". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Monday, February 19, 2018

La Vie en Rose - Babylon Berlin - Sala One Nine

     . . . . Friday night the temperatures plummeted again.  The wind blew mean and sharp.  Yet two of our most beloved friends joined us at Sala One Nine to celebrate my birthday, with an endless flow of tapas dishes and wines, concluded with a melt in the mouth, not too sweet not too bland, but all perfectly balanced Almond Cake with a mountain of whipped cream, port and coffee.  The mostly Cuban music played was of the best -- and there are no televisions anywhere in Sala One Nine, a basic criterian for us all.

 As Darling C, who creates, fabricates and sews high fashion and designer outfits happens to be doing the costumes for Ballet Hispánico Nueva York at the moment she wore over her sparkly dress an authentic matador's jacket, which is part of the entire costume she picked up some time back in Mexico, though it was constructed in Spain. Sala One Nine is owned and principally staffed by a family whose home town is Madrid. The gorgeously handsome young maitre d',  as well as the rest of the attractive staff who were serving us, immediately noticed this jacket, and swooned.  They recognized it as the real thing of the most high quality.  It turns out their uncle back in Madrid manages matadors.  Trust Darlin' C to always be wearing the exactly right thing at the right moment in the right place!

"La Vie en Rose," Winter, NYC 2018, by Darlin' K
I have been watching Babylon Berlin, the German television series set in Weimar Republic Berlin, adapted from the Detective Gereon Rath novels of Volker Kutscher, becoming more enthralled with every episode.  Though netflix doesn't so designate -- it doesn't break the available episodes into season 1 and season 2 -- the first two seasons are both up. The third is being written now.

It took nearly three episodes, watched far apart, before I submerged into this narrative cop drama. I'd read the first novel in Kutscher's series, and there was little on screen that resembled that book.  Also, unlike RAI TV's brilliant Gommorah, or its Suburra, which consciously follow in Italian fashion the US treatments of such crime dramas, this German production isn't in your face.  It is as stylish and elegant as the Italian show, but deliberately understated, in that restrained way of Mitteleuropa.  Both taste and proportion are exercised in every frame, even those of torture and sexual abuse, but there's ample tension and suspense. Which is funny in a way, since the Italians are doing opera, and the Germans are doing the nightclubs, music halls and bars.  O lordessa -- the song and dance sequences of Babylon Berlin are worth the price of time alone -- they are just brilliant.

Best of all, which takes a while to notice, there are many small moments unlike any usual television moments (it's that inability to resist being in the audience's face of this selfie era perhaps), particularly not 'cop' television or movies, and they are adding up to be more than the sum of their parts.  As well, without changing any of the beats or emphasis of the historical - political events in Germany at the end of the 1920's -- and in the larger world, particularly the Soviet Union -- these  have disturbing ripples when looked at in the context of our own mid - to end second decade of the 21st century.  Yet, as the Cubana who sang us boleros Valentine's Day evening said so movingly, "In these times we still must look for and make the light in any corner that we can."

I think the photo by K has captured both the disturbance and the light perfectly.

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