Monday, 20 April 2015

Thinking about...

...the two things I like focusing on the most:

1. how to effectively sabotage every attempt at getting any work done.

2. how to over-interpret a film way out of proportions, and thus make it seem as if its intention was really to say something about things I care about, although probably its author cared about a whole different set of issues, really. (Yes, I need to develop some kind of strong accent of authority to make that last line sound convincing; pidgin English just doesn't cut it.)

I have recently seen a film that was really an unlikely contender for any kind of weekly highlight for me, because it a) is sci-fi, sadly a genre I have too little patience for, and b) it was written and directed by no other than Alex Garland, a man who was perhaps once very dear to me, but the problem is that this mysterious 'once' was literally half-of-my-life-ago, when I was an easy-to-woo highschooler and he was the author of a then-acclaimed novel The Beach (time flies!). Now, to be fair, he did in the meantime manage to play my soft spot once again with the script to Never Let Me Go, a film that kind of made everyone feel they were back in highschool again, emotionally at least (or was it just me?), but his following novels were just completely out of tune with my own interests, and so down he went into the trash bin of history. However, he is back with a film he both scripted and directed - which goes under the pretentious title Ex Machina - that I perhaps did not love, but that really doesn't seem to let me get out of its tight grip, which is admittedly something of a success.

Ex Machina is far from a great film: it is predictable for the most part, and framed with an eye of someone who has a lot of style lessons to learn. But it does - and I say this without intending to spoil anything to anyone - tackle the second-favourite topic on my list (right there behind awkward father-son relationships I have previously written about): human emotions. And it does so in a way that, at least to my biased self, seems to be saying: forget intelligence; no matter how intellectually advanced the human race gets, our own worst enemy will always be the thing most inherent to us - our need to feel for others, our capacity to love and be loved. Now, a part of that capacity must in some form be a social construct: we fall head over heels for that 'certain someone' because most of us are trained in the art of monogamy for as long as we know of ourselves, and our notions of 'right' and 'wrong' are also very much dependent on societal moral compasses. But that all does not make the basic point any less true. No matter how physically strong, technologically advanced or intellectually superior, we are all constant victims to our capacity to feel that certain something for others, and we like to fool ourselves into thinking that actions driven by that something are also the ones logic would embrace, if only it had all the pieces of the puzzle.

Of course, that idea is far from new - but what makes it fascinating is that it never seems to get old or worn out. And there was something about the way writer-turned-director Garland tackles it that really made it interesting, even if it is perhaps just the sheer bluntness with which he spells it out. No complications, no metaphors, just straightforward simplicity. Kinda like falling in love, really - it just hits you, no warning, no apology, no regrets.  

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