A Forest Pt. 2: Phantoms of Liberty

08Dec12

Million Dollar Legs
Screencap via Cockeyed Caravan

Cinema, insofar as it not only, like poetry, represents the successive stages of life, but also claims to show the passage from one stage to the next, and insofar as it is forced to present extreme situations to move us, had to encounter humor almost from the start. The early comedies of Mack Sennett, certain films of Chaplin’s (The Adventurer, The Pilgrim) and the unfogettable “Fatty” Arbuckle and “Fuzzy” (Al St. John) command the line that should by rights lead to the midnight sun bursts that are Million Dollar Legs and Animal Crackers , and to those excursions to the bottom of the mental grotto – Fingal’s Cave as much as Pozzuoli’s Crater  – that are Buñuel’s and Dali’s Un Chien Andalou and L’Age d’Or, by way of Picabia’s Entr’acte.
André Breton, Lightning Rod, preface to the Anthology of Black Humour

This statement appeared beforehand in the magazine Minotaure in a different version. There it concluded with the following  sentence which was not included in the Anthology.

It’s for the first time, in 1937, with It’s a Bird, that we are propelled, keeping our eyes wide open to the merely sensory distinction between the real and the fabulous, into the very heart of the black star.

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