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Jonathan Weiss: The Atrocity Exhibition

Author: • Feb 15th, 2006 •

Category: Ballardosphere, film, reviews

When film adaptations of J.G. Ballard’s work are discussed, Crash and Empire of the Sun are always mentioned but never Jonathan Weiss’s Atrocity Exhibition. Now, thanks to the Dutch film company Reel 23, we can see what Weiss was up to — they’ve recently released this buried work on DVD (and it’s a beautiful piece of packaging, too, filled with cut-up imagery and a revealing essay on the film’s genesis from Weiss himself).

According to Fright Site, the film “was shot over a two-year period in a number of disparate locations, from junkyards to abandoned military installations to the Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art. It was initially completed in 1997, but reedited from a near two-hour running time down to 105 minutes for screenings at the 1999 Slamdance and 2000 Seattle Film Festivals”.

OK. So what’s it all about, then?

>>> EXCLUSIVE Read Ballardian’s fire-breathing interview with Weiss, in which the director responds to this review.

Ballardian: Jonathan Weiss; Atrocity Exhibition

DVD information
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Sound: English 2.0
Region: 0, Pal
Subtitles: Dutch, French, German and Spanish
Duration: 80 min
Price: 24.99 euro
Extras: Audio commentaries by J.G. Ballard and Jonathan Weiss

Lead Actors: Victor Slezak (Travis, The ‘T’ Figure); Anna Juvander (Karen Novotny; The Woman in White); Michael Kirby (Dr Nathan)
Director: Jonathan Weiss
Director of Photography: Bud Gardner
Screenplay: Jonathan Weiss & Michael Kirby, based on the novel by J.G. Ballard
Producers: Robert Jason; Jonathan Weiss
Music: J.G. Thirlwell (Foetus)

REVIEW BY Andrés Vaccari

First published in 1969, J.G. Ballard’s Atrocity Exhibition is a demanding text to read, let alone to translate into film. Rather than a ‘novel’, Atrocity Exhibition consists of a series of short fragments, which Ballard described as ‘condensed novels’, and which were published separately over a period of four years.

Centred on a psychiatrist undergoing a mental breakdown, the book deals with media violence, psychological alienation, the death of affect, and the dark unconscious drives shaping the technological environment. It expounds the now-renowned Ballardian thesis that the barrier between interior dreamscapes and the outside world has collapsed in our hyper-mediated and manufactured world. For fans of Ballard, the book is significant as a preview of themes that would later be unpacked in more depth, and with more success, in novels such as Crash and High-Rise. Although it provoked much controversy on its publication, Atrocity would most certainly have been forgotten or become a minor cult curiosity if it wasn’t for the fact that Ballard wrote it, and that it provides another perspective on his remarkable artistic vision.

The main problem with the book, and with Weiss’s film adaptation, is the outdated cultural references that saturate it: Marilyn Monroe, Nixon, the Vietnam War, etc. The strength of the rest of Ballard’s work is that it’s not set in any specific era; at best, his novels and stories mostly take place in an allegorical near future that blends with the present. The locations, for that matter, are mainly symbolic (the obvious exceptions here are Empire of the Sun, The Kindness of Women, and to a lesser extent Millennium People). This imbues Ballard’s worlds with their characteristic interiority and topicality. It’s also the same quality that makes Kafka’s nightmarish worlds still resonate with us, the fact that they take place in their own tome and space.

It’s hard to justify Weiss’s decision to stick so faithfully to the book, especially since so much has happened since the late sixties, and its cultural icons and motifs don’t have the resonance they once did. Examples from, say, the Gulf War, the death of Princess Diana or modern advertising would have rendered much more effectively the prophetic nature of Ballard’s intuitions, as well as reinforce the themes of Atrocity. Weiss sometimes does use some more contemporary footage (most notably, from the Challenger disaster), so why not take the same liberty with the rest of the footage? In an age where we can watch surgical procedures on reality TV, the old footage of plastic-surgery procedures and Vietnam war atrocities seem strangely quaint, not to say banal and self-conscious. Perhaps the modern world has become too Ballardian for this film to tell us anything that we can’t learn from an average afternoon on television.

Another big problem with this adaptation is the nature of writing in general, as opposed to that of film. In writing, Ballard’s clinical descriptions convey the pornographic and violent nature of scientific rationality. This does not translate well into film. For Ballard, writing is, among other things, a space in which to reflect on the nature of media images, and take some distance from them. His style often parodies scientific or pornographic texts, as much as media imagery. But how do you reflect on media images with media images?

On the page, Ballard’s obsessive, solipsistic dialogue can be poignant and humorous. When spoken by actors, it sounds preposterous, and often unintentionally funny. A description of a surgical procedure might acquire an unexpected poetic tone on the page; on the screen, a surgical procedure looks just plain repulsive and pointless. The book can also be read at random; flicking through the pages, the reader can make his own novel (a bit like Julio Cortázar’s Hopscotch). In the film, one is trapped into a linearity that clearly conspires against the spirit of Ballard’s original.

The Atrocity Exhibition is well crafted and beautifully photographed, although the images cannot successfully outweigh the aimlessness. Individually, the images work, but the overall effect is flat and contrived. Nonetheless, as a first feature film, it’s an impressive effort, showing great focus and marking Weiss as a unique talent. Another standout feature is the music by Jim Thirlwell (aka Foetus), which lends great atmosphere to the images.

The film’s extras include a running commentary by an enthusiastic and indefatigable Ballard, in conversation with the director. This in itself is worth the price of the DVD.

Overall, Jonathan Weiss’s Atrocity Exhibition is a nice cult object – and perhaps an interesting failure.

— Andrés Vaccari

>>>>>> Read Ballardian’s exclusive fire-breathing interview with Weiss, in which the director responds to this review and all the other critics who’ve dared to cross his path.
>>>See Reel23 for bios of Weiss and Ballard; a Director’s Statement; and letters from Ballard to Weiss praising the film; a trailer from the film; and information on how to order the DVD.

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20 Responses »

  1. Its rather a shame that the reviewer failed to understand what are perhaps the greatest strengths of the Atrocity Exhibition (the book)- its oneiric exploration of the onset of an entirely new period in human history- one defined by mass media and especially TV. As a filmmaker approaching this “book” which is about the media and the failed psyche of an individual trying to navigate its landscape, what better material to use than the moving images the book itself refers to? I like to think that Ballard would have made TAE as a film in the first place if he was not an author.

    The choices of found material used in the filmic adaption of TAE were very carefully considered (and actually that plastic surgery footage was taken from reality TV, not “old” footage.) The reason Vietnam was used, for example, (and Ballard discusses this himself in the DVD commentary,) is precisely because it was the FIRST war ever to be covered nightly on TV, becoming a bizarre, mundane and routine event. Marilyn Monroe was used because she was the FIRST and still the ultimate prototype of her kind. The book can be read many ways, and a personal favourite of mine is as ANALYSIS of the world we live in. I made the film in the same vane. The book is not a fun read for most people, and the film I imagine is no less challenging. But at least understand what is happening in both works from an intellectual standpoint in your criticisims, and not get caught in the trap of what you personally think is “quaint”, “banal” or “outdated” To do so is to miss Ballard’s whole point- and mine too.

    At least you had the honesty to admit to not really liking the book in the first place, so I suppose your take on the film should come as no suprise.

    Jonathan Weiss

  2. what about american distibution? Would love to see this on DVD in the states.

  3. The film can be difficult viewing, there’s no doubt, but as someone said on the JGB Yahoo group ages ago, it’s great fun hearing all that wacky Ballardian jargon actually being spoken by actors.

    Despite any weaknesses it may have, I think it’s an essential purchase for any JGB freak. It’s a great companion piece to Cronenberg’s Crash.

    Jonathan, I understand your need to defend your work. Hopefully, Andres, the reviewer, can respond in due course. To anyone else who’s seen the film, and takes the opposing viewpoint to Andres, we’d be more than happy to publish your views.

    To Kevin, I suggest that you and any other North American Ballardians write to reel23 and demand your NTSC copies!


  4. Thanks Jonathan for your comments on my review.

    Some responses:

    I think, overall, that you commit the usual mistake of blaming the audience or critic for not understanding your INTENTIONS. Your intentions might have been clear to yourself, but art is about communication. Your film is parasitic on Ballard’s text. Unless you’ve read the book, you won’t get what’s going on.

    You claim I failed to understand what you call the greatest strength of the book: “its oneiric exploration of the onset of an entirely new period in human history- one defined by mass media and especially TV”.

    Actually, I’m not sure how successful your film is in analysing, as you say, this ‘new period in human history’. I think Ballard’s most provocative and accurate assertion is that the oneiric and the real have fused, creating a landscape that caters to our desires (and fears).

    The problem is that Ballard’s tools are outdated. He comes from an old school of Freudianism and surrealism. He has done some improvements on it. Freud has a model of the psyche dependent on ‘levels’ (subconscious, ego, etc), so that from a Freudian perspective, the landscape (urban, technological, etc.) is a projection of our desires, the manifest content of an already-formed psyche. Ballard suggests that, in fact, there are no levels, no ‘depths’ to the psyche, and that these desires, forces and drives (which Freud understood as constitutive of the mind) have in fact migrated to the outside, so that the mind is ‘flat’, a form of surface. This explains why in Ballard’s books the ‘psyche’ is all around the landscape, it IS the landscape. (Also, Ballard moves away from the notion of a primal scene, or originary moment of trauma, which for Freud was the Oedipal injuction, or the witnessing of sex between the parents). The characters are empty, their desires outside, and Travis (Traven, etc.) looks for the hidden formula contained in the images, the lock that will open the secret of our existence. His tragedy is that he wants a scientific understanding of an overwhelming, irrational world, and following the logic of psychosis (particularly schizophrenia, where small details acquire cosmic meanings) he records every single detail and tries to plot it into some kind of master graph. I find Ballard an amazing writer, but a lot of his analysis and theories miss the point completely. One of his strengths is that he is not about ‘analysis’. In fact, his analyses are always ironic, somewhat ridiculous. Travis is always talking pure bollocks, but Ballard makes this funny, poignant. Travis encapsulates something about all of us (and so do Vaughan and all the messianic figures that populate his work).

    It’s been quite hard to criticize, parody or analyse the effect of media from a literary perspective, and I think DeLillo’s White Noise (to cite one example) is much more successful than Balard’s book.

    “As a filmmaker approaching this ‘book’ which is about the media and the failed psyche of an individual trying to navigate its landscape, what better material to use than the moving images the book itself refers to?”

    Media images have specific cultural associations. Imagine, for example, having Britney Spears in place of Monroe. Would someone get it in 20 years? The images obviously had a resonance for Ballard and his intended readers, and that resonance is gone now. I was born in the 1970s, and unless you’re a baby boomer or lived through the sixties, all the cultural references of the book lack the potency they once did (I made this point clearly in the review, and I don’t feel you have answered it). Personally, I’d like to see Paris Hilton on the operating table, or accosted by obsessive psychiatrists. But in a few years nobody will know who she is, thank God.

    “The reason Vietnam was used … is precisely because it was the FIRST war ever to be covered nightly on TV, becoming a bizarre, mundane and routine event. Marilyn Monroe was used because she was the FIRST and still the ultimate prototype of her kind.”

    Well, I’m actually not sure. I think the world has changed a lot since the sixties. Without a doubt Vietnam and Monroe were turning points. But are Monroe and, say, Nicole Kidman the ‘same’? What would Ballard say about Kidman (I’m sure you can think of a better contemporary example)? I think things have changed in some significant ways.

    “But at least understand what is happening in both works from an intellectual standpoint in your criticisims…,”

    Well, I could argue that you have also failed to do this. I dislike works of art which enjoyment depends on theory or previous knowledge (so-called conceptual art). I would have liked a film that doesn’t assume previous knowledge of the book, like Cronenberg tried with ‘Crash’, however unsuccessfully. I think Crash (particularly its unintentinally funny sequences of sex) is another example of the difficulties of translating Ballard into film.

    ”At least you had the honesty to admit to not really liking the book in the first place, so I suppose your take on the film should come as no suprise.”

    I liked the book. I just said that later works of Ballard make these points much better. And that if it hadn’t been written by Ballard, it would have remained a minor curiosity.

    To reiterate my positive criticisms, I think you made an inspiring and admirable effort here, and the film shows great focus and dedication. It looks professional and is well put together.


    Andres Vaccari

  5. “I dislike works of art which enjoyment depends on theory or previous knowledge.”

    Isn’t that simply extratextuality?

    What’s your opinion of Cronenberg’s ‘Naked Lunch’?

  6. Well, not sure if ‘extratextuality’ is the name, just a question of taste. In general a lot of conceptual art requires this kind of previous knowledge, and postmodern works of art are used as illustrations or performances of one theory or another.

    That’s not exactly what happens in this case. I think that the film is aimed at people who read the book — which is fine by me, but greatly limits the appeal of the film.

    In NAKED LUNCH Cronenberg took a book that is nonlinear, hallucinatory and the rest, but built a narrative around it (pieced together from Burroughs’ biographical details, mainly, and mixing in some stuf from NAKED LUNCH, the book). If you haven’t read the Burroughs’ original, I think you can still enjoy it (you might be a bit lost, but the film uses this feeling of surreal disorientation as part of its style, and makes it work to its advantage). So NAKED LUNCH is a linear film, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I enjoyed the film a lot, because I’m a huge Burroughs’ fan, but I thought at times it was a bit silly. Maybe Cronenberg thought so too, because he seems to enjoy and exploit this silliness that arises from trying to literalize (if that’s a word) what’s on the page (like Bill drinking semen from his typewriter, etc.) It would have been very difficult to bring to life Burroughs’ imagery without the film becoming unbearably violent and sexually explicit (to the point of boredom).

    I think ATROCITY, come to think of it, could also have benefitted from a narrative approach, a linear movie. Maybe it could even have been a thriller, like much of Ballard’s latest stuff.

  7. “Well, not sure if ‘extratextuality’ is the name, just a question of taste.”

    Well, I just mean one text referencing external texts, as opposed to multiple texts interacting within one greater text. I think ‘Naked Lunch’ is very extratextual.

    The first time I watched it I had absolutely no knowledge of Burroughs and a limited knowledge of, but keen interest in, Cronenberg. I loved it, purely on its own terms – surreal, funny, imaginative, visually provocative, full of ideas, highly cinematic, etc.

    I’m now very well-versed in Cronenberg’s work and have read ‘Naked Lunch’ and know a lot more about Burroughs. The film has grown with my knowledge of the two artists and oeuvres that it’s ultimately a marriage of.

    I just think that having one work that, while standing alone for its own reasons, kind of annotates a greater body of work and rewards an exploration of them. I think the film is a masterpiece, and much more worthwhile exercise than any literal ‘illustration’ of the book would have been.

    Anyway, I haven’t watched ‘The Atrocity Exhibition’ yet, but I own the DVD. Will get to that promptly.

  8. The Atrocity Exhibition, essentially, is a text that aims to reflect – and perhaps reinterpret – the history and iconography of the 20th Century. Vaccari’s review of its subsequent film adaptation, along with his summary of the original text, seems to miss the point. It is a text of its time, and the adoption of a Kafkaesque ambiguity would dampen the power and dampen the point. (Perhaps the use of ‘outmoded’ imagery accentuates the purpose of the original text: the reassignment and reevaluation of iconic historical events not only ‘re-presents’ what we have already seen, but in a way that accentuates our apathy; the death of affect.)

    “But how do you reflect on media images with media images?”

    I think this misses the point entirely.

    Film adaptations of source novels rarely follow a smooth course; and while I do not think Jonathan Weiss’ film is without flaws, I see it as a brave and comprehensive interpretation of a supremely difficult and challenging text. I think it bravely tackles many, if not all, of the key themes of Ballard’s original book, while adding new dimensions that the written page could never hope to represent.

    “A description of a surgical procedure might acquire an unexpected poetic tone on the page; on the screen, a surgical procedure looks just plain repulsive and pointless.”

    Plain repulsive and pointless? Unexpected poetic tones? I think both interpretations can be applied, both to Weiss’ film and Ballard’s original book. I think the entire point in both texts lies between (and within) these two extremes. These key extremes.

    I think this review has done a great service to the film, even if it resists some of its central messages. What the review declares to be its most negative aspects, I have seen as its strengths, and I think that many of the points raised and discussed make it required viewing for anyone curious in the themes and preoccupations that persist in Ballard’s work.

    The book can also be read at random; flicking through the pages, the reader can make his own novel (a bit like Julio Cortázar’s Hopscotch). In the film, one is trapped into a linearity that clearly conspires against the spirit of Ballard’s original.

  9. Rhys,

    You’ve written the most intelligent response I’ve received on my review. Thanks! Some of your points made me reconsider. My main point, however, still stands: it is not interesting enough as a film. Perhaps I should watch it again, flicking it at random…

  10. Andres,

    Thank you. I discovered this site fairly recently, but have found hours of fun and games while perusing the archives.

    I think that Jonathan Weiss was a little scathing of your review in Ballardian’s interview, but emotional attachments to one’s creation are always a powerful ammunition for defence.

  11. I don’t think this film deserves this review. I’m willing to criticize this film on a number of levels but I think first and foremost THE ATROCITY EXHIBITION is a powerful realization of a very difficult work of speculative fiction, and it delivers the goods if the viewer is prepared to receive them.

    Also, David Cronenberg’s early films STEREO and CRIMES OF THE FUTURE have got to be included in a proper assessment of THE ATROCITY EXHIBITION, and it is a shame Andrés Vaccari does not do this work. All three films are structured like docu-dramas commissioned by some maverick psychiatric think-tank, and though there are difficult passages in each film (dramatically and structurally) they all fulfill that Ballardian desire to see science, pathology, and a dystopian vision of the future merged into a contiguous strip which folds in upon itself, sometimes at the very moment of creation. Jonathan Weiss has made an exceedingly good first film — especially if you compare it to Cronenberg’s first films. All three would make a stunning, albeit inscrutable, DVD box set. If that comes out I’m buying.

    Any would-be critics of TAE should also watch a few episodes of the new “Masters of Horror” TV series on Showtime. You be the judge.

    I think Weiss could have trimmed TAE a bit. He could have made a great 80 minute film out of his 100 minute film, which is at times a bit uneven. Nonetheless, this movie is ESSENTIAL VIEWING for those interested in Ballard’s work, speculative fiction, or maverick low-budget sci-fi film making.

    My favorite scenes: the surgical fashion shoot (pure Ballard) and the lead actress chased through an abandoned building by a model helicopter (genius!).


  12. Pretentious.

    There, if I start with that word I’ve diffused the situation nicely. Mainstream fans – or those not at all open to low budget, but earnest films based on impossible texts – wandering in to this might well dismiss it easily with gratuitous use of the P word. Let’s give it as read that yes, this film might well be an extreme case of pretentious mumbling.

    Or not. Many films of books work hard to make the text cinematic. Let’s face it, film just isn’t the same medium as the written word. Something has to give, and the advantages of one is often used to accentuate the content of the other. But what of authors whose work is largely interior to the characters? What of the so-called “unfilmable” novels?

    JG Ballard had thus far not exactly been overwhelmed with seeing his works brought to the big screen. Empire of the Sun got a huge release with Speilberg, then we have Cronenberg’s Crash, but what else? That Weiss’ film seems to have dropped off the radar is probably more indicative that it never actually got on the radar in the first place.

    Weiss decided, it seems, to mess with the test as little as possible. Rather than try to adapt it for the big screen he took it literally onto celluloid. Which is a bit unnerving, since the book is deliberately fragmentary – like you’re picking at the bits and pieces left over after someones psyche has just exploded. Scattered wth cultural references that might not be familiar to most people today – let alone relevant in an immediate sense, is sure to present difficult issues.

    However, on another level the movie works brilliantly. Rather than replace the book on which it is based, as is so often the case when Hollywood leaches off a text, in this case the movie is a perfect companion. Don’t think of it as something separate, something different, just think of it as an alternative medium, something with the same (or similar) resonance.

    As such the film makes little linear sense. Don’t go looking for easy answers. Be thinking something along the lines of Begotten. You’re not necessarily going to come out the other side of it talking about the finer plot points and central performance. Nor should you. The novel on which it is based, and that is faithfully reproduced, is made up of “condensed novels”, sometimes a single paragraph, sometimes a page in length, that take on various thoughts and ideas from the mind of the central character – a doctor gone off the rails. These condensed novels were originally published over a period of four years, eventually being brought together within single covers as The Atrocity Exhibition.

    Weiss is to be congratulated for even considering making the film in the first place. He must have known at the outset that it was an impossible task. By sticking faithfully to the text he was relying on the novel to carry the viewer through – which is dangerous, since this is not a well read novel by any means, and many people won’t have read it at all. It sounds pithy to suggest you can read the novel in any order you want, taking the condensed novels in any order you please. However, it can also introduce disorientation in a world where we expect things spelled out for us, set up in a linear way so our minds can anticipate what we’re about to see and then then become satiated as the events come true. One should never forget than in many ways The Atrocity Exhibition is a dangerous book. Since the film follows it resolutely, it’s also a dangerous film. In other words, I think – if published today – the novel would garner much the same criticisms that have ben aimed at the film version.

    The thing about being dangerous is that it’s open to all kinds of criticism, being dagerous can seem like a challenge, a threat. Which is fair enough, once an artwork is out there people can say and write whatever they want about it. The work is no longer purely in the realm of the creators with all their vision, earnest intent, and endeavour. This film took two years to make, I’m sure with much hard work, pain, effort, and sacrifice. I on the other hand just watched it from the safety of my living room in 100 minutes or so flat. It’s hardly the same thing is it?

    The movie clearly wasn’t made for a mainstream audience. In fact, I didn’t feel as though it was truly trying to expand the audience beyond those that had already found themselves drawn to the original novel. It complements the novel, plays along with it. It’s an interpretation of the most well-known facts from the book. As such it is guility of all the same things – the time and place, the context, the inscrutable nature of the characters. It also has all the strengths, the melding of images, the heady mixture of technology and sex, the surreal aspects of the natural world world we live in.

    In some ways the movie is a locked door. It might take some work to knock it down. But then again, that’s true of the novel. So what can we say by way of criticism? Should Weiss of simplified things? Should he had followed a more traditional path of story-telling, adding a narrative, making it more linear? For me, no. This film is primarily for Ballard enthusiasts in my view. It’s for the initiated. That’s not to say we slavishly follow the word and creations of Ballard without questioning or even doubting. Rather, it indicates our appreciation for what he has done, written, and thinks.

    It’s just far too easy to be critical of a work such as this. It’s far harder to sit back and just let it in. Personally I’d place this alongside Eraserhead, and the aforementioned Begotten as a film that defies instant gratification.

    Sure the production was hurt somewhat by budget limitations. But when a film maker is stretching as far as Weiss was, surely we can forgive that.

    I really loved it myself.

  13. […] curta baseada no conto Thirteen to Centaurus), ao muito bom, muito bizarro e quase invisível Atrocity Exhibition – adaptado do “romance” homónimo, que Ballard tinha por «infilmável». Até há uns meses, […]

  14. […] approved by the writer himself, but unsurprisingly failed to make a name for itself. Click here to see a less than impressed review, and here for a wonderfully tense interview with the director […]

  15. I just saw this and thought it was extremely well done, The cinematography is wonderful, maybe the best I have seen in a low budget independent movie. Archival footage of auto accidents, surgery, Vietnam, space flight, etc., are well incorporated and effective. The music is eerie and elegant. The acting is pretty good, especially for a low budget film. The overall effect is disturbing and evokes mental breakdown based on obsession with celebrity and technology. It’s slow at times, and hard to follow, but so are some Ballard novels.

    In other words, this is a good movie and a good J.G. Ballard adaptation.

    I disagree that the cultural references should have been updated. Marilyn Monroe, Vietnam, and Ronald Reagan remain American cultural reference points. And footage of nuclear testing, carpet bombing, bomb victims, and plastic surgery remain disturbing and “relevant” to all but the most jaded. I have a hard time understanding how the reviewer could find this footage “strangely quaint.” It would have been pitiful to try to seek relevance by simply updating the cultural reference points. Should the film adaptation of “Empire of the Sun” have been set in Iraq?

    Film is obviously a very different medium than text. I think the creators of this movie have done an admirable job of using image and music to evoke the sentiment of the book effectively.

    Obviously, everyone has a right to their own opinion about this or any other work of art. That said, it would be nice if the Ballardian website posted a review from someone who does not share Andres Vacarri’s negative view of the film. I can’t be the only one who is impressed by it, and more Ballard fans should check it out,

  16. You’re welcome to write it yourself, Julian, as is anyone else. Please send via the contact form on this site if interested. Cheers, Simon.

  17. […] qui. CondivisioneFacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailStampaStumbleUponDiggRedditLike this:LikeBe the first to […]

  18. I did never read the book, i know the vague outline of its content. I do like the movie a lot though. Since it depicts a persons descend into madness I don´t see any problems with it being confusing at some points. You don´t watch an action movie and wonder why the hero doesn´t get shot like the 100 people around him.
    A movie intended as a work of art is not at all supposed to be understood by everyone, Art is given its meaning by its creator if it is easy to understand or not has got nothing to do with its quality.

  19. Furthermore is everything every being ever perceived by anything allways depending on perception. A Lovestory is pointless for a psychopath, a rock perceiving itself being smashed can´t make a thing of it; to state it as direct as it seems possible. our perception is crucially influenced by what we have experienced, if one wouldn´t have been born he would perceive the world in a way I cannot comprehend. It seems very plausible that few can comprehend how it feels to “turn” from the world as it is for something seemingly pointless. to a person who can comprehend it on the other hand it appears very natural to see deeply seated emotions, that are very hard to explain with mere words, expressed.

  20. […] review | REEL23 […]

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