ver. six point five
The Polaroids of Andrei Tarkovsky
I Bought a Camera by Cynthia Nadelman
I bought a camera, though there were
many reasons not to.
In spite of the reasons not to
(because of the reasons not to),
I bought a camera.
I took the camera down the Blue Ridge,
through the Smokies, on to Nashville and Mississippi.
The first shots were done
on the way, in Philadelphia.
Friends’ faces, looking at the ceiling, quizzically
aimed at the lens, later squinting in the sun
on a doorstep, told the story: this
was an unaccustomed view.
We were not in the habit of hugging or memorializing.
So what was I doing behind this tiny machine, checking for
distance and light—O.K. or not—corralling them
into a common space? What, in fact, was I doing
on vacation? I said I was practicing. This explained
To begin with, subjects drifted in, like
the hang glider against the velvety hills.
Next, the two of us fishing on a rock, each
individually. I couldn’t show you reeling
in the second half of the rod
thrown midstream on an exuberant cast.
Too preoccupied helping pull.
Then the rain forced us to strip
to swimsuits and run to the shelter
of the campground ladies’ room. Some dry youngsters
in a car were entertained by the scene.
I got busy wiping the camera.
And we moved on, learning to edit
and eliminate. As you can’t go
everywhere, you can’t photograph everything.
It sounds easy now.
Mind, I had shopped around, weighed my need
and my needs—none was great—and had
found the best deal. Transactions
usually cancel doubts.
I got an octagonal house, a
riverboat, Spanish moss, you against a
hydrangea (we could have posed with Roy
Acuff), Brahma bulls, me supine in a brook,
a factory in Kentucky, wet cloths on hot heads.
I grew fond of my pocket camera with the excellent lens.
Then I lost the camera.
Most replaceable among the missing that night
I came home to a ransacked apartment, it rankled still.
I thought of stopping there. I
had had my fun.
But taken by that close-up of a magnolia—or was it
the toylike body? like a trick squirtgun —
the challenge of a price war, or the next trip,
I had to duplicate this matter.
Live a picture, steal a moment, interchange them,
say I am
By all means, buy a camera.
Lexi Bass (’18)
Next Next Premise
Lexi Bass, 2020, 9min
Follow-up to MFA|EDA family favorite, Next Premise (2017)
Dani Smith (’19)
Starring: Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland
Cinematography: Gordon Willis
Alan J. Pakula, 1971, Color 114min
I am home but not the home I necessarily want to be in. I feel like I am in limbo in an alternate universe simulation. Covid-19 has turned all of our lives upside down, and for me that means spending the next month or so living with my family on top of the two months we have already spent with them. It is rare for Alex and I to find time to relax between interactions with my parent’s, my grandma, three dogs and three cats, and so knowing that there is such a thing as too much time with people, my capacity to be around my family has almost disappeared.
But amid the chaos of home life, I was able to find and experience the wonderful film ‘Klute’. My parents didn’t have netflix at the time (we changed that recently) and so I found myself browsing cable channels late at night trying to find some escape from the other room TV where my parents watched their usual shows like American Idol. Turner Classic Movies, better known as TCM, caught my eye and it just so happened that ‘Klute’, the film this recommendation is for, was on. I have always felt like I like Jane Fonda but I have only seen two films that she has been in, Monster in Law and Barbarella, both on very extreme ends of any scale. So with my curiousity intrigued I hunkered down not knowing what to expect, only to be sucked into this noir feminist thriller, with my heart racing and eyes glued to the screen until the very end. It is because of this film’s ‘dark’ lighting and cinematography by Gordon Willis that he was seeked out by Francis Ford Coppola to film The Godfather (at least that’s what TCM said).
I was honestly blown away by this film and I found two analyses that sum it up better than I ever could, both can be found below. Please watch this film for the cinematography alone, but Jane Fonda is amazing and well deserving of her Oscar for her role in this film.
“With her Oscar-winning turn in Klute, Jane Fonda reinvented herself as a new kind of movie star. Bringing nervy audacity and counterculture style to the role of Bree Daniels—a call girl and aspiring actor who becomes the focal point of a missing-person investigation when detective John Klute (Donald Sutherland) turns up at her door—Fonda made the film her own, putting an independent woman and escort on-screen with a frankness that had not yet been attempted in Hollywood. Suffused with paranoia by the conspiracy-thriller specialist Alan J. Pakula, and lensed by master cinematographer Gordon Willis, Klute is a character study thick with dread, capturing the mood of early-1970s New York and the predicament of a woman trying to find her own way on the fringes of society.”
This film can be rented on Youtube, Vudu or Amazon Prime for $3.99, or you can buy a physical copy on Criterion or somewhere else.
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