Monday, May 19, 2014

Afterlife

I've grown quite accustomed to sentience, and I'll really hate to see it go.

At some point during my disaffection from Christianity and settling into the realization that I was newly an atheist, I had to do what many in my same position have to do, and that is re-grieve for those I knew who had died and were not waiting for me somewhere after all this.  I had to grieve that future moment which will come sooner or later (but sooner in the large scheme of things, yes?) when my life will be snuffed out in whatever way it might, after which I will not wake up.  Whatever was unique in me (or not), whatever I learned (or didn't), whatever I thought (and forgot) will just be gone, with the exception of a few little remnants of memory in others who knew me, and one day they will go, too.  This is a melancholy giant to face; but looking up at him, I feel brave, and bravery is a fine, fine thing to experience.  My death will be a part of my life, and I'm glad to have had life, so I have to take what comes with it.  I'm at peace with my fleeting nature.

However...

Boy, it would be nice to hang on to it.  Life on Earth, anyway, even with the messed up state of some things.  Between this world and any other, it's the devil that I know.  The thought of knocking about in this world long after a normal life span is appealing to me, if in a macabre way, and I think that's why we love vampires and other fictitious immortals, and I know that's why I loved, loved, loved the movie Only Lovers Left Alive. 


Tilda Swinton (from everything) and Tom Hiddleston (Loki from Thor and The Avengers) star as world-weary vampires, contemplating art, music, heroes and humans (I won't give away their name for us--it's so awful and funny and true) and sometimes just barely managing to hang on to the existence they have found in a sort of afterlife.  You get great little hints here and there of how they spend all of their time--oh, the time they have!  I never lived until I watched two centuries-old vamps discuss the state of things in Detroit.  Genius. 

Don't let me lead you to believe that the film is just a bunch of masturbatory yippity-yap.  Trouble turns up in the form of Mia Wasikowska, nosey music fans and the matter of vampire...uh...food.  Ahem.  There have been swings and misses in the vampire genre, often because the characters amount to a bunch of sexless poets, but in director Jim Jarmusch's vision, the movie monster isn't distracted by fashion and pottery class.  The fangs aren't for show.

Only Lovers Left Alive competes with Under the Skin (what I consider to be perfect science fiction with Scarlett Johansson at her best) for my favorite film seen so far in 2014.  Indie/arthouse perfection, both. 

All of this begs the question--should I spend precious hours of my limited time awake and breathing in this life sitting in the dark, watching flickering images on a screen, then thinking about the flickers, then talking and occasionally writing about them?

I don't know, but I know that I love thinking and learning and various forms of art and engaging with others about it especially when filmmakers can make magic with a relatively low budget and my you all look so delicious I think I'm going to put on scrubs and sunglasses and slip over to the blood bank before it gets light out. 



4 comments:

  1. Missed this one because there are way too many movies to see and I can't see them all but you're on the money about 'Under the Skin.'

    Immortality might be appealing to me if I could be declared legally dead and sneak off to the south of France under an assumed name or something like that, though that sounds more like the witness protection program or something.

    I may have written about the subject before but I don't recall.

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  2. There's a lot of great stuff out there now--I've missed many that I wanted to catch.

    The immortality question is complicated, isn't it? The book I'm about to finish, 'The Postmortal,' is a pretty fun take on it.

    Thanks for the retweet, btw.

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  3. My first thought: Oh, no. Another frickin vampire movie! My first thought after reading on: I've got to see THIS one.

    At this moment in time, I can't imagine having any desire to live forever. Nor do I have any fear of being gone into a permanent void. But then, ask me again tomorrow.

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    1. Mitch, that genre has been violated in so many ways!

      Forever can be a dreadful thing to think about. I like the quotation from Mark Twain: “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.” After looking it up, I guess that one hasn't been sourced to him properly, but this one has: "While you are asleep you are dead; and whether you stay dead an hour or a billion years the time to you is the same."

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