Thursday, September 25, 2008

Life is a Cabaret

Cabaret was the film we watched last night. The difficulty of viewing musicals from bygone eras lies in its pace and its capacity to coherently tell the story. One might look at starchy films such as the Sound of Music and understand both the plot line and the sub context of a world doomed to end by the powers of Nazism. Yet with Cabaret, which is set in the same era, parts of the plot are not developed entirely, some characters are not elevated to its fullest potential and it makes it hard to understand where is the story going. Let alone what the ending is going to be.

What fascinated me, without liking the picture entirely, was the juxtaposition of two worlds: the darkness of a cabaret where anybody’s voice can be heard and the brightness of country fields where the only voice to be heard is that of Nazi Germany. Thus, the cabaret presents itself as a form of escape from outer shells. All of the insecurities of life are shedded at the coat closet where you can sing, drink and mock the harsh reality of the swastika’s suns,once your descend the dark staircases. Nevertheless, the outside world cannot be denied. The arising presence of Nazi officers, the clash and problems of hiding your religion and the insecurity of not knowing if your world is ever going to end, presents itself in many scenes of the film as a harsh reality of what lies ahead. Yet the question lies, do we come to terms with reality or are we forever succumbed to live our lives in the undergrounds of a cabaret?

Perhaps the contrast is best seen in Liza Minnelli’s character Sally Bowles. An ordinary girl who masks behind extraordinary sayings, men and furs because she simply wants what we all want in life: to be someone and live our life as if it were a cabaret. Yet in reality she doesn’t get it all. Her machinations of perfect lives, and beaux and loving fathers are mere concoctions to hide the insecurities of her own common self. And although the abortion sequence clearly shows her vulnerability at realizing that she’ll never be the great actress nor have the life she dreamed of, she pushes on with her show, refusing to change or settle. Eventually she’ll get there. Somehow her inner self will find a way of living out her cabaret. Even if it never comes.-

Viewer Commentary:
  • Toy Story anyone?”
  • Berdark who apparently needs to contact the Costume Department of the film and have serious words with them said, among many thuds, the following: “Es que aunque la mona se vista de seda, mona se queda”
  • Igor: "I liked it". The rest: "Did we see the same film?"
  • Random acts in the cabaret after each scene: LSD inspired repetitions, necessary for the impaired who didn't get anything previously. Oooohhhh.
  • And to Limbo Boy who said "here goes Toto again with a random piece of knowledge that he knows nothing about but insists on teaching it to us": Dumbass. I was right. The character portrayed in the opening sequence sitting at the bar is inspired by Otto Dix’s painting “Portrait of the Journalist Sylvia von Harden” (1926). Apology accepted only by the fact that you made me envious of your new cool phone leaving me 75% jealous (the other percent is due to my Co-chairmanship of the Anti BB Pin Movement which denies me of feeling utter joy for your sense of technological capitalism).

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