Videodrome (1983) vs en Passion (1969)

I watched Videodrome (1983) last night. It is maybe one of the top 50 movies all-time. It's not for everyone, though.

Imagine an R-rated Twilight Zone episode, written by an angry screenwriter on hallucinogens for the first time. In this movie's low-brow but existential plot television is compared to hard-core pornography.

Imagine the famous blindfolded Lady Liberty holding her scale: in one copper tray the earth, in the other a tv set. Then imagine simultaneously she is on all fours being whipped. Well .. you don't see that. But that's kind of its style. And in VideoDrome the fate of the world lies in the balance.

Many commenters say Videodrome was ahead of its time but its ending is incoherent. Some say appropriately so, others say forgivably so.

I did not experience this incoherence but maybe I don't suspend disbelief in the normal way. I cared more for the fate of the metaphor than the fate of the main character.

I saw that the love interest needed to talk out of a television, even if she was dead. This was right because the plot is about pornography in the abstract. Also, the movie's finale had the only possible moral (try to guess it!). It involved a kind of squirming unease, but it had to be that way.
a few hours later

I was still thinking about it. And that was when I remembered a 2nd movie I found more comprehensible than most viewers: En Passion (1969).
Aka, 'the Passion of Anna', made the same year the Swedish director Ingmar Bergman was divorcing his 4th wife AND breaking up with the actress Liv Ullman.

Not surprisingly, Bergman cast Ullman as an unconscious murderer!

Like Videodrome, En Passion
  • has dream sequence(s)
  • includes the theme of sexual perversion
  • has death(s) revealed as murder
  • is about the danger of narcissism

En Passion was a boring mess, and few have seen it. And it's clear that Bergman lost control of the production.
Viz: the sideplot involving the mystery of who is abusing farm animals is referenced disjointedly; an important sequence involving the key romance appparently was cut out in editing; spliced in are interviews with the actors.

needless to say

Bergman's overall set of work surpasses Cronenberg's. Amazing but true: including love and redemption in your worldview can help your career.

[significantly modified on 2006-07-10, then cleaned up on 2007-2-21]