Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Nostalgie de la mer.
This is a spectacular circle skirt. Terrific colorway, marvelous swirls and flourishes. Movement, movement, movement with that water. Doesn't that starfish strike a pose? Ta da. And fish just love synchronized swimming. Who knew? All are Esther Williams-ing it up here.
I'd be tempted to wear this skirt over a light blue bathing suit, and top it all off with a rubber bathing cap covered with red plastic fish. Quite memorably, someone wears a similar ensemble in Kamikaze 1989, a painfully bad German new wave dytopia flick from 1982, starring, of all people, Rainer Werner Fassbinder. I saw it probably in 1985, and remember little except this woman in an 50's style bathing suit and cap emerging on a skyscraper rooftop. She spoke in a high pitched keening while lurching about. But I remember thinking: I need a rubber bathing cap right away. And I only saw this once over 20 years ago.
Made not long before he died of a (perhaps intentional) overdose at 37, Fassbinder looks a bit out of it in the role of Detective Jansen. I take that back. Fassbinder looks completely and unambiguously drugged out of his mind. Not to mention the sweaty-foreheaded, red-eyed, bloated ill-health. Wandering around a totaliarian near future in a leopard print suit in search of a bomber, he films people using a camera hidden in a cocktail ring. Despensing with futuristic sets altogether (a la Alphaville), I believe there is a scene atop the Mercedes Benz building in Berlin that even includes the huge neon logo in the shot. In the end Jansen has some sort of melt down and humps a life sized photo of Neil Armstrong on the moon. See what I'm saying? You really don't need to see it. If you want new wave dystopia, see Liquid Sky (also from 1982) instead.
My favorite Fassbinder film will always be Querelle, written and directed by him that same year. Yellow and orange skies dominate a seascape in dry dock. Anachronisms, the fetishized form of Brad Davis, dissociated voiceovers, and Jeanne Moreau singing "Each Man Kills the Thing He Loves" in a brothel overrun with sailors. Fassbinder creates a brutal, damaged and stylized adaptation of Jean Genet's only novel. Genet takes the most extreme experiences (for example, murder) and gives them pet names, multiple costume changes, kinks, a back story, friends, hang-outs. Even political parties. All the while seeped in sensuality. Sordid and glorious. Fassbinder manages to capture not only the beauty of Genet's prose, but also the matter-of-fact violence.
As Genet's Querelle begins: "The notion of murder often brings to mind the notion of sea and sailors. Sea and sailors do not, at first, appear as a definite image--it is rather that murder starts up a feeling of waves."


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