Monday, May 9, 2011

A 'Closer' look at the Cosmos of Cubicle and Clicks

There are many who consider Patric Marber's 2004 bitter romantic drama, Closer, to be a loose, modern and tragic adaptation of Cosi fan tutte, Mozart's opera buffa on partner swaps.

In fact, in the Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman, Jude Law and Clive Owen starrer, the hand and handiwork of the great composer can be seen and heard everywhere. The opera is featured in the film and the sound tracks keep resonating with highlights from the eighteenth century production.

For the musically inclined, or those who revel in witty dialogue, attractive people and complexities of relationship, the film is highly recommended as a visual and aural delight.

However, even as I watched mature performances combining with excellent editing to produce a rare symphony for the senses, the most lasting impression was somewhat surprising.

All through the 100 minutes, a feast of feminine charms were portrayed with the most sensual camera angles on two such fascinating female forms as Roberts and Portman. And it is perhaps testimony to the warping of my cubicle calibrated senses, that the most striking scene for me, the one I am currently writing about, took place between the metro-sexual Jude Law and the dashing Clive Owen. Curiously again, in a film which cruises on the sonorous sound-waves created by the genius of Mozart, this particular sequence was enacted with the overture of Rossini's La Cerentola playing in the background.

In this curiously interesting scene, Law, a writer, sits in his home and logs into a chat forum impersonating a woman and strikes up an on-line conversation with Owen, a dermatologist sitting in his chamber. As the two indulge in crude and explicit dialogue that is stereotypical in such encounters, Owen gets horny and takes the phone off the hook to go the full cyber-sexual distance. It is a combined tribute to the directional brilliance, musical genius and acting talents that the entire routine comes off as poetic rather than gross. The fermata, allegro and crescendos are masterfully combined with the smutty suggestions, prurient passes, lewd language and the resulting raise of the eyebrow, rolling of the eyes and other facial expressions.
Even as Law works Owen into a hard on, asks him to take out his member and finally indulges in a typed gibberish denoting orgasm (ooooooo $#&* 000agdfyugefwyfw%%%%% and more such junk), the music synchronises with perfect harmony and the outcome is melody mingled hilarity. The amusement, in fact, is carried on to the next level as Law, posing online as Julia Roberts,  unintentionally sets up a meeting between Owen and the pretty woman, thus becoming the most vulgar version of Cupid ever.

One way of looking at it is to appreciate the ingenuity in synchronising heavenly music to the basest act of fulfilment. While it is relatively common to use accompanying classical music with the rhythms of physical lovemaking – one can remember the pre-internet age Julia Roberts starrer Pretty Woman as an example – this small cinematic burletta does its bit in acknowledging the cyber world as an extension of our own three dimensional one.

However, ever since my buddy screened the famed episode of Everything You Needed To Know about Sex and Were Afraid to Ask in a corporate team building session (now documented famously in The Best Seller) I have been afflicted with the bug of mapping movie masterpieces to the analogous make believe world of corporate circus. As with the earlier observations about Blow Up and Eyes Wide Shut, this particular scene from the poetic drama on silver screen got me drawing compulsive parallels with the world of the click and cubicle.

Think about it.

 Fabrication and impossible promises manufactured over the electronic medium, crude packets of age-old delivery in new fangled form to 'delight' the recipient, ultimately resulting in orgiastic euphoria at something that translates to elaborately typed non-sense. The provider even goes to the extent of lying about his assets, highs and lows, as he tries his hand at customer satisfaction. Throughout, the background score orchestrates music for the uplifted soul, ethereal exhilaration, cerebral ecstasy at the consummating crescendo – while all the while, the transactions take place at the lower depths, with the onus on the bottom line, making ends meet.

In a curious correction that completes the metaphor, at one point of time during the instant messaging, Law asks Owen about the size of his organ, and in his haste, the latter responds with the unit £ rather than inches – underlying the corporate axiom that whatever be the measure, of the source of life or pleasure, everything boils down to a monetary value.

Cybernetic screwing with background sound effects hinting at the exalted and esoteric. The metaphorical retelling of the cubicular cosmos in a cinematic reel.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Simon van der Wiel is a fictitious character who appears in the novel The Best Seller by Arunabha Sengupta.

These lines are both collected from the novel and extrapolated from it - additional musings of the author through his alter ego

About Simon

My photo
Amsterdam, Netherlands