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Amo pochi film di Oliver Stone, anzi sono esattamente tre le opere del regista americano che più mi convincono: JFK, Platoon e Gli intrighi del potere (1995), di cui riporto la scena che secondo me riassume il significato dell’intero film. La paranoica ambizione di un uomo estremamente instabile, tormentato dalla convinzione di non essere accettato, e deciso a sopperire questo deficit rincorrendo con ogni mezzo il potere. Basterà, a dire il vero più a noi che a lui, la banale deduzione di una ragazzina per capire che quella é una corsa vana e che il potere di cui si crede tenutario, in realtà è un animale indomabile fuori dal suo controllo.


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Avevo fatto un tentativo – subito rivelatosi inutile – di tradurre questo racconto. Ma io sono fottutamente pigro e lui è l’erede diretto di Mark Twain. Ho desistito. La novel funziona benissimo nella sua lingua originale. 🙂 E comunque volevo segnalare che da questo racconto di Vonnegut è stato tratto il film – un remake, in realtà – 2081, “upcoming” negli states, e si spera presto in arrivo anche qui.

 

 

Harrison Bergeron

by Kurt Vonnegut (1961)

I’d like you to read this famous story and think about whether Nietzsche wasn’t on to something when he criticized the naive idea of human equality.

THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’

t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.

Some things about living still weren’t quite right, though. April, for instance, still drove people crazy by not being springtime. And it was in that clammy month that the H-G men took George and Hazel Bergeron’

s fourteen-year-old son, Harrison, away.

It was tragic, all right, but George and Hazel couldn’t think about it very hard. Hazel had a perfectly average intelligence, which meant she couldn’

t think about anything except in short bursts. And George, while his intelligence was way above normal, had a little mental handicap radio in his ear. He was required by law to wear it at all times. It was tuned to a government transmitter. Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains.

George and Hazel were watching television. There were tears on Hazel’s cheeks, but she’

d forgotten for the moment what they were about.

On the television screen were ballerinas.

A buzzer sounded in George’

s head. His thoughts fled in panic, like bandits from a burglar alarm.

“That was a real pretty dance, that dance they just did,”

said Hazel.

“Huh?”

said George.

“That dance – it was nice,”

said Hazel.

“Yup,” said George. He tried to think a little about the ballerinas. They weren’t really very good – no better than anybody else would have been, anyway. They were burdened with sashweights and bags of birdshot, and their faces were masked, so that no one, seeing a free and graceful gesture or a pretty face, would feel like something the cat drug in. George was toying with the vague notion that maybe dancers shouldn’t be handicapped. But he didn’

t get very far with it before another noise in his ear radio scattered his thoughts.

George winced. So did two out of the eight ballerinas.

Hazel saw him wince. Having no mental handicap herself she had to ask George what the latest sound had been.

“Sounded like somebody hitting a milk bottle with a ball peen hammer,”

said George.

“I’d think it would be real interesting, hearing all the different sounds,” said Hazel, a little envious. “All the things they think up.”
“Um,”

said George.

“Only, if I was Handicapper General, you know what I would do?” said Hazel. Hazel, as a matter of fact, bore a strong resemblance to the Handicapper General, a woman named Diana Moon Glampers. “If I was Diana Moon Glampers,” said Hazel, “I’d have chimes on Sunday – just chimes. Kind of in honor of religion.”
“I could think, if it was just chimes,”

said George.

“Well – maybe make ‘em real loud,” said Hazel. “I think I’d make a good Handicapper General.”
“Good as anybody else,”

said George.

“Who knows better’n I do what normal is?”

said Hazel.

“Right,”

said George. He began to think glimmeringly about his abnormal son who was now in jail, about Harrison, but a twenty-one-gun salute in his head stopped that.

“Boy!” said Hazel, “that was a doozy, wasn’t it?”

It was such a doozy that George was white and trembling and tears stood on the rims of his red eyes. Two of the eight ballerinas had collapsed to the studio floor, were holding their temples.

“All of a sudden you look so tired,” said Hazel. “Why don’t you stretch out on the sofa, so’s you can rest your handicap bag on the pillows, honeybunch.” She was referring to the forty-seven pounds of birdshot in canvas bag, which was padlocked around George’s neck. “Go on and rest the bag for a little while,” she said. “I don’t care if you’re not equal to me for a while.”
George weighed the bag with his hands. “I don’t mind it,” he said. “I don’t notice it any more. It’

s just a part of me.

“You been so tired lately – kind of wore out,” said Hazel. “If there was just some way we could make a little hole in the bottom of the bag, and just take out a few of them lead balls. Just a few.”
“Two years in prison and two thousand dollars fine for every ball I took out,” said George. “I don’t call that a bargain.”
“If you could just take a few out when you came home from work,” said Hazel. “I mean – you don’t compete with anybody around here. You just set around.”
“If I tried to get away with it,” said George, “then other people’d get away with it and pretty soon we’d be right back to the dark ages again, with everybody competing against everybody else. You wouldn’t like that, would you?”
“I’d hate it,”

said Hazel.

“There you are,” said George. “The minute people start cheating on laws, what do you think happens to society?”
If Hazel hadn’t been able to come up with an answer to this question, George couldn’

t have supplied one. A siren was going off in his head.

“Reckon it’d fall all apart,”

said Hazel.

“What would?”

said George blankly.

“Society,” said Hazel uncertainly. “Wasn’t that what you just said?”
“Who knows?”

said George.

The television program was suddenly interrupted for a news bulletin. It wasn’t clear at first as to what the bulletin was about, since the announcer, like all announcers, had a serious speech impediment. For about half a minute, and in a state of high excitement, the announcer tried to say, “Ladies and gentlemen – ”

He finally gave up, handed the bulletin to a ballerina to read.

“That’s all right –” Hazel said of the announcer, “he tried. That’s the big thing. He tried to do the best he could with what God gave him. He should get a nice raise for trying so hard.”
“Ladies and gentlemen”

said the ballerina, reading the bulletin. She must have been extraordinarily beautiful, because the mask she wore was hideous. And it was easy to see that she was the strongest and most graceful of all the dancers, for her handicap bags were as big as those worn by two-hundred-pound men.

And she had to apologize at once for her voice, which was a very unfair voice for a woman to use. Her voice was a warm, luminous, timeless melody. “Excuse me – ”

she said, and she began again, making her voice absolutely uncompetitive.

“Harrison Bergeron, age fourteen,” she said in a grackle squawk, “has just escaped from jail, where he was held on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the government. He is a genius and an athlete, is under–handicapped, and should be regarded as extremely dangerous.”
A police photograph of Harrison Bergeron was flashed on the screen –

upside down, then sideways, upside down again, then right side up. The picture showed the full length of Harrison against a background calibrated in feet and inches. He was exactly seven feet tall.

The rest of Harrison’s appearance was Halloween and hardware. Nobody had ever worn heavier handicaps. He had outgrown hindrances faster than the H–

G men could think them up. Instead of a little ear radio for a mental handicap, he wore a tremendous pair of earphones, and spectacles with thick wavy lenses. The spectacles were intended to make him not only half blind, but to give him whanging headaches besides.

Scrap metal was hung all over him. Ordinarily, there was a certain symmetry, a military neatness to the handicaps issued to strong people, but Harrison looked like a walking junkyard. In the race of life, Harrison carried three hundred pounds.

And to offset his good looks, the H–G men required that he wear at all times a red rubber ball for a nose, keep his eyebrows shaved off, and cover his even white teeth with black caps at snaggle–

tooth random.

“If you see this boy,” said the ballerina, “do not – I repeat, do not – try to reason with him.”

There was the shriek of a door being torn from its hinges.

Screams and barking cries of consternation came from the television set. The photograph of Harrison Bergeron on the screen jumped again and again, as though dancing to the tune of an earthquake.

George Bergeron correctly identified the earthquake, and well he might have – for many was the time his own home had danced to the same crashing tune. “My God –” said George, “that must be Harrison!”

The realization was blasted from his mind instantly by the sound of an automobile collision in his head.

When George could open his eyes again, the photograph of Harrison was gone. A living, breathing Harrison filled the screen.

Clanking, clownish, and huge, Harrison stood in the center of the studio. The knob of the uprooted studio door was still in his hand. Ballerinas, technicians, musicians, and announcers cowered on their knees before him, expecting to die.

“I am the Emperor!” cried Harrison. “Do you hear? I am the Emperor! Everybody must do what I say at once!”

He stamped his foot and the studio shook.

“Even as I stand here –” he bellowed, “crippled, hobbled, sickened – I am a greater ruler than any man who ever lived! Now watch me become what I can become!”

Harrison tore the straps of his handicap harness like wet tissue paper, tore straps guaranteed to support five thousand pounds.

Harrison’s scrap–

iron handicaps crashed to the floor.

Harrison thrust his thumbs under the bar of the padlock that secured his head harness. The bar snapped like celery. Harrison smashed his headphones and spectacles against the wall.

He flung away his rubber–

ball nose, revealed a man that would have awed Thor, the god of thunder.

“I shall now select my Empress!” he said, looking down on the cowering people. “Let the first woman who dares rise to her feet claim her mate and her throne!”

A moment passed, and then a ballerina arose, swaying like a willow.

Harrison plucked the mental handicap from her ear, snapped off her physical handicaps with marvelous delicacy. Last of all, he removed her mask.

She was blindingly beautiful.

“Now” said Harrison, taking her hand, “shall we show the people the meaning of the word dance? Music!”

he commanded.

The musicians scrambled back into their chairs, and Harrison stripped them of their handicaps, too. “Play your best,” he told them, “and I’ll make you barons and dukes and earls.”
The music began. It was normal at first –

cheap, silly, false. But Harrison snatched two musicians from their chairs, waved them like batons as he sang the music as he wanted it played. He slammed them back into their chairs.

The music began again and was much improved.

Harrison and his Empress merely listened to the music for a while –

listened gravely, as though synchronizing their heartbeats with it.

They shifted their weights to their toes.

Harrison placed his big hands on the girl’

s tiny waist, letting her sense the weightlessness that would soon be hers.

And then, in an explosion of joy and grace, into the air they sprang!

Not only were the laws of the land abandoned, but the law of gravity and the laws of motion as well.

They reeled, whirled, swiveled, flounced, capered, gamboled, and spun.

They leaped like deer on the moon.

The studio ceiling was thirty feet high, but each leap brought the dancers nearer to it. It became their obvious intention to kiss the ceiling.

They kissed it.

And then, neutralizing gravity with love and pure will, they remained suspended in air inches below the ceiling, and they kissed each other for a long, long time.

It was then that Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General, came into the studio with a double-barreled ten-gauge shotgun. She fired twice, and the Emperor and the Empress were dead before they hit the floor.

Diana Moon Glampers loaded the gun again. She aimed it at the musicians and told them they had ten seconds to get their handicaps back on.

It was then that the Bergerons’

television tube burned out.

Hazel turned to comment about the blackout to George.

But George had gone out into the kitchen for a can of beer.

George came back in with the beer, paused while a handicap signal shook him up. And then he sat down again. “You been crying?”

he said to Hazel.

“Yup,”

she said,

“What about?”

he said.

“I forget,” she said. “Something real sad on television.”
“What was it?”

he said.

“It’s all kind of mixed up in my mind,”

said Hazel.

“Forget sad things,”

said George.

“I always do,”

said Hazel.

“That’s my girl,”

said George. He winced. There was the sound of a riveting gun in his head.

“Gee – I could tell that one was a doozy,”

said Hazel.

“You can say that again,”

said George.

“Gee –” said Hazel, “I could tell that one was a doozy.”

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Bella citazione direi decisamente proprietarista dal film “Il cacciatore di aquiloni” di Marc Forster

“Non esistono peccati, ma solo il furto”

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In questi giorni mi è capitato di pensare frequentemente ai “ggiovani”, ai gap generazionali, all’adolescenza protratta ad infinitum, certi genitori che trovano nella vecchia solfa del mondo cattivo l’alibi per un patetico giovanilismo che genera solo irresponsabilità.

Insomma, a una delle tante forme di degrado sociale. Lo scenario che si configura è confuso e poco incoraggiante, ma a fare un po’ più di chiarezza rispetto a tante complicate teorie, è venuto inaspettatamente il film che mi sono rivisto ieri sera in cui uno dei protagonisti ad un certo punto dice:

«Non si esce dall’infanzia con una carezza»
Natascha Von Braun

Affermazione che nella sua crudezza mi sembra profondamente vera e bella.Purtroppo non ho trovato il clip che la riporta, ma visto che Agente Lemmy Caution: missione Alphavilledi Jean-Luc Godardè un film che merita di essere visto per l’alto contenuto di temi libertari, e non solo per quello, ne posto lo stesso una delle parti più interessanti.

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In Dreams.

Pezzo memorabile di Roy Orbison nell’interpretazione  fottutamente soave di Dean Stockwell in Blue velvet di David Lynch. Chissà perchè il film non ha preso il titolo da questa canzone anziché da quella di Bobby Vinton.

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L’unico neo? La pessima operazione di marketing che ha imposto questa penosa traduzione del titolo. Il vero titolo de “L’età barbarica”, infatti, sarebbe “L’Âge des ténèbres”, espressione perfettamente traducibile in italiano che a mio parere doveva essere mantenuta. Invece, i distributori italiani hanno pensato di infarloccare lo spettatore illudendolo si trattasse de “Le invasioni barbariche 2”. Il che in parte è vero, dato che entrambi i film hanno come obiettivo una dura critica della società postmoderna, ma “L’età” è molto più maturo e “politico” delle Invasioni . Inoltre, la citazione tolkeniana, anche solo per buongusto e rispetto verso la “più grande opera letteraria contemporanea”, suggeriva di lasciare il titolo invariato. Pazienza.
Per il resto, il regista Denys Arcand conferma quanto già accennato nelle invasioni: ha chiaramente in odio la deresponsabilizzazione degli individui causata da uno stato che ci vorrebbe proteggere “dalla culla alla tomba”. Lo sconosciuto Marc Labreche, attore protagonista de “L’età barbarica”, d’altra parte, è perfetto, meglio di qualunque altra star finto depressa à la Sean Penn (cui comunque devo riconoscere che il suo ultimo Into the Wild si può tranquillamente ascrivere tra i “bellissimi”).
Per usare un francesismo, peraltro congeniale alla collocazione geografica del film, Labreche possiede a pieno titolo il proverbiale physique du rôle: smunto e flaccido al punto giusto, incarnato ceruleo e movenze indolenti. È la dotazione indispensabile per un impiegato pubblico da manuale.

“L’età barbarica” propone il tema della disintegrazione sociale dovuta al welfare state , ma, rispetto al precedente film di Arcand, lo fa con maggiore accento critico contro la follia politicamente corretta e attraverso riflessioni più penetranti su temi economici, guerra, global warming, stato e tutto il resto dell’armamentario positivista e costruttivista che ci distruggerà.
Nuances onirico-distopiche si alternano in un crescendo di situazioni assurde e inquietanti, ma sempre intrise di quell’umorismo crudo e realistico che poi è la cifra del grande cinema di denuncia.
La storia parla di Jean Marc Lablache, un uomo medio – o un mezz’uomo -, tipico impiegato ministeriale, economicamente soddisfatto e umanamente a pezzi. Marc ascolta per professione lamentele di ogni tipo a cui risponde evasivo nel classico burocratese che dice tutto e non spiega nulla, tentando senza successo di esorcizzare la consapevolezza di essere parte in causa della sofferenza di quei disgraziati illusi di trovare in lui una soluzione ai loro guai; ha inoltre una moglie stronza e in carriera sempre attaccata al cellulare, che non lo degna di attenzioni e non conosce la differenza tra stare ed essere; due figlie adolescenti rimbambite dall’iPod che fanno sesso orale con i figli dei vicini e lo trattano come la più fantozziana delle merdacce; ma anche una madre in fin di vita che Marc va a trovare in ospedale nei fine settimana, sottoponendosi ad un rituale masochistico che dovrebbe espiare la vergogna per aver abbandonato l’anziana donna al terrore della morte. La società in cui vive è sclerotica ed ipocrita mentre lo stato, per dar da mangiare a una masnada di sociologi da strapazzo, ha bandito fumo e parole “scorrette” come negro.
Nell’ordalia collettivista in chiave salutistico/new-age, gli impiegati pubblici sono sottoposti a ridicole sedute di terapia a base di biodanza, feng shui e stronzate simili.

C’è n’è abbastanza per esplodere nel Canada descritto da altri come un paradiso di civiltà.

Marc invece pensa di trovare la soluzione spazzando la polvere sotto il tappeto, e sogna di non essere se stesso, di essere uno scrittore di successo o un samurai taglia teste di cazzo, di far sodomizzare la capo ufficio che lo umilia da due giganti africani, oppure di essere circondato da ammiratrici che lo vogliono in ogni momento e lo costringono a rapporti sessuali nelle situazioni più impensabili.
Ci sono anche due amici-colleghi a condividere con lui questa sorta di thoreauniana “quieta disperazione”; sono una lesbica ed un negro, due “diversi” resi “uguali” per legge, quindi dei diversi istituzionalizzati, con cui Marc fuma clandestinamente e riflette rassegnato sulla miseria della loro comune condizione.

C’è però sempre quella madre a riportarlo alla realtà, la cui figura incarna simbolicamente la morte come elemento distintivo della vita, il dato oggettivo, il traguardo ineluttabile cui non è dato mancare e che costringe a riflettere su quello che siamo e su quello che stiamo facendo. Non è facile fare i conti con se stessi, ma dura poco: una corsa in treno e Marc si ritrova in pochi minuti nel gorgo delle tenebre, legittimato a riprendere la fuga da sé.
Ma accade un fatto, prevedibile quanto rivelatore. La moglie se ne va di casa decretando il fallimento dell’esistenza di Marc, il quale per compensare si invaghisce di una ragazza malata di modernismo come e più lui. Solo che lei non sogna un altro mondo, lei vive in un altro mondo.
Un mondo puro, giusto e virtuoso, la terra di mezzo, con duelli e cavalieri bianchi e neri d’ordinanza, popolata da tanti poveri disperati come lei che dopo aver smesso i panni degli alienati sociali, si ritrovano in un lucido delirio passatista pa depurarsi dai mali dell’era contemporanea.
Marc inizialmente apprezza ma sceglie di non partecipare; è un gioco irrazionale quanto la realtà che lo circonda, un gioco che non cambia di una virgola lo stato delle cose.
Inizia una presa di coscienza che lo spinge a decidere di lasciare il lavoro. Nel frattempo la madre muore e per Marc, dopo il tracollo, le cose iniziano a farsi chiare.
Così decide di darsi ad una vita idilliaca ritirandosi nell’elegante chalet in riva al mare lasciatogli dal padre e lavorando in una arcadica comunità agricola sembra ritrovare un senso alla sua vita.
Ma qui arriva l’affondo del regista. In questa fase del film, infatti, Arcand non simpatizza affatto col protagonista, ma sembra piuttosto volerci dire che il ritorno alla natura non basta, specie se riguarda solo chi può permetterselo in accordo a particolari condizioni di privilegio.

Memorabili diverse battute, una su tutte quella di Marc che dopo essersi licenziato se ne va dall’ufficio con la faccia di uno che si è appena tolto un macigno dallo stomaco e incrociando quei poveracci in attesa di esporre le proprie sventure al sordo burocrate di turno, li invita a tornarsene a casa dicendo “Non abbiamo risposte per voi, le vostre vite sono troppo complicate”.
Cioè a dire: lo stato non è la soluzione, ma il problema. La soluzione siete voi.

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