2/14/2007

"All I am, or can be, I owe to my angel mother." -Abraham Lincoln

(My friend Matthew Schneider-Mayerson wrote the below introduction for his video I'm putting up per his request. I have yet to see it, but I await that viewing eagerly. Enjoy. -jd)

MSM:

Here you'll find two clips from our 262 part series, Scenes from the Life of Lincoln. You'll note, of course, that Honest Abe is played by a pig. This is not a coincidence, but it is not necessarily intentional.

First, a note on our actor. This is Minibus' first major film, and we thought he was perfect for the role. Primarily, he is a domesticated sausagebowl, provided the stability that your average wild animal just can't provide. The zebra we imported bit the cinematographer time and time again, and the elephant was unable to display the subtle emotional shades that this film required. The lion did a striking (if somewhat inappropriate) version of Lincoln, but was unable to cry on cue.

The opening sequence, with a steroidal Americana song and a series of images of Lincoln, is meant to invoke both the open-endedness of history -- the way even basic historical facts are open to subjective interpretation -- and of the tendency toward revisionism. Did Lincoln really wear a dress? Doubtful, but who's to judge?

Perhaps the most jarring moment is the opening of the Gettysburg address. What's meant by this? Do the filmmakers intend to compare Lincoln to a domesticated ungulate and imply that his message of "a new birth of freedom" and equality for all seasons was merely rhetoric? Are we to infer, further, that the slimy yet sexy words of all politicians are to be equally distrusted? As a character says in the classic film
Glitter in response to the self-posed (and to this discussion very relevant) question of "Is she white? Is she black?", I don't know.

The other critical moment I want to talk about here -- and I have so little time, my boat is leaving, hey there, you! give me back my catamaran! -- is the assassination sequence. This has become the controversy of our time, now that angry seas of Brangelina and TomKat have settled. Minibus, as Lincoln, begins eating the ketchup, his own blood. This was entirely improvised, so maybe only the star himself can address this question. What is meant by this? The blood of Lincoln sanctified, deified the great man, and cemented the resolve of a nation (although blood is actually not useful as cement). In his death, he became more than a man -- he became a man-God. Perhaps, as in the Borges story about Irish town that stages an assassination, Lincoln actually orchestrated his own death. Perhaps he had betrayed the Union, and his punishment was to save it by martyring himself. Is this what's meant by the pig drinking the ketchup? And why does the pig refuse to sit lifeless after his putative death, even as military taps swell around his piglike head? Is it because Lincoln refuses to die, is it that he remains even more relevant and politically powerful today than when he was actually president?

Thank you for your time.


Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home


I like me:
I like them/they like me:

    Contact the author on the comments.