It is somewhat ironic that Idemitsu is interested in sharing the non-music, “old-style” shakuhachi approach with the public, insofar as this particular orientation was in the “old days” never intended for audience consumption (see Gutzwiller 1974:140; Samuelson 1994:87). Although komuso monks played for each other and for alms, the primary purpose of the shakuhachi as a spiritual tool was solitary meditation. As shakuhachi scholar Tsuneko Tsukitani writes, “playing of the shakuhachi was a device of Zen, with performance not a goal. As a result, the process of producing the sound was more important than the production of that sound” (Tsukitani, et al. 1994:111). This closely relates to an important concept in the philosophy of the shakuhachi best summed up by the popular adage ichion-joubutsu , “with one sound, one attains Buddha consciousness.” 19 The central aim of Zen shakuhachi is not the production of music, which entails tonal control, formal structures, pitch manipulation, and perhaps eventually, audiences. Instead, this approach focuses purely on the aesthetics of the “single sound” ( ichion ) divorced from any musical context. To this end, many players focus exclusively on tone itself in pursuit of what they refer to as “absolute sound” ( tettei-on ), the sound of enlightenment ( satori ). Indeed, sounds play a hugely important role in the Buddhist literature going all the way back to the Surangama Sutra of the eighth century, often serving as the trigger for enlightenment. 20 A few sounds that have served to “wake up” various Zen masters in the past include: a pebble hitting bamboo ( Kyogen Chikan ), a strike on a drum ( Mumon Ekai ), a temple bell ( Hakuin Ekaku ), the sound of bamboo splitting in the forest ( Dogen ), a crow’s cry ( Ikkyu ) (see Lee 1993:214; Blasdel 1984:2). None were performed as music for an audience; they were solitary experiences.
“ Mouchette ” (1967)
The director returned to the work of Georges Bernanos for his first feature following the landmark “ Au Hasard Balthazar ,” in a quick turnaround which likely influenced the similarly bleak tone. Berated in school and forced to care for her ailing mother and baby sibling at home, the titular character ( Nadine Nortier ) has little to be cheerful about, with even a moment of potential legitimate human connection at a carnival quickly squashed by her drunkard father. However, she finds herself with a brief sense of purpose after a night with an epileptic poacher — thinking he might have killed a gameskeeper in a scuffle, he makes her part of his alibi and then proceeds to deflower her. This event changes the young girl, who subsequently holds herself more confidently. Regrettably, her inner change does not affect the dreary and impoverished world around her, and she goes on to find the burden of living this existence altogether unbearable. Bresson is often noted to be minimalistic in form, but while he does cut fat like he’s a Yahoo executive, it’s important to note the difference between him and more severely minimalistic filmmakers: scenes are filled with numerous movements and actions, all amplified by the director’s inquisitive camera, and cut together in a specific rhythm. This film arguably has some of the best constructed scenes he’s ever done: the gameskeeper observing the nefarious poacher at work is quiet and mysteriously suspenseful ( Hitchcock would be proud), while a scuffle between Mouchette and her schoolteacher over her singing feels like a slice of life, an uncomfortable memory we’d all rather forget. Again, Bresson is working on figures isolated by their societies, but he avoids being repetitive by his consistently striking imagery, such as final moment of Mouchette giving herself to the lake (a sequence again immortalized in 2003 for Bernardo Bertolucci ’s “ The Dreamers ”). A concentrated portrait of human suffering, “Mouchette” is often held in high regard next to its brother ‘Balthazar’ and also received the stamp of approval from Jean-Luc Godard , who cut a trailer for the film, which shows his respect, in his own (of course) “cute” little way. [A]
Book prizes are given to outstanding students nominated by their German instructors. The books are donated to the Department of German Studies by the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany. The recipients were: Chuting Deng, Inyoung Hong, Jixun Ding, David Faust, Michaela Novakova, Andrew (Drew) Kott, Yu Lou, Tyler Etzel, Alexandra Bergmann, Ryan Shawindass Ramano, Avichai Natanel Kapach, Sarah Elisabeth Gutz, Brian Youngho Shin, Maxwell Vega, Yu Lou, Sohyeon (Catherine) Hwang, Matthew Luebbers, Emily Crawford, Taylor Goodin, Sherri Couillard, Nathaniel Williams, Matthew Owen Crescimanno, Emma Stillings, Moteleolu Monifeolu Onabajo, Joshua Levi Ringquist, Xinyi Li, Boomer Olsen, Kevin Parvizi, Arundathi Sharma, Alyssa Trigg, Emma Craven-Matthews, Nicole Helen Schwardt, Devon Langbein, Joshua Taylor, Stefanie McNerney, Lauren Stechschulte, Kristen Claire Hegedus, Nicole Helen Schwardt, Leighton Fernando, Yeuzhou (Celena) Huo, Isadora Anderson, Patrick Molligo, and Xinyi (Lena) Li.