Last Night I saw Molly Nilsson perform live at Birthdays in London with Butterlock and East India Youth. It was good to see her “In Real Life.” Though the computer was ever present, as she stood before us, a physical offering, no band, a stripped bare karaoke. I was sober amidst a Dalston crowd of mostly drunk teenagers in perfect revery. Online life gives us so much history but Molly Nilsson uses it and leaves it, offering her icy, aloof but mesmerizing stare out to us. The pretensions of her performance are balanced with a coolness that is undeniable. Coolness, that elusive trait of caring with whim. We can project the anxiety of being left behind as scenes pass us by, only to come back for a brief ironic stint…the 90s. Standing before me, Molly Nilsson distilled time, suspending, hovering and letting us feel a moment of presentness without the devices of spontaneity, but rather with calm resistant persistence.
London to New York, or the opposite, is one of the most privledged world paths imaginable. Two expensive cities staring with starry eyes and currency signs across the Atlantic. This transatlantic voyage was a complicated environment to watch a film called “The Hunger Games.”
I pretty much ate every nut, beverage, biscuit, garnish I was presented with – as if I too were preparing to fight until the death. Watching the film is a constant negotiating of one’s on position in confrontation with the spectacularization of Capitalist greed and then the glorified identification with the peasant underdog.
A man sitting next to me later told me that he saw me watching the film and thought I might have been crazy. It was enthralling and despite the self-consciousness I inevitably feel about my own status in the world – I didn’t negotiate the political context as much as blindly identify with Katniss Everdeen.
i like that cider house rules guy…i can’t wait to see spiderman, spiderman is one of the greatest superheros. much better than superman, i’m not a fan of superman, he’s got no challenges except when the kryptonite comes into play, but that’s a rarity. batman is cool and mysterious but he is really wealthy…batman is also a regular guy that has devoted his nightlife to saving people..which he can afford to do beacuse he’s so rich…he can afford the batmobile and that guy that makes all his meals and keeps his batman secret, and of course he has all those neat gadgets that allow him to swing from buildings, to rescue the pretty ladies that he always has a relationship with as a the rich guy, and as batman, so that brings about the whole complex of them being in love with two men…the whole clark kent/superman louis lane bit, talk about love triangle. so i’d say batman was a regular old guy that has decided to sae people out of the goodness of his heart, but he is also a rich guy that has nothing better to do with his spare time then buy a lot of cool stuff and have a creepy second life to get girls, and stay in shape…oh i forgot about the whole revenge aspect…but all superheros have that. all and all i think batman is real cool, but out of the mutant superheros, the ones with super strength, or x-ray vision…or something of the sort..spiderman definitely wins in that category…i think batman is in a category all his own though…cat woman is wicked cool too, but she is evil although i never wanted her to be…there are no role models for young girls these days.
“We encounter the same motif of ‘subjectivization’ of a cyborg in Ridley Scott’s Bladerunner where the hero’s android girlfriend ‘becomes subject’ by (re)inventing her personal history; here, the Lacanian thesis that woman is ‘a symptom of man’ acquires an unexpected literal value: she is effectively the hero’s sinthome, ‘synthetic complement,’ i.e., the sexual difference coincides with the difference human/android.” Looking Awry, Slavoj Zizek
I think that there is an argument that the science fiction genre, (especially when looking at quintissential examples such as Bladerunner), in accordance with it’s postmodern ethos, is rather than a critique of capitalism, a pacifying tool for capitalist consumption. The genre is so much about the image, the covetous, innovative gadgits and technology. I think at the same time there is no argument that Bladerunner is indeed sexist and as I write this I can see the tomatoes or maybe sausages being thrown in my direction, as I stand blankly on stage only thinking of my hairy armpits.
SEXIST SHE CRIES! and the feminists, these aren’t dirty words.
I’m tired of writing about women as if I weren’t one.
I think now as Prometheus has wreaked over most conversations I’ve had recently and the sequel to Bladerunner looms, this return to science fiction is a last attempt at grasping onto capitalism’s now rotten splendor – but the inevitability is a silent fall into nature’s rivens. And Bladerunner‘s Adam and Eve rib action is so boring that I really hope for something a little more fair and balanced in terms of gender in the sequel. Not that the alien abortion (though the most compelling part of Prometheus) gives me much hope. At least she didn’t worry about destroying the ‘life’ that was inside her. Perhaps Prometheus can at least serve as that indie flick Juno’s counter.
this is scattered. it’s been awhile.
(Note: In this post some actions that take place in the film are described but nothing is given away)
Although I am a person who likes to see art that makes me feel something, I’ve always been apprehensive about watching Lars Von Trier’s films. Mostly from the hype and wide-eyed stares I get from people who have just seen one. It’s hypocritical, I know, to demand that art evoke emotion but to at the same time avoid the things that I’m afraid will make me feel a certain way. Those feelings include: fright, hopelessness, terror, utter sadness, and loss. So historically I stay away from films that I know include torture, rape, and the pain or death of animals. I have a whole list of Scary Movies that I have not seen because they’re Too Scary. This is something that I am working on, to look at those dark shadowy areas in order to see where fear originates.
There’s been much discussion surrounding Lars Von Trier’s latest film, Melancholia. When planning to go see it, people arrange for ‘recovery’ time afterwards. I’ve heard it being described as ‘incredibly depressing’, ‘very, very sad’, and ‘haunting’. Normally, these would be the key words that would make me avoid a film. But my interest was piqued, I knew very little about the storyline and it seemed mysterious, so I saw Melancholia last night.
All of the above statements are accurate, it is sad and beautiful and leaves a mark on you when you leave the theater. However, I did not cry like I thought I would. I did not cover my eyes or grip the arm of the chair (well okay a little gripping but not nearly as much as I anticipated). I wondered on this afterwards, was it all the hype and expectation that led me to believe it would evoke such deep emotions from me that I wouldn’t be able to recover from it for days? And when it actually was a digestible, albiet intense, film, why was I so surprised?
The segments in Melancholia that stirred the most feeling in me were the ones where the character Justine, played by Kirsten Dunst, is slowly spiraling downwards into a deep depression and finally ends up at the bottom of it, unable to move, care for herself, or eat. When she has to be supported by her sister and brother-in-law in order to get into bed, I felt that. The physical pain of depression is something you remember once you’ve experienced it. It stays in your bones and hibernates. Both Von Trier and Dunst so truthfully portray the complete devastation that it can wreak on a life. We don’t need to know why or where it came from in Justine, it’s just powerfully there.
I think those moments are some of the most haunting, because they are so real. Other moments are haunting for sure, as well as terrifying, but they aren’t as affecting. Those are the moments when I can remember that I am watching a film whereas the part when Justine can’t even lift her leg to step into a bathtub…that is what has stayed with me.
I decided to write about this aspect of the film although there are several other themes that can be touched on. The transformation of power dynamics in male and female relationships, the importance of childhood imagination, and the things that truly matter outside of the decadence of life, are just to name a few. But I was struck by my response to the film and what I personally took from it. And that’s what I mean by art that makes me feel something. Everyone else can, and will, have their own response that is unique and true to them. Such is art and as in life.