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according to Smith, doubtless also was) as fans of a magic of pure efficiency. The only thing that someone who demanded believable images from the products of the culture industry could believe in was the miracle that a car’s motor can still function well after a long trip. Hollywood is just that kind of motor. However, anyone who saw how the «machinery» of the film factory failed to construct a reasonable set around Maria Montez—even though just one of her sighs could fill a thousand tons of dead plaster with imaginative life and truth—was able to experience a different kind of magic. This magic consisted in the willingness to believe in her and her vision, something which neither she nor anyone around her seemed able to do. In watching these films, there is a sensation that we are witnessing the displacement, indeed the inadequacy of humanity to the machinery, a sensation that proves to be visceral. However in order for this sensation to be produced it is not only necessary that a human be placed within this machinery and be doomed to failure, but also that the audience be empathetic. Her vision (for Smith, Montez is clearly the author of her films) has not yet been realized; Hollywood fails despite its


tons of plaster. In the midst of the machinery’s futile activity, someone must advance her some faith—indeed, as a viewer, one must give oneself over to faith and only then can the magic begin—the magic that allows us to share in her vision. The sheer quantity of pretentious material amassed in her films raises the spiritual surplus value available once we have decided to recognize that Maria opposes the machinery that surrounds her. However, this only works when the audience—in this case, Smith—becomes a producer of another kind, one that does not invest, but instead freely gives his love and attention. To Smith, Hollywood is neither a town of lies, nor one of truth; it simply produces mechanical norms. In the best-case scenario—that is, from the squarest point of view, a point of view, whose idea of magic could be satisfied by the «most inevitable execution of the conventional pattern of acting,« [6] —Hollywood achieves this with the reliability of a car’s motor. Both the process of film production and the audience embellish (a term that Smith never would have used, but I will) the human subject. Only an utterly uneconomical willingness to believe in this

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