The Tensile Meeting of Body, Cinema, and Rhythmic Pattern in Marie Menken’s Arabesque for Kenneth Anger
Through phenomenological descriptions of Arabesque for Kenneth Anger, a short experimental film by Marie Menken, this paper demonstrates how the film coheres in the midst of rhythmic tension. Menken’s embodied gestures, the segmenting mechanisms of the camera, and the enticing patterns of the Alhambra of Granada interweave to form a unique cinematic contrapuntal composition. In tension with each other, the film’s distinctive rhythms incite, evidence, and critique one another. The textures of the Alhambra make palpable Menken’s gestures as well as the camera’s intermittent motions; the camera lens makes explicit Menken’s embodied presence as well as the enticement of rhythmic pattern; Menken’s bodily movements make present the camera’s mechanical beats as well as the Alhambra’s vibrating surfaces. Within this tensile meeting, each element draws out distinctive features of the others that otherwise remain hidden or implicit. Moreover, this tensile meeting is shown to inhere in a potent and generative field of movement. The paper contributes to hermeneutically clarifying Menken’s extraordinary film as well as an embodied approach to encountering the film.
Este trabalho encontra-se publicado com a Licença Internacional Creative Commons Atribuição 4.0.