October 10, 2010

Sin City

Sin City is an interesting film. I am not particularly keen on violence but I am a long time fan of Mickey Rourke and I have an interest in hard boiled, film-noir. Another thing that appeals to my structuralist mind is that is that Sin-City is in three or four parts and these parts repeat, share a commonality of structure and device. One of the minority of damning reviews of Sin City - damning of the gratuitous violence - points to one common theme: "See a pattern? Women in this movie are all whores and strippers..." That is not the only common theme.

The most interesting one for me is that all the men in the movie are talking to themselves. The three lead charters Hartigan (Bruce Willis), Dwight (Clive Owen) and Marv (Mickey Rourke) in true hard boiled film noir style spend the whole film nurdling on to themselves cynically, explaining what is going on, and making up for the lack of light. Who are they speaking to?

They are speaking to themselves and the audience and perhaps also to the woman that they love. The women that all these men willingly sacrifice themselves for (two dying in the process) are not only prostitutes, they are

(1) the targets of an enduring and powerful love that tears the heroes to pieces

(2) unobtainable in one way or another (dead, too young, past tense),

(3) the reason why the heroes die

(4) generally silent but often imagined and in one case an avid letter writer,

 (5) violent, sexually preditorial, hermaphrodite

(6) and as we have seen, perhaps the superaddressee of the film noir narration.

Why do heroes mumble themselves into oblivion for a whore-goddess of love? Why is it that, and this is what makes it so tragi-dense, the heroes half know they will never get the the whore-goddess get? Recently I have been born of a son, born on the 30th May 2006. He is called Ray Takemoto. He cries quite a lot, a plaintiff warbling cry that cannot be predicted and seems at times to know no satisfaction. Sometimes the solution is simple: Ray needs his nappy (diaper) changed or more often some of his mother's milk. Often at the same time the reason seems to be general malaise or dissatisfaction with the fact of being born to a world where he has desire but almost no power to achieve their ends. He must have quite a frustrating time. We all must have quite a frustrating time, since we are born "foetalised," weirdly incapable of even the ability to stand.

Our only defense, is our lovability and the volume and mesmeric persistence of our cries. Here in Japan they say that "crying is a babies occupation". To cut a long story short, looking at baby Ray I see Hartigan, Dwight, Marv and myself. The wail has become less of a whimper now and has taken on the pretension of gravelly, 'hard-boiled,' machismo. But it is still a long drawn out moan about how tough things are. Most importantly it seems that perhaps in all cases the hard boiled whimper is a whimper of love. But only Ray - thank you Ray - has anyone listening. Are our heroes doomed to sacrifice themselves selves speaking to the him-her fantasy forever? It is not so bad, since there is beauty in it.

Sin City was, from a certain angle, a beautiful movie. Self-sacrificing, self-narrating men, such as Fabrizio Quattrocchi (a baker from Sicily who wanted to save up to buy a house for his family but ends up narrating his own death) are indeed heroes. But who are all these violent, whoring, silent, hermaphrodite goddesses that the sniveling super-hunks of Sin City die for? I suggest, I guess, that these women are the protagonists themselves.

Posted by timtak at October 10, 2010 06:28 PM