The Melancholy of a Conditional Mood
Anybody too concerned with the plausibility of Point Blank may be missing the point, but anyone no less concerned in resolving it with an alternative certitude might be in too much of a hurry. Here we have a man left for dead on the island of Alcatraz, now a disused prison that central character Walker, his wife, Lynne, and his friend had used as a drop-off point after a robbery. His friend, Mal, persuaded Walker to get involved since Mal owed money to the Organization and, realising there isn't enough if he pays Walker, he shoots him instead, going off with Walker's wife with whom he's been having an affair. If one chooses to follow the plot as 'real' then we are left to wonder how a man with several bullet holes in him manages to swim from Alcatraz to the mainland when no prisoner who ever tried to escape was known to have made it. True, it is only 2.4KM, a modest distance for a decent swimmer, but then there are the strong currents to contend with; hard enough for an able-bodied person but for someone who has been shot? Better, then, to see the film as the last thoughts of a dying man, someone who wishes vengeance on the friend who betrayed him.
However, this seems an odd series of last thoughts, logically coherent once we accept a wounded man can get off the island, and not just concerned with vengeance but also justice. If Walker (Lee Marvin) were only interested in revenge then the story could have ended after Lynne (Sharon Acker) seems to take her own life after he tracks her down to her apartment, and when he finds Mal who falls to his death in an accident that Walker wouldn't be overly concerned by. But no, he wants the $93,000 that he is owed, and if the dead Mal (John Vernon) cannot get it for him, then he needs to find out who can. Rather than seeing Point Blank as a film about a dying man's last thoughts, or as an implausibly plotted contemporary noir, better to see it as a work of radical indeterminism, a common enough feature of European cinema during the sixties, but relatively rare in American film, and even rarer in a work that ostensibly functions as a thriller. Yet we know almost nothing of the robbery and might wonder why a huge company known only as the Organization would be inclined to pay back money that was robbed from another firm in the first place? However, if one views the film as an examination of form, within the context of a philosophical problem with time, we can accept that the story collapses into the formal and the philosophical without at all becoming an empty work. It achieves instead a different type of fullness.
Directed by British filmmaker John Boorman, under the influence of the French Nouvelle vague, we can note too that the most innovative of temporal directors in France in the early sixties was Alain Resnais, who in Hiroshima, mon amour, Last Year at Marienbad and Muriel fractured time and space through editing strategies he credited to a British filmmaker, Karel Reisz, a Czech-born immigrant who not only proved vital to the Kitchen Sink realism that coincided with the New Wave, directing Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, but also wrote in 1953 a key work on editing. David L Hays noted that "as Resnais transitioned into directing, editing remained a priority in his approach, and he drew inspiration from Karel Reisz's widely disseminated textbook, The Technique of Film Editing...so much so, in fact, that he called Reisz his "real teacher" ('Knowing and Not Knowing, Moving and Not Moving, in Alain Resnais's L'Anne dernire Marienbad (1961)'
Boorman wasn't just aping French technique; he was drawing on a British tradition that was never perhaps as innovative as the French approach but impacted no less strongly on the culture, as if editing helped create the swinging sixties in London if we acknowledge the importance of Richard Lester films like A Hard Day's Night and Help in creating a sense of freedom that austerity Britain was leaving behind. Boorman debuted with a Lester-like film in the mid-sixties, Catch Us if You Can, a movie about the Dave Clark Five clearly made as an attempt to replicate the success of the Beatles films, and was thus one of numerous movies in the mid-sixties that played with time to create the times: others included The Knack, Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush, and Alfie, all using editing to conjure up a freedom that would make straightforward continuity look staid. If Resnais had borrowed from Reisz's book to show in his work the difficulty of memory, then the British filmmakers of the mid-sixties were utilising editing to indicate the ease with which characters could move through space. Resnais' 'relationship with montage was fretful and meditative; the swinging sixties films often used it to show facility and facetiousness.
To understand something of this distinction before moving on specifically to Point Blank, we can think first of Noel Burch's five editing categories: absolute continuity from one shot to the next; the truncation of one shot to the next so that irrelevant details can be left out; a third where the film elliptically allows time to pass and we must try and read the shift in an item of clothing, a clock or some other object that will reveal the change. Burch also includes temporal reversal: with a shot already seen, repeated, which is less common than flashback; which is frequent. Burch reckons though that perhaps there are only four categories not five; seeing the last two as in some ways one, saying, "are there not ultimately, then, only four kinds of temporal relationships, the fourth consisting of a great jump in time, either forward or backward?" Assuming this to be the case, then how a filmmaker jumps forwards or backwards in time will impact the tone of the film, giving it that sense of fret or facetiousness. When in Hiroshima mon amour, Resnais shows us scenes from Nevers while the central character is in Japan, the director illustrates not the ease of space but the blockage of memory. The central French character is in bed with her Japanese lover and he asks if her boyfriend during the war was French. She says that no he wasn't French without immediately revealing he was German.
The film moves into flashback but never quite loses its tension with the present, with the confession she tells which is more than a story she relays. Memory seems troublesome for various reasons: she is trying to recall a time she has probably repressed, conveying what happened when it was a humiliating period in her life, and to a man who has now supplanted the German boyfriend in her bed and in her affections. Here she is a married woman on the other side of the world, telling her Japanese lover (the former enemy) about her love for another man who was also deemed a foe. Personal and historical memory commingle as she can now have an affair with a Japanese man without broader social opprobrium, even if she is also, like the Japanese man, married. The complexity of this confession, one that she has never shared with her husband, leaves Resnais determined that the intricacy of its emotional content be manifest in the difficulty of the form. In many a British film of the swinging sixties, whether the film utilised flashback or pushed for more assertive transitions, the function was similar even if in Burch's formulation the categories can seem quite distinct. Whether it is a Bond film or The Italian Job, Alfie or I'll Never Forget What's 'is name, they would often show a jet-set sense of pace through the quick move into the past or into the continuing future. A character might be narrating his love affairs as Alfie does, with nonchalance and bravado, or Michael Caine, again, in The Italian Job, sitting in a hotel suite with a bevvy of birds and when asked what he would like, says, 'everything', as the film then abruptly cuts to a low angle of Caine coming out of the suite looking the worse of wear in a now crumpled shirt and suit. The seuence offers the sort of transitional pace we see in a Bond film where moving from one country to another, one woman to another, or from one dead body to another, the film compresses all emotional experience into a narrationally quickened one. The character doesn't like to hang around; why should the editing wait?
If Boorman with Catch Us if You Can was working in the context of swinging sixties montage, in Point Blank he seemed to want to absorb contrary influences within a new environment. It may have appeared pretentious to insist on making an art film out of a popular Richard Stark novel, but the previous year Godard had filmed Stark's The Jugger as Made in USA, and Boorman took The Hunter and showed no greater respect for its source. Boorman didn't even much care for the original script: "the director disliked the screenplay written by Rafe and David Newhouse but was fascinated with its protagonist..." (Cinephilia and Beyond). Alexander Jacobs became involved, though Jacobs' script itself went through various drafts. Jacobs didn't always agree with Boorman's choices but acknowledged: "I mean John is someoneI may disagree with his view of the picturebut I know that he can take it on from there. He's a very strong director, and this means that he'll argue and fight for what he wants and be prepared to give up the picture if he doesn't get it. In that sense he's very good, in that sense he deserves everything he gets." (Cinephilia and Beyond)
What Boorman wanted it seems was to make a film that absorbed as fully as possible the various tensions between a European montage tradition he admired, a British context out of which he was coming, and an American generic code he was expected to work within. He thus manages to give to what amounts to a crime thriller the melancholy of Hiroshima mon amour, without at all losing the pace of the sixties British films nor the brutal demands of a hard-boiled tradition. Speaking of the film and its star Lee Marvin, Boorman said, "he was brutalized by war. He was in situations where he was killing Japanese soldiers. When he came out of the war, he had a problem of re-discovering his own character. The plot of what became Point Blank was a metaphor for him trying to recover his humanity. That's what gave the film its power." (CBC Radio) While Boorman may have seen this as his problematic, how then was he supposed to film it? If Burch could see that flashback needn't be a ready solution to a narrative problem, a way of putting the story into the past so that we find out how a character ended up the way they have, as in Double Indemnity or DOA, but capable of becoming a new tension point in comprehending character and situation, then characters could become not the means by which to carry the story, either through chronological time or a-chronological flashback, but figures who could create new formal possibilities in film. If one believes that Point Blank is more than just a clever work, it rests on the desolation it activates alongside the destruction central character Walker manufactures. Though strictly speaking and importantly Walker doesn't kill anyone, his need for justice leaves a few people dead. The film is remorseless in focusing on Walker's determination to get his $93,00 yet also melancholically aware that there is a wound here that no amount of revenge will heal. By mentioning that Boorman drew upon Marvin's own experiences we give credence to what we might call production psychology, the sort of information that tells us a little about the motivation behind the film (as opposed to production history that tells us how a film was made and financed). But any film could have drawn upon this aspect of Marvin's life, and we might look at The Dirty Dozen and The Big Red One and assume that these WWII films are likely to have done so as well.
However, what Boorman seems to have managed is to take the pain and insisted that any action Marvin performs contains within it the anguish Walker feels. The pain isn't thus catalytic but permeating. Other films Marvin made could also invoke the actor's war past but Boorman insists that it becomes part of the very form of the film, not merely an anecdotal detail about why Marvin was often cast in tough-guy roles but that the haunting of that past remained within him and could be utilised for something more than just its toughness. Marvin was indeed one of the "last hard men" in Tim Pulleine's words: "in the movie world a well-established means of gaining promotion from featured player to star is to win a reputation for thoroughgoing nastiness. What did the trick for Robert Ryan and Richard Widmark in the forties and for Ernest Borgnine in the fifties, subsequently did it for several others in the Sixties and Seventies - especially for Lee Marvin, James Coburn and Charles Bronson." (Movies of the Seventies) Pulleine sees in Marvin a "physical assertiveness offset by an unsettling impassivity" and Boorman draws upon this contrast brilliantly in the scene where Chris (Angie Dickinson), his late wife's sister, who is helping him access the cash, reacts to his arrogant claim: that she is misguided if she thinks he has taken her to a palatial dwelling for an assignation. She hammers away at his chest while he stands there, taking her blows without flinching. She pounds and pounds before eventually collapsing on the floor. It is as great and iconic a scene as the terrible moment in The Big Heat when Marvin throws a pot of coffee in Gloria Graham's face but there is no impassivity there. Marvin plays an unequivocal thing in Lang's film; there is much equivocation here: not least when shortly afterwards Walker and Chris do sleep together. When he allows Chris to pummel him without response it is consistent with Walker as a man who wants his money yet is both remorseless and impassive in seeking it.
This is one of the paradoxes many viewing the film miss. "First he goes to the juice man, who doesn't have his money," Roger Ebert says, "so he kills the juice man. Then he goes to the next guy up, who can't get his money. So he kills him." (RogerEbert.Com) Usually, people get killed because of Walker's actions but he isn't the one doing the killing. Mal falls off the balcony when the bed sheet Walker holds him by unravels; crime minion and second-hand car seller Big John gets shot dead by a sniper, along with someone higher up in the firm, Carter, who wanted Big John and Walker dead in a pick-up arrangement. Brewster too, dies at the hands of the sniper in another arrangement that Walker agrees to but refuses to follow through on, aware that it is a ploy to kill him. This narrative disjunction between motive and death is of course reflected in the form. If Walker is someone who will do anything to get the money and yet isn't directly responsible for killing anyone, then the editing indicates that what matters isn't the cause and effectuality of motive and murder, revenge and its execution, but the source of Walker's drive.
It is understandable why viewers might wish to see the whole film as the thoughts of a man left for dead, betrayed by his best friend and his wife. As Peter Wilshire says, "Point Blank can be interpreted as the dream of a dying man" (Offscreen) But Wilshire also says: "On one level, Point Blank can be viewed as a straightforward story about betrayal, vengeance and greed. On closer viewing, however, Point Blank possesses a surreal disorientating dreamlike quality." What is unequivocal is that the editing allows for various possibilities that most noirs wouldn't entertain. Nobody doubts that Double Indemnity is Walter Neff's recollections as he sits with a bullet wound in his shoulder and recounts his dealings with Phyllis Dietrichson. The flashback gives the film a proleptic aspect right at the beginning, telling us the story will unfold in a way that won't end well for Walter. The editing can give the film a sense of irony but doesn't go so far as to generate a sense of disorientation in the film's very meaning. One may find the plot confusing but it is there to be worked out: the plot Point Blank offers is contained within an indeterminacy that can allow Wilshire to entertain at least three possible readings. However, if someone reduces it to the dream of a dying man then they have returned it to the certitude Boorman surely wishes to keep in abeyance. It is as if even the film's relationship with revenge plays havoc with cause and effect. It is an odd film that can be described as a revenge narrative when the hero doesn't kill anyone.
Yet not only can we note Walker doesn't kill anybody within the diegesis; the story itself is conditionally presented as though the tale is only tangentially on screen. It is a film which seems to be taking place, giving it a conditional quality that leaves Point Blank without the necessary plausibility of a straightforward thriller. Some may wonder how Walker escapes from Alcatraz but Boorman defies realist expectation in other ways too. Speaking of the use of colour, Boorman said: "It was my first colour film and I didn't really know how to handle it, so I decided to shoot each scene in one colour. I rigidly enforced this, but the head of the MGM art department wrote to the head of the studio saying that this film will never be released. He said there's a scene in a green office, with green walls and seven men all wearing green shirts, green ties and green suits and would thus be unreleaseable." Boorman added that he "found it extraordinary, coming from someone who presumably has a background in art, as on film some of those greens would shift towards brown, some towards yellow. It was never commented on by anybody in the end, you just got this sense of a single colour at work in each scene, giving it a kind of coherence. I started with very cold colours to correspond to his emotional state, silvers and greys, before moving up the spectrum." (Little White Lies)
Boorman suggests naivety where sophistication is at work. Boorman's ignorance of colour wouldn't have been his alone: many directors around the mid-sixties were moving into colour and some of the great works came from this shift: Antonioni's Red Desert, Godard's Le Mepris, Resnais' Muriel, Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451, Demy's The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Varda's Le Bonheur. These may not always have been the directors' first colour films but they were all made at a time when colour or black and white was an equally available option. While by the late sixties a film in black and white was exceptional, the mid-sixties was a liminal period where along with the various experiments in montage that were reinvigorating the form, the technical acceptance of colour as the new normal led many filmmakers to think in colour. If before, monochrome was the norm and colour often a commercial choice utilised for melodrama, musicals and epics, numerous directors of the sixties were thinking that colour, like montage, could be absorbed into the cinematically revolutionary. When the head of the art department at MGM (known for its colour musicals) thought a film so focused on one colour per scene couldn't be released, it would have been the voice of the naive as much as the pragmatic, someone who just wasn't keeping up with what filmmakers were thinking. Since for many colour had become a choice then they could also choose a colour scheme once they had adopted colour in the first place. Boorman may couch it in terms of ignorance but at the same time he speaks of the art head's far greater stupidity, as though working generally in colour obviously was far greater a form of ignorance than not quite knowing what you were doing. What mattered was being open to experimentation rather than 'expertly' remaining within convention.
Boorman exaggerates his case: there are numerous scenes where several colours are deployed. When Chris goes up to Mal's apartment she is wearing a butter yellow coat while a couple of bodyguards are in black, while the carpet and the walls are red. When Chris takes off her coat she is wearing a yellow and brown hoop-striped dress while Mal has put on a beige T-shirt, colours that are close enough but a match seems too strong a claim. In other scenes, though, the grey on greys and the green on greens are very pronounced. When first turning up at Lynne's apartment Walker is dressed in grey and she is too her whole apartment also is made up shades of grey, from the carpet to the walls, the lampshades, the curtains and the couch. Later in the scene, Boorman invokes, shirts, suits, furniture and walls that are all green even if there is the suggestion of browns and yellows in the scene as well. Is this colour playing a trick on our perceptions or had Boorman adjusted a little the colour predominance he aimed for in each scene? This isn't an easy question to answer, especially in the early days of colour film when the director and cinematographer had to pass the work through a lab. One well-known director of photography Conrad Hall wasn't immediately attracted to colour: "Color produces such inaccuracies. We are dealing in a realistic medium and whenever it's inaccurate its offensive. You know, if you look at a caterpillar tractor and you know what color that kind of tractor is and suddenly it's an awful color of orange, you know that's wrong." (Masters of Light) The problem won't occur in black and white of course because the image doesn't have the colour in the first place to depict the tractor. It is in this sense an image but not a depiction: it conveys the objects but doesn't replicate them. It means the photography needn't fall into the offensiveness Hall believes.
Yet many directors of the sixties as though aware of the offensiveness that threatened, while refusing the black and white which was becoming no longer so common, sought in their images a colourist aspect that drew as much from painting as from life. As if aware like Hall that the image couldn't quite depict, it absorbed into the world it was filming the fine art notion of colour. Speaking of Red Desert, Antonioni said, "in my films, naturally, I have tried to use colors that would satisfy my own taste." (The Architecture of Vision) On Blow-Up, he said, "My problem with Blow-Up was to recreate reality in an abstract form." (The Architecture of Vision) Talking of the colours in Le Bonheur, Varda said: "You were talking to me about the colour purple, but it's simple, purple is the shadow of orange. That's a feeling that brings us back to the idea of painting. The impressionists discovered that colors are complementary, that a lemon had a blue shadow and orange a mauve shadow, which isn't really true in reality, but which feels nevertheless like the right idea, the right feeling." (Agnes Varda Interviews) Instead of the cinematography unable to capture the reality the filmmakers sought, they saw in colour the potential to generate a liminal aesthetic between cinema and painting. If Boorman took from the editing experiments of the Nouvelle vague then he no less succinctly and successfully insisted on utilising a relationship with colour that needn't be realistic. When the MGM arts department exec insists on realism, his naivety rested partly on the need to subdue rather than release colour. Rachel Elfassy Bitoun says, "after the critical reception of bright Technicolor features, Hollywood toned down its colour scheme, and used colour only merely in ranges of grey, brown and dark blue, which created harmonious patterns but constrained colour's potential." (The Artifice) When Burch discusses the five elements of montage that so many filmmakers were complicating in the sixties, then we can think too of how numerous filmmakers who were experimenting with time in film were also no less experimental in their use of colour.
After all, colour needn't replicate reality and especially at a time when the image made it difficult to do so 'realistically'. Better to think of Antonioni's use of colour that would satisfy his own taste, or Varda seeking the right feeling, however inaccurate it might be in 'reality'. Whose feelings these happen to be can be moot: the question isn't always whether it is a character's feelings or a filmmaker's assertiveness, more what mood can its deviation generate. It makes sense that when Walker finds his ex-wife that everything would be in shades of grey. It involves wintry emotion in the all-year-round sun of Los Angeles. Lynne is hooked on tranquillisers, getting over the absence of Mal and what she assumed was the loss of Walker, and the guilt involved in loving one man who her lover kills and then losing the lover she should never have betrayed her husband over. As she sits on the couch and explains to Walker what happened in a dull, dead voice, all we see is greyness manifest in the fittings, soft furnishings and the clothes. It may not be plausible that Walker would sit there listening as Lynne spills her heartless heart out but here two wrongs can make something feel right: the unlikelihood of Walker sitting silent instead of interrogating Lynne is matched by the decoration which shows Walker matching perfectly with another's interior design. It is a mighty coincidence that Walker keeps finding himself in suits that replicate the interiors he visits but only someone impervious to the developments of innovation in European cinema and beyond would allow themselves such pointless nit-picking.
In both montage and hue, Boorman insists on removing the film from verisimilitude but that doesn't mean we have to read the narrative as a dream, nor the colours as symbolic. In terms of the story, we might say it feels oneiric, which would be to accept an aspect of a dream without asserting it as the meaning of the film. To say that the story is Walker's dream is assertive; to say the film is dreamlike allows for greater speculation and remains consistent with the indiscernibility found in many other films of the period. One way of looking at this is to think of grammar and the difference between the indicative and the conditional. To insist that Walker is a hitman who will stop at nothing to get his $93,000 would be in the indicative mood, but to suggest that Walker might be someone who dreams himself into a revenge fantasy all the better to cope with his dying moments, and his wife's betrayal, allows for the conditional. Yet to say that the film is categorically the dream of a dying man is to turn it back into an indicative form. Films that appear in the conditional are often actually in the indicative because one mode of certitude is replaced by another form of certitude: that our initial assumption is replaced by a later assumption. The films don't keep in balance the two proposals; they insist we take events one way and then are forced to reassess those claims. The Sixth Sense, Fight Club and The Game are all examples.
In Fight Club, we assume that the central character befriends Tyler Durden. By the end of the film, we realise that Durden is a figment of the central character's imagination and that he didn't exist at all. Even if the film deals with the mind, like Point Blank, it would be a misreading to say that it's as if Durden were a product of the central character's imagination. He is the product of our hero's imagination. There are, as the saying goes, no ifs, no buts. The indicative becomes the counter-indicative. The conditional in film form, however, wishes to keep in balance the possibility of an event and its impossibility simultaneously. Why Fight Club has a twist is because it is indicative and counter-indicative. We think one thing with certitude and then are told to think the opposite with equal certitude. True, one might argue that if certitude is undermined by a contrary insistence does that not then undermine the film's certainty? That is a reading one may choose to offer but the work itself doesn't invite it, even if it might not be within its power to deny it. By pulling the rug from under us it potentially denies its own certitude but, if that were so, we could say that it is as though the central character is also Durden when the film's point is that he is. To turn the indicative into a conditional in Fight Club is to read the film much against its grain. To say of Point Blank that it seems as if Walker is dreaming himself into a revenge fantasy allows for an ambiguity the film actively offers.
If Point Blank is such a remarkable film, in many ways the equal of Bonnie and Clyde and undeniably more challenging, if far less acclaimed, then it rests on how subtly it absorbs its influences while trying to find its own problematic. Bonnie and Clyde more than any film of its period showed that the impact of the Nouvelle vague could re-energise American cinema. David Pountain reckons "If the New Wave was a case of the French critics deconstructing the methods and iconography of American cinema in order to fashion something new and exciting, 1967's Bonnie and Clyde was arguably the moment where these forward-thinking revisions truly found their way back to the States." (Little White Lies) Pauline Kael believed that these influences needed to be modest, saying: "...Arthur Penn, working with a script heavily influenced one might also say inspired by Truffaut's Shoot the Piano Player, unfortunately imitates Truffaut's artistry instead of going back to its tough American sources. The French may tenderize their American material, but we shouldn't." (Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang) She may have been right; that a work more radically engaging with the developments in Europe would have undermined an aspect of Penn's film and almost certainly made it less box-office friendly. Bonnie and Clyde made $50m dollars in the US; Point Blank less than a fifth of that. Yet if Bonnie and Clyde became a cultural phenomenon and changed Hollywood into New Hollywood, so that many a filmmaker couldn't help but feel its impact, Point Blank's influence has been less conspicuous but no less respectful. Walter Hill, Martin Scorsese, Steven Soderbergh and Quentin Tarantino have all talked well of the film; Soderbergh refers to Point Blank as "a film that I've stolen from so many times" (Film School Rejects), with The Limey the most conspicuous instance, with its convoluted temporal structure, but the Underneath and even Out of Sight can seem indebted to Boorman's film too.
Yet whatever the film's influence it seems irrelevant next to its capacity to have brought together within an American genre film the innovations in montage, the experimentalism of colour and the radical ambiguity of a film grammar that, for all the film's ostensible violence, leaves us with a killer who doesn't kill, and a revenge narrative which might not even be taking place. At the end of Kael's Bonnie and Clyde review she says "a brutal new melodrama is called Point Blank and it is." It is a hasty appraisal that might seem all the more odd since, if it weren't for Kael, Boorman probably wouldn't have got the chance to direct it. Catch Us If You Can was, Xan Brooks, says, "lavishly praised by Pauline Kael and provided him with his ticket to Hollywood" (Guardian) If Kael didn't quite get the nuances at work in Point Blank, she nevertheless helped Boorman get the gig in the first instance. Yet even Boorman seems to underestimate its importance. "It was made by somebody with my name but quite different from me." He insists: "I made those early films out of fear and daring. Once you get to the point where you understand the process, you can never work in that state of innocence again." (Guardian)
However, what Boorman sees as a moment of innocence we are inclined to see as the height of a different type of sophistication. Ranking it the 17th greatest crime film ever made, John Patterson may have too impressionistically proposed what it was doing: that "It feels like a western (Walker as doomed cowboy in the age of the combustion engine) or a ghost story (does Walker actually die in the opening sequence?); and with its lurid Godardian colours and its Antonioniesque sense of alienation, it looks like a smashed mirror on whose shards can briefly be seen all the reflected pathologies of the City of Night." (Guardian) Nevertheless, don't his remarks capture very well the odd confluence involved in such a project?
© Tony McKibbin