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 Post subject: Re: Hidden References
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 10:25 pm 
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Nice joke!

Why Jersey....like Romania, a latter-day outpost of Caesar and the Romans (Nova Caesarea)!

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 Post subject: Re: Hidden References
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 10:32 pm 
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That explains the statues: in the film they were so beautifully decaying I could cry (in the scene with the perfectly picked Dylan song); I knew they couldn't be in Jersey.

Penelope's statues (with emphatic camera focus) --- stone golem....hmmm...

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 Post subject: Re: Hidden References
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 10:35 pm 
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Weird place for a soccer player to end up.


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 Post subject: Re: Hidden References
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 11:23 pm 
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Not really a hidden reference, but did anyone else think that Robbie Coltrane as the Curator was reminscent of Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot? Perhaps because of this, the unsettled feeling I had at the end of the movie called to mind "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd" by Agatha Christie...a book that I hadn't thought of in well over a decade but that sprang quite clearly to mind in the aftermath of the movie.

What soccer player?


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 Post subject: Re: Hidden References
PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2009 7:42 am 
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"Peleş Castle"

It's just funnier if you pretend to get the cheesy joke.


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 Post subject: Re: Hidden References
PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2009 8:11 am 
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[if in ref to "Why Jersey....like Romania, a latter-day outpost of Caesar and the Romans (Nova Caesarea)!"]

This was just a cheesy joke too.

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 Post subject: Re: Hidden References
PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:21 am 
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1) Thinking of Stephen's outburst of anti-Mexico sentiment:

Melville's Confidence Man, chap 26 "Containing the Metaphysics of Indian-hating, According to the Views of One Evidently not so Prepossessed as Rousseau in Favour of Savages" (just the chapter titles of Con-Man are hilarious).

?

2) As soon as the Fidele / Melville reference was revealed in the film, I started recalling Melville's main themes of storytelling, reality vs. fantasy, truth and fiction, and one passage I was thinking of was in chap 33, after the crackpot burst of random magic in 31-2:

"Strange, that in a work of amusement, this severe fidelity to real life should be exacted by anyone, who, by taking up such a work, sufficiently shows that he is not unwilling to drop real life, and turn, for a time, to something different. Yes, it is, indeed, strange that anyone should clamor for the thing he is weary of; that anyone, who, for any cause, finds real life dull, should yet demand of him who is to divert his attention from it, that he should be true to that dullness."

Now when I first read this, not only did I think "Brilliant, right on!" (a common occurrence with Melville, who always makes you throw back your head and laugh). It also made me think of Fellini's implicit critiques of neorealism as in, for example, Roma, when the socially conscious hippies and the magistrate are lobbying Fellini to make a movie that is "real" "true to life" "true to the problems of modern society", etc, and the filmmaker responds with crazy scenes of 1940s brothels and a journey into the underworld of the subway dig to encounter ancient Rome.

The rest of Melville's chapter is brilliant as well. He sides with those who take another view, who "sit down to a work of amusement tolerantly as they sit at a play....so, in books of fiction, they look not for more entertainment, but, at bottom, even for more reality, that real life itself can show. Thus, though they want novelty, they want nature, too; but nature unfettered, exhilarated, in effect transformed. In this way of thinking, the people in a fiction, like the people in a play, must dress as nobody exactly dresses, talk as nobody exactly talks, act as nobody exactly acts. It is with fiction as with religion: it should present another world, and yet one to which we feel a tie."


For Melville, it was a critique of the dominant realistic aesthetic of 19th cent. "bourgeois"/popular novels; as for Fellini, who insists that realism is a mask and a fetter to the real wellsprings of life and creativity, the dark, boisterous, dreamy imagination.

Anyway, these are some of the things that the Fidele/Melville layer of Bros. Bloom got me thinking while I watched it. And one reason why I thought it was so good--for me it did its work of transforming and exhilarating nature into another, magical world (while also reflecting on the nature and purposes of such "unreality").

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 Post subject: Re: Hidden References
PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 1:09 pm 
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Good good stuff.

Taken on my roof in Brooklyn when I was writing Bloom. Mostly because I found the chapter heading amusing, not as relevant as your pulls:

Image


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 Post subject: Re: Hidden References
PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:18 pm 
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Hah!

The chapter titles alone are the most outrageously funny things written in the 19th cent.

The one I quoted from is titled: "33. Which May Pass for Whatever It May Prove to Be Worth".

Chapter 43 is "Very Charming"

And 44--without a doubt, on reflection, my personal favorite:

"In Which the Last Three Words of the Last Chapter Are Made the Text of Discourse, Which Will Be Sure of Receiving More or Less Attention from Those Readers Who Do Not Skip It."

If that doesn't hook the hapless reader, nothing will!

And those three words? QUITE AN ORIGINAL

(My take on the chapter that ensues: a gun's-blazing critique of Romanticism's cult of Genius, and a humbling call to work to any would-be artist : "To produce such [original] characters, an author, besides other things, must have seen much, and seen through much: to produce but one original character, he must have had much luck."

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 Post subject: Re: Hidden References
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 4:26 pm 
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Quote:
(Hi Stacy! Hi!)


Hi!!! I've been pimping you like mad over on my LJ, and I know it's worked on at least one of my friends and his wife - they loved it. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Hidden References
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 8:02 pm 
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You know how sometimes you gloss over a sentence and certain words pop out at you and you end up reading the sentence as, "I've been pimping out my friends and wife"?

Not that it ever happens to me, or anything...

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 Post subject: Re: Hidden References
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 1:50 pm 
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Since it's pretty well established that the principal literary or mythological codes for Bloom are the Daedalus/Icarus/Labyrinth story as well as the Odyssey story (Penelope) (perhaps mediated, let's say, through Joyce's mixture of these mythic models already in Ulysses), I thought fellow forum-prowlers might be interested in a little info or primer on these myths (mainly the first set). The three links below are Powerpoint presentations from my freshman Greek mythology course at Rutgers University. They don't include a lot of the content which I deliver verbally in lecture, but they do have plenty of pictures, worth the proverbial thousands of words. (Note on the pictures of art and artifacts included: I normally get them from the internet and use them for educational purposes, without permission, but within the spirit of Fair Use guidelines).

"Escaping the Labyrinth"

"Escaping the Labyrinth 2"

"Daidalos etc."

What's interesting about the labyrinth story in Greek myth is that the entire complex was literally central to the overall sweep of Greek mythological time. It was also the center of a complex set of overlapping storylines: 1) Theseus/Ariadne/the Minotaur, 2) Icarus/Daedalus/Minos/Pasiphae, 3) and at the edges were Jason/Medea and Hercules. As I've found in trying to make lectures for Myth, it's hard to tell the story without in some way telling all of Greek myth. Or you can pick one thread and begin there, which will eventually lead you around to all the others.

In connection to Bloom, the beginning cave con marks the entry of Bloom into a labyrinth (so Rian intimates on the commentary), which would in fact put him in the position of Theseus, the hero who enters the labyrinth to slay the Minotaur. What is Bloom's Minotaur in the movie? is one way of asking what the mythic code implies. The inscrutable nature of his brother's controlling hijinks? The inscrutable nature of his own desires? (That is sort of what modernists--like Picasso and others--did with the minotaur/labyrinth motif). Of course it also places Penelope in the position of an Ariadne, the heroine whose thread helps guide the hero through and back out of the maze.

Daedalus was the archetypal artist/craftsman in Greek myth. He made things that could fulfill human desires, whatever those happened to be (like Minos' wife Pasiphae wanting to sleep with a bull). This is certainly a lot like Stephen in the film, whose guiding moral code for cons seems to be "make it so everyone gets what they want." Ultimately for the film (in how I watch it) it seems like a figure for and a meditation on the nature of dramatic/cinematic arts (just as, for modernist visual artists, Daedalus/Minotaur became the image of the modern artist and his/her fraught relation to society and the state). The making and marketing of a film is a Daedalean circle, which draws the film-going public into a labyrinthine con or shell-game of imagination, ticket-sales, and the constant question-mark of entertainment and artistic purpose. What I liked about Bloom is that--like other interestingly self-conscious art--it opens up this vista on its own creation and its engagement with the viewing public.

Anyway, enough on that. Enjoy the powerpoints if you're interested (low "production values" and all.)

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Last edited by matfox on Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Hidden References
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 2:27 pm 
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"Escaping the Labyrinth" wouldn't display, but the other two slide shows were pretty interesting.

Thnx.

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 Post subject: Re: Hidden References
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:16 pm 
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Thanks for the feedback. It's fixed now (it said hhttp.)

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 Post subject: Re: Hidden References
PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:35 pm 
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“He writes his cons the way dead Russians write novels”

-The Brothers Bloom.

A fairly well known dead Russian once wrote a novel called The Brothers Karamazov. Coincidence? I think not. I've never read it myself, but now I'm intrigued. Since Russians play a big part of The Brothers Bloom, as does all that "embedded symbolism" and such that Bloom mentions, I imagine Stephen isn't the only one here inspired by a dead Russian. Has this all been discussed before? Probably.

Also, interesting that Dostoyevsky and The Brothers Karamazov get brought up only an episode after "The Long Con". Something tells me someone was watching season II of Lost while brainstorming their sophomore feature 8)

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