Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The surreal thing

Last night I saw Eraserhead for the first time. How I've gone all these years without seeing it remains a mystery, but I'm glad I finally caught it. What a bizarre moviegoing experience! I think it's glib to say, "That is one fucked-up film," but there's no denying that Eraserhead is a work of latter-day surrealism.

While I can't say I liked the movie, I did find it engaging on both an intellectual and emotional level. Everything about it was so unpredictable that I was caught up in the plot, such as it was, wondering what would happen to Henry, Mary and their baby (though "they're still not sure it is a baby"). Everything seemed so dark and grimy and lumpy and out of balance, and everything happened so slowly and with such tension... I wasn't bored for a minute.

I learned, to my surprise, that Norman, my moviegoing companion, had never seen Eraserhead before, either. There are all kinds of holes in my cinematic knowledge, but he seems to have seen just about everything, especially the odd, outre stuff. I believe he really enjoyed the movie. When I told Sean that we were going to see it, he said, "Good luck," meaning he hoped I wouldn't feel compelled to walk out on it; he said he'd never been to a movie in which so many people left the theatre within the first 15 minutes. He's seen it a couple of times, though it has been years, and as usual he amazed me with his ability not only to quote several of the best lines of dialogue ("Oh! You ARE sick!"), but also to sing the theme song. Curtis also wished me well and hoped I wouldn't be too disturbed by the images onscreen. A co-worker told me he didn't think I'd like it at all. After all these warnings, I was prepared for almost anything; maybe I'd have been more wigged out if I'd had absolutely no idea what to expect.

Eraserhead turned out to be a nice little addendum to the CoFH lineup.

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