TWO TRIBUTES TO CINEMA: JIM JARMUSCH AND PEDRO ALMODOVAR
« The Dead Don’t Die » and « Pain and Glory »:
Strange bedfellows at first,
Yet, on looking closer:
A common tribute to the power of cinema.
The ability of moving images and filmic narratives to conjure up alternative worlds and bespeak human creativity.
To rework “realistic” material—an individual sense of loss or a collective fear—into an aesthetic quest and/or statement.
To shape chaos—internal and external—into shapes, designs and patterns.
To explore the meta-fictional dimension of Art: cinema drawing attention to the fact that it deals in (not just: with) illusion and fiction—aural and visual.
Breaking the fourth wall, exposing the trick.
THE DEAD DON’T DIE
Inter-filmic dialogue with other zombie movies—in particular George A. Romero’s 1968 Night of the Living Dead.
Other generic forms or cinematic icons loom up, sleepwalking into the viewer’s imagination:
The Western and SF
The horror film and the thriller
Alfred Hitchcock and The Birds (and Psycho)
The War of the Worlds, reaching into the imagery of ET…
For Romero: the cultural context for the handling of the zombie character was the Vietnam War.
The Zombie of our post 9/11 imagination is cast on the stage of climate change and unbridled capitalism, in an uncanny set characterized by fake news and political lies.
The Undead no longer crave human flesh only, but material goods and the attending addiction they trigger.
The figure of the hermit/the outcast: the Poet at work? The Fool of traditional Elizabethan courts and other human theatres?
The grammar of terror and the vocabulary of horror.
The grotesque and the gothic at work and play.
A parody of iconic elements of American culture and film.
A statement about our contemporary (posthuman?) condition.
PAIN AND GLORY
Identity and belonging.
The weight of traditions and customs.
The yoke of family expectations.
Love and passion.
Some desire felt but not articulated, or even named.
The unexpected and unexplained ellipsis.
Absence and unspoken thoughts.
Silences, and then words again.
The creative eye and the personal I
Coming to terms with cannot be retrieved or recovered.
No time regained catharsis
But a final joke and reversal
For the viewer’s sake,
And his/her enjoyment.
The show must go on!
A thought-provoking handling of iconic elements of Spanish culture and history.
A statement about loss and resilience.
Pain and glory in a stalemate.