Friday, June 12, 2009

The Plastic Bag Scene

Watch this.

Listen to it.

Now: Sit back and think about.

Then, Watch it again.

It was one of those days when it's a minute away from snowing. And there's this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it, right? And this bag was just... dancing with me. Like a little kid beggin me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. That's the day I realized there was this entire life behind things, and this incredibly benevolent force that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid ever. Video's a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember... I need to remember. Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world I feel like I can't take it... and my heart is going to cave in.

I am slowly beginning to understand this clip more and more. Beauty and Magic is right in front of you: just have open your eyes a bit. I think it got parodied so much because it revealed an universal truth.

In an interview with Alan Ball, director of American Pie, he says this:

Alan Ball: He's (Rickey) certainly the most, I think, evolved. You look at Ricky and you look at what he's grown up in, the environment of repression and brutality, and it's amazing. What is it that kept him from becoming one of those kids who goes to school with a gun and just starts shooting? Something.... His ability to see the beauty in life is what kept him from just shutting down and becoming twisted and brutal. I think everybody has that ability, and we all make choices. There's something so simple and poetic about Ricky's encounter with the plastic bag that just keeps whirling in the breeze. You're not sure what it means, but the simple beauty of it has a profound effect. How did that come about?

Alan Ball: I had an encounter with a plastic bag! And I didn't have a video camera, like Ricky does. I'm sure some people would look at that and go, "What a psycho!" But it was a very intense and very real moment. There's a Buddhist notion of the miraculous within the mundane, and I think we certainly live in a culture that encourages us not to look for that. I do like, though, that Ricky says, "Video's a poor excuse, but it helps me remember." Because it's not the video he's focused on; it's the experience itself. He's very connected to the world around him. There's obvious irony in the movie's title. Without wanting to label things too much, what do you want the title to convey?

Alan Ball: If there's any theme to this movie, it's that nothing is what it appears to be on the surface. That there is a life behind things and it's much more interesting and real than the veneer of reality that we all sort of tacitly agree to accept.

1 comment:

Ross said...

This reminds me of a yellow balloon I saw blowing around the city, interacting with people for a moment.