A Clockwork Orange, Salò, Bladerunner

I do not watch films often. I do not even watch TV. But last weekend, I finally found time to watch three movie files that Dada gave for Christmas, among others. They are as follows:

1. A Clockwork Orange’s philosophical theme on freedom, choice, crime and its segue into behavioral psychology is relevant. However, the main character is quite despicable despite his attempt at narrating with a comic tone. He beats up beggars, causes mayhem in the streets, breaks into houses, commits rape, slices his own gang mate with a knife, and murders for fun. But then his prison term is commuted in exchange for his undergoing a treatment that makes him breakdown if he attempts to do a crime. When the wheel turns and he gets tormented by these very people he once persecuted, one does not feel sympathy for him at all. I think the film spends too much time lopsidedly depicting his tribulations. What about the sufferings of his victims?

As a whole, I found A Clockwork Orange very funny. However, the film is dragging and seems lengthier than the over two hours running time. At the beginning, there is this extended passage where the narrator’s rival gang spends a lot of time undressing and pulling the hands of a woman they intend to rape. Then there’s another prolonged scene where the narrator indulges in an orgy with two girls he meets in a music bar. I think these scenes are fillers and should have been put shortened to hasten the film’s pace. I am no expert on films but I simply do not like this one.

2. Pier Paolo’s Salò or the 120 Days of Sodom is a film based on the book The 120 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade. It begins with Fascist officials rounding up teenage men and women in Salò, the Nazi-occupied portion of Italy during the Second World War. They are then led to an old mansion where they are deprived of rights and are led to do sadistic acts for the pleasure of the Fascist officials. There they are stripped naked, tied on leashes, and made to walk and act like dogs; they participate in mockeries of the marriage ritual, and etc. I had to stop the film by the time they began eating feces.

The film can be put within context of criticizing both the Fascist official’s inhuman treatment of humans who are seen as mere objects for the purpose of sadistic pleasure and the equally repugnant commercialization of sex that has turned men and women into sex objects.

However, I saw no point in continuing to watch the horrific scenes. After all, if the subtitles are to be taken as a cue, they were all going to die horrible deaths in the end anyway. The subtitles, based on Dante’s Infierno, takes you from the “Circle of Manias” to the “Circle of Shit” and finally the “Circle of Blood.”

3. Lastly, Bladerunner is about a future where genetically modified humans bred to work as slaves in space colonies, or at least that’s how I understood it. Those who rebel or escape back into Earth are hunted down, or euphemistically speaking – are put into retirement, by bladerunners. Harrison Ford is way cooler here than he was in the Star Wars and Indiana Jones VHS tapes of my childhood years with my grandparents in Cotabato City. This action-packed film based on a novel by Philip Dick is a treat. ■

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2 thoughts on “A Clockwork Orange, Salò, Bladerunner

  1. Bladerunner is one of my all time favourite films. The replicants, are just that, copies of human beings. They are entirely artificial. They are for all intents and purposes just robots, albeit very sophisticated and advanced robots. If you’re a reader you may be interested to read the story from which the movie was adapted. It is called “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” by Philip K Dick.

  2. Thanks for the comment, David. Of the three, I like Bladerunner the best. And thanks for the tip too. My friend Dada told me it was based on a Philip Dick novel but didn’t know the title. I’d certainly look out for that book in the secondhand bookshop.

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