Mirada de Soslayo - Cortísimo Metraje - Julio CortázarThursday, October 13, 2016
Of late I have laid to rest my Jorge Luís Borges and Emily Dickinson books to read Argentine novelist Julio Cortázar who wrote really short stories, some of them single paragraphs. I found this story because I was thinking of the Spanish expression “mirar de reojo” (in Cortázar story) which sort of translates to “look from the corner of your eye.” It does not sound as poetic nor can it compare to that other lovely expression “mirar de soslayo.” Many of his stories are erotic and most contain a surprise (askew?) ending.
The reason is that my long-time friend Tarren has that askew eye look on her face. Those eyes come with the finest body I have ever photographed in my many years of doing that delightful task.
In the late 50s when I was around 16 I while boarding at St. Edward’s High School in Austin I used to go to some bookstores on what then was a very seedy 6th Street. The cheap barber college was there. But you had to be careful as my classmates warned me, “If you are not careful some spick is going to roll you.” In those pocket bookstores (before the era of easy availability of pornography) I looked for books that had sexy passages. My mother read Frank G. Slaughter’s medical novels. These had many steamy passages. One constant in some of those books was the use of the word loins. It was not used in the biblical term of “girding up your loins for battle.” I believe that word has lost its coinage in this 21st century.
But I must again bring back my friend Tarren into the picture. Of all the beautiful women I ever photographed she was the only one who ever, I can honestly afirm, stirred my loins! There, I have said it. I have photographed her for years and there is that “mirada de soslayo” or could it be a sleepy eye. Whatever it is it is deadly.
I have told this story a few times on exactly how deadly she almost became. Flying in a de Havilland Beaver on a weekend from shooting a CBC serial show in Egmont the pilot was approaching the Vancouver dock when he suddenly made an abrupt movement and I thought we were going to crash into the water. He pulled up and landed. As I deplaned there was a beautiful woman with the shortest red silk hotpants I had ever seen. She was wearing red pumps. She said to me, “How are you doing Alex?” The pilot looked at me incredulously and said, “You know her? She is why we almost crashed!”
And so for your delight here are a couple of shots of Tarren and those wonderful eyes of her.
Julio Cortázar (Bélgica-Argentina, 1914-1984)
Automovilista en vacaciones recorre las montañas del centro de Francia, se aburre lejos de la ciudad y de la vida nocturna. Muchacha le hace el gesto usual del auto-stop, tímidamente pregunta si dirección Beaune o Tournus. En la carretera unas palabras, hermoso perfil moreno que pocas veces pleno rostro, lacónicamente a las preguntas del que ahora, mirando los muslos desnudos contra el asiento rojo. Al término de un viraje el auto sale de la carretera y se pierde en lo más espeso. De reojo sintiendo cómo cruza las manos sobre la minifalda mientras el terror crece poco a poco. Bajo los árboles una profunda gruta vegetal donde se podrá, salta del auto, la otra portezuela y brutalmente por los hombros. La muchacha lo mira como si no, se deja bajar del auto sabiendo que en la soledad del bosque. Cuando la mano por la cintura para arrastrarla entre los árboles, pistola del bolso y a la sien. Después billetera, verifica bien llena, de paso roba el auto que abandonará algunos kilómetros más lejos sin dejar la menor impresión digital porque en ese oficio no hay que descuidarse’.
Último round (1969), Madrid, Debate, 1992