Wherein bon vivant Ben Livant and I (Dan Jardine) speak our minds about movies, mostly.
The ad hominum disclaimer up front protects the review from critical scutiny it might otherwise invite.Then - Ben
Don't let that stop ya!
"Linklater's two films move us towards a new understanding of the genre of romantic films.""The struggle in these films is no less epic than that of a Greek tragedy between forces of free will and fate."Hyperbole for rhetorical effect or overzealous abandonment of judgment? This concern can be brought to bear on each of these statements in it's own right. Taken together, is it not conceptually problematic to simultaneously signal an advance of a contemporary type and an adherence to a classical type? I suppose a dialectical argument could be made. But bothering to make it might be misplaced given that the statements are such gross exaggerations in the first place.While I do not agree with the first statement that these films constitute some sort of modern aesthetic paradigm shift, it is the second statement that I believe is the more mistaken. A number of critical philosophic approaches could be adopted to pursue this but probably the most direct is to observe that there is no objective metaphysic of Nature in these films that functions the way Fate does in classical tragedy.On the contrary, there is only subjective psychology reflecting on itself given an existentialism-lite awareness of individual death. In short, there are no "forces" in these films. There is only personal passion. Or a pessimistic lack thereof.The unwillingness or inability to identify and grapple with actually existing forces - metaphysical, physical, sociological, political, economic, technological, whatever - is a key characteristic of Romanticism as a whole. For all of its tremendous critical power, it is ultimately the flight of the disillusioned solitary bourgeois to aristocratic heroism, be it privately stoical or publicly pronounced. The watered-down version of this for the masses is a kind of comforting consolation prize of middle-class erotic attachment between two souls. The films under discussion do not depart from this standard as far as I can tell. Which is to explain why I don't agree with the first statement either.Then - Ben
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