Dissemblage Figure - Gerard Bellaart

BUTCH MORRIS ΚΑΤΑΜΕΤΡΗΜΑ


1
Η ύπαρξη, η ζωή όχι·
ένα σκυλί που σκάβει στα νεκροταφεία.
Ζωή οι αποστάσεις των μηνυμάτων.
Μα ο αέρας που μου φυσάει τα μαλλιά
είναι το επίτευγμα.

2
Με τη νύχτα μοιραζόμαστε την ίδια καρέκλα.
Αυτήν με τα τρία πόδια.

3
Μερτικό η μοιρασιά
από τους ιδρυτές που είναι συνάμα οι κεντρικές
φιγούρες
σκουπιδοαίματες για καθοδήγηση
στην πνευματική υπερκόπωση.

4
Ωμά μακρόφθαλμα κοντεύει άθελά του
εξημέρωμα.



Γιάννης Λειβαδάς, Ηχούν Οστά: 17 Ποιήματα της Τζαζ με 17 Σχέδια του Gerard Bellaart, εκδ. Ιωλκός

  'Ψηλά, τ’ αστέρια δεν τρεμόπαιζαν· ήταν επίσης σταθερά. Μύριοι κόσμοι και ήλιοι. Η ψυχρή χρωματιστή φωτιά μιας φαντασμαγορίας αστερισμών. Ο ουρανός, καθώς τον ατένιζε, από μαύρος έγινε βιολετής. Ένα πεφταστέρι χάραξε ένα βραχύ θεαματικό τόξο κάτω από τη Γηραιά Μητέρα στα ουράνια κι έσβησε. Η φωτιά έριχνε παράξενες σκιές καθώς το διαβολόχορτο καιγόταν αργά, φτιάχνοντας καινούρια σχέδια, όχι ιδεογράμματα, αλλά ένα πλέγμα, που η αυστηρότητά του το έκανε να δείχνει λιγάκι τρομακτικό. Ο πιστολέρο είχε τοποθετήσει το χόρτο έτσι που να καίγεται καλύτερα, δίχως ίχνος καλαισθησίας. Το σχέδιο του χόρτου φανέρωνε πως υπήρχε μόνο άσπρο και μαύρο γι’ αυτό τον άντρα, πως ήταν άνθρωπος που σ’ ένα δωμάτιο ξενοδοχείου θα ίσιωνε έναν πίνακα αν ήταν στραβός δίχως να προσέξει αν ήταν κακός. Η φωτιά έκαιγε σταθερά, αργά, και φαντάσματα χόρευαν στην πύρινη καρδιά της. Ο πιστολέρο δεν τα είδε. Στα σχέδια του χόρτου που καιγόταν, τέχνη και χρηστικότητα έγιναν ένα καθώς εκείνος κοιμόταν. Στέναζε ο αέρας, σαν μάγισσα που είχε καρκίνο στα σωθικά. Κάπου κάπου, ένα ρεύμα έκανε τον καπνό να στριφογυρίζει, να στροβιλίζεται σε συννεφάκια προς τη μεριά του, κι εκείνος τ’ ανάσαινε. Ο καπνός έπλαθε όνειρα, όπως γεννά ένα μικρό ξένο σώμα το μαργαριτάρι μέσα στο στρείδι. Μερικές φορές ο πιστολέρο σιγοντάριζε τους στεναγμούς του ανέμου. Τ’ αστέρια αδιαφορούσαν για τους αναστεναγμούς του, όπως αδιαφορούσαν για πολέμους, σταυρώσεις και αναστάσεις. Κι αυτό, σαν τη δίψα του νωρίτερα, θα τον ευχαριστούσε.'

Στίβεν Κινγκ, Ο Μαύρος Πύργος Ι: Ο Τελευταίος Πιστολέρο, μτφρ. Μιχάλης Μακρόπουλος, εκδ. Bell

   '‘Shame, foul shame!’ returned the Master with indignation, as he started to his feet and began to pace the path to and fro in his honest wrath. ‘Shame on the slanderers who try to mask their own cowardice by branding with that stigma of indelible infamy the bravest act that any man can do. Is not Death the Arch-Fear of Man? Do we not load with titles and honours and crosses and pensions the man who dares death even by taking the small chance of it offered in battle? Are we not all dragged piteously howling to the charnel? Is not the feat of death the foundation of religion, and medicine, and much of law, and many another form of fraud and knavery? But you, in perfectly cold blood, face this fiend calmly and manfully – you with no chance of temporary escape like the soldier or the man in the consulting-room – you who face a certainty when the rest of the world trembles at a chance – they call you coward! Why, death is such a fear that the very word is taboo in polite society. It is not because religion has failed to fortify the soul against this apprehension that religion is no longer the vogue? Instead we indulge in dances and music and wine and everything that may help to banish the thought. We permit no skeleton at modern feasts. Philosophy dwells much upon death; perish philosophy! Mankind today dreads every discussion of realities, because to modern man death is the supreme reality, and they wish to forget it. It is the fear of death that has fooled men into belief in such absurdities and abominations as Spiritualism and Christian Science.
   ‘I would be honoured, sir,’ he stopped in front of the youth, ‘if you would allow me to grasp the hand of the bravest man that I have ever met, in the very moment of his culmination!’
   The youth arose, automatically almost, and gave his hand to the adept.
   ‘I thank you, sir,’ continued the latter, ‘you have given me an example, as you have taught me a lesson, of sublime courage. You are a thousand times right. When the evils of life become intolerable, they should be ended. I have half a mind to join you,’ he added, musing. ‘I have many disciples.’
   He sighed deeply, and threw away the butt of his cigar, first lighting another from the glow.
   ‘It seems to me that far too much fuss is being made about death nowadays, as it is about death’s deadlier twin-sister, Love. The ancients were our masters in these matters, and so are the Japanese and Chinese of today. The fear of these two things – who are but the ported from the effeminate, cowardly and degenerate races of the lodge gates of Life Park – was probably imported from the effeminate, cowardly and degenerate races of the Indian peninsula. Early Christians, with their agapæ and their martyrdoms, feared neither. The Crusaders feared neither. But those nations that have become effetes, that preach peace and morality, in these nations death is dreadful and love dangerous. The virile temper of the Romans grasped love and death like nettles that excite even as they sting. That temper has decayed – the war should revive it – and men flee from death and love. Love stands apart and weeps; but Death cried Tally-Ho, and hunts them down to hell.
                                                        For dried is the blood of thy lover,
                                                        Ipsithilla, contracted the vein;
   ‘Novem continuas fututiones!’[1] ended the adept, raising his voice even more than possibly the best taste would have sanctioned, though after all a river’s marge at night is not an alcove. However, he recollected himself, and continued more gently.'

_____________________________
[1] [Nine continuous fuckings!]


Aleister Crowley, 'Felo de Se', The Drug & Other Stories, publisher: Wordsworth Editions

  'He went on, not noticing: ‘To your savage it seems monstrous that human sacrifice should be abolished; we madmen want that one strange, blasphemous, impossible thing! So go thy way rejoicing!’
   She shook her head. ‘I might,’ she said, ‘but my fate is even now upon me. I have desired the impossible so much that, having done all that my life can do, I begin to lust for the uncharted and illimitable realms of death. “I would I had been the first that took her death out from between wet hoofs and reddened teeth, splashed horns, fierce fetlocks of the brother bull!” Ai! Ai!’
   ‘I know,’ replied Ebal; ‘I hate my rocks not because they resist my hand – for that is battle, which I love – but because of their multitude, the infinitude of shapeless things that I must leave so. Just that the King felt this day also. But I want to dash myself to pieces from a precipice, to take my death from the enemy I have loved and fought so hard. And in my loves I seek the adulteress, the murderess, anyone, to put it in a phrase, who feels so strongly that she has broken something to attain her ends;the artist, not the nanny-goat.’
   ‘Then come to me when I lie dead! For I am artist, I adulteress, I murderess, and in my death perhaps I may be glad to turn back once and smile on life.’
   They found her in the morning upon the edge of the great marble basin, torn and trampled, her young blood purpling the magical blue of the pool. By her side lay Ebal, his breast thrust through with his own sculptor’s knife, his mouth still closed upon the heart of Krasota, and his pale locks clotted with the scarlet blossom of her life that flamed in the sun as never any other red of earth, caking and darkening here and there to nightshade purple. Afar, the great bull tossed skyward his great head, its white star crimsoned. Careless, he began to feed upon the rich tall grass.
   But the attendant priests suppressed all this part f the event, and distorted and mutilated the rest; were they not goat-men? But it came to an eagle-man, an artist, to sing the Life and Death of the Virgin Priestess of the Temple of the Bull, of the captive who conquered her conqueror by wisdom, of the prisoner who thrust the spear-head of the God of Light and Love and Life and Liberty through the shield of the great range; and he, understanding, told the truth. Thence grew a legend that enveloped the whole world: one branch rising through Apis and Dionysus, dwindling at last to the Correo de Toros, the other though Pasiphaë and Dædalus, culminating in the conquest of the air by man.
   I love to think that Krasota would have rejoiced in both:

                                               tamen impiæ
                     Non tangenda rates transiliunt vada
                          Audax omnia perpeti
                      Gens humana ruit per vetitum nefas.[1]

   So mote it be.'

__________________
[1] [Nevertheless irreverent ships
        pass over the waters which should not be meddled with.
            Daring to endure all things
        the human race rushes through forbidden sin.]


Aleister Crowley, ‘The God of Ibreez’ from The Simon Iff Stories & Other Works, publisher: Wordsworth Editions
Frame grab from Jess Franco's Die Marquise von Sade (1976)

  'Contrary to the popular notion, the only time of outright war during the Crusades was in the tine of Saladin (1174-1193), Sultan of Syria, who determinedly fought the Crusaders. Even in his time there were periods of truce with one order-the more civilized Knights Templar Order-and at times there was even fraternizing with the enemy Arabs. Many of the Templars of higher rank were initiated in the then very secret Arabian Order, the Sufis. They thus became initiated members of the sanctum of Sex Magick. Here is the beginning of real Western Sex Magick. From the days of the crusading Templars to this day, these secrets have been kept inviolate, even though the Church Inquisition and the State persecuted the Templars to the point near complete extinction.
   The Holy Roman Christian Church had instigated an unchristian was against the Arabs of Jerusalem, unless it is considered Christian when in the "First Crusade," on Friday, July 15, 1099, thirty thousand Moslems were massacred n Jerusalem  before the blood lust was satiated. It is deemed necessary to recount this unsavory mess in order to explain various incidents between the Church and one of the crusading orders, the Order of Knights Templars.
   After the Crusades, the Templars in France became the  r i c h e s t  a n d  m o s t  p o w e r f u l  international banking establishment of the Middle Ages. But their doom was sealed.
   King Phillipe le Be coveted their wealth. Pope Clement was easily persuaded to cooperate by sanctioning a charge against the Templars for heresy, sacrilege, blasphemy, and sexual perversion. On Friday, October 13, 1307, King Phillipe issued the orders for the arrest of all known Templars. These were turned over to the Inquisitors of the Holy Roman Apostalic Catholic Church for interrogation by the Grand Inquisitor by the Grand Inquisitor General of France. Anyone who knows anything about the ways of the Inquisition certainly need to be surprised to read that soon fifteen thousand Templars were either unmercifully tortured, starved to death, or burned at the stake.
   Grand Master Jaques de Molay was one of several thousand who got the most merciful treatment-burning at the stake. Then came what I call a good example of the "valueless compensation". De Molay had said, "I cite you two before the Tribunal of God." Within one month, Pope Clement died in the torment with the dread disease Lupus. Within eight months, King Phillipe was killed in a hunting accident. However, this may well have been a tremendous, persisting inspiration to the few remaining Knights Templars who turned to secrecy and took their movement underground.'

Louis T. Culling, Sex Magick, publisher: Llewellyn Publications

   '[...] ἦταν φθαρμένος —ἀπ’ τὸν χρόνο; ἀπ’ τὴ δοκιμασία μιᾶς εὐτυχίας, μιᾶς ἀλγηδόνος ποὺ ἦταν ἄγνωστες;— ὅπως ἐκείνος ποὺ γνωρίζει, μπορεῖ νὰ εἶναι φθαρμένος ἀπ’ τὴ γνώση. Ὑποψιαζόμουν πὼς δὲν εἶχε μνήμη τοῦ ἑαυτοῦ του, σχεδὸν δὲν εἶχε σκέψη, σὰ νὰ εἶχε καταφέρει, γιὰ ν’ ἀποφύγει τὴν ὀδύνη ποὺ ὑπῆρχε γι’ αὐτὸν μέσα σὲ κάθε στοχασμό, νὰ κρατιέται λίγο κατὰ μέρος, χωρὶς ν’ ἀποδέχεται παρά μόνο τὶς σπάνιες εἰκόνες ποὺ ἐμεῖς τοῦ δίναμε τυχαῖα καὶ τὶς ὁποῖες ἀνύψωνε ἀπαλὰ μέσα μας, μὲ προφύλαξη κι ὡστόσο μὲ μιὰ ἄκαμπτη κίνηση, σὲ μιὰ σκληρὴ γιὰ μᾶς τοὺς ἴδιους ἀλήθεια.'

  'Κάθε φορὰ ποὺ ἐπέστρεφα σ’ ἐκείνη τὴ στιγμὴ, αὐτὸ ποὺ ξανάβρισκα πάντα μέσα μου ἦταν ὁ θαυμαστὸς χαρακτήρας αὐτῆς τῆς κίνησης, ἡ ἐντύπωση χαρᾶς ποὺ εἶχα αἰσθανθεῖ ἀνακτώντας την, φωτὸς ἀγκαλιάζοντας τὴν διαταραχή της, νιώθοντας τὰ δάκρυά της, καὶ πὼς τὸ ὁνειρικό σῶμα της δὲν ἦταν μιὰ εἰκόνα, ἀλλὰ μιὰ ἐνδόμυχη περιοχή συγκλονισμένη ἀπὸ λυγμούς. Στιγμὴ μιᾶς πραγματικότητας ποὺ παρηγοροῦσε γιὰ ὅλα καὶ ποὺ ὑπερέβαινε κάθε ἐλπίδα, κάθε θλίψη καὶ κάθε σκέψη.'

  'Ἴσως δὲν ἀγαποῦμε, δὲν ὑποφέρουμε πρόθυμα τὴν σκέψη τῆς μυστηριώδους τάξης, τῆς ὁποίας πάντα, μὲ μία ἰδιοτροπία ποὺ εἶναι μέσα μας, ἐπιβεβαιώνουμε τὸ τυχαῖο θαῦμα, τὴν ἔκπληξη τῆς αἰώνιας τύχης.'


Μορίς Μπλανσό, Ο Τελευταίος Άνθρωπος, μτφρ. Δημήτρης Δημητριάδης, εκδ. Άγρα

The films Sebastiane (1976) and Wittgenstein (1993) as descriptive expressions of Derek Jarman’s notions about queerness

________________________________________________________________________________
Ioannis Tsirkas University of Sussex





   Derek Jarman’s filmic work has been studied academically mainly in reference with its queer status. It would not be an exaggeration to support that such a reference can be easily defended in the way that it reflects a queer style, and mainly its theories and politics. On this paper I will analyse two of his feature films, the first and the last one[1] he directed, in an attempt to discuss them under the theoretical concept of queerness. More particularly, since both of these films are revisionist biographies of ‘putatively gay historical’ figures (Armstrong 2006, p.145), in my analysis I will focus on their main heroes and by extension on the way their queerness is represented. My aim is to pinpoint some of their semantic differentials which in their turn will reveal how the conception of Derek Jarman about queerness has in the long run been developed. These films are of course Sebastiane (1976) and Wittgenstein (1993) and refer to the Christian St. Sebastiane and to the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein respectively.
   Since queer as an academic term is problematic, before I start I have to mention that I will examine the term based not only on the way in which these films interrogate the normative continuum sexuality (Richardson 2009, p.10) through the representation of their main heroes’ personalities, but also emphasizing to the way by which they can consist a ‘subversion of normativity’ (p.10) in general. In my opinion, these films stand as a proof that Jarman’s work started from its beginning to expose, as Nial Richardson (2006, p.16) has correctly put forward, the ‘cultural contingency of the normal/queer dichotomy’ and that was (or ought to be) the main reason why they still ‘provoke and shock’ (Orr 2000, p.329) widely. Each of his films succeeds to cause embarrassment even today, though in different ways.
   Sebastiane’s queerness is explicit through its iconography (a celebration of beautiful male bodies) and its relative plot while Wittgenstein stands more as a ‘balanced’ (Wymer 2005, p.167) and ‘comic’ (Lippard 1996, p.6) portrait of the famous philosopher. There is a worthy of notice connecting point between these films, which makes it difficult for somebody to determine their philosophy. This is what Michael O’Pray (1996, p.84) propounds as ‘sublimation of sexual energies into “higher” activities’ applied to Wittgenstein’s philosophy and Sebastiane’s religion. They reflect what Rowland Wymer (2005, p.10-11) has called to attention about the danger of a ‘self-absorption [which] might denigrate into a state of narcissistic entrapment’. In very deed, as I hope to demonstrate with my analysis both of these heroes seem to be self-absorbed, and concomitantly the ‘desolated landscapes’ (Gardner 1996, p.41) around the ‘desert encampment’ (Ellis 1999, p.293) of Sebastiane and the dark void spaces of Wittgenstein redound to the enhancement of their introversion, loneliness and queerness.

Sebastiane
   After a caption which sets the film in a certain historical time, in the first shot we see a close-up of a face which seems to wait for something with lust. We can not easily assess whether the head belongs to a man or a woman until the second shot, when it is clearly demonstrated that it is the head of an almost nude man. Later on, a group of muscular men who carry huge effigies of male phalluses starts dancing around him. The dance ends with their pretended ejaculations on his ecstatic face. This act which takes place at the garish palace of Diocletian suggests the film’s both orientation and aesthetics: it is a ‘(homo)sexually explicit’ (Richardson 2009, p.5) and ‘highly stylized’ film (Benshoff and Griffin 2004, p.10), which celebrates the ‘male body from a manifestly homoerotic perspective’ (O’Pray 1996, p.83) through the ‘revelation’ of the raw flesh (Dillon 2004, p.70). Moreover, as I will demonstrate at the end of my analysis, it also reflects the ending sequence of the film.
   In the first sequence of the main part of the film we watch Sebastiane (Leonardo Treviglio) taking his bath in a sensual way while being observed by Severus (Barney James). His body’s perspective is represented as an ‘object of the gaze’ (Richardson 2009, p.104). As the film’s narrative is developed, it is Severus’ gaze which is at any rate dominant and desiring, while Sebastiane’s is essentially objectified to the gaze of the spectator (Wymer 2005, p.40). What is also worthy of notice in this sequence is the prayers that Sebastiane mumbles during his bath. Therefore, apart from all the above mentioned, we are also introduced to the narcissistic (Dillon 2004, p.68) and mystic association that Sebastiane seems to keep with his body, persistent in his intention to keep it pure one way or another, since according to the Christian ethics it is created in the image and likeness of God. Sebastiane will not prove himself to be an unambiguous homosexual, at least ever after the time of its exile but, on the contrary, a man who does not admire the male body in general, but only his own and the one of his God.
   In the next sequence, in which the soldiers wrestle under the supervision (and the gaze) of Severus, Sebastiane at some point refuses to wrestle, a decisive action that signals his disobedience to the Captain’s order. This refusal is for the time being only political, but later it will merge with his sexual one to Severus’ desire. Afterwards, we watch the soldiers playing in the sea and teasing openly about homosexual desire. However, it is the next sequence which is nodal for the film. Sebastian is seating like a Narcissus on a rock and watches his reflection on the water of the lake while praying to his God. At the end of this prayer, he is significantly praising the beauty of his God’s body. This is the only one, except for his own, that Sebastiane admires. Thus, their cross can only take effect through his death, which is to a certain extent boded in every similar moment of the film. As Steven Dillons (2004, p.72) rightly pinpoints, Sebastiane ‘absents himself in selfless love, but is anything but absent before our desiring eyes’. We, along with Severus, are only able to see and admire his beauty, our access to him is only ocularly estimated. His resistance to anything more will torture his Captain as well.
   When Sebastian hereupon refuses to burnish the swords, Severus puts somebody to flagellate him. He endures the pain without a grumble, with a blissfulness that he will demonstrate in every similar torture that will follow, even at the time of his execution. When his friend Justin (Richard Warwick) advises him to be careful, he answers that there is no reason for that since the truth is beautiful. This truth is apparently the religious truth that God symbolizes for him, but if we consider the dialogue’s preceding and following sequences in which the rest of the group seem to be open about the homoerotic aspect of their sexuality while at the same time ambiguously derogatory in their references to the women, Sebastiane’s phrase takes an accessional meaning. Regarding it as a Derek Jarman’s thesis, it probably means that the truth about sexuality is not the established one and that either the homosexuals or any other political minorities have the right to believe and support what is true and beautiful according to them.
   Later on, we watch Antony (Janusz Romanov) and Andrian (Ken Hicks) romantically engaged in a moment of ‘untrammelled eros’ (Dyer 1990, p.169) since nobody stands near them, although they are being watched by both Sebastiane and his Captain. This scene is sentimental and tender, as sentimental and tender is the kind of the homoerotic desire between them, while the one of Severus for Sebastian will end to be ‘repulsively brutal’ (Dillon 2004, p.73). Encouraged by the twain, Severus solicits Sebastiane and when he refuses to submit to his appetites, he commands his soldiers to truss him at the beach. When Justin comes to his help, Sebastiane is raving about the physical beauty of his Christian God and connects him with Phoebus Apollo, the ancient Greek God of Sun whom he had earlier envisioned. Sebastiane fantasizes his God as a figure of ideal male beauty. He appeals to his God maybe driven by his steadfast loyalty that he may be a beautiful man, putting thus a new complexion on his decision to keep the shelter of his soul uninfected. So he can not desire and get drawn by anything but his body and that of his God. So when Severus tortures him once again demanding his love, he refuses again, repeating afterwards to Justin that he loves his God who is more beautiful than Adonis.
   The next sequence which I am going to discuss is the one with Sebastiane and Justin sitting together on a rock at the sea. Sebastiane asks his friend what he can see at the bottom and when he answers a beautiful shell, Sebastiane wonders whether he can reach it or not. We can interpret this little dialogue by premising a second indirect ironical meaning. Maybe Sebastiane is initially querying if his friend can discern himself, if he shares the same narcissistic tendencies with him. He is not able to reach his ideal reflection, so the second question to Justin can be regarded as a rhetorical one. What is only left to him is God. So, when Severus in his last attempt to persuade him to make willingly love to him insists on his unconditional surrender, he responds that his drunken lust cannot be compared with the love of God. He upholds that he will never have him, implying that even if he rape him, he will not have something which is superior to a beautiful body, namely its owner’s tenderness. At this point, Sebastiane is focusing on the soul and his latent belief that his body is an extension of it, just like the perfect body of his God as he can imagine it since only a human.
   Consequently, in the last sequence of his execution he accepts his death with, as Nial Richardson (2009, p.106) puts it, an ‘unadulterated masochistic pleasure of utter subjugation’. However, it is a subjugation not to his Captain or in any human being, but to his God’s will. Through his refusal to ‘recognise Severus as authority’ (Biga 1996, p.19) and succumb to his sexual desires, Sebastiane tortures him respectively while accepting blissfully his own death, in an almost inspired by God ecstasy. His expression when the arrows penetrate his flesh is more or less tranquilly orgasmic. What he is feeling now is not the little death of the orgasm, as in the first sequence in which the dancers cast something like sperm on the face of the dancer, but through the penetration of the arrows which stand as fatal phalluses in his body, he experienced the real death, whereby he will abandon his human body in order to connect his soul with the one of his God.
   Through the connection of Sebastiane’s refusal to the (homo)sexual act with his faith to an ideal (both esoterically and physically) God, Jarman ‘vindicates his own marginal position in the context of Christian Martyrdom’ (Gardner 1996, p.40) idealising the homosexual love ‘within the sadism of social and cultural historical forces’ (O’Pray 1996, p.85). His first feature film is all in all polemical (Dillon 2004, p.64) not only because of its explicitness like the naked male body and the homosexuality in a particular historical era, but also of its critique to the ‘sexual repression’ (Benshoff and Griffin 2004, p.10) in an implicit way. In the film, homosexuality is more acceptable than the Christian belief, and yet Sebastiane can not be merely considered as a person who refuses homosexuality in the name of God or because he is not a homosexual (since it is fairly certain from the opening sequence that he had had such experiences in the past). Sebastiane refuses downrightly to truckle to something that does not speak for himself, protecting thus the truth of the beauty as he comprehends it. His queerness exists only in the eyes of the others since, according to his version, his belief is more important than what the others do find as normal.

Wittgenstein
   The film begins with Wittgenstein as a child (Clancy Chassay) introducing himself and his family. From the first sequences we realize that all their actions take place in a dark void space. Alone the actors and some objects are present in the scenes. Our attention is thus focused only on them, but always through the perspective of Wittgenstein. More importantly, the young Wittgenstein speaks as if being cognizant of his future life, something that, instead of being comic, subvenes to the reorientation of time, as the ellipse of real places subvenes to the reorientation of space (Dillon 2004, p.219). What is obvious from the first sequences is the abrupt fluctuation of the mood. For example, after the funny comments of the young Wittgenstein about the members of his family, his brother Paul (Jan Latham-Koenig) starts to play a melancholic song on the piano, a catalytic action that causes a rapid change to the sequence’s climax. Applied to the whole film the afore-mentioned method will conduce to its being characterized as a ‘distinctive mixture of melancholy and anger’ (Porton 1996, p.135), combined with comic moments as well, giving thus the chance to Derek Jarman to attach importance to the philosophical depth that underlies the whole film and helps him to lay emphasis on the queerness that permeates both the character and, incidentally, their surroundings.
   On a next sequence, in order to describe Lady Ottoline Morrell (Tilda Swinton), we listen to the young Wittgenstein using the word queer. Wittgenstein will always be primarily critical of all the other people he meets solely because he finds everybody to be different from him, becoming thus rather alienated. His alienation springs from his inability to communicate with the others. His view for the others during the film remains keenly subjective. He is not the queer one in comparison with others, but all the others in comparison with him. His statement to Martian that he is familiar with certainty is challenging in its interpretation since it seems to contradict both his ideas and actions during the film. In fact, Wittgenstein seems to be in anguish in order to reach any certainty just as Sebastiane was in anguish to reach something more beautiful than his idol. His belief that the human activity is nothing more than ‘a series of “language games”’ (Porton 1996, p.137) and the ‘boundaries and limitations’ (Dillon 2004, p.220) discovered in language actually constitute the boundaries and limitations that exist in the world, confines him intolerably. However, it remains ambiguous, as in the case of Sebastiane, whether his queerness[2] accrues rather from an inability or a personal faith or even from the combination of these two factors.
   In the times of the war, Wittgenstein will serve in the front line. In the field of the battle, he will declare that ‘when two principles meet which cannot be reconciled with one another, then each calls the other a fool or a heretic’. This statement, pronounced by an older Wittgenstein (Karl Johnson), is made when he expresses his conviction that the nearness of death will bring to him the light of life, a light sent by the God. The realisation that there is not one and only dominant principle, like the logic, as Derek Jarman positions, strengthens the thesis that everyone can be potentially queer for the other. Despite his faith in the oneness of his character, he is willing to enlist, to teach in a provincial school and befriend other people. His sister characterizes him as unhappy saint and here abuts his main differentiation from Sebastiane who on the one hand was a saint, but on the other a happy saint. Sebastiane was trusting in God signalling thus the solution of his earthly problems, while Wittgenstein (reflecting in parallel the director’s set views) cannot be certain about anything, without regard to the fact that the certainty remains familiar to them. Besides, as it is later stated in the film, the doubt comes after the belief.
   Thereafter, Wittgenstein re-uses the word queer while teaching his students that we imagine the meaning of what we say as something queer, mysterious, hidden from view, adding that nothing is hidden, that everything is open to view. But what about the word queer itself? Jarman seems to have opened through his work the notions of (his) queerness to view. But at the same time this was important just because it was hidden from view. Queerness can be defined only in a world which is not ready to accept it and intends to keep it hidden from view, but this repression consists at the same time the origin and the reason of its existence. However, Wittgenstein does not make do with just admitting his queerness, but, as he mentions, he wants to be perfect. He is unsatisfied not because of his differentiation with the others, but of his differentiation from his imagined ideal self. This is the main reason of Wittgenstein’s dissatisfaction. But as Richard Porton (1996, p.139) supports, Wittgenstein’s ‘self-loathing and sudden bursts of aggression [are] inextricable from his palpable sexual alienation’.
   While wrangling with him, Bertrand Russell (Michael Gough) claims that he is foisting his own self-hatred onto his boyfriend Johnny (Kevin Collins) by using him as a fodder of his own fantasies, making thus a connection of his homosexual desire with his strange behaviour against Johnny and his other acquaintances. More importantly, in a later sequence Wittgenstein, imprisoned in a cage, monologues about how unique and irreplaceable his boyfriend is, something that he does not realise when they meet each other. He continues with the declaration that living on the one hand in a world where such a love is illegal and on the other trying constantly to live openly and honestly, this is a complete contradiction. Consequently, Wittgenstein remains irreconcilable with his sexual orientation, an additional factor that alienates him from the great majority of the society. His inability to be open with his physical passion embarrasses him greatly and prevents him from trying to be less aggressive and approachable to the others. The paradox pivots on the fact that the causes of his queerness appear identical with its symptoms, simply because it is the society that takes for granted the apprehension that queerness, and homosexuality in particular, is a problem. In comparison with Sebastiane, Wittgenstein ends up with the conviction that he is shamed about his relationship with Johnny, and not completely proud of his nature and faiths. In the end, he is bad with Johnny merely because he is somebody who accepts him (corporeally) as he is. Βy accepting his queerness, Johnny gradually impoverishes it.
   In a later sequence, in which Johnny lies on the bed with Wittgenstein enfolding him in his arms, Ludwig ventilates his thoughts about the lonely human soul of the philosopher (apparently about his own soul) pented into his body, which in its turn represses the communication with the others since everybody’s soul is choked into the walls of their bodies. For the first time in the film, Wittgenstein mentions the limits and boundaries of the bodies as the essential reasons of the problematical contact with the others. Although according to Steven Dillon (2004, p.217) the main issues of the film are ‘the formation of public and private languages, the possibilities of communication, the necessity of interpretation’ and ‘the trajectory of logic’, through this confession significantly set nearly the end of the film, we can suppose that, at least for Jarman himself, all these can not be either loose or uncombined with the body. While in Sebastiane the focal point was centring upon the body, with the implicitly equal meaning of the spirit being simultaneously present throughout the on screen proceedings, in his last feature film, this confession reminds us that the things that separate us cannot be restricted to only mental or physical terms and that it would not be appropriate to emphasize to only one of them. Like the boundaries and the limits of the dark void spaces which are not distinguishable in the film, everything that can divide us is equally infinite with everything that can unite us respectively.

  Both Sebastiane and Wittgenstein, though they were represented as being abstracted from their environment, possibly not only queers, but maybe in many ways problematic, they are not the characters we can not easily get identified with. A greater emphasis has apparently been given to the ways by which they support their pretensions and resist by speaking in defence of their severalty and to those they associate with, than to those themselves. Derek Jarman premises that when you reach something higher, or even when you just want and struggle to reach it, this differentiates you directly from the majority, which will necessarily go to any lengths in order to coerce you into submission. In actual fact, Sebastiane abandons his (homo)sexual life and faces a death sentence not because of his homosexuality, of his physical passions, but of what results from his spiritual and religious pathos, something that he had to cultivate and evolve. The same applies to the case of Wittgenstein, who with his unwavering fortitude by which he endures his certain incompatibility with the society, endeavours to support his ideas and actions. Additionally, his close environment seems to accept his homosexuality. Jarman does not focus on this aspect of his queerness, but on his intellectuality, succeeding thus to represent it as just another aspect of his oneness.
   Moreover, while Sebastiane appears to be sure about his beliefs, and although Wittgenstein has doubts since he considers them as necessary in order to approach knowledge, both of them are introspective in their own way. Even if Justin in Sebastiane does not find response to his erotic urge about Sebastiane while Johnny has already developed sexual relationships with his professor, the communication of these two couples remains unfulfilled and problematic. What is more, Wittgenstein seems to be rather dominant against Johnny, he has an authority (also sexual in its nature) on him and these factors of their relationship reflect the case of Sebastiane and Severus in a reverse, of course, way. From this emerges that when the diversity stands as a society’s motive for oppression the circle that opens does never close. In the oppressive relationships there are neither victims nor victimizers since everybody can at the same time be either the one or the other.
   Severus does not get what he wants, so the constriction he has to endure vents his anger on Sebastiane. Wittgenstein seems to be authoritative with his sexual fiancé and his students as well, even with the underage ones, though he can not understand and accept everything that is established and he does not understand. We would not exaggerate if we said that Derek Jarman broadens the horizons of the notion of queer in all of his work, especially in these two films. Homosexuality stands as just one of their aspects, which accompanies them without constituting their main surface. While his first feature film is explicitly homoerotic in its visual aesthetics and narration, the homosexuality of his heroes remains ambiguous. He himself seems to be incapable of defining the limits of the queerness of his heroes, since he seems to object to the boundaries that construct such notions that only problematically can describe a personality. In this way his polemic, which does not stand absolutely with the site of the queer politics since through his characters is challenging the specificity of the theoretical term queer, opens up new prospects to its definition. As a director and generally as an artist, he believes in the beauty of one’s personal truth. The only thing that seems to differentiate these two films according to this is mainly the acceptance of the important role of the doubt, which has also to be personal. Everybody has the right to keep his own passions and visions and support them even by doubting himself in an attempt to approach his own personal freedom without the repression of a society that judges by the outside and tends to enforce through the power of the majority its limits.

____________________________________
[1] If we exclude the film Blue (1993) in which the actors play their part by using only their voices.
[2] In this connection I am using the term without reference to its homosexual connotations.


Bibliography
  • Armstrong, Raymond (2006) ‘More Jiggery than Pokery: Derek Jarman’s Edward II’, in Robin Griffiths (ed.) British Queer Cinema. London: Routledge, pp. 145-156.
  • Benshoff, Harry and Griffin, Sean (2004) ‘General Introduction’, in Harry Benshoff and Sean Griffin (eds.) Queer Cinema: The Film Reader. London: Routledge, pp. 1-15.
  • Biga, Tracy (1996) ‘The Principle of Non-Narration in the films of Derek Jarman’, in Chris Lippard (ed.) By Angels Driven: The Films of Derek Jarman. Trowbridge: Flicks Books, pp. 12-30.
  • Dillon, Steven (2004) Derek Jarman and Lyric Film: The Mirror and the Sea. Austin: University of Texas Press.
  • Dyer, Richard (1990) Now You See It: Studies on Lesbian and Gay Film. New York: Routledge.
  • Ellis, Jim (1999) ‘Queer Period: Derek Jarman’s Renaissance’, in Ellis Hanson (ed.) Out Takes: Essays on Queer Theory and Film. London: Duke University Press, pp. 288-315.
  • Gardner, David (1996) ‘Perverse Law: Jarman as Gat Criminal Hero’, in Chris Lippard (ed.) By Angels Driven: The Films of Derek Jarman. Trowbridge: Flicks Books, pp. 31-64.
  • Lippard, Chris (1996) ‘Introduction’, in Chris Lippard (ed.) By Angels Driven: The Films of Derek Jarman. Trowbridge: Flicks Books, pp. 1-11.
  • O’Pray, Michael (1996) Derek Jarman: Dreams of England. London: British Film Institute.
  • Orr, John (2000) ‘The Art of National Identity: Peter Greenaway and Derek Jarman’, in Justine Ashby and Andrew Higson (eds.) British Cinema, Past and Present. London: Routledge, pp. 327-338.
  • Porton, Richard (1996) ‘Language Games and Aesthetics attitudes: Style and Ideology in Jarman’s Late Films’, in Chris Lippard (ed.) By Angels Driven: The Films of Derek Jarman. Trowbridge: Flicks Books, pp. 135-160.
  • Richardson, Niall (2009) The Queer Cinema of Derek Jarman. London: I. B. Tauris.
  • Wymer, Rowland (2005) Derek Jarman. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Acknowledgment
    Ι would like to express my sincere thanks to Christos Aggelakopoulos for his diligent philological support.


Ο ΑΥΤΟΧΕΙΡΑΣ

Τρία μεγάλα κρίνα Τρία μεγάλα κρίνα στο μνήμα μου χωρίς σταυρό
Τρία μεγάλα κρίνα πασπαλισμένα με χρυσάφι που ο άνεμος σκορπίζει
Ποτίζονται μονάχα όταν τα βρέχει ο μαύρος ουρανός
Μεγαλόπρεπα και ωραία σαν σκήπτρα βασιλικά

Το ένα φυτρώνει απ’ την πληγή μου κι όταν πέφτει πάνω του η αχτίδα
Ματωμένο υψώνεται των τρόμων γίνεται το κρίνο
Τρία μεγάλα κρίνα Τρία μεγάλα κρίνα στο μνήμα μου χωρίς σταυρό
Τρία μεγάλα κρίνα πασπαλισμένα με χρυσάφι που ο άνεμος σκορπίζει

Το άλλο φυτρώνει απ’ την καρδιά μου που βασανίζεται στο χώμα
Και την τρώνε τα σκουλήκια Το άλλο φυτρώνει απ’ το στόμα μου
Στο έρημο μνήμα μου και τα τρία υψώνονται μαζί
Κατάμονα κατάμονα και καταραμένα ίδια θαρρώ μ’ εμένα

Τρία μεγάλα κρίνα Τρία μεγάλα κρίνα στο μνήμα μου χωρίς σταυρό

* * *

ΟΙ ΑΓΡΥΠΝΕΣ


[…]
Κι αφού πρέπει να πεθάνει θέλω να γίνω ωραία
Με τα γυμνά μου στήθη θέλω ν’ ανάψω τους πυρσούς
Με τα μεγάλα μάτια μου τον πάγο της λίμνης να λιώσω
Κι οι γοφοί μου τάφος θέλω να γίνουν
Αφού πρέπει να πεθάνει θέλω να γίνω ωραία
Μες στην ωραία αιμομιξία μες στον ωραίο θάνατο



Γκιγιόμ Απολινέρ, Σαλτιμπάγκοι και Άλλα Ποιήματα, μτφρ. Χριστόφορος Λιοντάκης, εκδ. Γαβριηλίδης

  'Κανένα άλλο καλλιτεχνικό μέσο δεν μπορεί να μεταδώσει τόσο καλά την ιδιαίτερη ποιότητα ενός ονείρου όσο μια ταινία ―ούτε η ζωγραφική ούτε η ποίηση. Όταν χαμηλώνουν τα φώτα μες στον κινηματογράφο και κείνο το λευκό λαμπερό σημείο ανάβει για χάρη μας, το βλέμμα μας παύει να πλανιέται, ηρεμεί και σταθεροποιείται. Καθόμαστε απλά στη θέση μας αφήνοντας τις εικόνες να κυλούν πάνω μας. Η βούλησή μας παύει να λειτουργεί. Χάνουμε την ικανότητά μας να κατατάσσουμε τα πράγματα και να τα τοποθετούμε στη σωστή τους θέση. Παρασυρόμαστε σε μια σειρά γεγονότων, συμμετέχουμε σε ένα όνειρο. Και η κατασκευή των ονείρων είναι μια πολύ ζουμερή δουλειά.'

  'Είμαι ένας σταθμός ραντάρ. Πιάνω διάφορα πράγματα και τα αντανακλώ σαν καθρέφτης ανακατεμένα με μνήμες, όνειρα και ιδέες. Είναι ο πόθος και η θέληση της δημιουργίας.'

  'Οι σχέσεις μου με τις ίδιες μου τις δημιουργίες είναι τόσο παράξενες. Συχνά όταν γράφω και γυρίζω μια ταινία βρίσκομαι μέσα σε ένα προστατευτικό κέλυφος. Δεν αναλύω σχεδόν καθόλου τι κάνω και γιατί το κάνω. Την αιτιολογώ αργότερα. Τα πραγματικά μου κίνητρα βγαίνουν μάλλον ύστερα από κάμποσο καιρό.'

  'Ένας σημαντικός παράγοντας στην παιδεία και στα εφόδια του ηθοποιού, είναι η ικανότητά του να επαναλαμβάνει τον εαυτό του. Κανείς δεν απαιτεί απ’ αυτόν να βρίσκεται στην ίδια συναισθηματική κατάσταση κάθε βράδυ. Από τεχνική άποψη όμως, πρέπει. Κάθε βράδυ πρέπει να δίνει στο κοινό ακριβώς την ίδια εντύπωση. Δεν μπορείς να περιμένεις από κάποιον να βρίσκεται στην ίδια συναισθηματική κατάσταση για δύο συνεχόμενες μέρες. Πρέπει όμως οπωσδήποτε να κατέχει την τεχνική που θα του επιτρέπει να δίνει μια τέτοια εντύπωση. Αλλιώς η παράσταση καταρρέει.'

  'Ένας σκηνοθέτης μπορεί να ’ναι όπως του αρέσει, αν έχει όμως κάτι να προσφέρει, κάτι θα βγει. Αν δεν έχει τότε θα έπρεπε να ασχοληθεί με κάτι άλλο. Δεν το πιστεύετε κι εσείς αυτό;'


Ίνγκμαρ Μπέργκμαν, Ο Μπέργκμαν Μιλάει για τον Μπέργκμαν, μτφρ. Έφη Φρυδά, εκδ. Ροές

  'Examples of Grecian Ophiolatreia might easily be multiplied to a considerable extent, but we have space for little more than a brief glance. It is known that upon the walls of Athens was a sculptured head of Medusa, whose hair was intertwined with snakes, and in the temple at Tega was a similar figure which was supposed to possess talismanic power to preserve or destroy. The print in Montfaucon represents the face of Medusa as mild and beautiful, but the serpents as threatening and terrible. There is a story current, that a priestess going into a sanctuary of Minerva in the dead of the night, saw a vision of that goddess, who held up her mantle upon which was impressed a Medusa’s head, and that the sight of this fearful object instantaneously converted the intruder into stone.
   The armour of Agamemnon, king of Argos, was ornamented with a three-headed serpent; Menelaus, king of Sparta, had one on his shield, and the Spartan people, with the Athenians, affirmed they were of serpentine origin and called themselves ophiogenœ.
   At Epidaurus, according to Pausanias, live serpents were kept and fed regularly by servants, who, on account of religious awe, were fearful of approaching the sacred reptiles which in themselves were of the most harmless character. The statue of Æsculapius, at this temple, represented him resting one hand upon the head of a serpent, while his sister, Hygeia, had one twisted about her. It is reported that the god Æsculapius was conveyed by a woman named Nicagora, the wife of Echetimus, to Sicyon under the form of a serpent.
   Livy, Ovid, Florus, Valerius Maximus, and Aurelius Victor, relate that a pestilence of a violent and fatal character once broke out in Rome, and that the oracle of Delphi advised an embassy to Epidaurus to fetch the god Æsculapius. This advice was taken, and a company of eleven were sent with the humble supplications of the senate and people of Rome. While they were gazing at the statue of the god, a serpent, "venerable, not horrible," say these authors, which rarely appeared but when he intended to confer some extraordinary benefit, glided from his lurking place, and having passed through the city went directly to the Roman vessel and coiled himself up in the berth of Ogulnius the principal ambassador. Setting sail with the god, they duly arrived off Antium, when the serpent leaped into the sea, and swam to the nearest temple of Apollo, and after a few days returned. But when they entered the Tiber, he leaped upon an island, and disappeared. Here the Romans erected a temple to him in the shape of a ship, and the plague was stayed with wonderful celerity.
   Delphi appears to have been the principal stronghold of serpent worship in Greece. Strabo says its original name was Pytho-derived from the serpent Python, slain there by Apollo. From this story Heinsius concludes that the god Apollo was first worshipped at Delphi, under the symbol of a serpent. It is known that the public assemblies at Delphi were called Pythis, these were originally intended for the adoration of the Python.'

 Anonymous, Ophiolatreia, publisher: Locus 7