By Thomas De Quincey
During this extraordinary autobiography, Thomas De Quincey hauntingly describes the surreal visions and hallucinatory nocturnal wanderings he took via London-and the nightmares, melancholy, and paranoia to which he turned prey-under the impact of the then-legal painkiller laudanum. Forging a hyperlink among inventive self-expression and dependancy, Confessions seamlessly weaves the consequences of substances and the character of goals, reminiscence, and mind's eye. First released in 1821, it prepared the ground for later generations of literary drug clients, from Baudelaire to Burroughs, and expected psychoanalysis with its insights into the unconscious.
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Additional info for Confessions of an English Opium Eater (Penguin Classics)
Scenes of the training of army reservists, a boating mishap at an outdoor festival, and the flight of Tomás Braniff in 1910 complement shots of traditional indigenous dances recorded in different locations, a pilgrimage to the Virgin of Guadalupe sanctuary, and allegorical carts pulled by oxen at a parade in Mexico City in 1904 to offer a view of a society and culture where, according to the narrator, tranquillity and prosperity prevail. This alignment of the cinematic image with the slogan “Order, Peace and Progress” of the Porfirio Díaz presidency is disrupted by the narrator’s account of the political disagreements between his (fictional) father and uncle.
The glamour of the bourgeoisie is but a pretense, as Carlos Monsiváis comments on their photographs in the Casasola Archive: “Perfect clothes, Parisian education, these are the badges of their otherness: we are less Mexican than the rest, and could pass for Europeans” (1984, 40; original emphasis). The scope of the monthlong celebrations in Mexico City in September 1910 is also illustrated in this ten-minute segment. The obsession with appearance over substance characteristic of the period is rendered cinematically through compositions and framing to reveal how ornate monuments and avenues were turned into a stage for the performance of a narrative 30 Constructing the Image of the Mexican Revolution of modernity.
In the first, filmed by Abitía, the focus is the figure of Carranza on horseback. As in the postcards published at the time, he appears generally in the foreground, his body somewhat angled, with Obregón at his side. With shots taken above street level, or slightly over the heads of the predominantly male crowd, he seems to be swallowed up by the admiring masses. A singular high-angle shot, presumably taken by a cameraman riding on a horse and from behind Ca rranza’s head, shows him interacting with those who have come to greet him.