“if there is a God, chaos and death will appear among it’s
attributes, if God doesn’t exist, it changes nothing, for chaos and
death will be self-sufficient until the end of doesn’t matter
what it’s praised, we are all victims of caducity and dissolution, it
doesn’t matter what is adored because this can’t help in avoiding
anything, the good and the bad have only one common destiny, a common
abyss which hosts saints and monsters, the idea of right and wrong is
nothing but a delirium, at which we cling for convenience.” (Handbook of Chaos)
These same debates can be applied to another of Bacon’s pictures at the 1949 exhibition, Study for Portrait (see below). There are however two important differences compared with Head VI . The man is dressed in a jacket and tie as distinct from papal robes and, unusually for Bacon, there appear to be the shadows of two onlookers in the foreground. The figure is therefore a more formal one and doesn’t possess the isolation that one thinks of in connection with Bacon’s heads and portraits. Later observers noted that in this image, Bacon had prefigured the box-like structure that contained Adolf Eichmann in his trial of 1961.
That would be a better title than Song to Song if only Malick understood that sexual compulsion and the spiritual hunger it masks were no longer avant-garde subject matter. (Perhaps he means the Old Testament’s Song of Songs.) Josef von Sternberg and Michelangelo Antonioni also got there before him. Malick and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki are talented enough to recall those masters, but their undisciplined sketchbook-improvisatory style doesn’t come close, it’s just picture-taking. Malick makes the amateur’s mistake of evoking art beyond his capability — not just the distracting cameo appearances by John Lydon and Patti Smith but especially the excerpt from Dimitri Kirsanoff’s Ménilmontant (1926), perhaps the most intensely violent, sexual, and emotional movie ever made about mankind’s fall from grace.