Doing homework

I tend to get the kind of homework that is both self-imposed and delightful. Last night it was watching Fight Club, and today it was yet another movie, this time Claude Chabrol’s L’ivresse du pouvoir. Last weekend, it was Syriana. Others might call this entertainment, I call it homework.

If I had wanted entertainment this evening I would have gone to see “Der Verdacht” based on a story by Dürrenmatt and now playing at DAS Theatre an der Effingerstrasse. Not that I am a self sacrificing creature, it is just that some issues are now on the top stack, and others are not. In addition, given my passion for literature and stories, I never quite know when it is that I am working and when it is that I am just enjoying and sharing other’s creations.

When Fight Club first came out (1999) I remember going to see it with a friend of mine, we both loved it. To me it spoke particularly strongly since the theme of the story is much too familiar. One line at the end of the movie when jack turns to Marla and says “you met me at a very strange time sums it all up for me. Are times ever anything but strange? Yes.

Still, Fight Club, has that touch of nihilism that so fascinates me. Some thing about it does remind me of some of Dürrenmatt’s stories. But then life is a comedy, a nihilistic comedy, and this movie is more than a dark dark slightly nihilistic comedy.

How many layers of interpretation are represented in such a work? The original story was written by Chuck Palahniuk, the screenplay by Jim Uhls, then David Fincher directed the movie and certainly the actors playing Jack, Tyler and Marla do put in their own expression on the characters and story. It is certainly one of those films that does get better and better as time goes by.

The other two movies, Syriana and L’ivresse du pouvoir, both deal with exactly the same issue, but in a rather different way. The issue is power, or so it seems on the surface. To me however both of these films are based on current events. Both are works of fiction… and really, fiction would be dead if it was not inspired by reality.

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