On the trip I've been reading the second volume of Welcome Back, Alice (Milky Way Editions), a love triangle about two high school boys, the girl they like, cross-dressing, masturbation, clumsiness and guilt. A tactical romance that makes you laugh at Choderlos de Laclos. It is drawn by Shuzo Oshimi, a Japanese stutterer, a fan of Odilon Redon, of the French decadentists and of all the symbolists. One of ours.
Reading manga is like serving a slice of watermelon in the good shade. It satisfies, soothes, lubricates the joints and envelops the sensational pleasure of its spherical ancestry, its intrinsic color and its liquid aspirations.
The manga is a particular type of comic that leads me to ponder beyond the story and distracts me in those standards that begin with the big eyes and end in the first task of the serial, which is to catch the reader, make him forget his reality. In those conventions it would be said that all manga come from the same place of fantasy and that perhaps no one draws them, and as a reader I exonerate their authors from all responsibility because I do not detect any vanity and in its pages anything seems possible. I think that is why it has so much seductive power with young people and with the somewhat inoperative adult public, because it appeals so frankly to a reflex response from the reader, as only music or pornography do, that its pages end up becoming a private and sealed place, an intimate, armored and protective environment, which concerns only us.
It's already August. I came by plane because the train was very expensive. The plane has also been very expensive for me, but I think that for me, at this point, everything is very expensive. As I heard Miguel Agnes say in his splendid podcast Sita Abellán's program, If I came to know beforehand that this was going to be like this, I wouldn't even jokingly dedicate my life to culture.
In short, the new normality has returned the passage to the current normality, that of speculation, profit and the bad idea of a lifetime. "We'll come out better!" Said a couple of years ago the same ones who now don't say a peep.
While the habitual criminals make August, I understand that now I am allowed to write here for that reason, because it is August, because there is nobody on the other side, because everyone is digesting themselves, the shitty year , of the whole season making a fool of himself so great that it is to work.
Paris always reminds me of a Spanish film I saw many years ago in San Sebastian called The Sadist of Notre Dame, in which a former priest sublimated his libido by murdering women. It was directed by Jesús Franco and it is the patchwork of a previous film of his, from which he removed the erotic routine and added scenes of walks, wandering aimlessly through the Parisian winter, because the film itself has to move on foot from one scene to the next and It is in this wandering that he finds his strange and fascinating eurotrash atmosphere, far superior to all Gallic cinema.
My friend Clément Milian, a screenwriter and writer devoted to the work of Jesús Franco, often makes fun of my taste for a certain French cinema and is particularly offended by my tolerance for the films of Olivier Assayas, whom he considers the epitome of the fool, who is contraction of bourgeois-bohème, that is: a kind of liberal professional with presumed aesthetic awareness —and even environmental awareness— who personifies the worst of the Parisian urbanite: a posh person, someone subjected to his circumstance without any truth to say about the human condition.
In the bedroom of the small apartment where I stay there is a painting with three sunflowers. Three plebeian flowers that, in the dark, when I turn off the lights, appear in my imagination as three light shoots. They lead me to think that in the corolla they may be housing the entire day, the enormous sun of the entire day, and in that etymological possibility they are making it a little difficult for me to sleep.
David Cronenberg says in Mad Movies, the magazine with which I learned to unravel French, that we are going through another of those moments when people are afraid to say what they think. They decline their own feelings for political reasons or social pressure and are afraid of upsetting others. An artist afraid of disturbing is not a true artist, he reminds us, he will perhaps be a decorative artist who will perhaps produce beautiful things, jewelry that, effectively, will not be able to say anything about the human condition.
In his latest film, Crimes of the Future, which has been on the bill for more than ten weeks here (in Spain it seems that it will be released in theaters in September), the procession literally goes inside. In it, Viggo Mortensen is an allergy-ridden artist with the talent to engender new bodily organs with no known function, internal parasites that his assistant, Léa Seydoux, operating as a magician's scarlet wife, surgically removes from him in rituals between performance and the religious ceremony.
The film is a small essay that contains the entire speech of the Canadian author. At 79 years old, Cronenberg takes up the tools of the old new flesh to remind us of the immanence that we are for ourselves, something that the most advanced science fiction has always done. In an evolved future where some humans eat plastic, where pain has been abolished and can only be experienced in dreams, Mortensen embodies a chronically ill, an anomaly, a true artist whose work obeys his own conflict.
Crimes of the Future is not a comfortable film, but it is pleasant because it is post-human melancholy, unmarked humor and a prospect for a world in decomposition, characteristics that in David Cronenberg's work guide thought towards unexplored areas in which to emancipate.
In the morning I go to the old slaughterhouse where Georges Franju filmed La sang des bêtes in 1949, a deeply melancholy documentary —also— that some YouTube users still regularly denounce. Today the place is a park in memory of Georges Brassens and on weekends it hosts an old book market to which I come to give myself the erratic hunt offered by flea markets and charms. I have come looking for something that I did not buy one day, years ago: a piece of paper drawn, its style unmistakable, by Georges Pichard, the great master of erotic comics. The paper appeared to me battered among objects of another nature, without value, a vignette cut from an original page for which they asked me for 90 sad euros, which at that time it was not sensible to afford because they belonged to my landlord, because back then everything was very expensive for me, I was already dedicated to this. I wish I had known before. I think that since then I only return to this place full of ghosts for that scrap.
Saturday July 30. At half past seven this morning, Jesús Cuadrado (1946-2022), theater director, filmmaker, fan editor, comic critic and obsessive documentary filmmaker of the comic medium, died, to whom he gave titanic works and inexplicable preparation such as the encyclopedia De la cartoon and its use 1873-2000, a work that Spain will never be able to pay for.
Jesús Cuadrado was lame early (poliomyelitis) and therefore a person ready for the cane, of genius and figure. He lived unable to tolerate mediocrity and had the talent to, in two, three linked adjectives, give the quintessence of an author, a style, an intention or an entire biography. From him we learned that comics were a deep and capable language.
"You write well, compa," he told me one day when I was in my twenties (youism was his closeness), but he loses his humor. At that time I accepted it with reserve (is humor a hindrance?), but the assessment fueled me for a long time. Years later, when a young writer of enormous talent and today a good friend, Jorge de Cascante (his latest book is entitled An entire city bathed in blood), asked me about the uncertainty and inconvenience of the profession, I gave him the same thing, I plagiarized to Cuadrado those words that I had already understood then: beware of making these laugh, never try to please them, do not try to anticipate the reader's reaction and in no way agree to it. You just write.