Sunday, April 17, 2005

The Dark Side of the Mood

(:)(:)(:)(:) for Magnolia viewed on DVD this evening at home. I became aware of this film in the following way:

Bill: Wanna watch Magnolia with me tonight?

snichols: What is it?

Bill: It's a DVD I got from Netflix.

snichols: No. I mean, what's the film like or about?

Bill: It's an Anderson film.

snichols: Loni?

Bill: No.

snichols: Belina?

Bill: No. Paul Thomas.

snichols: I don't know that director. What can you tell me about the film?

Bill: I'm watching it tonight.

snichols: (sigh) Okay, I'll watch it (quickly grabbing Leonard Maltin to look the movie up--he gave it 3 stars and called it depressing--now I can't wait. Will this surpass Ratcatcher?)

I am fascinated by the series of wierd, inexplicable, coincidentally mostly bad events happening to the lives of the people in this film. It is superbly written, directed and acted. It is dark dark dark dark dark. Everyone says fuck and motherfucker a real lot. And I mean everyone, elderly dying people say it, children say it, even educated fleas say it.

Many many people would hate this movie. In a different time of my life, I might have hated it too. I have been cursed/blessed with the quintessentially American obession with the light and fear of the dark. All my life I have eschewed dark books, dark movies, dark news stories--closed my eyes, closed my ears, closed my mind. I thought, on some level, that if I could shut it out, it wasn't there. It didn't happen.

My recent mental state convinces me that you can't possibly shut these things out, that dark is as much a part of life and spirit as life is and that when you can't face the dark, you can't grow. Magnolia is an exercise in facing the dark. And it faces it well.

1 comment:

Selliot said...

I think the dichotomy is the mistake: you're in the dark, you're in a hole;
you're out of the hole, you're in the light;
you're back in the hole, you're in the dark;
you're back out of the hole, you're back in the light. . . . Blah blah blah. Apart from the imagery that some find offensive, the in and out is tedious: stop climbing in and out of the same hole. Move past it. Or, if the world is your whole, then start figuring out how to illuminate it.

Me, I couldn't get past the frogs.