Cleansing the doors of cinematic perception... for a better now

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Drop it!

I'm mildly afraid that BE KIND REWIND wont "reach" some Americans, the hipster ironics in particular, who may be wrapped too tight to admit they're wrapped too tight. Gondry's got the same playful in the moment spirit as Godard, and it's best exemplified in a scene from the film I will now describe.

In this scene, old man proprietor Danny Glover grabs a tough guy black kid bully and forces him via a half-nelson to go over to a monitor and look at some footage of Fats Waller, to "teach him" a lesson. "But what does this have to do with my lesson?" the kid asks after the bit of dubious footage passes by. "We changed the subject," Glover answers.

Exactly! That's the initial key to playing with children, to playing in general, to life... how fast can you let go? Let go of what? Exactly!

William S. Burroughs once described it in terms of a pretty poisoned helium balloon attached to a string, someone gives it to you to hold and you instantly start rising. As the safety of the ground below you exponentially vanishes, how soon does it take you to let go? Most "adults" will keep hanging on, until they're as bedraggled as the dance marathon contestants at the end of THEY SHOOT HORSES DON'T THEY?

The sad thing about the dance marathon is just this ridiculous level of elevation. The couples who drop out early are the smartest. To admit defeat is sometimes to win. The long-term players suffer from long-term investment obsessiveness, the very thing that kept us in Vietnam so long, that keeps us in Iraq so long, the very thing that emotionally cripples so many adults--the very thing Gondry and Godard try, in their way, to rescue us from.

As Gig Young notes in HORSES as the brilliantly modulated MC, "Isn't that what America is all about?"

Or as I've been saying all week in the dog run when Inga steals someone else's ball, "Drop it!"

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