Vengeance is the act of turning anger in on yourself. On the surface it may be directed at someone else, but it is a surefire recipe for arresting emotional recovery. – Jane Goldman
And so anyway, it still is, or remains, kind of interesting that moviemakers around the world, directors I suppose, can‘t bloody snap out of this whole horrid, repetetive theme: Revenge. At one point in the past there was a perceived or almost-objective wrong committed against the protagonist and now, in the movie‘s story time, the situation must be righted. Righted, corrected, amended seem like plausible synonyms. But what it then in fact comes down to, from Kill Bill to Old Boy, from Mother to A Touch of Sin, is straightforward, violent, blood-spattered Revenge. If the motion picture is not a biopic about Madiba or the Dalai Lama, then the automatic cinematographic go-to move is homicidal vengeance.
A friend of mine, afficionado of Tarantino, tells me there is a primordial, cinegenic surplus value to violence, an archetypal fixation that one is best off to axiomatically accept…. but it‘s always difficult to wholly accept this maxim as the body-&count starts mounting.
I‘m willing to admit that given the formal, stylistic and narrative brilliance of Korean [independent?] cinema, I‘ve been willing to close one-and-a-half eyes even when faced with one bloodbath after another. An embarassingly uncritical love of the Other & willingness to forgive blatant short-comings but, the way the human mind operates, at some point a limit is reached and one is incited inevitably to critical examination of what was, until a moment ago, the air one breathes.
This point I reached yesterday with A Touch of Sin. The movie is delicious in its critical social examination of the lightspeed-modernization project afoot in China via four loosely interlinked tragedies. Each of the flawed, expressive, lower-class characters is beautifully portrayed in their shambolic progression through ever escalating tribulations. Society is analyzed, culture is pried open, injustices are exposed, even language comes under scrutiny but, no matter what the place, time or individual life‘s circumstances, none of the four manages to escape the siren call for blood; all of it eventuates in gory revenge.
And so all one can really wish and ask for, exhausted by endless successions of on-screen violence, is an experimental spirit that extends all the way to the content level of motion pictures, the inception of a nouveau genre: the MERCY MOVIE, yes right, the FORGIVENESS FLICK.
– – –
[P. lopate, p.2, Portrait inside my head]
This quote plants the idea in my head, a clear case of inception, that maybe what I‘ve been writing here, despite myself, have been mongrel personal essays. Through subterranean tunnels of analysis I‘ve been exploring, not reality and happenings and current events and movies and such-like, as I fancifully imagined. But instead only just the limits of my own powers of both cognition and imagination; because, at the end of one page or another, my travels in any subject, any soliloquy, any scriptorium, having travelled a certain circumvoluted trail, come to what seems to me like an end. Be it dead or alive.
Whereas another writer, certainly more competent, will simply shake his/her head at both the chaos of my trajectory and the muddle of my conclusions. If conclusions is even remotely what I seem to be aiming for in these scribblings. Nevertheless, what will have been mapped by my trail of thought is a territory, „the borders of the self“ as Lopaz calls them.