Sunday, February 22, 2015

EVERYTHING IS BROKEN / EVERYTHING WILL BE OK

So I get up and I check my feed-read and I'm scrolling through the Go Into the Story website, which is about screenwriting stuff. And I'm looking through this one post that's called "Saturday Hot Links" because it's a bunch of links, and there's this one about a short film that won Sundance this year and has got everybody buzzing, which led me to another short film by the same guy named Don Hertzfeldt, which isn't a fake name, which is called EVERYTHING WILL BE OK. 

I saw that EVERYTHING WILL BE OK was about sixteen minutes long, which is longer than I'd normally want in a short film.

But it, too, won at Sundance, and also it was breakfast time.

So I thought I'd get a bowl of cereal and sit and watch it, which I did, which was a mix of these sugarless wheat squares I get from Aldi and then sweeten with a squidge of organic coconut granola on top.

So I'm watching and immediately it's weirdly interesting and I start thinking, okay, maybe I can post this to my blog when it's over. But it's sixteen minutes long and I'm only halfway through and I'm just about out of cereal and right then I realize, wow, eight minutes and I'm losing interest.

But it's not because it's not interesting. No, that's not it at all.

It's because I'm losing my ability to focus on anything because the internet's turning my brain to mush. But also there's something even worse going on, here. 

What it is, is I'm starting to see art only in utilitarian terms. Like, I'm watching BREAKING BAD a lot these days, but not because the story's delighting me or anything, but because people say it's just about the best storytelling there is on television, and I figure if I want to be a filmed-entertainment storyteller then I'd better watch the best and learn from it.

So I watch BREAKING BAD and I note the weird, claustrophobic shooting style and the strange color filters, and more than that I note the way information is withheld to create mystery, and the way pacing is modulated to evoke interest, and how scene-transitions are always masterfully done with not just visual or sonic through-putting echoes, but also thematic ones. 

I notice all these things but I also notice that I'm not having a lot of fun, here. 

Which sends me off on this tangent about how important really is having fun, or joy, or pleasure, anyway. And all this time I'm watching a short, animated film called EVERYTHING WILL BE OK about a guy who has something very wrong with him and it's messing with his perception. And I realize that I'm only watching it all the way through now because I need to check and see if it's the sort of thing that people will like and that it won't get super-offensive and start throwing in random bits of Asian porn at the end, which question I have because the short just made a reference to Asian pornbut not yet anything explicit that would rule out sharing it on my blog.

But then the film starts to go absolutely bonkers, and the narrator's telling us that the stick-figure main-character "Bill" just masturbated for seven hours (yes, seven) and that's a bit over the top but I'm thinking they didn't show us any masturbation and it's about time I  mention that word again, because even though I do want to make this blog palatable to just about anybody, well, prudery's no excuse for implausible deniability. 

[side note: super pleased with myself for the cleverness of the phrase, "implausible deniability"]

And then of course the short film has to go whackadoodle-monkeysauce, and I'm thinking, well, there goes twelve minutes of my day just wasted and was that a, a, a... a pig's head???

And it was a pig's head, too. Absolutely. 

But my mind's already bouncing back to this whole thing about my brain's new-found inability to focus on anything for more than, like, two seconds, and then to this utilitarian view of art I seem to somehow have adopted, and how it's this cyclical, rabbit-hole, mobius-strip nightmare I'm stuck in and can't seem to get out of. 

Then my mind goes to Kafka and the phrase Kafkaesque which really doesn't make sense unless you've ever hammered your forehead with some Franz Kafka, but long-story-short, let's just say that I read his novel "The Trial" in college and it made me feel like someone was squeezing me back into the white-noise terror of this recurring nightmare I used to have a lot, before I realized after waking up in night-sweats-anxiety that the nightmare was my subconsciousness's attempt to surface some feelings I'd been suppressing about disappointed my father, and that the cottony screaming noise in it was my subconsciousness's depiction of the sensation of being yelled at by my dad (which, weirdly enough, didn't really happen because he's a fairly subdued guy). 

But anyway, "The Trial" was one of the most affecting, unsettling things I ever read because it did what the author intended and made me feel like the world was a madhouse full of unreasoned chaos and that I was doomed to be forever trapped in it, without escape. 

So the short film winds to an end and I'm thinking, well, that was a well-designed little visual nightmare I've just lived throughbut I'm not sure if I even want to post it to my blog because of what it revealed to me about how paper-thin my life and my experience of art has become. And before I can let that sink in too deeply I open a new tab and click on my website and then "new post" and I start tapping this post out. 

And even now, at the tail end of a whole lot of stream-of-consciousness, I'm not really living in my moment. I'm not really even experiencing this. This writing. 

Because instead, I'm wondering the whole time if anyone's ever gonna read it, and if they do read it will they find it infuriating and maddening that I'm just blathering on, and in a different literary style that I normally write, and whether they'll look down on me for the fact that I've begun almost every sentence with a conjunction.

But part of me thinks, no, that's actually a selling point because if the goal is communication, then maybe this will actually have been one of my more successful bits of writing, since the experience of reading this whole rant (if anyone's bored/insane enough to do it) is probably something akin to what it's been like for me to write it. 

And maybe that's the point. Maybe that's what I should be driving for, and maybe my way out of the art-hole I've dug myself into with all this utilitarian, joyless experience of art and indeed life is to dig deep into the soil of that and make something with it. 

I could probably go on like this forever.

But having written myself to the decision that I will indeed go ahead and paste in the short film, I might as well just be abrup

1 comment:

  1. This is the first time I've ever come across a reference to The Deadly Mantis!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sS4-TFptlbQ

    ReplyDelete

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