Monday, February 18, 2008

Computer-free state of nature

My hair iron exploded, my computer decided to stop turning on, and I made myself some very bad spaetzles. All told, not the most successful week ever. So I took a moment off at the end of it to go to the movies. Jo and I headed uptown to the Austrian Cultural Forum to see "The Time of the Wolf", which, contrary to promotional materials, turned out to be in French, not German. I was the only one there who was happy about this, I'm quite sure.

But back to the Austrian Cultural Forum, the building. It's a modern structure with big, heavy doors that I had trouble opening. The doors read, in huge letters, "Under Pain of Death." This is the title of the art exhibition now going on there, although this is not clear to the passerby. Inside, there were signs on everything, warning you not to stand in this area, not to take the elevator, not to enter the theater until further notice... and more, but I've forgotten. The building is basically a small museum, and a confusing one. The sub-basement level with the restrooms is also where this intriguing, life-size exhibition resides. Ah, juxtaposition.

Between the warnings--some from signs, some from a presumably Austrian woman in a quilted jacket--and the death-themed art, the mood was set for the film. "The Time of the Wolf" is about French people in a state-of-nature situation, which is always entertaining, and yes, the subject of how to divvy up the last cigarettes was addressed. But the point of the movie is that it could be France, or anywhere, and that whatever it once was, it's now a Gallic refugee camp. There was a "Lord of the Flies" angle, for sure, but the movie also presented an exaggerated sense of what city people feel whenever they (we) spend a few days too many in the country. And I learned something new about myself. Unfortunately, no matter how tragic the situation, the sound of a goat bleating (is that their sound?) makes me laugh.

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