Re: RARA-AVIS: Deconstructions

From: Mario Taboada (
Date: 22 Aug 2003

A quick follow-up on deconstruction. The other day, the Independent Film Channled showed a chapter in a series dedicated to film directors. This one dealt with the seventies, one of the great decades for American cinema.

They had interviews with Corman, Scorsese, Altman, Coppola, Hopper, Mazursky, Hellman, and several other protagonists of the era (actors and directors). The protagonists themselves make it clear that what they were doing, despite the differences in temperament and thematic choices, was a deconstruction of Hollywood itself, of its production system, of its censorship system, of its star system.

Concomitantly, they were continuing and deepening the deconstruction of the values that the old Hollywood was still tryint to put on the screen (essentially, fifties values, long out of step with the population).

Against this background, Altman's _The Long Goodbye_ is not only understandable but it's a rather conservative deconstruction. For example, it does not tamper with, expose or denounce the concept of courage that Chandler wrote into Marlowe.

For more on courage (a central topic in our genre), I highly recommend Paul Tillich's classic _The Courage to Be_, as valid today as in 1952, when it was delivered as lectures. The entire book deals with a binary opposition between the ethical (doing the right thing) and the ontological (courage as self-affirmation) senses of
"courage". Marlowe is particularly hard to analyze in this framework.

Captain Bill, be lenient. It's a book (and who can dislike a philosopher like Paul Tillich?).



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