". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Monday, April 25, 2011

Another ex-Con: *Jonah Hex* (2010)

Friend Felipe informed me that Jonah’s an ex-confed too. Thus, I watched.
More than loosely adapted from the DC comic.

A cross of western occult steampunk, alternate Civil War History, and the Sergio Leone good, bad and ugly westerns. Also a bit reminiscent of Scorsese's Civil War film, The Gangs of New York because of Turnbull's psychopathic Irish sidekick (Michael Fassbender).

For the occult, we have magical Indians’ magic (the one and only black person in the film is not magical this time) to return JH (Josh Brolin) from the deathly realms, but not all his parts returned, so he if he touches a dead person he can speak with him, and learn what the dead know (how very Kongo!). He’s accompanied by crow/s, who do, what? for him. Horse, his horse, is loyal and communicative. The second time he nearly dies he acquires a magical dog (from where? why?) who brings the magical Indians to resurrect him again.

The steampunk comes in as the big ass Rube Goldberg weapon which is a giant six shooter revolver, crossed with a bowling ball alley (designed by Eli Whitney!), with which Turnbull (John Malkovich) plans to destroy D.C. on the centennial of Independence. Therefore we know this is 1876.

Carry-over qualities from The Virginian: the whore with heart of gold (Lilah, played by Megan Fox), who loves the protag, and the horse (Horse), that loves him too.

“You were no real Confederate. You wasn’t no sesech. You didn’t believe in slavery either. You just didn’t like the government tellin’ you what to do.”  So says the one and only black character in the movie, to Jonah Hex, in order we understand that Josh Brolin is a hero, not a villain. However, it is never said what it was that the government was telling Jonah Hex to do that he didn’t like being told. (Government forces him later to be conscripted back into military service at the command of President Grant, to find Turnbull. But the war is over, and JH wants to find Turnbull for his vengeance, his only reason for living, which is why wise President Grant gives the command (at least the flick presents Grant as a competent, sober, effective POTUS). Wait, JH isn't really living, is he?)

Felipe responded "The black storekeeper who certifies Jonah as "not a racist" but a man philosophically dedicated to "freedom" is the icing on the cake. Just in time for the 150th anniversary! Such an amazing coincidence."

Only good lines:
“He’s dead, Hex."
"I’ll have a word with him all the same."

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