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Aesthetic of the Incomplete


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    We wouldn’t toss the Venus de Milo ‘cuz she hasn’t any arms. Ditto the Laocoon. Naw, a whole army of artists and art historians, lo these many years since the discovery of the aforementioned works, have wrestled with concepts of what the missing arms might have been. Aesthetic sudoku for the cognoscenti.

    There’s a phrase for it-this interest in fragments-“The Aesthetic of the Incomplete”. You know what it is, and you’ve felt it when a detail, blown-up from almost any image has more power and interest than the bigger picture.

    And, we wouldn’t dismiss the value of the Venus de Milo, would we? Naw. Same deal with Kurosawa’s “The Idiot”. We can look at the fragment and see formal similarities to other’s of the artist’s ouvre. We can compare to works of the same time, in the same medium, from the same geographic location/culture. We can discuss iconography, symbolism, craftsmanship.

    It’s probably not terribly useful to rank things, rate things. I personally only like “top ten” lists when they’re tongue-in-cheek. So, I wouldn’t go out on a limb and say “The Idiot is the best film in the Kurosawa library”, or even that it is my favorite. But, I can say that the film exhibits qualities of greatness. Character development, film techniques, setting, mood, and that ineffable quality of film that Kurosawa called “cinematic beauty”-are hallmarks of great Kurosaw and present her, in fragment form.


    Vili Maunula

    As this seems to be very much a continuation of this thread, I’ll close this new topic and encourage anyone who wants to reply to yippee to do it in the older thread.

    Let’s try to follow the (unwritten) rule of “one topic, one thread — one thread, one topic”.

    Edit: I see now that our old friend the spam filter had caught a couple of yippee’s messages to the Idiot thread, prompting him to write here. I need to find a better spam filter, for heaven’s sake…

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