Sunday, September 14, 2008

Food, guns, etc.

I feel a downheartedness has settled over my friends on Veteran Ave. I sense their quietness. I hope your troubles pass. Times like this criticism seems like flippancy. Superficial. But then, something must draw your mind away. Here is some diversion. I saw Sukiyaki Western Django tonight.

You go to see Sukiyaki Western Django. Let's say the movie is a grocery shopping excursion. Because it's 2008, a year that hasn't been truly nourishing, you're hungry. It's September, so the food is beginning to look tasty. The arrival is great - there is a bird/snake showoff, there is a Tarantino appearance, there is a show down, the unraveling of a story (because you're so hungry you don't notice the packaging, in this case Tarantino's egregious acting, or at least you don't let it bother you), and you're sure everything you want will be here.

Then - even better news - it's not the typical grocery store. There seems to be food from many nations. You notice Japanese (a Yojimbo reference), Italian (Django, after all), American (a western, after all), Japanese again (the architecture, the director Miike, the actors), and American (they speak English). An exciting blend of some of your favorite foods. It sort of feels like this grocery store is making a statement on how many different ways foods have been used in the past and it's contaminating the foods in order to create new perceptions about our usual diet.

But your shopping trip goes on. And although some of the food looks familiar, and sounds familiar, you haven't put anything in the cart yet! You notice the place is a little overdone and the packaging too desperate to be noticed. This is basically what grocery stores like this usually are, but at the same time newer and better grocery stores have come out in the meantime. You're hungry but sense you can't be satisfied by the food that craves you to crave it.

A couple of interesting things happen that will make the trip memorable. Some breathtakingly beautiful popart violence. Completely absurd, but impressive. It's nice to see it done without the guise of dreamlike representation. It's played completely straight faced the whole way through. All the iconography is present: the Shakespearean allusions (blatancies, rather), the machine gun filled casket, silhouettes against the desert sky, the whores, the bad guys, the gangs. I mean, you can't accuse this place of lacking in variety. And for all the different appetites it attempts to satisfy you're going to take at least some of it for granted, and for all the attempts you're going to become overwhelmed, and these two aspects combined make you sort of still hungry and sort of too full.

As you leave one last moment punctures your daze and punctuates the whole trip nicely. One nice little moment of the fantastic and unexpected (aesthetically I mean, no spoiler here). Fuck going back to a grocery store you eventually do leave with an empty cart, but much worse shopping trips can be had than wandering into this place.

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