Friday, April 08, 2005

kana' tumanges

I've just realized that you can learn alot about someone from them recalling the moments that they almost cried, as opposed to the moments they did cry. Particular so in movies. Actual tears of course means that on some level catharsis has taken place and that the equation may nonetheless be stange, but it is at least complete. The weak "I don't know why I'm crying" is of course the statement which makes the catharsis complete, designed to cover over the gap. Allowing whatever release as taken place not to be reflexively diminshed.

Almost crying however forces one to confront the gap and attempt to understand why didn't you cry and why did you think you were supposed to cry. The partiality of drives and of the self becomes manifest in the very partiality of the feeling itself.

So why am I typing this now? Shouldn't it be obvious?

I was watching a movie and of course at a very emotional scene I almost cried and of course had to figure out why I almost cried and why I felt that I should, or felt bad that I didn't.

When I settled down to try and come up with a reason why I realized that no one in the history of the world has ever interpreted this movie this way.

I should test this out and see if anyone has though. Does anyone know if anyone has analyzed the film Yaadon Ki Baarat by thinking about Lacan's conception of the symptom? I doubt it, although most people have probably at some level thought of what I thought and were pulled to an emotional edge because of it, no one probably would have wasted their time thinking of it to the extent that I did and am doing so.

In Looking Awry Zizek writes of the symptom as the excess that irritates but nonetheless awaits the completion of a system. It is the thing which will disappear when a system is completed or has run its course. He mentions Asimov's short story, The Nine Billion Names of God, and how in that story, the world, the universe is nothing but a symptom, which awaits completion. In the story a group of monks hire computer techs to design a program which will generate all the possible names of God. The monks believe that when all the possible, nine billion names of God are written down then the purpose of the universe as a symptom to signify a flaw, a lack or an incompleteness will be complete and the universe will disappear. At the end of the story, the computer techs are walking down from the mountains, ruminating that the computer will soon finish its work, spitting out all the possible names. As they are walking they look up at the sky and see the stars slowly blinking out, the universe is beginning to fade away.

In Yaadon Ki Baarat, the song "Yaadon ki Baarat" signals the symptom. In the start of the film when Ratan sings before the hotel audience in hopes of finding his two brothers who are the only people who can help him finish this song, you see the same process. The entire structure and system of this film is built upon this lack, the brother's separation and searches for each other.

Towards the film's end, when Ratan is singing Yaadon ki Baarat, this time with both Shankar and Vijay in the room, one feel's tense in anticipation of the symptom's dissolution (much like a patient in psychoanalysis), as these two will no doubt join Ratan and finish the song. But the festishization of the symptom strikes back and prevents it, although it is both anticipated and the reassertion of the lack strongly emphasised with the guards present in the room.

But like in life, we often take for granted the things which don't really happen. The movie continues one with the symtom never being dissolved on screen. The three never join in song, it is alluded to but never takes place. So like with most of us, we feel that the system has been completed, that this psychological misssion has been accomplished. But of course, the lack still lurks deep down, as it does at the end of the film, when the song plays over the cheerful and happy hugs, as it is not the song which would signal a psychoanalytical "happy" ending (which would be the grown voices of Vijay, Ratan and Shankar) it is instead the children's voices from the film's beginning. Thus in the film and as us the audience and actors in life have been fooled once again.

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