Friday, November 20, 2009

I've been thinking about this for hours

I watched Crispin Glover's It's Fine, Everything is Fine.

Before the film, he performed eight books. This was brilliant. He took old books and cut them up and created new stories from the bones of the old story. He drew India ink pictures and added his own words. His timing was so on the mark and his intentionally awkward gestures were hilarious.

The film, however, was...

I can't figure it out. I'm close to coming down on the side of absolutely irredeemable.

It is a film about sex. It's about power. I guess it's not a film about sex. It's a film about power. Perhaps it is impossible to separate the two.

At first I was okay with the love interest's daughter pursuing the handicapped man as a sexual conquest. This relationship spoke to me about how teenage girls look for ways to express their sexuality without being hurt. That is-- they sometimes look for people to use, to gain the upper hand in sex because they are aware of their status as a commodity and they want to subvert it. It's complicated, but the man is not a victim here.

He kills her.

He kills about 6 women in the course of the film. The only woman that he doesn't kill is another "cripple," because she doesn't want to have to feed him and breaks their date.

The others pity him and sleep with him because they don't believe that he has ever been with a woman. This also spoke about power and subversion. I believe that these women-- with breast implants, etc-- felt that they were giving themselves to him out of compassion. He was aware of this and hated them for their kindness/condescension and their grab at power. He had to demonstrate his power as a male.

This was an exploitation film. The lead actor was the man that wrote the screen play. He was born with severe cerebral palsy. He can barely speak and cannot walk. He is not the only one that was exploited, however. He was allowed to bring his own fantasy life to the screen because he was handicapped. He could sleep (and yes, actually have sex with one of them on film-- not acting)with beautiful women and pretend to kill them.

What bothers me the most, however, is that I think people will only be talking about the actual sex on screen and not the larger themes. There was a gasp as one woman performed fellatio on the man. I had to ask if we were gasping because of the sex act or because it was a sex act with a handicapped man. It was the sex, I believe. And it was what made the biggest conversation point. Every single person in the theatre has seen porn, I'm sure, but it was shocking to see the act in an art film. I know Glover was trying to show that these lines are more fluid than we draw them.

I don't know. I'm not sure that I've expressed myself. I might need even more time to think about and add to this post.

I can say that I am enjoying trying to digest it.

I enjoyed the question and answer part of the evening, too. He is a fascinating man. He took the part in Charlie's Angels in order to use his salary to make this film. Charlie's Angels made this film possible. That's incredible.

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