Monday, February 26, 2018

Fahrenheit 451 Trailer; Premiere Date Announced

I just keep writing and writing on the Black Panther post, I am so sorry, I am working on it and trying to get it up. This awesome trailer for a new HBO TV series has been released, but no word on when it will air. UPDATE: it will premiere on May 19 at 8 pm ET.
If, for some reason, the very last line doesn't seal the deal on which way this classic story turns, then seeing that a woman plays Chairman Mao in the film should (because Chairman Mao was the dominant force in the Chinese Communist Revolution, and remains so today), not only resurrecting Mao's theories and practices, but the gender-bending of the American Left. "We were not born equal, so we must be made equal by the fire," is the EXACT teaching of socialism, and the lack of freedom of speech, expression and thought due to political correctness and the constant policing by the social and "news" media has done more to turn America into a communist state than anything else in history. I can't wait to watch this one! Again, I promise to get Black Panther up, I just can't stop writing!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Friday, February 16, 2018

Black Panther Is,... Pro-Capitalist!!!

OOPS!!!: There are TWO post-film credits: there is one mid-scenes credit, which takes place at the UN, and there is a post-credits scene in an African village with Shuri and Bucky Barnes; I missed the second one! They are short, but hey, if you are there, you might as well catch it!

It is a MASTERPIECE of political ideology! This film is so finely crafted, I am going to be citing it for years to come. By all means, PLEASE go see this film, and remember, there is a mid-credits scene that is terribly important! Do NOT read my post until you have seen the film because it will be filled with spoilers and you deserve to enjoy this film the way the film makers intended! I will get this post up asap! And I hope this story, about God's miracles--which were discussed on the set of the film--makes you even happier!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Socialist or Capitalist? Black Panther

It's so anticipated, projections are that Marvel's Black Panther could bring in $170 million this weekend. Critics--even those normally straying away from such topics--are all ready saying it's "politically charged," so the question for us is, which way will it go: pro-socialist, or pro-capitalist? To be perfectly honest, it's just too early to tell by what has been released, but we know important and relevant issues such as "building walls" and "sharing resources" are the primary topics Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa will have to contend with when he arrives in his home country to take the throne. At this point, from what I have seen--which is just some trailers and clips--I want to say it's actually going to be pro-capitalist, and that is not only based on what I have seen, but on liberal critics who have all ready seen the film and maybe didn't rate it quite as high as they would have if it were a pro-socialist film; this is shaky ground to base my estimation upon, so don't quote me on this. So, let's look at a few issues; first, why is there an all-female bodyguard for the king?
Many critics are comparing T'Challa to James Bond, and this casino scene is one of the main reasons. As I mention below, if this were going to be a pro-socialist film, T'Challa's leadership style would be exceedingly different from James Bond and would be more of Obama's style, as in, lack of leadership. Specifically channeling a white male, and Skyfall, which was immensely pro-capitalist, Black Panther doesn't seem to have anything nice to say about liberals or socialism. Further, in channeling Bond so much, the Western world knows James Bond as the defeater of socialism/communism--that has always been Bond's greatest show of strength because that's his greatest enemy--so T'Challa also, then, becomes a defeater of socialism/communism, NOT a proponent of socialism, as some are trying to make people believe, just because T'Challa is black. There's another important clue to the film's "real political identity": "You get to choose what kind of king you will be," Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) tells T'Challa, and that emphasis on T'Challa's "free will" has nothing to do with socialism, or with the liberal movement. There is also constant reference to "Long live the king!" which is not at all what liberals and "progressives" are saying: they want the status quo completely torn down, and power holders--such as kings--dethroned. Unless, of course, they can take that throne for themselves. 
Feminists probably see all the women with weapons protecting the king as a feminist film--an echo of Wonder Woman and the Amazons, and it very well could be--however, there are at least two pro-capitalist explanations for it. The first is, an all-female protection squad best echoes the geographic reality of Wakanda. Anyone who has ever studied Russian history, or at least the Napoleonic wars, knows the reason Russia has never been conquered is because of "Mother Russia" and her ultimate weapon: winter. Anytime any tyrant invades Russia, all the Russians have to do is wait and coax the enemy into the interior of the country and then the enemy is screwed because the "motherland" is merciless in winter; it's possible we have the same theory here: Wakanda has been protected by its geography and the African terrain. Here is another look at the first trailer that was released:
The same geographic and topographical features which has "hidden" Wakanda's advancement for so many years has also protected it from the outside world, and that kind of protection is usually referred to as "feminine." So, just as "mother Africa" has protected Wakanda, it's fitting that women also protect Wakanda. Okay, second reason: who says you can't have strong women and strong men at the same time? Feminists. Watch this trailer--it's kind of long, and I apologize, but this is the only place I can find this clip, specifically at 2:13:
"You'll fight for us," and "I will be there beside you," isn't the kind of thing a feminist is going to stand for: why not? The feminist doesn't want strong men, she only wants strong women and for men to basically disappear. These female warriors in Black Panther are secure enough to know it doesn't matter who throws the winning punch, as long as it's their home country that wins, and, in that case, they all win. Now, let's turn our attention to one of the villains, Erik Killmonger (Michael B Jordan). He is the CLASSIC LIBERAL: I want to tear everything down, and take it all for myself. Black Panther really isn't hiding what they think of liberals--even if liberals can't see themselves in the villain--especially when we see Erik getting ready to blow something up and he puts on a mask of an animal, meaning, Erik himself is an animal.
The costumes in this scene play particularly well to the characters: both characters don layers, with a base layer and then at least a second layer. Erik (left) has a blue shirt, and armor for his second layer, while T'Challa (right) wears a black shirt with a purple shirt on top of that. Erik's blue shirt reveals depression, sadness, melancholy, as the motivating force for what he's doing, which is why he wears the armor: he's been hurt in the past and suspects he's going to get hurt again. T'Challa wears a black shirt--he has died to himself and what he wants--but also wears the purple; why? Purple is the color of suffering, which is why it's also the color of kings: it's believed a king should suffer for his people, rather than the people suffer for their king, which is what T'Challa plans on doing (remember, he didn't want to be king, but his father was murdered). These two men facing off, then, is a result of their life choices and the choices they have to make now in each other's presence.
On a different note, a scene in the trailers shows T'Challa geared up in the Black Panther suit, and one of the female leaders tells him, "Don't freeze," and T'Challa replies, "I never freeze." This is a rather bizarre exchange, except, we know that Erik comes from the frigid mountain region in the Wakanda area; so, when warned, "Don't freeze," it may actually mean, "Don't become like the people who want this technology to conquer everyone and then lord it over them, and don't use this technology for your personal aggrandizement," and T'Challa, knowing what she's talking about, promises he won't. The problem is, we the audience don't know what she's talking about, so we will have to figure it out, however, I am confident that little exchange has a greater significance than just a nod of nurturing fret as her king prepares to be dropped out into the sky with no parachute. 
Last, but certainly not least, we don't see Obama anywhere in these trailers. We don't see T'Challa playing golf while a crisis happens, we don't see him partying with celebrities or getting trying to divide his country; we don't see T'Challa "leading from behind," or trying to "fundamentally transform" what his country is, and if this were going to be a liberal film, we would probably see references to Obama. So what about "sharing resources" and "building walls" reputedly in the film? To me, it sounds like Wakanda is a country which is all ready borderline communist--since they hide everything from the world, rather like the USSR and the Iron Curtain--and T'Challa wants to make them more capitalist and open them to trade and freedom. Again, we've only seen a few trailers, but the isolation of Wakanda speaks more about Vietnam, North Korea, China, Eat Berlin, the USSR, etc., than the current US where innovation is rewarded and encouraged. There is one post-credits scene, so if you are going, be sure to wait for it! I ALL READY HAVE MY TICKET FOR FRIDAY AFTERNOON, so I am definitely seeing it Friday; get your tickets early because they are going fast! I will post an immediate reaction as soon as I have seen it!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Monday, February 12, 2018

Lingering Questions: King Arthur Legend Of the Sword

When Arthur is first brought to meet Sir Bedivere (pictured above), Bedivere wears this little green hat and peels an egg; why? We know that the head symbolizes our thoughts, because our thoughts originate in our head, so anything on our head (hair, hats, etc) can communicate what or how a character thinks. Green symbolizes new life, new hope; food (the egg he peels) symbolizes that which we are "taking in," we are going to digest and "go over" in review and mediation; eggs in particular symbolize new life and birth (as in, "the born king") but Bedivere also peels the egg, suggesting that he intends to "peel away" the layers of Arthur and get to know who he is beneath the surface, which is the opposite of what Vortigern did with his nephew: after Arthur pulled the sword, Vortigern had Arthur's coffers robbed and the brothel burned and his friends and family arrested; in other words, Vortigern only needed--and wanted--to know Arthur on the surface, whereas Bedivere intends on examining Arthur on level of his deeper character instead of making judgment calls based on what Bedivere sees and artificially learns about Arthur. So, when Arthur meets Bedivere, Bedivere thinks that having found--and saved--Arthur is the new life the Resistance needed, and the born king can finally lead them to victory over Vortigern.
Please note the interesting jacket we see Bedivere wearing in this image: brown and gold. Brown symbolizes dirt, because we are either "dirty" like dirt (as in corrupt, or sexually promiscuous) or we are humble, lowering ourselves to the level of dirt in spite of how great we might truly be. We know Bedivere occupied a high-level in Uther's government--we see him and Goosefat Bill advising the king after Mordred's failed attack on Camelot--and this is the meaning of the gold we see in Bedivere's jacket pictured above: Bedivere was in a high position in the king's army and esteem, so in spite of Bedivere having occupied such an important position, Bedivere is also a humble man, which is why Arthur comes to trust him (for example, when The Mage arrives, Bedivere trusts her and trusts the dream Merlin sent Bedivere so Bedivere would recognize The Mage when she appeared; rather than distrust the future of the Resistance to her, Bedivere does trust her).
So, this Christmas, everyone I love received a copy of King Arthur Legend Of the Sword,.... if they didn't receive a copy of it, they know where they stand with me. After my sister saw it, which she loved, she had some very good questions which I failed to cover in any of the posts I have made on the film, which are numerous, so I decided to attempt to get some kind of a post up with my favorite film of 2017. Her first question: why did Vortigern (Jude Law) let The Mage return to Arthur in exchange for Excalibur? Didn't Voritgern know how powerful The Mage was?
Why is there not a relationship developed between The Mage and Arthur? Originally, Astrid Berges-Frisby was cast to portray Guinevere, the legendary queen to King Arthur, but during filming, Charlie Hunnam (Arthur) and director/writer Guy Ritchie confirmed that they mutually decided to drop the romantic angle between Arthur and The Mage/Guinevere. This article goes so far as to suggest that The Mage and Guinevere are two entirely separate characters. So, which is it? We will probably never know, unless a miracle allows Ritchie to go ahead and make the other five reported storylines of the King Arthur Legend Of the Sword narrative he originally intended. Prior to opening, KA was projected to make $25 million against a production budget of $175 million (plus another $100 million for advertising and promotions); unfortunately, it only made $15 million opening weekend, and even after home movie release, has grossed around $142 million (this doesn't tally in, however, all the copies of the film I purchased for gifts for Christmas,....) so, while there were at least 5 more planned films in the sequence, none of them are going to be made now, unless, however, Sherlock Holmes 3 and Aladdin are major box office successes, in which case, it's possible that Ritchie could use his sway at that point to take another stab at the KA story.
So, back to The Mage.
Of all the characters of 2017, she is definitely my favorite: Ritchie provides for us what I would deem the "quintessential woman of power and personal success," that is to say, she's the exact opposite of what feminists think a woman should be, but what I believe God created woman to become. So, if she's so awesome, why isn't there a relationship? I think it's to Arthur's credit that he doesn't get romantically involved with her,... or any woman we see. He grew up in a brothel, so he grew up seeing what happens to men and woman who engage in sexual relations outside of marriage and, in short, Arthur doesn't want to become that kind of man, or a woman he loves to become that kind of woman. At one point in the montage of Arthur growing up in the brothel, we see him numerous times watching a man beating one of the women who raised him, and either Arthur not being able to do anything about it, or Arthur himself also being beaten, until the end of that montage when a "customer" goes to strike Arthur and, instead of being beaten by the man, Arthur--the young man now, with his own strength--is able to stop the man's fist in mid-air before it hits Arthur's face. This is significant for at least two reasons. First, Arthur isn't growing up with the attitude that women are commodities, even though the women in the brothel have made themselves exactly that; secondly, it foreshadows how Arthur will stop Vortigern from beating him. In the final battle of Vortigern against Arthur, Arthur has been knocked down and can't get up; he has a vision of his father giving Arthur Excalibur and when Vortigern is about to strike the death blow to Arthur, Arthur is able to stand and block the blow: if Vortigern killed Arthur in that scene, it would have also been killing England, because Arthur was the rightful heir, so in the brothel scene, when Arthur defends the girls by stopping that "customer," it symbolizes the prostitute (a woman of child-bearing age) as England, the motherland which gave birth to Arthur, and Arthur rising up to defend it against those parasites who want to pillage England for their own gains, like Vortigern. So, in not treating The Mage as one of the prostitutes he grew up with, Arthur creates a vision of a "new England" which will not be bound to the sexual slavery the old England was bound to under Vortigern, rather, The Mage symbolizes spiritual freedom and advancement instead of prostitutes' slavery to being sex slaves.
Vortigern believed he had successfully killed all the Mages: if he didn't kill them during "the purges" he disguised while Uther was still alive, Vortigern killed them after he took the throne; when Arthur goes to the the "Darklands" so he can understand why he keeps looking away when his father dies, Arthur picks up the arm bone of a skeleton wearing a Mage bracelet, verifying the purge Vortigern staged against all Mages who didn't support himself and Mordred in their coup against Uther. Knowing Arthur grew up in a brothel, Vortigern just assumes The Mage is Arthur's whore and nothing else, certainly not the power behind the new king. This is where Guy Ritchie stands out against other film makers: we can ask "Why? Why didn't Vortigern realize a Mage was still living?" and Ritchie wants us to ask that, because if we don't, the film is nearly pointless.
When Arthur is brought to the hide-out from which the Resistance has been operating, and he first meets Sir Bedivere, and meets Goosefat Bill for the second time, Goosefat--who Arthur had turned over to Black Legs earlier in the film--wants to teach Arthur a lesson and slap him around a bit. Seeing that he is going to have to possibly fight Goosefat, Arthur tells Goosefat not to bother taking Goosefat's ring off; Goosefat takes his ring off, then hits in the face, and comments to Arthur, "Now that would have hurt much more had I left the ring on." What does that mean? A ring symbolizes a covenant, a promise, a vow; so to whom has Goosefat made a vow? King Uther Pendragon, to be loyal to him,.... and, consequently, to Uther's heir, i.e., Arthur. Goosefat isn't completely reconciled to the idea that the "Born King" has been living in a brothel, and aided the Black Legs in turning Goosefat in when Arthur could have hid him (from Goosefat's perspective). So, Goosefat taking his ring off before hitting Arthur (basically for revenge in turning him in earlier in the film) is a sign that he's "suspending" his oath (the ring) to Uther to be loyal to Uther and Uther's heir, which is why, after hitting Arthur, Goosefat comments, "That would have hurt a lot more if I had left the ring on," but it's more that it would have hurt Goosefat more, not Arthur, because that would have been a sign of Goosefat hitting and physically assaulting his king (Arthur) and not honoring Uther to him he would have made a vow of loyalty. In other words, Goosefat realizes that down the road, if Arthur is crowned king in the near future, Arthur could have Goosefat put to death for having recognized that he was Uther's heir (Arthur pulled the sword) and still roughed him up anyway.
Voritgern is arrogant, and that's why he doesn't believe there possibly could be any Mages left after he set out to destroy them all; we saw the same arrogance with Hillary Clinton and her 2016 campaign, the arrogance she had that she was above the law and no one could possibly bring her down. Arrogance is the reason Ritchie has his Arthur grow up on the streets: when the prostitutes first find Arthur and have his hair cut, we know that hair symbolizes our thoughts, and the beautiful, golden hair of the young prince is shaved right off; why? So Arthur won't think of himself as being royalty (his "golden curls" are "gold" and "gold" symbolizes royalty because gold is the only gift worthy of royalty, so he thinks of himself as being royal).
Why does the Sea Witch (the creature granting Vortigern power when he rings the bell after he has killed someone) demand the blood of someone he loves as her price for power? For at least two reasons: first, forcing Vortigern to sacrifice someone he loves means he's putting power over love;  similarly, the other reason is that Vortigern puts his appetites over the person's love for him. For example, when Vortigern takes his wife to the sacrificial spot, she calls him "my love" and pleads for him to tell her what is wrong so she can help him; with his loving wife out of the way, Vortigern will continue making evil decisions, rather than allow himself to be stopped by someone who genuinely loves him and wants what is truly best for him (this is like God giving us the Ten Commandments to keep us from sin, so we don't self-sabotage ourselves in making bad decisions). In choosing power, Vortigern choose self-hatred, because he all ready hates himself, and refuses to allow anyone to love him: remember, he asks Maid Maggie, "Do the people love me?" and she has to take a really circuitous path to give him the answer he wants to hear. No one loves you, Vortigern, especially you, you know you are unlovable, that's why you want power instead of love: so you can take revenge on people for not loving you in spite of you intentionally making yourself unloveable. Because love is the power that is the greatest power there is ("God is love") by removing the person who Vortigern loves, and who loves him, the Sea Witch insures her own power over Vortigern's soul because no one will be able to reach Vortigern and convince him to be converted.
Arthur does, however, develop incredible confidence, and confidence is different from arrogance because confidence comes from knowing who you are because of what you have accomplished, whereas arrogance is thinking better of yourself than you really are in spite of what you have failed to accomplish. Remember: when Arthur sits in the jail cell after having pulled the sword and Vortigern asks him, "What would you have become, had you inherited the advantages of your father's kingdom?" we know what the answer is: Arthur would have become Vortigern. Every bit as conceited, manipulative and power-hungry as his uncle, not having been properly humbled would have made Arthur a man of the appetites rather than a man who cared about others more than himself.
After the failed assassination attempt of Vortigern, when Goosefat Bill shoots an arrow and kills Mercia and Back Lack is wounded then dies, Vortigern sits beside Back Lack attempting to find information about who tried to kill him and Back Lack's son, Blue, bursts in and acts like he doesn't know Back Lack at all, to which Vortigern comments, "I wish I had a son." Why does Vortigern say this? Does he not love his daughter? Women, if you will recall, symbolize the motherland: older women, beyond child-bearing years, are the symbol of the traditions and customs of the culture of that land; women who are capable of bearing children symbolize the motherland itself, the land which gave birth to the hero and helped shape his value and how he identifies himself; girls, not at the age of child-bearing, symbolize the future of the motherland. Now, when Voritgern kills his wife, Vortigern kills that part of the motherland which gave birth to himself, and we see this in the dramatic changes of the landscape that take place between the death of Uther and when Arthur is grown and his uncle Vortigern has altered English society and the landscape so it's drape and dark. When Vortigern killed his wife, he also killed the future of the English economy; how? Men symbolize the active principle of the means of economic production. Older men, again symbolize the Founding Fathers, whereas men still in their prime are the economy while boys are the future of that economy. What does Vortigern do with all the boys of England? He sells them into slavery. What does Vortigern do when his brother's son, his nephew, Arthur, appears from nowhere? He tries to have him put to death. Vortigern doesn't want a son: Vortigern admires the traits he sees in others (like Blue's quick thinking and survival skills that Vortigern knows he himself doesn't possess) and Vortigern certainly admires the way Arthur thrived in the gutter and made such a cozy position of leadership for himself, because Vortigern couldn't have done that either. So why does Vortigern say he wishes he had a son, when all he does is put the Sons of England (the young boys for whom he is responsible as their king) and the son of his brother to death? This is typical of someone who doesn't know what he wants. However, there is another reason why Vortigern has a daughter and not a son: socialism. Capitalism is going to be represented by the vitality of a man (think of X-Men's Wolverine prior to the film Logan coming out: his ability to regenerate made Wolverine an excellent example of capitalism's ability to re-generate and grow); socialism, on the other hand, is about passive employees who are dependent upon the state, not individuals who make their own living. So if Vortigern had truly wanted a son, he would have become a capitalist; however, that's not what he really wanted, he wanted power, and Vortigern's inability to reconcile what he wants with reality is a symptom typical of liberals.
Why does Back Lack die? We know that no one ever dies unless they are all ready dead, that is, they exhibit traits/values when alive which means those traits/values cannot be allowed to continue in the "new world" the hero forges, so the character dies as a result of their traits/values. Back Lack, however, sacrifices himself for his friends and his son, so the act of sacrificing one's self means they have fulfilled life to the fullest, they have realized the true value of love and laid down their life for it. Vortigern cutting Back Lack's  ear, however, acts an important symbol: ears are our ability to hear "on a deeper level," a spiritual message or something not clearly spoken; when Vortigern cuts off Back Lack's ear and then speaks into it, this re-iterates the symbolism of ears, and telling us clearly that there is, indeed, something else to which we should be listening; what? The same message we have been seeing throughout the film: Vortigern, as a symbol of socialism, makes his wife and daughter die for his ambition, however, Uther and Back Lack both sacrifice themselves for their sons and, in his way, Arthur sacrifices himself for England, because he doesn't want to carry Excalibur anymore, it has cost him too many friends and dear ones (which is why the Lady of the Lake has to convince him to make the sacrifice of his will to defeat Vortigern). So, the message of the film we should be "hearing" is that fathers need to sacrifice themselves (staying with the mother, working hard to provide, overcoming addictions, etc.) instead of the sons sacrificing for the fathers (abortion, growing up without a father).
My sister also wanted to know about Vortigern's wife: why didn't anyone realize she was missing after Vortigern sacrificed her to gain power to kill Uther? First, those closest to Vortigern, such as Mercia, knew Vortigern sold his soul for power and what the price for that power was (remember, we see Mercia watching Vortigern summon a fireball Vortigern holds in his hand and Mercia isn't the least bit surprised by it; we saw similar imagery in Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes and the Satanic rituals of Blackwood). Secondly, there is the daughter of Vortigern; why didn't she say something about her missing mom?
This is really the heart of the film, because what is Arthur continuously referred to? The born king. This is Ritchie's huge contribution to current "feminist thought," namely, that it's always been from women that men derive their power. For example, Uther is king because Uther was the first born of his mother's womb; Vortigern was born second. Had Uther sired Arthur with another woman other than the queen (pictured above) then Arthur would have been a bastard, and basically born in a brothel, as he tells Vortigern after Arthur has been arrested for pulling the sword; it's his mother's womb that gives Arthur his legitimacy and the right to rule; it's the Lady of the Lake who bound Excalibur to Uther and his line, and it is, of course, The Mage who wields the power necessary for Arthur to fight Votigern.  When Vortigern (in the "Skeletor" guise we see him in when he is in a state of possession) kills Uther's queen, how does he do it? He throws a stake through her womb, attempting to curse Arthur's legitimacy and seal Vortigern's own "authority."
Remember the "graffiti" we see on the walls of Londinium? That is the sign of the feminine, so the idea of kingship has always been intimately bound to the power of the queen.
Now, feminists would say, "This isn't the same thing because 'making a king' isn't the same thing as having the power yourself, and if you don't have that power yourself, then you are nothing." There is a very interesting bit of "marginalia to the film, included in the Blu-Ray special features on making Excalibur: the invented a special set of runes for the film, just to be engraved upon the blade of the sword, even though it's never interpreted, and never comes up in the film, the translation is, "Take me up, cast me away," (something close to that), because "taking" Excalibur has to be seen as a duty, not a power-move, something which comes from desire, rather, love; Excalibur is a means to achieve peace, not an end of itself. To "cast away," means you will feel the burden of the power--rather like the One Ring in The Lord Of the Rings--and if you have a good heart, you will not want to bear that power (rather like Frodo) so this is why we see Arthur do exactly this in the film: after Back Lack has died, and Arthur feels unworthy and there is too much pressure on him, we see him cast Excalibur into the lake and then run from his duty and responsibility; it's then the Lady of the Lake, a woman, tells him he is chosen and he must take the power of Excalibur for the welfare of others. Feminists, however, would behave just like Voritgern, and employ that power for themselves, rather than the greater good of society. 
There are two important facts we can deduce about Princess Catia (Vortigern's daughter). First, she doesn't obey Vortigern: when we are introduced to Maid Maggie (Annabelle Wallis) we see Voritgern tell Catia to put the bird back into its cage and Catia blatantly doesn't do it. Secondly, Catia seems to be quite fond of birds she keeps in cages. These two details help us to put together that Catia isn't afraid of her father because she knows he is a weak man: he has only the trappings of power, but because Vortigern has no power over himself, he also doesn't have any power over her (in this case, to make her obedient to his word). Like the birds in cages with which she surrounds herself, Catia, too, is caged like a bird, so she doesn't realize how dark and hard the world can be (the exact opposite of her cousin, Arthur). How does this fit in with Catia's mother's disappearance? Catia knows Vortigern killed her mother, so she doesn't show any love for Vortigern so she won't face the same fate as her mother. If she doesn't love her father, he won't love her, either, so he won't sacrifice Catia the way he sacrificed Catia's mother.
Twisted, isn't it?
In my original post, I noted that the Darklands sequence was a microcosm of the entire film: what happens to Arthur in the Darklands has all ready happened to him, or will happen to him. Because the sequence happened so quickly, I wasn't able to point by point reconstruct the events, but I was able to recognize them (like the bats picking up Arthur and carrying him from one to another was a metaphor of the guards putting Arthur on the ship that took him to Camelot, then being arrested for drawing the sword, then being "rescued" by the Resistance). I am fully confident the entire Darklands sequence can be explained in terms of other scenes of the film: for example, the first time Arthur sees the giant snake in the Darklands is equivalent to when the snake crawls out of the sleeve of The Mage; it's little on her arm, but it's a huge threat; then, when Arthur stops in the stream and a large rodent blocks his way, the snake comes and devours the rodent in one bite, which foreshadows the snake snatching up Mischief John (Vortigern's guard who tells Arthur he has to get home because it's his night to cook, and if Arthur does anything to hurt him, it will be repaid on the boy and The Mage). We know the wolves with glowing eyes symbolize the Black Legs: one, Goosefat Bill calls Mercia "Head of the wolf pack," and because when Arthur goes to Vortigern's castle, he sees the eyes of the Black Legs glowing like the eyes of the wolves in the Darklands. I don't need to explain anymore, you can figure out the rest on your own since this much has been suggested for you, however, I did want to point out that this is always the sign of excellent writing, being able to create a microcosm section of the narrative in this fashion.
What about the parts of the Darklands sequence which haven't happened yet? In a way, the parts which have all ready happened to Arthur make perfect sense because the Darklands sequence is like a dream-state, and Arthur's unconscious--which he has fought the whole film--tries communicating to him so he can remember why he looked away at the moment of his father's death. So, that part is like a dream. What about the future events? 
If you shared any of these same questions, I hope this helps: please realize, however (and this is for myself, too) that KALS is an incredible film and we will continue discovering aspects of the narrative to decode and question every time we see it. I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year, filled with God's blessings and grace! Hopefully, I can start posting again.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Contract vs Covenant: Mission Impossible 6 Fallout

This poster is amazing. We know the silhouette is Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), and we know the poor fool dangling for life at the end of that rope held by the helicopter is also Ethan; what the image manifests is that Ethan Hunt literally embodies the man who can do anything and everything required of him. Why is this important? Isn't this just the traditional cardboard copy of a "hero?" Well, being a white, heterosexual male was never been so controversial, so much so, that to be masculine is automatically attributed to having "toxic masculinity," and that is being labeled as the enemy of humanity by liberals, even to the point of colleges and universities having seminars to discuss it and offering classes to young white men to overcome their masculinity. But it obviously hasn't stopped on campuses: 90% of teenage boys have been found to have gender-bending chemicals in their bodies, in other words, plastics are being laced with chemicals to make teenage boys feel less masculine, so they don't grow up identifying with men like Ethan Hunt, rather, they grow up identifying with women like Hillary Clinton. So, Ethan Hunt is being put forward as, literally, the man embodying what it means to be a man.
If you haven't seen the trailer yet, please watch it and then jump back to read this part, otherwise, this isn't going to make sense. When Solomon Lane tells Ethan about the "fallout of all your good intentions," Lane doesn't say that to Hunt; Lane says that to every single white, heterosexual male alive, because it's happening to every single one of them right now: the nuclear explosion of what they thought they were doing to make the world a better, safer place for the greatest possible number of people, is, instead, going to explode and there is going to be bloodshed (as in, civil war) because the very people for whom these white men have had their good intentions geared towards, are the ones who hate and despise them for it, namely, feminists and poor minorities. Fallout, then, serves as a rallying for men to remember who they are, what they are about, and why they do what they do. And God bless them, each and every one.
The biggest and most expensive showcasing of new movie trailers has come and gone with the Superbowl, but it's not without purpose: studios put money where their profits are--or where their profits will be, or where they think their profits will be--and what potential audiences to know that. Of the numerous trailers paraded around, the first for Mission Impossible 6: Fallout definitely stands out.
"Your mission, should you choose to accept it," is arguably the most famous line of the MI6 franchise; hearing the mocking tone of deliciously-evil baddie Solomon Lane (Sean Harris, who is coming back from Rogue Nation) taunting Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) provides the thesis of the film. Now, in Rogue Nation, it was the slightly obnoxious boss Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) accusing Ethan and team of just "being lucky" which separated the film into the dramatic dichotomy of "luck" vs "skill" (please see Desperate, Times Desperate Measures: MI5 for more). With this introductory trailer, we appear to be given a new dichotomy to explore: the free will to say yes, and the free will to say no. Lane asks Hunt if he ever said, "No, I don't accept this mission," and understanding why Ethan would never say no is a great place to start.
Mirror, Mirror, on the wall,... A shot like this guarantees this film has a exceedingly high level of artistry and encoding going on. Why? Mirrors symbolize "reflection," (bet you didn't see that one coming, eh?) but it's reflection on a deeper, interior level, the ability to meditate upon what one is doing and who one truly is. We have no idea what's happening in this scene, however, Ilsa and Ethan looking at each other thusly, surrounded by mirrors, suggests this is an important scene for them both in terms of their characters and the relationship their characters have with the other (both of them saved each others' lives numerous times in Rogue Nation, so they have an important connection and past). I'm not ready to discuss Ilsa at this point: we simply don't know enough about her role in the film, however, we can make three comments regarding this scene with Ethan (top image). First, looking each eye-to-eye, they are equals; second, Ilsa wears a brown suit, brown symbolizes humility (brown is the color of dirt, so either one humbles their self to the level of dirt--no one is beneath me--or this person is literally dirty, like dirt, they have dirtied their character in some way) and, thirdly, Ilsa's hair is pulled back in a pony tail, not a style we have seen her character wear. The hair, as we know, symbolizes our thoughts, because our thoughts originate within our head, so hair or anything on our head manifests what type of thoughts that character has; her hair pulled back suggests Ilsa is disciplining her thoughts, keeping them in check; this suggests she's having to trust Ethan instead of, perhaps, her own understanding of the situation.
On a different level, this is one of at least two references to John Wick Chapter 2: the art exhibit, Reflections On the Soul, where John performs some incredible gun work, was filled with hallways and mirrors, meant to illustrate that the gunmen he was killing in that sequence were actually John's own demons (please see John Wick Chapter 2 for more). We have no idea, at this point, we happens, or who is involved, however, a ton will be going on in this scene, and I can't wait for the chance to decode it! What we can say is, this is a hallway (bottom image) and we know hallways symbolize a journey, a passage from one state of being/thought to another (again, we see this used with great skill in John Wick Chapter 2, as well as Spectre). 
The majority of readers at this blog are Christians, so let's use that example. When God asks us to say yes to Him in carrying a cross or accepting some burden, we say yes to God, but we are the ones who benefit because we are rid of sin which blots out our identity, gifts and destiny to be who and what God created us for. Ethan Hunt is the same way: if Ethan says "no" to a mission, he doesn't get a chance to be Ethan Hunt, Ethan Hunt IS Ethan Hunt because Ethan dangled from the outside of an airplane, he climbed up the glass of a skyscraper in Dubai, etc., etc., etc.,..... If he had said no to any of his missions, he would not have become who he was meant to be, so saying yes to a mission is, in fact, saying "yes" to being Ethan Hunt. Why does Solomon Lane think Ethan should have said no to those missions?
Several reasons.
What is the point of referencing other films? When one film intentionally invokes in the audience an image or sequence reminding them of something similar they would have seen in another film, the film makers want the audience to know that they agree with what that referenced film is saying, they want to reference that thesis and idea, the energy of the hero, the villainy of the villain and even the political undertones. In this particular scene (again, we have no idea what's actually happening), we see the team traveling on boats in a way that, to me, invokes Skyfall, after MI6 has been blown up (yes, the British Intelligence office, and the title of this sixth installment of Mission Impossible) and Bond is transported via boat to the new, underground offices used by Churchill during World War II. Likewise, the night club scene we see in the trailer, invokes the scene in John Wick Chapter 2 when Wick goes to kill Gianna at her coronation; again, we have no idea at this point the context, however, pinpointing certain reference points now will help us when we watch the film and get caught up in the action, it will be easier to remember, "Oh, yea, I was supposed to be paying attention to this."
First of all, Lane is selfish. He's a villain, after all, and greed/selfishness are the typical trademarks of typical villains (so we won't become selfish/greedy ourselves because we see in the movies where those dark sins lead). Lane is the type that thinks you say yes to yourself by saying "yes" to your appetites: sex, money, power, global nuclear domination, and hobbies such as that. To Solomon Lane, people such as Ethan Hunt are selfless-suckers, i.e., naive and weak. This is the reason his name is "Solomon Lane," because Lane's character refuses to walk the path (Lane) of wisdom (Solomon). So, Ethan Hunt always says yes to doing his missions because he wouldn't be Ethan Hunt if he said no; there is, however, another reason to say yes: Julia.
Again, we have another wonderful reference to John Wick Chapter 2, when Wick stands at the top of the stairs down to his basement, and he goes down to bury his guns, gold coins and "work clothes." Here's the thing: when we see characters going up, like up stairs, that means the character and we the audience, are meant to ascend to a higher level of consciousness about the upcoming scene: maybe it's more abstract, or we will have to do some work to figure out what's really going on, but the film makers give us that visual clue. When a character descends, as in going down stairs in this scene, they are going deeper into their unconscious, the--literally--darker area of their own psyche they don't visit very often. We have no idea what takes place in this scene (the trailer leads us to believe Hunt talks to Solomon Lane in this sequence, but that probably isn't accurate), but what we can say is that Ethan Hunt finds something undesirable, something he hasn't wanted to think about or face, but has to now, something, even, that may threaten his life (since he has his gun drawn).
The name of Angela Basset's character has not yet been released, however, let's just refer to her as Loretta Lynch. When Hunley mentions that Ethan and his team would be dead, she replies, "That's the job," in other words, we have a contract with them to be willing to pay that price. This is what makes "Lynch's" character a socialist: Ethan and his team have no value to her apart from their functions, they have no individuality or inherent worth as humans, only as expendable government commodities.
Angela Basset's character is not yet named, so this "Loretta Lynch" is probably someone I am being a bit hard on; why? Well, she does wear all black: black allows symbolizes death, but there is good death (dying to the temptations of the world so the spirit can be alive with virtue, as when Ethan wears all black) or, dead to virtues and alive to things of this world; my guess, that she disregards the lives of others so quickly, is the later, however, she wears pearls around her neck. The neck, we know, symbolizes what leads/guides us in life, and pearls always symbolize wisdom: there is wisdom we readily recognize and take up as our own, but there is also the wisdom we disregard, the pearls before swine, those who fail to recognize the wisdom of a situation or the path of wisdom (as in Solomon Lane). So, it's possible that, just as Alan Hunley was "converted" to Ethan's side in Ghost Protocol, "Lynch" will be converted as well.
It's awesome to see Henry Cavill as August Walker, he did a fabulous job in The Man From UNCLE and I'm so excited to see him in this. "August Walker" is a rather odd name: does he like to take walks in hot weather? Probably not. "August," however, might refer to "Augustus," a leader--just as Solomon was a king--and "Walker," just as with Solomon Lane's last name, implies the will of his character (because we walk with our feet and feet symbolize our will because feet take us where we want to go and we go where we will to go). So, "August Walker" might denote a character who walks in the footsteps of a leader, a man who restores order. Given the subtitle of the film, Fallout, there will probably be a lot for August Walker to do. HOWEVER, I would like to add this disclosure just in case I'm wrong: at 2:20 in the trailer, when I first watched it, I assumed Walker and Hunt were in the same helicopter and Walker was firing on the bad guys; the helicopter Hunt controls is so small, it doesn't look like there is room for Walker in it, so this suggests that Walker turns--or was a double for Solomon Lane the whole time--and instead of helping Hunt, ends by trying to kill him (at 2:23, Hunt appears to definitely be alone in his helicopter, with no room for Walker, unless Walker fell out). If this is the case, then the name August Walker links to Solomon Lane being that they were both meant and destined to be great men, but they chose to walk a different path instead.
In the image above, Walker makes an interesting gesture: he looks at his watch. How many people still wear watches today? Mostly, people will look at their phones to tell them the time, so this is a bit of an unusual gesture in a high-tech film such as Mission Impossible, but it's a heavily symbolic gesture. Time usually symbolizes history, the past, so Walker looking at the watch as he walks (what his name is, hence, the action with which we are so associate with his character) means he's someone mindful of what has happened in the past and it's effects on the current situation, which figures perfectly with the line we here from Walker: how many times has Hunt been abandoned and disavowed? This is someone familiar with Hunt's past, and someone who understands that history is going to have a role to play in Ethan's future. 
Then, there is Ethan's wife, Julia, who we saw briefly in Ghost Protocol. "How is he?" she asks Luther, "Oh, you know, the same old Ethan." Lynch's character illustrates what America has become the last eight or nine years under Obama, the liberals and Democrats; Julia, however, symbolizes America the motherland (because she's of child-bearing age) with whom Ethan has a covenant, that of marriage, whereas he only has a contract with the government. Everything Ethan does is to protect Julia (as the motherland who gave birth to him and loves him) and it's Julia who now comes to the aid of her patriotic husband ("son" of the motherland) who has been disavowed and shamed. In other words, when Ethan feels he doesn't want to be Ethan Hunt anymore (Ethan's about to attack a man handcuffed to the hospital bed and Luther says, "That's not who we are," and Ethan replies, "Maybe we should reconsider that,") Julia is going to remind Ethan that what he and his team do, they do to protect America and the world out of love. In still other words, Ethan Hunt should be wearing a red cape.
Seeing Solomon Lane die like this means there is all ready a happy ending! Talk about poetic justice! (If Lane survives this scene, it's probably Ethan who saves him). In the image in the top of the three, Solomon Lane now has reddish hair; if you will recall, he had blonde hair in MI5 when we first met him (please see the very last image in this post for reference). Again, hair helps to manifest the thoughts of a character, so in MI5, when he had really blonde hair (almost white), so white symbolizes death, a soul without the virtues of faith, hope, charity, and that fits a villain well; what about the move to red hair? We know red symbolizes our blood, because that is the most valuable thing we have, so we are only willing to spend our blood on what we truly want in life (our appetites): either we love someone so much we are willing to spill our (red) blood to save them, or we hate them so much, we are willing to spill their (red) blood to appease our wrath, so it appears Solomon Lane has been filled with thoughts of wrath and vengeance against Ethan. What about that shaggy beard? Men's facial hair can be a bit tricky to analyze--the meaning often changes with the context--however, we can say that, generally speaking, a man with a clean shaven face is one who has overcome his appetites, while a man with a beard (especially one as un-kept as Solomon's) is a sign of the appetites and a barbarian (remember, guys, this is art, not a personal statement about you and how you wear your hair). This observation is based on the difference between the clean-shaven Romans and their "barbarian" slaves. So, since MI5, Solomon has undergone some big changes, specifically, he appears by his hair and beard, to have become less cold-blooded and precise (as in the image at the bottom of this post) and become more blood-thirsty and personally driven to vengeance (but these are just speculations).
What else? The syringe held to his neck in the top image reminds me of Suicide Squad:  when the baddies of the Suicide Squad were given a choice between being a benefit to society or just being evil, they went ahead and decided to do good and help save the world (partly because they had that death-syringe which injected them so they would die instantly if they disobeyed). Solomon, on the other hand, wants the world to end, so he doesn't even have a clue what's in his own best interest (because then he, too, dies) which means Harley Quinn is a step up on him, because at least she had that much common sense. What about that white strait jacket? For some perverse reason, I always enjoy a villain in a strait jacket: it's so appropriate. Why? The jacket secures the arms; the arms symbolize strength; so the villain used their strength to harm others rather than to help others; the white color of the strait jacket (they seem to be nearly always white) refers to death. When a corpse decomposes, it turns white (without the aid of modern embalming technology) but white usually refers to the virtues of innocence, purity, faith, hope, charity, etc.; a villain then, in a white strait jacket, has none of those virtues, they are a corpse, a person whose soul has died because that soul doesn't have any of the virtues.
The middle and bottom image we see above show Solomon being crushed by a wall of water against a glass window; why is this totally, unbelievably awesome? We know the glass window behind his head symbolizes "reflection" and meditation on the self; the back of a person's head can symbolize their thinking about their own history (the way August Walker reflects on Ethan's history above). So, Solomon hitting his head against the window means, at this moment, he thinks about what he's done, i.e., his "life flashes before his eyes," but more so than that is the wall of water about to crush him. Water takes on the form of liquid, vapor (fog, clouds) and solid (ice, snow); when water is in its liquid state, like the water above, it means the person is in the first stage of "reflecting" on their soul, on who they are and what they have done; so, Solomon is literally being crushed by the meditation of who he has become with his life and what he has done. Now, it appears that, in the bottom image, there is blood (possibly from his head being crushed against the glass behind him) and if this is so--I could be wrong--then it's not so much his own blood, rather, all the blood he has shed which is on his mind at this moment of his death. Again, he's in this strait jacket so he can't save himself; this is important because our arms symbolize our strength (the strength of our character, the strength of your gift/talent, etc.) and the hands (which are also bound in the jacket) symbolize our honor, our integrity; because Solomon spent his talents and gifts in shedding blood, he's not able now to use his arms/hands/gifts/talents to save himself. In other words, Solomon Lane is the official "Anti-Ethan Hunt," because Ethan has spent his whole life using his skills to save others, when death comes for Ethan, he won't be "washed out" like Solomon Lane. 
People complain about franchises: "Can't Hollywood come up with any good stories anymore, instead of rehashing the same old stories over and over?" but to be perfectly honest, I think continuing one hero's journey through six different films develops that character more than a "new story" (if such a thing even exists) because the more we see that individual hero in action, the deeper their actions have to be to ring true, to be genuine, to make audiences believe, "Yea, this is a hero." Anyone can pull off being a hero in one situation, one crisis, one story line, but to continue being a hero every single time you are called upon offer your talents and skills for the greater good, that's inspiring.

By the way, that amazing stunt Tom Cruise was training two years to do for MI6? Flying the helicopter himself in those amazing sequences! Here is a special feature:
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
The only image I was able to quickly find of Solomon Lane with blonde hair from MI5: Rogue Nation.