À la recherche du temps perdu

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Month: February, 2010

鵲橋的相會

今天我更確切的感覺到自己年紀長了。昨晚的那種離愁別緒,今早醒來已差不多煙消雲散。事隔才不過一場覺,我這人還變得真冷漠啊。昨晚寫之前那一篇時,不期然回想起中學時參加女童軍的那些營火晚會,去到尾聲時總是會唱’Auld Lang Syne’和’Shalom’,十多歲的少男少女雙手交差的手牽着手,圍着快要消滅殆盡的營火,青澀的歌聲隨着火花徐徐升上跟平日有點不一樣的都市夜空。那時我總是感到很傷感,想不通為甚麼美好的東西總是這麼快便完結,而第二天我們又要照常穿着校服上我們各自的學校,彷彿甚麼都沒發生過。這傷感通常會跟着我好個十多天,然後才慢慢給沖淡。或者少年人就是如此多愁善感,因為他們擁有太多時間和青春,現在的我早已沒有用來多愁善感的時間。

但其實,從學校到工作,從一個地方到另一個地方,這些年來經歷過這許多的遇見和離別,我早就了解離別即使不是必然,也是必需的。我很喜歡新認識的從外地來的朋友們,很想大伙每天聚在一塊玩,但日子久了,那種新鮮感會慢慢消失,大家的話題會變少,原本覺得有趣的面孔會開始生厭,然後大家會發現其實自己還是想回去各自原本的生活。有時,在彼此生厭之前分道揚鑣,反而是最好的。而我也早已明白離別本身其實並不傷感。像同事所說的:鵲橋相會,更勝如影相隨。剛好神話裡的牛郎織女一年也只有一次的相會,這麼聯想的話,我們的離合就變得更加傳奇浪漫(剛好又是元宵佳節),又或者用台灣同事的話去講,就是很有Feel哦。

We’ll take a cup of kindness yet

When I am writing this, I have just come back home, having parted with my colleagues who I will not be able to see again for some time. And for this reason I am feeling a bit dejected right now.

I have been quiet these days, not just because I have to save up for a writing project, but also because this is one of the busiest weeks in the year for my work place. Simply, there has been an annual researcher’s meeting, which is in fact more like an annual general meeting, when our overseas researchers travel all the way to Hong Kong to report to the home base and to participate in this annual meeting with the other local staff. And over the course of a week there are meetings and presentations, and of course social gatherings in and out of the official programme.

I had been feeling excited ever since the week’s programme was released. I longed to meet my colleagues whom I had never met in person but only communicated through email. The idea of a group of young dedicated art professionals all flying at the same time from different parts of Asia to gather in Hong Kong, in our home base, for an annual meeting, very much thrilled me. And in the end there were 7 of them, all young, smart, friendly, but each very different from the other, and who somehow presented quite contrary images to what I had all along imagined. My adrenaline level had been high throughout the week and I basically could not concentrate on my routine tasks but kept looking out for opportunities to learn more from these heavenly creatures who literally appeared suddenly out of the blue.

It was all very inspiring learning about the happenings in other Asian countries from them who have been working remotely from us and who have the first hand experience, but I sensed that there is something about this young art people’s group thing, the energy, the enthusiasm, the allure of young dreams. This was particularly intense when we were off work hanging out together, when drinks and jokes flew about and friendships began to form. When I was hugging everyone goodbye just now after our very last gathering before they set off for their separate homes tomorrow, our Korean girl pulled a face – it is so sad to say goodbye, right at the moment when there are new friends found. But since this is our fate to meet only every once a year for a brief period of a week, we all hugged and said goodbye gracefully, made promises to keep in touch, and began to look forward to a year later when we shall meet again, if all should go well.

誰偷去我的回憶

我的記性很好,也很不好。這兩天香港人的大新聞,一定是羅啟銳導演、張婉婷監製的《歲月神偷》奪得柏林影展水晶熊獎「新世代」最佳影片。這時我才記起,張婉婷大仙曾經在我出書的時候給過我那麼多的支持,我竟然好像在回憶很久遠的事情,還在懷疑究竟那回憶有幾多分真實有幾多分出自自己的妄想。對於我竟然要這樣回想一件曾經等於生命意義的事,其實真的很奇怪,對於大仙也很過意不去。說到底,張婉婷大仙那時不止給我說幾句鼓勵的說話,她甚至認真的看完了我那十萬字的稿件,然後給我寫了一個很誠懇的書序,還要親身出席了我的新書發佈會作嘉賓。雖然她是我的大仙,而港大一向有薪火相傳的傳統,我都覺得她為我這個細仙做的太多了。不過也正因為她是一個那麼發自內心地溫暖的人,所以她能製作出像《秋天的童話》、《玻璃之城》和《歲月神偷》那麼讓人內心發暖的作品。

說到回憶,其實我們都是因為回憶而做我們所做的事。從她的電影都可以看到,張婉婷大仙是一個很念舊很長情的人,她的懷舊跟王家衛那種是不一樣的,是一種更平易近人更能引發共鳴的共同回憶。而我就是因為無法放下過去,所以寫了那本書,書裡寫了很多連我的同年仙都記不起的事,那時,她們都驚訝我竟有如斯記憶力。但現在,我反而都記不起了。我想那是因為,那些太沉重的回憶,都給封印在書裡了。寫作是把回憶封印的儀式,一個為了讓我可以放下過去,重新出發而存在的儀式。當我真的放下了,原本死纏爛打的記憶就奇妙地記不起來了。幾乎就是有一個歲月神偷,把我的回憶都偷去了。但其實,回憶,就在光影和字裡行間。偶爾看見,心裡還會掠過一絲似曾相識的痛。




(為了証明自己不是妄想,立刻找回2006年10月19日壹週刊的報導……)

日本人的帝國狂想曲

《K-20怪人二十面相.伝》


新年假期裡,其實還看了這一部,因為這電影引發了較多的聯想,所以特別開一篇來寫。

很久以前已經大約知道日本人家傳戶曉的「怪人二十面相」,那大概相等於香港人的原振俠。怪人二十面相是日本推理小說家江戸川 乱歩創造的人物,是一個善於使用易容術的怪盜,因而被稱作二十面相,即是擁有二十個面容的意思。怪人二十面相專門向珍貴的美術品下手,每次犯案前都會發出通知信,跟宿敵偵探明智小五朗鬥智。覺得似曾相識,正是因為江戸川 乱歩的推理小說奠定了以後日本推理小說的模式,打後的推理小說,不是跟從這個模式,就是引用了很多江戸川 乱歩作品元素的致敬之作,就如這電影改篇自的原著小說《K-20怪人二十面相.伝》,就是作者北村想根據江戸川 乱歩的原著改篇重寫而成的作品。

(說到這一點,忍不住也想數一數我曾見過的引用怪人二十面相的例子:雖然《金田一少年の事件簿》明顯是源自另一推理小說金田一耕助系列,但內裡的天才幹探明智健悟的角色很可能是源自江戸川 乱歩的明智小五郎。又CLAMP絕對是江戸川 乱歩的粉絲,早期作品《20面相におねがい!!》 就是一個怪人二十面相的改篇故事,而後來的《CLAMP学園探偵団》,一個本身跟《20面相におねがい!!》有關聯的故事,其原型也很可能來自明智小五郎所組成的「少年偵探團」。)

看這電影,除了能認識日本人所鍾愛的民間故事,也可以更了解江戸川 乱歩的原著於現今日本文學的影響力,和改篇版本給原著版本所賦予的新生命。在原著裡的正邪分立,在北村想的新版本裡變得不再理所當然,金城武飾演的馬戲班子遠藤平吉被怪人二十面相設局陷害,被當成了怪人二十面相,成了通緝犯,家園的馬戲班沒有了,只能過潛逃的生活。期間他遇到了松隆子飾演的華族家庭的千金小姐羽柴葉子,得知她和她的家族秘寶成了怪人二十面相的目標,便跟她和她的未婚夫名偵探明智小五郎聯手查出那家族秘寶的秘密,並誘捕真正的怪人二十面相。故事到最後出人意表,江戸川 乱歩筆下的大英雄明智小五郎卻正正是怪人二十面相本人,他的身世和改變世界的野心也得到解說,到最後更以死來告別舞台,而遠藤平吉就順理成章的取而代之,成了新的怪人二十面相,讓K-20的傳說流傳下去。這麼一個結局,大概連原作者也沒有想到。

不論是故事,動作場面還是美術指導,電影版《K-20怪人二十面相.伝》都不會讓觀眾失望。然最令我印象深刻的是故事的背景設定。故事設定於一個叫做「帝都」的虛構時空,假設日本跟英美簽訂了和平條約,迴避了第二次世界大戰和原子彈爆發的1949年的東京(亦即帝都)。這樣的一個世界觀其實並不獨特,反而常常於日本人的流行文化裡出現,其中最廣為人知的應該是電玩《花都大戰》,一群擁有特別能力的少女在帝國軍隊的召喚下組成一支軍團,對付對帝都有不軌意圖的外來入侵者。「帝都」最顯著的特色就是其二十世紀初的西洋化的東京形象,新古典風格的大樓,蒸氣電車和汽車,原始的小型飛機(像羽柴葉子所駕駛的),華族和達官貴人都作西方紳士打扮,淑女們穿洋裝,各種西方風味的事物(例如遠藤平吉的馬戲班,還有羽柴家的家傳寶Pieter Bruegel的”The Tower of Babel”(現實世界中是在荷蘭鹿特丹的Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen)),而最重要是世代對科技和機械的崇拜(怪人二十面相目標的新能源機關裝置)。

這個帝都基本上是被刻劃成唯美的,彷彿一個日本人未完成的夢,就是如果日本沒有參與第二次世界大戰,又或者如果沒有戰敗,日本就會是這個樣子,一個美麗的帝國。但如果就這樣把這電影看成是日本人的帝國情懷又未免太危險太斷章取義,因為在這個帝都裡,也有不美麗的地方。一開始的時候,電影就說明了這個帝都是日本19世紀華族的延續,帝都財富的九成集中於特權階級,是一個存在極端貧富差距社會階層的社會。遠藤平吉就是屬於貧窮階層,而羽柴葉子則是華族的後人,二人初次接觸時就產生了身份磨擦,平吉對華族和政府的腐敗導致大部份人的苦難深惡痛絕,而嬌生慣養的葉子則看清了現實,並發現自己生命中應當追隨的路。而明智小五郎更是因為出身於跟平吉一樣的景況,因而力爭上游成為具有名望的偵探,並跟華族的後人締結婚約,同時亦化身怪人二十面相,最終目的是以羽柴家的新能源機關裝置摧毀帝都,然後重新建造一個美好新世界。這個威力等同原子彈的武器最後被破壞了,亦可說是代表了一種反核武的和平願景。葉子所代表的華族在電影結尾宣佈將家族的財富全部回饋社會,也可以說是另一種不講霸權(羽柴家聳立於帝都中央的摩天大樓因新能源機關裝置自爆而倒塌,也象徵了帝國主義的崩潰)而講求關愛的美好新世界的開始。

這麼一個帝都,就不止是一個理想社會的形象,也代表了一種意識形態的轉移。我想《K-20怪人二十面相.伝》那麼討好,也不只是因為故事或者名星效應的。

Aphrodite, Eros, and Jane Austen

一個以文人自居的人居然還會刻意去應節這等老土事,不過我就是喜歡這樣,當所有節日早已淪為市場鼓吹消費的工具,我倒是樂於在聖誕節時找舊聖誕頌來聽重讀講述耶穌基督誕生的新約章節甚至去買一個英式聖誕布丁回家煮,某年的情人節我也試過跑幾間影碟店只為了找一隻《Annie Hall》。今年的情人節,或者可以寫這麼一篇有關愛情的經典、迷思,和失望。


《Broken Embraces》

像之前Quentin Tarantino的《Inglorious Bastards》那樣,不知道是否一旦上了神枱的神級導演們,他們千呼萬喚始出來的作品總是令人大失所望。《Broken Embraces》對於電影迷,不管是Pedro Almodóvar 也好Penélope Cruz也好都是令人引頸以待的。

起初,當我見到Almodóvar又再一次使出拿手的「戲中戲」把戲,將敘述者的角色設在失明的電影導演身上,似要回去探討創作者和他的創作之間的關係這命題,還滿心歡喜的期待情節的發展,誰知幾條伏線到最後都斷了線(但又一點都不”Breathless”),離場時只剩下我一面迷惘的「完了?」和很多個不同造型的Penélope Cruz特寫在腦海中打轉。原本我以為失明導演發現真相後會利用有錢人的兒子的偷拍片斷重新剪片,又或者有錢人的兒子會如何復仇,然後失明導演和女同事還有那私生子的秘密等等,結果還是被同行的朋友確認了,我的確只是諗多左。最慘的是,連剩下來花了很多篇幅的那些情與慾還有金錢的糾紛矛盾,我都不太感受到。

又或者那只是我們的一廂情願,真正的藝術家其實並不在乎如何討好觀眾。看了這戲我明白了,或者其實導演只是想突出他的繆思的風韻,給她最大最亮麗的舞台,那麼,他是做到了,因為《Broken Embraces》裡的Penélope Cruz美豔就如女神Aphrodite。有甚麼比一個有錢人的情婦去拍電影,其間愛上電影導演(靚人靚衫靚景還可以一開十)這個設定更能切合這個目的?


《Eros》

同一個情況,可以得到相反的效果,就是期望越少,失望越少。這愛神我放家中好久了,都提不起興致看,不外乎是聽說過很多不好的評價,難得假日也不想浪費時間破壞心情。倒是情人節到了,想都或者周遭節日氣氛可以是催化劑,那麼說不定也有些看頭,就是在這麼一個不堪的情況下看的。然後,出乎意料的,還不錯嘛。起碼,雖然我搞不懂第三個故事(可能是導演Michelangelo Antonioni太前輩級了,因此也完全脫節了,人物對白節奏全都錯了),王家衛的《手》是那麼一個淒美的情慾與抑壓的故事,Steven Soderbergh的《夢》雖然不是很精彩,那男人會見心理學家的一幕也有其可愛地方。

雖然被說是《花樣年華》的外傳,但《手》其實是另外一個無關的故事。的確,背景和風格都跟《花樣年華》同出一轍,那種對抑壓的情慾的迷思和戀物情結依然佔據着我們的王大導演。然這個短篇是一個意識更大膽,而且更戲劇性的故事。我沒見過這麼美麗的鞏俐,也沒有男人的深情會比張震飾演的裁縫那麼令人痛心。


《Pride and Prejudice》

這小說我看了沒有四遍都該有三遍了。到現在我都找不到一部比《Pride and Prejudice》更美妙的小說。而BBC 1995年的電視劇版本,是Jane Austen迷公認的最好的《Pride and Prejudice》電影/視版。這版本保留了小說裡眾多家傳戶曉的人物最精要的特質,減省了太多的枝節,又加插了小說無法表現的視覺效果官能刺激(例如Colin Firth飾演的Mr Darcy跳進湖中然後全身濕透地上岸,令到英國興起了一股”Darcy Mania”),再加上聰明而不花巧的場景和鏡頭設計(Lizzy跟Mr Darcy跳舞的那一幕,經典得之後重拍的版本都要抄橋),於是無可避免地成了現世的愛情經典,即使十五年後的今天再看,吸引力亦絲毫無減。Colin Firth也因此成為了英國電影界的標準美男子,一下子晉升到一線影星地位,都是多得這繼Chaucer, Shakespeare和Milton之後的英國國寶級作家。

記得當初這劇集逢週末在無線明珠台播放,那時我還只是初中生。週末的下午陽光明媚,我們懶洋洋的坐在沙發上,就進入了這個Jane Austen的Green Victorian的浪漫世界。那個時候的我,覺得那個男主角還真醜。然後上了大學,可以看原著了,就有比較文學系的教授手舞足蹈的問她的學生們看了哪幾部Jane Austen。我就發現,原來她也是一個Darcy Maniac。女孩子們,與其看張小嫺,還不如看Jane Austen優雅而充滿social satire的浪漫經典。

因此,沒有看過原著小說的人,不要再說之前Keira Knightly演Elizabeth Bennet的《Pride and Prejudice》很精彩,因為那版本只有靚人靚衫靚景,但就一點都不Jane Austen。現在就是太多時代片太過想着要用視覺和明星去取悅觀眾,而犧牲了原著/原來年代的味道了。

Alexander McQueen (1969-2010)

每一個年代,總要有一些擁有驚世才華的人,帶給世人夢想。
因為,我們的生命大都太短暫而無趣了。

 

轉載自蘋果日報 2010年02月13日
http://hk.apple.nextmedia.com/template/apple/art_main.php?iss_id=20100213&sec_id=462&art_id=13727740

Alexander McQueen( 1969- 2010)潮之祭

我的靈感源自夢境,當你有幸能從夢中尋找靈感,這是絕對的原創。它不存在於這世界,它存在你的腦海。這是多麼的美妙呀!—— Alexander McQueen如此解說自己的創作靈感。

天妒英才,只得 40歲的英國設計師 Alexander McQueen自殺身亡, McQueen前衞狂想、浮誇壯觀、古典復摩登的服裝,以及精采絕倫的時裝騷,震撼過無數人。 Alexander McQueen被譽為自 70年代英國 punk潮後,為英國時裝帶來文藝復興期、起死回生的一代設計師。 92年出道的他,初期風格屬歌德式,黯黑古典、硬線條剪裁,到中期轉玩 soft、 ruffles的柔和立體。

硬朗天使翅上衣,充滿流線美。 1999 S/S 
硬朗天使翅上衣,充滿流線美。 1999 S/S

由 hard shape轉玩柔和曲線,靈感來自西班牙與性的 ruffles dress。 2002 S/S 
由 hard shape轉玩柔和曲線,靈感來自西班牙與性的 ruffles dress。 2002 S/S


天才橫溢無盡驚喜

千禧後,天才橫溢的 McQueen更得心應手,將未來感與戲劇化夢幻融合,嶄新的人體剪裁線條、奇幻電腦數碼印花。 McQueen是設計師,同時也是一個 showman,在他的舞台上,一幕一幕視覺震撼,從不叫停。放火、落雪、淋雨、變魔術樣樣齊, 90年末, Shalom Harlow穿上白裙,由巨型噴墨 robot噴到全身墨;時裝騷忽然升起的透明金字塔內,姬蒂摩絲( Kate Moss)以投影效果如女神般凌空出現;還有蒙眼女郎在台上被火圍住燒、大堆黑色垃圾放在台中諷刺自然生態被破壞,震撼時裝界。撰文:林妙萍

集中世紀古堡夢幻與詭異浪漫的鹿角雪紡長裙。 2007 F/W 
集中世紀古堡夢幻與詭異浪漫的鹿角雪紡長裙。 2007 F/W

紅色大嘴配襯千鳥格 ruffles dress,滲出黑色幽默。 2009 F/W 
紅色大嘴配襯千鳥格 ruffles dress,滲出黑色幽默。 2009 F/W

飾滿金麟的金色 bodysuit,奇幻浮誇。 2007 F/W 
飾滿金麟的金色 bodysuit,奇幻浮誇。 2007 F/W

McQueen最後一個系列,奇幻未來的新裝與 12吋高 Armadillos怪獸鞋。 2010 S/S 
McQueen最後一個系列,奇幻未來的新裝與 12吋高 Armadillos怪獸鞋。 2010 S/S


Wyman:巨星殞落

Alexander McQueen自殺,潮人黃偉文( Wyman)慨嘆又一巨星殞落,他以國寶形容 McQueen說:「我覺得 Alexander McQueen為現代英國高級時裝創造咗好多新嘅詞彙,例如佢用好多羽毛、同動物有關嘅元素、用好多骷髏頭,同時又有啲古典主義,維多利亞時代風,結合摩登物料,代表咗當代英國嘅時裝風格,佢嘅離世,係英國時裝嘅重大損失。因為暫時未睇到喺佢之後,有一個人或者一班人,可以創造一個新時代。」


McQueen好友 Kate Moss,忽然投影在密封的金字塔內的把戲,教台下人人看得目瞪口呆。 2006 F/W 
McQueen好友 Kate Moss,忽然投影在密封的金字塔內的把戲,教台下人人看得目瞪口呆。 2006 F/W
容祖兒去年穿上 McQueen的女王像印花裙上台領叱咤獎。 
容祖兒去年穿上 McQueen的女王像印花裙上台領叱咤獎。


師妹何志恩:好 sad

早前 Lady GaGa覲見英女皇所穿的紅裙,也出自 McQueen手筆。 
早前 Lady GaGa覲見英女皇所穿的紅裙,也出自 McQueen手筆。

同樣是 St. Martin出身、身為 Alexander McQueen師妹的香港設計師何志恩說:「好 sad,好心寒。佢喺 Givenchy年代成日返學校同同學傾偈,唔係正式嘅 seminar,係分享自己,佢份人好 down to earth,好親民,同大家講番佢爸爸揸的士,成日提起媽咪,喺對話中你知佢好重視家人。好多人覺得時裝人係好自以為是、好驕傲嘅一群,但佢唔係,佢都有講,好多荷李活星搵佢做衫,但佢講明自己唔係一個鍾意去 party嘅人。 McQueen完全係我偶像,佢樂於 push自己嘅 limit,咬住自己嘅 interpretation唔放,做嘅嘢係冇人 overlap到。」

McQueen設計充滿舞台感,中外不少女星也穿過他的服裝,由上一代的麥當娜( Madonna)、珍納積遜( Janet Jackson),到當今的 Lady GaGa和港星容祖兒也是 McQueen擁戴者, GaGa早前覲見英女皇所穿的紅衣,也出自 McQueen之手。


特稿
最令人神迷的天才

中午到達甘迺迪國際機場,一片白茫茫,原來早上 7時開始下了一場大雪,第二天,雪沒繼續下,還有陽光,踏進 Bryant Park看第一場 2010秋冬紐約時裝節的騷,碰見一個紐約朋友,她告訴我:「 Alexander McQueen死了……在倫敦……!」整個紐約時裝節的 kick off,人人都神傷談着這個 breaking news!

模特兒 Shalom Harlow站在台中央,被兩個機械人即時噴墨上色。 1999 S/S 
模特兒 Shalom Harlow站在台中央,被兩個機械人即時噴墨上色。 1999 S/S
巨型人肉象棋的時裝騷,模特兒在台上移動捉棋。 2005 S/S 
巨型人肉象棋的時裝騷,模特兒在台上移動捉棋。 2005 S/S


創意幕幕震撼

能踏進國際時裝舞台看騷,敢說,沒有看過/看夠 McQueen的騷,你是不會甘心離場的,他是這一代最傑出最令人神迷的天才,這一點,從來沒有在我心中動搖過。

視野想法由宮廷到循環再造,細膩的 soft及富稜角的 sharp tailoring,場面幕幕震撼有情,更聽說他為了令設計衣衫上的圖案看來更陳舊,將石頭壓着布料,放在工作室地下足足埋了一年才取出來用。

聽說 McQueen一度很輕狂,在 Givenchy的歲月一度把貴客撬走,但回到崗位工作時,他的專業與孩子氣又會令一起工作的人更激節佩服,本來還「終於」有機會 3月在巴黎面對面與 McQueen做訪問……現在,他可以與他的母親(其母上周離世)及一手提攜他的伯樂── Isabella Blow在天國相逢了! RIP!

本報記者 Michelle Leung紐約撰文

The Awakening of the Poet

So much has happened this past week since I last updated this blog it almost seems impertinent that I should have nothing to comment on those culturally, socially, politically, and even historically significant events. But that is also one of my agonies of being, that unlike some people who have inspired many by their will power and persistence in one cause, in my case I so often find myself at once distracted by so many amusements and concerns, that in the end I come to realize, painful as it is, that I will never be able to achieve anything.

And on this first day of the Chinese New Year holidays, I settled myself reading, this mesmerizing last book of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, where the narrator rediscovers the reason to write, which would eventually become this masterpiece of the twentieth century. I was immensely moved by that particular passage, when the narrator awakens from that melancholic notion that he would never accomplish the work that he had wanted to begin since he was young due to a lack of talent, to the sudden realization that all is not lost, that the materials have always been in store for him, ready to be weaved into that magnificient retrospect on Time. Especially, when I came upon this sentence:

‘Seize hold of me as I pass, if you are strong-minded enough, and try to solve the riddle of happiness I am offering you.’

It almost looked like a sign for me, that all is not lost, that I still can, if I want to.

 

The train, I remember, had come to a halt in open countryside. The sun’s rays illuminated the upper half of the trunks of a line of trees that followed the railway. ‘Trees, I thought, you have nothing to say to me any longer, my heart has grown cold and no longer responds to you. Here I am, after all, in the middle of nature, my eyes noting the line which separates the your glowing foliage from your shaded trunks, and I feel only coolness and boredom. If ever I could have thought of myself as a poet, I now know that I am not. Perhaps in this new era of my life which, however desiccated, is now opening, human beings may be able to inspire in me what nature no longer says to me. But the days when I might perhaps have been capable of singing its song will never come back.’ Yet by consoling myself with the thought that social observation might come to take the place of vanished inspiration, I knew that I was just trying to find some consolation, and that I knew myself to be worthless. If I truly had the soul of an artist, what pleasure should I not experience at the sight of this screen of trees lit by the setting sun, these little flowers on the embankment that reached almost up to the carriage step, whose petals I could count, and whose colours I was careful not to describe, as so many good men of letters would, for could one hope to transmit to the reader a pleasure one has not felt oneself?

****

I got out from the cab again shortly after arriving at the Princesse de Guermantes’s house and began to think once more about the lassitude and boredom with which, the previous evening, I had tried to note the line, in one of the most reputedly beautiful parts of the French countryside, that separated shadow from light on the trees. Certainly, the intellectual conclusions I had drawn from it did not affect my sensibility so cruelly today. They were still the same. But as happened each time I was wrenched out of my habits, going out at a different time, or to a new place, I felt acute pleasure. The pleasure today seemed to me to be a purely frivolous one, that of going to an afternoon party at the house of the Princesse de Guermantes. But since I knew now that I could never attain to anything more than frivolous pleasures, what point would there be in refusing it? I told myself again that I had not experienced, when I attempted that description, anything of the enthusiasm which, if not the only one, is one of the main criteria of talent. I tried now to extract from my memory other ‘snapshots’, particularly the snapshots it had taken in Venice, but the very word made it as boring as a photograph exhibition, and I felt that I had no more taste, or talent, for describing now what I had seen earlier, than yesterday for describing what I was observing, at that very moment, with a doleful and meticulous eye. Any moment now, hosts of friends whom I had not seen for such a long time would doubtless be asking me to give up this isolation and to devote my days to them. I had no reason to refuse them since I now had proof that I was no longer good for anything, that literature could no longer bring me any joy, whether through my own fault, because I was not talented enough, or through the fault of literature, if it was indeed less pregnant with reality than I had thought.

****

But sometimes it is just when everything seems to be lost that we experience a presentiment that may save us; one has knocked on all the doors which led nowhere, and then, unwittingly, one pushes against the only one through which one may enter and for which one would have searched in vain for a hundred years, and it opens.

Turning over the dismal thoughts which I have just set down, I had entered the Guermantes’ courtyard and in my distraction had failed to see an approaching car; at the chauffeur’s shout I had time only to step smartly aside, and as I retreated I could not help tripping up against the unevenly laid paving-stones, behind which was a coach-house. But at the moment when, regaining my balance, I set my foot down on a stone which was slightly lower than the one next to it, all my discouragement vanished in the face of the same happiness that, at different points in my life, had given me the sight of trees I had thought I recognized when I was taking a drive round Balbec, the sight of the steeples of Martinville, the taste of a madeleine dipped in herb tea, and all the other sensations I have spoken about, and which the last works of Vinteuil had seemed to me to synthesize. Just at the moment when I tasted the madeleine, all uneasiness about the future and all intellectual doubt were gone. Those that had assailed me a moment earlier about the reality of my intellectual talent, even the reality of literature, were lifted as if by enchantment.

Without my having started a new line of thought, or discovered a decisive argument, the difficulties which just now were insoluble had lost all their importance. This time, though, I had decided not to resign myself to not knowing the reason for it, as I had done on the day I tasted the madeleine dipped in herb tea. The happiness that I had just experienced was indeed just like that I had felt when eating the madeleine, and the cause of which I had at that time put off seeking. The difference, purely material, was in the images each evoked; a deep azure intoxicated my eyes, impressions of coolness and dazzling light swirled around me and, in my desire to grasp them, without daring to move any more than when I had tasted the madeleine and I was trying to bring back to my memory what it reminded me of, I continued, even at the risk of making myself the laughing-stock of the huge crowd of chauffeurs, to stagger, as I had done a moment before, one foot on the raised paving-stone, the other foot on the lower one. Each time I simply repeated the outward form of this movement, nothing helpful occurred; but if I succeeded, forgetting about the Guermantes’ party, in recapturing the feeling I had experienced when I put my feet down in that way, then the dazzling and indistinct vision brushed against my consciousness, as if it were saying, ‘Seize hold of me as I pass, if you are strong-minded enough, and try to solve the riddle of happiness I am offering you.’ And almost at once I realized that it was Venice, all my efforts to describe which, and all the so-called snapshots taken by my memory, had never communicated anything to me, but which the sensation I had once felt on the two uneven flagstones in the baptistery of St Mark’s had now at last expressed for me, along with all the other sensations associated with that sensation on that day, which had been waiting in their place, from which a sudden chance had imperiously made them emerge, in the sequence of forgotten days. In the same way, the taste of the little madeleine had reminded me of Combray. But why had the images of Combray and Venice given me at these two separate moments a joy akin to certainty and sufficient, without any other proofs, to make death a matter of indifference to me?

—- Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time VII: Finding Time Again

名前のない怪物

早陣子,因為想着要訓練日語聽解力,就開始了看日本動畫。既然要看,就得看些好的。於是就選了浦澤直樹的《Monster》。早幾年浦澤直樹另一作品《20世紀少年》映畫化,令原作漫畫和映畫版都風靡全城,我不否認《20世紀少年》包含了很多足以觸動各類人的元素,而且在那之後其實有很多山寨版《20世紀少年》出現(係你地啦!《八王子》廣播劇仲話唔係改寫《20世紀少年》?)然而我個人是比較喜歡故事設定於前東德的《Monster》。早在差不多十年前,《Monster》剛開始漫畫連載時,我雖然不知道那單行本封面沒有人物圖像的漫畫內容說甚麼,但也留意到《Monster》一直在日本的漫畫銷售排行榜上排行第一。開始買了幾本,出乎意料地引人入勝,而基本上我是沒有想過漫畫也可以有這麼高的程度的。那不關畫功的事,而是故事本身,還有作者敘事的手法,已是一流小說或者電影的料子。但自從進了大學之後,看漫畫的興趣忽然消失了。於是我一直不知道,那「怪物」究竟怎麼了。

除了故事裡所提及的有關人性的命題,《Monster》吸引我的,大概是德國和捷克的風景。日本動漫裡的歐洲人大多不像歐洲人,但浦澤直樹筆下的甚麼都像。角色們追隨「怪物」去到布拉格,我一看就知道他們正身處Charles Bridge還是Old Town的廣場。人物們沒有兩個長得相像的,也沒有特別美與醜,卻只會讓你覺得「對啊德國人就是長這樣」,彷彿看到的是一個真實而不是虛構的人。

最喜歡的部份,是故事裡一個童話插畫家的設定。歐洲的童話和插畫是我的死穴,那些往往帶點怪異而讓人無法理解的故事,那些魅惑的圖像,像是甚麼神秘的符號,又或是古老的預言,隱藏了有關「怪物」的秘密,也注定了有關人士的命運。按着這好幾百年歷史的西歐民間傳統和Oral Culture,浦澤直樹竟以一個日本人的身份,創造了一個連西方人都分不清真假的(有關的網頁說不清楚那些童話的出處,顯然連西方人都被浦澤直樹的畫功和敘事技巧欺騙了)黑暗的德國童話世界。很顯然《Monster》引用了很多Freudian理論,其中童話故事的潛在意義當然少不得。大學三年級時看了一篇很著名的essay,以Psychoanalysis分析童話故事:King Lear的三個女兒,跟其他有三個女兒的童話故事一樣,任何童話故事裡的第三個女兒其實都象徵了死亡,之類。在幾個「虛構」的童話故事裡,我最喜歡那個《名前のない怪物》的故事。可能就是因為它令人感到不安。是不是捷克就是這種怪異?我第一次看Kafka的The Castle,也感到莫名的不安。

故事的結尾有點奇怪,如果不說馬虎的話。或者是刻意留下很多的迷。因為童話失去神秘性的話,就失去其魔力了。所以到最後我還是不會知道,那所謂的可怕「實驗」究竟是甚麼,「怪物」的動機到底是甚麼。倒是最後一集,一個角色說了那麼一句:「奇怪的是,人越大,悲傷會變得越來越淡薄,開始只記得起快樂的事情。」另外一人回了一句:「就是這樣,人才活得下去呀。」忽然,好像感到經歷了很多的角色們的那種累,好像我也老了一截。而旅程已經完了。很久沒有這種感覺,就是書看到最後一頁,無法把書合起的難分難捨。

到最後,我的日語聽解力進步了嗎?動畫的配音往往咬字清晰,而且故事裡牽涉的都是醫生警察律師大學教授,命題也嚴肅。所以,下一部,看甚麼好呢。

 


《名前のない怪物》


「名字是很重要的。」
那大概是,知道自己存在是很重要的意思吧。