segunda-feira, 20 de maio de 2013

What lies beyond the beach?

Spring Breakers (2012), Harmony Korine.

"(...) there is a suprising deficit of actual carnality. Spring Breakers is mostly about sexual display. (...) But apart from Archie's blowjob threesome [embora sem relevância para aqui, trata-se de uma gralha do crítico: não é um blowjob, mas uma cena de sexo], there's just one actual sex act. (Gomez, notably, has exited the storyline by this point. Clearly she was only prepared to go so far in an R-rated direction: she's not involved in the robbery, is never shown taking drugs or having sex doesn't even swear much.)
As depicted in Korine's film, the participants in Spring Break act out an idea of unbridled freedom and lascivious irresponsability that's a convention-bound and repetitive as the regular, regulated life of which it's a carnivalesque inversion. Is that the message?
Watching Spring Breakers play out to its morally unsatisfactory (in)conclusion, I thought finally of Marcuse's concept of "repressive desublimation". Way back in the 1960's, the Frankfurt School associate grasped that capitalism had an interest in creating wanton consumers, insatiable and impulsive. External constraints on our appetites for sex and destruction still exist (police, law, social services etc), but they are contradicted and undermined by a consumer capitalism that erodes internal restraints like guilt and inhibition (...). Stimulating desire and narcissism, the economy's interests collide with those of other political structures like church, education and family, all of which aim to channel energy into long-term projects ('heaven' being the longest term of them all). Capitalism and advertising, as well as their bedfellow pop culture, have harnessed Romanticism not for repressive ends (unrepression is precisely the modus operandi) but for the dissipation of energy and the displacement of anger from any kind of political articulation.

When a pop star as bland as Kate Perry can sing, in her number-one hit 'TGIF', about binge-drinking past oblivion (...) and ménage-à-trois romps, it seems pretty clear that excess is normative and 'breaking loose' just another set of chains. Likewise, of Spring Break and Spring Breakers, I found myself wondering: if this is the beach underneath the pavement, what, if anything, lies beyond the beach? Pop culture in its present state has exahausted its point; its incitements to poor impulse control and attention-deficit disorder no longer threaten anything".

Simon Reynolds, "You only live once", in Sight & Sound, May 2013, Vol, 23, Issue 5, p. 30 e 31.

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