an online showcase curated by Maya Kóvskaya



by Jon Thompson



Remembering you, I’m remembering us—or your imagined, hoped-for version of us. I’m remembering the Tramp who could not help but find himself in the shabbiness of run-down Olvera Street. Shambling, or as the occasion demanded, running in his trademark herky-jerky way from the law. Who struggled against hard-heartedness & casual cruelty, holding fast onto the child who, yes, stole his heart. I’m remembering, too, a director who screened a language “of eyes and smiles, of eyes and affection.” Would that there could be homage to that. Would that there could be homage to the wordless warmth—the wit—of your films, but words can’t match the power of faces seeing one another, fully seeing one another. The language of eyes has always been greater than that of tongues. But, as it turns out, it does help, at least, to cry out—to address the ones you love, even as they’re being separated from you. I think of your films as comic (tragic) statements against all the powers that would separate us from happiness. Pathos in the recognition that we’ve created those powers—systems & institutions—that dominate and disfigure us. Though often regarded as fearful, it’s the fierceness of The Tramp that strikes me. His willingness to honor what one should not be ashamed to identify the heart’s desire. Of all the faces in film, only his is at once hopeful, knowing, wry, tender & sad. It gives to the screen an extraordinary intensity, an extraordinary intimacy. A felt sense of possibility, that the world can be remade, that injustice, poverty & despair can be redeemed. A felt sense that it can vanquish small-mindedness and tightly-sealed ideals. Sorry that we became what we did. Did the Tramp, also, despair of us? Can he simply despair? Deepest regrets for our mean-minded, petty failures. For using too many words.

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