Friday, December 16, 2005

Aisle

I went to the cinema with DaDutch last night to go see "Three ... Extremes". I don't even know how to begin this blog entry. 8 hours later and the trilogy of films is still lodged in my memory bank; the images itching to be interpreted. The first of the three shorts is called "Dumplings". It's a dark -- and I do mean dark -- satire criticizing the extent in which society will go to maintain youth, beauty, and, in essence, female sensuality. The second feature, "Cut", plays with our preconceived notions of morality. Roger Ebert wrote:

"[The villain] wants to force the director [the protagonist] to commit evil, so that he will realize he is not so good after all -- that to be good sometimes means only to have escaped the need to be bad."

I had to read that over a few times, desperately struggling to conciliate this idea with the pictures in my head. It makes sense, but at the time, I must've been too focused on aesthetic qualities because the closing shot sort of came out of left field. Although the gore was mostly confined off-screen, both DaDutch and I were squirming in our seats, requesting that the other keep her eyes open, which generally meant me. Fortunately, neither of us ended up getting too spooked to commit the ultimate filmgoing no-no when we realized this movie employed more MacGuffins than a Hitchcock anthology.

The third film of the set was definitely the most atmospheric of the bunch as well as being a real head-scratcher. I simply could not wrap my dumb head around "Box" until now. Was it all a dream? Part of it? Some of it? None of it? I couldn't drop it from my mind: I needed a conclusive answer. So I visited IMDB.com and discovered more than one and immediately regret what I had done. Since the dialogue is delivered sparsely, I might need to watch it again to catch all the nuanced hints. Like, why was it observed that the novelist was a lefty when the little girl used her right hand to throw the dart? Is there a connection there somewhere? Were the two girls one of the same, the "other" being her sexually-tainted childhood that continues to haunt her in a bid to be acknowledged? Redeemed? Remembered? Recognized? Were the portrayed events real or fantasy sequences? Did her guilt manifest itself to become an unignorable parasite? I even toyed with a literal translation, proposing that the characters actually underwent a radical medical procedure to save the other twin's life (a la "Tales from the Crypt"). In any case, I think this eerie ambiguity probably made it even more satisfying for the audience.

The entire thing was a joy to watch: I was on edge the entire time. Beats the hell out of the schlock Hollywood conjures up to meet its annual quota.

***

I met DaDutch in my French class. She's bubbly, highly articulate, well-informed, and surprisingly punctual. I say "surprisingly" not to condescend, but to recognize a quality missing in a lot of university students -- "to be prompt" isn't exactly complimentary in the typical sense (though it should be). I mean, we agreed to meet at 9 p.m. I had arrived by 8:48 and she came in through the doors minutes later, almost on the dot. It was beyond words, this rare occurrence of not having to wait. I couldn't believe it; I wasn't used to being respected on a first date.

Anyway, after the movie, we proceeded to chew on even meatier subjects I, frankly, would rather discuss more often with people (as opposed to the sludge I normally have to contend with: boyz, boyz, and their obviouz problemz). From the ABCs of art and international politics to the gilded lily that is bourgeois philistinism, DaDutch could not only follow, but frequently followed-up. We didn't go on "tangents"; we "brainstormed" (to use a selective euphemism).

In conclusion: Good movie + great companion = jolly good time.

No comments: