Friday, January 4, 2013

Love is Obsolete

by Drew Martin
I recently saw Obselidia, a love propaganda film that suggests a man should have a woman in his life. It is about a young, Australian-twanged intellectual, complete unto himself, whose finely braided soul is unraveled by a needy woman.

The famous Dutch painter, Piet Mondrian, the master of colored squares and father of balanced asymmetry, believed in the spiritual hermaphrodite.

“The artist is asexual. The man-artist is female and male at the same time; therefore he does not need a woman.”

The main character of Obselidia, George, is such a person. He has a beautiful, simple life. By day he is a librarian at a Los Angeles public library. The rest of his waking hours are spent compiling entries for his life’s work, The Encyclopedia of Obsolete Things. He uses a clunky VHS camera to record people whose jobs are becoming obsolete or who are knowledgeable about dying objects. In the comfort of his modest apartment, filled with humble treasures from the past, he transcribes the tapes using a round-keyed manual typewriter.

George is attractive in his own way, and politely declines the advances of women who are interested in him. For one of his encyclopedia entries he meets up with Sophie, a projectionist at a silent movie theater in Los Angeles. He does not take the bait she casts in his direction so she shows up unannounced at his doorstep and starts to chip away as his armor.

In one scene Sophie convinces George to go to the low-lit Museum of Jurassic Technology in order to draw him out of his comfort zone. She uses the malfunction of his audio unit at one exhibit to get closer to him, and continues her seduction, which slowly softens him up like a chicken in a crock pot. In another scene, Sophie drags him out to the desert and forces him to sleep in a tent, which is actually a big, vinyl extension of her womb. In it, she comforts him like a little boy scared of the rattlesnakes and coyotes outside. 
During their second night alone, they kiss, and Sophie infects George with cooties, which attacks his heart.

Sophie and George return to Los Angeles, and she leaves him high and dry for her boyfriend. Six months later, the cooties parasite spreads to his brain. George becomes delirious and tears up weedy thistles around his yard to present to the absent Sophie in a desperate attempt to reach out to her, only to be cruelly rejected. In the final scene, after a burst of pathetic crying, we see George back in the library putting the books and his life in order, but a passing women triggers the dormant cooties parasite and he becomes paralyzed.