[img]http://www.theplaza.ca/moview/Pics/Films/1986/decline_of_the_american_empire/pic1.jpg[/img] Four Boys Having Fun!
Yes yes yes, people. We live in troubled times, near the end. If some of you have read "The Elementary Particles", by Michel Houellebecq, you know already what to wait in this movie. A group of male intellectuals (French Canadian) discuss about their sex adventures (including a gay in times of a newly found mortal disease). At the same time, a group of intellectual women related to them discuss sexual adventures, one of them being more reserved and conservative. The central point of the film is that a society that only cares for immediate personal satisfaction is in fact a society in decline. The characters are anything but boring. If you found the dialogue disgusting, is probably because you live in a fundamentalist area of the world and/or you don't share cultural codes of Western civilization (for example, religious folk in Jerusalem are not part of the Western, at least not of the late 20th century one). So, what else is left but to envy this burgueois people having free sex like we never had in this ascetic 21th century? Their stories are interesting, and to some people go to be illuminating. Yes, they are cynical, but without cynism is impossible to take out the lies that surround our concept of what must be our life and what we expect from others. Love? Had really existed? Or has been always a fiction to have us occupied? Watch the movie, and let discuss the issues!
Strange one, our generation. Between the "me and only me" of the eighties and the "i don't care" youth of the two thousands. The late stage of capitalism is here, and in Finland too. The myth of the social democrat society falls with a thump in this beautiful minimalist film from Aki Kaurismaki. With silences and soft pastels, Kaurismaki tells the story of a couple that founds itself unemployed and with debts. Slowly but unrelently they fall not by the cracks but in the pit of capitalism' forgotten. And with them they take a bunch of workers and start to visit the world of despair and bleakness of those that look for job knowing there is no one. So the end is near and Kaurismaki suggest to us that the solution is to generate from the inside, to forget about the job market and make what we want by ourselves. Is the film's solution naive? It is if we think it from the capitalist perspective. But demonstrates that all that workers have a potential that is being spoiled by the actual societal arrangements. With a providential backer (other than the "we don't take risks" banks) our society (all of human society) could be a better place to work, and live.
The photography of this film is beautiful, as it is the leafy neighbourhood where the characters live. It is a shame that none of them is conscious of how different most of people live their lives, of how furtunate they are. In fact, their lifestyle seemed like science fiction to me (like the beggining of "Artificial Intelligence"). The film is conservetive in its morals: to go out with a young girl is bad, to run with your Swedish secretary is bad (is better to be dead); but strangely, for the young daughter to take advantage of an older man in her profession is OK. WASP Americans are kicking and alive, and seem to live very well. Good for them (and probably bad for the rest of us).
Very interesting. I watched this in Tel Aviv Cinemateque (Israel), so the interest is double. The first part is somewhat schematich, telling the history of the Naqba (the Palestinian "Disaster") in an Holocaust way. Is a shame that the Jewish forces are depicted so lightly (different parts of the Hagana and different Jewish factions acted differently with the Arabs in '48), but this is a first, so the mistakes and stereotypes can be forgotten. The second part is fascinating, because it touches a more complex reality where Lebanese people are in favour of the Palestinian cause but againts Palestinians. I dont have forces to write a complete review, if you have the possibility of watching this film, do it.
Haskell Wexler is an inspiring character: born rich has enough good sense to be a fighter for others rights. He is a son of the 20th Century. His son represents well 21th century America: self-serving, hypocrite, lame-ass, "conservative". All things good in this film come from what Haskell is, did and does. Watching this film is impossible not to ask about nephotism in Hollywood: why less interesting sons of gifted filmmakers must have a place in this industry? Well, at least we got a Haskell Wexler to remember...