casablanca


'The Archetypes Hold a Reunion

Casablanca is a cult movie precisely because all the archetypes are there, because each actor repeats a part played on other occasions, and because human being live not "real" life but life as stereotypically portrayed in previous films. Casablanca carries the sense of déjà vu to such a degree that the addressee is ready to see in it what happened after it as well. It is not until To Have and Have Not that Bogey plays the role of the Hemingway hero, but here he appears "already" loaded with Hemingwayesque connotations simply because Rick fought in Spain. Peter Lorre trails reminiscences of Fritz Lang, Conrad Veidt's German officer emanates a faint whiff of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. He is not a ruthless, technological Nazi; he is a nocturnal and diabolical Caesar.
Casablanca becomes a cult movie because it is not one movie. It is "movies." And this is the reason it works, in defiance of any aesthetic theory.
For it stage the powers of Narrativity in its natural state, before art intervenes to tame it. This is why we accept the way characters change mood, morality, and psychology from one moment to the next, that conspirators cough to interrupt the conversation when a spy is approaching, that bar girls cry at the sound of Marseillaise . . .
When all the archetypes burst out shamelessly, we plumb Homeric profundity. Two clichés make us laugh but a hundred clichés move us because we sense dimly that the clichés are talking among themselves, celebrating a reunion.
Just as the extreme of pain meets sensual pleasure, and the extreme perversion borders on mystical energy, so too the extreme banality allows us to catch a glimpse of the Sublime.
Nobody would have been able to achieve such a cosmic result intentionally. Nature has spoken in place of me. This, alone, is a phenomenon worthy of veneration.'


Travels in Hyperreality
(Reading Things
Sub-chapter: Casablanca: Cult Movies and Intertextual Collage)
(Pages 208-209)




I may be a little fascinated by this man's brain.