Following Wednesday’s post on gnostic movies, Cat pointed me towards some articles they had written for weaponizer as the Mason Lang Film club. These articles are exactly what I was looking for, and contained some interesting thoughts and ideas:
- Most of these films also contain an idea of love as a transcendent power. Some also share an image of the seashore as a “place of transformation or apotheosis”, notably in the Truman Show and Dark City.
- It’s a long time since I’ve seen Thirteenth floor, but the noir set-up seems very similar to that in Dark City, with amnesiacs waking up in bathrooms after murders.
- Apparently, the Matrix and Dark City were filmed on some of the same sets
- The Matrix, while inspired by the Invisibles, is very different, since it focuses on the dualistic good-vs-evil plots that the Invisibles tried to dissolve
It’s been a while since the last post in the series, but hopefully it will be finished one day. I particularly want to read the Dark City entry.
The most interesting thing in Cat’s posts was the discussion of Neo’s trip ‘down the rabbit hole’, which he compared to Chapel Perilous, the stage of development where people have to face everything they fear. “And the worst thing about the Chapel?,” asks Cat. “You never really know if you’ve actually left it.”
Another question from the Matrix is whether the fake world is better than the real one. The character Cypher is desperate to lose all enlightenment and to be happy in the real world once more:
The Matrix – as opposed to the Desert Of The Real which Anderson is forcibly awakened into – is so fucking cool, it hurts. In the Matrix, you dress exquisitely, you can kick all sorts of ass, you can even fly. In the Real, all you get is grey knitwear, killer robots and lumpy porridge.
Someone suggested another film for my list, Being John Malkovich. I’d not seen that since around the time it came out. It’s an interesting movie to revisit, and looks a little tired and wacky in comparison to Charlie Kaufman’s later movie Synecdoche. The acting is fascinating, with John Cusack and Cameron Diaz almost unrecognisable. Although I do think it’s a shame that the film was not made as Being Tom Cruise, as some potential producers suggested.
However, Being John Malkovich didn’t fit in my original list as the fake world has not been created to entrap the characters. Possibly Open your Eyes/Vanilla Sky would fit the theme (if not the Hollywood-in-98/99 constraint) – although Cat excludes them on the basis he can’t stand them.
Another interesting question is why these stories work so well as films. I’m guessing that the visual changes between the two worlds make them more effective. Or maybe we are more receptive when we’re in a dark room, staring at images cast on a wall.
I’ve added Altered States to the list of films I need to see soon. And a second-hand copy of Valis has just arrived, so I’ll be starting that soon.If you want to follow what I'm up to, sign up to my mailing list