Saturday, September 03, 2005

You are now leaving Basin City

Public transported (gas prices you see, and also for some reason I don't like that drive) up to the Heysel Kinepolis to see Sin City, finally. I say "finally" because it's been out for such a long time and have liked the comic books (sorry, graphic novels) for years. I can just make out the cover of "Family Values" in an open cardboard box in the corner of the room.

The Kinepolis is right next to the Atomium. The Atomium is, without a doubt, this city's greatest landmark. It's one of those things that sounds cheesy on paper ("an giant representation of an iron molecule?") but is awesome in reality. I was dumbstruck the first time I saw it, as delusions of cheesiness dissipated, and am duly impressed whenever I see it, be it from far away on the Ring or close up. The monument is being renovated. A lot of the balls (sorry, atoms) are finished and look great. Shiny, stripey silver like brand-new pétanque boules. For a temporary construction from 1958, it's doing pretty well for itself.

Sin City is probably the most (successfully) faithful comic book adaptation I've ever seen. Even the rainfall recalls Miller's white streaks breaking up chunks of black. The way the story arcs are grouped, echoing each other but remaining independent, timelines crossing in the Old Town bar, perfectly captures the experience of reading the trade paperbacks or one-shots as they come out.

The prostitutes, as hyper-women struggling to balance independence, love and the explosive nature of their relationship with the men who simultaneously empower and undermine them, appear as a kind of flip-side to Kurosawa's samurai wife. If real-world prostitutes looked like Frank Miller's, I'd understand their business's impermeability to business cycles. Real prostitutes (well, the ones I've crossed, anyway) looking as they do, I don't.

And Alexis Bledel. I'd always wondered if the way she speaks on Gilmore Girls is Rory or Alexis. Apparently it's Alexis. She even briefly breaks out into some GG double-time. It's enough to make you think that, when she bucks orders and phones her Mom, it's Lorelai on the other end.

I need to dig out my Sin City's and thumb through them one more time.

At 22.00 I walked out of the multiplex, waited a few minutes for the subway, got to Gare Centrale with a few minutes to spare before the train arrived. Perfect timing. It's a good thing I didn't drive, it could have been a dangerous ride back. I've always been uncomfortable with the liberal/free speech claim that violent entertainment cannot be blamed for violent behaviour. Of course, the link is not so simple, but the necessity of that radical position seems to me to occult the powerful effect that art does have on the psyche. If it didn't, there would be no point to it. Recent studies claim that the effects of violent entertainment on children are short-term. I still believe that subtle long-term shifts occur (again, not necessarily in a violent in-violent out way). And why only consider violence? Imagine the millions of women whose lives have been made tolerably miserable by fairy tales and romantic comedies.

Walking home after seeing The Matrix, I casually jay-walked in front of an oncoming car. It took me a moment to realise that I could not, in fact, stop it by raising my hand. Last night, walking to and sitting in the subway and train, I took a hard-boiled look at everything. It's only a bit after I got home, an hour later, that I had sunk back into reality. Or, should I say, the movie had seeped back out of my pores.