I finished a bag of chips as we started to watch Jafar Panahi’s Taxi. I was about to get up and throw it away but waited.
The opening shot held too much promise, a point of view from Panahi’s car as he started through Tehran. I folded the bag and held it tight.There is so very much to say about Panahi’s film Taxi – searing political statement, marvel in story-telling, profound celebration of life, comic odyssey into sordid realism (a phrase repeated throughout) – but what struck me most is the advice given by Panahi to a prospective filmmaker who sits in the back of the car. After being told that the young man had read many books but could not find a good subject for a film, Panahi replies: “Those films are already made, those books already written. You have to look elsewhere.” If only Hollywood and the rest of the film-making world would listen to that; it’s the ideas that matter and not the budget. Imagine what the Oscars might look like then, with none of the Mad Max, Gravity, Lord of the Rings nonsense. Actual films instead…what a world that could be.
The film ended as suddenly as it had began, the camera removed, the screen now black. I realized that I still held the plastic bag tight and, at long last, stood to throw it away.
Fripp & Eno started it with The Heavenly Music Corporation, not ambient music but ominous and terrifying sonic explorations, lovely too. (Click preceding link to listen.)I heard the sound again, years later, at a Grateful Dead show in Miami in 1988; it was like being inside a jet engine, all-encompassing, so very loud.
And then, in Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds (2006), a new version, low and distant, perhaps over-produced, arrived on screen. (Click preceding link to listen.)It arose again in the trailer for Chris Nolan’s Inception(2010), promising aural profundity; regrettably, the sound was brief and the movie was not.The sound became more realized in Gravity (2013), providing the soundscape for the impending doom of debris.It has now returned to the frontier of music, more than My Bloody Valentine’s sonic wall, in Sigur Ros’ latest work, Kveikur (2013).Louder and deeper, back-filled by drums and wailing voices, the sound builds, just falling short of the next plateau. As this sound continues in its evolution, getting deeper and fuller, it might even be a synchronistic backdrop for our promised apocalypse.
I recently made a brief comment on youtube regarding Gravity: Music works well. Film doesn’t.I received this reply:
What kind of sick reality are you living in??
I returned to the youtube site to find an official youtube message regarding my post: This comment has received too many negative votes.
I was curious about what is “too many” and why there are so many. I don’t mind being on the other side of the fence and fielding differences of opinions; however I do struggle with this weird electronic world where so many ill-thought words are spat.
Leaving Las Vegas
I’ll tell you what everyone is like. Ever think about torture? Ever think about what that is? People torturing others, I mean, people actually willing to literally torture another person, strap someone down and torture, tear off their fucking fingernails, put wire through their flesh, burn their fucking eyes out, what the fuck else? These people will watch, just watch, another person freak out and scream. And for what? Because they fucking can. Because they can get away with it. That’s who we are. That’s what this is about. We’re fucked. We’re so completely and entirely fucked. (from my bad side)
There are moments in Gravity that are worth something – although I’m not sure if it’s worth the $100 million budget nor the $18 ticket. The visuals are impressive, like the camerawork and music; however the narrative is superficial at best, offering only caricatures and predictable cliffhangers, as it jumps from one space station to another, with a cloud of space debris always in close pursuit. It’s a shame, with all that money, time and ingenuity, that such little effort was invested into fleshing out the details of why we are supposed to care.