Monday, January 26, 2009

Absurdity is alive and well...

I watched Gates of Heaven over the weekend. My wife couldn't watch after 5 minutes. Too boring she said. I stuck it out.

I actually enjoyed it most of the time. The characters Morris interviewed are so forthcoming. It seems like Morris just has to say 'rolling' and off they go. They are full of contradictions and full of truth and full-of-it. At times I found them very funny and pathetic. I'm not sure if this means it's entertaining but it was for me.

Morris as editor is skilled at putting in little details that add to the absurdity of it all. At times the characters that ran the pet cemetery are just babbling over the 'Bubbling Well'... it seems as they really believe what they are saying. However, objectively I as viewer can tell they aren't genuine. Yet... oh, it's hard to explain. One of the pet owners says about his wife speaking on the hereafter, "I didn't believe it until right now." A lot of the video is like this. Characters talking themselves into believing the absurd.

The most memorable character is the old lady with the cane. Here is a bit of it. The best part is when she is talking about a car and we actually hear one. Classic!

I'm going to read what others thought of it. Roger Ebert loved it. I wonder what others think? I suspect most will be like my wife and stop watching.
I think videos like Spinal Tap and the like have definitely used Morris' style. I know I've been on a bit of a Morris binge but hey, this guy is really good and his stuff resonates with me.
Also watched The Making of A Brief History of Time. Pretty cool. The interviews where all done on sets created by Morris. Only Hawkings lab was recreated with great detail. Interesting that Morris blurs the line between non-fiction and fiction video.

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