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Friday, August 13, 2010

Gus Van Sant: Elephant (2003)

Though dealing with the same kind of tragedy (two maniacs killing at random in a school) Columbine and Elephant have totally different approaches. The film of Michael Moore is politic, partisan, polemic: the point there is violence as dimension in the American way, America as a NRA institution. Here in the film of Gus Van Sant it is about nothingness. A guy is going to play football, another guy is talking to a girl, a girl is going to the school library, another guy just wants to make impression; and each one is followed by the camera again and again: the same movements, the same words, repeated from different angles. You can get revolted against a movie where nothing of sense happens, where the same actions without meaning are repeated continuously. But if you accept the terms, there is a hypnotic effect, and you enter some kind of another universe. Actually the hypnosis is searched by the the film director for himself: it is his approach in all his movies. He is immersing in the universe of the movie, till he becomes part of it, just to understand its rules. And Gus Van Sant enters this way totally in the world of that some school in some place of America, to find there nothingness, life without meaning, without sense, life that is no life.

And here is the point: the random killing at the end of the movie has no sense while the whole world there has no sense. The random killing is just absurd, which is perfect in an absurd world.

There is a homoerotic suggestion at a certain moment in the movie, when the two killers are taking the shower: it is as to suggest that the assassins come from another planet with another logic. Actually it's the same planet, and the same ilogic. The two aliens are in their alienated planet, we all are aliens. This movie is a morality.

The elephant is in the room and nobody can see it, as the old Indian tale goes. The title is not about the GOP symbol (a morality is universal, beyond any political denomination), nor is it that elephants never forget (as far as I know, elephants forget many things, sometimes even to close the refrigerator). The elephant here is the fact that our life is senseless, so anything senseless can happen.

Elephant: Part 1/8
(video by coyote7272)

Elephant: Part 2/8
(video by coyote7272)

Elephant: Part 3/8
(video by coyote7272)

Elephant: Part 4/8
(video by coyote7272)

Elephant: Part 5/8
(video by coyote7272)

Elephant: Part 6/8
(video by coyote7272)

Elephant: Part 7/8
(video by coyote7272)

Elephant: Part 8/8
(video by coyote7272)

(Gus Van Sant)



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