Many of you would remember an extraordinary film from the early seventies. At a time when the lives of the Baby Boomers was reaching the explosive years of their twenties … LSD, cannabis, other illicit drugs and good ol’ reliable booze had reached epidemic proportions among the itinerant youthful population … WE … were the “sons and daughters that were beyond your command” … of the Bob Dylan song. Into this world of lived freedom of thought fell several films of what could be described as “The Fantastical Genre” … Films like “Zabriski Point” (official trailer), with the accompanying music of Floyd (“Careful with that axe, Eugene …”), The Grateful Dead, Patti Page: (The Tennessee Waltz), The Stones and others. Then there were the Fellini films; “Satyricon”, “Cassanova”, “Roma”, all played out in voluptuous settings and peopled by the most bizarre characters in a fantastical dialogue.
And also there was this:
“A Clockwork Orange is a 1971 dystopian crime film adapted, produced, and directed by Stanley Kubrick , based on Anthony Burgess’s1962 novel of the same name. It employs disturbing, violent images to comment on psychiatry , juvenile delinquency, youth gangs, and other social, political, and economic subjects in a dystopian near-future Britain.
Alex (Malcolm McDowell), the central character, is a charismatic, antisocial delinquent whose interests include classical music (especially Beethoven), committing rape, and what is termed “ultra-violence”. He leads a small gang of thugs, Pete, Georgie, and Dim, whom he calls his droogs. The film chronicles the horrific crime spree of his gang, his capture, and attempted rehabilitation via an experimental psychological conditioning technique by the Minister of the Interior, named Ludovico. Alex narrates most of the film in Nadsat, a fractured adolescent slang composed of Slavic (especially Russian), English, and Cockney rhyming slang.
The soundtrack to a clockwork orange features mostly classical music selections and Moog synthesizer compositions by Wendy Carlos. The artwork for the poster of A Clockwork Orange was created by Philip Castle with the layout by designer Bill Gold.” (Wikipedia).
A most visually assaulting on the senses experience for those times … and even for today (though somewhat dated in production), it can be a strange fruit. Here is the original trailer.
And here, Thamesmead South Housing Estate where Alex knocks his rebellious droogs into the lake in a sudden surprise attack.
But these trips into the fantastical world of make-believe were tempered in those times by the hard reality of having to get to work on the Monday morning in at least some sort of state fit for the job … a level of expectation sometimes way above the possible! … So they resided in the mind’s eye still as little more than a visual experience.
Now, in this post-modern, super-sized world of CVR (cinematic virtual reality), anything seems possible … fantasy becomes “reality”… and the world of the everyday melds very quickly on the screen to a world of illusion with seamless ease: “Unlike traditional VR (virtual reality), CVR limits the level of control users have within the environment to choosing viewpoints rather than interacting with the world itself. This means that CVR production arguably represents a new type of filmmaking.” … (Journal of Media Practice). The film maker now has the control of how the viewer will interpret the film … no longer through attachment with lived experience, but through psychological infiltration and interpretation.
Social Media; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, all allow us to create our own identities. If we don’t want to be seen as one person, we “construct” another identity … We attach pseudonyms and “Gravitars” more in keeping of what we want others to see us as … and perhaps as we want to see ourselves … we have moved a little bit closer to the abyss of lost souls. We seek out the camouflage that hides our real person and from behind these ‘hides”, we take pot-shots at whatever riles and annoys our perceived notions of the world.
Also at play has been the falsifying of history in regards to Australian settlement … a confected illusion replete with heroes and villains, the righteous civilisers and the barbaric natives … in any land, any colonising situation … This illusion of reality in history is no better manipulated than the “ANZAC myth” … played upon the heart-strings of jingoism with the deft touch of a master propagandist … all that is needed is another Leni Riefenstahl to complete the picture. The national history has been one long lie that is now fast unravelling at the same pace (coincidentally?) as a false reality of CVR film (can it be called “film” anymore?) is becoming such an integral part of our everyday entertainment. The online streaming availability of these visual creations filter into our living rooms nearly every day, as do the online “games” and click-bait sensuality. Our eyes have become a direct link to our wallets … the cost of digital technology a necessity budgeted into household “outgoings”.
There is more than a danger of us walking wide awake into a fantasy world. I think we are already in it! We see many lash out on Twitter and other social media against these or that “harridans” and “whores” … ”pr#cks” and “a#seholes”, unrestrained by any form of decency and modesty … indeed, there are those of unbridled nature who go even further and call on past atrocities of the most repressive regimes, the likes of Joe Stalin and use them as examples for a “deserved treatment” for a favoured victim of their animosity … We have truly crossed into the fantastic when such dire reprisals become imaginatively possible!
I suspect a point has been reached where the social cost of realisation of witnessing ultra-violence on screen that has all the reality-like structures conjured up with CVR imagery, IS leading the first-world down a rabbit-hole to fantasy so much more dangerous than anything that original first-tripper; Alice ever went down:
“In that direction,” the Cat said, waving its right paw round, “lives a Hatter: and in that direction,” waving the other paw, “lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: they’re both mad.”
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here.”