Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Boy, his Dog and their issues.

Tonight,I shall mostly be talking about: A Boy & his Dog.

I think that I saw the first half of this fillum a million years ago and didn’t bother watching it to the end. I decided to remedy this t’other night and what shall I say of ‘A Boy & his Dog( or a ‘dog and his boy’ as RTE listed it at the time )?.

Well it’s pretty special.


It's like this: one of the first ever full-length feature fillums is D.W.Griffith’s masterpiece ‘Birth of a Nation’. This silent fillum with its properly-edited story arc and marvellously competent crowd scenes heralded the very beginnings of the motion-picture medium and is one like-as-what-you’re-supposed-to-watch if you want to understand anything about the History Of Cinema.

The only problem with ‘Birth of a Nation’ is that it’s basically a love-letter to the Klu Klux Klan: depicting them as white knights who can be relied upon to swoop in and save the white women from the apish negro whose sole ambition seems to be to plough the white woman’s furrow.

In other words, it’s objectionable. It remains important, and historically significant, but it’s also fricken’ horrible and leaves a bad taste in the modern racially enlightened palate. We can watch it and appreciate it, but it would take the saddest most criminally underdeveloped mind to actually agree with its message.

Similarly maligned and praised is Leni Reifenstal’s documentary of the Nurembourg Rally: ‘Triumph of Will’ which looks great but makes the Nazi party look like the most wonderful set of chaps that a country could hope to be run by.

Although I reckon it can be argued that while ‘Triumph of Will’ does champion the cause of Hitler’s Nazi party, in context this is inevitable: after all it’s a well-made documentary about an event staged to champion the cause of Hitler’s Nazi party. What was she supposed to portray?- That it depicts the rallies, torchlight processions and immense set-pieces of synchronised movement as impressive sights is hardly surprising, they no doubt were impressive sights.

I personally have a soft spot for this fillum because of the the amount of times ‘God’ is referenced in the speeches. It is often presumed that the Nazi party was atheistic, and perhaps at its core, it was ( they could’ve been all secret Mormons for all I know) but ‘Triumph of Will’ shows very clearly a Nazi party that sold themselves to their supporters as disciples on a mission from the almighty. 'Watch out for politicians who claim to act on God's behalf' is a maxim that can't be illustrated enough.

Anyhoo, I’m waffling I know, my point is this: I’m glad that I live in an era where we can see through Nazi party propaganda and melodramatic myths about the Klan and appreciate them anyway for what they are besides, and I reckon that ‘A Boy and his Dog’ belongs in the same category as them two.

By that, I mean that the attitude to women in this fillum is a bit sick. A bit sick and a bit sad, frankly, and I can’t say anything else about the A Boy & his Dog without getting that out of the way for starters.

I’ve crapped on before about my basic mistrust of the notion of a ‘male feminist’ but honestly ‘A Boy and his Dog’ takes the (dog) biscuit: somebody has issues. I’m not sure if it’s Harlon Ellison because I never read the original story, maybe it’s him, maybe the director(L.Q.Jones), maybe both, but one thing I do know is somebody involved in this thing really had it in for the ladies.

That’s a pity because there is a lot of stuff to like in this: The first vision of the ‘Mad Max’ post-apocalyptic/western type genre, Don Johnson ( playing ‘Vic’) way better than he ever was in his TV stuff: the dog (called ‘Blood’ but played by a mongrel called ‘Tiger’) who is the fucking Marlon Brando of canine actors, and a twist ending that is unlikely to be repeated in any other film, ever.

It’s a ‘funny’ film , it’s really quite campy and clumsy and strange and off-the-wall and it’s a surprisingly inventive and clear parable. It’s kind of like Starwars in reverse: Vic is a kind of Anti-Luke Skywalkerish figure, led away from a life of adventure ( with his wise old Jedi-master dog ) by a Princess (of sorts) to a green underground Tattooine and a life of rural mundanity, where she seeks his help in the Rebellion and he doesn’t want to give it. The Starwars thing maybe stretching it, but what I'm trying to say is that I did find it interesting:
There is stuff to ponder in it, but unfortunately this fillum ends up being about nothing but what an unmitigated wagon ‘yer wan’ in particular is, and how crap women are in general.

If you’re a confused and emotionally retarded teenage boy and your bird just ran off with a rugby jock and your equally confused and emotionally retarded best mate who-never-trusted-that-bitch-anyway calls round to commiserate with a big of weed, then this is definitely the fillum for you lads and I recommend it wholeheartedy.

Otherwise, watch ‘A Boy and his Dog’ with your ‘Triumph of Will’/ ‘Birth of a Nation’ glasses on.

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