August 30, 2009

Hannibal

Is it because of Ridley Scott? Or is it because of Anthony Hopkins? Who made this film so fantastic that I forgot it is the sequel of another great film? Standing ovation for the person who dared to replace Jodie Foster with Julianne Moore... and for the 'pig scene'! I love when Lecter lifts up half dead Clarise (who notabene wants to throw him to jail) in the last moment and saves her from being eaten by people-eating pigs. Such scenes make a good movie: they show that there is no distinction on good and bad characters. Transcendency, multi-layer characters - this is what makes a human, even if we think that one deed (here, cannibalism) defines a person ('is he a cannibal? he must be mad!' - no, this is not how it works). Hannibal rescued Clarise and fought for the sake of world's esthetical purity (killing the guy from the orchestra who played cacophonically to make the sound more sublime? genius!): by uncovering those features, we re-evaluate him as a a person and our considerations on the punishment.

Dr. Lecter, the cannibal, escapes the punishment and hides in Florence to be a curator in one of the museums. In the meantime, one of his victims - the only one that survived: Mason Verger, builds a plan on how to take a revange on his torturer. What he needs is a decoy, an incentive for Lecter to come out the shadow... He uses Clarise Starling for that purpose. A woman who intrigued and amused Lecter when he was in jail. His love..? (I never know what did he mean when he said that he wonders how would Clarise taste - her meat or her... taste of sexual excitment) Verger finally manages to capture Lecter with the help of greedy policeman, Mr.Pazzi, and wants to enjoy this tortures (pig scene!) but Clarise (brave Clarise!), led by her inner sense of justice and the will to put Lecter on trial instead of meteing out punishment outside the court, breaks in in the last seconds, to save Hannibal from the shameful death. Then he saves her, they run away, in the mid-time Lecter eats the brain of some policeman and at the end... justice has to wait till the next sequel (will be?) because Lecter escapes. In general, this film's plot is about a chase: Verger's chase to get revange, FBI's chase to shut the criminal.  

From the legal standpoint, it brings one very important aspect I have never seen in film before: the case of denunciatory activities. This film shows a process of capturing criminals and how police involves normal citizens therein. Firstly, it exhibits how much work is put into it: rooms full of evidence, effort put into gathering data (Clarise co-operating with Italian police to get a recording), hours of individual and expert analyze, the importance of team-work and self-control during the action. However, the film also shows that it doesn't always fructify with seizing the criminal. That's why we have rewards for those people who help police, give a trace. On one hand, it is great, society sees that police engages all means available to make them save, they awake social mechanisms of co-operation, make people more sensible to what and who is around, but isn't giving rewards for trace just awarding spying, spreading fear? In the second option, we may think that government encourages people to be suspicious, anti-social, to remember all the time that somewhere among us, there is a very dangerous man who police failed to seize. This means that police is/was weak, cannot fully protect us, that it is unable enough that it asks unskilled civilians to help them. Furthermore, this resembles fascism a bit: a country wants to control its citizens by gratifying those who give them information about others. Should then the country pay for spying? Spying is yet one of the least desirable and liked features in the society... Where is the limit?

On the other side, doesn't police just mobilize people to protect ourselves against the crime? Of course, it exposes us to danger (yet, we should run away when we know a criminal is near by rather than to get in contact with him to get his fingerprints), but doesn't it link us more to police? We have the awareness, we know what to do when a criminal stands on our way. By giving awards for criminals we know that our taxes are really spent on society protection and crime reduction.

In addition, the film displays the difference between policemen's attitudes towards seizing criminals: for Clarise it is the case of justice and she doesn't care abour the reward, for Mr.Pazzi money is the main driving force to put Lecter into jail. To be trival: no group is homogenous, police is extremely prone to corrupt. However, is the fact that Pazzi had a young wife and needed money an excuse good enough for him to backslide his ideals - to seek a criminal and endanger the live of his informant for benefit rather than for professional satisfaction? Would it somehow change Clarise's choices if she wasn't single and had a starving family? When a policeman can claim additional money benefits for his work? Can he help to kill a wanted criminal if he knows that he will go to the jail anyway, just as Pazzi did?

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Before Madonna's concert in Poland, there was a vivid discussion on wherther is it permissable for a catholic to see this show. Somewhere on the side of this debate more intellectual discussion took place: can Madonna be classified as 'art' or as 'entertainment'? what is 'art'? One article on that amused me in particular. It was trying to convince that 'art' is when one needs to think over what one sees/hears, 'entertainment' is pleasure-making, squezeed off any reflection intellectual pulp who can be enjoyed by a person of average thinking ability. In spite of the fact that the author of the words periphrased used them to push that Madonna belongs to the first group (shameful!) I very much agree with the distinction. Moreover, applying this distinction to horror moovies in general I would say they are mostly to entertain. 'Painfully', but entertain. They are nothing more that to awake emotions, raise the level of adrenaline, so from the very onthological difference between emotions and 'hard intelligence' we are led to the conclusion that they do not inspire to think. Hannibal is a nice exception. Although it uses fear and disgust a lot, it is not based on emotions sensu stricto. It encourages to go inside them in an intellectual way. It grounds in logic, somehow spiritual, but still hardly mathematical - am I really against Lecter and what he does? aren't certain kinds of murder explainable? wouldn't I allow him to do it if I knew his motivations before? don't I actually like him..? - those are not only emotional because they entail some utilitarianism, don't you think?

Hannibal bewitched me.

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http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/topten/fugitives/fugitives.htm-- to keep You aware :)


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