The Opening: Again

Despite being titled “AGAIN” this is actually, potentially, the first in a series.

To develop what our chum Keats calls my “negative capability” — roughly speaking, the ability to appreciate things without rationally understanding them, I thought I might look at the openings of some films, films I know almost nothing about, and then not watch the films.

(Robert Anton Wilson recounted coming across the words NO WIFE NO HORSE NO MUSTACHE in a Readers Digest magazine, and swiftly flapping it shut, because the phrase was so wonderful on its own he never wanted to know what it referred to or where it came from. Of course, in this internet age, one can uncover the facts in an instant. I once did so, but I have forgotten the answer. Don’t remind me.)

This quest for lack of understanding is made easier in the case of Julio Buchs’ LAS TROMPETAS DEL APOCALIPSIS (1969), also known as AGAIN, since the film is in Spanish and no subtitles or dub seem to be available, and I understand Spanish only slightly better than Rin Tin Tin, and he’s dead.

I swear this is the first movie I tried this with! And everything in the first two minutes is INSANELY entertaining!

A green-hued London night. We get a London bobby AND a London bus to make sure we’re oriented. Then, peculiar attention to a window. I immediately suspect someone is going to come flying through it, because one thing I do know is that this movie is a kind of Spanish giallo. As is appropriate to that genre, for some reason, the emotion associated with the anticipated defenestration is not dread, but a giddy glee.

Here he comes!

CRUMP

TOOT of police whistle.

Disco lights and celebratory music — the soundtrack assures us that our sadistic chortles are entirely appropriate. Detail shots of lights lead us, in an Ozu-like progression, to a swinging scene. Lots of suspiciously tanned/dusky people in hippy wigs gyrate atmospherically. One girl has a vertical LOVE necklace hanging between her boobs, on each of which a heart symbol is inscribed in red. Maybe she’s a Time Lord?

One particular guy sits in a booth, a somewhat disengaged DJ flicking through a newspaper while chewing gum. Love the art direction: there may really have been a poster with THE BOB DYLAN POSTER printed on it. Maybe that was a thing? Or maybe the art director was asked to knock up a Bob Dylan poster in English, but no title was provided? If you have the answer, I don’t mind having this mystery cleared up.

But wait! Bored DJ is no longer bored! Something has caught his attention!

And I promise, I had planned to edit the clip so you could see the headline that’s arrested our bewigged record-spinner, but I swear to God, AVI Trimmer+ is kind of imprecise and it deliberately chose to make this clip more mysterious than I’d intended. But I’ll have mercy on you —

There! Now you can enjoy how the story is badly pasted into the financial column. The English in the headline and story itself is disappointingly good, but it doesn’t sound like a newspaper, does it? “[…] apparently took his life last night by jumping from a second story window of his home here in London.” Here in London where this journalist is writing this and you are reading it. Because we’re in London. Did I make that clear? It may be important later.

OK, that’s all you’re getting! Possibly you will never get to see the rest of this film. How do you feel? Better or worse?

 

8 Responses to “The Opening: Again”

  1. Is it possible that Prof. Stone actually landed on the financial page of The Times and they awkwardly pasted his demise into the paper as a gruesomely apt tribute? And wouldn’t he have jumped from the second “storey”? Only Americans would call it “story”. I’m beginning to suspect this Times correspondent is not from England and that this whole report is, literally, a cover-up. What important financial information has been concealed?

  2. Yes the whole “here in London” smacks of protesting too much. Maybe they’re not in London at all, and it’s like that episode of The Prisoner, The Chimes of Big Ben. The whole thing is actually happening in a stage set in Madrid, which would explain all the defenestration of course.

  3. What is the “second story” he is jumping out of? If the “first story” is the scene outside his home in “London”, does that mean the second story is in the disco? Has he jumped out of the disco? Perhaps it was an attempt at some new dance move the kids are doing that went horribly wrong, somehow causing him to break through a dimensional plane into an alternate reality where London bobbies are swarthy, but gravity is still a grim taskmaster.

  4. I can’t beat that. But I’m getting increasingly tempted to watch more of the film to see if it’ll engage my negative capability through sheer linguistic impenetrability.

  5. Worse. I need to see the rest of this film immediately. Please post your copy to me at your earliest convenience.

  6. I sneaked a peak at thenext couple of minutes — it’s an Italian dub. How’s your Italian?

  7. John Seal Says:

    Molto benne. Prego. Pretty good, right?

  8. You ought to be able to get by, yes!

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