Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
|There hasn't been a chance to discuss the newest Annabelle: Creation film, but it is, technically, a part of The Conjuring universe (which I still need to research a bit). This is the newest poster released for the film (remember, the doll you see in this poster is nothing like the actual Annabelle doll the Warrens had locked up in their cabinet in their museum of evil, this doll was a fabrication of the film makers of The Conjuring). It's an interesting poster, and we will discuss it at greater length later when we examine the trailers more in-depth.|
|An unusual announcement was made this last week regarding the upcoming Captain Marvel film starring Brie Larson will be set in the 1990s and Captain Marvel will be battling the Skrulls, an alien race with an intergalactic empire. Samuel L Jackson's Nick Fury will put in an appearance, without his eye patch, so it pre-dates the events in Captain America: Civil War when we saw how Fury lost an eye. Captain Marvel is an important film for Marvel Studios (I personally could care less about this, but I feel like I need to mention it) because it's the first female-hero film that is a stand-alone (Larson beat out Scarlet Johanson for this one) but with the financial success of DC's Wonder Woman, Marvel has to up their game for this film to make sure they can do at least as well as Wonder Woman did.|
|So, a new trailer and some footage (and some photos, like this one) were released for Marvel's 2018 film Black Panther, and the audience reactions have been exceedingly enthusiastic. When that new footage has been released, I will have a separate post (I have all ready posted on the first trailer, but the new images are worthy and certainly the "casino footage" as it's being called will be interesting).|
|They get a lot of publicity. Ok, so, it has been officially announced that Bond #25 will be released in American theaters November 8, 2019, and in UK theaters one week earlier, in keeping with tradition. Neal Purvis and Robert Wade will pen the script (they have written all the Daniel Craig Bond films, including Skyfall and Spectre), It has also been announced that more announcements are coming,... I mean, I totally get it, but come on, this is a billion-dollar franchise and it just doesn't look professional. So, announcements like the domestic distributor, international release dates, director and cast and, uh, yes, who is playing Bond himself, will also be announced later. I am fairly confident, like 65%, that it's going to be Daniel Craig returning, not just because of the last story we heard, but also because we haven't actually heard anything contradicting it, and they can't announce a release date for a film if they haven't got a film to release, and if they don't have a Bond, they don't have a Bond film. Period.|
|The main villain of Justice League is Steppenwolf who has an army of parademons and in an earlier trailer, we saw one parademon "hatch" from behind some football trophies (again, that's important because of all the liberal weight being thrown against anyone who has achieved anything, and if someone was good enough to get a trophy in football, then it's possible that the makers of Justice League hates them, like in Logan and the kid who had rodeo trophies: even though the trophies were all second and third place, it was enough to get the kid killed because he had accomplished something which makes people who haven't accomplished anything feel really bad about themselves). So, when Steppenwolf attacks earth, he says something like, "Earth doesn't have any lanterns to protect it," which is a reference to the Green Lantern, i.e., Ryan-Reynolds-first-but-failed-attempt-at-being-a-super-hero-and-the-only-time-liberals-don't-like-failure. SO, background, because you probably didn't see Green Lantern, this article at Cinemablend explains how DC comics divides the universe into 3600 sectors, and earth currently doesn't have a Green Lantern hero defending this sector. There isn't any announcements--apart from the one by Steppenwolf--that Green Lanterns are going to be re-introduced anytime soon (oh, and when Commissioner Gordon asks Batman, "How many of you are there?" and he replies, "Not enough," that may be a reference to the Green Lantern Corps which has thousands of Green Lanterns to serve, but none of them are on earth at the moment).|
|Perhaps I understood 50% of the dialogue in Dunkirk, but as we know from previous films, this is actually a part of Nolan's strategy: sometimes he doesn't want us to understand what his characters are saying; why not? Because it actually deepens the message. In the chaotic evacuations of the beaches, how can we understand what they are saying? We can't possibly relate to their situation, or make the kinds of choices they are being forced to make between life and death, as when Alex (Harry Styles) insists that "Gibson" get off the boat, or how we can't hear poor George articulating the desires of his heart as he lays dying on the floor; it may seem cruel to us sitting in the comfy chairs of the air conditioned theater, munching popcorn and sipping our Cokes, but these soldiers were not only fighting for their lives, but their countries, and trying to uphold their honor as best as possible, and their enemies were not only the Germans, but the elements and their own physical limitations (hunger, drowning, exhaustion). How can we understand what they say? We can't possibly begin to put ourselves in their positions, and Nolan's mastery reveals itself in these communications between the master storyteller and his audience. There are, no doubt, still those who, knowing what Nolan intends, would still rather "understand what is being said," because it's a emotionally less vulnerable position for the audience to occupy, that of armchair observer and judge, rather than allow Nolan to erase the false boundaries of security we erect around our little worlds to protect our personal notions and the very fact that we aren't qualified--on any level at all--to judge any of what we see and hear. Nolan employs noise (or the inability to understand what characters say) to engage the audience on a deeper level than what most film makers would even consider daring. The inaudible speech, then, highlights even more the audible speech, when we can clearly understand the words, like the differences between what the Shivering Soldier (Cillian Murphy) says, to the epic speech of Sir Winston Churchill, and how different are their agendas are for the future of the world unfolding that day. It's always tempting to complain about certain elements Nolan intentionally weaves into his narratives, but if we allow the great man to work his magic, work his magic he will.|
|Besides the blind man at the end of the film, I think George is my favorite character of the film, because of his humility and his willingness to put others first. In my first post on Dunkirk and the "ineffable," I noted how George is supposed to toss the rope he holds back into the boat and stay on the dock, but instead, he gets on the boat to go into war with Mr. Dawson and his friend Peter; why? The rope symbolizes an umbilical cord, and just as a baby within the womb of its mother is fed and nourished to life by the umbilical cord, so the Moonstone will be an umbilical cord for George; but he dies, you might argue; and I would respond, a greater and better George is born. When the Shivering Soldier knocks George down the stairs, and George hits his head, what does he do? He curls up in a fetal position, like a baby in the womb, the womb of the ship, and yes, he dies, but he was born a hero. But he didn't do anything! you may still argue, and that would be a good argument, except that he does do something: he saves the Shivering Soldier. Mr Dawson tells George that the Shivering Soldier has shell shock and he may never get over it, but the Shivering Soldier does get over it by expressing his concern over George, in other words, having George's condition to focus on and care about brings Shivering Soldier out of his shivering and coldness (like the coldness of heart he expressed to Tommy and Alex as they were swimming to the boat Shivering Soldier was in charge of, but he wouldn't let Tommy and Alex in the boat, telling them instead to tread water and another boat would be around for them). George, then, no only saves the Shivering Soldier from the shell shock by making him realize that reality is still happening around him, but cures him of his emotional coldness, so George is not only a hero for going into war when he could have stayed at the safety of the dock, George is also a hero for saving a man's life from ruin.|
When George falls, it's like he has taken the Shivering Soldier's "fall" from grace (coldness of heart and shell shock) upon himself, as Christ took the sins of our fall from grace upon Himself. We know that George hits his head and then he can't see; just like the blindness of the blind man at the end of the film, George "can't see" how his sacrifice will prove heroic, because that a boy so young would die to suddenly and seemingly for no reason, doesn't make sense (George hitting his head, because the head is where we "make sense" of things). George mentions to Peter that he would have liked to become a reporter for the town newspaper, but George does better than that: he becomes a story himself.
The idea of George having a "moment" when he makes a difference, just like Peter, Dawson, Collins, Farrier and all the other captains of the little boats who come to save their boys, was something we also saw in Transformers 5: The Last Knight, when Sir Burton (Anthony Hopkins) attacks an enemy and buys Cade a few extra moments; as he lays dying, he says, "I had my moment," and even though no one else in the world knows what he did, and how it helped saved the world, he knew; George, in Dunkirk, on the other hand, doesn't realize how his sacrifice saved the Shivering Soldier, and usually, that's how our own sacrifices in our life will be: we won't know until we stand before God, and either He will be able to show us all the good things we did, even though no one but He saw, or He will be forced to show us all the things we thought no one would see and we could get away with, but He was watching, and that's how we chose to spend our time here instead of doing good.
|In terms of the theme of "seeing" and "not seeing," this scene is important: they know they are surrounded by the enemy, even though they can't see them, the enemy knows they are there and helpless; they do, however, see another enemy in action, and that enemy is despair, physically manifested by the soldier who walks onto the beach, dropping his gear, and dives into the water to drown himself, because he has all ready drowned himself in despair (which is the opposite of blind faith, it's blind pessimism and foreboding; we discuss the suicide more at the bottom of the post); why does the man commit suicide? Because he has no faith in his English brethren to care about him and save him from the beach. Even though this man dies, we can see something else being born (as the rope George holds as he jumps onto the Moonstone to join the Dawsons going to war, so the foam on the beach surrounding the young men can be seen as a birth symbol, because it was from sea foam that Aphrodite was born, and the young men, watching even as this other soldier would rather end his life than wait just a little longer, have to make a choice: will they have faith in Churchill and their officers to get them out? You see, the reason each and every choice we make is so heavily emphasized in Nolan films is because with each and every choice, we change who we are: we are never static, we are always changing. The young men pictured here are choosing not to give up hope, not to give into despair, just as they are not giving into the Germans to surrender, and so they are being born anew as the soldiers who wouldn't die, the soldiers who wouldn't give in, the soldiers who believed and fought with their hope and faith; this moment changes them, as does every moment in their lives, and every moment in your life and mine. Every single decision we make prepares us to make the next decision, and to make it with as much heroic virtue as possible, even if that is just as simple as returning someone's hate with kindness, no one might see it, but it will have an immediate impact in the person we become because of the decisions we choose to make.|
Let's talk about "Gibson." At the start of the film, we see Tommy escape the opening gunfire, and make his was to the beach; he goes behind a dune to "relieve nature" and doesn't because he sees a man burying another man; Tommy stops and helps bury the guy, and at the time, I thought the dead soldier had all ready been dead and "Gibson" needed new shoes, or a new uniform. We see Gibson then help Tommy carry the stretcher with the wounded man to the Red Cross ship, and manage to get on, then when they are kicked off, he shows him where to hide, and so many times, Gibson saves Tommy, almost like a silent guardian angel, but then, Alex accuses Gibson of being a Frenchman who murdered that English soldier,... so what happened? Tommy stands up for Gibson, that there were plenty of dead English soldiers on the beach, but we see those English soldiers, they are laying in the open, covered, because they are going to be carried back to England for burial at home, none of them are being buried on the beach where their bodies will exposed by the tides,... this detail suggests that the Frenchman did, indeed, kill the Englishman and take on his identity of "Gibson," not as a spy, but just trying to get to safety like everyone else. However, the scene has a far more sinister, and real historical equivalent: what has come to be known as the half-hearted Saar Offensive which happened prior to Dunkirk, when the French were supposed to have attacked the Germans at an extremely vulnerable point so they would have been permanently weakened and not have secured their offensive foothold so strongly, but the French failed to launch any attack, and retreated. The body of the dead English soldier Tommy helps "Gibson" bury has his bare foot sticking up in the air; we know that feet symbolize will, and nudity or nakedness symbolizes "exposure," so Alex, later in the boat, exposes "Gibson" for having killed the soldier, because with the failure of the Saar Offensive, so many English soldiers died who didn't have to if the French had actually followed through with the Offensive, rather than just retreating, and so the will of the French is "exposed" by Alex (the dead English soldier's bare feet). The failure of the Saar Offensive is what lead to the start of the ""Phoney War" when neither the Allied powers nor Germany and her allies, were able to launch offensives even though war had been declared, just as "Gibson" isn't really Gibson, but is a "phoney" English soldier. We know that a character never dies unless they are "all ready dead" in some manner, and "Gibson" would not have died if Nolan didn't want to communicate to us, the viewers, that Gibson/what he represents is a form of death; but Gibson saves Tommy so many times! you might argue, and you are absolutely correct: how many brave French men and women risked and gave their lives, family, property and everything to defeat the Germans? No one but God will ever know, because they fought so long and hard, even while being occupied, just as Gibson makes so many rescues for Tommy; Nolan points out, however, that had the French acted at the perfect opportune time with the Saar Offensive, how many French and English lives would have been saved, property and damage?
|What most of the men on the beach won't see, or hear, is the conversation which takes place between the officers (top image) when they figure out what to do and how to do it: 400,000 men can't be saved, they reason, but hopefully we can save 30,000 to still have an army that can win a battle another day,.... of course those sound like cruel and inhuman calculations they make, but we the audience don't see the darkness of invasion facing these officers, the years of war they believe are ahead of them, the strength of the Germans and the pain of the surprise attacks that cornered them into this part of the world to begin with. None of the officers see the support the "little boats" will bring with them, and the giant effort for rescue they will manage (but note how often Bolton reaches for the binoculars, to "see" more clearly what is coming). In the bottom image, a German plane has appeared, and is ready to tear the beach and pier up with gunfire, and Bolton closes his eyes because he's right in the path of the plane and he knows he won't make it out of this moment alive, but what he doesn't see is Farrier behind him and ready to take him out, and the sacrifice Farrier is making because of his fuel source, but later, Bolton does see, when Farrier's plane flies by and the propeller isn't turning, he's just gliding in the air, and everyone knows he's out of fuel, and that he stayed to fight instead of turning back.|
Let's talk about Bolton for a moment and how his character is presented to us. Look at his mouth: he hardly has one, his lips are so thin; why? Bolton has no "appetite" for war. He has quite blond hair because his thoughts are like gold, in other words, the thoughts he thinks, are the best thoughts to have in that moment, like when he looks and sees the little boats, and his lieutenant asks him what he sees, and he says, "Home," or when the Red Cross boat is sinking, and he knows that if it sinks right there, that will block other boats from being able to rescue the rest of the men, so he knows the difficult call must be made, even as men are dying on the ship, that it has to be cut loose and pushed to sea, or they wouldn't be able to save anyone. It's because of those moments that Bolton has gold embroidery on his uniform, he is the "king" at this beach, and he has to make the decisions and sacrifices for his men that will mean the most, but it's not an easy decision to make, which is why his coat is a dark blue, he has to exercise wisdom, but that wisdom comes from the sadness of his sacrifices. However, he's a man of faith, which is why he has the white sweater (white symbolizes faith and hope) and it's a sweater because his faith keeps him warm from the coldness of despair.
There is one other important detail: wedding bands. At different times, we see different men wearing their wedding bands, At key moments, we will see one of the men's wedding bands, it specifically catches our eyes; why? Nolan is making a point. We know that our hands symbolize our honor, and a wedding band indicates that we have taken a pledge to honor another person for the rest of our lives. America is in a terrible predicament, with the majority of couples deciding not to get married, and for the first time since 1950, there are more single people in America than those who are married. Nolan seems to be pointing out to men that marriage is a sign of a man's honor, and not being married is to not behave honorably (living with your girlfriend instead of being married and legitimate).
|Both pilots, Collins (top) and Farrier (bottom) find themselves in interesting positions in the film. Collins, hit by enemy gunfire, opens his cockpit to parachute out, but then decides to close it and land on the water (he sees the Dawson's boat nearby, how does the simple act of closing his cockpit window alter the events? Had Collins parachuted out, Dawson would probably not have gone back for him, and Collins might not have made it landing in the water; with his cockpit window stuck, Peter was able to insist they go back so they could save him; having Collins on board with them, they are able to rescue more men, faster, and avoid the oil, so when an enemy plane crashes into the oil and lights the water surface with flames, Dawson has avoided getting his boat burned, and he can carry on with his mission.|
Farrier, the only pilot left in the sky to defend the men and boats below, can't see his fuel gauge; why? None of us can see our "fuel gauges," only God knows how far we can go, because we wouldn't want to go that far if we could, so we have to have faith in God, that when we do run out of gas, just like Farrier, we will switch to our reserve tanks (God's grace) and keep going because others need us to.Why does Farrier's landing gear get stuck? Because Farrier and Collins both became miracles for others, by willingly going into this dangerous situation and be "sitting ducks," God performed miracles for them so they would have some idea of the greatness God had just worked through them: Peter breaking open Collins' cockpit hatch when he was about to drown, and Farrier getting his landing gear down in spite of it getting stuck, so they would know how important miracles are in everyone's life, and they would be willing to be the instrument of miracles again in the future.
|One of the technical means by which Nolan signs Dunkirk with such artistry, is the application of extremes: when Tommy first steps onto the beach at the opening of the film, we notice how neat, tidy and professionally organized everything is, in contrast to the horrible chaos that we can't see, but we know is there. We've been watching Tommy, a single, young individual suddenly standing amidst 400,000 others who are indistinguishable, but each just as anxious to get home as the next, and everyone of them the whole world to someone waiting for word about their safety back home. Then there is the huge contrast between the battleships and the little boats (bottom image), like the contrast between an individual and an entire army, but it shows, what one single person is capable of doing, and the immense difference each and everyone of us can make in this world. And for Christopher Nolan, I think that's everything.|
What propelled Dawnson to answer the call to go to Dunkirk, or Collins and Farrier, Tommy and Alex? As Dawson, Peter and George are headed to Dunkirk, Dawson faces east, and planes fly over his head; George asks why he didn't look to check if they were ours or enemy planes, and Dawson replies he knows the sound of the Rolls Royce Merlin engine, "The sweetest sound out here," he adds. That reference to "Merlin," while obviously about an engine, works in the same manner as so many other metaphors in the film (like the blind man, the phoney Gibson, Farrier's fuel gauge, etc.) because it's the identity of Merlin, Arthur and the Knights of England that propels Dawson and all of England. We have, of course, seen Arthur invoked in Guy Ritchie's King Arthur: Legend Of the Sword and Transformers: The Last Knight, because he serves as the example, par excellence, of what bravery and self-sacrifice means, and why the English hold him so dear to their hearts: he reflects the very heart of England itself. The point is, such a noble inspiration would not be so continuously summoned today, if he were not needed back so desperately in these, our own perilous times.
One last note about Dawson: actor Mark Rylance portrayed a Soviet spy in Steven Spielberg's film Bridge of Spies; while I personally didn't like the film, it was incredibly pro-socialist, I think it's highly possible that Nolan wanted Rylance to portray Dawson because of the story of "Standing Man" Rylance's character narrates to Tom Hanks' character: Dawson himself, the English army and civilian force, become "Standing Man" who, no matter how often and savagely beaten down they are, will get back up, and stand to fight yet another day.
|Visually, this scene illustrates an existential thesis Nolan has about humanity, which I have all ready discussed in the Ineffability post. On another level, the suicide we watch in this scene is exactly what the Germans wanted the British army to do: self-destruct. When we self-destruct, we loose our identity. We don't know who this man is, what was the final, crushing blow of despair that caused him to cross the threshold of despair and become one with the faceless sea rather than be home again. Everything fights against us in our lives, like the propaganda sheet (bottom image) illustrating how surrounded the British forces are; the enemy says, at the bottom of the sheet, "SURRENDER = SURVIVE!" but we see the man in the images above surrendering to despair, and that surrendering is death, in more ways than one. He is faceless, he is nameless, and we know nothing of him but that he surrendered.|
|PLEASE WATCH THE TRAILER BELOW FIRST AND THEN COME BACK AND READ THIS CAPTION, because it's not going to make sense unless you know what the film is about. Who is the mute woman Eliza in the film? She is Eliza Doolittle from the 1964 George Cukor classic My Fair Lady with Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison. In the film, Eliza (hepburn) is a poor flower girl, and she has an obnoxious accent and exceedingly poor grammar; she goes to Professor Higgins (Harrison) for lessons so she can speak properly and attain better employment for herself; in the process, she and Higgins fall in love and Eliza advances in society and Higgins advances in the realm of human emotions. In The Shape Of Water, we can see how del Toro has divided Harrison's character of Higgins into two different characters to examine Higgins' own duel motivations for helping Eliza in My Fair Lady: Higgins is both the "professor" character who we hear speaking at the very start of the trailer (I believe he's portrayed by Nick Searcy, but I might be wrong about that, his character isn't listed on the IMDB casting for The Shape Of Water), and see again later as he translates Eliza's sign language, and then Higgins' is also Strickland (Michael Shannon) the one who is a scientist and doesn't believe in what really makes us human. So, in the opening lines of the film, we hear the words describing Eliza as "the princess without voice," and that refers to Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady when her big debut is at a fancy ball and, because her speech has become so impeccable, she is mistaken for a princess, but in a way, it's not Eliza Doolittle's voice, it's Higgins' voice he has given her. The big question is, then: why does del Toro want to draw people's attention to the film My Fair Lady and the events of 1963, when the film takes place? Because in American politics today, feminists claim that men have taken away the voice of women, that men have silenced women and held them back from advancing in society. As a woman myself, I know nothing could be further from the truth: every single man in my life, from ALL of my male professors, to the men in my family and social circles, have wanted nothing but my total success and complete happiness; if anyone was holding me back, it was my very own self. I will stand by that until the day that I die. Anyway, we have Eliza, the woman literally, with no voice, but she's not just a woman, she is a princess; why? Because of the inherent dignity of women with which God created us. In the trailer, we see Strickland telling Eliza, "The Lord created us in His image. You don't think the Lord looks like that, do you?" but the physical appearance of humans isn't what is being discussed, rather, the image of God within our souls and our capacity to love and to sacrifice for love, that is the image of God in which we were created. Without someone to love, we are, just like Eliza, a little cleaning woman, with no voice. But when we have that "other," our dignity becomes complete.|
|If this isn't a magical image, I don't know what is. Let's just start by listing the symbols: water, sleeping, the lamp and the light shining upon her, the color blue, the color green, the books on the shelf and the doorway through which we pass. And those are just the ones I am seeing off the top of my head. Okay, the water, we know, is the state of reflection, but there is more to this reflection, because we are beneath the surface of the water, so this is "deep reflection," but that's not all, folks: there is the light. There is the light from the lamp (a man-made light source) and then there is the light coming down upon her from above, like it's divine light. Thirdly, there is the "studied light" of the developed intellect symbolized by the books on the shelf in the background. What does light symbolize? Illumination. That three types of light are present (the divine and man-made) suggests that Eliza has a natural intelligence to her and because she makes the most of her natural intelligence by studying and advancing her intellect, she has been rewarded with extra Light from above, she has a spiritual insight into her self and others. Eliza sleeps; why? She has not yet been awakened to fulfill her calling in life. As Napoleon said, "Let her sleep, for when she wakes, she will move mountains," and that mountain Eliza will move is the mountain of sin symbolized by Strickland. But this time of sleep is essential for Eliza's formation; why? So that when her moment comes, she will know it. That's why we pass through the door, the door in Eliza's world is opening to opportunity and the purpose for which she was created. That's why we see so much blue in the image: blue is the color of sadness and wisdom, so Eliza has learned painful lessons through her life of silence, her life of contemplation, but the green that is there is for her hope, that something will happen, something will change. What is going to happen? The bed symbolizes death, because a bed is the forerunner of our coffin, where we "sleep" after life, awaiting the Final Judgement. So, (and this is very common) sleeping and death are the state of souls until they come into their purpose, their calling; "Be still and know that I am the Lord," God said in Psalms 46:10, because it's only when we are not busy with our life and our world that we can be still and come to understand that HE is God. And we will not be called into our purpose until we have learned that lesson.|
|The feet. Shoes. These are important symbols for characters, as we well know, dear reader. What is a part of Eliza's everyday routine? Polishing and brushing her shoes, slipping into her shoes, and walking to work. Our feet symbolize our will, because our feet take us where we want to go the way our will directs our lives to where we want to go and to get what we want. So, in the image at the top, we see Eliza brushing her shoe with a green brush; green, we know, is either the color of hope, as in spring and rebirth and new life, or it's the color of something that has gone rotten, like the moldy green stuff growing in forgotten recycled plastic butter containers in your fridge that you used for leftovers. With Eliza, we know it's hope (her sweater is also a dark green color, the headband in her hair and the coat she wears to work, are all green, because she is the symbol of someone who lives in hope) so each day she gives herself hope, and it's in the light of hope that Eliza walks, even though her shoes are rather plain, they are heels, i.e., shoes that women wear, so it's a particularly feminine hope that she has, something that will effect her as a woman (not specifically as an American, or a Christian or atheist, or as a member of the communist party, etc., but as a woman). |
On a slightly different note, but still on the same topic, the way the trailer sets up Eliza's life, from 0:15-0:30 (when the creature's hand meets her hand on the glass of the containment unit) is that of redundancy: Eliza goes through the same motions day, after day, after day, after day,.... that's redundancy, and it's a specific theory,... why? Because there is no "information" in redundancy, we don't learn anything new, there's nothing breaking the mold of our expectations; in other words, Eliza's life is exactly the way we would expect it to be, and this is an important tool for artists, because it's by the vocabulary of the "redundant" that we see the problem with our own lives: because of the needs we have for our survival (not because we live in the modern world) our lives inevitably become redundant, and that's not what God intended for us: "I come that they may have life, and have it abundantly" Jesus tells us (John 10:10). Even though we will be allowed to have the redundant, so we know in humility what we are without God, God wants to give us more than the mere survival to which we are accustomed because only He can give it to us, only He knows what the desires of your heart are, because He is the one who put them there, to fulfill and multiply at the right time. A good illustration is the parting of the Red Sea: when God delivered Israel, he led them from the land of slavery, through the waters of salvation, by doing that which only God could do, and in your own life, that has happened, or it will happen. Now we are ready to discuss the bottom image.
In the bottom scene, it appears that she and the creature kiss beneath the water, with that beautiful light streaming down upon them, Eliza in a red coat and a special light around her feet,... almost like there is a halo around her feet, and one of the shoes coming off,... we haven't yet discussed who the creature is, but we will in the next caption, but suffice to say, this is what Eliza was created for; how can we tell? She's in "deep water," she's beneath the surface, so there is a union that is "baptized" (I know, the "guy" is a "creature" but trust me just for a moment longer, it will all make sense) and so, we can even venture to say that this union is happening on the level of the soul, because there is the deep water and the light shining upon them, with the emphasis upon her will (the feet). Obviously, a shoe has just dropped from her feet, and this validates the sacramental nature of the moment we see, because where else have we seen in the Bible someone wearing only one shoe where they were? Joshua right before the fall of Jericho, when the angel comes announcing he is commander of the Lord's host (because some think it's awkward, many modern translators say that Joshua was commanded to take off both sandals, but my Hebrew Old Testament professor made a big deal that it was only one shoe Joshua had to take off, whereas Moses had to take off both shoes; so was the ground on which Moses stood holier than the ground upon which Joshua stood? No, but the Lord wanted to completely unite Moses' will to His own Will, whereas with Joshua, the Lord wanted Joshua to keep his own will, because the Lord knew Joshua--just as Moses--was a precursor to Christ, and that would be separately established; we could go on, but we won't at this time). So, Joshua, takes off one shoe to show he's standing in a holy place, just before a battle, and that he's in the presence of the Lord, and that he still retains some of his own will (he has one shoe on, and our feet symbolize our will), but there is also the Will of God at work (the removed shoe signifying the holy ground). This kiss is "the breath of life," the means by which God imparts to us the Holy Spirit and Life itself (God blew onto Adam from God's own mouth to instill life in him, and a bride and groom kiss at their wedding to breathe new life into each other), and this kiss will prepare Eliza for the battle she is about to wage against Strickland for the life of the creature.
|Hands symbolize our honor, because it's when we want to give our word to someone that we "shake hands" on it, so our hands are a sign of our genuineness, our sincerity. In the top image, it's with her hand that Eliza touches the glass (symbol of reflection) and looks into the water (another symbol of reflection, and this water has a definite green tint to it, a sign of hope), and then the creature's hand comes up to "meet" her hand; why? He's recognizing her genuineness, that she is interested in him, not interested in the science experiment that the scientists are trying to turn him into. There is another image in the trailer, of Eliza looking through the bus window with rain drops, and tracing her fingers along the glass as the droplets magically flow to follow her motions: the glass and water drops both denote, again, reflection, and her hand doing the tracing on the glass is the sign that she is being genuine in her interest, not just curious. Now, look at the second image; Strickland has a bandage on his left hand. The "left" hand/arm is usually seen as a sign of evil (no, really, I'm not making this up for political expedience against Liberals, this is true, because most people in history have been right-handed) and Strickland has his hand bandaged, meaning, he has wounded his honor, he has wounded his ability to be sincere/genuine, in some degree; we certainly don't see him being nice. That's going to be an important detail in the film. In the bottom image, we see the Creature's bloody hand-print on the movie poster; the Creature has traded his appetite for love with Eliza (the color red) for an appetite for wrath and bloodshed. I don't know what has happened, but I'm pretty confident that Eliza will be the only one who can save him, in more ways than one.|
|Just as the opening poster caption for this post illustrates how the film incorporates My Fair Lady, and Strickland (Shannon) and the Professor guy (probably Nick Searcy) are both versions of Professor Higgins (Rex Harrison) so, too, are the Professor guy and Strickland both the creature we see in The Shape Of Water; why? It's a part of themselves they are both trying to drown because society has told them to do so.|
It's quite simple, because all the films of the 1950s were saying the exact same thing, rather like all the horror-slasher films of the 1980s: if you aren't married, you shouldn't be having sex! Sex kills you because adultery kills your soul by feeding your animal appetites, and those animal appetites kill the soul. The Creature From the Black Lagoon is no exception. In the story, Dr. David Reed has a girlfriend, Kay Lawrence; they are not married, but most likely having sexual relations; this means the Creature is a psychoanalytic double for Reed ("reed" being a phallic symbol and the invocation of "David" is that of "King David," who had an adulterous affair with Bathsheba) and that is why Reed has to kill the Creature: Reed has to overcome his own animal appetites for Kay in order to love her properly, because Kay--like Eliza in The Shape Of Water--is a princess, the daughter of God, and Reed is called to be the son of God, not some serpentine creature turning a princess into a whore.
So, if the creature is a white man in The Shape Of Water, why resort to an old film no one has seen, where the same creature is the villain? That's an excellent question. We know that in The Creature From the Black Lagoon, there is a sexual relationship between David Reed and Kay Lawrence, and the creature symbolizes that and what using Kay for sex has done to David; today, however, liberals want men to have sex only with other men and women to have sex only with other women, in other words, everyone to be gay. David Reed, in his form as the creature, illustrates his reptilian qualities, i.e., the state of his soul in Original Sin (his soul without God's Grace), and what Grace there is within his soul is being eroded by the complicity to commit mortal sin; in other words, as David Reed willingly separates his soul from the Face of God, David's own face becomes separated from God and the beauty that God is, leading David to look like a deformed monster, i.e., the creature. Now, in The Shape Of Water, del Toro appears to be arguing that all men have degenerated in this day and age to becoming the creature we see David Reed as in The Creature From the Black Lagoon, because of the success of socialism and communism to take over the world by destabilizing religion and morality (The Shape Of Water takes place in 1963, the height of the Cold War, and at about the same time that The Man From UNCLE takes place, so the socialism we will see in the film isn't about the Cold War in the 1960s, rather, about the "cold war" taking place in America today). Even though men have become these reptilian creatures, they kind of always have been, which is why God created woman, to be the bearer of "new life" for men, which is why we see Eliza giving the creature an egg, and teaching him how to say "Egg," because eggs symbolize new life, and in particular, women, because it's a female fertility symbol, so even though we might think of Eliza as being barren, or her world as being barren, she has all these eggs that she can give to the creature because she has been through so much spiritual training. And that's what the creature needs, and that's what men today need, women who are generous and full of life; while most men are going to be like the creature today, few women will be like Eliza and spiritually prepared and capable of fulfilling her purpose of being the "help mate" of man (helping him get to heaven) and therefore, having her own needs for love and purpose fulfilled as well (the role a man plays in loving and protecting a woman).
|If seeing Jeremy Renner wearing this Arctic camo gear flashes you back to The Bourne Legacy, that's probably not a coincidence, rather, intentional. When film makers set up a situation to inspire the audience to remember a film they have all ready seen, it's because the film makers saw it, too, and they want you to recall that event or character because they want to bridge their own film to the film they invoke in your mind; of course, we won't know why until we actually see Wind River, however, it will be interesting to see why they wanted to bring in The Bourne Legacy.|
|You are absolutely correct, dear reader, it is not a coincidence at all that The Darkest Hour, Their Finest Hour and Dunkirk are all being released this year: the fine artists and film makers in the UK have realized their is a socialist invasion of their great motherland, and so they are summoning the forces that destroyed socialism the first time, in hopes they can destroy socialism again. It's not just a matter of "That so many gave so much," that we owe it to them not to go for socialism, or that "This was our defining moment" when we beat back the inevitable invasion of Germany and when we turned our backs to socialism and tyranny and, determined, knew we would never succumb to such a form of slavery,.... sure, it is those things, but the subject matter and its mode of presentation suggests something more like this: socialism is a rotten and corrupt seed, from which nothing good can come, and the courage and sacrifice of the great people of this blessed homeland were born of freedom and the trials of life; we are human beings, bound with tremendous dignity, not animals, and not dependents. We stand on our own two feet,... we stand, and we fight.|
|On the left is an etching of Giacometti by Jan Hladik, and on the right is the most famous photograph of Giacometti, while he was installing his art for an exhibition, taken by Henri Cartier-Bresson. Giacometti was known for sculptures (not painting or sketching), and he usually did figures like the two extremely tall and thin figures you see in the image above.|