Wednesday, December 26, 2007

There are Russians in the shower!

I bought a copy of David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises as a birthday present for myself today--happy birthday to me, btw.

Yes, Viggo Mortensen appears in full-frontal glory in a remarkable fight scene in a public bath, but the use of his nudity works well to show his vulnerability--especially as he was bare-handed against knife-wielding, coat-cladded professional killers. Nudity in movies, per se, has never bothered me. I do get annoyed when it's gratuitous and irrelevant to anything other than ticket sales. In any event, this was the most effective bare-handed fighting scene since the Jared Leto beatdown in Fight Club.

Eastern Promises is the story of a British midwife (Naomi Watts) who stumbles into a dirty little secret of the London Russian mafia, and of a Russian mob driver named Nikolai (Viggo), who seems to be the only mobster with anything approaching a conscience. I like how the movie was structured, and, as is the case with all of Cronenberg's films, there's not a moment or a word wasted. It's a very good crime drama. However, I liked the last Cronenberg/Mortensen vehicle, A History of Violence, just a little bit better. That film was a bit deeper, as it explored the corrosive and lasting effects of violence on individuals and families.

I suppose this is as good a time as any to mention a couple of insights I've had as to my love of violent entertainment and how I can hold that in my head in tension with a seemingly incompatable embrace of Zen Buddhism. I've had one series of dreams over the past few years involving knife-inflicted injuries, and, when I was around 10-11, I drew a series of decapitation drawings my dad found disturbing, but that my mother rightly blew off because I wasn't engaged in any patterns of behavior consistent with the violence depicted in the drawings. I suspect that my subconcious is now directing my attention to dissociation and having pieces of self cut off, isolated, repressed, and so on, just before the onset of puberty.

Another dream series, happening simulaneously with the first series, suggests a yearning to integrate everything into a healthy ego. It struck me recently how perfectly the Zen concepts of nonduality and interdependence fit with that second series of dreams. I started the whole meditation thing purely as a mental health exercise. Still, the recognition and realization of those concepts is a natural side-effect of Zen sitting. I don't know why that insight was unsettling--it really should be a good thing to understand that I backed into something that fits so exactly with what I need. Maybe it's because I've never believed in fate or predestination, and this is one of those things that seems like fate. Very weird.

So what does this all mean? Hell if I know for sure, but it's possible that my subconscious mind is telling me that I need to go back in time, find whatever pieces of my psyche have been split off, then deconstruct myself and put myself back together into a new and improved person. That sounds a whole lot like the first two seasons of Dexter.


Casdok said...

Happy birthday!!!

Ms-Chievous said...

Happy Birthday RaaaNNdddYYYY!