Sunday, October 21, 2018

Doctor Who and the Adventure of Rosa Parks' Head

To-day's new episode of Doctor Who, "Rosa", is the worst episode of the revived era. It might even be the worst in Doctor Who history. I certainly don't find "The Twin Dilemma" as annoying and it made a lot more sense. But let's take a closer look at "Rosa".

Spoilers after the screenshot

Is this close enough? How about we throw in a hundred more close-ups of everyone? This was a problem in last week's episode but minor enough I didn't think it worth mentioning. With "Rosa" I was starting to wonder how often no two people were in the same room at time of filming. Both episodes were directed by Mark Tonderai so maybe next week's, directed by Sallie Aprahamian, will be better.

The three Companions thing continues to make things awkward with scene after scene scrupulously giving us one line each from the Doctor's (Jodie Whittaker) queue of ducklings.

The Doctor and the gang find themselves in a cheap recreation of 1955 Alabama populated by angry British actors with bad American accents. I don't think the guy who slapped Ryan (Tosin Cole) was even trying.

I guess they blew all their location budget in South Africa. Well, I don't mind the backlot so much, certainly Doctor Who has done brilliantly with much less.

The episode revolves around Rosa Parks, played by Vinette Robinson, who appeared as a different character in Chris Chibnall's first Doctor Who episode, "42", when she had a real accent. But at least this time we get closer to her head.

Rosa Parks' refusal to give up a seat on a bus to a white passenger was a critical moment in the battle against institutionalised racism. Which makes it a shame the episode only featured out-and-out, foaming at the mouth racists, who only needed cuirasses and cat-o-nine-tails to pass as galley slave overseers from Ben-Hur. The show missed an opportunity to show what it looks like when someone disrupts the status quo not for perpetually irate brutes but for complacent citizens who just accept this as the way things are.

Instead, Rosa Parks and, briefly, noted Trekkie Martin Luther King Jr. (Ray Sesay) are little more than props which the Doctor and companions race around while trying to prevent a criminal Time Traveller (Joshua Bowman) from changing the past. Apparently, though coming from a future where sentient alien life is commonplace, he's still somehow managed to find it in him to specifically hate black people.

Ryan and Yasmin (Mandip Gil) swap stories about encountering racism in the modern day U.K. as an infodump for the audience while persistently joking about the fact that a waitress thought Yasmin was Mexican. For some reason they find this really funny to the point where I got the feeling that they had something against Mexicans which I assume was not the intention.

Meanwhile, the Doctor and Graham (Bradley Walsh) are pretending to be a couple to throw off a suspicious police officer (Gareth Marks), which ought to have been a lot funnier than it is. Sometimes Bradley Walsh has a little twinkle about him but generally he seems to be getting as flat as the other two.

The police officer has showed up because . . . Well, we never find out why. The Doctor and Companions have sneaked into a whites only motel room because . . . well, we never find out why. The police officer knew they were there because . . . well, we never find out why. The Doctor says they can't hole up in the TARDIS because they'd be bound to run into their adversary that way. But she doesn't explain why they can't go to a different motel or why they need a motel room just to talk strategy.

But I think the worst part of the episode was the music. The French horns of nobility that came on with every single close up and low angle shot of Rosa Parks. Well, actually, they only served to remind me I wasn't seeing Rosa Parks but Vinette Robinson with glasses.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Contrasting Elements and Shadows Between

As I noted before, Caitlin R. Kiernan's stories for her Sirenia Digest have frequently featured nightmarish, purgatorial dialogues between two people, one or both compulsively seeking answers from the other but rarely or never being satisfied. That's true of this month's issue but the new story, "Iodine & Iron", is unusual in the warmth of its descriptions.

The two characters are described as living in a house deep in the woods and the details Caitlin provides express a genuine affection for the location. This helps emphasise the element of a joy in the affection the two characters feel for each other and the role playing games the two play, apparently having typically a hunter and prey dichotomy. This gives their relationship a delicate quality somehow fittingly autumnal, as though it's a brittle leaf just barely clinging to a branch. The warmth in the first part of the story makes the sinister element introduced later, a dark, strange shack with an vague presence, extremely effective. The monster, if it is a monster, by the end is a beautiful and dreadful anthropomorphisation of growing worry in the central character. A really beautiful story, one of my favourites from Caitlin so far.

Friday, October 19, 2018

New Generations with Old Heads

Ah, vintage android heads. In the 1992 Star Trek: The Next Generation two parter, "Time's Arrow", the crew are shocked to learn Data's head has been found in a cavern on Earth, having been there about five hundred years. This kicks off a time travel story at turns eerie, amusing, and mediocre.

It ends up being connected to a planet light years away where creepy aliens with holes in their foreheads are feeding off the energy of 19th century humans. The first episode of this two parter, with a teleplay from Joe Menosky and Michael Piller (based on Menosky's story), is the stronger of the two and features a nicely creepy scene where Data (Brent Spiner) wanders the cavern, invisible to the rest of the crew, and confirms Troi's (Marina Sirtis) sense that there are hidden beings in the place as he describes the bizarre aliens. The puzzle's not over, though, because Troi had said she'd sensed frightened humans and Data's not seeing any humans.

The scene feels a little like the spirits of shoggoths have invaded a seance and it's nice. Things get less creepy when we see the aliens and their deadly snake hand puppet.

There's also a subplot about Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg) and we see how he met her in the past after knowing her for years and then she met him before he knew her. It's not unlike the Doctor and River Song on Doctor Who. It's a nice way of explaining the mysterious references Guinan made to her past with Picard in previous episodes. Sadly, this plot is dragged down by a really cheesy appearance by Mark Twain (Jerry Hardin).

Naturally he ends up on board the Enterprise where Troi, who seems charmed by him, gives him a tour. He seems astounded when she informs him the world no longer has poverty and corruption--it's kind of ironic that Deep Space Nine's pilot was filmed at the same time as "Time's Arrow" because Deep Space Nine would go on to in many ways dismantle Troi's, and Roddenberry's, rosy portrait of the future. Twain makes a point, saying that people who say they've overcome the perennial faults of human nature tend to be conquerors. He concedes the debate a little too easily to Troi, really.

The teleplay for part two was written by Jeri Taylor, who wrote some fine episodes in addition to co-creating Voyager but this was definitely not one of her best works. This episode has a scene I suppose is infamous where, Picard having gotten stuck in the past, Riker (Jonathan Frakes) has called a conference to figure out how to get him back. Dr. Crusher (Gates McFadden) tells him she isn't sure she can modify the phasers to open a portal (clearly a job for the ship's medical doctor?) when Worf (Michael Dorn) says their priority is to obliterate the aliens in order to protect Earth. To which Troi, without hesitation, says, "He's right, Will." At this point, they know nothing about the aliens' motives. Yes, Mr. Clemens, no hypocrisy in this nice happy society . . .

The scene concludes with Riker telling Worf to arm photon torpedoes and . . . let him know when they're ready. Does Worf need to build them from scratch? I'm not impressed by your futuristic weaponry. Of course, it's all a stalling tactic by Taylor so that something can crop up to give Riker an excuse to rescue Picard. I've got to think there are better solutions than this. Maybe just a line about how the torpedoes need to be reconfigured for the peculiar atmosphere?

I've been slowly working my way through a re-watch of The Next Generation over the past four years. So far I'm confirmed in my memory that the series peaked in the third season and slowly went downhill afterwards.

Twitter Sonnet #1166

A normal suit proceeds across the dust.
A shifting map portrays the shaken land.
A rainy cloud bequeaths to steel some rust.
It's only dice that fits a human hand.
Beneath a woven brim surprise observes.
A button box commands the darkened hold.
The faucet turned as kitchen thought conserves.
A common scam abused the fear of mould.
Strategic pins illume the toy at night.
A grain of salt accounts for fifty hills.
A telling take retold the tally right.
Accords agreed reduced the cloudy bills.
A dollar trio brave the penny house.
An honoured guest accepts the titled mouse.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Bebop's Pale Shadow

In 2001, four years after the television series débuted, Cowboy Bebop returned as a feature film with a story set just before Halloween, in between episodes 22 and 23. It has many good qualities but on the whole the unique magic of the original series is only echoed by the film. It's not exactly bad but, taken as an episode, it's easily my least favourite.

Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heaven's Door

It makes sense to set the movie before episode 23, which is the first episode where permanent changes occur precipitating the series' conclusion. But setting it after episode 22 is curious given that 22 pokes fun at a ridiculous terrorist called the Teddy Bomber. The villain of Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heaven's Door, Vincent (Tsutomu Isobe), is also a terrorist, of the more deadly serious variety.

But he's the second dullest character in the history of Cowboy Bebop. He's basically an amalgamation of other characters--he acts kind of like Vicious and his past, as a soldier on Titan where he was experimented on, sounds a lot like Gren's backstory. But Vincent lacks Vicious' cooler character design and background connecting him to Spike, and he lacks Gren's sexual and relationship issues. He ends up feeling very default.

But not as default as Elekra (Ai Kobayashi), the dullest character in Cowboy Bebop history. This is the first time I managed to remember her name after the end of the movie and only because I made a point of doing so because I knew I'd be writing about the film. On top of her plain character design, her almost entirely utilitarian dialogue (unlike the other main characters, she never comments on anything not directly related to the plot), all we learn about her is that she feels sorry for Vincent. But we're supposed to accept that this is the woman the self-possessed Spike (Koichi Yamadera) opens up to about Julia? He even says he'd ask Elektra on a date. Why? He says it after she says she felt sorry for Vincent for being alone so much as a child. I guess we have to assume that's what draws Spike to her.

The film makes an effort to connect Spike and Vincent. Vincent talks about his dreams, his difficulty in determining what is and isn't dream, and this hints at Spike's dilemma over the course of the series. But nothing is really contributed to the theme, it just sort of recaps it.

All the elements from the series look odd beside everything introduced in the movie. The stylised outfits the crew of the Bebop wear seem bizarre in the Martian city which suddenly looks like modern day New York. Except for the part that looks like Morocco.

According to the Wikipedia entry, director Shinichiro Watanabe visited Morocco in preparation for the film and this is a case where research definitely detracted from the finished product. Instead of the mishmash of cultural information, reconfigured into a new reality . . . we just have Morocco, reproduced, seemingly in tact, with a guy named Rashid based on someone Watanabe met in Morocco (voiced by rock star Mickey Curtis).

With the designedly plain new characters and the opening credits which seem like they were partially rotoscoped from real people in an American city it seems like the plan with this film was to prove Cowboy Bebop could be flawlessly ordinary. This isn't fully achieved, thank goodness. The movie has some really effective action sequences, particularly a fight on an elevated train and a tussle between Spike and Elektra where he improvises with a broom. Faye (Megumi Hayashibara) looks sexy, back to being tied up for fan service, in this case by Vincent, and Ed (Aoi Tada) is funny wandering the city, but both moments feel like retreads of "Ballad of Fallen Angels" and "Mushroom Samba", respectively. Maybe we should be glad the series hasn't been revived.

...

This entry is part of a series of entries I’m writing on Cowboy Bebop for its 20th anniversary. I’m reviewing each episode individually. My previous episode reviews can be found here:

Session One
Session Two
Session Three
Session Four
Session Five
Session Six
Session Seven
Session Eight
Session Nine
Session Ten
Session Eleven
Sessions Twelve and Thirteen
Session Fourteen
Session Fifteen
Session Sixteen
Session Seventeen
Session Eighteen
Session Nineteen
Session Twenty
Session Twenty One
Session Twenty Two

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Man Who Could Cut It

His name is John Russell but the title of this 1967 western is Hombre, an appellation by which the protagonist is just as often known. What can you make of a man called hombre? Like so many great westerns of the 60s, he's peculiarly indistinct, disconnected from various kinds of social groups; in this case the operative category being ethnicity. Based on a book by Elmore Leonard, it's an effective film, its plot about a diverse group of travellers menaced by bandits serving as a loose allegory of social division based on race and gender identity.

"You can be white, Indian, or Mexican," Mendez, a Mexican stagecoach driver played by Martin Balsam, tells Russell. "Now it pays you to be a white man for a while." Russell, played by Paul Newman, is white but has lived among the Apache most of his life, working among the Reservation police who are otherwise all Apache by blood. But Russell got his name from a white man who cared for him for some years as a child. Now the elder Russell is dead and Newman's character has inherited a boarding house and a pocket watch.

Arguably the real protagonist of the film is Jessie, the woman who runs the boarding house, played by Diane Cilento. She informs Russell boldly that she has no claim to the place but she's dedicated her life to it, as though daring him to kick her out. He kicks her out. He sells the place.

It's hard to tell what Russell's thinking or feeling most of the film. He generally has the same calm, tranquil expression and it's more through the things he chooses not to do that we gain some insight into his motives. As he waits at the stagecoach office, he makes no effort to assist a man who's bullied out of his ticket by the sinister Cicero Grimes (Richard Boone). He recognises the injustice but he's seen how the world goes. It's no wonder he feels no sympathy for Jessie; what's one boarding house compared to the forced relocation of Native Americans?

So Jessie tries to get the Sheriff (Cameron Mitchell) to marry her. She has been sleeping with him and he seems angry when she kicks him out of her room before Russell arrives. But he cites his dangerous profession as grounds for turning her proposal down. "I'm doing you a favour," he says. "Any time a man weasels out on you," she replies, "it turns out that he's doing you a favour. Well, maybe you are, Frank." She's seen how the world goes, too.

Jessie and Russell end up on the same stagecoach along with Grimes, a young couple, and Dr. Favor (Fredric March) and his wife (Barbara Rush). Dr. Favor is an Indian agent, a politician who acts as liaison to Native Americans for the U.S. government, a man largely concerned with the bureaucracy of relocation. He quickly shows himself as a hypocrite, talking about how sympathy for the Apache is only humane but when he finds out about Russell's background he insists the man not be allowed to ride inside the stage. Then the stagecoach is beset by a group of outlaws and the passengers find themselves forced to cross desert on foot with the bandits in pursuit; Russell becomes de facto leader as the only one among them who seems to know what he's doing.

The thematic argument of the film is essentially carried on between Jessie and Russell whose experience has made them the only ones qualified; she believes in helping people even if they don't deserve it, he doesn't see why he should make the effort, particularly when doing so might endanger the group. The end of the film leaves it somewhat ambiguous as to whether the terrible thing you can't escape is altruism or misanthropy. In a sense, the two are related; you can't treat people better than they deserve unless you think they don't deserve it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Unsettled Interview

It'd been at least sixteen or seventeen years since I last watched 1994's Interview with the Vampire. I used to watch it over and over again in high school, in the late 90s. Nowadays if I feel like watching a Neil Jordan movie I'm more likely to watch The Butcher Boy, the movie he made three years after Interview with the Vampire. Though with murderous little Claudia in Interview with the Vampire it's easy to trace a path of ideas from one film to the other. Both films are fantastically beautiful, as Jordan's films tend to be, and this is one of the things I loved and hated about Interview with the Vampire. In itself, it's great, but its more appropriate for the books Anne Rice wrote after the first book in her long running series than for the first one. The 1976 novel Interview with the Vampire had a kind of bleakness, a sense of terrible nihilism, that Rice's later novels lacked. A proper film version of the novel may have been served better by Lars von Trier or David Cronenberg. It's been almost as long now since I read any Anne Rice novel as it's been since I've seen this movie but I feel basically the same way. Still, the movie is terrific in so many ways.

Tom Cruise as Lestat is the same kind of inspired casting that put Heath Ledger in the role of the Joker. Before actually seeing him in the movie, he seems absolutely wrong; seeing him in the movie, it's hard to imagine anyone else in the role. And of course, given the relatively small emotional breadth covered by the character in this story, star quality and charisma are the most important things, things you only get with a star like Cruise. Though he's almost upstaged by the brief appearance of the deflating Tom Cruise puppet created by Stan Winston.

There is cgi in this movie but relatively little, not much more than the kinds of transformation shots already seen in Willow and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. One is used to change Kirsten Dunst as Claudia from a Linda Blair-ish dying kid into a perfect porcelain doll vampire girl.

I don't find Dunst's performance as impressive now as I did back then; her delivery and on-beat head tilts seem like the product of obvious coaching. But finding a decent child actor is hard enough, finding one for this material even harder, probably impossible in the U.S. to-day. Even in the 90s they had to age up the character six years from her age in the novel.

In addition to the practical effects, there's a magic in the deliberate artificiality of the sound stage locations which often look like they came straight from a Hammer film. I found myself thinking of 1970's The Vampire Lovers and Ingrid Pitt's (perhaps unintentionally) sympathetic portrayal as the vampire Mircalla. Interview with the Vampire came from a period in which books like Grendel or Wide Sargasso Sea took villainous or monstrous characters from classic literature to recast them as protagonists of their own stories, not necessarily changing the facts but asking the reader to consider an alternate perspective. Rice's work brilliantly reveals the implications inherent in extending this project to vampires. Instead of their typical role in stories representing ideas about heathens and the wealthy as near caricatures, Rice's book and Jordan's film is about people trapped in a physical state with physical needs that they feel varying levels of guilt about. As Louis seeks answers for what vampires are, he asks, as Armand tells him, the wrong questions. They can intellectually rationalise their nature, they can even find aesthetic or moral justifications, but then something happens that reveals a contradiction and they're back to square one. It's always an itch that can never be scratched.

This is why newer vampire stories don't work as well--when that guilt is just a metaphor for forbidden love, like in Twilight, it's too easy for the audience to say, oh, the poor, handsome, misguided soul. In Interview with the Vampire, these are people who are naturally compelled to live off murder. It's a much more interesting question with broader applications to human experience. It's not about thinking you might be wrong and then finding out you're not in the happy ending of the story; it's about never knowing, always having good reason to fear you're wrong, but still needing anyway.

I love the makeup. This is one of the few movies where they really get around the cakey look of pale makeup--all the vampires have visible veins drawn on their faces. It has the perfect effect of making them look eerie and vulnerable.

Twitter Sonnet #1165

The glasses fell for lighters clogged with rain.
A working bike emerged from soggy sand.
The dog removed his leash aboard the train.
A case of dollars showed upon demand.
The sep'rate thoughts create a feeling sight.
Determined sleeves create a proper shirt.
Remembered loops complete a yearly night.
A focused fork preserves the knife from hurt.
A waiting straw consumes a canvas face.
The light upon the stage was even dark.
A trick of moving eyes was pulled with grace.
A big fatigue invites the sleeping shark.
The liquid decks degrade the wooden hulls.
Divided brains create united skulls.

Monday, October 15, 2018

A Riot of Almost Nothing

It's hard to imagine anything like normal life carrying on in the kaleidoscope of rubbish, signs, people, and homes of Taipei's slums as they're shown in 1997's Rainy Dog (極道黒社会>. And it's not the story of a normal life director Takashi Miike gives us, showing without sentiment a very unsentimental man and the loose semblance of a family that forms around him. It's a cold, fascinating film.

Yuuji (Show Aikawa) is a Japanese gangster working in Taiwan after his group back in Japan, following a change of leadership, put a hit out on him. There's another yakuza in Taipei (Tomorowo Taguchi) tasked with killing Yuuji. He can't go home until he does though after one failed attempt on Yuuji's life he explains to his target over dinner that he actually likes Taipei. It has friendly women and good food. He asks if the little boy following Yuuji around is really his son to which Yuuji replies he has no idea.

It's really not clear; Yuuji remembers sleeping with the boy's mother years ago but it's entirely possible the woman just used it as an excuse to drop the kid off with Yuuji when she didn't want to care for him anymore. Not that this phases Yuuji whose profession involves executing people without hesitation or remorse. He doesn't tell the kid to leave but doesn't acknowledge him either. It's like he's not even there.

Meanwhile, the boss of Yuuji's gang speaks to Yuuji in the exaggeratively familial way of yakuza, calling Yuuji his brother and telling him how much that means. But of course Yuuji has a very good idea of exactly how much it means. The beginning of the film has him coolly riding along in a truck with hanging meat, and it's not hard to see the correlation.

Yuuji hires a prostitute named Lily (Xianmei Chen) and circumstances force him to flee with her and the kid. They seem like they're starting to form something like a bond and Lily even starts trying to teach the little boy how to read. But it's all so tenuous; they wind up on a beach where a motley of scattered junk has washed up, all this human detritus divorced of meaning and function. It's one of many visuals that with cool sadness show what life is like in Yuuji's world.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

New Doctor, New Desert

Doctor Who is now more authentically African than Black Panther: exteriors for to-day's new episode, "Ghost Monument", were shot in South Africa, surpassing Black Panther, which was shot in South Korea and the United States. It certainly beats a quarry and helps give this second episode of the new Doctor Who season that fresh feeling it sought to achieve; there's an eeriness in this episode that reminded me of The Keys of Marinus. Chris Chibnell's teleplay wasn't big on cleverness, but that was okay, except when he was moralising.

Spoilers after the screenshot

Normally I kind of like the Doctor's aversion for guns--there is a real, good logic to it; when people see you're not carrying a weapon, they're less likely to see you as a threat, which makes it more likely you can talk to them and eventually make friends (or infiltrate their organisation). But when a writer's deploying it to browbeat the audience it usually falls flat, as it does here, where the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker), brags about how much she hates guns before using two kinds of explosives to obliterate the robots she'd chastised Ryan (Tosin Cole) for shooting at. I guess Chibnall was maybe relying on kids being too stupid not to catch the not especially subtle problems with this argument. I may sound crazy for saying this but I still don't think any kid misused a firearm because the Doctor shot a giant rat with an elephant gun in The Talons of Wang Chiang or a shot a Dalek in Day of the Daleks.

But otherwise I mainly liked this episode. I think it's the first time the show's been shot in South Africa. It also marks the very rare appearance of an Irish actor, in this case the Northern Irish actress Susan Lynch, the Selkie from Secret of Roan Inish no less.

Everyone still talks fast but I perceive a general slowing of pace along with the simpler plotting that I find refreshing. The Doctor and her companions encounter two aliens competing with each other in a race across a desert planet and the story between those aliens is established nicely. They come off a lot better than the Doctor's companions, actually. Yasmin (Mandip Gill) cramming in some exposition about how her dad drives her bananas and her sister's trying to get her to move out felt really stiff and made clear a problem with the Doctor having three companions in the new series; we learned next to nothing about Ian and Barbara's families. With the imperative in the new series that we go back to the more domestic focus of the Russell T. Davies era, but without the one on one relationship between the Doctor and companion, it feels overstuffed. It wasn't helped by the fact that all three companions seemed to deliver their lines without much inflection in this episode.

Jodie Whittaker continues to impress, though. I liked how she delivered the line about the hologram's nose hairs. I like the new TARDIS design, and the opening credits are lovely. But no face?

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Autumnal Ambiguity

One of the points where I knew 2017's Super Dark Times was working excellently was when I realised I was hoping to find out one of the teenage boys really was a murderer. That it would, in a strange way, be relief to find out. I knew the movie was good before this, though, because of how sharply it built its sense of paranoia and suspense. It does so by developing the personalities of a small group of ordinary teenage boys.

It's that familiar image again; boys on bicycles wearing enormous coats. You've seen it in Super 8, Stranger Things, and probably in the new It (I don't know, I haven't seen it). There's undeniably a trend here and it reminds me a bit of the 1970s' rediscovery of film noir or the 1980s nostalgia for the 50s. But Super Dark Times is more like American Graffiti than Back to the Future; it's less of an attempt to conjure a feeling of a certain type of film than what feels like a genuine reminiscence of the world the filmmaker grew up in.

The dialogue between Zach (Owen Campbell) and Josh (Charlie Tahan) has such a natural feel to it, the first part of the film crucially establishing normal life for the two boys and their friends; the typical posturing to cover insecurities, talking about girls, masturbation, video games, and drugs. The actors are really good, their facial expressions showing hints of the internal thoughts as we're watching them, thinking more about why they're saying the things they're saying instead of what they're actually saying.

Then someone gets killed in a very plausible way. I was reading Hitchcock Truffaut yesterday, Francois Truffaut's book length interview with Alfred Hitchcock, and in the introduction Truffaut says that in his films Hitchcock feeds "a maximum amount of tension and plausibility into the drama, pulling the strings ever tighter as he builds up toward a paroxysm." That's just what Super Dark Times does--a group of kids playing with the marijuana and the Japanese sword belonging to the absent older brother of one of the boys. It's exactly the kind of thing that probably happened in thousands of groups of boys in thousands of American neighbourhoods, and every now and then, we do hear about someone getting hurt.

Most of the film is from Zach's point of view and after the incident we see the truly insidious effect it has on his mind, how the anxieties about the accident blend with the normal anxieties of a teenager. How his insecurities surrounding his sexual attraction to a girl in his class (Elizabeth Cappuccino) get mixed up with his anxieties about the incident and keeping it secret. His whole teenage mind had been absorbed in handling his normal confusion and urges, now he's compulsively using his same rudimentary faculties to deal with the blood on his hands. One kind of ambiguous guilt and compulsion turns into another. When he finds he's unable to kiss the girl he likes for reasons probably mysterious for him it's terribly sad to see. As we watch him become more preoccupied, as the incident dominates all his decision making and dreams, we get to the point where we hope it's real, just so everyone else can be on the same page as him.

The cinematography by Eli Born is some really beautiful, autumnal imagery, some nice balances of light and very dark. The film is a very effective portrait of tension.

Twitter Sonnet #1164

A standing bean commences jumping now.
In thoughts of roots the nutrients attend.
In diamonds shadows sketched a dreaming cow.
As cattle roam the leaves of grass descend.
A tabled salt re-flavoured crustless bread.
A blank interprets written space to go.
The lives of living paint were never dead.
Enormous feet became a single heavy toe.
Emerging lines divide the merging cars.
Potato almond cakes abide on dusty shelves.
Exotic gin resolves the need for bars.
The taller dwarves became the shorter elves.
A brittle leaf diffused the powder sky.
Electric silence passed without a sigh.