Free-Floating Hostility

Sunday, May 22, 2005

This is not a Movie Review, and Therefore not the Property of 34

Mike and I went to see The Interpreter because it was too hot to stay in our apartment. It was dumb, and I can only assume Sydney Pollack is going through a divorce or something equally expensive. Have you noticed movies almost never feature fictional European countries? It wouldn't work, because Americans on the whole don't think that Norway, Portugal, Albania and Ireland have enough in common that you can represent all of them at once. People don't seem to feel the same about Africa. The Interpreter revolves around the politics of a country helpfully described in opening titles as "Matobo, Africa," and of course that conveys a whole host of assumptions about "Matobo." Pollack and his cronies know they can count on their audience to immediately conjure genocide, federal embezzlement, instability, disease and starvation, and that is exactly what the audience gets. When Kidman's character says "That little boy [the dictator as a toddler] was my country," it means exactly squat. Besides the fact that it makes no sense, we're supposed to believe in her patriotism for a loose collection of abstractions and received ideas. That really chaps my ass.

3 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Form at May 23, 2005 5:14 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Worse than believing that Niole Kidman should have some sense of patriotism for a loose collection of abstractions and received ideas is assuming actual Aficans should have any Patriotism to the arbitrary political artifacts of colonialism.

    There was a brief time in the mid to late 90's where Europe got similar treatment in the movies, in fictionalized places modeled after Serbia and Bosnia. My favorite were the totally fictionalized events in real life country Russia in "Crimson Tide." My cousin was assistant producer for that movie.

    Is Wisteria lane a real place?

  •   Posted by Blogger Mike at May 23, 2005 4:02 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Yes. And apparently it's right here in Northern California

  •   Posted by Blogger Jeff'y at May 23, 2005 5:36 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • That's probably my favourite blog comment, Dave. Nice job.

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