The book of Ann is the 12th FRIOUR project.

Who is Ann? For me she is a real person.
For you she's a mythical femail.

Let's construct together the book of Ann!

How does she feel? How does she thinks? How does she act? Is she a rebel? Is she a mother? Is she the salt of the earth?

Free size and medium. Text and poems are also welcome. Deadline for contributions is 31 December 2011.
All the contributions will be united in a time capsule.
Documentation on this blog.
Unfriendly femail mail art will be banned.

Mail address: The book of Ann, c/o Guido Vermeulen, Thomas Vinçottestreet 81, B-1030 Brussels, Belgium


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maandag 28 maart 2011

"SOY ANA", a tribute to ANA TORENT (1966-)

A painting on an envelope, Ann related, but mailed to Zois in the USA, accompanied by the present letter:

Brussels, 28 March 2011

Dear Zois,

Thank you for the photo postcards for the book of Ann.

The painting on the envelope "SOY (ANA)" needs a bit of explanation.
It is reference to the splendid movie "EL ESPIRUTU DE LA COLMENA" (the spirit of the beehive) directed by Victor Erice in 1973 (2 years before Franco died). Erice introduced to the world the wonderful child actress ANA TORENT, which Carlos Saura would use again a few years later in "CRIA CUERVOS". Both movies are examples of astonishing beauty and poetry & symbolism in movies. Personally I appreciate the first one even better than the second one. It is a miracle that both movies survived the censorship of Spanish fascism!

The spirit of the beehive tells the story of a family (as in Cria Cuervos a symbol for the whole of Spanish society). To a small town around 1940 comes a traveling movie van showing the movie FRANKENSTEIN by James Whale. The whole town comes together, adults and children, to view the movie. The reactions of the kids on the monster (the famous scene where the little girl meets the monster, offers him flowers to throw into the river, and when there are no flowers left, the girl is killed by the monster) are fantastic; the face of Ana Torent is one of the highlights of 20th century cinema! Erice shot this scene as a real documentary, the reactions you see are real. He showed the movie to the people and shot their spontaneous reactions.
Ana is puzzled and cannot understand 2 things: why did the monster kill the child and why is the monster killed at the end of the movie. Her sister explains to her that both are not killed because after all "it's only a movie, so this is not happening for real". Ana calls her sis' a liar. For her the monster is real and not a lie. Her sister tells her a big secret; that you can see the monster for real and that he is hiding in an abandoned building outside the town, proof that he is not dead so to speak. Ana and her sister visit the building but don't find the monster.
Ana wants to find however the monster desperately and returns to the building on her own, even during the night. In the meantime a wounded partisan (an anti fascist) uses the building as a hiding place. For Ana that man is the friendly monster and she helps him, giving him an apple, later brings him more food, some clothes and a watch belonging to her own father.
During one night police find the partisan and shoot him death. The father is called to the station to recuperate his coat and watch. The father suspects his daughters or even his wife.
He follows Ana to the building. Ana discovers the blood inside the shed and realizes the man she befriended has been killed by other adults. She runs away from her father and goes into hiding in the forest. At the river she meets the monster of Frankenstein again, an echo of the scene in the movie. She is not killed by the monster of her imagination. She is found and brought back home. The monster had explained to her she had only to think of him and say her own name and he'll be back. Final scene of the movie is the girl whispering: SOY ANA !!
( I am Ana, Soy being the first person in Spanish of the verb TO BE, because of the unique form of this verb, nobody uses the "I" in Spanish, it is obvious that someone is speaking in the first person).
The affirmation of the personal identity of the child is essential and also exemplary for the striving of liberation of the Spanish people, their identity being crushed by Spanish fascism since the civil war.
The discovery of death as a reality jumps from the movie to real life experience. The world is seen thru' the perspective of a little girl. There is more to say about this movie but I'm not going to do this, except perhaps that it is a miracle that the movie was not censored. The censors thought that the movie was too weird and too slow to reach a large audience. Well they were mistaken! The argument of "too slow" was also used to dismiss the power of Cria Cuervos. This leads me to this possible conclusion: that fastness and speed are instruments of totalitarianism in all its forms. When something goes very fast it becomes impossible to reflect on what you see or hear or on your own existence and that of society.
Who used speed as criteria in art: the Italian futurists and they were all admirers and supporters of Italian fascism.
Hollywood movies today compete in fastness of images and scenes. This makes me say (a provocation of thought of course) that someone like James Cameron is perhaps not a fascist but that he makes fascist movies!
For Goering the model for nazi propaganda movies was indeed Hollywood! Hitler liked more the outspoken propaganda approach of Leni Riefenstahl.
Slow down; so you can reflect on human condition and act accordingly is part of the spirit of the beehive (the title refers to a symbolist book of the Belgian author Maurice Maeterlinck, by the way).

In the painting on the envelope I transformed the monster of Frankenstein into a giant pussycat holding little Ana protectively between his paws.
Soy Ana, Soy Ana Torent, an historical Ann to cherish and admire. She blossomed into a stunning woman and is still acting today.(she acted in a recent Peter Greenaway movie)

Postal greetings,


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