Todd Haynes On Using Film to Conjure Wishes

Director Todd Haynes has had a successful career making offbeat yet successful films like Safe, Far From Heaven, I’m Not Here and many more. Recently he was interviewed at the Locarno Film Festival in Italy and made the following observation which is not novel, but bears repeating, pointing out the connection between art and magick, especially cinema, to wit:

Oh yeah. I think it also enters our bloodstream, it enters our dreams, it enters our psyches. In fact cinema emerged concurrently with the discovery of the unconscious as a property and described this location in the dark where we conjure wishes and we manage frustration through narrative. And that happens every night when we sleep. Maybe even more than music, that works through ideas of objects and narrative forms and character and a different kind of desire. A desire for objects and subjects that people dream in the stories of movies.”

Early cinema was closely allied with prestidigitation and the original audiences reacted to the first films as if the action depicted were happening then and there and responded accordingly – running out of viewing rooms in panic when confronted with footage of a speeding train rushing towards them. So the filmmaker was able to induce panic and flight — change in the audience according to will. And directors STILL are able to manipulate human emotional response via this art form.  Decades later, Kenneth Anger would make use of these techniques to consciously create cinema-spells like Lucifer Rising and Invocation of My Demon Brother. In Magick Without Tears, Crowley did note that all artists were channeling the affect of Binah.

As to how this continues to impact the materials world this portion of Liber XXX would be pertinent as to how this might work:

“Fixed thought is a means to an end. Therefore pay attention to the power of silent thought and meditation. The material act is but the outward expression of thy thought, and therefore hath it been said that ‘the thought of foolishness is sin.’ Thought is the commencement of action, and if a chance thought can produce much effect, what cannot fixed thought do?”

I’m not looking to spell out rigid lines of cause and effect between watching movies and their impact on manifest reality through the agency of the viewers, but it’s interesting to contemplate.

Furthermore, William Burroughs famously made use of the working tools of making films — montage, editing and juxtaposing images in a magical working — to shut down a NYC cafe where he’d been treated rudely – photographing and making sound recordings of the neighborhood, then cutting away the image of said cafe in situ, etc… and indeed the establishment shut down soon thereafter.

All this is offered for food for thought and possibly for you to experiment with.

Frater Lux Ad Mundi

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