[quoth] samuel beckett: enough

He was not given to talk. An average of a hundred words per day and night. Spaced out. A bare million in all. Numerous repeats. Ejaculations. Too few for even a cursory survey. What do I know of man's destiny? I could tell you more about radishes. For them he had a fondness. If I saw one I would name it without hesitation.
We lived on flowers. So much for sustenance. He halted and without having to stoop caught up a handful of petals. Then moved munching on. They had on the whole a calming action. We were on the whole calm. More and more. All was. This notion of calm comes from him. Without him I would not have had it. Now I'll wipe out everything but the flowers. No more rain. No more mounds. Nothing but the two of us dragging through the flowers. Enough my old breasts feel his old hand.


[frames] under byen: alt er tabt

director: sidse carstens, woman: lena noring jensen


[aesthetics] kōdō / the way of incense

In episodes 8 and 9 of Mononoke, known as the Nue arc, we witness an interesting practice of Japanese aesthetics: the so-called kōdō. It is the ceremony surrounding the appreciation of incense, and is counted as one of the three classical Japanese arts of refinement, the remaining two being kadō/flower arrangement (more commonly known as ikebana) and chadō/tea ceremony. Often practiced in a playful manner, in comparative games like genjikō and kumikō, participants sit together and take turns smelling incense from a censer as they pass it around the group, trying to guess what kinds of incenses are included in a blended scent.

At the beginning of the eighth episode, a disembodied voice states that "[i]n our art, it is said that incense is heard, rather than smelt. Seeing, hearing, eating, drinking; there are many pleasures in which men can engage. To hear a scent is certainly the most refined of them all." The idea of "listening to incense" stems from the Chinese wenxiang which was consequently adopted by ancient Japanese incense connoisseurs under the term monkō (cf. Morita: The Book of Incense, 15).

Lady Ruri, the sole heir to and only practitioner of the old Fue-no-Kōji School of kōdō, is faced with the decision to marry one of four suitors. They shall be judged by way of an incense-guessing trial.

"Well, then... Tonight's contest will be Genjikō."

(topleft: medicine seller, topright: Nakarai, bottomright: Ousawa, bottomleft: Muromachi)

The four of them gather around a table and Ousawa introduces the rules of the game:
"In Genjikō, you must hear five fragrances in turn, then try to discern which are the same. You use five blocks (genjimon) to signify which of the fragrances [are] the same. " Nakarai adds that "there are fifty-two combinations in total. Each combination represents one of fifty-two chapters of the Tale of Genji, with the exceptions of the first chapter, Paulownia Pavilion, and the final chapter, Floating Bridge of Dreams. For instance, if these two and these two are the same, it would represent Wood Pillar, as you can plainly see."

Lady Ruri and her old servant then go about preparing the first scent by filling a porcelain cup with unperfumed rice ash, placing a piece of burning charcoal in the middle and covering it with more ash, smoothing the surface with a press and drawing a delicate pattern. The heat is being channeled through a small hole right in the centre. After positioning a mica plate on top of the heat source, a single piece of wood (commonly Agar or Sandal) the size of a grain is added to the plate. A more detailed rundown of this process can be seen here.

Each of the contestants, now, take turns smelling the prepared scent, the first being Ousawa. Notice how his hands carefully cup the censer to ensure he inhales a vivid waft of fragrance. Overwhelmed by the peacefulness it exudes and filled with joy, he feels like having met a new friend. As you can see from the montages below, the experience of inhalation is stylistically enhanced by the colorization of the characters who hitherto had been nearly bereft of any color just like the environment around them.

Nakarai, in turn, is struck with nostalgia, thinking back to a sunny day in his home, when his father scolded him for not attending to his studies.

Muromachi who has initially already admitted a certain weakness in the art of incense is pretty much clueless throughout the whole procedure and as the contestants continue on with the remaining four scents, only one of them reminds him of something definite: horse dung.

After having tried all of the scents, each of the contestants secretly places the genjimon according to their estimation of which scents are the same. Ousawa believes that Lady Ruri simulated the situation at stake and intentionally chose fragrances which represent the Genji chapter Tamakazura, in which a lady is approached by four suitors.
Nakarai comes to the same conclusion. In order to win, however, Lady Ruri had stated before that two contestants cannot have the same answer. Seeing as he has to chance his luck, he arranges the genjimon in a different way, representing the chapter Tokonatsu.
Muromachi, clearly lacking any proficiency in kōdō and out of resignation, concludes that all the scents are identical. The structure he composes of one long horizontal bar over five small ones represents the chapter Tenarai.

Generally, we don't see much of the medicine seller's reaction and reasoning throughout all of this and we shall not disclose the plot of this arc too much. But to give a vague idea of this show's premise it should be noted that his presence at the ceremony serves an entirely different purpose: to expunge a mononoke, a malevolent spirit of sorts which takes hold of a person's mind. A mononoke results when an "ayakashi", a spirit that simply comes into being, unites with strong human emotions such as vengeance, sadness or fear. The medicine seller is capable of defeating these spirits by using the sword of exorcism, but in order to unsheathe the sword and slay the mononoke he must find the shape ("katachi"; its true form), truth ("makoto"; the reason for its existence), and regret /reasoning ("kotowari"; what it hopes to accomplish) in order to defeat it. This exorcism technique is based on the Mikkyo Buddhism concept of "san himitsu," which translates to "The Three Secrets."


[quoth] jean-luc godard: weekend (1967)

When your foot slips on a frog, you have a feeling of disgust. But if you even lightly graze a human body, the skin of your fingers splits like scales of mica beneath hammer-blows. And just as a shark's heart beats for an hour after death, so our guts throb long after making love.

Spoken by Kalfon's character during the end sequence of the film, citing Lautréamont's Chants de Maldoror (Chant IV):
Quand le pied glisse sur une grenouille, l'on sent une sensation de dégoût; mais, quand on effleure, à peine, le corps humain, avec la main, la peau des doigts se fend, comme les écailles d'un bloc de mica qu'on brise à coups de marteau; et, de même que la coeur d'un requin, mort depuis une heure, palpite encore, sur le pont, avec une vitalité tenace, ainsi nos entrailles se remuent de fond en comble, longtemps après l'attouchement.

[frames] kōichi mashimo: noir (2001)

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