Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Ninth Configuration

Just when you were all giddy from the previous post... This clip is from a film that I watched recently. Written and directed by William Blatty (of 'The Exorcist' fame) 'The Ninth Configuration' surprised me completely. It is an absurd masterpiece and funny to boot. Think an even more existential version of 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest', with atheist astronauts, Hamlet for dogs, and psychotic Vietnam vets! If you don't believe me, look at the plot keywords on IMDB.

There is lots of poignant dialogue in the film, but I chose this last speech, purely because I sometimes get a very similar feeling come over me. The fear that Cutshaw describes in his, 'if there is no god, we are really alone' speech (with tears rolling down his face) is (in my mind anyway) quite reasonable given the pointlessness and absurdity of existence. We are alone in the universe and we're all going to die. Even to die amongst other absurd creatures hardly seems any kind of compensation really. But maybe I'm just too hard to please?

Blatty intended the film to be a damning criticism of atheism and an argument for the existence of god (I know because I listened to the DVD commentary!). He cries out to us, 'there just has to be a god, or life is depressingly absurd!'. Apparently there are quite a few versions of the film, and disappointingly the version I watched ended with a ridiculous paranormal happening, which proves life after death, converts the atheist, and everything turns out alright.

If you can handle these last few sickly sweet seconds, I can heartily recommend this absurd piece of existential cinema. Just remember ifs are for the weak (read agnostics). There is no god...