Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Elephant redux

I've been racking up the films but haven't written much of late. I have some capsule reviews that I'll get around to posting eventually. I did want to revisit what I said about ELEPHANT as I "figured it out" after I wrote the preceding entry. The key is seeing that many of the other students have their own problems but choose different ways of dealing with them. The scene most crucial to the film is the gay-straight alliance student meeting. Although their topic of conversation is how or if you can tell who is gay just by looking at them, it may as well be how can you identify by appearances who might lash out in violence.

ELEPHANT offers no answers to the reasons for school shootings, but this assessment on Slate, arriving on the Columbine anniversary, provides potential reasons. It's an interesting read, especially in light of the fact that I just finished reading Erik Larson's THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY. One of the main characters in this non-fiction book about the 1893 World's Fair is a psychopath. The book illustrates the word's meaning beyond the connotations of craziness and insanity. In the Slate piece, one of the killers is also designated, ex post facto, a psychopath. In light of what the book taught me about psychopaths, this conclusion seems to be a plausible answer for the Columbine tragedy.

(I know that I have blurred THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY into all of that and could be giving a wrong impression of the book. It's a fascinating read about the nation aspiring to something greater and all of the innovations that came out of the fair.)

Starting tomorrow, I intend to write updates from Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival while in Champaign-Urbana. Even if my desktop computer were to fail in transit--not that there is any reason it should--the hotel has a computer available to guests. It should be a lot of fun, and hopefully writing in the midst of the festival will produce better results than past attempts to summarize the experience after returning home.

No comments:

Post a Comment