Monday, May 10, 2010
Capitalism and avengers
I've been away for quite a while and I could whine about my computer having no cable or the lack of hot water on my block or the silly cold I got. But I guess being happy is like sleep. Once you've gone enough without it, you don't feel the need anymore. At least for a while. And then it just happens to you. Unless you have happiness insomnia, which we generally call depression. But that's a different story.
So I wanted to write about movies. I haven't been seeing the greatest flicks of our time, but it's become my favorite pass-time activity, since Virginia Wolf only triggers my anxieties. Last week I took an afternoon to watch two Romanian productions. The first one was a much expected documentary called 'Kapitalism - our secret recipe'. It follows around some of Romania's billionaires and asks how they built their wealth. The documentary starts with Ceausescu's ghost coming back to his country just to see how his people has been brainwashed by consumerism. But at the end he leaves pretty satisfied, seeing how the elite has maintained alive the ways of the nomenklatura: acquiring wealth through their connections, in a rather questions-raising manner. The conclusion is we cannot experience real institutional change, nor benefit of the full advantages of a free market if other prerogatives of capitalism aren't in action. If the old elites transfer state property into their own hands with no proper bid, therefore ignoring the principle of competition, it is most likely that they will maintain their position and leave little room at the top for new-comers. Basically, I read the main argument in the light of Szelenyi and Townsley's concept of capitalism without capitalists. The social critique of the film-maker Alexandru Solomon is, I guess, that the Romanians tried to build capitalism with leftover tools from socialism.
The second film I saw that day was a great surprise. I had read some reviews and they were all mean to what I dare to call the most "skip a breath" Romanian movie I've seen this year. It didn't get the prizes to make it famous, nor the attention it deserved, but it was finally something unexpected. A different language, I would say. It's called 'The Green Moon' and was directed by Alexa Visarion. It follows around some young people who talk about their lives and worries and taste in things. What I do like is that it fails to be the pretentious 'artsy' movie the audience was expecting and it has no trace of the nostalgia and self-pitty Romanian movie scrips ooze of these last few years. However, it manages to be hilarious and dramatic and true to its discourse. I might read all movies wrong, but this one said to me 'we are all connected'. One other thing I liked was that, ignoring the landmarks that foresee the ending, there are a few scenes that are genuinely breath-taking and it doesn't even feel like the director was trying too hard. One other thing: Placebo's 'Pure Morning' plays obsessively in the backgroud and it literally tells the story.
Well now, in a more superficial tone, I've also watched some superhero flicks this weekend. 'Iron Man 2' might have been a really bad movie, but I wouldn't notice it in a million years due to my infatuation with Robert Downey Jr. But I must say, I do appreciate the more jolly type of savior, a guy who plays crazy but is tremendously smart. As opposed to the grim and broken justice seeker, like the character in 'The Punisher'. God, that skull T-shirt was awesome, but except for that, I think the original Marvel comics kicked the movie's ass big time. I know, most times the book beats the movie. Except for 300. Cause the comic was amazing, but you do not get to argue with those computer-rendered abs. You just don't.