Sunday, January 20, 2008

Universe in suspended Libido

Blue. I love the colour. I don't think I've ever mentioned this before. There's something mildly passionate about it. Like a drink passed around on street corners or that gentle kiss from suburbia that you can almost taste on your moist lips when you sit back and recount it. I saw blue again. Only this time it coloured my screen. A freak attendance at a movie screening got me face-to-face with passion. Those rare times when I dared to mix the withering promise of personal fun with a professional inuendo to be inspired, left me stranded in a universe of suspended libido.

'Across the Universe', a tale that arose from putting the Beatles revolutionary songs together took a skeptical and a lil jaded me through a trip to Neverland and back. At the time, I refused to ackowledge it. But the Beatles injected potency and the latent imagery took me through a flashback on time. Julie Taymor's ’60s musical fantasia reveals its intention to use the Beatles’ catalog to tell two stories at once, one personal, the other generational.

Pscyhedelic, carnivale, repost, art in motion, Bono, Salma Hayek, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin ... if a flower culture pot broke, it'd be through the eyes of a Beatle monger. Somewhere around its midpoint, 'Across the Universe' captured my heart, and I realised that falling in love with a movie is like falling in love with another person. Imperfections, however glaring, become endearing quirks once you’ve tumbled.

A visceral peak arrived with 'Strawberry Fields Forever.' The screen turned into an artwork by 'Jude' in which rows of bleeding strawberries are pinned to a white surface transmting into a hallucination of strawberry bombs raining over Vietnam. The dreamiest reverie, set to 'Because' begins with a tableau of nine friends blissfully lying on their backs in the grass in a mandala pattern. The circle disperses as Jude and Lucy find themselves in a watery blue sky where clouds melt into liquid, and the entwined lovers are themselves floating underwater. Most fanciful of all is a largely animated sequence in which Eddie Izzard is Mr. Kite, the ringmaster of a psychedelic circus with a dancing chorus line of “the blue people.”

Amid the phantasmagoria are several star cameos. 'Happiness is a warm gun' erupted with five Salma Hayek nurses tedning to the wounds of a disillusioned soldier. Bono, acid guru, Dr. Robert, a Ken Kesey-Neal Cassady fusion sings 'I Am the Walrus' at an acid-drenched party.
When 'Helter Skelter' and 'Walrus' broke onto the screen, I wanted to grab the hand that rested next to mine. Only it was somewhere lost swimming in pop-corn.

The spirit of counterculture goes with the flow. Its scenes, songs and witty roughhouse choreography seem to be spun off from the Beatles’ movies 'A Hard Day's Night' and 'Help!' And then theatre meets art on screen when those artistic body contortions erupt suddenly as happens when you jump onto the fields... all dissolving into a stream of consciousness with only occasional punctuation. And though I stuck to my distress at my failing date of the much-planned evening, I refused to accept the visual treat and storyline of the narrative. The same way its oh-wow aesthetic refused to adopt a critical distance from the sex, drugs and rock n roll bit of the '60s.

And just like my accidental evening, the movieleaves itself wide open to derision, complaints and endless nitpicking. But it couldn’t have succeeded any other way. The movie is completely devoid of the protective cynicism that is now a reflexive response to the term “the ’60s.”

There is only one constant - love. And non-believers, cynics, bystanders can only gape and sigh. For they too long for the loving lust. For I too long for the same madenning magic that once made me feel so alive. But then again, its all Across the Univese with Jude!
PS: I am PMSing. Kindly adjust

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