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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Talking Pictures in Hollywood

Okay, it's L.A. check in time for Miamista. I don't feel like talking about Miami. I have a few entry topics which will have to wait. When you're in L.A. you should see film yes? Could have done the free yet-to-be-released fill-out-the-questionnaire movies in Santa Monica. (You have to love the fact that your input could force a change of ending.) Instead I did the coffee house movie thing with some friends two days ago. I enjoy seeing well shot films in the theater. I heard that our film for the night was visually impressive.

It was the sci-fi "It's All About Love" with Joaquin Phoenix and Claire Danes, released in 2004. It was alright, with beautiful cinematography at times. I won't burden you with my own plot synopsis. I am hoping you already saw it to get my point here.

I could not believe how thick people were becoming. In the obligatory post film convo there were a couple of people in our party that totally missed the point. Shit, all of them did. The obvious symbolism was the coldness of our society.

The associates of Claire Danes' character were representative of modern society for whom she (and all of us) are disposable role players. Her associates know people by knowing some facts, not how she felt or who she actually was. That she was a celebrated figure skater even made it that more pointed; we care know even less about the famous (fake) people that we want to emulate. Her society is one that is filled with worry and fear that are often vague but real. It is the ultimate cold world- legalistic, grasping, false, assured by its own existence; within it is utter heartlessness.

It is a world where the danger, even impending doom is masked by mundane activities, order, dysfunctional priorities and media chatter. The economic and social system is so effortlessly controlling that an attempt to escape it can mean that your brother will turn on you.The film means to convey that our world is in a state of semi-civilized self destruction. As our hearts grow colder our world grows colder. The environment is nature, but not just nature, it is our way of relating to each other and eventually our capacity to love each other. The too distant humanity of the Third World, (warranting a spare mention in news reports and cocktail parties) is perhaps not as cold but increasing untethered to the physical world and human society by harsh physical/economic.

The film is a sweeping indictment of the dissolution of family and personal relationships, devaluation of the essential individual, ignoral of dispossessed people, egoism, mindless ambition, social dishonesty and environmental destruction. (A little depressing for sure, but I dare you to argue against it.)

By using a familiar yet strange world of the near future made eerie by photography, make-up, lighting, scene set-up and music you are drawn in, looking for a barely existent plot. The symbolism is not guised and clever but attempts a wholistic portrayal of the overall theme.If the messages have been oft heard and tuned out by the ear, the film makers hope a dream-like production will reach your psyche. (Definitely not as successful as the spooky-primordial film about our relationship with and capacity for hurt, anguish, violence and mortality in "A Mere Formality".) I am not sure "It's All About Love" accomplished this but hell, I am writing about it.

So all I heard was, "I didn't get the story, man it was unbelievable." Has Hollywood dumbed us all down to this degree? If anything the damn movie was too obvious and ham-fisted in what it was trying to communicate. My frustration for the day was this- it would have been better if we would have been able to talk about it. (I probably won't publish this.)

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