The cover's awful.
Actually the end bit makes sense cos his films are filled with characters who never seem to do anything.During his college years, Bi watched Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker, later stating in an interview, "Cinema can be different [from mainstream films]; you can make what you like. What I had seen up to that point were mainly Hollywood films. What I was taught was pretty boring." Because of this particular film, he made up his mind to pursue filmmaking. "Before that, my parents and my relatives thought I would become jobless after graduation since I didn't want to do anything."
Watched Annihilation last night. Thought it was a bit slow in places, but still thinking about it. Love the soundtrack, particularly when Portman confronts the alien. And it looks stunning; all the mutating flora and fauna, the colours of "The Shimmer".
I liked that they didn't explain too much. You're told it's refracting everything, including human DNA, and that it's just changing things. It isn't necessarily peaceful or hostile. Once it shifted to a humanoid form I was a little disappointed as I liked how it initially appeared as that strange ball of energy, totally alien.
I couldn't get a decent look at the book Portman was reading in one of the flashbacks, so looked it up and it's a book on a woman called Henrietta Lacks whose cancer cells were kept without her permission and which are now an immortalized human cell line.
(Apparently Adam Curtis' The Way of All Flesh is about her, so I'll have to bump it up the watch list.)
That all that's left of her's her cancer's similar to the woman's cries for help coming from the bear that killed her. One of the characters says something about imagining that's all you leave behind, your cries of pain, fear etc. Henrietta Lacks is dead except for the thing that killed and retains some part of her.
Cancer seems to be a huge part of the film in general. The alien's warping and mutating everything around it, the psychologist is terminal, one of the other women lost her daughter to leukemia. The team's made up of specialists who cover various areas that can be mapped to it too: psychology, biology, physics etc. Also, they all respond differently to it. One of the women's just taken away and killed, one lashes out at the others, one just accepts it and peacefully turns into some sort of plant, one confronts it head on and lets it take her and one fights it and survives, albeit changed. There's clearly another layer where the whole thing's a metaphor for grief, personal growth etc too.
I'm not fussed about reading the books as they sound drastically different to the film, but I'll probably watch the film again.
Weirdness is a confrontation with the nonhuman. Weird knowledge does not deny the capacity of the human mind and body to produce knowledge, but it does not reduce the world to human subject experience either. Unlike science fiction—in which there is a rational explanation for everything—and fantasy—where magic explains it all—weirdness hovers between poles of explainability.
This makes New Weird something of an anti-genre, a genre whose uniting factor is paradoxically in remaining outside categorization. Yet it’s been given a semblance of cohesion, according to a shared set of aesthetic sensibilities, by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, in the 2008 anthology The New Weird (and another simply called The Weird in 2012). VanderMeer is also author of the very weird Southern Reach trilogy, the first book of which, Annihilation (2014), involves a woman-becoming-nonhuman. In the book, a team of women enter a mysterious zone known as Area X, where an eerie nonhuman agent seems to be taking over or “infecting” the landscape. The narrator, a biologist, at first tries to examine the plantlife of Area X to explain what is happening around them, but eventually her own sense perception becomes warped by the environment she is herself becoming part of—she inhales the spores of an organism she is studying, which affect her perception. She’s forced to admit that she can no longer claim status as a detached observer; she has become an unreliable narrator by dint of becoming part of the ecosystem she is observing
This is where Garner steps in with his retelling of the tragic Blodeuwedd story from the medieval Celtic folklore epic The Mabinogion. In this story, a man is cursed to never have a human wife. His wizard uncle then creates a maiden out of flowers for his nephew; the two wed, but the maiden falls in love with another man, and the two plot to murder the husband. This sets off another curse in which the flower maiden is turned into an owl, doomed to spend eternity replaying the story in each new generation. (Or something to that effect.)