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This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading.

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project/dispatches

Michel Houellebecq, Charlie Kaufman

The obvious answer is: with great difficulty. Indeed, En rade, which follows À rebours, is a disappointing book. How could it not be? And yet if its faults, its air of stagnation and slow decline, never quite overcome our pleasure in reading it, this is thanks to a stroke of genius on Huysmans’ part: to recount, in a book bound to be disappointing, the story of a disappointment. The coherence between subject and treatment makes an aesthetic whole. It gets pretty boring, yes, but you keep reading, because you can feel that the characters aren’t the only ones stranded in their country retreat: Huysmans is stranded there, too. It would almost seem that he was trying to go back to Naturalism – the sordid Naturalism of the countryside, where the peasants turn out to be more abject and greedy even than Parisians – if not for the dream sequences, which interrupt and ultimately hobble the story, and make it so impossible to classify.

—p.36 by Michel Houellebecq 1 year ago

So this will not be a novelization. A novelization is a lesser thing. Just as the book is always better than the movie (with the exception of Truffaut’s one decent film, Tirez sur le Pianiste [1960]), the movie is always better than the novelization. There must be a term for what I am about to do. What do you call something that is an interpretation, a critique, an embellishment, a deepening? Something that compares favorably to the experience of a moviegoer. I am, after all, a critic who will watch a movie only once and, whenever possible, in a public theater with a paying audience. I insist on paying fair-market value. That is the true moviegoing experience. A movie is not only the image on the screen, the sound from the speakers. It is the translation of all this by the brain. It is the social milieu. It is the year you see it, your age, the state of your marriage. It is what happened on the way to the theater, what you expect to happen after, it is who is next to you on each side. It is how they smell. It is who sits in front of you. Who is or isn’t kicking your seat from behind. It is your worry about the call from the doctor. It is that you got laid. Or didn’t. Or are about to. Or know you never will again. It is your envy: of the filmmaker, of the couple necking down front. It is the popcorn. The Goobers. That you have to go to the bathroom. That someone is eating a smelly tuna sandwich. Did they smuggle it in? It doesn’t seem fair, that the cheaters get the sandwiches and the rest of us get shit on. It is your suspension of disbelief. The scene that motivates an eye roll. It is your critique of the acting. It is you trying to remember where you’ve seen that actor before. It is your prediction of what’s going to happen next in the film. It is your pride when you are proven correct. It is your surprise when the filmmaker defies your expectation. It is life, which you only get to live once. You prepare for it, but it will surprise you anyway. The film is predetermined but revealed to you only through time, incrementally. This makes you think it is a living thing, a thing for which you can change the outcome. You yell at the actors onscreen. You clench your teeth as if it will help. And even though the movie is predetermined, the world is not. So the movie can change in this way, too. The projector could break down. Maybe this screening has a loud laugher. Maybe there will be a shooter. These chance elements are layered upon the chanceless film. So a text that encompasses all of this outer and inner experience is not a novelization. It is so much more. It is a witnessing, and it should be called that, bearing witness to the human experience—this plastic, this light, this clackety 1⁄24th of a second through time that the film and I are traveling together but separate, neighboring solitudes. The original meaning of the word martyr is witness and that seems about right. A viewer is a witness; a witness is one who testifies. This will be a witnessing. Or, wait, don’t I watch films seven times? By myself? In my living room? Don’t I turn the television upside down? Suddenly, I’m confused. I don’t—

—p.208 by Charlie Kaufman 10 months, 1 week ago