We slip into Tientai caves,
Home is a hole,
And a hole’s where nothing is.
We visit people unseen —
Chewing magic mushrooms,
Underneath tall pines.
We talk about the past and present,
And sigh at the world gone mad.
Shih Te (9th century)
Mother! (stylized as mother!) is a 2017 American psychological horror film written and directed by Darren Aronofsky, and starring Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer. Lawrence said that the film is an allegory: “It depicts the rape and torment of Mother Earth … I represent Mother Earth; Javier, whose character is a poet, represents a form of God, a creator; Michelle Pfeiffer is an Eve to Ed Harris’s Adam, there’s Cain and Abel and the setting sometimes resembles the Garden of Eden.The film uses a dream-logic narrative, of which Aronofsky has noted, “if you try to unscrew it, it kind of falls apart,” and that “it’s a psychological freak-out. You shouldn’t over-explain it.”
spacetime coordinates: 19th century Amherst, Massachusetts
A Quiet Passion is a 2016 biographical film directed and written by Terence Davies about the life of U.S poet Emily Dickinson. The film stars Cynthia Nixon as the reclusive poet. It co-stars Emma Bell as young Dickinson, Jennifer Ehle, Duncan Duff and Keith Carradine. Despite its title, the film isn’t quiet.
“Goodbye to the life I used to live,
And the world I used to know;
And kiss the hills for me, just once;
Now I am ready to go!
Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The carriage held but just ourselves –
We slowly drove – he knew no haste
And I had put away
My labour and my leisure too,
For His civility.
We passed the school,
where children strove,
At recess – in the ring –
We passed the fields of grazing grain –
We passed the setting sun –
Or rather – he passed us –
The dews drew quivering and chill –
For only gossamer, my gown –
My tippet – only tulle –
We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground –
The roof was scarcely visible –
The cornice – in the ground –
Since then – ’tis centuries – and yet
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses’ heads
Were toward eternity –
This is my letter to the world,
That never wrote to me, –
The simple news that Nature told,
With tender majesty.
Her message is committed
To hands I cannot see;
For love of her, sweet countrymen,
Judge tenderly of me!”
spacetime coordinates: 80’s 90’s Compton, California, Los Angeles
Straight Outta Compton is a 2015 American biographical film directed by F. Gary Gray, depicting the career of gangsta rap group N.W.A. Titled after N.W.A’s 1988 debut studio album, the film focuses on members Eazy-E, Ice Cube, and Dr. Dre, and the rise and fall of the group. Members of N.W.A were involved in making the film, including Ice Cube and Dr. Dre as producers, as was Eazy-E’s widow, Tomica Woods-Wright, while MC Ren and DJ Yella served as creative consultants. Ice Cube is portrayed by his son, O’Shea Jackson Jr., with Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre and Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E. Paul Giamatti also stars as N.W.A’s manager Jerry Heller.
spacetime coordinates: 80’s – 90’s Brooklyn New York City // Las Vegas, Baltimore, San Francisco, Los Angeles
Notorious is a 2009 American biographical drama film directed by George Tillman Jr. that follows the life and murder of Christopher Wallace, an American rapper better known by the stage name “The Notorious B.I.G.”. The film stars Jamal Woolard, Angela Bassett, Derek Luke, and Anthony Mackie.
All Eyez on Me is a 2017 American biographical drama film about hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur, directed by Benny Boom and written by Jeremy Haft, Eddie Gonzalez and Steven Bagatourian. Titled after Shakur’s 1996 fourth studio album of the same name, the film stars Demetrius Shipp Jr. as Shakur with Kat Graham, Lauren Cohan, Hill Harper and Danai Gurira in supporting roles.
An obscure janitor during his life, Darger is known for the posthumous discovery of his elaborate 15,145-page fantasy manuscript entitled The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion, along with several hundred watercolor paintings and other drawings illustrating the story.
The film’s style is atypical of a documentary. Because there are only three known photographs of Darger, and because of his reclusive lifestyle, the film is mostly a narrated biographical account, accompanied by animated versions of events from his magnum opus, which is also surveyed in detail. Interviews with his few neighbors and other acquaintances are included.
In the last entry in his diary, he wrote: “January 1, 1971. I had a very poor nothing like Christmas. Never had a good Christmas all my life, nor a good new year, and now… I am very bitter but fortunately not revengeful, though I feel should be how I am…”