Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Melancholy Baby

Doing my best John impression, I watched The Roaring Twenties last night. In the post where I talked about The Caine Mutiny, I mentioned that it was interesting to see Bogart play something of a villain. Obviously I was able to write that because I hadn't seen The Roaring Twenties yet. Great stuff from Bogie, who actually plays more of a heartless gangster than James Cagney. But the star here is Cagney, rightfully so, and having him play a bootlegger with a moral code and heart was even more fascinating. I also enjoyed the story - three soldiers fighting alongside one another in WWI come back to America to form one of the most successful rackets in New York, each with different character traits and ambitions. Enjoyable from beginning to end. Oh, and kudos to Gladys George as well; I loved her performance as Panama. I'm lukewarm on Priscilla Lane.

You're right, Brandon, those were also some humorous points in The-Film-That-Must-Not-Be-Named. So it isn't a humorless film. And while humility should probably be the last word associated with Lars, or any filmmaker for that matter, I again find humility in the worldview that everything is absurd. We're all working on our silly projects; no one is more important than the other. That doesn't mean we should just shut ourselves off from the the world and refuse to engage (in the way that John does ;-) ) but I feel that we should at least realize that life is often taken too seriously. Lars realizes this, which again, is why I like him. Ben has some good thoughts in that first paragraph of his on this issue.

And Ben, my wording of that question was maybe misleading. I didn't mean to suggest that people fake depression or anything (but I do think some people are actually happier when they are depressed, if that oxymoron makes sense). And I don't have a copy of the DSM handy or anything, but of course there are many different kinds of clinical depression. Bipolar disorder vs. schizophrenia, for instance. And so really I was trying to address how serious we thought Justine's depression was, and in relation to the idea that by embracing or accepting death, we are able to truly live. A schizophrenic wouldn't able to fully live life in that way. Hopefully this makes sense. And obviously with Justine's condition, an audience with hindsight should be more forgiving of her behavior in Part 1. If I remember correctly, she isn't diagnosed with anything until Part  2 (isn't she? Doesn't Claire address it?). This again, is why I feel more sympathy for Justine than anyone else I guess.

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