The Honorable 47 Rogues of the Palpatine Era

Not Carrie Fisher

Has “hope” ever been creepier than as the last word of dialogue in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, uttered by Carrie Fisher or something like her or some unlikely likeness of some former incarnation of her, before us in double death-in-life? The movie’s fish-eyed space admirals were more believable than Fisher’s sex dollish image clone.

We are beyond the realm of “spoilers” here, so will note without hesitation that the scene in which it, not she, is cinematically discovered, standing still, presumably having been waiting all along, terminates a crescendo of death. Prior to that moment, the narrative is of the accelerating annihilation by heroic self-sacrifice, one by one and all-inclusively, of the typically motley crew of cartoonish types. Princess Leia promises new life for the hapless rebellion, and yet her or not-her’s appearance is the first and only moment in the film that qualifies as macabre.

“Forlorn hope,” “last stand,” “suicide mission,” and other variations on the theme turn up in different genres, but are especially poignant when drawn from history, and even when we are not necessarily inclined to sympathize with “the fallen.” Before there was the movie Rogue One, there was, for example, Kanal (1957), Andrzej Wajda’s film threnody of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, but, before there was Kanal, there was The Loyal 47 Ronin of the Genroku Era, aka The 47 Ronin, Kenji Mizoguchi’s bushido epic, released in 1941 – complete with intertitles, once at the beginnings of each of two parts, calling upon… someone… to “defend the homes of those who fight for a greater Asia.” Viewing The 47 Ronin far on the other side of the history then homing in on it, one may imagine oneself sympathizing with the main characters, all ardently seeking the path to destruction, treating any delay or detour as threat of inconsolable loss.

Over the three to four hours of The 47 Ronin‘s deep-focused quietude, one may find oneself justly in awe of Lord Asano’s righteously vengeful, hopefully hopeless samurai, both admiring them and empathizing with them, happy that they all “ended their lives without disgracing themselves” and satisfied that they “carried through on their original intent.” The in its way even more merciless fatality of Rogue One, the former structuring the latter all the way through the hectic final sequence, may have been the finest effect ever achieved in the entire Star Wars cinematic universe, but The 47 Ronin, evoking both past and, as it happened, quite imminent actualities, puts the pseudo-pathos of the Star Wars character in withering relief – as pastiche, an idea of an idea of an idea.

All the same, the world closes in on art, on the fantastical and feeble as well as on the historical and fine. The real as not merely idea emerges from within its representation, or the not merely imaginary emerges from the image, each re-absorbing the other into its own background, approaching unity. The effect is not always moving and not always marvelous or even enjoyable. It is as often enigmatic and unsettling, nauseating paradox joined to unseemly impulses, or word-games next to the deaths of beloved celebrities who were also, as we often say, real people: Rogue One was still in movie theaters when the news about Carrie Fisher’s death hit the nets. Friend of the blog Lee M was one of thousands of moviegoers who, that very night may have been shocked by the CGI apparition. Months later, the equally unexpected clumsiness of the CGI art itself, its utterly excessive artificiality, its pratfall into the uncanny valley, in short its obvious phoniness, is almost comforting, almost itself a rescue and promise, in these times, when we reflexively presume that almost any human quality can be, as soon as it is identified and isolated, rendered as empty effect.

We may or must wish to believe that human vitality or spirit remains or must be thought to remain ineffable and indelible, beyond all ever achievable f/x no matter how many millions are plowed into its negation: The Death Star exploded from within, and the message of “new hope” equaling the survival of old and mysterious things or of mystery itself, a permanent deferral of “singularity” – the subsumption of being under things like that Fisher thing, most definitely not Fisher ever in life, nor even a death-mask – and, in the falseness of the visage, Star Wars for a moment as close and true as here and now.

Home Page  Public Email  Twitter  Facebook  YouTube  Github   

Writing since ancient times, blogging, e-commercing, and site installing-designing-maintaining since 2001; WordPress theme and plugin configuring and developing since 2004 or so; a lifelong freelancer, not associated nor to be associated with any company, publication, party, university, church, or other institution.

Commenter Ignore Button by CK's Plug-Ins

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Noted & Quoted

[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

Comment →

So, does Mitchell make any money on the work, which has been shared so many times? He uploaded a high-res image of the symbol and granted permission for anyone to use it personally for free. But for those who want to support his work or simply want something readymade, you can also buy T-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, and journals emblazoned with the symbol through Threadless.“I really just want to spread the image as much as possible and cement it in history,” Mitchell says. “In all honesty, the amount I’ve made from my Threadless shop so far is still less than my hourly rate, so I don’t really see it as a big deal. If you look at my Twitter, half the replies are people wanting to know where they can buy a shirt. Threadless is happy to help them out with that, and so I’m happy to let that happen.”Now that the symbol has flooded our streets and our timelines, Mitchell just has one request: “Impeach this idiot already,” he says.

Comment →

This is a Waterloo moment for Trump, the tea party and their alliance. They have been stopped in their tracks not only by Democratic opposition but because of a mutiny within their own ranks. Although never particularly liked or respected, it is now clear that they are no longer feared. The bankruptcy of their ideas and their incompetence have been exposed. Their momentum has been dissipated. Their rejection of political norms has itself been scorned. Our long national nightmare may finally be coming to an end.

Comment →
CK's WP Plugins


Extraordinary Comments

CK's WP Plugins