[joe-frank-list] 'The death of Trotsky'

russellbell at gmail.com russellbell at gmail.com
Sat Jan 23 05:27:50 PST 2021

	'Isa lei' (Ry Cooder & Vishwa Mohan Bhatt)

	0:30: 'The bus leaves in the evening...' Joe describes what he
sees on a bus ride (from Mexico City?), ends with, 'I'll take you to
the prison, to the fortress on the hillside, where the martyrs of the
movement gaze out into the plain, scarlet blossoms warm and bleeding,
falling in the courtyard, are gathered by the wind and washed by the
rain and the nails are for the body and the body for the tree and the
tree is deeply rooted at the bottom of the sea.'  Joe re-uses this
again at 41:10 and the end.  I don't know what it means.

	1:30: 'Solea' (Miles Davis)

	2:10: Joe tells a fictionalized account of Trotsky's
assassination, beginning with the assassin's arrival by ship in Vera
Cruz.  He calls the assassin 'Jackson Mornard'.  Trotsky's assassin,
Ramón Mercader, had used the pseudonyms 'Jacques Mornard' (son of a
Belgian diplomat) and 'Frank Jackson' (a Canadian engineer) on this
mission, was sometimes referred to as 'Mornard-Jackson', a double last
name, retrospectively, so as to make sure everybody knew whom they
were talking about.


	(I recommend visiting Trotsky's house in Mexico City when
you're in town.  It's a museum of sorts; the chipped spots made by
gunfire have been left.)

	8: 'The nausea never leaves...' Joe tells of receiving
radiation treatment.  This could have been like the treatment for
testicular cancer he had in his 20s.  Joe isn't talking about his life
when speaking in the first person in this episode.

	9:10: Joe visits the grave of his father in Barcelona.
[Mercader was born in Barcelona.]  Joe imagines being buried.

	11:50: Mornard makes the acquaintance of Trotsky's personal
secretary, Sylvia Adelman.  [Mornard-Jackson got into a relationship
with a Trotskyite New Yorker, Sylvia Ageloff, whose sister Rita was
one of Trotsky's personal secretaries in Mexico City, through whom he
hoped to get to Trotsky.]

	20:20: Joe recites the 'nada' poem from Hemingway's 'A Clean
well lighted place'.

	21:10: Joe goes to his therapist; Joe fears nothingness; the
therapist tells him he thinks too much; Joe recites the 'nada' poem
again.  The therapist then takes off on Macbeth's 'Tomorrow, and
tomorrow, and tomorrow' soliloquy (which Joe quoted at the end of
'Tomorrow') and complains of how badly therapists are treated.

	24:35: Mornard gains the confidence of those around Trotsky
while losing confidence in his mission.

	28:30: Joe tells us about (Søren) Kierkegaard (a Danish
philosopher) and the dilemma of whether he should marry the woman he
loves.  He works out to develop the strength to make the necessary
leap of faith to believe in God.  It fails.

	31:30: Trotsky's guards get used to Mornard from his daily
trips to bring Sylvia.

	39: Mornard kills Trotsky.

	41:10: 'I'll take you to the prison, to the fortress on the
hillside, where the martyrs...'

	42:10: Joe wants to believe in something beyond himself and
his loved ones; sometimes he feels the need to pray.

	42:40: Joe goes the the golf club with his grandfather, a
survivor of the Holocaust.  (Fictional; his mother's father died in
1936; his biological father's father must have been long dead; his
stepfather's father was an American.)  They both play poorly.

	43:50: Joe sees a small building that looks like a ruined
temple.  He goes in, sees his grandfather, who thinks he's pregnant.

	45: Mornard is convicted, given 20 years.  (The sentence
Mercader received.)

	46: Organ music (Bach?)

	46:40: Joe says all the accused in the Soviet show trials
1936-8 confessed.  (Koestler's 'Darkness before noon' captures the
psychology of this.)  Joe talks about the value of confession, that we
have a compulsion for it greater than any other, because we all want
redemption.  Vorst rehearses this notion in 'A tour of the city'.

	48:40: Mornard did not confess.

	48:50: Mariachi music.

	49:10: 'Dostoevsky once said that if God didn't exist,
everything would be possible.'  Joe attributes Nazi Germany's nihilism
to this, quotes a letter Camus wrote to a German friend that
concludes, 'human beings created by their very despair at their not
existing'.  I can't find this quote anywhere, and don't think it
sounds like Camus, but more like Sartre.

	50:10: God does not exist.  Joe attributes his death to
Nietzsche, says he was arrested for the murder, put under the care of
Jung... eventually Freud gets invoked.

	53: Joe tells of Mornard leading a small band of soldiers on
their way to join the revolution, gets lost.  They find an underground
printing press, discover the revolution has succeeded but the new
government is even more corrupt than the last.

	55:00: Mornard recalls his arrival in Mexico 20 years ago,
what he had done.

	55:40: Mornard arrests the printers, has them take him to the
imperial city, where they are celebrated.

	56:40: Their bus loses its way, the driver having cataracts
and lost his maps, had been relying on a guide dog.

	57:30: 'I'll take you to the prison, to the fortress on the
hillside, where the martyrs...'

	Year: 1979
	Cast: Joe Frank
	Music: 'Isa lei' (Ry Cooder & Vishwa Mohan Bhatt), 'Solea'
(Miles Davis), mariachi, organ (Bach?)
	There's more music that I haven't identified.

russell bell

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