Monday, October 17, 2011
in an effort to become more aggressive in my attempts to make my boyfriend watch certain films with me, i sent him a proposal for some halloween film viewing programs.
my hook was that the program stretched the definition of halloween appropriate titles by characterising my selections as 'fear -based ' films.
examples include Trouble Every Day (fear of sexual connection and invasion), coffin joe trilogy (fear of possession) and Teorema (fear of seduction.) I finish the list and send it off, but i continue to peruse it, trying to get hit with inspiration of how to include more films i want him to see by stretching this thin 'fear' aspect.
so i land on 4:44 last day on earth...a film i loved so very much that it is clearly and loudly the best film ive seen in 2011.
i drift over to the idea that it is the fear of the living that is at the core of this film. and wait, i'm not even stretching the conceit here, it really conveys that painful, tortured picture of living with that fear, a fear I relate to more than most you dear readers really know. Here not only does a person have a death drive, but the planet has a death drive. the city has a death drive, and yes, in turn, his neighbors and even his lover has a death drive. But it is this one man, Cisco (willem Defoe)around whom everyone and everything else is illustrating an Expressionist picture.
4:44 seems to have occurred in an exhale. The running time, the heightened emotions and the outward energy -- exalt, carnal connections, direct rage. Despite all these outward breaths, the film is dotted with scenes showing televised or spied examples of other people talking about inward actions, like serenity and surrender, and we even see our protag Cisco's girlfriend/partner (shannyn leigh) attempt to practice it (through painting/ meditation.) The film itself is running from our grasp as we run out of time to catch it. It's all extension. The film has the temperature and logic of a confession. every moment and sound of this film is an echo of Cisco's refusal to surrender. This feeling is confirmed when his character suddenly cops dope, breaking over 2 yrs of continuous clean time from drugs and alcohol.
Is the scenario of the world's end a fantasy concocted ? Is this movie the filmed and illustrated version of a recovering addict sharing their reservations? Might the entire film be a dream built around a reason to RELAPSE? The first time we are told the news of the apocalypse is through a computer/diarist confession that Cisco SHARES with us. (not entirely unlike one would share at a 12 step meeting or by privately writing out the steps.)
His Lower East Side / east village neighborhood is filled with the sick and suffering, people for whom the world may be ending. their loved ones are across the planet, they are poor and disenfranchised delivery boys or they are grandiose has beens over dressed at the corner store.
Fuck the future.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
"Why was i selling bitches?
I could have been selling birds."
Directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato film infamous people who were once awkward. Heidi (Fleiss) and Michael (Alig) move at the pace of money, with the force of fearlessness; they both expect to suffer no consequence. One reason for this is the nature of their product; they market ego and primal appetite . Their clients are us other awkward, insecure people who will pay for status to fill and build ourselves up.
Both Party Monster (the doc) and Heidi Fleiss: Would be Madam of Crystal are about appetite and haunted innovators. Both films work to illuminate the creepy, needy shells of spirits that these two notorious figures had always been.
Heidi is more attractive, not the least because she is a woman and because she has never committed manslaughter or murder, as did Michael. Also, Heidi owned her crimes early on. they are as lucid and attached to her skin as are the searchingly large and screaming eyes on her face. Her transgressions were violet , not violent. And they were masculine, and she is a Girl. She is a girl who is top dog, and she calls out loudly to tell people what to do, and so those who hear her tone deaf voice feel compelled to muffle it.
Poor Heidi. Where is her place? After transgression has come and gone, how does one move elsewhere? How can one be allowed to grow and fit ?
there is a song called LOVEBIRD that plays in Heidi Fleiss: would be Madam of Crystal, and it is composed of music , timed with the visual song of a melodic animation.
It draws flowery feminine pictures of acceptance and home...the picture of a girl in a bedroom , starting out forlorn, but by the end she has perked up as the pencil draws colorful birds that relate and interact with her.
She's for the birds.
She finds wounded and brilliant exotic parrots, and they are as wounded and brilliant as their new person. Oh yes, these birds are like Heidi, also new to sentiments such as trust and community.
Heidi finds a home.
Farewell profit motive. Your attachments imploded.
Heidi can devote her creativity of expansion and production to securing new aviaries instead of building upscale brothels.
There is a sense of manic desperation that hides in the cage. We know it's there for the first 60 mins of the film but it is drowned out.
In the final moments, the cage door is opened. Profit motive is really a dishonest grasp at protection.
Heidi is rabidly high on crystal . Her intoxication and her addiction are flying free in a cageless block of glass. Her words and cries go nowhere fast.
As this is happening, her cries finally vocalize the intense fear and sadness that always stayed tucked under her wing.
Her birds have set her free. At least it almost time to get to the last cage door and find the real open space, the open skies of Recovery.
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