Movie Rants

The Collective Unconscious on Tape

Movies first exposed me to the collective unconscious of America, revealing an image of fear or desire twenty-four times a second.

I try to submit to the experience of the film while its presented, and postpone all the metacognition and analysis until after the credits roll.

Sometimes I enjoy the stories filmmakers intended to tell the audience, but sometimes questioning the filmmaker’s intent is more entertaining.

Each movie sets out to find a director’s personal Holy Grail. Films can provide answers about what makes us human when they succeed in their quests. Yet even when they fail, the questions they raise through the queerness of their ambitions and methods can be riveting.

Nobody can be certain whether Blood Freak carries an earnest anti-drug message or its just about a guy who mutates into a turkey.

Whatever a movie sets out to accomplish, its goals and the way it attempts to reach them tell a story of its creators. That story can tell us about a culture and the whole human race.

Is it a surprise that after the atomic horrors of WWII, the most popular film in Japan depicted a tall, round-eyed nuclear monstrosity decimating cities?

Fears and desires.

(note that Godzilla, originally the bad-guy, eventually showed himself to be just as friendly and useful as an entirely foreign-funded military could ever be – keeping Japan safe and protecting it from the increasingly strange and powerful Mothras and Mecha-Whatevers of the world)

Watching the goals and methods of filmmakers, there is entertainment to be found in witnessing the most successful and failed of quests. Sometimes a delicious awe and amusement can be found in the fact of a films very existence.

Night Train to Terror comes to mind, featuring God, The Devil, breakdancing and a claymation Jimi Hendrix being electrocuted.

Directions chosen by a director may inspire mouth-slightly-open wonder, challenging any attempt at a theory-of-mind. I delight in analysis and answering questions, but I revel in that experience of the unanswerable.

“What were they thinking?”

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