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some movies


I was reading about David Cronenberg's new movie, Spider (starring Ralph Fiennes), when I came across this paragraph:

For the guy across the aisle from me at a Times Square theater for "Crash," in 1997, the sadomasochism was OK, the open-wound sex and disability fetishism was not a problem, the "autoeroticism," ha ha, was fine and dandy. But when James Spader and Elias Koteas embarked on some same-sex probing in the back seat of a 1963 Lincoln Continental (the precise model in which John F. Kennedy was assassinated, naturally), he was out of there. He was a large man, and he unfolded himself to his full height and girth to address the audience as he stood up. "No, no!" he said. "Nuh-uh! I ain't sitting here for that."
This is exactly what I saw when I watched Crash at a theater. I could tell from their sighs and oomphs that many in the didn't care about (or like, or appreciate, or even see) the deep, dense web of correlations between technology, sex and death that the film exposed through the actions of that merry group of twisted sociopaths. And yet the people endured it. Right up to the point in which Spader's and Koteas's character get it on, when many decided to leave. To me that was immensely hypocritical, I thought 'So all the other stuff was fine, but this is not?' and 'This is Cronenberg. What the hell did they expect?'. Although sometimes Cronenberg can make you cringe a bit too much, he always (certainly in all his movies after the early 80's) makes you think. Art (specially good art) will inevitably provoke a profound reaction of some sort. It goes to the core of what we are. If it doesn't, IMO, it's not art.

I can't wait to see Spider. From what they talk about in the article/interview, it seems its themes follow the lines of Memento in that it explores the relationship between memory and identity in some unsettling ways, from a different perspective, into the territory of the artist (or failed artist) as a central character, and how art is communicated:

Here's the point: It's a subjective movie. You are seeing it from Spider's point of view. So he doesn't explain stuff that's obvious to him. When he's confused, we the audience are also confused. When he's hallucinating, we are hallucinating. And the nature of hallucination is that it feels real. The main hallucination in the film is the only one that I thought was necessary.
Exactly how it should be.

Speaking of movies... some movies I saw recently:


  • The Weight of Water (Sean Penn, Catherine McCormack and Elizabeth Hurley). Directed by Katryn Bigelow (an underrated filmmaker if you ask me, having directed movies like Point Break and Strange Days). Great photography. The atmosphere is very tense, but the ending is slightly disappointing... probably because all the tension built up before doesn't really seem to have a "hollywood conclusion." Sort of like Neal Stepheson's Snowcrash... I enjoyed it a lot though.
  • Tape (Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard, Uma Thurman). Indie, minimalist movie shot digitally, based on a stage play. Everything happens in "real-time" in a single room. The first ten minutes are strange, maybe even slightly boring. Then suddenly it gets interesting, and you can't get off your chair. Same as The Weight of Water regarding the ending. No happy hollywood ending there.
  • Monster's Ball (Halle Berry, Billy Bob Thornton). Thornton is great as usual. Berry is good too. But to be honest, after all the hype (from recommendations, the Oscars, Berry's histerics when receiving the awards...) it wasn't too satisfactory. The ending was lame; compared to the previous two, this was a Hollywood ending. Reminds me of one of Eddie's (played by Sean Penn) lines in the excellent Hurlyburly: "No guts! No originality, no guts!".

    Hollywood ending. Haven't seen that Woody Allen film yet. And I'll write some more about Hurlyburly later.

    Categories: art.media
    Posted by diego on March 2 2003 at 1:28 PM

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