Notes from  Annette Insdorf introduction to the screening of Kaufman’s _The Unbearable Lightness of Being) at the National Gallery for the Arts.

Unlike most artists whom we can instantly recognize, Insdorf argues that Kaufman is simply “too damn versatile” for us to know a film is his unless we know going in that a film is actually his.  Think _The Right Stuff_ and _The Unbearable Lightness of Being_ being from the same film maker.   In other words, he doesn’t have a signature trope or technique.  We know a Woody Allen film when we see one.  We don’t know a Kaufman is a Kaufman until we know.   Take a look at the various films he’s made and you’ll see what she means.

 She argues that he’s constantly changing because he’s always tryingt to find the appropiate cinematic medium or technique for the story he’s telling.

Many thought that no one could properly translate Kundera’s novel to a film because no one thought you could properly translate his ideas and thoughts and philosophy that he uses words to convey and put that into a character driven film.  Kaufman, however, succeeds in taking the verbal to visual.  Kaufman made this a story about “voyeurism,” about  “watching,” about “surveillance.”

Think mirrors; think the delayed reveals, people and objects in the process of becoming . . . 

He makes us appreciate sensuality. 

——
“Our lives are composed of music.”

Music by Janicek. Kundera’s father studied with him.  Kundera suggested his music for the score, rather than an original score.

Kaufman: form should be musical

Bright (Adarte) to Slow (Addagio) [she confused the two herself).

The move follows that form.

Form: Theme and variations

repetition of motifs riffing from Nietzche’s “eternal return,” which she suggests we can’t ever really literally understand but Kaufman gets us close.  Note all the moments in this film where objects return.

Mirrors create internal rhymes.

Theme of Photograph–another form of eternal return.

Perception and limitation
Personal freedom and its costs.
Freedom from the tyranny of technology.

Movie makes us feel we are reading because we must actively participate to make the film work.

“Priviledges and limitations” of story telling.

Kundera=abstraction; Kaufman=obstruction.

voyeurism — seeing (sanctioned/forbidden)

Wants us to think about how much we are allowed to see . . . . totalitarianism

How much do we allow ourselves to see?

Kaufman brings overt attention to sight with the Oedipus Rex return . . .

A good film coheres and resonates.

IF a work doesn’t resonate, then it fails.

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