At the movies

Movies make a big part of my life. My WhatsUp static message says “at the movies”. I am the typical day dreamer. My brain makes space for a second life for day-time dreaming and a third life for sleep-time dreams. I admire film makers and script writers. Since young I had the chance to see movies from all over the world. Athens was – and still is – a city with geniuin cinema fans and cinema owners. These last ones admirably kept their cinema spaces through the 10 year crisis and their audience did not let them down. I will never forget going to see On body and Soul by Ildikó Enyedi in the cinema Asty in the centre of Athens in one of my last mama-bound trips. OK, it is one of the oldest cinemas in the city and has always been a culture place, but still! It was full and it is not a small space; rather the opposite. So, growing up – with culture as my guide and saviour – my aesthetic and intellectual being was formed by J.L. Godar, M. Antonioni, W. Wenders, etc. These as the main course with the common Hollywood blockbusters as side dish.

Here in The Hague, this part of culture is squeezed in tiny rooms of about 30 persons and only in a cinema called “Filmhuis”, the house of film. All the other cinemas are uniformly set up for blockbusters and mono-language films, English or the local Dutch production (and rarely French).

The other day, a youngster brought up the movie Fifty Shades of Grey on which I said that I watched 10 minutes and no more because I found it boring (he as well actually). During a short passage by the university recently, a professor kept banging on that the book would not have become so successful should it not have been available for e-readers (which was a standard example for e-reader benefits) because people would be embarrassed to read a physical book with the title on the cover exposed in public spaces, meaning in the train while going to work (and getting horny?). Then he would go further to talk about the film in cinemas and how shocking that was for people, etc. Whenever he would mention this I wanted to counter propose Lars von Trier and his Nymphomaniac (see my blog post). But as I discovered lately not so many people in The Netherlands know about him and his movies (or my environment is in a certain deep at the moment). The before mentioned young man that does know him said to me “If you like his movies then you should see this director’s films as well”, talking about horror movies. Von Trier’s films are not horror, they are masterly horrific, and I cannot say that I like them though I do watch them religiously (must have something to do). I certainly do like  the feel of crushing our domesticated bourgeois existence (mine included) with his extremities that seem to have no limit. It is more about getting things into perspective and re-focus. Anyway, life contains a big portion of horror and pain; we contain horror and pain and we walk around frustrated and disoriented in the world of the bold and the beautiful.

Talking about horror movies, my distance to them started somewhere after The Ring and its American version of 2002. Hadn’t given much thought about it, beside relating this with going through years of special sensitivities; bringing up a child, etc., until I recently read this article “The Ones That Got Away” (Douglas Coupland, Bit Rot, 2015, Witte de With Publishers, pp. 72-74) in a bundle of writings by Douglas Coupland (yes, the same person who wrote back in 1991 Generation X). One of the cases (that got away) starts with this statement “Back around 2000 I was having dinner with a film producer looking for ideas and I told him the future was in zombie films and TV. He asked why and I told him the truth, which is that in order to turn an actor into a zombie, all the actor has to do is put out his or her arms and grunt. Net cost? Zero.” I was shocked! So it is not about cheating our fears, throwing a laugh at them perhaps? Feeling happy in the end for not being a freak ourselves? Anyway, a horror film came on tv and I sat to watch it. It was made with teenage actors and apparently for the same age audience. It was horror without reason and somehow well in line with the tv news. It was horror as light entertainment that generates money. OK, one more on my list of things that I don’t get (see also ik-snap-er-niks-van project). Yet, I will look for intellectual horror movies and come back on the subject when I find them.

P.S. In the photo I am retouching a painting (not mine/ours) that was damaged and K_Van and I restored it; a paid assignment by an art collector (not mine/ours). Seeing the photo I remembered The Ring; yet, it was just another non-functional gig of mine: having no hair band while kneeling on the floor to apply paint (oil paint) on someone else’s work. To even out this horror, it kindly brought out all these thoughts about movies, in the night-dreaming space of my mind.

Sofia as a horror hero

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