Thursday, 31 March 2005

sad movie

The still from Black Narcissus (1947) has nothing much to do with anything, except that I like it. They just don't make steamy crazed nun movies like they used to.

No, instead they make dismal and bleak movies like the two screened at the Melbourne Cinematheque this evening. Those wacky funsters at cteq have programmed a Michael Haneke retrospective, aptly timed to coincide with the Comedy festival. I dunno if I can face the next two sessions.

Code inconnu screened first, and it was ok, interesting even: kind of a sad, european, post-colonial Magnolia, minus redemption, but plus Juliette Binoche, which is a fairly large plus. Then screened the astonishingly distressing The Seventh Continent, which I fear may be destined to join Salo and a couple others in the class of movies I wish I hadn't seen. It is about a family who kill themselves for no perceptible reason other than generalised postmodern ennui (everything is meaningless, pop music is banal, the supermarket is soul-destroying, washing the car is very dull, etc) Although 'suicide' is not really the right description for a family comprising two adults and one eight-year-old, is it. As I watched the horrific last movement, where the family methodically destroy all their possessions before their deaths, I kept feeling my face contort and harden into a grimace of pain; around us, other spectators were sitting in strange, uncomfortable positions.

It is very late now and I will go to bed shortly, and hopefully I won't lie awake thinking about this film, which is a fiction, and not therefore to be unconditionally taken as a genuine reflection of something horrible in our condition. For all its power I think perhaps the movie is an uncontrolled and unreflective thing - the kind that happens when complete technical mastery gets there ahead of the human knowledge.

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