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Sunday, January 9, 2011


black cows on ice

The temperature this morning was 4.2 degrees at 5:30. Too cold to do anything but stay rolled up the blanket. Even later it was too cold to get up, but I did, made some coffee and talked on the phone awhile. Then I watched a film again that I'd seen the night before, this time with director commentary, the director talking through the film about various scenes, what inspired them, how they worked out in the making of the project. It was probably the most powerful film I've seen. Danish director, Lars von Trier made it. This one was called ANTI-CHRIST. It had nothing to do with Bible prophecy. It was the story of a woman's mind breaking down after the accidental death of her 3 yr old boy. Her husband is a psychoanalyst. He doesn't want to treat her, but she became such that he had to.

He took her to a cabin so deep in the forest, they had to walk a long ways after leaving the car. There, her mind went all the way to breakdown, taking him with her. It went completely undone to leaving mind all together. They went so deep inside themselves they left themselves, in a sense, and something else took over. Perhaps this is where the title comes from. Both were reduced to their dark sides and that was where they dwelt after a certain point. They fell into their dark sides and couldn't get out. There came a time when she became something of a demon and there was hell to pay. To say it was beautifully made doesn't sound right, because it was so ugly in so many psychological ways. I expect it was smelly too. It's a toe curler. There's no way you can get all the way through it without twisting up in a knot at least once.

After seeing it the first time, I declared it the most fucked up movie I've ever seen. I don't know of anything I've seen that was so intensely visceral that took me by the mind, by the gut, by the throat, by the ego. He spent much of the story preserving himself from her serious assaults, much like thrashing about in the water trying to keep his head above the water while she's pulling him down. It became so intense, I spoke out loud, "Kill the bitch!" It was like she'd left her body and another entity came in, but it never got that kind of spooky. The dark side. He was taken by surprise at every turn, because the force that was moving through her he had a hard time believing, until he had no choice but to believe it. He came to realize he needed to save his own neck and the only way he could stop her from killing him was to kill her. It came to a continuous all-out struggle for him just to stay alive, because she saw him as Satan. The story left weird after the first 10 minutes and went into another zone that weird was merely the gateway into.

As a work of art, which it was to the Nth degree, I have to hold it up the highest. I was a bit apprehensive it would be about Bible prophecy, but by Lars von Trier, I knew it couldn't be. I'd seen his vision of the Greek play MEDEA, so I had a pretty good notion that even if it were about the Revelation, it would be in such a way it would hold my interest. I like it as an interpretation of that term, Anti-Christ, which gets used all the time by people with no idea what it means. I felt like von Trier had an insight into its meaning he was illustrating in a 2 hour story of slipping into the dark side through egoic self-indulgence in grief. I appreciated how he brought it down from an abstraction to something very real in our everyday lives, the ego. It was another heart of darkness story of the plunge into the dark unknown where they chuck spears, where enormous snakes drop down from trees onto you, where crocodiles jump out of the rivers and snatch you.

I get a kick out of telling myself I'm not afraid of my dark side. I'm in balance. LOL. LOL again. I do know I would have a very difficult time in this man's situation, and certainly do not want the experience. I remembered a circumstance some years ago that could have grown into something of this kind of intensity, what we call insanity. I remembered another circumstance with a woman I knew who lived in Boone. I went to her door one day, she came to the door, her face streaming tears and looking like they'd been there a long time. She said "they" were telling her to kill herself with the big sharp butcher knife she held in her right hand like a dagger. I took her in my arms totally unafraid. She could have planted it deep in my back, but I knew, or believed I knew, she didn't have it in her, that I was not the problem. It was the voices in her head. I stayed with her awhile, seeing how flimsy her mind was at the moment, stayed with her maybe long enough for her to get her feet on the ground a little bit, have somebody to talk to.

The experience of seeing Jr's mind slip away showed me the same thing this film showed, that the mind is a thin, vulnerable misinterpreter drawing conclusions that logjam the flow and make mayhem of what we call reality. Though what we call reality is a thin veneer of collectively agreed upon beliefs and interpretation, which by its very nature is misinterpretation. We drift along in an idea of reality that suits us by culture, by family characteristics, by belief systems, by fears, etcetera, etcetera. To say it is nebulous is to give it substance. It has no substance though it lives in a world of material objects. This film illustrated the nature of the mind as I've come to see it over the last few years. It illustrated the dark side, too, like I've never seen it depicted in an art form. Apocalypse Now went deep into the dark side in another kind of voyage to the darkness within. In two days I've seen von Trier's film 3 times. It's a serious work of art.


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