Monday, February 23, 2009

Anti-nationalisten Nietzsche

David Strauss: bekännaren och skriftställaren tillhör de minst omtalade av Nietzsches skrifter, men har en intressant öppning. Efter Tysklands seger över Frankrike 1871 ser författaren mycket klart faran i att tro att segern betyder en den tyska kulturens överlägsenhet. "Denna villfarelse (...) är i stånd att förvandla vår seger till ett fullständigt nederlag: till ett nederlag, ja ett utplånande av den tyska anden till förmån för det 'tyska riket'."

N. gjorde helt rätt när han här skiljde mellan kulturen och militären, och på så sätt varnade för framtida totaliserande, nationalistiska tendenser som kom att smula sönder sunda bildningssträvanden och den tyska anden i stort - "Och vem vet om det då är något bevänt med den återstående tyska kroppen!"

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Martin: king of modern vampire movies

George A. Romero's transplantation of the vampire myth into the grey urban seventies is the definite modern take on the genre, an update done discreetly and gently, with great eye for detail and a strong artistic vision. Lost Boys and Anne Rice aint got shit on this low budget masterpiece right here.

That our vampire in this one is an awkward, and seemingly a bit "slow", red-headed teenage loner makes the story both pleasantly absurd and moving. Apart from the plot - which effortlessly sidesteps all the easy stereotypes, never letting you know where the movie is heading - the delicate camera and the groovy, tripped out soundtrack gives you a wonderful feel for the time and the bleak Pensylvanian neighbourhood where it was filmed, capturing both the broken beauty, the tideousness and the sleazy moralism of backwards urban life in the seventies.

Watching this just now got me thinking where I could get my hands on more of the sort, which is tricky. Martin is truly one of a kind. As far as my knowledge goes, Romero did not make any more films in this vein, and who else would be capable?

No fucking body.

Send A Bullet: documentarism at its lowest

Sensationalism has its place. ANSWER Me! and the infamous Mondo film-series are examples when artists concentrate on the gory and extreme parts of reality without turning away, and do it with artistic rigour. That redeems them.

It is harder to forgive the sensationalism of a film like Send A Bullet, not only because the themes are randomly thrown together and distorted through a clueless North American, upper class-perspective, but firstly because the director literary gorges himself on all the sleaze and gore of Brazilian reality while at the same time making a grand display of holding his nose. Kind of a double standard going on here. "Oh, this is terrible! But let's loop the industrial slaughter of frogs and kidnappers cutting off ears again since we were to lazy to film any relevant material." Also, it resembles the Mondo-series not only in its random structure and obsession with violence and misery, but in that it does not mind staging scenes when reality just isn't juicy enough. The kids playing kidnappers in the end? He instructed them to do that.

In Send A Bullet (a pointless film needs an equally pointless title) North Americans living in São Paulo complain that they have to ride around in the city in bulletproof cars and helicopters for fear of being robbed and kidnapped. Especially funny is the part where the interviewee mentions that his robber stopped by the sidewalk after taking his money and counting it, as if he were without fear of the law. Why not move back to your own country then, one asks oneself, preferably to Washington D.C., where the murder rate doubles that of São Paulo's and the criminals surely are polite and professional?

Why not watch amazing documentaries about Brazil such as Ônibus 174 or Beyond Citizen Kane (torrent) (google video) instead?

"Please", whispers director Jason Kohn, "'Send A Bullet' into my head before I make more lame documentaries!"