and Precarity: Timeless, Bottomless Bad
Timeless, Bottomless Bad
Movie (Nappun yeonghwa) organises a
systematic parallel montage between two street tribes: a gang of delinquent
teenagers; and bums who are, for the most part, elderly. One of the formal
stakes of the film consists of placing two economies of representations against
each other: the young people inside a regime of grand fiction, where
derealisation, delirium and heterogeneity go so far as to suddenly transform
themselves into burlesque cartoon; and the bums inside a regime of documentary
capture, thus bringing in a reality principle against which the film never
these two poles, we have a ‘making of’ representation: shooting, direction of
actors, credits ... It’s a matter of exhibiting the making of the film in order
to assert its permanent failure, as the very title announces: a timeless,
bottomless bad movie. Far from the classical uses of a making-of structure – as
a reflexive logic of disillusion, distanciation, contemplation – its use here
consist of describing the work of the film as being, in effect, as fragile and
under threat as its protagonists, whether bums or teenagers. Fully knowing what
faces them, these protagonists, young or old, have no future: whether they die
swiftly right before our eyes; or they remain stoned in the eternal present of
survival, within the immobility of misery which glues them to their spot on the
street. Thus, we must take account of this intensity, this existential economy:
they are figures who are dying in the absolute fragility of the instant.
solution adopted by Timeless, Bottomless
Bad Movie is to centre itself on gesture: the basic narrative unit is no
longer the scene, the wandering itinerary or even an action, but human movement
itself. This is evident (for example) when the film, in the course of a bowling
scene, leaves behind the players – who
still play the game, albeit with no respect for the rules – in order to
concentrate on the female spectators who are happy to simply move about
anarchically, without purpose or reason, in pure corporeal wastefulness. The
film thus shows simultaneously the ephemeral present and its ineluctable
destruction, and turns its entire formal energy to the aim of rendering what is
noisy, volatile, useless.
Timeless, Bottomless Bad
Movie revindicates a plasticity of the draft or
sketch, and raises it to the level of an aesthetic ideal. Not for any reason of
mere formal provocation, but at the level of a moral exigency: to invent a
plasticity of precarity.
Bad Movie represents a
triumphant event of liberatory formalism. In the face of what it depicts –
misery, death, loss, cruelty, youth wasted in pure loss – the film elaborates
this demand: that cinema either go mad from anguish,
or crazy with energy.
From Traitement du
Lumpenprolétariat par le cinéma d’avant-garde (Paris: Seguier Archimbaud, 2006), pp. 72-75.
Text © Nicole Brenez 2006. Translation © Adrian Martin 2009.