Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Allonsanfan, Taviania brothers, 1974

The desire to dance together is the death of revolution. The yearning for an imaginary wholeness, for a magical becoming one with the revolutionary subject will lead bourgeois idealists into doom. This is such a powerful rejection of leftist romanticism (and probably one of the most thought-through post-68 films), because it evokes its very textures: a world almost entirely made up of homosocial camaraderie, rousing music, color cues, proud but sexy and willing women.

Of course, for the Tavianis in 1974 this systematic denunciation of leftist naivete wasn't an end in itself, but pointed towards a more analytical marxist perspective. When the security of an all-encompassing macro-perspective like that is gone, too, the film suddenly feels much more bitter...

What is left today is still not pure cynicism, though, but a fascinating film constantly switching between conceptual denseness and a more loose, novelistic tone. Only the protagonist himself feels a little overwrote sometimes - Mastroianni doesn't need all this psychological and sociological burden, he works best, when he is just a soft cypher, a vaguely incongruous, overwhelmed body thrown into history. Because he so clearly is someone not made to fight, but to be petted, adored and caressed.

Watching Allonsanfan today is a nostalgic experience. What I'm longing for isn't the politics of the 70s, though, but a time when aesthtics still could be mobilized, more or less wholesale, for abstract ideas.

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