Thursday, August 14, 2008

In The Beginning There Was, "The Word"

The Mindscape Of Alan Moore

Directed by DeZ Vylenz(2003)
It's okay, not as good "Crumb", and many other artist documentaries, for the same reason, that it is worth watching at all, that being that the film takes it's information almost completely from Moore's own mouth, in one interview which lasts the entire film.We get no context, explanation, or details which Moore does not provide, and though that's interesting, because he's notoriously private and rarely does interviews anymore, we miss out on a lot of information, not about Alan Moore the writer or Alan Moore the shaman/magician (which as he explains very clearly he feels are pretty much the same thing), but Alan Moore the man. We learn he was expelled from high school (he does not mention for selling LSD on campus), we learn he feels his comics are unfilmable (this same year this film was released he would be sued by Larry Cohen, for allegedly stealing "The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen" from a script he wrote. And would later swear off "royalties" from any adaptation of his works. Then again how could we?), we learn nothing of his family life(he has two daughters, one is a comics writer herself. He is divorced, after a somewhat long term three-way relationship between him, his wife and his wife's girlfriend, all of whom lived together with their children, went awry.) None of which is mentioned. Moore says instead of having a normal "boring" mid-life crisis decided to "give his friends a fright and surprise by completely mad and declaring himself a magician" (also does not mention he worships a Roman Snake God named Glycon, whom he calls Sweety, and is also quite literally a puppet). It's the odd little bits like these, Moore mentions he's worked for over a decade on the pornographic "Lost Girls", with artist Melinda Gebbie, but not that, throughout the course of the book, he became romantically involved with Gebbie(last year they married). How many porn's spill off the page, and become real life love stories? Anyway those are things I knew going in, which I thought were oddly omitted, and might have made the movie more personable, human, and effective.
Moore is, despite, his seclusion, a witty, charming, and remarkably clear speaker. Most of the movie, is Moore discussing his belief and ideas concerning Magic, Human Evolution, Spirituality, and the role of the artist in society.
Magic is often called "the art", and Moore takes this literally, Magic Gramoire is a simple way of saying "grammar", and the casting of spells, is simply to "spell", and by manipulating symbols and language(writing) produce a change in consciousness of the audience. Moore feels "advertisers" are the modern keepers of this symbolic magical language, a perversion he feels, which keeps us attached only to materialism and the psychical limitations of our environments.
The most interesting part of the film is the end, where Moore talks about "Information Doubling" theory, where according to him sometime around 2015, human information, will be doubling every half second. Where literally every second, humanity as a whole, will be learning more in a single moment, than it has in it's entire history, at which point human culture goes from fluid, to boiling, to steam. This is Moore's "apocalypse", which though traumatic sounding, he explains from the dictionary, simply means "revelation".

Moore comes from North Hampton, which he calls "so inbreed the dogs have the same cleft lip as everyone else in the family". We see the cold industrial city built out of the Ruins of a castle, and it's juxtaposed to the brightly colored American comic books, which served as an escape from the bleak "material" world Moore found himself in as a boy(though if you were to read his novel "The Voice Of The Fire", he would argue, all of human history can be traced in some way to his hometown). That's the contradiction of Moore in general though, or at least the one he sees in the world, alternating between magical almost Utopian romanticism and cynical, world weary, fatalism.
If you have no idea, who or what an Alan Moore is, it's a good documentary, which explores his ideas and beliefs in detail (if it skirts his personal life), which some very at times moody and others psychedelic cinematography and juxtaposition of images. Moore is one of my favorite writers, so personally I can enjoy just listening to him talk, but all and all, the film itself, just isn't as good as it's subject. Still I'm glad I watched it, and would recommend to anyone who could find a copy, especially if you like writing or art. A little disappointed with the form here, but non the less, inspired by the content. ...and more conflicted about wanting to see the up-comming "The Watchmen" film, than ever before...

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