Monday, October 17, 2011
steering the fear
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.
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