January 04, 2009


I made it halfway through Louis Malle's documentary Calcutta last night, but the staring is intense I had to stop. The blankness and stillness and something bubbling on aggression--but maybe aggression just how I understand staring here in the western world--is disturbing. People's blank glare at the camera itself creates an entirely different dialogue within the film on top of what we're being shown (goats being herded down bus lanes, extreme poverty, teeming crowds bathing in a harbor, oxen shitting on a curb while people beg)--you are confronted by it. We are touristing. We are being stared at, but without curiosity.
This is what Malle said about it: "Very quickly I realized that these looks at the camera were both disturbing and true, and we should never pretend we weren't intruders."

Posted by jessica hopper at January 4, 2009 02:11 PM | TrackBack