• ZoeZ

    A beautiful essay, and I think you’re right to draw a connection between Haynes’s masks and queer cinema in general: when you’re dealing with characters who have needed to live by artifice in one way or another, the fourth wall is just another veil to be lifted or not lifted, depending on the moment, depending on the level of intimacy or bravery. And of course those moments are best at the end of the film, when they play as if we’re being offered the character’s trust after a long time together in the dark.

    It’s not an uncomplicated intimacy, either, because Haynes also finds the pleasures of the masks and the performed identities, or at least creates movies that admire the stylized elaborations and outright lies before stripping them away: I wouldn’t have minded seeing him tackle Behind the Candelabra.

    Haynes’s Ripley would be incredible, even if he only ever did a short film of the scene where Ripley puts on Dickie’s clothes and imitates him in front of the mirror.

    • Thank you. I wanted to go for something more impressionistic here, because my previous Scenic Routes have been really analytic.

      The complicatedness of the intimacy is a big part of Dylan’s music, really of all popular music. There’s such an expectation, a demand really, that the artist be authentic and the music be a direct expression of the artist. (Most recent example: Beyoncé.) Greil Marcus made an excellent case that the basement tapes were a series of masks that Dylan tried on when he was genuinely afraid of what being in public would be like–and again, Haynes brought that across so well in the Richard Gere sequences, where just about everyone goes masked.

      I would love to see Haynes do Ripley Under Ground, another one of Highsmith’s slow-burn masterworks. More than anything, I want to see what he’d do with the Tom/Heloise relationship, and the way that domestic life is Tom’s biggest mask.

    • I follow Wallflower simply to read whatever analysis he has of a film. This did not disappoint.

      On another note, I watched Candy the other day, and Heath Ledger was brilliant. Too bad I will never watch that depressing movie again.

      • ZoeZ

        I always come away from these reviews slightly smarter than I was before.

        I haven’t seen Candy, but having now looked it up: wow. I can definitely see why you wouldn’t want to revisit it! It still hurts that Ledger didn’t get to have a longer career (and, of course, a longer life)–it’s only in the last few years that he was consistently getting really interesting roles.

      • Aw thanks to you both. As I’ve said many many times, I wouldn’t write so well if I didn’t have people like you to write for.

        Also, it’s been a privilege to read what you write about Amber Heard. Don’t worry about whether or not you are getting through to the, what’s the word, idiots. In the words of Max Planck, eventually they all die. What matters is the people who read what you write and think someone gets it, someone is on my side. (I owe this insight to @disqus_jeTusCb3OY:disqus.) What you’re doing matters, quite literally more than you will ever know.

        • We are here for your motivation! Your writing is a gift, in my opinion.

          Well, there has been more evidence released, and I am almost positive people will say, “She beat herself up!” Or they will say, “Why did she take pictures of her injuries as far back as December if she was planning on staying with him? This is blackmail!” This is confirmation to me that you can’t possibly win. They ask for evidence, but when you have it, they use it against you or determine that it’s not good enough. It’s a shame that people don’t take domestic violence seriously until someone is beaten within an inch of their life or murdered.

          • 😳 (blush)

            Yeah, people are gonna say that. What you’re doing is so necessary: sometimes we can’t convince, all we can do is witness, simply so that someone says “this is not right.” You are doing a really eloquent and moving job of that. It matters, and it’s thankless; but someone out there is thanking you for it.

  • Man with a robot arm

    Nice article. I’ve always wanted to read Marcus. I think the Billy scenes are among my favorite of the film. It’s short but wonderful. I like the way Haynes sets Dylan in the past in an America that is just developing its culture, myths, and songs that in turn gave birth to Dylan – Well, it’s a weird Mobius strip of a film. My favorite moment of the segment is when Billy is on the train and Henry comes running up. Billy yells, ‘Come on, Henry.’ But Henry can’t quite make it and Billy exclaims, ‘Aw, girl!’ It’s a small mind blowing moment. We’re so conditioned as a society to think Henry is a male name. It’s a nice touch with Hayne’s even playing with the dog’s identity, even Henry is wearing a mask! I’m not sure the reference to Please, Mrs. Henry would be caught by casual Dylan fans, though. I really like Haynes’ Fellini riffing at the lawn party when the Beatles show-up, too.

    • Thanks. Invisible Republic/The Old, Weird America is a good Gateway to Marcus, expansive and accessible all at once. It should be pretty obvious that he’s been an inspiration for my own writing. What I got from him is the practice that if you look close enough at a single thing, you’ll discover an entire universe.