Friday, July 6, 2007


Humans are essentially wet and gooey. Our bodies contain up to 60% water, and our biological processes, from digestion to circulation to reproduction, all basically involve slippery organs slushing soupy liquids from place to place. And although we're often too vain to acknowledge it, we all leave a trail of oily fingerprints, stray nose hairs, clipped toe nails, and dead skin cells everywhere we go. Civilization could be defined by everything that tries to conceal our basically messy nature: band-aids, underwear, deodorant, electric shavers, etc.

In David Lynch's Eraserhead, the rigid facade of smooth surfaces and right angles fits awkwardly over the undulating globs of flesh that make up the basis of our biology. A man and woman falling in love, having sex, and raising a baby, should be the most natural thing in the world, but in this movie, it's monstrously repugnant.

Early in the film, our protagonist, Henry, accepts an invitation to dinner with his girlfriend and her parents. All the social implications and arbitrary etiquette create an itchy discomfort. This mood is permeated by the sound of the family's puppies suckling; loudly demonstrating how uncomplicated the basic act of eating ought to be. The main course is man made chickens, presumably manufactured by white-coated technicians in an antiseptic laboratory instead of farmers with dirty fingernails or hunters with blood up to their elbows. Appropriately, the mechanical cuckoo clock signals when it is permissible to eat.

The father, is the only character not alienated from his nature. As a plumber, he's not fooled by the my-shit-don't-stink pretense of the rest of society. He's "put every damn pipe in this neighborhood", he says, and he's seen it change "from pastures to the hell-hole it is now". Every time his conversation veers toward his body - his bad knees, or his numb left arm - he is quickly shushed by his wife.

According to Eraserhead, we have more in common with the primordial ooze we crawled out of than the civilized society we pretend to live in.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Time Capsule Year: 1977

Academy Award for Best Picture Winner:
Annie Hall

Cannes Golden Palm Winner:
Padre Padrone

National Film Register:
Star Wars
Annie Hall
Powers Of Ten
Killer of Sheep

Time Magazine Person Of The Year:
Anwar Sadat

Nobel Peace Prize:
Amnesty International

Timeline of News Events:
January 20 - Jimmy Carter inaugurated as 39th President of the United States.
January 23 - Television mini-series Roots airs.
June 7 - Anita Bryant's "Save Our Children" crusade successfully repeals Miami-Dade County's gay rights ordinance, leading gay activist to launch a nationwide boycott of Florida Citrus for whom she advertised.
July 13 - A blackout in NYC lasts 25 hours and leads to looting and disorder.
August 10 - Serial killer David Berkowitz (aka Son of Sam) is arrested in New York. (see Summer Of Sam)
August 16 - Elvis Presley Dies.
September 12 - South African activist Steve Biko dies in police custody. (see Cry Freedom)
October 1 - Pele plays his last professional soccer game as member of the New York Cosmos (see Once In A Lifetime)
October 20 - 3 members of the rock group, Lynyrd Skynyrd, die when their chartered plane crashes.
November 19 - Anwar Sadat becomes the first Arab leader to officially visit Israel.

In Queue:
Annie Hall
Padre Padrone
Saturday Night Fever
The Late Show
New York, New York
Amar Akbar Anthony
Slap Shot
Soldier Of Orange
The Duellist
Allegro Non Troppo
Kentucky Fried Movie
The Consequence


Killer Of Sheep
Madame Rosa
A Special Day

Already Seen:
Star Wars
Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
The American Friend
High Anxiety
The Hobbit
Oh, God!
Powers of Ten