Thursday, May 21, 2009

They'll all end badly.

Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.

Watching one film every two weeks (instead of every other night or so) has helped me slow down my thinking and allowed me to roll a film around my mind for several days after seeing it, instead of rushing on to the next images.

I didn't particularly love Gomorrah, but some of its story and imagery will stick with me whether I want it to or not. The only sympathetic characters are a pair of psychopathic children (see above picture - yes, it's the best scene in the film), another child eager to lose his innocence, and an adult messenger whose entire life has been entangled in mafia business; now he wants out but is faced with the grim certainty that the only way out is death. There is one other youth who manages to walk away, but the crimes that he was involved in were far removed from (though related to) the street violence of the others. He walked away from a form of white collar crime where the killing was indirect. All of the stories are woven together fairly neatly and everything resolves, for better or for worse, leaving the city and its inhabitants in the same condition that it started in, minus a few more bodies.

What's it like to grow up in a city, like Sodom, where you get some new neighbors and your first thought is to stir up a mob of men to take turns defiling the guests in their house? As a father, your first thought of protecting your guests involves turning over your daughters to the mob instead? A place where the easiest way to survive is moral compromise at best and active complicity with evil at worst? I've never known such a place and I am grateful for that.

I've got to leave the library and get to work! Brandon, did you see that Lars von Trier dedicated Antichrist to Tarkovsky?! I'm a believer in his sincerity even if he can't resist being the showman and braggart that he is. I think that he's trying to be honest, come what may.

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