Saturday, October 9, 2021

Possessing the Vortex of Mercy


My trip has pushed my October waaay back; I'm only just now starting on any semblance of an attempt to do 31 Days of Halloween. My good friend Missi suggested doing 31 Movies instead of days, that way, I can make up for the days I miss by watching extra on the days I have time. Sounds like a pretty good plan, but before I get into my list, here's an often-overlooked track from Sisters of Mercy's seminal Floodland album, always an October staple in our house.


Last night was my first night of Beyondfest 2021 at Santa Monica's Aero Theatre (The Egyptian is, sadly, still under construction). This will most likely be my last Beyondfest, since we're aiming at completing Operation: Escape From L.A. by April of next year. That said, if I get to keep working for the same company I do now by reconfiguring my position to be solely work-from-home, I might be able to persuade my boss to fly me out next year. One can hope. Anyway, last night we saw Gaspar Noé's new film Vortex. Starring Dario Argento, Françoise Lebrun and Alex Lutz, Vortex is an insanely profound piece of Cinema that painstakingly chronicles the daily lives of an elderly couple in Paris who are slowly succumbing to the Horrors of age. Not a Horror film proper by any imagination, I still think it will easily be the scariest film I've seen in years. I say this because, of course,  I may love Horror flicks, but adulthood and life experience make it pretty hard for a movie to scare me (not impossible, though). What does scare me? Losing my memory, my mind, my youth, and my health. And of course, putting topics like this on display is Noé's bread and butter.

Next up was the West Coast Premiere of the new 4K restoration of Andrzej Zulawski's 1981 classic Possession. I hadn't seen this film until earlier this year - not for lack of trying, mind you - but last night was my third viewing in six months. Seeing Possession with a crowd put an entirely new spin on it for me - while there are obvious absurdities in the film that evoke mild laughter, a lot of the more serious aspects of the failing relationship between Sam Neil's Mark and Isabelle Adjani's Anna came coaxed pretty big laughs from the crowd, and of course, that can be infectious. During my previous two viewings I had interpreted many of these same scenes as dire to the point of anxiety, so it was interesting for a different interpretative lens. That's not to say the entire film had that effect. Quite the contrary. This is a harrowing film, and that sentiment was never very far away,

So, here's the list thus far:

1) VHS 94 (don't waste your time)
2) The Mutilator
3) Demons 
4) Vortex
5) Possession


The Chameleons UK - Strange Times
Crowded House - Eponymous
Type O Negative - Life is Killing Me
Black Sabbath - Paranoid
Trust Obey - Fear and Bullets
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats - Blood Lust
The Sisters of Mercy - Floodland
Deafheaven - Infinite Granite
David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust
Rebirth Brass Band - Why You Worried 'bout Me?
Rebirth Brass Band - Rebirth of New Orleans
Cold Cave - Cherish the Light Years
Motley Crüe - Theatre of Pain


The Wheel, in my current mindframe, tells me what I already know: I'm repeating myself. I need to politely step away from a pretty nice opportunity that may come up tomorrow. Tempting, but it's not the road I currently plan on walking. No need to go around and around again, expecting different results.

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