Sunday, January 28, 2007

Body Snatchers











































9 comments:

Tuwa said...

There is some remarkably warm cinematography in that film; parts of it look like they were lifted from The Godfather.

Tuwa said...

Zoinks! And that last pic didn't load the first time. Eh.

Zach Campbell said...

Yeah! (The dominant color palette in Body Snatchers alternates between these bold golds & reds on display in these stills, and considerably less warm black/deep blue.) The point I wanted to make with that last image is that Body Snatchers (this is something Nicole Brenez writes about) is Ferrara's statement--more radical than the other versions presumably (I've only seen Siegel's, which is great, but I think more universalizing/ambiguous and hence perhaps less politically forceful)--about the use/abuse of martial force and military order as a means of controlling populations, exterminating enemies, turning "them" into "us," or "us" into "them" (depending on yer politics). The image of Dachau and the suggestion of the Nazis is entirely and obviously pertinent; less so might be the implication of US power here, the use of military force as agents & ensurers of socio-economic domination from the US/West throughout the Global South. The point isn't to say "the army is, like, evil," but to point out the implications of conformity and the difficulty of struggle when you're in the heart of the beast--which is a machine run in the interests of something much more, much deeper, and much more elite than "the army."

Tuwa said...

You would have been a better person to write about the Body Snatchers works. Actually, I wish you would.

Zach Campbell said...

Whoa! I didn't see until today that we both posted more on Body Snatchers on the same day. Your extended comparison of all the versions, as well as the MP3s, boasts a completism I can't match, can't even try to. If I were to do some extended writing on BS--I've mentioned the Ferrara a few times on EL before--I'd probably limit myself to just this film and the Siegel. I don't know--maybe I'm due a viewing of the Kaufman version (in its entirety that is). And maybe I should read the fiction on which it's all based ...

Tuwa said...

It's a frustrated completism, though: I'd hoped that in forcing myself to watch, read, take notes, assimilate, and write about them all that somehow I'd get some greater understanding of them. Instead I was left with a long list of questions. I can't help feeling that the works are open for a lot of interpretation and contextualization I didn't touch on, maybe didn't even think of....

I don't remember any appearance of the military in Siegel's or Kaufman's works. In Finney's book there's a phone call to a friend in the Army, but it doesn't resolve anything. I think you're right; Ferrara is the only one making that point about the military.

Zach Campbell said...

Tuwa; I'm too lazy to look through your posts on the topic again right now (I'm going to bed soon), but I thought as I was was looking them again today that you wrote about one of the Finney versions actually having a military intervention, which is why Ferrara's take had a resolution closest in spirit to the book(s)?

But I readily I could be mixing a lot of things up badly ...

Zach Campbell said...

I meant to write: I readily admit I could be mixing a lot of things up badly ...

Also, of course, the appearance of the military doesn't necessarily mean Finney & Ferrara will have the same take on the problem.

In Brenez's book she points out the obvious about Ferrara's New Rose Hotel (but which not many commentators, including myself and I wrote/presented a paper on this film), which is that there is not even an attempt at a distinction between government, corporation, and the mafia. There's a lot that Ferrara extracts from the seeds in Gibson's source story there that one would probably never even suspect from reading the Gibson alone. Ferrara is a total master at this kind of thing ...

Tuwa said...

Ah, that was the FBI arriving at the end of the serialized Collier's version. Now that I think of it, it was a superficial similarity between it and Ferrara's version: agents of the military striking against aliens.

In Ferrara's version the military are the agents of conformity; in Finney's serial they're the deus ex machina saving humanity (Finney drops the FBI intervention in the novelizations but leaves that unbelievable conclusion of the aliens leaving the planet).

The spiritual kinship was to Siegel's version; I think both it and Ferrara's are open to opposing interpretations.

Unfortunately I've still seen only two of Ferrara's films: Body Snatchers and Bad Lieutenant. Girish is fond of Ferrara, esp. New Rose Hotel, so that's another strong recommendation.