誰主瘋騷:瘋了後的抗爭人生new



直接電影(Direct Cinema)跟真實電影(Cinéma vérité)兩路人馬會共同聯署,承認絕對的真實是拍不到的:一旦拍下來,就「不真實」了。於是兩派各師各法,直接電影思考普多夫金《帶攝影機的人》(Man With a Movie Camera,1929)的隱形假設:最不介入事態的在場狀態,最理想的在場身段遂為「壁上蠅」;真實電影則實際地考慮,承認拍攝者既然不能絕對隱形,不如有紀律地介入,去跟被拍攝者自覺交流,真實的狀貌讓觀眾個別推敲。二者的美學分別是:直接電影不訪問、不指導,找跟真實最接近而不打擾的距離;真實電影建立採訪關係,有限度的介入,透現拍不到的真實。

弗德烈懷斯曼可算是直接電影的開山祖師之一,第一部紀錄長片《誰主瘋騷》無師自通下準確應用幾近完備的「直接」拍攝原則。他將理念結合行動,說得簡潔:「拍攝影片就是資料搜集。」(The shooting of the film is the research.)過早或過多事前研究都不是好事,對眼前發生中的事態不自覺進行篩選,做成自我約束。意料之中的事情局限眼界,預期之外的發生則釋放心緒,它容或一閃即逝在身邊流失,要拍到有彩數成分,但懷斯曼從不抱僥倖心態。他以拉斯維加斯做比喻,「(道理)像投注輪盤,你冒險去拍下很多菲林,希望有足夠材料去剪裁成一部影片,我不知道影片最後的結構會是怎樣,但我願意冒險拍下很多材料,待剪接時找出影片的模樣。」(It's the roulette wheel. You take the risk of shooting a lot of film with the hope that you get enough material out of which you can cut a film. I have no idea what the structure is going to be, but I'm willing to take the risk of shooting a lot and finding the film in the editing.)《誰主瘋騷》拍攝了29天,共80小時的菲林,而《紐約巴別塔》(In Jackson Heights,2015)是140小時,《直擊柏克萊》(At Berkeley,2013)是250小時,「大包圍」是懷斯曼終生貫徹的王道,專注、敏感,和開放心思缺一不可。

呈現「失常」對紀錄片工作者確實是個帶偷窺味道的誘惑,耐性等待運氣降臨之前,要先給拍攝環境營造條件,對於年輕的懷斯曼,那首先是思考距離的問題。遠遠的看,不是指隱蔽監控錄像,偷拍不是沒有可能,就像《誰主瘋騷》操場片段,有人喃喃自語有人吹奏有人無聊散步,從距離畫面去看總體流於平面疏離,總算捕捉到「無察覺」的「真實」表現。然而將鏡頭推近(不是zoom近的意思),又很難不滋擾穩定的觀察關係。理論上,你有機會近距離拍好在街上或家居一次精神病發事件,一個全天候監察的社區,總會捕捉茫茫滄海錯亂一霎,沒有肉眼在觀景器後,它實在只證明瘋癲何時何日發生過,只是呈堂證據而已。之所以在探究癲狂事上,劇情片再現永遠比紀錄片固執於捕捉一刻突發有利:與其窺候秩序的現實破裂,不如情節暴力仿造,表演其來龍去脈。然而,參詳過虛構與非虛構文體本質後,你會明白讓敍事「發生」,紀錄片也要像劇情片,需要時空交代、人景並行,就如走到當代大型示威現場,在對抗性的街上潛藏暴力,人人持着手機,很大機會拍到多角度拼合的失控瘋打真實事件,2019年在香港各區抗爭廣泛驗證;依然重申的是,回到《誰主瘋騷》的單機拍攝時代,這不是直接電影的冷靜、人文方向。

拐了一個大彎,我其實跳過理論上的可能性,敲定實際狀況,我想懷斯曼也會承認的,就是紀錄片「拍不到」發瘋,《誰主瘋騷》拍到的,只是「瘋了」,當懷斯曼與攝影師約翰馬歇爾1966年走進Bridgewater州立監獄,營造好的拍攝條件是監禁的狀況,被拍攝者為精神病人/罪犯,在守衛與護士監察下「生活」,距離穩定地保持,懷斯曼用上如劇情片的思維以人物身份切入,追尋被囚困的敍事。

《誰主瘋騷》面世以來,由未見青天被禁的日子,至小眾傳播至今成為傳奇;如今,在眾聲喧嘩的網絡時代,觀眾喜歡炮製自己的十大清單,提到「最令人不安的十部影片」,《誰主瘋騷》總會有人以遺忘的經典凸章記起。歷年來評論皆聚焦在它針對不人道僵化制度的討論,Bridgewater自稱是現代精神醫院,然而管理意識還是承繼自二十世紀初的「瘋人院」(Asylum)觀念。我第一次在電腦屏幕片段式地看到院方對一個老年病囚施行管喉餵食,警衛例行公事,對病犯無動於衷的工作態度,心神一刻被擒個正着,不忍卒睹,感到極度難堪,立刻將反感加諸到施暴的守衛身上,然而當我做好心理準備,戰戰兢兢全片看過一次後,我感到是時候放低恐懼情緒,不再去誇大官僚罪行,畢竟《誰》片作為反建制改革先鋒的時代職責已成過去,現在該發掘其影像恆久性的力量之所在。約翰馬歇爾鏡頭的焦點,從來不是警衛、醫生、護士、社工,不是好好先生喜歡唱K的院長,他們不是反派,是配角而已,懷斯曼關心的是占(Jim)、華迪美(Vladimir)、金(King)及無名病犯們,細心拍下他們意志的存在,儘管以懷斯曼「大包圍」的準則,這些片段拍得疏疏落落,然而依然找到敍事脈絡。

在每天例行散步的時段,人人保持內斂,一名病囚高聲發表關於一戰的偉論:奧匈帝國以處決為名發動戰爭,那麼越戰呢?還是一樣,要處決越南百姓,以反共之名。或許以一流學者的標準,你覺得這只是一般浮淺的識見,帶有六十年代猶太角度陰謀論的特色。他們瘋過了,抵達過思覺邊緣,甚至逾越,但我不能說這名病囚努力發表抗爭言論,是徘徊在思覺邊緣的瘋人瘋語,在抗爭街頭你容納這些發表,在Bridgewater內,你更應該器重這種據理自宣。

看過《誰主瘋騷》的你不會忘記被單獨囚禁17年的占。懷斯曼越牆來到,藉着占的氣質拍下另類邊緣意義。謝夫佩維爾(Geoff Pevere)的文章《You Don't Mess Around With Jim》詳細分析他的舉止回應:沉着、被激動、節奏踏地,表面上沒有有效對行使權力者反擊,然而,細心對準距離,可以發現諷刺意味,他的行徑機智地帶出具生命力、智慧和靈魂的信息,讓我們推敲出占清楚知道身處的狀況;他大概比嘲諷他的警衛清楚他們所在的是一個甚麼環境,並有意識地在囚禁他的牆內做着最有效的回應。在《誰主瘋騷》的結尾,守衛不再兒戲,給占姆一個尊嚴送別,他在人性路上最後的抗爭,被菲林好好見證保存着。

作為直接電影開山代表作之一,《誰主瘋騷》低調的設置開明的學術討論區,以觀察、呈現之名,不先入為主搭建論述架構,不做個別或社會式的批判,卻容許自由引述和討論。以真實影像為依歸,輕率的浪漫主義自然大減一半。我的歸納是,容或有人以權力主宰,展示失衡的社會中,精神病及罪行受到恰當控制及管理,然而因為小我的種種自大、無動於衷,當一邊在珍惜有限的救贖時間,另一邊潛伏的精神病癥狀,又再浮現。

titicut shout

Post-Madness Protesting

The practitioners of Direct Cinema and Cinéma vérité would have agreed that truth can't be captured. When captured, it ceased to be truth. Direct Cinema took reference of Pudovkin's dictum as the "wall on the fly", as practiced in Man With a Movie Camera (1929), urging for the invisibility and non-invasiveness of the camera. Cinéma vérité took a more practical approach. Instead of insisting the cinematographer be invisible, he or she may intervene scrupulously and interact with the subject. The truth is left for the viewer to ponder. Direct Cinema doesn't interview and direct its subjects while seeking for the maximum proximity. Cinéma vérité intervenes cautiously and reveals the truth that resists to be captured.

Frederick Wiseman is one of the groundbreakers of Direct Cinema. Without much guidance he achieved an almost perfectly "direct" shooting in his first feature Titicut Follies. He said, "The shooting of the film is the research.", opting against excessive and premature research because it's likely to result in an unconscious selection during the shooting. Expecting the unexpected is liberating indeed, but Wiseman doesn't see himself as leaving everything to chance. "It's the roulette wheel. You take the risk of shooting a lot of film with the hope that you get enough material out of which you can cut a film. I have no idea what the structure is going to be, but I'm willing to take the risk of shooting a lot and finding the film in the editing." Titicut Follies was shot in 29 days and yielded 80 hours of material. It was 140 hours for In Jackson Heights (2015) and 250 hours for At Berkeley (2013). "Just shoot it" might just be Wiseman's MO but concentration, sensitivity and an open mind are essential for such an approach.

For documentary filmmakers, filming the deranged is a voyeuristic temptation. Before waiting for the chance one should create the right conditions for it. For the young Wiseman, it could possibly be the distance. Looking from afar doesn't equate with surveillance footage, although that isn't entirely out of the question. The playground scene shows inmates mumbling to himself, playing an instrument, or just strolling around. Picking up these details out of the big picture allows us to see the authentic and unprovoked reactions of the inmates. But as the camera comes closer (but not zooming in) the static observation is disrupted. It is possible to shoot at close range a mental incident in the street or in an apartment. In a closely monitored community any happening could be caught on tape. But without the eye behind the viewfinder it is just evidence that such and such has happened. Therefore, when portraying madness, a dramatic reenactment is usually preferred over the endless waiting of the documentary camera. It is because an reenactment can reveal more of the background than a snapshot of the moment. Yet in the theories of fictional or non-fictional texts, a documentary still retains elements of a fiction film, as various backgrounds have to be laid out before the "narrative" can unfold. In our times, smartphones are able to capture the brutality in street protests in many angles. We know that very well from our protests this year. But back in the days of the single camera that give us Titicut Follies, the multi-camera luxury we have today is at odds with the sober and humanistic approach of Direct Cinema.

In fact I've ignored the theoretical possibilities and looked at the circumstances instead. I think Wiseman would have agreed that his film didn't capture the patients "going mad", simply "already mad". When Wiseman and his cameraman John Marshall stepped into the Bridgewater State Prison in 1966, the setting before them was already a prison where patients/inmates were strictly monitored. Wiseman kept his distance and he made use of a fiction film reasoning to look at what it's like to be imprisoned.

Titicut Follies has once been denied distribution and achieved its legendary status through private circulation. In our internet age with everybody and anybody voicing out, Titicut Follies are always there whenever something like "Ten Most Disturbing Movies" turns up. The standard observation has always been the inhumane and inflexible rationale of the Bridgewater facility. It claimed to be a modern mental institution but its management philosophy was essentially that of the early 20th century asylum. Running through the film randomly with my computer I was caught off guard by the highly disturbing scene of the force feeding carried out by the business-as-usual staff. And naturally I laid blame on these guards who are essentially torturing the patient. Then, with caution I watched the entire film. My anger and fear towards the guards wore off, because we've already put that era behind and we may now savour the endurance of the images. John Marshall's lens wasn't focussed on the "establishment": the doctors, guards, nurses, social workers, or even the karaoke-obsessed hospital director. They aren't villains, Wiseman's attention was on Jim, Vladimir, King and all those nameless inmates. Their wills were captured with Wiseman's "just shoot it" approach which might be fragmentary. Still, he managed to establish a narrative out of it.

In their daily walk the patients keep to themselves. But one of them gives us an extensive thesis comparing the Vietnam War to WWI. His argument is that the Vietnam War is primarily America's execution of Vietnamese civilians in the name of anti-Communism. Of course such statement lacks the rigour of a historian and smells of Jewish conspiracy. I understand this man has a mental disease but I'll never dismiss such words of protest as a madman's raving. If you're permitted to say it in a protest, then it's equally acknowledgeable at Bridgewater.

You won't be able to forget Jim who has been incarcerated for 17 years. Geoff Pevere, in the article You Don't Mess Around with Jim, dissects his behaviour. He's calm, agitated, he stomps. Apparently he isn't fighting back but a sense of irony can be spotted within a certain distance. Like a sage he gives us messages of life, wisdom and soul. And so we can't help but conclude that he understands this environment even better than his guards, and manages to respond in the most effective manner. At the end of the film, the guards no longer fool around and give Jim a dignified farewell. Jim's final stand is preserved forever on film.

Titicut Follies didn't just set a standard for Direct Cinema but also established a sphere for academic discussion, though in a very low key manner. In the pretext of observing and revealing it refused to set up a structure for discussion. It also refused to point the finger to the individual or the society. Instead it allowed an uninhibited citation and discussion. Based entirely on actual images, negligent romanticism was drastically reduced. In a unbalanced society, the powers that be may be able to keep mental diseases and criminal activities in check. But as the hubris and indifference of the individual goes unchecked, psychiatric symptoms laying dormant may surface again.

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