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June 1995, Week 3


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Donald Larsson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 20 Jun 1995 09:18:43 -0600
text/plain (33 lines)
Marcus Richey asks:
"I working on what might be the difference between
Kubrick's "profound" pessimism and the pessimism I see in the work of the
Coens. Any comments?"
I'm not too sure about the Coens, but they do seem to revel in both pop culture
cross references (especially stylistic comparisons to film noir in BLOOD SIMPLE
and BARTON FINK) and perversely offbeat characterizations.
On the other hand, I continually think of Kubrick as the most successful
misanthrope since Jonathan Swift. From PATHS OF GLORY on, his films seem to be
an unceasing indictment of the stupidity, cruelty and progressive de-"humaniza-
tion" of the human race, whether set in the past (BARRY LYNDON) or the
CLOCKWORK ORANGE), whether concentrating on the foibles of one individual or
a whole government (DR. STRANGELOVE), whether set in a family (THE SHINING)
or a war (FULL METAL JACKET). What does it say that 2001 is his most upbeat
film--when "salvation" comes only when a human is transformed into Something
Else by an alien intelligence?
Look at the humans in 2001--there is not one remarkable line of dialogue;
cliches and banalities and government subterfuge are hailed as a "great speech";
they traverse the cosmos, but not one looks out the window and sees anything
but the Void; the most sympathetic character is a *computer*! And then look
at the Star Child--he looks down at the earth, and his eyes are filled with
Don Larsson, Mankato State U (MN)
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