Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Weird Ones

I was thinking about the kinds of movies I generally enjoy.

It never seems to fit to say I like a certain genre: each movie within a genre is unique. What, then, I wondered, made up my category of movies? I happened then on the word. Weird. That is, weird in reference either to setting or the characters; and I mean weird in the loosest sense. It can refer to a fantasy setting, like in The Lord of the Rings, or to a character's artistic quality, like in Miss Potter.

However the weird element occurs, it must be there or I have little interest. That's why I don't generally like Film Noir or Old Hollywood glamor: something is still too commonplace for me. Of course, I might have to allow "weird" to also reference artistic elements like cinematography. And then there are movies like Sarah, Plain and Tall. That movie is wonderful--but it takes place on a farm. While the characters are good and Sarah is a strong person, that isn't enough to lift them into the realm of weird. Is this, then, an exception to my rule?

Well, not exactly. The thing about this prairie trilogy is that it has powerful emotions at its center, even if they are portrayed in all simplicity. And that I am allowing to be one definition of weird, which would here mean above the normal level. I need to see something or feel something that takes me out of myself--and back into myself--and maybe out again.

I need to enter the realm of weird. I don't want fine edges, glamor, and pristine qualities. I want openness. I want a setting or approach or character that is different, one that not everyone can understand. I want a movie with elements weird enough that I can imagine they were made to speak hidden messages only to me.

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