ALICE IN THE CITIES Wim Wenders, 1974, 112 mins
the photograph of the wave is not the wave, not even close
the photograph remembers the thing it cannot hold, the photograph is the empty vase holding the ocean
in the photograph I am pointing to this event in light, in this self-portrait I am noticing the company light keeps
yellowed gray secreted away, the city keeps its own light, in the airplane over the ocean I am remembering
alice in berlin and alice in new york, a stratosphere extending, between a place, meaning between is one
in the scene alice pulls the polaroid from the camera, shakes it
says it’s rising
TASTE OF CHERRY Abbas Kiarostami, 1997, 95 mins
the tan dusty hills, the tan tumbleweeds, the tan rocks, the tan silt, sand in the mouth, sand in the mind, a sieve of sorts, rust
where are you going, where have you been, where will you go, where were you then, from a distance the land rover circles a bend, time
kicks a stone, spat, counting friends, rubber tires dragged in dirt, rubs hands, rubs back, counting breaths, breathing
all this digging earth, sundown almost, sometimes a sky empties its pink light and over there a yellow tree in the hill like a snaggle tooth
no place going, going no place, who hasn’t, haven’t you, thought it, your little egg soul, walk it over here by this sharp rock
a red dump truck dumps red clay into a dark hole, soft sky, dark hole, high birds, dark hole, dry wind, dark hole, and all this dirt, taste it
TAMPOPO Juzo Itami, 1985, 120 mins
in one scene a man in a white suit places a crawfish under a bowl on top of the bellybutton of his lover to tickle her
in another scene the very same man cuts his lip on a mollusk shell and then sucks the juicy oyster from the palm of a pretty lady
in another scene an egg yolk is passed back and forth between two soft tongues until it bursts from their breath and dribbles down their chins
in another scene the woman alternately dips her left nipple in whipped cream, honey, peanut butter, tartar sauce, lemon juice, a bowl of salt
WANDA Barbara Loden, 1970, 105 mins
…a woman walks alone through the coal dunes like one white flag waving in a thousand dark windows…
LA JETÉE Chris Marker, 1962, 28 mins
time goes by. [x] happens. you still find yourself in January. the world has started living without your permission.
airports being lovely and devastating. all that coming. all that going. the gorgeous luggage of passerby.
in the future you will be a better version of yourself. your self will be a curious explorer of the geography of sunlight.
the past being a vague but obsessive memory. perhaps colorless. definitely static.
at the observation platform you watch another plane heave into the night like an eraser being thrown against a chalkboard.
at nineteen minutes and forty-five seconds the woman you love opens her eyes, looks directly into the camera, and blinks.
BEAU TRAVAIL Claire Denis, 1999, 92 mins
in the very last scene the syncopation starts pulse taps the beat to the debut single: Rhythm of the Night
Denis Lavant is leaning against his reflection dressed in all black holding a cigarette in his left hand
in the film about war the men get drunk and dance they make shapes with their bodies like fists
we feel it this man seducing his reflection performing masculinity as animal in heat
the club lights bead down the mirror sweatlike we anticipate an emergency of movement
every song is this song every soldier is this soldier every discotheque every single destruction
and just like that smack dab in the middle of the credits he becomes
NEWS FROM HOME Chantal Akerman, 1977, 88 mins
you loved a city once
the way you held it or it held you, up to the light, sluicing through alleyways of memory
you being far away and to be both the wrecking ball and the wreckage, to be of a place and to be a nobody
to witness the four a.m. silence of avenues and recognize that negative space
what does it mean to exist in a day, to watch the ghost light of traffic angling through a window and to not—
god help you, living under the jackhammer of governments and internet skies
but the sweetness of an envelope, and the sadness of an envelope
THE LAST PICTURE SHOW Peter Bogdanovich and also Polly Platt, 1971, 118 mins
was the last movie screened at the Pleasant Street theater in Northampton Massachusetts on June 8th, 2012 before the theater closed down
i am writing to you from the future, the movies being, as an event, as in going to, as in strangers huddled together in the dark
in the dark weeping is allowed, kissing is allowed, snacks are allowed, elbow bumps are allowed, in the dark when Cloris Leachman cries we cry too
it is a comfort that poems survive without their containers and a comfort to think films might too
in the last scene the lovers reach out to comfort each other across the kitchen table
touch, for godsakes
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Catherine Bresner is the author of the chapbook The Merriam Webster Series; the artist book Everyday Eros (Mount Analogue 2017); and the empty season, which won the Diode Editions Book Prize in 2017. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in the VOLTA, b l u s h, Sixth Finch, Fonograf, Itinerant, The Offing, Heavy Feather Review, Gulf Coast, Passages North, Paperbag, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a Juniper Summer Institute fellowship and the 2019 Cadence Residency through the Northwest Film Forum. Currently, she is the publicity director for Wave Books and lives in the Pioneer Valley in Massachusetts.
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