1. Dear God did I want to like this.
2. I’m something of a fan of the Wachowskis. Bound and Speed Racer are fun, and I adore the Matrix Trilogy (yes, even the sequels). And I have nothing against Tom Tykwer, either. I enjoyed Run, Lola, Run, and admired his stab at making a Kieslowski (Heaven). I wish there were more filmmakers out there like the three of them.
3. Cloud Atlas is pretty well-directed. It presents six different plots across six different timelines, and (speaking for myself) it was easy to follow, narratively. That’s not nothing.
4. I’ve long argued that Titanic is a very well-made film. It’s three hours long, with dozens of characters, and it never becomes confusing, never drags.
5. This will not be the first time I compare Cloud Atlas with Titanic.
November 26th, 2012 / 8:01 am
I do not like metaphor. My personal education pertaining to literature takes a very French bent, and it is here that Robbe-Grillet himself, king of the nouveau roman one could say, has denounced metaphor, preferring, I suppose, some sort of metonymy, but–if anything–participating in the creation of a style of fiction in which the surface is more important than a subtext.
I think that this adherence to the surface, at least in terms of language, is good, positive, because it removes an additional level of signification, which brings us, as a reader, closer to the experience the language itself is hiding, carrying, revealing. Though often, in the creation of atmosphere, metaphor can be adequately used to help evoke a mood, I feel like there are often more interesting ways to do this (and I suppose that here, by “interesting,” I mean “heterogeneous, diverse, wildly more creative”).
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“The entire system of the novel in the last century, with its cumbersome machinery of continuity, linear chronology, causality, noncontradiction, was actually a last-ditch attempt to forget the disintegrated state we were left in when God withdrew from our souls, an attempt at least to keep up appearances by replacing the incomprehensible explosion of atoms, of black holes and impasses, with a reassuring, clear, unequivocal constellation woven so closely that we’d no longer hear death howling between the stitches, amidst broken threads hastily reknotted. No objection to this grandiose, unnatural project? . . . No objection, really?”
Alain Robbe-Grillet, from Ghosts in the Mirror