"When the axe entered the forest, the trees said, 'Look, the handle is one of us!'
Yoruba (Afrikan) proverb
INFORMATION AGE DEADPREZ.COM"
What is real will remain to be seen. I mainly wish people wouldn't just get all carried away in the idea of something. People forget their history too quickly, if only in the mind of 'wanting more,' which to me defeats itself. I honestly hope 'change' is real, but at this point, I'll believe it when I see it.
Shilled out money I won from betting people Georgia wasn't going to be blue this year to see Clint Eastwood's latest hunk of shit CHANGELING. I'm not sure what made me forget that I hate Eastwood's movies enough to go see it, but we thought with the title CHANGELING there would be some kind of magic to the story or something at least remotely otherworldly about it.
This film employs a lot of 'violence' but explains away or cute-ifys any angle that might get the comfortable crowd out of their box for too long. Which maybe should have been expected, but some reason near the end of the way-too-long movie I went from 'duh' to pissed off. Too many jokes at the right time, Jolie tits covered over with vague mists in showers, the true stroke of something awful happening 'saved at the last second' by John Malkovich looking like a scruffy golden retriever, serial killers who might as well been brought in from the Hannah Barbera school of theater, etc. This film will likely be touted for its presence simply because of the notes that are being used, when really, what's being offered here could not only not be more warmed over and 'safe,' but sold in the shell its in, actually becomes a weapon against something bigger.
Of course, there are plenty of people out there who want even their 'violence' to be understandable, 'connected,' a thing they can then contextualize and sweep away and feel ok about. It's the same kind of tendency that extremely narrative writers use in their fiction, to make any loopholes of the inexplicable into exploitatively 'heartwarming' 'HUMAN' tales.
I should insert here (from comments):
'I am preaching to the choir maybe, but there's something in fiction and poetry that seems parallel here, i definitely think there are more working in the Eastwood-sized camp than there are in the true violence camp, even in 'indie press circles,' which is a parallel I don't think I hit on the way I meant to in this post'
It's the 'what is human here' question that really fucking makes me want to just shit in paper and mail it to all the right magazines. Maybe the way I fold the paper will make it make a pretty design.
'This is a pretty design! But I'm afraid we're going to have to pass.'
'Want to order a subscription?'
There is a lot of supposedly progressive whitewashing, in all realms, I think, right now, which actually makes it more scary to me than when shit is all right out there on the table.
To counteract the sonic sinkhole that is Eastwood, here is a list of films you should see instead, if you haven't, off the top of my head, films in which violence is portrayed as a thing with that IS, in which no shitty childhood, no explanation is needed, because humans are what humans are.
Most of these are foreign, well, because when Americans do get violent films spouted on us it's either in the Eastwood camp, or it's campy fratboy shit like 300 or Quentin Tarantino hurrah-ism.
I highly recommend the following:
both of Gaspar Noe's films, IRREVERSIBLE and I STAND ALONE (both totally disconcerting even when the violence is not on screen, which is most of the time)
STRAW DOGS, Peckinpah, with the infamous rape scene in which the woman suddenly begins to get 'into it,' an incredible film, with one of the most nerve-wracking endings ever
Herzog's COBRA VERDE & AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD, a lot of people talk about the latter but I think CV is my favorite Herzog film
Errol Morris's THE THIN BLUE LINE (which contexualizes, I think, a truer impetus for violence, in that at one point the perp here says, effectively, that he killed people simply because they'd been hanging out, and then they stopped hanging out, and left him hanging.)
FIRE WALK WITH ME & BLUE VELVET, for obvious reasons
THE THIEF THE COOK HIS WIFE HER LOVER, Greenaway is the insane master of stylizing, this film is gorgeous and bizarre
IN A GLASS CAGE, saw this recently, a Polish film, incredibly beautiful and absolutely brutal film, though there is some background haunting, it becomes a beast unto itself
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, duh, but still incredible
CREMASTER 2 & 3, the scene in 3 where the cars in the bottom floor of the Chrysler building beat each other into a mash in a small room, all moving around in tight quarters, systematically crashing until there is nothing left, is one of the greatest images I can remember
ICHI THE KILLER, Yazuka violence, brutal, though most Japanese directors offer 'background history' to contextualize violence, which always annoys me, though sometimes still works
In recent, funny movies, I think BURN AFTER READING did a good job with it actually, semi-contextless violence as humor, yes
That's not enough but I can't think right, I will list more later maybe, when I have my movies in front of me
You can now preorder Shane Jones's LIGHT BOXES, and should. While you are at it, check out his two new pieces on Sleepingfish. The nightmare excerpt is one of my favorite things I've read in a while, it's one paragraph.
Forthcoming reviews: Lily Hoang's PARABOLA and CHANGING & Brian Evenson's LAST DAYS (all three of which are incredible monsters, each in their own new ways)(and a film version of LAST DAYS made by someone who knows what they are doing would be true-made violence of the best kind).
I am really behind on reviews. Like my review stack is up to my waist I think. Time to take break soon.