From Roberto Bolaño’s 2666, translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer:
"The only movie theaters that were worth anything, said Charly Cruz, were the old ones, remember them? those huge theaters where your heart leaped when they turned out the lights. Those places were great, they were real movie theaters, more like churches than anything else, high ceilings, red curtains, pillars, aisles with worn carpeting, box seats, orchestra seats, balcony seats, theaters built at a time when going to the movies was still a religious experience, routine but religious, theaters that were gradually demolished to build banks or supermarkets or multiplexes…Then the VCR came along. A TV set isn’t the same as a movie screen. Your living room isn’t the same as the old endless rows of seats. But look carefully and you’ll see it’s the closest thing to it. In the first place, because with videos you can watch a movie all by yourself. You close the windows and you turn on the TV. You pop in the video and you sit in a chair. First off: do it alone. No matter how big or small your house is, it feels bigger with no one else there. Second: be prepared. In other words, rent the movie, buy the drinks you want, the snacks you want, decide what time you’re going to sit down in front of the TV. Third: don’t answer the phone, ignore the doorbell, be ready to spend an hour and a half or two hours or an hour and forty-five minutes in complete and utter solitude. Fourth: have the remote control within reach in case you want to see a scene more than once. And that’s it. After that it all depends on the movie and on you. If things work out, and sometimes they don’t, you’re back in the presence of the sacred. You burrow your head into your own chest and open your eyes and watch, pronounced Charly Cruz."
Sounds good. But I'm pretty sure that in the metaphorical cosmos of 2666, Charly Cruz is the Devil. I guess the Devil wouldn't be the Devil if he didn't have a lot of cool ideas, right? He's supposed to be charismatic, charming, intelligent. He's supposed to draw you in, entrance you, make you blind to the consequences of your actions. What are the consequences of watching movies by yourself in search of the sacred? (Have you seen A Clockwork Orange? Does that have anything to do with this? Malcolm McDowell forced to watch videos until his anarchic, violent nature is fully suppressed? Are TV viewers and pets always afflicted with Stockholm Syndrom?) And what is the sacred anyway? A feeling of holy love maybe? What would it mean if for the sacred to be an invention of the devil? Is the sacred satanic? Maybe the problem with Charly Cruz's idea of the sacred is that it goes along with solitude. Feeling alone seems important to Charly Cruz. Isolation, alienation, feeling sacred as a substitute for feeling--for being part of a community, acting out a creative, collective destiny in accord with your dreams and ideals. Well let's try that, huh? We can still talk about movies, even if they were invented or co-opted by the devil (like everything else of any luster or allure in this world). We can talk about movies to each other, and by doing so we'll really be talking about our collective destiny. We'll be exorcising the devil from the movies and getting some light and fresh air into Charly Cruz's living room.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Hey there. Thanks for looking in. I'm going to be writing about movies and stuff here. Check the blogroll to visit some of my cohorts. We're in Houston, Texas, USA and we share an interest in cinema. To get things started we're all going to write about David Cronenberg's version of The Fly. Hope you like it.
Posted by Patrick Winkler at 7:17 PM