Saturday, 4 July 2015

Cracking Up / Force Majeure

I crack up

We try to keep ourselves together in order to function on a daily basis, especially if we have a Job. We must not crack. Under the strain of what? Mere daily're not living it as you once dreamt you would, when you were a child, perhaps. I dreamt of being an artist (professional), then a writer (professional). Now I'm both, for 'fun'? Sometimes. Mostly to keep from cracking up under what would be the unbearable boredom of doing neither; that imagined boredom only existing in relation to my creative activity. If I'd never started doing what I do I couldn't recognise the boredom of not doing it...I start to crack just thinking about such things...

Now I try to think of people who crack up for a living....actors? But that's pretend, isn't it? Although, when it came to being cracked, Dennis Hopper did a pretty good job of convincing us that it was for real. Perhaps it was. The best brought real madness to their method, I suppose. Tippi Hedren's bird-induced terror was real, Hitchcock being the cruel director.

Men aren't supposed to crack up? Women can get 'hysterical'? In Force Majeure, Johannes Kuhnke's Tomas starts to crack up in the hotel corridor, only to have his wife accuse him of faking it, but in a master-stroke, director Ruben Östlund allows the crack up to continue in their room, for several minutes, until we begin to wonder how real it is as Tomas's crying goes on until the kids lay down with him and force their mother to join them all in an emotional heap. It's as if he's sucked them (and us) into his personal vortex of despair. It's a great film for many reasons, not least the interior and exterior settings, the contrasting environments of a characterless, modern hotel and the menacing, bleak beauty of the Alps. Then there's the insistence, to the point of embarrassing guests and us, the viewers, from his wife that Tomas faces up to the truth. His humiliation compounded by a cruel joke involving his attractiveness, or not, to other women. A skiing holiday and never looked less appealing. Not that I've ever fancied one.

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