Malitsky+on+79+Springtimes+of+Ho+Chi+Minh

Malitsky+on+79+Springtimes+of+Ho+Chi+Minh - Malitsky on 79...

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Malitsky on 79 Springtimes of Ho Chi Minh The articulation of unity through an extended explicit metaphor in Despegue and the more implicit metaphor in Hanoi, Martes 13 contrast with the enunciations of LBJ and perhaps Álvarez’ most celebrated and difficult film, 79 Primaveras (79 Springtimes, 1969). The latter two films rely to a large degree on sharp structural, tonal, visual, and metrical shifts. They juxtapose visually and aurally emotive sections devoid of words with subtitled speeches ( LBJ ) and citational intertitles ( 79 Primaveras ). Each of the two prompts a more internal struggle within the audience than does Despegue or Hanoi . Whereas LBJ wrestles with questions of visual interpretation and political articulation, 79 Primaveras navigates the struggle between reflection and action. In his twenty-five minute eulogy to Ho Chi Minh, Álvarez situates his own filmic efforts within the struggle, recognizing the limits of photographic-based audio-visual enunciations and yet expanding their boundaries in the process. Even as it relies on opposition and conflict between sections, 79 Primaveras does not maintain sharply defined sections in the manner of LBJ . The pre-title sequence consists of an ironic juxtaposition between a time-lapse image of a blooming flower (natural beauty and growth of Vietnam, accelerated development?) and visually-matched bombs exploding over the landscape (destruction of the natural environment). Following the title sequence, we see a biography of the foremost events in Ho Chi Minh’s political development interspersed with scenes from his funeral. Ho’s achievements are conveyed through beautiful intertitle cards that state the date and accomplishment (for example, 35 “ primaveras” had passed when he founded the League of Oppressed Peoples in Asia). Archival footage of Ho working with the people, leading meetings, and working at the typewriter supports the titles. At the outset of the biographical section Álvarez introduces two thematic elements to which he will return later in the film: the use of poetic titles and an examination of the ontology of the photographic image. The first poetic titles have a call and response relationship to the ensuing image. Two title cards read “they tied my legs with a rope” followed by a close-up of Ho walking. The next one reads, “they tied my arms” followed by a close-up of Ho’s hands as they roll a cigarette. Such visual fragmentation is an Álvarez motif and is reminiscent of his interest in hands and feet in Hanoi, Martes 13 . The first image we see of Ho Chi Minh follows the opening flower-bomb succession of shots. At first we see a negative image of a young Ho that promptly dissolves into a positive image of the same shot. Álvarez then slowly fades a close-up of the same image over the medium close-up that was onscreen. He repeats the action again, moving to an extreme close-up. The ensuing images are continuous dissolves into extreme close-ups of Ho Chi Minh as he ages.
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This note was uploaded on 12/01/2011 for the course CMCL-C 401 taught by Professor Simons during the Fall '10 term at Indiana.

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Malitsky+on+79+Springtimes+of+Ho+Chi+Minh - Malitsky on 79...

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