Not the worst film I've ever seen
Camera angles are the eyes. What do the eyes know? Nothing much. I tried talking to my left eye one time and all I got was some bullshit about TLC. I told the left eye who was T Boz and began using my brain for conversation, instead.
Seriously, that's all the eyes do, right? They filter information to the brain where the solid judgements are made. You see a pile of crap, your brain says walk around it. You see a beautiful flower, your brain says smell it. It's not rocket science. And it's not your eyes making those calls. Your nose would have worked just as well in those cases had your eyes been blind.
And, yet, some filmmakers think they can seduce the brain with an image. This is actually my problem with a lot of the films I thought I enjoyed back when I was young and
stupid carefree. I watch some of those films now, and I cringe.
Some have stood the test of time quite well, such as Brazil, Eraserhead, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, The Tenant, Aguirre: the Wrath of God, and several others. I don't want to make a list here. The point is this: The camera angles in all of those films are just breathtakingly wonderful. But, the camera angle and the viewfinder cannot tell a story. You can film a waterfall in all the ways possible, and it's still a waterfall. It's not a metaphor which tells us anything about ourselves until it becomes the vehicle in a story. Unless you're pretty darn stoned, that is. Been there, done that, got the synapses misfiring.
So, all of this is about The Sacrifice by Tarkovsky. This was released in 1986 under the title Offret. Some guy in Hollywood, maintained that I must see this film, since it's the greatest film ever made, according to him. Not being one to shy away from a possible epiphany, I spent 145 minutes of my life watching this movie. I've got to tell you the truth: This movie bites. And it bites in the way a pretentious effort by Truffaut or some other cheese eating surrender monkey's movie would bite. (NOTE: Tarkovsky was Russian. The allusion to the French is strictly an ad hominem attack. Merci.)
This was the man's last movie, and he was dying of cancer when he was making it. I appreciate that fact and I truly feel for the suffering he must have endured in order to try and tell it all before he died. However, this seldom works. Look at Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut. Look at Van Morrison since Astral Weeks. Look at Bob Dylan. You can see it all around you: The Bell Curve of creative genius. There are plenty of folks who've beaten this demon, and I'm not saying it's endemic, but my argument here is not with Tarkovsky, it's with this guy in Hollywood.
From the opening scene of the planting of the dead tree which would come to life with just enough daily ritualistic care, I was hooked on a feeling. An unpleasant feeling. From there, we follow the father and his young son up a small incline where the postman on his bicycle keeps cutting them off as he wends his way back and forth in front of them. I must say, should I be walking along and someone do this to me with a bicycle, there would be spokes in teeth and pedals in assholes.
The film's best part is next, when there is a wonderful scene of the father finding a miniature of their house in a muddy place in the yard. It is as if a giant has overtaken the scene and one is taken aback for an instant when it's revealed to be a model. However, this is just another trick of the eyes. What does it mean to the theme of the movie? That forces are at work here bigger than us all? Whoa, I didn't know that already.
Then we learn of the nuclear war theme. Planes fly overhead and things fall off of shelves and people are very, very depressed. A Swedish sort of depression. Like Bergman, but without the feeling. You soon learn to hate the wife. The nubile daughter is a twit. The wife seems to have loved one of the friends but married the money. She's a stone cold bitch who needs a shot (as does the daughter) just to put us out of their misery. The postman is on a drug I've never done before. He's seeing dead people. The maid hates them all. The little boy can't act, so he's left in bed asleep.
Then the shit really gets deep. The postman tells the dad that he can make everything OK by fucking one of the maids who lives behind the church across the bay. She’s a witch, you see, who can erase reality by virtue of one good boink. And this thought just "comes" to the postman out of the blue, at the last minute, when the bombs are about to fall. At this point, I almost turned the whole thing off and decided to waste only 91 minutes of my life. But my new best friend in Hollywood would have been disappointed, since his favorite scene in all of filmdom comes at the end. So I trudged onward.
At this point, it must be noted that most folks who know about this filmmaker and his work seem to agree that he had a story in mind about a witch and a story in mind about the end of the world via nuclear war. However, he apparently did not mean for them to get mixed up in this fashion. Was he trying to kill two birds with one stone as he realized his time was short?
A deal with God is made. Supernatural things happen, such as screwing in mid-air. (I did that once, but I made sure I was on top.) Dad returns home and things are normal again. No nuclear war. The power's on. The phone works. The radio plays. But, dammit, there's that pesky deal with God. (God does not make an appearance in this film. This is just make believe. Nothing to see here. Walk away slowly.)
So, in order to get to this last scene that so enchants my best new friend in Hollywood, the father puts a bunch of chairs on a table and sets them on fire. The rest of the family has gone for a less than pleasant walk -- apparently the one whom the family loves as the wannabe daddy and husband is sick of them, as am I, by now, and is moving to Australia.
And the house burns. And the bad actors run around outside as the house burns. A tree burns, too! An ambulance comes and the dad gets thrown in the ambulance and gets out and runs around some more in the muddy front yard, and the girl he screwed in mid-air shows up on a bicycle.
I could go on, but are you getting the picture here?
Yes! It's just a picture. It's not a thought.
It's not rocket science.