Tuesday, 28 September 2010

My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?



I managed to catch Werner Herzog’s latest film, My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done? which is a masterpiece and possibly the best film I’ve ever seen at capturing and portraying the essence of Greek tragedy, the madness, terror and ‘ecstatic dream world’ that Nietzsche identifies.

The film is based on a true case of matricide committed in San Diego in the 1970s and concerns the descent into insanity of the killer son; an insanity prompted to an extent by the young man’s participation in a production of Aeschylus’ The Eumenides, in which he plays Orestes, on the run after slaying his mother Clytemnestra. Herbert Golder, a classicist at Boston University, co-wrote with Herzog the superb screenplay, full of demented poetry. Above is a clip from the film, in which the director of The Eumenides is explaining the play to his cast.

The film received a limited cinema release; it was only on for a week or so at one cinema here in London, but I managed to download it as a torrent form Pirate Bay, here.

10 comments:

Hermes said...

Ahh Werner Herzog! I recently watched Nosferatu again. Great movie. Perhaps better than Aguirre: the Wrath of God.

John Akritas said...

H. I honestly believe My son, my son… is as good a film as Herzog's ever made and, as you note, he's made a fair few great films – and at the moment I'm so enthused by it that I'm thinking it's one of the greatest films of all time. The film he made prior to My son, my son – Bad Lieutenant, Port of Call New Orleans – is also very good.

Anonymous said...

It is not the film maker that made the film and its fame. It is the substance, the essence, Greek drama and theater, from our ancients who brought light to this dark underworld. Greek tragedies, Greek history,Greek poetry, Greek drama; the fountain and well spring of our soul and body. Without classical Greece, nothing but worms squirm this earth.

lastgreek said...

Sadly, only a small fraction of ancient Greek literature is preserved today. Most of it was destroyed by the western barbarians--Germans, Normans, Venitians, and other such filth--during the Fourth Crusade.

Thankfully, we still have Homer. All great literature alludes back to "the man".

And what of our modern Greeks? What do they know about their great literary past?

John Akritas said...

I don't know if it's realistic to expect your average Kosta to go round with a copy of the Iliad in his back pocket, but I agree it would be nice if some of Greece's 'artists' drew on classical Greece for inspiration. You would have thought a Greek filmmaker and not a western barbarian one would be making a film like My son, My son, rather than making films like Kynodontas – which I've concluded I don't like – or all the other soft porn and faux American crap which passes for Greek culture nowadays.

Hermes said...

John, I have not watched all of Kynodontas but I would not get too carried away by these movies. The crappy degenerate intelligentsia of Europe might get excited but the narrative is too obtuse - a popular disease of the post modern scrapheap we live in today.

I was watching the US TV serial John Adams (the US president) recently. Great political drama. I am sure with a few good costume designers the Greeks could make similar political dramas. Apart from the costumes there is no need for expensive sets and special effects. Imagine a similar drama of Socrates trial, the Melian Dialogue, Nikiphorus Phocas's last days before Tsimiskis conspired to kill him or the negotiations of the Philiki Etairia. It would make great cinema or television. But no. Our modern Greek directors are obsessed with sex, drugs, individual expression, infidelities, rock music and other rubbish.

Hermes said...

For example, the Russians have been releasing many movies which critically evaluate Russian historical figures. Lugin's latest movie explores Ivan the Terrible.

http://www.antifono.gr/portal/Κατηγορίες/Μουσική-Ποίηση-Εικαστικά/Ταινίες/2345-Ο-Τσάρος.html

John Akritas said...

Angelopoulos is the only one with any sense of Greek artistic tradition, though I still rate very highly Spirtokouto, because it strove to hold up a mirror to Greek society and show it falling to pieces – and this was before the recent economic collapse. Holding up a mirror to society is a worthwhile enterprise, which is why I liked the Australian series, Underbelly, so much, because it unflinchingly reveals Australia to be a society of made up of mindless degenerates. I did try and watch that Karyotakis series – which did try to make relevant a defining moment in modern Greek history, but got bored after about episode 12 as it descended into a soppy love story. I also couldn't help but dislike Karyotakis for not going off to fight in Ionia.

Hermes said...

Never watched Underbelly, I avoid all Australian television.

Hermes said...

By the way a Bulgarian movie showing the savagery of the Turks. It looks quite good.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSxIrsmx7vE&feature=related