Author Topic: mother!  (Read 1292 times)

Teproc

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Re: mother!
« Reply #20 on: September 27, 2017, 04:24:11 PM »
I'll grant you HAL, but I find it hard to see Dave (and the other humans) as more than stand-ins.

I think there is a consensus on 2001 being about the relationship between humanity and technology, right ? IN what ways and to what point: that there is discussion on, but it's pretty clear what the general idea is, no ?

Mother! is obviously about religion, but what does it have to say about it exactly, and is there a point to linking it to the artistic process, etc. ? I've seen that some apparently have read an environmental message into it, which didn't occur to me at all watching it. I think this is a similar situation, the only difference is that people have less respect for Aronofsky than for Kubrick and are quicker to decide that he doesn't really have anything to say that's interesting. Which is possible, but it doesn't really matter as long as people are able to come up with stuff independtly of whatever intent there might or might not have been there.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2017, 04:25:49 PM by Teproc »

AliceGuyBlache

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Re: mother!
« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2017, 04:33:57 PM »
Whereas there's a general idea of what 2001 is about (man vs. technology), Mother! is about religion, specifically Christianity. There's no denying this. Want to say it's about the environment? Okay, how does the fighting sons figure into that? You can't pick and choose what you want from a film to support another general interpretation. You have to use all of it. It can have some allusions to being about the environment, but the majority of its allusions do figure into it being a Biblical metaphor which is the dominant metaphor. If Aronofsky wanted the film to be more loosely interpreted, he wouldn't have alluded so heavily to one extremely popular source.

Teproc

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Re: mother!
« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2017, 04:46:19 PM »
I disagree. I think it can have a central idea and have some other stuff going on at the margins, like the artist/muse stuff (and possibly an enviromental message), which isn't saying anything new but gets more interesting precisely because it exists in parallel to the religious stuff.

I suppose this is where my comparison to 2001 falters though, as that is a very focused film, and I think mother! would be less interesting/fun had it been that focused.

aewade90

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Re: mother!
« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2017, 07:57:18 PM »
I love that review. It's hilarious and got me thinking about the movie in a different way. In my own review, I write about how Him is the artist and Mother is the one who is used and then thrown away once her purpose is served. I think that works. I think your view works, too, where Him is the studio, maybe, and Mother is the true artist. Viewed with that lens, it's hard to see the movie as anything other than a very elaborate "CINECAST! you" (that's what happens when you use the f-word here, btw). Rather than argue about whose interpretation is better, I wonder if you've experienced any other movies that have told you to "CINECAST! off" before, and how your reaction to those might be similar or different. I think the obvious example would be something like Funny Games which critiques the very audience it seeks. Maybe mother! is different because it feels like a response to Noah to you rather than a self-contained thing like Funny Games? I'm genuinely interested in what you think about this. Can a movie criticize its audience without feeling defensive or self-indulgent?

Also welcome! I love it when people dive in with strong opinions. Especially when they're as well-written as yours was!

Although I'm struggling to think of any films that are critical of audience - and Funny Games is a great example - I definitely can't recall any that held outright disdain. I think Funny Games uses the conventions of cinema and genre to position the audience as implicit conspirators with Peter and Paul (also what happens in Schepisi's The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, to a degree), but Aronofsky explicitly shows audiences as beneath the artist, undeserving of the creation, because any attempt of outsiders' interaction (whether one of criticism or worship, or even industrial interference) destroys the creation. He positions his own self-insert as above the conventions of high or low art, literally elevating himself above the unwashed masses and "rescue" of arthouse when they retreat to the writing room, because any external force brings ruination.

If it hadn't come on the heels of Noah and the reception it gained, it could be read as an endorsement of the issues auteurs face within a studio system - however, if you approach it as Noah being the house (the passion project that only truly came about after Paramount's investment), the disrespect of critics (Harris/Pffeifer), audience, and even the studio (Bardem - focusing on their singular stakes, rather than the whole, and inviting the ruination under a friendly and uncaring guise) it turns it into a much more personal response that, to me, showcases an isolationist pity party. Auteurs that have broken into the modern-day mainstream such as Anderson (both Wes and Paul Thomas), the Coens, Nolan, have found crossover success in terms of both commercial and critical acclaim, and through mother! Aronofsky just seems really, really upset at literally everyone but himself that Noah didn't perform well.

smirnoff

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Re: mother!
« Reply #24 on: September 28, 2017, 12:28:47 AM »
You've got me convinced aewade90! I'm sure I would hate this now. :)

AliceGuyBlache

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Re: mother!
« Reply #25 on: September 28, 2017, 01:20:56 AM »
I disagree. I think it can have a central idea and have some other stuff going on at the margins, like the artist/muse stuff (and possibly an enviromental message), which isn't saying anything new but gets more interesting precisely because it exists in parallel to the religious stuff.


It's just an addition, it doesn't change the core metaphor which is, if we truly got into it, a putrid one.

This is a film I wished more of the forum's feminists saw as it's important to discuss the thin line this one treads between being a feminist text and an extremely misogynist one, but I understand not seeing it simply because of that as well.

aewade90

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Re: mother!
« Reply #26 on: September 28, 2017, 03:58:55 AM »
You've got me convinced aewade90! I'm sure I would hate this now. :)

Haha! That's not to say I don't think it's not worth seeing - the readings have been so varied across so many forums and social medias that it's pretty cool to see. Hell, even in this thread there are what, three entirely differing opinions on the core messages, which is unprecedented for a wide release flick. As much as I disagree with the message, I don't think it's unworthy artistically.

I disagree. I think it can have a central idea and have some other stuff going on at the margins, like the artist/muse stuff (and possibly an enviromental message), which isn't saying anything new but gets more interesting precisely because it exists in parallel to the religious stuff.


It's just an addition, it doesn't change the core metaphor which is, if we truly got into it, a putrid one.

This is a film I wished more of the forum's feminists saw as it's important to discuss the thin line this one treads between being a feminist text and an extremely misogynist one, but I understand not seeing it simply because of that as well.

I don't really see how this could be called feminist in any way. The most basic, surface level text statement is so broad and underbaked, backed up by a comically, sub-Twitter-level discourse entry example of "the nice guy" that Aronofsky complements and completely undermined through the mental illness throughlines. Whenever Mother has any surge of agency, it's immediately undercut through the paranoiac visual motif and self doubt, that is then completely wiped away by dumping a teaspoon of Nesquik into a glass of water that magically makes it all go away (which only serves to compound my loathing for this in my reading where Mother is a stand-in for Aronofsky himself, because that essentially boils them down to half deployed pity devices for himself). Mother and Her's sole interaction alone together surrounds the sexuality of Bardem's Man and conceiving. Her sole moment of agency is in destruction.

AliceGuyBlache

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Re: mother!
« Reply #27 on: September 28, 2017, 04:05:38 PM »
It could be feminist for the same reason that there's a feminist argument for most of Von Trier female led films: it shows how women suffer from patriarchy. Yet that same reason is why it can be seen as misogynist: often the image of a beaten woman is so triggering for the female audience that it undercuts the possible feminist intentions from the start.

I am probably with the latter feminists, but I have read defenses of this film from a feminist perspective.

aewade90

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Re: mother!
« Reply #28 on: September 28, 2017, 09:25:05 PM »
It could be feminist for the same reason that there's a feminist argument for most of Von Trier female led films: it shows how women suffer from patriarchy. Yet that same reason is why it can be seen as misogynist: often the image of a beaten woman is so triggering for the female audience that it undercuts the possible feminist intentions from the start.

I am probably with the latter feminists, but I have read defenses of this film from a feminist perspective.

If you can link some of those, they'd be awesome to read - I'm always on the look out for decent film writing.

Regarding Von Trier, though; I can't think of any of his feminine leads that are as passive as Mother is in this. Maybe Justine in Melancholia but she still has independent agency that Mother lacks completely, and that's not something that I think is a conscious choice on Aronofsky's behalf.

Junior

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Re: mother!
« Reply #29 on: September 29, 2017, 08:02:29 AM »
AGB: I really don't appreciate the suggestion that there's absolutely nothing to this movie because of its obviousness. I also don't understand how you're "surprised anyone takes this seriously. I'm surprised anyone here is thinking deeply about this film," which you say just after calling it "a silly, campy, dumb horror movie" as if those aren't analyzed and written about over and over again. I've seen plenty of smart film people writing intelligent things about this movie. Heck, the podcast whose forum we're on had positive things to say about it and filled a 20 minute review without even talking much about the back half of the film. I suggest you investigate your own incredulity, or at least show a little tact when disparaging the movie and the people who enjoyed it. It is rarely a useful position to take, and even more rarely a useful one to express.

DH: I thank you, and I appreciate your review as well. I think the horror movie for introverts angle works quite well. That's often a part of the paranoia horror I wrote about, and it always freaks me out pretty well. I guess it's also part of the home invasion thing, but this feels a little more intense for how isolated they are at the film's start and how innocuously the invasions begin. It's interesting that you see some of the devil, or at least demons, in this film. I don't find them anywhere. I've read people interpreting Mother as the fallen angel. I don't see where that goes, exactly, especially once the baby comes into the picture. I find it interesting how none of us particularly went for the environmental stuff, even when that's what Aronofsky and Lawrence explicitly state is the "point" of the movie. I think it works, even with the biblical stuff, because the metaphor is still about neglect and abuse that by all rights should be abhorrent to the religio(n)(ous) but is instead a central part of it. You can see the two brothers fighting as the first despoiling of the natural world. It's all there, it all works.

aewade90: You've convinced me that your reading really works. I don't see it that way myself, but I think you're right that if you do see the film as a response to the response to Noah it becomes deeply troubling. We'll have to wait to see if this was just an outburst or if this'll be a turning point in Aronofsky's career. As much as I like mother!, I want to see him go in another direction next.
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