The Thinking Machine 18: Swimming in Wagner



Three utterly different films: Luis Buñuel’s Surrealist classic, L’âge d’or (1930); Jean Negulesco’s Hollywood melodrama with Joan Crawford and John Garfield, Humoresque (1946); and João César Monteiro’s unclassifiably personal fantasy, A comédia de Deus (1995). But all three films feature, in key, climactic sequences, the same piece of music: a well-known, grandly romantic theme from Tristan and Isolde by Richard Wagner. By interweaving these three sequences – and their starkly divergent ways of stylising the act of bodily performance – we explore “oceanic” variations on love and death, eroticism and abandon. © Cristina Álvarez López & Adrian Martin, April 2018