Image Of The Day 04/29/09

The twisted world of Terry Gilliam. A shot from his 1985 dystopian film Brazil, a film of sheer terror and dark comedy with incredible visuals.

Where Have You Been, Where Are You Going ?

Is there a better short story than Joyce Carol Oates' Where Have You Been, Where Are You Going ? If there is, I haven't read it yet. Based on the 60's Charles Schmidt murders in Tucson, Arizona- it's a firecracker of a story and the best piece of pop art I have ever read. Schimdt never took his victims by force, there was always seduction and small talk that lead to them to his car- he was a master manipulator with dark demons inside his soul. The hypnotic allure and dreaminess of the story are -for some- too dark and too much to handle, but the rewards are plentiful and resonate with you for a good long time. The story is so good that hollywood decided to remake it in the 80's with 'smooth talk' a limp story with absolutely none of the darker undertones and social relevance Oates inflicted on the reader. Want to know the best part ? Oates' masterful short story is available online- here's the link-

Cinematic torture

With the news that Gaspar Noe is premiering his next picture -Soudain le vide- at Cannes in May, I can't help but think of his last cinematic endeavour. One in which the word 'controversial' can even be seen as a major understatement. Irreversible was released 6 years ago to this day and people are still talking about it. When I first saw it in theatres close to 1/3 of the audience had already gone for the exits halfway through the film.

It is inevitable that the first thing anyone will mention regarding that film is the highly graphic 10 minute rape scene- some say its 9- depicting an innocent Monica Belluci getting raped in an underground metro tunnel. I'm still dumbfounded and highly critical of it as a work of art but I cannot deny the impact it's had on the cinematic community, if anything it has liberated filmmakers and broken barriers of what we can and cannot do. Although that infamous rape scene always gets a chunk the writing- there is another scene involving a brutal beating w/ a fire extinguisher. Its shaky hand held camera also does not help in indulging nauseating feeling and helplessness. sounds like fun eh ?

The film ends with a scene of utter delicacy. A man and a woman make love and the camera pans to the sky and ultimately to the heavens- the notion that 'time destroys everything' is hammered to us in its backwards storytelling style- reminiscent of Memento, a far better film- and ultimately when all is said and done you leave the movie theatre or pop open the DVD player knowing you've seen something unique and very special. now is that a good thing or a bad thing ? how far is too far ? Irreversible broke many barriers and -love it or hate it- it's an indispensably important film.