“THE COMEDY” | co-writer-director, Rick Alverson
[PREMIERE SCREENING: Saturday, January 21, 8:30 pm –Library Center Theater]
I’ve always been suspicious of movies and visual media and my interest in film developed out of that suspicion. In the world that I knew as a child, in an era preceding the Internet, many of us were reared in part, at least in terms of our social behavior, by television. Much of what we understood of the adult world we learned through osmosis, through the colors and exoticism of television, through the play of bodies and the exchange of words and gestures in that very artificial space. We were provided a Doppleganger of the organic version of experiences, people and environments. At 40 now, I have spent, it seems, half a life unlearning those dehumanizing, pacifying and mostly reckless lessons. They were doled out, not for education nor illumination, but as a way of passing time and infusing the working world with its nightly sedative. Today there are more decentralized media anesthesias, but they seem, still, concretely rooted in the opiate of television. I might have faired better from watching A Woman Under The Influence at the age of 7, having been startled and confused by the act of seeing into those normal, private lives and homes, rather than placated and patronized by such a vantage. Instead my diet consisted of the popular diet, Three’s Company, The Brady Bunch, some iteration thereof. One could say these are benign and forgettable fancies, but, I would argue, their impact on behavioral development was irresponsible at the least, doctrinal and morally manipulative more probably. The popular cinema of the day, Indiana Jones, et al, was a grander, more compressed version of the weekly series, as devoid of the nuances and contradictions of the real world as those more protracted pleasures. While the impact of television on my development was palpable, the scale of popular film accentuated that experience. It provided an implausible utopia, one that dismissed the potential that is latent and implicit in the concrete world, with a spectacle of images and sound, as though the aspiration should trump the actual. I developed an interest in filmmaking in opposition to that spectacle.