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I feel a vague pity for the troupes of paranormal investigators now bristling about with faux-technological gadgets and plenty of caffeine in their veins, all attentive, all excited about the bizarre dust motes and sound bites that constitute the brownian motion of spooky houses at night. How different their lives would be in the environment of Guy Maddin's KEHOLE! They would be having the time of their lives, but oddly, still not possessing the right equipment to make any sense out of the manifestations they were witnessing.

I am not sure the words "spoiler alert" apply to a Guy Maddin film due to the uncertainty that any two people will understand it in the same way. You may consider the words uttered, but I cannot guarantee that what I remember is anything more than a subjective mash up of things I may have seen or think I have seen. And so a string of disjointed impressions follows.

Ghosts. A haunted house whose story is told through images that have been put through a blender. After death it seems we become something like a flawed re-enactment of ourselves. Our motives uncertain, chunks of knowledge missing. We perform subsets of our former living behaviors and our most dramatic life moments find themselves emanating and then fading away again. Dramatic, but incomplete. Pieces of story, evocative, but too insubstantial to build to a climax. The climax remembered produces a sudden anti-climax-- a look on a face. "oh, that.." and then silence.

A very noisy film. A partial answer to "what dreams may come." As Jason Patric's character explains: "I may be a ghost, but even a ghost is not nothing." Well, when dealing with such small substance as to almost be insubstantial, one must hold fiercely onto something even if it is just a stuffed wolverine with a knife in its mouth. One must pull hair through keyholes, learn to recognize forgotten sons, experience a bicycle powered electric chair, penetrate the final doors of memory.

One wonders if Udo Keir as the doctor is actually not dead? But who might not be dead is ultimately not important here. The film's quest is to speak in the language of ghosts, to enact a drama beyond death. By doing so it gives a cryptic vision of what was suffered during the character's lives, imbuing it all with a deep sense of tragedy. It is too late for any of these things to be fixed. But perhaps it is not too late for us?

Stunning visually in places, stunning intellectually in places. There is no map to this territory. Pass this way and you will be changed without being quite sure why or how.

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( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
anselmo_b
Sep. 17th, 2011 09:26 am (UTC)
I'll have to see that movie. I once caught a glimpse of saddest music in the world, but never saw it whole.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Cydonia photo: ESA

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