Wednesday, July 28, 2010
1 THE GRANDFATHER (lust): Right wing Hungary: fighting fascism while operating a fascist system. Feudal, agrarian: peasant class was in virtual slavery. He is peasant-turned-soldier, under the thumb of an officer, forced to live in an unheated hut, next to latrine, performing menial (and meaningless) tasks for the family of the officer. He has and is nothing except his pen!s. Lust is the only thing interesting in his life. He becomes an artist in its expressions. It is his greatest accomplishment and his ruin. 2) THE FATHER (gluttony): His mother is a sow, either literally or figuratively. Soviet invasion destroyed farms, factories; massive starvation occurred. The father is a competitive eater, professionally binging & purging: a concept completely foreign to the Hungarian population he supposedly represents. He has and is nothing except his belly. Gluttony is the only thing interesting in his life. He becomes an artist in its expressions. It is his greatest accomplishment and his ruin. 3) THE SON (pride): 10/23/56 A peaceful revolution began with students, joined by military & police. After a rocky initial transition, politics became liberal democracy; the economy developed; the people had enough to eat; individualism became a possibility & priority. He is a taxidermist. We see him working on an adult, male orangutan (not a gorilla): a highly endangered species, representing the willful trophy pillaging of the planet for individual aggrandizement. The natural world, to him, is a collection of species to stuff and display; he has no other satisfying relationships. He has and is nothing except his ego. Pride is the only thing interesting in his life. He becomes an artist in its expressions. It is his greatest accomplishment and his ruin. The director says one cannot leave out the past 60 yrs. of Hungarian politics while telling a multi-generational family story. This is my ignorant interpretation of the film. How do you explain that final zoom, if not real?
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Let's take Darger's work, smear it with offal and shoot video of it! We could win an award!
I'd never heard of Darger until I stumbled on this film at NF. As a person with similar behavioral health challenges, I'm always on the look out for role models and inspirations. But, with my limited capacities for concentration, patience and retention of memory, there's no way in heck I'd be able to tackle Mr. Darger's work except by means such as documentaries.
You RUINED my introduction to the man! I researched him online a bit, before I watched the film. I know he's been favorably criticized for his methods and composition. I also know he was completely unschooled professionally. I couldn't wait to see the compositions.
You tore them all apart. I have no idea what the originals look like now! And I was so distracted, trying to reassemble the originals in my imagination, I couldn't hear what people were saying!
All through the film, I kept thinking: if the producers of this film can so badly mangle and misrepresent Darger's ART, what OTHER aspects of his life have they mutilated and mangled in this film?
You are not to be trusted with a paint-by-numbers kit, let alone a self taught genius!
Shame on you!
Thursday, April 22, 2010
I can't find a good biography online, so I'll have to wait 'til I can buy it in paperback before I'm sure I'm on a right track about this woman. But I'm going to say this, anyway.
I think Seraphine was misinterpreted from the moment her patron "discovered" her. I don't think anybody ever really listened to what she said about her life and, instead, found her self expression unacceptable, simply because she was unconventional [read: especially for a "mere manual laborer." And a woman, at that.]
She was called to paint, and to paint visionary interpretations of the fractal qualities of the natural world.
She wasn't, as some interpret, wasteful with money. She had no concept of finances, and nobody bothered to teach her. She was at the whim of her patron and his decisions, just as she'd been at the whim of employers and landlords. And, just as with them, she was probably exploited by her patron.
Some interpret her as being "obsessed" that the end of the world was coming. I can't verify this. It, too, may be a misinterpretation.
Here's what I got from the final scene of her freedom:
I think her angels had told her to paint her way to absolution, redemption. I think she had to be baptized in paint, in order to become a Bride of Christ (in other words, a Nun). I think she gave away her most valuable possessions to people in the village who had respected her and shown her kindness. I believe that, once her parcels were empty, she planned to devote her life to her church.
I believe she was intercepted by small minded authorities, called by small minded gossips, who put her in a hell hole [also called "mental asylum"] and "diagnosed by small minded doctors who exploited her and encouraged her patron not only not to have contact with her, but to pay for better accommodations by preying on his guilt.
I think her spiritual intentions will never be fully understood because those who could have witnessed her filtered her through their own assumptions and prejudices.
I think she had fulfilled her duties to her spirituality and was on her way to be married to her God.
I think the world who would do this to such a talent is crazy, not Seraphine.
I'm putting this in Outsider Art because it is.
I live in a landscape nearly identical to this. No mall, no industry on the edge of town, no nightclub with dancing, no suburban development. Just tumbleweeds, prairies, road runners, sky . . .
I recognized some of my neighbors in this film: not the main characters, though.
It's nice to see someone talk about small town USA without cynicism, superiority, snobbery and contempt.
This is a production about loving plain old US citizens, warts and all.
It's a "what would happen if . . ." contemplation of culture.
My favorite part was the talent show, particularly the two auctioneers, battling to be fastest, accompanied by a yodeling roper.
It's "Spinal Tap" with cowboy boots.
I think "The Matrix" stole their green on black video read out from this film.
The preacher, by the way, was played by the guy who's been playing Edward Quartermain on "General Hospital."
John Goodman's song should have been in a slightly lower key; he had to struggle.
It's visually fun, but the art never gets too distracting.
It's a fun ride!