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Sunday, August 21, 2005

DID YOU SAY "PIG" OR "FIG"?



...."Pig" replied Alice.

The two works which explore the head of Alice are among my favorite works of literature. Both work on so many levels and reveal something new each time I read them. It's funny. The only books I "re-read" are ones which are often perceived as "children's stories" but are anything but. I also place a very high value on THE LITTLE PRINCE. Tho, it is all light, hope and love. Lewis Carroll's visions are dark, highly sexual and most worrying.

Ok, so I believe it was my good friend, George, who first mentioned Jonathan Miller's BBC adaptation of ALICE IN WONDERLAND to me and suggested that I check it out. I bought a copy back in February. I watched it this evening and I am totally creeped out. This 1966 made for British television movie is so strange and disturbing. No real special effects to speak of -- just odd camera angles and interesting sets. The "animals" are played as people. And none of the actors ever look at each other. The only exception is when a character will sometimes glance at Alice.



Alice is played by this beautiful but really freaky looking little girl. I would guess she is about 13 years old. She is made to look bored and lost through out the film which is really one long nightmare. Essentially, the young girl triping thru her own psyche. Tuned in to the time of the emerging late 60's, Miller has Alice forever pondering over who she really is -- she keeps forgetting. This is actually a major theme of the movie. They music is all sytar. And, yet, it somehow is not dated. It could have been filmed yesterday.



Although, not at all faithful to the novel --- in a strange way I think it might be the most faithful adaptadation of the source. What it fails to represent visually and word-for-word is more than "made up for" by the sheer atmosphere and mood of the piece. Disturbing on the verge of being funny, but far too sinister and odd to ever make you laugh, Miller created one of the strangest films I think I have ever seen. The voice overs of Alice are so odd --- much of the time in the form a whisper that one can barely hear. I was watching with headphones and I am not sure I would have heard all of what she was whispering had I just been listening to the stereo TV speakers.

The film really makes you feels like you've slipped into some striking black and white Freudian nightmare filmed. The drug and sex undertones are fully represented. But even more strange than ususal. It all made me think of David Lynch --- excepting that this was made good decade before Lynch would release ERASERHEAD on an unsuspecting world. Anyway, if you like the odd and enjoy Lewis Carroll, I think you will really like this little movie. I do believe it was recently or will soon be released in the US by BBC Video.



I fear that my iPod is no longer in sync with my days! However, I think that is probably a good thing. LOL! I didn't put it on until I reached the beach this afternoon and these are the first 10 songs I heard as I watched the ocean waving.

iPod Random Shuffle:

"No More Olives" by Tosca
"Time" by Mary J. Blige
"Heavy Metal Parking Lot" by 20 Minutes With My Dad (has this group ever recorded anything else???)
"You've Got Her In Your Pocket" by The White Stripes
"It's A Hard Knock Life" from ANNIE:the movie (stop making fun of me. I like it.)
"Far Away" by Cranes
"Afro Blue" by Lizz Wright
"Lady Flash" by The Go! Team
"Make It With You" by Bread
"Mandate My Ass" by Le Dust Sucker

See? No connection to each other or to me -- the songs are simply random and rather eclectic. Looks like the mystic connection has faded!

Today was not too exciting, but it was what I wanted --- to just relax and chill-out. I slept till about 10am. The weather was beautiful and cool. I spent the first part of the afternoon searching for a Chinese herbal supplement. I had no luck. Maybe on Monday. The two places that would have it were closed. Then I made my way to the beach. Wrote in my journal, watched an experty kite flyer and chatted with a cool lady who had a cute little dog that liked my feet. I was actually quite cold, but stayed for a good amount of time. I returned a phone call to my friend, Tom, who was wandering about Manhattan. He was hot and sweating while I was literally on the verge of shivering!

Then I did some exploring in the outer Sunset area. I find those houses so interesting. Not sure why. Did my laundry and just finished watching the above mentioned movie which is certain to produce strange dreams. That actress was most disturbing! Just look at her haunting little face!

I am excited about my plans for tomorrow. Meeting up with a friend -- and we are to go to some place called The Cannery. ??? And, we will be watching a free outdoor showing of VERTIGO -- which I've never seen! So this should be cool and I know I will enjoy the company, too!

8 Comments:

Blogger g8s said...

You've NEVER seen 'Vertigo'?!?! Surely you jest!

7:07 AM  
Blogger snarl71 said...

Oh, Matt. You've been to the Cannery...WITH ME! I'm glad it was such a memorable experience for you.

10:47 AM  
Blogger matty said...

g8s --- I know. With all the movies I've seen and my love of cinema, there are a number of "classic" films I've never watched. VERTIGO is one! But that should be changed by the end of tonight!

Karl -- Over 8 years ago we saw a lot of things. Actually, I think we saw just about everything in SF. ...but I don't remember the cannery. Nada. ????? did I have fun? LOL!

11:49 AM  
Blogger Jon said...

Alice in Wonderland is a tripy story to begin with- it's actually very similar to Miyazaki's 'Spirited Away' in that you have 2 bored, disaffected girls who go through an adventure and ultimately find themselves. Now I want to see the 60s BBC version....tres weird!

11:53 AM  
Blogger thomas said...

you'll have to tell me if they make cans in the cannery.

12:24 PM  
Blogger joe said...

oh, that sounds like a real weird movie. I loved Alice in Wonderland. has been one of my favourite books. and David Lynch. love his films. so wacked, yet so dreamy. I hope you enjoed vertigo.

3:25 PM  
Blogger matty said...

Thomas -- years and years ago many cans were made at the cannery. I think DelMonte canned most of their stuff there. However, I am not too familiar with the history. In the 70's it was renovated and contained a comedy club where the likes of Steve Martin and Robin Williams started to really make names for themselves.

Jon & Joe -- Yeah, I swear. I think this may have been one of the strangest, disturbing and hypnotic films I've seen. Totally captured the spirit of the text without really using it much. Which I find very interesting. I think it is even more twisted, in its own way, than Jan Svankmajer's horrific take on the tale -- ALICE. Another fave of mine. Well worth watching. By the way, I checked and it is available in the US on BBC\HVE Entertainment. You can find it on Amazon. Worth the price, if you like the odd and the Lewis Carrol novels.

4:53 PM  
Blogger Miss Marisol said...

i don't know how i missed this post. this bbc version sounds fantastic. i don't know if there is a way that one could misconstrue carroll's tale of alice's psychadelic adventure.

the crazier the better, i say.

11:06 PM  

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