I saw ‘Under The Skin’ tonight. Here’s a few thoughts.
1. It’s one of the only films I’ve seen that almost no exposition. You are given no clear reason for Scarlett Johansson’s character’s (the alien) actions in the first half, which I think successfully highlights her ‘alien-ness’.
2. Scarlett Johansson captures the stiff inhumanity of the alien along with a calculated, formulaic seduction technique. Later, she becomes a curious, restrained and nervous creature, losing her predator-status and any sense of control.
3. For me, the alien stops her work because she becomes emotionally involved, seeing humans on her level rather than as insects.
4. The film is hypnotising. It makes you see the normal world from the detached perspective of the alien.
5. Mica Levi’s score is well-placed throughout the film. The score is mostly haunting, harsh scrapes. In the second half it becomes ethereal. Regardless, it does not sound human.
6. I always found the other alien (the motorcyclist) fascinating. He is a machine, single-minded in his goals, and brutal in his actions.
7. Favourite scene: The alien at the restaurant. Sums up the alien’s sad reality. She will never fully grasp what it is to be human.
8. The glimpses of the alien world left me spellbound. That said, they feel almost too similar to ‘2001’.
9. The dissolution of the man in the liquid tank is both horrible and intriguing, almost disgustingly-beautiful.
10. The scene on the beach is unbearably bleak.
11. By the time we see the alien without its disguise, we are no longer with it. In less than a minute the bond that took half a film to create has been broken.
12. After to watching the film I sat quietly for a moment. I got up and went to the bathroom. When I looked in the mirror I felt that I didn’t recognise myself. That is the power this film has.
On Friday 20th I went to see The Drowned Man, a play by the theatre company Punchdrunk. It was my third time seeing it and so far the standout. To those not familiar, it is a unique theatre event that is worth seeing. However, this is Tumblr so really I’m just preaching to the converted. Spoilers.
Anyway, I went to see it and an event during the show changed my relationship to the show. Due to a 1:1 I had with an actor, my mask got covered in fake blood (I don’t want to spoil it but if you want to know, go to a Toy Shop in the play and wait for a man in spectacles). After some walking around I came across a huge event in the play revolving a murder. The murderer walks away from the scene (A large crowd has gathered) and after walking through the audience she sees me with the bloody mask. She immediately hugs me but then suddenly recoils. Without knowing it, I had become an element of the show, my bloody mask a manifestation of her murder.
The people around me, even before this, had given me strange looks. Had I hurt myself? Is this part of the show? I do not know. The point is the bloody mask stood out. Sometime later I found a character dancing. The dance showed that she was not who she once was. I was sitting down in a chair, when suddenly the lights dim and a spotlight shines where I sit. The actress goes towards me and kicks away my chair, shouting that I do not control her.
Of course these two events were coincidental, but due to the fake blood I stood out from the white masked audience. From the stares the audience saw this too. In a show where the audience’s presence flows between visible and invisible, I was able to bridge that gap even more, so the audience weren’t sure if I was part of the performance or not. In this, it reflects one of Punchdrunk’s major motifs: The state in which reality and unreality are so mixed, that you cannot tell one from the other.
It was a Wednesday morning and I had a sports session. I was sitting opposite Beth and next to Cate on the floor of the gym. People were playing Badminton behind us and I tried to talk to Beth. She wasn’t interested in me as much as I was in her. God I sound strange saying that. Well anyway we were talking and I hurt my chances by acting like an idiot. Then this person came up, Beth completely ignored me and she talked to him instead. I shuffled round and sat against the back wall. Cate started talking to me. It started simple, crap weather yesterday, no free periods on Thursday, but we went on to talk about a million different things that I couldn’t even start to describe now.
“It was nice talking to you” she said at the end of the session.
“Same. See you later.” I replied.
She walked off. I realised she might like me. I felt sorry for her. And for Beth.
Try to immerse myself in something or someone else.
Love and Death sat on a bench against the roadside. The sweltering Nevada sun blared down on them. Death remained under her parasol while Love’s only protection was the black sunglasses perched on his head. Death was averaged-sized women, a waif-ish figure wearing a flower-print summer dress. Love was tall, pale-faced and clad in all black, with cowboy shirt, jeans and boots. They were 23 and waiting for a bus. That’s where I met them.
I had been walking through the desert for five days. There were holes in both of my shoes. I sat down at the bench. Neither party seemed to acknowledge my presence. I decided to break the ice. “Pretty hot.” I stated, before adding the words “isn’t it?”. Death looked at me. “Not if you have a parasol” she dryly. “Maybe you should come under and get out of the sun.” She looked at me seductively. Love glared at me aggressively. “Who are you?” he asked. “Hitchhiker” I replied “Only there’s no cars. I was hoping to get a ride on the bus.” Love was not settled by this. “Where are you from?” he asked, eyes still glaring. “Somewhere in the state’ I replied. I wasn’t going give anything anyway to them. “We come from Arizona…” said Death, aware of the tension between us. “But me and Albert met at a rodeo, believe it or not. Love was riding one of the bulls. Weren’t you honey?” Love only grunted. It was then I noticed the bag at his feet. “But then Love got laid off, and now we’re making our way west.” she paused. “You really have the nicest eyes, much nicer than Love’s.”
This set him over the edge. Love reached out to strangle me. I fell backwards off the bench, recovered, and ran. He caught up with me and pulling me by the collar, began to strangle me. My arms flailed around trying to find a rock. All I got was a handful of sand, which I screwed into his face. He stopped strangling me to unblind himself. That’s when I saw the stone. He had almost cleared his eyes out when it hit. I hit him again. And again. And again. He stopped moving. The stone’s head was dipped in blood. I discarded the stone and went back to the bench. Death had seen it all. She sat there catatonic. The bus had arrived. “Well?” I said, motioning at the bus. She sat there. She wasn’t in control anymore. I picked up Love’s bag and got on. The bus left. I saw Death draw closer and closer away. I looked into the bag. 72,000 dollars in cash. I had seen him steal it a month ago. I knew it was not an opportunity to be missed. I thought if I could catch up with them I could grab the money for myself. Didn’t think it would end the way it did, but these things rarely go to plan.
Hey everyone, My name is James Nash and this is obviously my tumblr. This one will feature some stuff I have written, whether it being prose, or me talking about something or other. I’m not putting myself to any sort of schedule, since this is really just done for fun.
My first non-introductory post will be a short-story I wrote this summer called Love and Death. It features two men, a woman, a bus stop and a stone. You can probably see it above.