Sunday, 5 June 2011

bright star


becoming jane

the red shoes

un secret



i’m not there

i’m not there

i am love



la double vie de véronique

la double vie de véronique

la double vie de véronique

never let me go

never let me go

never let me go

Whenever I start editing another chapter for my book, I spread out all the film stills within the chapter and decide which ones to use in the book. Today, as I was doing this, I noticed my tendency to choose images that focus on hands. I also tend to do this with images I choose from films I review on this blog. Looking at these images all together is striking; it's like coming face-to-face with my own preoccupations.

When I try to pinpoint why I'm fascinated with images of hands in film, I always return to the opening passages from Andrei Makine's novel, Once Upon the River Love. The novel begins with a sensual sexual encounter between the narrator and an unknown woman, described like a movie. Throughout their encounter, the woman's fingers are arguably her most expressive body part. While the male narrator touches her body, she touches the piano keys in front of her. Yes, there's cliche in these opening passages, but there's also something else. Call it a hint.

When the narrator stops describing his encounter with the woman and speaks to his writer friend, he names his sexual encounter 'raw material'. I love that. For me, images of hands suggest 'raw material', a promise of something. This 'something' doesn't necessarily refer to desire or intimacy, it's just a general feeling of promise, like something is about to happen. They also remind me that if I want to examine the big picture of the topography of a film, I need to focus on the small detail first.

This probably doesn't make much sense to anyone but me, so I'm sorry for this aimless rambling. It does help me though, to put these thoughts out in a single post. It's like I'm going through a process of 'organising' my ideas. I hope everyone is having a relaxing Sunday, it's back to editing for me.

Image credits: click on the images for their source film (from my own flickr account).


Lyndall said...

Such a lovely collection of images. When I collect film stills, I always like the ones which show the character's rooms. I think hands (and rooms) are such nice little snapshots of a character's personality ♥

Good luck with your editing! Your book sounds very interesting~

Mary Lou (not really a pseudonym) said...

I don't have anything relevant or witty to add except this post is almost like porn to me. I love hands! I always look at hands when I meet someone.

Caitlin Rose said...

whenever I'm nervous I don't know what to do with my hands, but I know that I always want to hide them, as if they will surely expose how nervous I really am. I usually stand with my arms crossed in front of me and end up looking odd and stand-off-ish. Ah well.

Lovely collection of images, personally I do think hands say a lot about a person, or maybe I've just seen "Gone with the Wind" too many times.

Amelia said...

That's so true. I love hands for the same reasons, they tell so much about people.

Ashley said...

It's odd how our fixations can be so difficult to comprehend. As soon as I start to analyze something, the meaning gets further away from me.

I like your selection of photos and stills; when all else fails, it can be insightful to try and look for patterns to compensate for the thoughts that aren't as tangible as they might be.

P.S. Did I just blow your mind? xx

Thea said...

hands, they are so humble and hardworking that it's almost easy to forget their there, sometimes. they just get on with the job. an entire story could be told by looking at people's hands. it's a fascinating and thought-provoking preoccupation you've got there. :)

Thea said...

(ps, good luck with your editing.)

Sasha said...

Hands are so incredibly capable of infinite expression and action. They're such a beautiful part of the human body and I find myself drawn to them frequently in images, films and even writing. Needless to say, I appreciate this post a lot.

Best of luck editing!

Olga said...

Hands in art are on the same level as the face. The body language of both is the most important element in unraveling a character.

Tana said...

you picked out such great stills Hila!

P R I M O E Z A said...

that's interesting that as a writer you are so visual. i love hearing about your process too.

Emily Vanessa said...

I think you can tell a lot about a person through their hands, their moods and the kind of life they lead. I'm so jealous of your poetic stills - simply exquisite.

synaesthetisch said...

hands define a person. they can do good: be creative, caress, love, build, help etc. imagine a writer without his notebook and a pen - even today in our modern and digtialized world nearly impossible. and at the same time hands are able to destroy, kill, wound or hurt.hands display your life, scars, wrinkles, the bright spot that is left whenever you take your wedding ring off your finger... i'm a fairly new reader of your blog but i've grown to love your poetic, highliy visual and asthetic posts in a very short time. please, keep on going. all the best from germany :)

Blue Fruit said...

I know what you mean about the promise of something.

It's incredible just how much expression can be conveyed in a simple arrangement of the hands. These images took me on a journey of emotions.

andrea despot said...

what an interesting personal discovery for you!

i've long had a thing for hands and indeed, i looked through all of my blog posts of screen captures and gathered many hands. i don't want to steal your idea and do my own hand post, but i do want you to see what i gathered (atonement and bright star were full of hands, apparently):

well, i was going to link to photobucket but it uploaded too small and won't let me make it bigger! so i emailed it to you instead :)

Christine said...

I love looking at hands. They are very telling, especially during a conversation.

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

Body language is so intriguing. The hands, feet, shoulders, eyes -- they say so much.

hila said...

lyndall: thanks! I love snapshots of interiors and rooms too.

mary lou: me too, it's the first thing I notice about somebody.

caitlin rose: I do the same, and I have a habit of fidgeting.

amelia: I totally agree.

ashley: I always try to pick apart why I'm fixated with certain things, and while I may not get a definitive answer, I do get many possible answers.

thea: thank you, and well put :)

sasha: thanks!

olga: I agree

tana: thank you!

elizabeth/primoeza: yes, it is strange that I'm primarily visual, since my profession is the exact opposite :)

emily vanessa: glad you like them :)

synaesthetisch: thanks, what a sweet comment.

blue fruit: I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees 'promise' in such images.

andrea: thanks again, it's a lovely collection :)

christine: you're so right

denise: yes, although I wish I were better at reading body language.

Molly said...

I love what you wrote: "For me, images of hands suggest 'raw material', a promise of something." So true! Hands are everything, the brain's instruments for making ideas a reality. By simply looking at an image of someone's hands, we have no idea what those hands are capable of. How exciting, Hila! This glimpse into your creative process is indeed a treat.

hila said...

molly: oh thanks, you are sweet :)

gracia said...

'raw material'
Yes! I love that too.
(And I enjoyed naming each film or trying to name each film in the stills above. A handsome, intimate and telling collection of hands.)

Tracey said...

Your collected images are beautiful ... it's interesting when we discover what preoccupies us ... especially when that's in the form of images.

'raw material' is a wonderful concept ... and I very much like how you linked it with the potential that is offered by the hand. They can be a revealer of so many things.

PS. I hope the editing is going well.

hila said...

gracia and tracey: yep, just the words 'raw material' have so much promise attached to them.