Thursday, June 14, 2012

Why Punk Rock?

 Some movies mise en scene are so compelling and so beautiful...you want to watch them over and over. We saw Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy in the theatres and I waited for it to show up on HBO to watch a couple more times. I absolutely loved how this movie was put together. I swaer it looked exactly like my teen years. Many times I watched the costumes and thought they were exactly how my dad dressed as a salesman for Xerox. The houses the restaurants, and offices of course, all looked beige and brown and drab and conservative. And holy moly does this movie capture that and also seem to make it beautiful and oppressive. The era of this movie is manifested in a thick, smoky homoerotic blanket of patriarchy. This kind of man-world is exactly why women had to reject male chauvinsim and gays had to come out of the closet and punk had to kick the Eagles, Genesis and Fleetwood Macs asses.
 One of the beautiful things about some recent movies is we are seeing how first women had to reject patriarchy. Along with gays and counter-culture movements like hippies and punks...patriarchy was the overwhelming oppressor....but it still didn't seem as if men understood this factor. In movies like The Decendants, Tree Of Life and Tinker Tailor we are seeing how the dirty secret of partiarchial oppression wasn't just harmful to women or art. It also was harmful to men. I've written here before that Robin Wood said there are two driving forces in North America, patriarchy and capitalism. And those two forces corrupt relationships. With Tinker Tailor we see these forces at work within the spy business, which is a business just like any other business and this movie is an excellent metaphor for work.
There is a lot going on in this movie which is surprising because it moves in a very unique pace, not face action. Its thoughfulness mirrors the inner thinking of the characters. The set design is wonderful. How delightful to see stacks of papers and books and work gear contrasted with the computer-centric offices of the 80's and 90s where no eccentric piles of junk seem to exist or be tolerated.(research material in this case....books newspapers, photos). This world seems like an eccentric uncle or aunt. 

I kind of like the 70's in this movie. Drab, tan, boring, dark. I couldn't help think how appropriate that Gary Oldman who brilliantly played Sid Vicious was also playing this throw back to the same era. We needed punk rock as much as we needed alternative counter-cultures like feminism, gay rights, or home schooling etc to free us from this time. The spy business is one of the most effective machines of bullying and that reality is shown here  where spies were built through bullying and blackmailing people who lived outside the customs of mainstream culture to do dirty work. And the spy business is a perfect metaphor for the dirty work of work. With a tragic economic crisis in the United States this movie offers a view into  ways we betray our own beliefs, moral codes and each other for money, power, and kissing the ass of a corrupting social structure. In self-help circles like AA there is a saying "You're only as sick as secrets". This movie portrays the father figure as a sneaky back stabbing bore who preys on the secrets of others to control the family. Hear hear for the black sheeps who reject cultures that bully the human heart.



5 comments:

Greg S. said...

Watched the film for the first time last weekend and really liked it. Interesting thoughts.

Furtheron said...

It is a brilliant film - very evocative of the era.

There was a brilliant documentary about punk rock recently on the BBC. Of course there is the seminal moment - the Bill Grundy interview with the Pistols - who were a late replacement for Queen who pulled out. So the Pistols turn up with entourage including Siouxie Siouxsie Sioux.

The rest in legend. I remember returning to school as one of the small band of "punks" that were evident around the school then - I was more into The Clash after White Riot had hit me and was busy writing such legends as "One way ticket to Nowhere" and "National Violence" for the band I was in.

I remember being acosted by some of the oiks - "You're scum for liking punk" etc. Two years later they were all following the punk fashion and I was sat disillusioned again listen to Heavy Metal... They all went on to join Thatchers merry band on the "there is not thing as society" bandwagon and all my family lost their jobs...

The middle 70s in Britain - where did it all go wrong...

Furtheron said...

Sorry went off topic (as ever) the Bill Grundy thing - the chauvinistic way he talked to Siouxsie etc. just makes you cringe now. If that happened now he'd be vilified in the press and social media. However back then that kind of treatment of women was de rigeur - one thing punk did was push women more to the front as equals in popular culture... would we have Tracey Emin as a revered artist without the punk movement?

Candy Minx said...

Greg, glad to hear you liked the movie. I could watch ot over and over...I loved the scene in the warehouse with the chandeliers all wrapped up on the floor...the office, the circus...and the actor who also plays Sherlock Holmes in the contemporary BBC version.

furtheron...please don' apologize for going off topis. I love hearing your memories of that time. I am in awe...I LOVED The Clash. I can not watch my dvds of them without crying...I'm like some foolish punk nostalic person...I saw the clash five times and wished I could have followed them for ever. I also loved LOVED Suiozie oh my god and in concert she is amazing!!!

I will have to find that on you tbe to watch...

mister anchovy said...

We liked that film a lot too. I saw it twice in fact, rare for me.