Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Danny Boy the Headless

Normally I'm not the kind of guy who bad mouths art.  After all, we all have differences of opinion on what constitutes art in and of itself.  And of course the purpose of art is how we interpret it.  What does the art mean?  What did the artist intend for it to mean?

The video, which you can watch here when you're done reading, is entitled "Danny Boy" and comes from Poland.  Directed by Marek Skrobecki, the short film was put on youTube in June.  The synopsis provided by the poster is simple "A young poet falls in love. A city awaits a drama to unfold."  And yet these simple words do nothing to express the horror of what follows when you watch.

In "Danny Boy" we are treated to a world where everyone is headless.  A city skyline dominates the view and the only thing that stands out is two tall skyscrapers in the distance, reminiscent of New York's World Trade Center.

As the camera brings us to street level, one headless individual actually wears a sign that says "Blind" and everyone in the city stumbles about, crashing into walls, light poles, and other obstacles.  Some are even dumb enough to drive cars, carelessly and quite unknowingly driving over their neighbors like mowed wheat.  No one hears the engines.  They literally have no sense.

And yet through this chaos of sadness moves a young man who sees.  He has a head, eyes, ears, and a mouth, and as he looks on at this world in pity, we see him lovingly and painstakingly begin constructing something out of wood.  Midway through his project though he happens upon a woman and his priorities change.  He dates her and eventually she discovers his dirty secret.  He has a head.  And when she runs away, silently screaming, the young man resolves to finish his project.

I saw it coming before we even got there, but as you might expect, the man constructs a guillotine.  He lays himself upon it and in seconds the blade descends and lops of his head.  The Queen of Hearts couldn't have done it better.  Then to my astonishment, the boy's body rises, the bleeding stump still leaking blood.  The boy stumbles from the apartment and finally matches the disturbing chaos of a city blind and dumb.  Eventually he meets the headless girl of his dreams, embracing her.  Her hands find his bloody stump and he clearly meets her standards.  Now he is as blind and dumb as she is.  They turn and walk into the sunset, and then an airplane crashes into the tall skyscraper in the distance.  Smoke rises up in an uncomfortable resemblance to the black column of jet fuel and flames that scorched the first of the Twin Towers on 9-11.  And suddenly the movie takes on new meaning.

I'm sure you can see the allegory.  The blind and dumb people, crashing headlong through their lives, unaware how they are hurting others, stands for America and her perceived foreign policy.  Just to drive the point home, the man with sign makes sure we understand that he is BLIND.   And the one individual who sees the madness and sorrow the world has created, ends up yielding to his own hedonistic longing and lopping off his own head in order to conform.  And in the end, the young man moves on his blissful ignorance of his surroundings, his world doomed.  The question remains: how many other headless people in this metaphor for America chopped off their own heads, sightless, deaf, and dumb, ignoring what their country was really doing to others.

I may be over analyzing, but I don't think I am.  The centerpiece of the initial scene makes the Twin Towers analogy rather clear, turning what might have been an art piece on "a young poet falls in love. A city awaits a drama to unfold," into a political point that is insulting, arrogant, and frankly idiotic.  I would have expected this sort of thing from a Frenchman, or German, than a Pollock.  And yes - I'm a quarter Polish.

So what do you think?  Art film misinterpreted, or political satire meant to tweak our collective American noses? Watch and you tell me.

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