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🎬 #83 The Last Taboo - Eating Each Other.
You might be familiar with the following scenario - there’s a new baby or a young baby that you’re introduced to. Usually you’re like ‘oh they’re so cute’ and then someone much more excited by the tiny person says [usually in a high pitched tone], ‘aww they’re so cute I could just eat them up.’ Now, we don’t recoil in horror at the idea that they’re going to grab the baby and start to devour it, we just smile and agree.
This is the strange marriage of love and metaphorical cannibalism that’s accepted as endearing and not creepy. There’s also the opposite idea. Hatred and total destruction by consuming someone. You can imagine someone in the heat of battle screaming that they’ll ‘devour you,’ dramatically set against a background of flame.
There’s also the lingering concept that in some way you’re keeping that person and obtaining their strengths - whether you loved or hated them.
That’s a long winded way of saying that this week’s films deal with cannibalism, broadly, in both these ways.
Happy choosing, happy viewing
FILM ONE: THE NEON DEMON
2016 Dir Nicholas Winding Refn
Set within the fashion world, we are taken on the journey of both a young aspiring model who will do almost anything to succeed and those who will do anything to stay in the game, even as they get ‘older.’ Refn’s neon is on full buzzing splendour - everything is high contrast - bold. Braier’s cinematography takes us into an LA that feels out of a Brett Easton Ellis novel, where it seems that vampires and werewolves could be stalking the hills, clinging to the shadows, just out of sight of the normal day to day routine of the city’s ‘normal’ citizens.
This feels like a strong comparison piece to Only God Forgives, feels like the same kind of world. Where everyone moves with the same kind of intensity - the other wordliness of Refn’s pacing making it feel like everything is of life and death importance. Which it kind of is. The idea of the body here is literally on full display, the intertwining of beauty, sex and violence key to the film’s inevitable trajectory. In the end Refn takes us further than even we anticipate he’ll go - which is great, theatrical and horrific. I felt quite ill by the end of it - a great compliment to the filmmaker.
TL;DR Plunge into the world of fashion, catwalks dripping with blood and the insatiable need to destroy your enemies.
*Available for a small rental fee on Amazon, Apple, Google and YouTube in the US and the UK.
Fact: According to Refn this is one of his films that his wife actually likes.
FILM TWO: BONES AND ALL
2022 Dir Luca Guadagnino
A period road movie about two cannibals on the run does a disservice to this film. Despite how interesting that summary might sound. There is a tenderness to every moment, including when the characters have their faces bloodied to the same level as a pride of lions at dinner time. The ‘eaters’ are portrayed as those on the fringes of society, unsure how to find a place for themselves without destroying what they find when they rub up against ‘real’ society. Russell and Chalamet make a pair that you want to see together - no matter what they have to do to satisfy their needs.
The America that we see through their eyes is not dissimilar to that captured by Arnold’s ‘American Honey’ with Chalamet displaying Shia level charisma as the rogue loner who really wants to go back to a home he’s afraid to return to.
The physical intimacy of the two lovers feels very ‘bitey.’ Tender but with the sense that one of them could clamp down at any moment. Consuming a part of the one they love, so they can keep them forever, safe from the struggles of real world relationships.
TL;DR Watch Chalamet and Russell travel the roads of the US, listen to Kiss and try to become normal humans.
*Available for a small rental fee on Amazon, Apple, Google and YouTube in the US and to buy in the UK on the same platforms. Amazon Prime members can stream for free.
Fact: Chalamet and Rylance previously appeared in Adam McKay’s ‘Don’t Look Up’ but never shared a scene.
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