PATRICK BOKANOWSKI
THE WOMAN WHO POWDERS HERSELF (1972)

Director: Patrick Bokanowski
Year: 1972
Time: 16 mins
Music: Michèle Bokanowski
Eye of Sound: A woman powdering herself, while someone who seems to incarnate death patiently observes her, is probably one of the few immediately intelligible scenes in Bokanowki's 1972 debut film. She wears a mask that apparently hides the blisters covering the faces around her and, by powdering herself, she seems to entice the march of another creature who is later seen to attack a woman, perhaps the powdered woman, with the help of a raging mob. The film's narrative is cryptic enough to have elicited all sorts of exegetical discoveries: from discourses on beauty, masks and the objectification of desire to comments on the French Revolution, critics seem to have found different keys to the mystery of La Femme. In fact, the film's baffling combination of expressive action and onirical sequence should perhaps make us weary of the attempt to locate linear narration units in it. It is tempting to say that La Femme, Bokanowski's first short, contains all the elements that would the director would mature in the following decades: opaque screen compositions are loaded with painted superpositions, although the result here sometimes verges on a tribute to expressionism; the sometimes imperceptible slow gestures are familiar to admirers of L'Ange, while the run across the fields is thematically reminiscent of Déjeuner; and, above all, the deformity of objects and plans, associated with a perverse use of light and shadow contours, enhances the opacity of the images. Michèle Bokanowski, the director's wife and lifetime collaborator, offers a beautiful, if somewhat cold and deranging, electroacoustic soundtrack that punctuates, through its contrasting modes, La Femme in oblique ways: although woven into the film, the composer's score is delicately synched with the screen in telescopic ways, compounding moments rather than providing, as usual, a steady throbbing cadence.

2 comments:

  1. Could you re upload this one?, I've been looking this film for so long.

    Regards.

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  2. http://roskofrenija.blogspot.com/2013/06/patrick-bokanowski-la-femme-qui-se.html

    ReplyDelete