Saturday, August 8, 2015

Unintended Consequences: Comedia Dell'Arte in The Burning(1981)

We are told the meek will inherit the Earth.  We are warned that in the end times the last will be first, and the first will be last.  There will be a new effigy of Colonel Sanders on the television, two royal babies and a bombastic businessman running for the White House.  We can consider ourselves warned by the forward looking scriptures, the word of God, the words distilled from the divine inspiration.

Herein we see a meek lamentable soul, treated unfairly, rudely, and the law of unintended consequences at once smacks him down, like the hard, cold soul of a city.  But we do not end here.  This is not juvenile justice.  The grotesque quality of a practical joke gone wrong meets a grotesque revenge, and the grossness is from a sideways glance, laughable, as jokes sometimes grow large and gross, giving a wide divergence from the commonplace.

As I said in my review of the film: whilst burning, he rolled down the hill, into the water.  Of course this turns him into a superhuman maniac.  It was a warning that sniping and tomfoolery have consequences, even intended innocently, but it is the tragedy, the very accident that empowers the bumbling contemptible soul, like Jason X getting his metal upgrades, like Clark Kent taking off his fancy office shirt in the phone booth, empowered and no longer underpinned-no longer hindered-by the usual trappings of a life, as if dead, his humanity stripped away, without from social standards, apart and aside from propriety, the strings that hold together this human commune.

The fire represents the strive for the forbidden, the impulse to transcend in ways that are dangerous.  The teens have unknowingly then given him not only a meta-human tribute, but an impetus for which to strive and evolve past his capacities.  And it goes wrong, he catches fire, and flailing takes a long fall into water, which is the unknown, the murky obscurity of either death or just the unconscious; each have their own power.  The water-the obscurity-is as his cloak as he is reformed as a transcendent figure.

The modern iteration of the tragic clown, given to us by a generation that had looked revenge and hatred in its face, and then knew full well how to portray blood, revenge and innocence gone wrong, outraged.

No comments:

Post a Comment