Monday, 4 January 2010

the bothersome man

Here was a very strong film, accidentally apt in my recent trickle of films on this bleak theme. I was not alone in being remembered of Kitchen Stories, further, the blurb cites Jacques Tati as precedent comedy, this film would have sat happily on the bill of the Bri's last film weekend, and joins a cloud of urgent appeals to reflect on the Hells we build for ourselves. Other rememberances included the conversion by music piped into the dusty cracks of socialism's architecture as the Lives of Others. And the heroic tunnelling of Shawshank. And the childlessness of Children of Men.

“Nothing tastes..”

We know Hell when we see it, we know it, no one need invoke Theology, we know the grind of number punching in a bleak dead end nameless cubicle, affection without commitment, food without flavour, fact without meaning. Hell is as close as breathing, as near as hands and feet.

Cycles, circles, repetition and Hell. Nothing ends, nothing begins, nothing risks, nothing hurts, most of all nothing hopes. There are no children, no age, no birth, so the fire of the present state burns without ceasing yet does not consume. In Hell, we find ourselves going through the contextless motions of a closed circuit reality, our bus has arrived from nowhere and this never ends, all that we have left to do is rearrange our measurable utilities, ordering our lives as an elaborate game of distraction.

Polygamy and Hell. How shall we then love? We all watching winced audibly at the Hell of his wife's apathy, her concern privileging the trivial and practical over any zest for life, love or meaning. There equally is a Hell in his hypocrisy and commitment-averse, covenant-averse connubial dabblings. So enter the Great Divorce.

'Azure', 'Cool Coral', and the Hell of branding's assault to language. Here we see that in Hell nothing has a quality of its own, only those relative and feeble assigned titles claimed by Babel's brands under whose banners we find security. Pointed that, of all things, they should discuss colour in a world so desaturated, in a film whose palette is all of shades of grey. Here in Bothersome, where colour has ceased even to be a memory, these blind semantic jousts hold table in knowing small talks debating branded colours, so now for us, sometimes, with 'community'.

On that, shallow expression, dispassionate small talk, and the Hell of social niceties. Everything is easy, everything is polite, everything follows its predictable, appropriate, conservative course. Can we ascribe moral categories to the gravity of that absent in small talked exchanges, what consequences a lack of imagination, what fallout propriety's sacred monopoly?

Further Hells are here shown in numb comforts, sound-proofed, swept-clean, sanitised, uncluttered, hard-landscaped urban environments, unstoried, anonymous and hermetically sealed.

Could we discuss: Potted plants, affected nature and Hell. Gratuitous gore, Derrida's zombies and Hell. Mies furniture and Hell. Electric cars and Hell. The slow sliding camera pan, inhuman in its calculation and Hell. Watch this film, beautifully-crafted, it offers layers of metaphor beyond even its own challenging thoughtful intentionality.

So, Hope breaking in, hope of sponge cake, a memory of former order, Hope in the sweat of physical work, real work alongside fellow Hopers. Hope breaks in phenomenologically. Hell's antithesis Is as it is beheld, it Is as it is anticipated. The Bothersome Man would have us be God-botherers just as zealously as we are bothersome to our given city by so doing, and praying and digging a Heb13:13 tunnel, never surrendered to the ever-pressing banality of empire.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0808185/

4 comments:

4 channel DVR said...

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ellearch said...

I'm watching the film now. It looks pretty impressive, looks like a film where the guy is on prozac.

J K Nottingham said...

Interesting to read your thoughts on the film. I watched it a while ago and it invoked similar feelings for me, though interestingly the person I watched it with didn't recognise it as Hell to begin with - they needed to be convinced.

Further reading 'The Great Divorce'.
Further watching 'Lost'

Philip Jackson said...

Surely the Great Divorce. Lost however, I'd be interested to know your feeling for Hell in Lost: Lost and the Hell of willfully obtuse scripting and indefinitely drawnout franchising?