Episode 204: Mother!

28 Sep

In this episode, Tyler and Josh discuss Darren Aronofsky’s mother! and Bela Tarr’s Werckmeister Harmonies.

3 Responses to “Episode 204: Mother!”

  1. Jackson H. September 28, 2017 at 11:30 pm #

    Josh, don’t feel bad. The first time I watched Mother! I didn’t catch any of the allegory either. I was so focused on the gender issues that all that went right over my head until I spoke with some other people. So yeah. The film has layers.

  2. Ilya October 1, 2017 at 7:20 pm #

    I also did not catch any of the allegory, except in noticing that the poet was being worshipped like a god by the people in the movie; it felt to me at the time more like a statement about fame and celebrity culture.

    Of course, once pointed out, the allegory seems obvious. I think you brought up some good points in the podcast about where it falls short, especially around Jennifer Lawrence’s character. I think, though, that just because the movie very clearly makes us see from her perspective – the entire movie is very much from her perspective – does not mean that we have to take her stated desires (for everyone to get out) as the right ones.

    To bring up an extreme example, A Clockwork Orange makes us see from the perspective of a murderer and rapist, but that perspective is certainly not one that we are meant to intellectually identify with and get behind. Similarly, although this movie is very clearly from Nature’s perspective, and is effective at making us identify with Nature, we do not need to come away with it desiring quite the same things that Nature desires (mankind to go away)… nor does it necessarily mean that this is what the director truly desires. This movie was conceived and written in a very short time span and Aronofsky, as you mentioned, noted that the movie is an expression of a primal feeling, presumably of disgust with humanity. But we and Aronofsky both can understand that primal feeling without ultimately agreeing with it.

    Also – although the movie is framed as Nature’s story, I think it’s interesting to look at it as God’s story. Javier Bardem’s character has a wife who is devoted to him and who he tries to treat well, but he feels stifled in the house. He needs other people around to feel truly whole and fulfilled, and he needs to give himself wholly to these people. But his need to be with humanity and his total love and generosity towards them ends up in the destruction of everything, humanity and nature both. This character may not be true to what God is in the Bible, but he is an interesting interpretation of a (slightly different) God – as a being overcome by his own love and generosity, and his own loneliness; as someone who is too pure to stop his darlings from destroying everything he holds dear, including themselves. Maybe this is not the work of a real believer, but more the work of someone who is interested in tweaking this well-known mythology to tell a slightly different story.

  3. Bob K October 18, 2017 at 2:48 pm #

    Finally caught up with this, and I agree a lot with Ilya (though you guys had some great discussion too). Among everything else going on, it has a great portrayal of a seemingly good and sinless entity (whether she’s The Earth, an angel, possibly a falling angel, part of the Trinity, etc.) trying to love a God who is forgiving of those who do sin, and how difficult that could be. I think we’re meant to insert our own knowledge of how much we need God’s gentler aspects, but at the same time realize these come with a price, even if the price is in the end worth paying.

    It reminds me somewhat of the cry of the martyrs from Revelations 6:9, wondering how long until they’re avenged. We’re not supposed to think that they’re right and God is wrong, but we do understand their impatience.

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