Sunday, March 29, 2015

Maps to the Stars

I rented this via iTunes, and the editor's note said something to the effect that David Cronenberg used to specialize in "body horror" films, but now he has "evolved" into a much more mature and sane artist. Whoever wrote that note is a dimwit, because several of Cronenberg's "body horror" films were very mature and artistic affairs--Dead Ringers, eXistenZ, Rabid, Videodrome, etc. Whereas the iTunes editor thinks that Maps to the Stars is a sign of evolution and maturity, I think it's a return to form to his "body horror" heyday after a dalliance in slickly produced somewhat slight action flicks featuring Aragorn as a gangster. This film needs about a half-dozen viewings--and I need to re-read a few Greek dramas as well--to truly appreciate it critically. It's a film about Fate and it speaks the language of Greek myth. There's a lot of incest, there are shades from Hades with Delphic pronunciations, there are life events in a family with cosmic resonances. And at the same time it's a brilliant satire on the shallow nature of Hollywood and stardom and celebrity capitalism. The title of course is a double-entendre, referring at once to Hollywood star maps and to the stories from which the names of many of our constellations were derived. The Paul Eluard poem referred to throughout might help decipher the film's meaning. Julianne Moore is great. The film looks gorgeous--fantastic set design and cinematography. It's deviant and hilarious and darkly disturbing all at once. Might be Cronenberg's Mulholland Drive!