Thursday, 16 February 2017

Retribution | Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2006

“I felt lonely for so long. Since then, all my senses, memories, and emotions as a human disappeared one by one, and only despair was left at the end.”

The pain of Kurosawa’s ghosts is the perpetual despair of lost love, and an agonising emptiness impelled by the loneliness of the modern world. In Retribution, two ghosts in red dresses embody this pain in oppositional ways: a woman taking revenge on those who she believes killed her through inaction and neglect, and a detective’s ex-lover pretending to be alive to spare him the anguish of her death. One's dress is vivid red, unadorned, invasive; the other's is more muted, emblazoned with red flowers and splashed with the green of their leaves. An evocative emptiness and an imitation of life, a murderous rage and an enduring love. Both are stuck irretrievably in death, and neither can leave life behind — but empty rage can be satiated. Fake flowers never die.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

The Lost World: Jurassic Park | Steven Spielberg, 1997

"We're here to observe and document, not interact"
"That's a scientific impossibility"

A small army of experts and local muscle hired to transport dinosaurs from the original park’s “site B” to San Diego are armed with technology: phones, guns, tranquilliser darts, cages and restraints, radios, cameras, trucks, boats, helicopters. Palaeontologists spew facts about the dinosaurs they look at disbelievingly at rapid speed, barely stopping for breath. Educated precaution. They want you to know that they know everything, that they have everything covered. That nothing can go wrong. But they have no control here. Their technology fails more than it works, and their words have no purpose in the wild. They’re emboldened, but they don’t know what they’re dealing with. At a distance, these dinosaurs are pixels on a landscape, weightless and unreal, but spectacular giants, nonetheless, miraculous and impossible, demanding to be studied. But up close, these CGI creatures are puppets and models, awkward and ugly, still unreal but within reach. It’s easy to forget that these are wild animals, so they get too close, and the animals defend themselves. These dinosaurs are manufactured, but they've become natural. Technology can’t control them. Science can’t control them. People are killed by them. The events of The Lost World: Jurassic Park are hubris masquerading as curiosity. A human failure rather than a natural one. Survival of the fittest.