The blog of author Dennis Cooper

José Val del Omar Day


‘All over the Spanish-speaking world however, much experimental film has been made, generating on both sides of the Atlantic a surrealist-inflected historical avant-garde, ‘60s formal innovation in the interest of political militancy, a Super 8 underground of the ‘70s, and the contemporary proliferation of work enabled by video technologies. Several DVD collections of experimental film have recently been released by the Barcelona-based Cameo Media, a distributor that specializes in independent and experimental film. Unquestionably the most invaluable of these, the five-disc Val del Omar: Elemental de España, is dedicated to the works of the unique solitary inventor-artist José Val del Omar, the most notable of which is the formidable Tríptico elemental de España (Elementary Triptych of Spain, shot between 1953 and the mid-‘60s), without a doubt the most ambitious project in Spanish cinema history and one referred to by Amos Vogel in Film as a Subversive Art as “an explosive, cruel work of the deepest passion…nameless terror and anxiety…one of the great unknown works of world cinema.”

‘The Tríptico is a series of three “elementales,” (the name would translate as “elementary”), which Val del Omar proposed as a cinematic genre distinct from the documentary: Aguaespejo granadino (Water-Mirror of Granada, 1955) Fuego en Castilla (Fire in Castile, 1960), and Acariño galáico (Galician Caress, begun in 1961 and completed posthumously in 1995 from Val del Omar’s footage, recordings, and notes). Parts of the Tríptico won awards at the Cannes, Bilbao, and Melbourne film festivals in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s before disappearing from view for decades, noticed only by such diligent UFO-spotters as Vogel. Since the 1980s the films have occasionally been screened theatrically, most notably opening a 1982 retrospective of Spanish experimental film at the Centre Pompidou and inaugurating the Filmoteca de Andalucía in 1989, which has since recovered and restored several of Val del Omar’s earlier documentaries.

‘Val del Omar’s cultural formation took place in the intellectual ferment of the Granada-based avant-garde of the ‘20s. He was a neighbour of the composer Manuel de Falla and a friend of Federico García Lorca, both central figures of Spain’s modernist cultural flowering. During the years of the Spanish Republic, he worked with the misiones pedagógicas (teaching missions), a state-run program that brought modern culture and learning to rural populations still dominated by large landowners and the Church, challenging the latter’s monopoly on truth. The misiones’ project included the use of cinema as a pedagogical instrument, but Val del Omar—a utopian modernist with a pronounced spiritual bent—saw the relatively young medium as a way to foster a collective identity among its viewers, overcoming the principle of individuation that both confined human beings to a brief and tragic temporal existence and hindered social progress.

‘Val del Omar filmed more than 40 silent documentaries and took hundreds of still photos, many of which show peasant faces entranced by the novelty of the cinema. This power of the medium later motivated many of Val del Omar’s inventions and the dream of the grand project he called meca-mística (mechanical mysticism), in which the cinema would serve as a “magic instrument, amplifier of our vision,” making palpable—thanks to its indexicality, the traces of the material brought to the screen by light—what he called the “mystery” or “substance”: that immutable, impalpable omnipresence of elementary matter that makes up the cyclical rhythms of the universe, and that has been displaced by temporal, especially modern, concerns.

‘However, instead of a programmatic rejection of the modern à la the Spanish right, Val del Omar spent much of his life developing a cinematic technology that would facilitate ecstatic transport beyond the limitations of the body’s sensorium. Herein lies the paradox: a humanist—called by fellow restless filmmaker Luis García Berlanga “one of the last survivors of that proud caste of the enlightened that has done so much to dignify scientific and humanistic progress in Spain”—who strove to advance progress not through reason but through a mystic idealism. Val del Omar’s notion of progress is not an advance from the ideal to the material, nor from faith to reason, but is instead an inspired combination of the old plaint of the fall into temporality and the modernist conception of bourgeois individualism as a post-lapsarian condition. Val del Omar’s mysticism addresses both, by seeking to unite man with the divine in nature and with the rest of humanity through the cinema.

‘After the Civil War, Val del Omar’s dreaming found little room in the autarchic Spanish cultural field of the ‘40s and ’50s. Congenitally suspicious of cultural marginality, the Franco regime fomented a monocultural commercial cinema as a natural outgrowth of its militaristic National-Catholic project, vesting all authority in the major national studios and leaving little space for avant-garde experimentation. Unable to film independently, Val del Omar turned to technological experimentation with lenses, sound, and lighting and projection technology as a part of his mystical project, designed to thrust the Tríptico’s viewer into ecstatic transport by eliminating the distance between spectator and spectacle.

‘While working in special effects at the Estudios Chamartín (one of the four major film studios at the time) and on radio programs during the early ‘40s, Val del Omar filed several patents for inventions in audio technology, one of which, the Diáfono sound system, was his first technological step toward the total spectacle of the Tríptico, placing sources both in front of and behind the spectator, each on a separate track, to produce what he called a “dialectical dialogue” of sound. Diaphony was not meant to enhance sonic verisimilitude like the stereophony it predated, but to enhance the power of the cinematic apparatus beyond the mere faithful representation of reality. By 1956, when Aguaespejo granadino played at the Berlinale, Val del Omar had also perfected what he called Desbordamiento Apanorámico de la Imagen (Apanoramic Overflow of the Image), in which a simultaneous projection of abstract images, synchronized with the rhythms of the film’s sound, could be seen on the front and side walls and the ceiling of the theatre, creating in effect a concave screen that engulfed the spectator. He then developed Visión Táctil (Tactile Vision), a system of pulsating light intended to “tactilize” visual perception, which he used for the second part of the Tríptico, Fuego en Castilla. These inventions were designed to release his films from confinement within the edges of the flat screen, a move from the optic toward the haptic and an expansion of perceptive possibilities beyond those normally available to the sensorium, both in the cinema and outside. In the Tríptico, the elemental movement of water, clouds, and light in rhythms normally invisible to the naked eye is made perceptible through Val del Omar’s many inventions, in combination with freeze frames, fast and slow motion, filters, and anamorphic mirrors. The resulting experiences range from solemn to ecstatic, from torment to illumination.

‘The settings of the Tríptico—Galicia, Castile, Granada—trace an arc across the Iberian Peninsula, while the corresponding elements of earth, fire, and water point to a pre-modern epistemology, restoring the Islamic and Jewish others long suppressed by those traditionalists (now restored to power by the Nationalist regime) who promulgated nostalgic imaginings of a homogeneous Catholic national origin. Drawing freely on the writings of the 16th-century mystic San Juan de la Cruz—whose poems and commentaries describe a spiritual journey from a fallen temporal condition, advancing, cycling back, and eventually progressing through “purgation” to the “illuminative” stage—Val del Omar sought to reconcile this older mysticism with the avant-garde project of shocking the spectator out of an anaesthetized modern condition, in the process implicitly scorning the Franco regime’s militaristic mediocrity. Following the sequence of San Juan’s interior journey, the Tríptico was designed to be viewed in the reverse order of its making: from the post-lapsarian state of Acariño galáico, in which the spirit is trapped by the body’s attachment to the material, through the sufferings of the “dark night” of purgation’s painful release from the emotional attachment to the material (Fuego en Castilla), and closing with Aguaespejo granadino’s mystical union with the divine in nature.’ — Matt Losada, Cinemascope





José Val del Omar Website
José Val del Omar’s Tríptico Elemental and Other Experiments from Spain
El genial naufragio de Val del Omar
José Val del Omar @ MUBI
José Val Del Omar @ cineastes
Dos o tres cosas que (ahora) sabemos de Val del Omar
Las Misiones Pedagógicas de José Val del Omar
José Val del Omar @ Criterion Forum
José Val del Omar, pionero del cine documental español
Val del Omar y las Misiones Pedagógicas
VAL DE OMAR ‘Desbordamiento de Val del Omar’
José Val del Omar: una pedagogía de la visión
Art Education, Visual Images, Technologies and Cultural Contexts from José Val del Omar (I)
José Val del Omar: “Tríptico elemental de España” (II)



la retrospectiva : desbordamiento de VAL DEL OMAR – En Proceso

Explicación Diafonía en “Ojalá Val del Omar”

Desbordamiento de Val del Omar, Virreina-Centre de la Image


Lagartija Nick x Val del Omar


Óptica biónica energética ciclo-tactil
by José Val del Omar


Sin relación alguna con la utilización habitual de los objetivos anamórficos en cinematografía (con finalidades concretas de cambio de formato entre el área del fotograma impreso en la cinta y el área de la pantalla donde se reproduce) la óptica cilíndrica, con su distorsión astigmática fundamental en permanente giro lento de su eje anamórfico, permite obtener un efecto de anticipación original, de verdadera trascendencia histórica en nuestra cultura.

Nuestra civilización canaliza y transfiere por dos dimensiones, imágenes que tienen tres. Este es el caso de los dibujos murales, de los lienzos pictóricos, de las estampas de los libros y de las pantallas del cine y de la televisión.
Ante estas representaciones distorsionadas, por la incidencia generalmente oblicua de nuestra mirada sobre el plano base en que las imágenes se presentan, el observador actual las ecualiza espontáneamente.
(El hombre actual, sumergido en el mundo de tales representaciones culturales, ejercita de forma permanente, espontánea e insensible, una cibernética psico-fisiológica de reconstrucción correcta de la perspectiva real).

A este hábito cibernético nosotros nos anticipamos por medio de un artificio óptico biónico, que permite ofrecer a la percepción visual del espectador, unas imágenes cuyo eje de distorsión astigmática gira en acuerdo con su deseo de contornear hasta adquirir, por reciclaje, consciencia palpable del mundo material representa do en las imágenes.
La presencia interferente de esta óptica energética (precisamente por la distorsión astigmática, en giro uniforme constante), nos permite gozar de un fenómeno extraordinario de pretensión tactil –(estéreo-biológica)– de nuestra mirada.

En resumen
Nos encontramos sumergidos en una cultura de representaciones visuales distorsionadas, y constantemente, haciéndonos cargo de ellas, ejercitamos el automatismo de una ecualización mental.
Por ello, al anticiparse nuestro mecanismo biónico a la espontánea cibernética del espectador, provocamos que éste, confundiendo movimiento mecánico óptico externo con su energética visual, se lo apropie, sufra el error, goce la ilusión de desplazarse alrededor de las imágenes; y el hecho de esta sucesión de distorsiones producidas por el giro constante de un eje astigmático le estimula a intuir la imagen central, correcta, fotogramétrica, virtual, no aparecida en la proyección.

Colegas participantes en el XII Congreso UNIATEC que se celebra en una ciudad meridiano fronteriza oriente occidente:

tengo a honor ofrecer,
como libre representante de las investigaciones españolas sobre
Picto Lumínica Audio Tactil,
un descubrimiento que les invitará a una reflexión colectiva,
de trascendencia histórica en el parámetro de las transferencias visuales.

Nacido en una tierra vértice común de tres continentes, pues allí razonó Europa,
soñó África
y se impulsó el descubrimiento de América,
encendido por esta confluencia,
–hoy convertida en cuna de serenidades–,
soles y lunas volando sobre Granada,
me han permitido vislumbrar el siguiente fenómeno,
que muy bien había podido pasar a Ustedes inadvertido,
al estar todos nosotros sumergidos en culturas en las que permanentemente se ejercita,
igual que respiramos el aire.

Constantemente, transferimos a las dos dimensiones de una superficie más o menos plana,
–llámese mural, lienzo pictórico, página impresa de libro o periódico, o en pantallas de cine o de televisión–,
imágenes que requerirían no las dos, si no las tres y hasta las cuatro dimensiones.

Tan estrecha canalización de unidades informativas,
nos obliga, constantemente,
a la hora de ser comunicadas estas páginas o planos,
a que todo… espectador desarrolle un mecanismo humano psico-fisiológico, una cibernética de ecualización y restitución.

Tratando de fijarles, claramente, esta idea,
observen … que el eje de visión ideal de la pantalla de un cine,
se encuentra en la cabina de proyección,
pero el público siempre está en un lugar de la sala,
donde, si hiciéramos desde aquel sitio una fotografía de la pantalla, quedaríamos perplejos al comprobar la brutal distorsión que absorbemos, y sin darnos cuenta, anulamos.

Igual ocurre con la convexa pantalla del televisor,
con las curvadas páginas de los libros,
con la percepción de las pinturas en los muros o colgadas en éstos, y con los techos planos o curvados sobre los ámbitos.

En general nuestra mirada no suele caer con una incidencia perpendicular, si no oblicua y a veces muy oblicua,
sobre las superficies donde se nos ofrecen las imágenes;
y ello nos obliga al desarrollo de una cibernética de compensación,
que no percibimos por encontrarnos constantemente ejercitándola.

Gracias a la energía lumínica, complementada con la sensibilidad óptica, hemos realizado una extensión del tacto.
Es conveniente observar “que un ciego,
al querer darse cuenta de la forma de un objeto, extiende las manos hacia su superficie,
las desplaza casi en diagonal, rodeándolo, contorneándolo una y otra vez
hasta conseguir una imagen virtual satisfactoria”.

Esto escribí en una revista especializada de Madrid, hace 48 años.

Posteriormente, en la reunión mundial de expertos cine-TV convocada por UNESCO en 1955,
presenté mi “Teoría de la Visión Tactil”;
y más tarde, en 1961 obtuve en el festival de Cannes y gracias a la sensibilidad de Jean Vivié,
la “mención técnica”
por la práctica lumínica en mi filme Fuego en Castilla.

Discúlpenme, si les he marcado tres puntos del árbol genealógico que acredita el presente fruto, de una cultura experimental;
y al que considero superior decisivo.

En esta hora en que la Holografía, con su gran logro estéreo, nos despega, definitivamente, de la monoperspectiva,
he concebido un Artificio Biónico mediante el cual,
el creador de la comunicación visual picto-lumínica
se anticipa a los deseos del espectador,
tomando por base la inquietante y atractiva distorsión astigmática de las imágenes.

Originariamente, tal artificio, lo orienté
a marcar el mérito artístico de las imágenes
hasta ahora, culturalmente, transmitidas en dos dimensiones;
en particular las pictóricas y fotográficas;
aunque la ci[ne]mática del cine y de la televisión puedan utilizarlo, enriqueciendo, con toda seguridad, sus mensajes.

Tomando por base la distorsión de imágenes
–a la que ya estamos acostumbrados–,
nuestro artificio biónico también ofrece la proyección de imágenes en distorsión astigmática,
pero con la particularidad de presentarlas bajo el movimiento de giro lento y permanente de su eje astigmático.

Con este artificio biónico energético ciclo tactil,
la proyección –repito– con el movimiento de giro lento y permanente de su eje astigmático,
ofrece un efecto de gran atractivo y simpatía analógica
con los brazos y las manos del espectador palpando el contorno,
en repetido acto tactil, elemental y espontáneo.

El espectador, sumando esa distorsión,
en permanente desplazamiento concéntrico,
acumulando en su mente las consecutivas
posiciones del eje astigmático, poco a poco termina anulándolas;
y de tal reciclaje tactil, nace una nueva especie de “modulación cruzada”; en su imaginación una imagen virtual,
en la que se presiente la imagen real fundamental y escamoteada.

Señores Colegas: Es posible que más de uno de Vds. prefieran,
por estar más introducida,
la clásica actual imagen fotogramétrica congelada.
Yo me permito suplicarles, dada la evolución filosófica e instrumental de los “medios”,
una reflexión íntima y desapasionada.
Ya vivimos en un mundo que se siente sin pies ni suelo,
casi flotando en cero gravedad,
donde se anuló tiempo, espacio, perspectiva y secuencia, según los conceptos hasta ahora admitidos.
Se nos habla, no sólo de participación,
sino también de aprojimación del espectador.
La fórmula de mantener en giro lento un objetivo anamórfico, de tan elemental… pierde valor;
pero no olviden que uno de los grandes pasos del cinema, consistió en que, un buen día,
a un señor se le ocurrió levantar el trípode de la cámara
y acercarla a la cabeza de uno de los actores
de una escena que se fotografiaba en todo su conjunto.
De la espontánea estereografía
debida a nuestra visión binocular
y desde el desplazamiento personal cercando
atenazante el contorno del sujeto de nuestra visión,
hoy, al empleo de ópticas de ángulo variable
y al empleo más racional de los rayos luminosos, como dedos que palpan… podemos incorporar,
nacida de nuestro genérico impulso de posesión,
y para un nuevo gozo visual tactil,
esta nueva lírica óptica.


José Val del Omar’s 8 films

Elementary Triptych of Spain (1982)
Elementary Triptych of Spain is the last film project by José Val del Omar (Granada, 1904 – Madrid, 1982). The idea arose in the last stages of his life and was aimed at creating a trilogy using his three ‘elemental pieces’: Aguaespejo granadino [Water-Mirror of Granada] (1955), Fuego en Castilla [Fire in Castille] (1960) and Acariño galaico [Galician Caress] (1961). The connecting link in the trilogy, which was filmed in different times and places, is spelled out in a prologue entitled Ojalá [If Only] (1980), which establishes the key points with which to read the whole. Beyond all motivation, a constant approach can be found in Val del Omar’s work: circling round, returning again and again to constant features. And this work must be seen as a whole, where technical trials, formal experimentation and the creative process merge. The Triptych, therefore, must be seen as one step more in the trajectory of an oeuvre that, while unfinished and open, always turns on itself and, at the same time, is a response to the prevailing audiovisual forms. Val del Omar worked on the conception of the Triptych from 1981 until his death in 1982, particularly on finishing Acariño galaico and preparing Ojalá. Throughout this process, he decisively influenced the presentation of his work by the curators of the Anthology of Avant-Garde Film in Spain, Manuel Palacio and Eugeni Bonet. Val del Omar was committed to presenting his Triptych with Acariño galaico and Ojalá, but in the end, he was not able to finish these works and only Aguaespejo granadino and Fuego en Castilla were screened. The Triptych, then, remains unfinished, but its three pieces, the unedited images and the loose notes conserved today make it possible to establish a unique relationship in Val del Omar’s work: beyond spectacle, in a dimension where the artistic experience creates its own conditions of appreciation, before it reaches the screen, but projecting its light onto our gaze. The time has come to our eyes.’ — Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía



Galician Caress (Of Clay) (1961, 1981-82, 1995)
‘This film was reconstructed and completed in 1995 by Javier Codesal for the Filmoteca de Andalucia, from the montage and the sound that Val del Omar had outlined before his death, after having returned to a project abandoned twenty years before with the incorporation of significant additions (above all in the soundtrack). Val del Omar’s notes show that, as he typically did, he had other alternative titles in mind, such as “Acariño de la Terra Meiga” (Caress of the Magic Land), “Acariño a nosa terra” (Caress of Our Land), or “Barro de ánimas” (Clay of Souls), and that in the final phase of the unfinished project he wanted to add a second sound channel – following the diaphonic principle, and using electro-acoustic techniques – consisting of ambient material that he intended to record at the first screenings of the film in the very places and to the very people that were its origin: its “clay”.’ —



Fire in Castilla (Tactilvision from the Moor of the Fright) (1961)
Fuego en Castilla is the second of Val del Omar’s trilogy Tríptico elemental de España (‘Elemental Triptych of Spain’), a tactile visual poem begun in 1952 that brilliantly juxtaposes the modern and the folkloric, exploring myth, mysticism, religious imagery, fear, death, fire, rites and delirium. Each short film is set in a different region of Spain and focuses on an emblematic, essential element: water, fire and mud, for Granada, Castile and Galicia respectively. Fuego en Castilla starts with a line written by Lorca about the rituals of Holy Week: “In Spain, every spring Death comes and lifts the curtains.” After the explosion of light and sound in Granada in the first part, the film plays with chiaroscuro, shadow and light, creating movement using the pulsating light technique to bring to life the religious sculptures of Holy Week kept in the museum in Valladolid. Effectively, the symbiosis of human and sculpture will occur in Galicia, where water (Granada) and fire (Castile) will turn the human into a clay figure – a purification by fire.’ — bfi

the entire film


Aguaespejo granadino (1955)
‘This video is based on an excerpt from Aguaespejo Granadino (1953-55) by José Val del Omar. The soundtrack on this video is a musical adaptation composed -as tribute to Val del Omar- by Joaquín Medina Villena for clarinet and electronic, with exclusive authorization from “Archivo Val del Omar”.’ — Joaquín MEDINA VILLENA



Película Familiar (1938)
Película Familiar is a family album in motion. It shows the director’s fondness for portraiture, here contrasted with his fascination with certain energetic or honest facial expressions. As a final kiss – Barthes’ punctum – intimate and indescribable.’ — MUBI

the entire film


Vibración De Granada (1935)
‘This is a short film that, although a documentary in appearance, has very little to do with the generic conventions of that form. It would seem, then, that what we have here is the embryo of what he was subsequently to call the ’’elementary’’: an abstract or lyrical modality…’ — MUBI




Fiestas Cristianas/Fiestas Profanas (1934)
‘Silent documentary-film about Easter and Spring Festival in the region of Murcia (Spain) in the period between 1930 and 1935 during the 2nd Spanish Republic.’ — Cuneta



Estampas 1932 (1932)
Scenes 1932 is a collective piece that reflects the work of those Pedagogical Missions from the II Spanish Republic that for many years took culture (not out of a didactic will but more of a recreational one) to the most forgotten corners of Spain. It is undoubtedly a vital experience that became crucial for the work and thinking of Val del Omar, who took part in them.’ — BAFICI

the entire film



p.s. Hey. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! Oh, right, I forgot about that mosh pit post. When do you start interviewing? Do you have to find the interviewees, or are they selected for you? Thanks about the bank account. I’m investigating what I can do. Ugh. Ha ha, your hyper dog. Well, it’s a funny, sweet picture, but if I was holding the leash, I know I’d be frowning too. Did you find a decent training option? Um, yesterday … I gathered Zac’s plane treats. That was both fun and brr. I gave them to him. We had a film meeting. The very promising disabled guy does not want to be in our film, so that sucks, but we did get some leads on some possible young actors for other roles. And our producer set up two days for us to do auditions next Thursday and Friday, so now we have to contact all the candidates and see if they’re interested and available then. A lot of work. That was pretty much my day, and it was all right. What did you manage to squeeze into your Thursday? ** Jonathan, Hey, bud! Thanks about the stack! Whoa, that ‘SwampLake’ video is not only apropos but fucking awesome. Everyone, Seriously, if you had even the teeny-tiniest fondness for yesterday’s post, click this and see how such things are depicted by a master aka artist Jonathan Mayhew. And find out why the thing you will be watching is called ‘SwampLake’. Click away. Cool, more than cool, about the show and your readiness. Hm, yeah, I’ll check out ‘Amygdalatropolis’, great, thanks! I know I’ll end up watching ‘Assassins Creed’ on a plane. I just know it. I have no scruples in planes. T’would have been awesome to have you there on my treats hunt. Come back so we can. Love from moi! ** Jamie, Top, or, rather mid- of the morning to you, sir! Thanks about the stack. The treat hunting was fairly workmanlike, though fun, with the only adventurousness being how quickly I walked between buildings and the metro in the freezing cold. Zac and I met a little over four years ago, right after he moved back to Paris from Chicago where he was attending university, introduced by a a friend. And it immediately felt like us meeting was destiny or something. It’s pretty amazing. Yesterday I just got up to the stuff that I told Dora up above. It was a decent day. So, … did you create the spark or find it hiding in there or something? Yeah, the bank account thing is a mess. I need to get that sorted out, like, now, so I guess I will. It’s some stupid American-only thing set up to prevent tax fraud among its citizens. A British bushel! Wow, okay, hm. Then I offer you in return a Parisian arrondissement of love, or, wait, the 16th arrondissement of love. Sincerely, me. ** Bertie Marshall, Hi, Bertie. 23 years?! Jesus, time is nuts. I don’t know anything about Delphine Seyrig’s son Duncan, but this is my cue to go find out. Thanks! ** David Ehrenstein, I got knocked to the ground by the weight of a stage leaping Iggy once at the Whisky-A-Go-Go. ** Steevee, Hi. Definitely will end up watching that OJ doc somehow. Man, very, very best of luck with the withdrawals. Really good you’re getting off it, though. Hang in there. You know it’ll be worth however it chooses to battle you in the in-between. No, they don’t really do subletting here in the way they do in the States. I’ll figure it out. I have no choice. I agree that Lethem is the most interesting of the writers I namechecked, and I did read some of his early novels, and I did like them, but I do think that at some point he started taking himself very seriously via accepted channels, or, in other words, not seriously enough? ** New Juche, Hi. Yes, the screengrabs in the post were from the Scribd scanned copy of ‘EEE’. A little fuzzy, but readable. Everyone, New Juche just reminded me to tell you that you can get a scanned pdf of ‘Eden Eden Eden’ at Scribd, which is a pretty good site to subscribe to in general if you want to read rare and out of print books. No, the problem on the bank account is from the US side. French banks are happy to let visitors open accounts from any country, but the US won’t allow it. Fuckers. For so many reasons. ** Sypha, Ha ha, for whatever it’s worth, if I had worried about seeming like a giant perv, I wouldn’t have written 90% of what I’ve written. I’m very happy to have a Day on the blog for that Snuggly book, of course. Please do. Everyone, Sypha passes along this shout out for short story submissions for an anthology to be published by Snuggly Books. Maybe some of you are interested? Icebreaker … hm, I guess I’m really out of practice too. I’m blank. ** Montse, Thanks, Montse! And there, right up there, is the Val del Omar post I managed to come up with. What do you think? Well, busy is good, right? I’m always busy, and I think I like it. Any work assignments that are particularly interesting for you? No, no snow. I really think it’s going to be snow-less year again, but who knows? We got ice. Not the same thing at all. Have a splendid day, my pal. ** Schoolboyerrors, Diarmiud, you crazy genius loon! Guyotat fanboyishness, …  come on, that’s next to godliness or something. No chilling. I have your back. Hooray for your awesome words to everybody. And your essay! Even just the taste allowed by my lack of Project Muse membership! The link worked, but, oh please, send it to me? Possibly? Everyone, Schoolboyerrors is not just a errors-causing school boy, no, he is also the great thinker/writer Diarmuid Hester! And he wrote an essay about Guyotat entitled ‘Revisiting Pierre Guyotat’s “Éden, Éden, Éden”: Splanchnology, Writing, Matter, and the Devastation of Ethics’! And, if you click this, you can either read a bit of it if you’re not a subscriber of Project Muse or the whole thing if you’re on board there. And/or he will send you the essay to your own personal message or email receptacle if you just hit him up on Twitter @dehester. All of that is cause for celebration. Celebrate accordingly. Awesome to see you, man! This blog’s door is always wide, wide open. ** H, Hi. I have to figure out the bank thing, so I will somehow. Thank you. No, the rule about the bank account is set in stone. I just have to find some workable alternative. Oh, Bernard Welt alerted me to the fact that I mistakenly attributed ‘Thundercrack!’ to Kuchar, but he only appears in it. It’s a Curt McDowell film. Oops. Oh, and I just saw that you know that already. Oops again. Excitement is pretty important if not, well, even the meaning of life or something. ** Bernard, Hi, B. I’m far, far more convinced by you that I should see ’20th Century Women’ than I ever remotely was before, so I possibly will. Thank you. Boy, did you just characterize the writing program problem in a gilded nutshell. Thank you. But you might also be kissing good stuff too, let’s face it. Word on the street (in Paris, at least) is that your lips and good stuff know their ways around each other. Thanks too for defrosting my brain freeze about ‘Thundercrack!’s’ origin. Oh, I keep fiorgetting to mention that I’ll be reviving the Vincent Price Day as per your request on Saturday. Buckle up. ** Jeff J, Thanks, Jeff. No, other than watching movies related to blog post making like the Val del Omar ones, for instance, I haven’t been to the movies in ages. I tried to see ‘Paterson’ the other night, but it was sold out. I don’t know what ‘Into the Forest’ is, but I’ll investigate. ‘Rogue One’ will definitely be an in-flighter for me. I do want to see ‘Silence’ when it opens here, but my expectations are middling. No, I haven’t seen the original Japanese movie by Shinoda from the 70s. Have you? ** Misanthrope, Hey. I rarely turn on my TV, so no problem. Noon there is 6 pm here. Okay, good to know. I will be otherwise engaged then by some activity as yet to be determined. Well, to be interesting, they would have be photos of your internal organs, so good luck with that, or very convincing fakes. Do it. ** Right. Please spend some time today discovering and hopefully enjoying the works of José Val del Omar. Thank you in advance for your time and brain cells. See you tomorrow.


  1. Dóra Grőber


    I don’t know the exact date yet but I’d say in a week. It depends on the leader of the research. And thank god, this time they provide the interviewees so I don’t have to find them! This is a big help!
    I’m frowning, too, quite a bit, haha. But yes, I did find a training which starts on the 4th of February which seems ideal. Until then we’re working with home-made techniques.
    Shit. I’m sorry the guy doesn’t want to be in the film! But I’m glad you have new leads for other roles! Fingers very-very crossed! I hope whoever you contact will be interested and available next Thursday and/or Friday!
    I started reading The Secret History of Twin Peaks and I’ll meet a friend later today so it should be a fun day.
    How was yours? I hope it was really great!

  2. Joakim

    Hey Dennis,

    How are you?

    So unfortunately, I again come bearing bad news. I went to the dentist a few days ago and I have to operate away 2 wisdom teeth, which is going to be fucking expensive and I’ll most likely be in a lot of pain for a good while after… This totally came as a shock. But i’ll be okay, haha.

    So now Paris in february seems a tad unrealistic, and feels more stressful than exciting and I don’t want that. I still plan to come though, but I’ll just have to postpone it and sync with you guys so you’re around. Then Asger will be able to join as well, and that’s a big plus, since I really want him to meet you all.

    The intensity is a good thing btw, just a lot to get used to. But I will and I’m totally thankful for it, so I shouldn’t complain.

    Love all the stills btw. The mood reminds me of Sarunas Bartas films for some reason. Did you introduce him to me or is my head just making that up? Anyway, I got some DVDs I should rewatch some gloomy night. Thanks for the reminder.


  3. Jamie

    Good morning, Dennis!
    I love the look of these stills, especially the green tinted ones. My laptop is currently refusing to play any videos in a watchable manner, but as soon as I get a new one (next couple of weeks – semi paid for by work!) I’ll be watching the ones you’ve posted. Thanks!
    Sweet about yourself and Zac and a feeling of destiny, man. I totally remember when I first set eyes on Hannah and things felt strange. Good strange!
    I’m not sure if I quite managed to inject a spark into our script, but I added a complete new scene which is hopefully funny. I spent all yesterday evening reading articles about writing for kids and have ordered a book, as I’ve started to feel a little out of my depth with this project. I fought hard to have a fart gag kept in, which made me laugh.
    Oh, and I thought you might be interested in the Harbin Ice Festival, where my boss and co-writer was last week. He thought it was very cheesy as all the sculptures are internally lit with coloured neon, but his photos looked really beautiful to me. If you Google it you’ll see some lovely images and I thought you’d dig it.
    Sympathies with your bank account problem. I hope you find a way to get round it. These officialdoms are the tiny stressers that gnaw at the mind.
    How was Thursday? I’m off to try and get a haircut. Hope your Friday’s a good one.
    Is the 16th arrondissement a particularly good one? I was going to wish you a haggis of love, but that sounds horrible. It’s going to have to be plain old love.
    Lots of love to you,

  4. steevee

    Fortunately, I did not get insomnia as one of my withdrawal symptoms, but I woke up early and couldn’t get back to sleep. The main symptom now seems to be exhaustion, far beyond what I’d expect after sleeping for 7 hours. (I usually sleep for about 9.) I’m meeting a friend for coffee this afternoon, then seeing THE PRODUCERS at the Film Society of Lincoln Center this evening. I’m starting to question whether I can stay awake through all this.

    I think it may be a good idea not to tell the actor I’m approaching next week about the real-life connections in my script. The fewer people who know about them, the better, and at this point, there are many completely fictional passages. It’s a real mixture of what I know about my inspiration and pure products of my imagination, and the character’s personality has become much different the more drafts I did.

  5. Toniok

    Hello Dennis!

    Wow, Val del Omar! That is great! And what a beautiful post. I love his work, he and Iván Zulueta are my favorite Spanish directors by far. His movies are… well you’ve already seen them. Lagartija Nick are great too, the band is formed by some members of 091 and that song is from their album ‘Val del Omar’, and of course the album includes his texts and samples of his voice. Awesome post!

    Ah, I’m reading Jane Bowles, awesome too, do you like her?

  6. Montse

    Dennis, yay! Gorgeous post! I see you managed to find many things, some of which I didn’t know. If anyone could do such a thorough job, that was you! I hadn’t seen Val del Omar’s work for a while, so I’ve spent some time watching some of these clips. They were really something. Thank you.
    Yeah, I prefer being busy too. I get anxious when I don’t have much to do. I’m subtitling some movies at the moment. ‘Finding Dory’ and ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ are the highlights, I guess. I wouldn’t see them in the theater but it’s interesting to translate them.

  7. Val del Omar is fascinating
    “Two Serious Ladies” is one of the greatest works of literature ever created. I put it right up there with Proust and Gaddis.

    “Thundercrack!” was most definitely a collaboration between George (who wrote it and starred) and Curt (who shot it and directed) I’m not sure if they were still a couple at that time. Neverthless they remained close after breaking up and George shot a video of Curt on his deathbed.

    Latest FaBlog: The Art of The Piss

  8. steevee

    I felt good when I was active, and when I was sitting around home doing nothing, I wanted to sleep all day. However, my energy level is so low – I feel like I got about 4 hours’ sleep last night, even though I got much more – that it’s difficult to leave my apartment, much less make it up to Lincoln Center. I hope this picks up quickly.

    Here’s a review of the best Iranian film I’ve seen in years, and the first 2017 new release with a shot at greatness:

  9. Jonathan

    Hi D

    Your too kind with your words 🙂 not much yesterday excitement wise. It was mostly staring at a screen. But one thing is close to completion which is good. Read chap books by Mary Ruefle & Noelle Kocot yesterday which were a great during renderings.
    Then mostly stared out the window at the sea.
    Val del Omar’s work looks cool need to check it out properly.
    Hope your day was awesome!

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