Wednesday, March 08, 2006

(85) New prima materia

On the evening of August 8th 1992 I was writing a note in my diary on how philosophers throughout history have, of course, all been in agreement about the basic facts of life.

I noted that, although sceptics still denied that any authentic paranormal event had ever ocurred, if just one were to happen then we would be presented with new prima materia from which to deduce our conclusions.

As I wrote this the Woody Allen film, The Purple Rose of Cairo, was showing on my TV.

I knew a little of the plot, although I had not seen the film before, and understood that the essential idea is that a character in a film showing at a cinema steps out of the film and down into the audience to pursue a romance with a girl.

And as I made my note the action reached the point where the manager of the cinema in which the screen character, Tom Baxter, has stepped out of the film and entered the real world, is telephoning RKO studios and speaking to the film’s producer, Mr Raoul Hirsch.
Some of Hirsch’s associates react with alarm.

The following interchange occurred:
"How can he have walked off of the screen? It’s impossible! It’s never happened before in history!"
And you may here that about 30 seconds into the trailer -

Hirsch’s lawyer retorts,
"Just because a thing’s never happened before doesn’t mean it can’t happen once!"

(A point, incidentally, already made by David Hume in the eighteenth century.)

Later in the plot, the character re-enters the film, accompanied by the real life woman (a part played by Woody Allen’s erstwhile partner, Mia Farrow), both of them stepping up from the cinema to pass on to the screen.

(See also Entry 91.)

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