Flashky joined me for "Quiet Chaos" the new film featuring Nanni Moretti. It must be the most static film ever made (I don't know of a cinematic version of 'Waiting for godot'). Moretti, a recently bereaved husband, takes the loss with dignified calm. his ten year old daughter imitates him and so life seems to flow on peacefully, but when the girl returns to school, her father developes a habit of waiting for her in the nearby public square. This habit lasts for months, during which he reflects, mourns and shares love. By sticking to the square he also rebels against a daily routine that betrayed him, expressing a new view of the world.
I kept looking sideways at 17 years old Flashky, hoping he's not going to hate me forever for this. Italian widowers aren't hot among teenagers these days, but Flashky is no regular teenager and "quiet Chaos" moved him about as much as it moved me. Later that night we discussed its flaws and its wisdom, and declared the wisdom triumphant.
Twenty four hours later I went with Elise to watch "The Dark Knight", The most hyped up film of the season. It is the exact opposite of Quiet Chaos: it presents a city in a state of constant hysteria, constant movement, constant violence, and almost constant horror. Loss is an issue in "The Dark Knight" too. When Gotham's district attorney loses his beloved Rachel to the vile tricks of the psychopathic joker, he loses his mind as well as his moral backbone and goes on a killing spree dedicated to avenging her death.
I'm going to say something that will make me unpopular, but Christopher Nolan has got to give me a break. When human response in a movie is unconvincing, all the capsizing lorries and exploding hospitals and fire spawning "bat-pods" and Michael Kane cameos on earth won't make it a good movie. Even the late Heath Ledger's truly arresting performance as the Joker couldn't produce depth out of a charecter that has only one motive: lunacy.
However, our immidiate after-film chat dealt with much more somber stuff. "The Dark Knight" is disturbing politically: The rich and beautiful high-techy white people are the good guys, while the low-life gangsters, most of them black and hispanic, meet in a restaurant kitchen and watch their Chinese scum-chum on a low-tech T.V. screen.
In "Quiet Chaos", anti-materialism is a virtue. Moretti's charecter, Pietro, distances himself from a collosal business merger that can financially benefit him but will not allow him the emotional rejuvination he needs. In "The Dark Night", materialism is the value. The Joker is seen burning piles of dollar bills and mocking the love of money, in a scene that is meant to horrify and disgust the viewers.
That same Joker also adds one more minority to the bad guys' side. His slightly effeminate domeanor and taste for camp both intimate homosexuality. Batman, of course, is a man so stiff and solid he can't turn his head in his own suit. His masculinity would have been impressive if it wasn't for a bearded chap sitting on a bench in front of his daughter's school, showing what manlyness really is.