a clockwork orange

Tuesday, 12 March 2013


Inovador. Polémico. Extravagante. Desconcertante. Dramático. Teatral. Simbólico. Surpreendente. Ultra-violento.

Este é daqueles filmes que nos ficam na cabeça. Podemos até não perceber tudo o que se passa, mas não é fácil tirar os olhos do écran. Alguma náusea à mistura, algum franzir de sobrolho, alguns pontos de interrogação e exclamação (às vezes ao mesmo tempo), alguma curiosidade macabra e chegamos ao fim com a sensação de que, por muito que nos tenhamos preparado, fomos apanhados de surpresa.

Não sei bem quando vi pela primeira vez A Laranja Mecânica. Sei que fiquei mais confusa do que esclarecida, mais enjoada do que convencida - a reacção é inevitável, ainda que má, ainda que toldada pela incompreensão. Não tinha muita vontade de dar-lhe uma segunda oportunidade - a verdade é que não me lembro sequer se vi o filme até ao fim, acho que não.

Mas algo em mim achava que seria um filme a guardar na memória.
Quem me conhece já sabe que não gosto de coisas fáceis... mas sabe também que não consigo ser convencida por coisas que não parecem fazer sentido - e esta laranja é tudo menos superficial: tem várias camadas, precisa de ser descascada e comida com calma. E eu precisava de saber mais para voltar a ter apetite.

Já há muitos anos que um livro me chamava a atenção em casa dos meus pais - pelo interessante grafismo da capa e a estranheza da minúscula personagem. Olha, era A Laranja Mecânica, que parecia estar, muitos anos antes de eu ser nascida, à minha espera.

Li o livro e acho que toda a gente devia lê-lo. Muito bom, um dos mais marcantes que já li - e à luz do livro o filme ganha uma nova dimensão.
Anthony Burgess escreve uma obra crua e inventa uma linguagem à sua medida - a dificuldade que esse facto provoca na leitura é também aquilo que a torna cativante e genial. Um glossário no final do livro ajuda a perceber o Nadsat, mas pouco depois é fácil habituar-nos à estranheza da linguagem, que ajuda também a situar a narrativa num mundo estranho e - gostamos de pensar - longínquo.

É um filme de detalhes e grandes gestos. Ainda que não possa afirmar-me absolutamente fã de Kubrick (fiquei traumatizada quando me puseram a ver na escola o 2001: Odisseia no Espaço, mas posso afirmar agora com certeza que este e o The Shining compensaram o susto inicial), admito que tudo no filme o aproxima da atmosfera sinistra e ao mesmo tempo surreal que se adivinha no livro, acentuada pela ironia, o sentido de humor mordaz e uma incrível banda sonora... ah, e uma deliciosa decoração futurista ao estilo dos anos 70. Tudo no sítio certo, diria.
O exagero passa a mensagem e o excesso de violência é talvez um aviso, mais do que uma metáfora.
A dificuldade de uma sociedade que não sabe respeitar a individualidade de cada um dentro de um sistema que precisa da formatação para sobreviver, ainda que o indivíduo não compreenda que para ser livre tem que respeitar a liberdade do outro.
Se todos fizessemos o que queremos seria o caos. Se todos fossemos iguais deixaríamos de fazer sentido. É essa a contradição da laranja mecânica.

E para compensar, terminemos esta reflexão com um sorriso (mas vá, não se riam muito)! Deixo-vos então com o motivo que originou este post: a máscara que levamos ao Baile dos Vampiros, a festa de encerramento do Fantasporto, no passado Sábado. Que tal, parece-vos familiar?...


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Innovative. Controversial. Extravagant. Disconcerting. Dramatic. Theatrical. Symbolic. Surprising. Ultra-violent.

This is one of those movies that remain in our head. We may not understand everything that's going on, but it's not easy to take our eyes off the screen. It's like the mix of some nausea, some frown, some question and exclamation marks (sometimes simultaneously), some macabre curiosity and you end up with the feeling that, as much as we've prepared ourselves, we were caught by surprise.

I don't exactly remember when I first saw A Clockwork Orange. I know that I was more confused than enlightened, more sick than convinced - the reaction is inevitable, even if bad, even if clouded by misunderstanding. I didn't know if I wanted to give it a second chance - the truth is that I don't even remember if I saw the movie until the end, I think not.

But something in me thought it would be a movie to treasure.
Anyone who knows me knows I don't like easy things... but one would also know that I can't be convinced by something that doesn't seem to make sense - and this orange is anything but superficial: it has several layers, needs to be peeled and eaten with calm. And I needed to know more to open my appetite.

For many years a book caught my attention in my parents' home - for the interesting graphism and the strangeness of the small character in the cover. Look, it was A Clockwork Orange, which seemed to be waiting for me, many years before I was born.

I read the book and I think everyone should read it. Very good, one of the most remarkable I've ever read - and in light of the book the film takes on a new dimension.
Anthony Burgess wrote a raw book and invents a language to fit his needs - that causes difficulty in reading, but it's also what makes it catchy and genial. A glossary at the end of the book helps to understand the Nadsat, but shortly afterwards it's easy to get used to the strangeness of the language, which also helps to situate the narrative in a strange and - we like to think - distant world.

It's a film of details and great gestures. Although I can't absolutely say I'm a Kubrick's fan (I was traumatized when I had to watch 2001: A Space Odyssey at school, but I can now say with certainty that this one and The Shining offset the initial shock), I admit that everything in the film approaches the sinister and surreal atmosphere of the book, enphasized by irony, a mordant sense of humor and an amazing soundtrack... oh, and a delicious futuristic decoration, 70s style. Everything in the right place, I would say.
Exaggeration passes the message and the excess of violence is perhaps a warning rather than a metaphor.
The difficulty of a society that doesn't know how to respect the individuality of each within a system that requires formatting to survive, even if the individual doesn't understand that to be free is to respect the freedom of others.
If we did all that we wanted it was chaos. If we were all the same we would no longer make sense. That is the contradiction of the clockwork orange.

And to compensate, let's end this reflection with a smile (well, don't laugh too much though)! I leave you with the reason that led to this post in the first place: the mask that we took to the Ball of the Vampires, the closing party of Fantasporto (a Portuguese film festival), last Saturday. Do we look familiar to you?...

6 comments:

  1. Thank you Ana for your post. Even though I have not seen A Clockwork Orange (I am not averse to violence on the big screen, but I am not attracted to movies where violence comes for free... I stay away from Tarantino for that same reason) I liked your thoughts on movies that should be seen again and again to be fully appreciated.

    One note about Anthony Burgess, which you may already know... forgive me if that's the case. He was a British civil servant in India in the 1950s when he was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor in his 30s. As a result he gave up his job and decided to write. In the end it was a mis-diagnosis and he lived well into his 70s. Were it not for the medical error and there would be no "Orange" to talk about. One of his memorable quotes was: "I have never believed one should let one's family starve while one pursues art".

    Claudia

    p.s. - loved the last picture!

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    1. It's definitely a violent movie and that also bothers me a bit... but on the other hand I believe that like in Tarantino, it has to be seen from the point of view of the message, reinforced by some kind of theatrical exaggeration :)
      Yes, I had read that information about the author and I found it very curious! I also read that A Clockwork Orange was in part inspired by a real event... the rape of his first wife during WWII. This is certainly one of those cases that proves that we ought to know more about something so we can look at it with different eyes.
      Love the irony of the quote :) Thank you so much for your words!

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  2. saw your photo on fb and instantly recognized it! it's one of the most memorable movies I've seen and one of the few where I can say I found the movie as good as the book.
    but oh my god you picked one of the most terrifying images in the film (for me), the part where they hold his eyes open, I still remember sitting in the movie theater squirming in my seat covering my eyes until it was over!

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    1. Oh yes, that image is horrifying! But you saw the film in a movie theater? Lucky you!
      And I totally agree - one of the few movies I think it's as good as the book, this usually doesn't happen (I believe The English Patient would be another of those cases :).

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  3. i was actually very impressed by the movie and did not like it a bit!
    but yes, when i saw the image in fb i also recognized it immediately! great idea

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    1. Oh yes, it impressed me a lot too... that's why I had to give it a second chance :) I still have to let go of the ultra-violence to capture the message, I guess. I can't help to find the theatrical irony (of the music, the language, the accent...) quite appealing though!

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