Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Finding Madness in the Meaning

As artists (and yes I'm being pretentious enough to include myself and my online ramblings under that umbrella -- grant me the leeway just this once, please) it's our duty to fold reality like clay in our fists and try to make, well, something out of it. I was going to say we try to make sense out of nonsense but in a post-modern Dada world that's not necessarily exact -- questions don't always beget answers; sometimes it's just nesting dolls of more questions that get unfurled. Anyway we ask, and something takes form. 

In the past couple of years, as we've watched a real madness flood our streets, these questions have seemed even more pressing than normal to me -- what is our role? Can we make sense of anything? Or should we just try to entertain, to give our anguish a Depression-era tap-dance, a rub-n-tug to soothe weary souls? Should I just post pictures of actors flaunting their beefcakes and cram the philosophizing in the closet for now?

Well granting me some guidance Neil Jordan looked at the shitty state of the world and decided it was his job as an artist to give us a camped-up-to-twelve remake of Audition starring a sapphic Isabelle Huppert, and friends, I think he was on to something. And whatever he was on, I would like a hit of it. His new film Greta had me grinning from cheek to cheek - heaven, I was in heaven, and the cares that hung around me through the week... well you know the rest. What a thrill, what a lark, what a thriller.

Isabelle Huppert, light as half a feather, sinister as walking through a puff of cigarette smoke in what you thought was an empty hallway, takes to her tiptoes and embraces her madness, full armed, and wrestles it right off a cliff -- splash, nightswimming in oblivion. She flips tables and comes up with catch-phrases and twitches her thin skin sheathed inside the battle-armor of Chanel, wool surfaces like scrub-brushes, a shock of red rawness underneath. We always knew what lurked there but this, this is something else. Nobody never stood a goddamned chance.

The movie darts back and forth across respectability, goofiness, reality itself -- what is this strange New York City, with white subway trains and suspiciously Toronto-ian street-scapes? It's Movie-World, as pretend as Gene Kelly's dance palaces, an unreal nightmare nook buried in nowheres-ville, population of two and falling fast. Greta isn't meant to be anything but Greta, besides a bit of everything that came before her and might come after, if ever an after, happily. It makes us a strange dark happy place, a bed of nails swathed in cotton and balls of string, a beautiful dead bird laid on your pillow as your pet smiles its proud smile. Look what I made for you, it whispers. It's delicious, I smile back, biting in.

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