. He’s published plays, nonfiction, five books of poetry, eight novels, a short story collection (Jesus’ Son, a cult classic without the cult) and a novella (Train Dreams). In 2007, he won the National Book Award for Fiction for his novel Tree of Smoke. Johnson is also charming and elusive. He’s known not to give many interviews (“ I haven’t said yes to one in many years,” he told us).
We corresponded with Denis Johnson over e-mail while he was traveling in Arua, Uganda. “I’m thousands of miles away, and you can’t get to me,” so signed off Denis Johnson in our first email correspondence. And so it begins.
You mentioned you just landed in Arua, Uganda. What are you doing there? If that answer is a secret, how was your flight?
My flight from JFK to Entebbe was uneventful, and my flight from Entebbe to Arua was short and quick. I’m making my second visit to the region. My purpose here isn’t a secret. I’m gathering background – local color, sights and sounds – for a novel that takes place in Sierra Leone, and here in Uganda, and also partly in the Democratic Republic of Congo, whose border lies just a few miles west of Arua. It’s kind of a spy story with what we might call serious intentions, on the order of Graham Greene. I told my editor Jonathan Galassi at FSG, “I’m not trying to be Graham Greene. I think I actually am Graham Greene.”
Any Greene novels you would you recommend?
The Power and the Glory
The Comedians
The Heart of the Matter
Also a sad spy story, The Human Factor
I haven’t re-read A Burnt-out Case recently, but I remember admiring that one too.  Or is it “Burned-out”?
What appeals to you about the CIA and the FBI as material?  In Tree of Smoke your characters are disillusioned with their work for the CIA. How do you feel about novels that glorify espionage?
 Tree of Smoke, I think, takes its first impulse from my early background.  My dad was with the US State Department, and we lived among that community in Tokyo, Manila, and Washington, DC – diplomats and military folks, including CIA and FBI.
As for novels glorifying espionage, I enjoyed James Bond when I was a kid, but I prefer the more realistic, complicated approach – Le Carré particularly, and some of Eric Ambler.
So you moved around a lot growing up, you occupy multiple residences, and your nonfiction work sends you abroad.  Are the rhythms of what you are writing influenced by where you are in space and/or how fast you are traveling?
My projects tend to develop over years, beginning with scattered notes; then I start puttering and tinkering with ideas, voices, descriptions, and then I progress to some serious fooling around, and in the latter stages I settle down and try to produce a couple of pages every day, with an occasional day off. I’m in the latter stages with this novel, whose title (today) is The Laughing Monsters. I’m really just living for a month at the White Castle Hotel and trying to write every day on this book. It’s due in January. I might finish on time.
You also move across genres…Jesus’ Son was adapted into a movie, and one of your plays, Shoppers, uses a TV. Have you considered writing screenplays or TV? Are there genres you haven’t yet tried that you are interested in exploring?
I’ve done a little of that from time to time, not with any success.  During the 1980’s I wrote several screenplays under commission, most of them adaptations – one from a Jim Thompson novel, A Swell-looking Babe, one from Paul Bowles’s Up Above the World, also two from books of my own (Angels, The Stars at Noon) – nothing got produced.
Just a couple years ago I took a flyer at TV, working with three producers to design a drama series and write the pilot episode, all on speculation – that effort went pretty much nowhere.  This January I’ll write a pilot for HBO, a one-hour drama that takes place in a ward for amputees returned from our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Genres I wouldn’t try. . .  I think I’ve tried them all, except maybe technical writing, or self-help books.  If I get through life without tackling either of those, I won’t be sorry.  Oh – It might be fun to do the libretto for an opera (although I know nothing about opera).
How does the way you think of voicing differ in writing a play, like “Soul of A Whore”, as opposed to writing a story cycle like Jesus’ Son? Do you see your first-person narrators (Fuckhead, namely) as having written the stories themselves?
“Voice” – I don’t think of it as under my control.  I like Fuckhead’s voice, I liked it the minute I heard it, and I enjoy its doubleness – he seems to be immersed in his era, and then also looking back on it from years afterward — but that’s all I can tell you about that.
When I was an undergrad I took courses from the poet Marvin Bell, who said, “Don’t be committed to one voice.”  I don’t remember if he said it once or if he said it often; but it stuck with me, and I stick by it.  I try to forget what I’ve already written, and forget what it sounded like, and treat each attempt as if it were my very first.
Speaking of the writer’s education, in a 1997 article for Salon, you wrote about the benefits of homeschooling your children.  How does your philosophy of education and “unschooling” apply to writers? Do you think formal academic training or MFA programs are useful to young writers?
I’m no expert on education.  I was a terrible student.  I hated school, every minute of it, from the first day of kindergarten until I got a BA.  I tried to raise my own kids to be ignorant savages, but they rebelled and got college degrees.  As for graduate writing programs, my own very limited experience with them has been uniformly happy.  While I was a grad student at Iowa I felt a great deal was offered me and not much was asked, and now I teach here and there – one-semester appointments – and the same holds true.  I get a lot of joy out of “teaching”, mainly because I do it seldom, and when I do, I have only a few students, most of whom are smarter than I am.  I don’t know how I’d like it if I had to do it all the time and pretend to take it seriously.
Who were the poets that made you want to write poetry? What poets writing today do you read?
Dylan Thomas first of all, during my high school – in fact it was the poem “Fern Hill,” because it sounded so much like a person – and then Walt Whitman and the beat poets shortly after that.  And Bob Dylan’s lyrics, and “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” and then, when I was a college freshman, “The Lost Pilot” by James Tate.  I yearned to talk like them, I ached for it.  I still read poetry all the time.   Just lately it’s Eugenio Montale, and Michael Burkard, and John Clare.  Often I return to Franz Wright, and W.S. Merwin.  I’ve recently been impressed by the young poet Carl Adamshick, though I might be misspelling his name.  James Tate still.  John Logan I return to as well.  I’ve been re-reading “The Salt Ecstasies” by James L. White, too.  Last winter was the winter of Fernando Pesoa.
We’ve been thinking a lot about the glow of some of your poems, the visionary language seeping through parts of Angels, and the electric way in which the border between Fuckhead’s consciousness and the outside world is always being dissolved throughout Jesus’ Son. Could you talk a bit more about Whitman’s influence in your poetry and prose?
I’m not sure I could trace the lines of his influence on my language, particularly, or the way his work affects the strategies in my work, or anything like that.  His expansive spirit, his generosity, his eagerness to love – those are the things that influence me, not just as a writer, but as a person.  His introduction to LEAVES OF GRASS I take as a sort of personal manifesto, especially the passage:
This is what you shall do:  Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body. . . .
You’ve discussed with critics how your work trades in spiritual themes. How would you characterize the theological questions you ask about religion or to God in your work? Have these questions changed over time?
Ah, now – this is a question I’ve learned to run from, and it’s the chief reason I avoid giving interviews.  If I’ve discussed these things in the past, I shouldn’t have.  I’m not qualified.  I don’t know who God is, or any of that.  People concerned with those questions turn up in my stories, but I can’t explain why they do.  Sometimes I wish they wouldn’t.
We were going to ask if you had an ideal or unideal reader but saw that you’d answered that question a couple years ago, telling an audience, “I write for my wife, my agent, and my editor.” Can you tell us a bit more about what each relationship in this trio means to you––as you relate to them as friends, readers, collaborators, etc?
My wife Cindy reads everything first, and she’s allowed one of three categories of response – “Genius”, “Shakespeare”, or “Elvis.”  It happens my agent Bob Cornfield and I admire many of the same writers, so if he likes something I give him, I’m very happy.  He’s usually very muted in his criticism, hardly ever negative.  My editor Jonathan Galassi, unfortunately, feels obliged to express himself honestly.  When he’s kind, that makes my day.
On an episode of the New Yorker Fiction podcast, Tobias Wolff reads your short story “Emergency.” When he discusses the story with Deborah Treisman, Wolff says, “It’s like the story wants to jolt us into looking around and seeing the miraculous all around us and, in a sense, wanting to take that knife out of our eye.” What do you think this knife obscures?
I don’t know what the knife obscures, but I feel in general agreement with what I think Wolff was saying. And I go along with Joseph Conrad, too. In the intro to his novel The Nigger of the Narcissus he said he wanted “by the power of the written word to make you hear, to make you feel – it is, before all, to make you see. That—and no more, and it is everything.”
In the film adaptation of Jesus’ Son, you have a cameo as the peeping husband retributively stabbed in the eye by his wife. Is it the writer that gets stabbed in the eye for seeing too much?
Hold on now. Remember, the writer is only creating an illusion. That knife was fake.
Last but not least: what is your favorite mass cultural product?
 I love McDonald’s double cheeseburgers and I don’t care if they’re made of pink slime and ammonia, I eat them all the time because they’re delicious.