Friday, February 17, 2006

a hole in my heart

I wish I would have netflixed "Together" instead of "A Hole in My Heart" when I was trying to decide what I think of Lukas Moodysson. Now I don't even feel like I want to give him another chance. That was one of the most repulsive movies I have ever seen. There are close-up views of genital surgery, pornographic sex of the most ugly kind, and, for the piece de resistance, a man vomiting into a woman's mouth in a scene that looks pretty real. And GW, there are even close-ups of earthworms, so make sure you never watch it. You can tell how much Anthony Lane (2nd review) loves this guy when you read his review of this movie. He tries his hardest to defend it, and this is what he writes about the vomit scene (he was in an audience with 800 people because he saw it at a film festival)

Then came the point at which Tess and Geko reach absolute moral zero—the pits of degradation, of a kind that I will not describe (save to hint that it involves the forcible exchange of a waste product), and have no wish to witness again. At that exact moment, we hear the last chorus from the St. Matthew Passion—“Wir setzen uns mit Tranen nieder.” It roared from the speakers, and I felt eight hundred people or more rocked back, as if by a wave. From that there was no recovery. We stumbled out, and in the succeeding days I found myself playing the piece over and over, not in order to relive a noxious movie but because the Bach had regained its grave and devastating function. It has become, for too many of us, a concert piece, or something dignified to put on the CD player at the end of a fissile day. Suddenly, thanks to Lukas Moodysson, I heard it again as a Passion: the drama of Calvary, stern with lamentation. The question is: do we need to be hauled through scene after scene of drab, dehumanized behavior so that we may see, or at least hear, humanity restored at the end?

Yeah, I'm sure that's what Bach had in mind when he wrote that piece. Give me a break! And maybe I was so numbed out by the end that I missed it but I sure don't remember much humanity being restored. All the grotty creeps in the movie were hugging but it seemed totally implausible. Now that I'm thinking out loud (to you), Bergman has praised this guy, albeit for his first film (which wasn't that crazy), I have no idea what he thinks about this new film, and Bergman does have his own shocking mention of genital mutilation in Cries and Whispers...but still, this guy's no Bergman. Here's an interview with Moodysson where he talks about the movie. You guys that liked "Together" might want to read it because he seems nonplussed by people who view it as a pleasant comedy. He also says that when he compiled a list of the most important influences on his life the Cure was number one and Morrissey was number five. Huh.


Alice said...

that sounds like the kind of movie that would make you want to take a shower after you watched it. like an hour long shower where you scrub your body with a piece of lava. and then you'd have to watch the care bears to make you feel whole again.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link to the interview! Just to clarify: I'd never classify TOGETHER as a "comedy" but it's a darkly dramatic film with some incredibly funny lines and moments. I'm almost tempted to quote a few...but that would be spoiler-ish. But rest assured, TOGETHER is not a bleak film. It's a film with a deep humanist streak that finds some mirth in the ideology and rigidty of the far-left in Europe during the 70s. (And as a lefty myself, I found it extremely amusing and insightful...)

Truth be told, I'm sorry to hear that Moodysson has gone down this same road that other European directors like Lars von Trier and Gaspar Noe and Leo Carax and Michael Winterbottom have travelled. They're all directors I admire -- or at least once did. But they seem to feel that the endgame of their art requires them to depict real sex or real cruelty -- or both simultaneously -- on-screen.

Since Heckasac/Beckler has provided plenty of links to NSFW sites, I feel comfortable making this statement here: I'm all for more nudity in films. In fact, I see film as the perfect medium to continue the tradition -- well documented in thousands of years of painting, and hundreds of years of photography, of people, both men and women, getting their kit off and getting it on with one another.


I wasn't convinced by Moodysson's comments in that article. I found him petulant.

He's tackled some truly tough subjects, unflichingly. And that's to be commended. And I'd like
to have a look at his latest film. But the fact of the matter is, these days, films tend to get plotted on a trajectory. And he seems a bit lost....

vargaso said...

I wouldn't put Moodysson and Winterbottom in the same category. I thought 9 Songs was a nice little slice of life, with the sex being very natural and, hey, sexy, without being overly prurient. Plus, Winterbottom's next flick is Tristam Shandy, so I don't think he's going down some hole of depravity. Although who among us doesn't like going down on a hole of depravity every now and then?