Can you hear the strangers slowing?

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Inspired by David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, Erin Corderoy captures the moments of action and comtemplation in life

‘Travelling along the road of life’ sounds rather cliché, but then clichés often evolve because they are just so darn applicable. After watching Cronenberg’s ‘Cosmopolis’ I was travelling home in my own version of a decked-out office-cum-apartment-cum-limousine, a good ol’ STA Bus, and felt the effects of the film overwhelm my senses. It was dark outside but the trees seemed luminescent against the night, breathing their own ethereal light into the universe. Perhaps my water was spiked? More likely, I just felt the stark reality of all the things we take for granted.

[pullquote_right]‘Life is a journey,’ whichever way you prefer to watch it unfold on the screen. Sometimes, it appears as if we trip along merrily and are prone to fall, but on the other hand, it can seem as if we trudge along until something picks us up and we are able to trip along again.[/pullquote_right]

‘Cosmopolis’ is a film with brilliant juxtapositions between the hum of life and the dirge-like way we live it. Brilliantly portrayed in the film, the processional of daily activity is like a funeral parade deftly located at the crux of Camus’ L’étranger. We often have this numb sense of being carried along, oblivious to the violence, hunger and general anarchy that might surround us. Frankly, it’s all absurd, so why care more about anarchy than mundanity – we all have our crosses to bear, right?

It’s not really a great surprise that I made this link between ‘Cosmopolis’ and the French existential tradition – by-and-large a lot of the artistic output from France has this concern at its heart. Don DeLillo embraced this concern and created something of a counter-Amélie in which we watch the hero Eric Packer slowly unravel his life and world as opposed to bringing it together. It made me wonder whether we prefer to watch the downfall of a person who has it ‘together’ more than a person ‘bringing it together’?

‘Life is a journey,’ whichever way you prefer to watch it unfold on the screen. Sometimes, it appears as if we trip along merrily and are prone to fall, but on the other hand, it can seem as if we trudge along until something picks us up and we are able to trip along again.

‘Life is a dance’ between Fate, God, Time and just about any other abstract concept you can think of. Cronenberg (via DeLillo) has this right on the money; if the film offers nothing else, it certainly reveals the transitory nature of meaning, definition and our conceptual place in the world. It sounds depressing, but it isn’t. It takes films like this to show you the absolute worst possible version of a possible reality, and by doing so it opens your eyes to the beauty and excitement in your life.

So, travelling along the road of life, it really is important to notice the tree standing luminescent against the night sky, or the homeless person in that nook you often walk past just a little quicker. I can’t promote activity, but awareness seems to be advised. Notice the good and the bad, dance along hand-in-hand with the knowledge of numbing routine and exciting potential. The fact remains, someone has to be that corporate zombie in their limousine, but they don’t have to ignore the rest of the world to do so.

by Erin Corderoy

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