not i

Finally saw some of the 'Beckett on Film' pieces at the Beckett Centenary Festival in Dublin. The short (45 sec) 'Breath' by Damien Hirst, 'Act Without Words I' by Karel Reisz, and 'Not I' by Neil Jordan.

Beckett - Not I

'Not I' is a monologue showing only a mouth ("Stage in darkness but for Mouth"), breathtakingly performed by Julianne Moore. A hypnotizing stream of consciousness by an aging woman who desperately tries to make sense of her life, isolated inside her body, alone with her thoughts - and compulsively avoiding to say 'I':

...begging the mouth to stop...pause a moment...if only for a moment...and no response...as if it hadn't heard...or couldn't...couldn't pause a second...like maddened...

...not catching the half of it...not the quarter...no idea...what she was saying...imagine!..no idea what she was saying..till she began trying to...delude herself...it was not hers at all...not her voice at all...

In her memories of involuntary outbursts of revealing her inner self, she reminds of Joy Division's 'She's Lost Control':

...sudden urge to...tell...then rush out stop the first she saw...nearest lavatory...start pouring it out...steady stream...mad stuff...half the vowels wrong...no one could follow...till she saw the stare she was getting...then die of shame...crawl back in...

It also seems to be the female counterpart of 'A Piece of Monologue' (awesome audio version by Ronald Pickup and Scanner here!), where a man, alone in a room, examines his life. These two pieces really evoke Beckett's utterly bleak, existential view of life in almost inescapably minute form.

...begging it all to stop...unanswered...prayer unanswered...or unheard...too faint...so on...keep on...trying...not knowing what...what she was trying...what to try...whole body like gone...just the mouth...like maddened...so on...

Or as 'A Piece of Monologue' sums it up: "Birth was the death of him. Ghastly grinning ever since." - but with the faintest, ironical hint of redemption: "Pictures... he all but said of loved ones."

Recommended:

brilliant beckettian animation

Another search for a long sought-after film, the short German animation 'Balance', unexpectedly ended in finding the entire film online. Watch Balance here. (In the bottom nav, click the far right thumbnail.) Simply brilliant! … Read the full post »

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