Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist


Farms. So much of American art is a questioning of the farm . How much of a favour did we do ourselves by hunkering down to the plough when we could have been wandering the plains/planes with a Henry rifle across our knees? Was it worth the price we paid? Without the farm you can't have the town, aka civilization, but who needs a town when it's the sink of small-mindeness it usually turns out to be.

America is a nation of farmers but its heroes and heroines are the footloose and fancy-free- from Huck Finn to Tom Joad to Jack Kerouac to Coop and Murphy in this movie. You gotta keep moving, moving, moving ' cos the farm's a  trap. The barbed wire keeps the wilderness out and the farmer in. As it says in the old song, "Give me land, lots of land neath the starry skies above; don't fence me in."

Like the Wizard of Oz, like The Grapes of Wrath, like the Searchers, Interstellar starts down on the farm- and rarely did it look less lovely. Dust storms hang in the sky over the ball-game. Dust gets everywhere. They're eternally sweeping it off their porches.  And they keep their bowls and plates turned upside down on the table to stop them filling up with the stuff.  Live on a farm? You might as well bury yourself alive.

And then,,,is it a bird? a plane?Aah no, it's just a drone- a dying drone that's dropped down out of the atmosphere- but we chase it anyway, flattening a track through the endless fields of corn, because it's got wings and it stirs memories.  Coop is going to cannibalize it for spare parts but his daughter is disgusted. "Let if go free," she says. Later, when it's her father she has to let go free, she finds it's not that simple. Freedom comes at a price, you can't carry baggage, you gotta cut loose

And after that the themes are taken up by the full orchestra. The twister that takes Coop off the farm is a wormhole that has its other end in metaphysics.  And here the spoilers come thick and fast so I'll shut up.  Our culture is uneasy dealing with metaphysics except in its fictions but- well- maybe our culture is just another farm.

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