Inside (A l’interieur) and film nihilism – SPOILERS

August 25, 2008 at 4:18 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Always in search of the next horror movie that will genuinely freak me out, last night me and a friend of mine watched Inside (A l’interieur) a French flick that received good notices from both reviewers and gorehounds. Starring the once-lovely now-slightly haunted looking Beatrice Dalle and Alysson Paradis is the harrowing tale of 9 months pregnant Sarah (Paradis) besieged in her home by a mysterious woman in black who wants her baby and will cut it out of her if she must. Sarah lost her husband in a car crash 4 months ago and is grieving and surly to everyone around her and probably not that sure that she’s glad the baby survived.

Inside’s grand guignol is truly inspiring. Blood spurts, its jets, it comes out in flowing streams of every artery, vein and organ covering the walls in Pollock-esque designs. The actresses are superb in their cat and mouse game. But unfortunately that’s where my praise ends. The motivation for La Femme’s rampage is laughable. Her characterization is pegged somewhere between traumatized woman and impenetrable super-villain caricature. This woman will not or cannot die. Every character in the film is guilty of making the stupidest possible decisions at each possible moment. Several people have their backs turned to open doorways, drop loaded guns, don’t call for backup and one inexplicably comes back to life after being shot in the head. The plot holes are numerous and in the end….

SPOILER

SPOILER

La Femme, with half of her face melted off due to an earlier self-defense attack from Sarah, cuts her stomach open with a pair of house scissors, reaches into her belly and pulls out the baby along with the surrounding viscera while Sarah squirms. This is after La Femme kicks Sarah in the face multiple times, cuts her cheek with scissors and bashes her over the head with a toaster. The final scene is of the unnamed woman in a rocking chair with the baby.

In short, WTF? Critics nearly shat themselves over this film and I can’t imagine why except for the fact that it treads into serious taboos by violently dispatching a pregnant woman. Inside contains a host of interesting concepts – is La Femme a figment of Sarah’s imagination? a manifestation of her guilt about surviving? a statement about French violence and society (there’s a subplot about the banlieue riots)? pregnancy trauma and anxiety? – none of which it bothers to develop at all. The result, as my friend said, is that any genuine suspense that the plot generates devolves into the viewer’s tension at when the next gory death scene is coming.

I couldn’t shake the ending though which added nothing to the overall theme of the movie and seemed only to exist to be bleak for the sake of being bleak. Postmodern horror’s tendency to not allow for narrative closure has transformed into a misanthropic habit of not letting anyone out alive. I haven’t thought about what this trend means but it is precisely the type of cruel nihilism masked as a important social statement or realism that is pushing me away from this genre.

I had a similar feeling after learning that the original ending of The Descent had the main character dying in the cave while hallucinating about her dead daughter. There was alot of hubbub from international fans about how the original ending was better and that facile Americans can’t handle unhappy endings. I took this controversy for what it was worth – a bunch of smug Europeans lazily invoking the cliche of the bourgeouis, puritannical, multiplex loving American. The fact is that the movie is better served by the ending of the heroine reborn. What is the point of going through a grueling journey with these characters if nothing is going to come of it? This is not to say that it’s never appropriate for a main character to die but rather that the dying should serve some purpose in the story other than proclaiming that everything is pointless and so we should all go at each other like animals.

Happy and neutral endings are as much a part of real life as sad, traumatic and destructive ones. It’s hard not to feel suspicious about the fact that in both of these films women are the monsters or behaving monstrously and also the victims. In France, in this day and age, it’s really sad if the best gesture they can make towards realism is suggesting that women are constantly, brutally punished and worse, that they somehow deserve it.

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New York Korean Film Festival 2007

October 7, 2007 at 8:36 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

It’s time once again to discover new and re-released films from a country with a growing artistic and financial presence in the Asian film industry. The 2007 New York Korean Film Festival is presented by Helio and organized by The Korea Society. Over the past decade Korean cinema has garnered more acclaim in the states with the emergence of auteurs Kim Ki-duk, Park Chan-wook and the popular Im Kwon-taek, whose rarer works are the subject of a retrospective in the festival. Read the rest of this entry »

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Please leave comments :)

August 9, 2007 at 5:08 pm (Uncategorized)

Thank you for visiting my blog and if I’ve entertained you even a little bit I’d love for you to leave a comment, even a snarky one (see the Halloween post comment). Arigato gozaimas!

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Foxes do it: Evolutionary reasons for sluttiness

July 30, 2007 at 8:29 pm (Uncategorized)

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As a feminist I get so tired of hearing the same old biological, overdetermined, psuedo-evolutionary scientific reasons for why females of the species are faithful nuturers and men must stick their junk in every warm hole within reasonable proximity. Even though several studies on mammals and all other species have found an astonishing number of exceptions to this “rule”, within human discourse this convenient excuse is thrown around and not questioned when applied to males general lack of sexual self control. And here’s yet another study from Yahoo! science news about female foxes who sleep around in order to increase the genetic viability of their offspring. Indeed, it makes sense for several members of the animal kingdom of both sexes to make as much nookie as possible for this same reason. Unless one is talking about penguins or other animals where extreme devotion to a single partner IS required to propagate the species, it would seem as if  female sexual passivity isn’t as overwhelmingly represented in mother nature as we once thought. So there!

http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20070727/sc_livescience/friskyfoxesnotsofaithful;_ylt=Aur.Q5iAlIaaGZVvN47_Bot4hMgF

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The wonders of You Tube

April 29, 2007 at 8:37 pm (Uncategorized)

One of SNL’s hilarious digital clips from Andy Samberg.

Also, I found this while looking for horror short films on You Tube last night and found one so head and shoulders above anything I had ever seen I have to post it here. The embedding option has been disabled so I’ll just post the link. The film is called The Insane, the effects, acting and cinematography are startingly well done. The only complaint I have is that the “twist” is blaringly obvious pretty much from go. Enjoy!

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Wonderful political poetry

April 26, 2007 at 4:19 am (Uncategorized)

A Moment of Silence, Before I Start this Poem

by Emmanuel Ortiz 9.11.02

Before I start this poem, I’d like to ask you to join me in a moment of silence in honor of those who died in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon last September 11th.

I would also like to ask you to offer up a moment of silence for all of those who have been harassed, imprisoned, disappeared, tortured, raped, or killed in retaliation for those strikes, for the victims in both Afghanistan and the U.S.

And if I could just add one more thing…

A full day of silence for the tens of thousands of Palestinians who have died at the hands of U.S.-backed Israeli forces over decades of occupation. Six months of silence for the million and-a-half Iraqi people, mostly children, who have died of malnourishment or starvation as a result of an 11-year U.S. embargo against the country.

Before I begin this poem: two months of silence for the Blacks under Apartheid in South Africa, where homeland security made them aliens in their own country Nine months of silence for the dead in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where death rained down and peeled back every layer of concrete, steel, earth and skin and the survivors went on as if alive. A year of silence for the millions of dead in Viet Nam – a people, not a war – for those who know a thing or two about the scent of burning fuel, their relatives’ bones buried in it, their babies born of it. A year of silence for the dead in Cambodia and Laos, victims of a secret war … ssssshhhhh …. Say nothing … we don’t want them to learn that they are dead. Two months of silence for the decades of dead in Colombia, whose names, like the corpses they once represented, have piled up and slipped off our tongues.

Before I begin this poem,

An hour of silence for El Salvador … An afternoon of silence for Nicaragua … Two days of silence for the Guetmaltecos … None of whom ever knew a moment of peace in their living years. 45 seconds of silence for the 45 dead at Acteal, Chiapas 25 years of silence for the hundred million Africans who found their graves far deeper in the ocean than any building could poke into the sky. There will be no DNA testing or dental records to identify their remains. And for those who were strung and swung from the heights of sycamore trees in the south, the north, the east, and the west… 100 years of silence…

For the hundreds of millions of indigenous peoples from this half of right here, Whose land and lives were stolen,

In postcard-perfect plots like Pine Ridge, Wounded Knee, Sand Creek, Fallen Timbers, or the Trail of Tears. Names now reduced to innocuous magnetic poetry on the refrigerator of our consciousness …

So you want a moment of silence?

And we are all left speechless
Our tongues snatched from our mouths
Our eyes stapled shut
A moment of silence
And the poets have all been laid to rest
The drums disintegrating into dust
Before I begin this poem,
You want a moment of silence

You mourn now as if the world will never be the same
And the rest of us hope to hell it won’t be.
Not like it always has been

Because this is not a 9-1-1 poem
This is a 9/10 poem,
It is a 9/9 poem,
A 9/8 poem,
A 9/7 poem
This is a 1492 poem.

This is a poem about what causes poems like this to be written And if this is a 9/11 poem, then

This is a September 11th poem for Chile, 1971
This is a September 12th poem for Steven Biko in South Africa, 1977
This is a September 13th poem for the brothers at Attica Prison, New York, 1971.
This is a September 14th poem for Somalia, 1992.
This is a poem for every date that falls to the ground in ashes
This is a poem for the 110 stories that were never told
The 110 stories that history chose not to write in textbooks
The 110 stories that CNN, BBC, The New York Times, and Newsweek ignored
This is a poem for interrupting this program.

And still you want a moment of silence for your dead?
We could give you lifetimes of empty:

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Rosie to leave “The View”

April 26, 2007 at 4:18 am (Uncategorized)

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Damn already? That’s what I was asking myself when I heard that Rosie O’Donnell was calling it a day after only one year on the hot mess known as “The View”. The show has seen ratings increases of up to 30% since Rosie came on board with her fiery opinions and genuinely funny banter. The official reason given was that she, and the producers of the show, could not come to an agreement over her contract but I suspect something else was at play.

Either she got a better, more lucrative offer to do her own thing on TV or radio OR her controversial feuds and political views were really making advertisers nervous. It’s hard to believe that there could be such a thing as bad publicity in this day and age but maybe the ad execs at Ivory soap and Bounce weren’t used to dealing with such saucy POV’s in the normally tepid daytime talk show atmosphere. Here’s hoping that she puts her talents to better use than deciphering Barbara Walters wishy washy nonsense, innovating Joy Behar’s tired Jersey mother shtick, or pandering to thatconservative idiot Elizabeth Hasselbeck.

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Clive Owen – International Superstar

April 19, 2007 at 3:24 am (Uncategorized)

My husband, Clive Owen, is set to star in Tom Tykwer’s new action-thriller The International about an Interpol agent investigating banking corruption. Hopefully, Owen will tap into the suave, intellectual manliness of his that never got a chance to shine as James Bond. Me-ow.

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Say What? Ed Norton signed on to play Hulk

April 19, 2007 at 2:19 am (pop culture, Uncategorized)

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According to AOL Movie News, cerebral actor Edward Norton has signed on to play the Incredible Hulk in an inexplicable sequel to Ang Lee’s turgid adaptation with Eric Bana.  No word on why Bana dropped out of the sequel. What else is he doing?
Some people may be surprised at this casting choice but Norton has previously pulled off butch turns as a neo-nazi in American History X and a con artist murderer in Primal Fear.

He also had an unexpected role as Salma Hayak’s boyfriend. So I’m confident he will be able to fill the extra large pants of the Hulk. Hey, I think he’s a hottie.

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Virginia Tech Tragedy

April 16, 2007 at 8:41 pm (Uncategorized)

I’ll never understand why some suicidal people need to take innocent people down with them. At least my alma mater, UT, no longer has the dubious distinction of being the site of the deadliest school massacre.

 Gunman kills 30 on Virginia Tech campus

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070416/ap_on_re_us/virginia_tech_shooting_68;_ylt=Al_TMGKOUNhuqIaSsRasoVhH2ocA

By SUE LINDSEY, Associated Press Writer 39 minutes ago

BLACKSBURG, Va. – A gunman opened fire in a Virginia Tech dorm and then, two hours later, in a classroom across campus Monday, killing at least 30 people in the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history, government officials told The Associated Press. The gunman was killed, bringing the death toll to 31.

Students complained that the university did not warn them about the first deadly burst of gunfire until hours later.

“Today the university was struck with a tragedy that we consider of monumental proportions,” said Virginia Tech president Charles Steger. “The university is shocked and indeed horrified.”

It was not immediately clear whether the gunman was shot by police or took his own life. Investigators offered no motive for the attack. The gunman’s name was not immediately released, and it was not known if he was a student.

The shootings spread panic and confusion on campus. Witnesses reporting students jumping out the windows of a classroom building to escape the gunfire. SWAT team members with helmets, flak jackets and assault rifles swarmed over the campus. Students and faculty members carried out some of the wounded themselves, without waiting for ambulances to arrive.

The massacre took place at opposite sides of the 2,600-acre campus, beginning at about 7:15 a.m. at West Ambler Johnston, a coed dormitory that houses 895 people, and continuing at least two hours later at Norris Hall, an engineering building about a half-mile away, authorities said.

Police said they were still investigating the shooting at the dorm when they got word of gunfire at the classroom building.

Some students bitterly questioned why the gunman was able to strike a second time, two hours after the bloodshed began.

“What happened today this was ridiculous,” student Jason Piatt told CNN. He said the first warning from the university of a shooting on campus came in an e-mail about two hours after the first deadly burst of gunfire. “While they’re sending out that e-mail, 22 more people got killed,” Piatt said.

FBI spokesman Richard Kolko in Washington said there was no evidence to suggest it was a terrorist attack, “but all avenues will be explored.”

Government officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they did not want to pre-empt an announcement by higher-ranking authorities, put the death toll at 31.

At least 26 people were being treated at three area hospitals for gunshot wounds and other injuries, authorities said. Their exact conditions were not disclosed, but at least one was sent to a trauma center and six were in surgery, authorities said.

Up until Monday, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history was in Killeen, Texas, in 1991, when George Hennard plowed his pickup truck into a Luby’s Cafeteria and shot 23 people to death, then himself.

The massacre Monday took place almost eight years to the day after the Columbine High bloodbath near Littleton, Colo. On April 20, 1999, two teenagers killed 12 fellow students and a teacher before taking their own lives.

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