By Brendan Heard
It would seem, no matter how savvy they are as to the realities of modernity, the contemporary idealogue remains irresistibly drawn to excruciatingly pseudo-profound and arcanely symbolic ‘film reviews’, which appear nearly limitless, both in length and number. The latest Hollywood money-frankenstein remains a delicious hooked maggot to the bored pond carp of otherwise serious cultural criticism.
To them I have a brief message, summarised thusly: there is essentially no modern cinema.
There is the occasionally remaining outlier that is not a completely shameful assault upon the intellect and the morality, but these are so hilariously small in number that it is safe to say the medium is over. Like visual fine art and other previously flourishing cultural artifacts of importance, it has gone the way of the dodo. It has been engulfed entirely in the fifth stage of decline (the archetypal evil beyond the rule of the lowest caste). Any person who is not a brainwashed agent of this fifth stage must have a de facto position of rejecting financed cinema in its entirety, until such time as it might be ‘fixed’, which won’t be any time soon. The same way we must assume that a modern gallery will be full of garbage, or a modern pop song will be evil insulting trash, as the safe default assumption.
You can not continue to habitually attend star wars movies, not unless clinging to the ghost of nostalgia is stronger than having that nostalgia insulted and mocked for sixty minutes. You should have abandoned long ago anything to do with childish ‘superheroes’ (anti-heroes). You can not by any means safely assume your period drama will faithfully re-enact anything resembling the truth of the era it imitates. While symbology itself is a worthy endeavour, these films are too plainly stupid now, their foundation too rotten, to even bother recognizing them.
Film was an art form that had for a long time escaped the nonsensical clutches of bourgeois Modernism; for the simple reason (despite the best efforts of Warhol) that nobody will sit through two hours of pure nonsense. When converting film to ‘anarchic intellectual chaos’ failed (where it had not failed with painting) it gained a longer lifespan. This was despite the efforts of the likes of Fellini, though to his credit he had an eye for a catchy visuals and characters, which spared the viewer the mind-numbing tedium of ‘oh look how abstractly clever I am’ gimmick and arbitrary story curves. David Lynch, a great auteur to be sure, confuses and gives excuse to the symbol-seeker via his indulgence in meditation-inspired abstraction. But for all his work in ‘the random’, it is precisely his abilities as a classical film compositionist, and not his egotistical and forgettable Francis Bacon-inspired aimless abstract headless-chicken directing, that is his strength. His work where he is forced or inclined to stick to classic, fundamental, or shall we say pre-Modern storytelling (Dune, Black Velvet, Twin Peaks) are his real work, where his later unrestrained indulgences are nearly unwatchable (Inland Empire). But his addiction to Modernist gimmick alongside his talent for beautiful classical scene creation gives fodder to the bourgeois symbol-seeker, who conflate his strength and his weakness as one and the same. This symbologist is the one who sees intentional hidden angels in the location name of a shoot, or foreshadowing in the fabric of an actors tie. Worse, whether this postulation is real or imagined, they think it is clever. This impulse is one and the same as the uncreative and easily convinced splatter-gazers that muse pretentiously over the ‘hidden meaning’ in the random-flung blotches of a Pollock or the chosen primary colour of a Koons. This is what they think art is, and how you should respond to it.
And so, due to their inability to escape an essentially Modernist view to art they irrationally hypothesize for days, signalling their cleverness in deciphering hidden messages, as though ‘Joker’ is the Voynich codex.
There is greater meaning in the apparent, or the archetypal, in the harmonious variation on the natural pattern, and it is much more difficult to discuss or ‘review’ sensibly. But there is nothing worth reviewing. There is no cinema, there is no art happening, there is only a primordial chaotic force which is Power itself encompassing all it surveys. It has no sentimentalism, no nostalgia, and no morality.
A beautiful thing has passed, as all things must pass, and pretending it hasn’t passed is the only thing keeping its rotted bones from blowing away on the wind – though it is a shambling mockery of all it once was, begging to be ended. Creativity, like fractal evolution, like the blossoming of shoots upon a tree branch, takes unexpected routes. The sooner you can let go of old habits, then the sooner you can re-invent yourself. For only in re-invention will there be any Counter-Power.