Monday, April 8, 2013

Pink Floyd's The Wall

Everyone has problems ...but none like Pink's...

Recently, SouthSide and a guest attended a special CIMMFest (Chicago International Music and Movie Festival) "meet up" at Logan Theater which was also sponsorted by DO312. Attendees of this free (with prior reservation) were treated like VIP celebrity guests with movie snackes, samples of Logan's hot snacks (mini pizza slices, cheese poppers, and chicken fingers) and Red Bull-inspired cocktails. This reviewer tried the Red Bull Red (fruit punch-like flavor) with vodka before viewing Pink Floyd's The Wall. Though having seen this iconic rock movie many times on the small screen (i.e. TV), this was a rare opportunity to finally view it on the big screen.
This 1982 movie, directed by Alan Parker, combines live action with sparse dialogue and animation (directed by Gerald Scarfe) in telling a story of a rock star named Pink (Bob Geldof) and the construction as well as deconstruction of his "wall". Ironically, the wall is the main character of this movie since it symbolizes alienation or separation that Pink has experienced throughout his life ...thus making him quite of a depressive human being who emotionally detached to and with everyone around him including his own wife (Eleanor David). This construction of his "wall" is told in random flashbacks stretching from the death of Pink's father, J.A. Pinkerton (James Laurenson), an officer killed in combat during World War II to his rigid school boy days where he's humiliated in front of the class by a teacher (Alex McAvoy) for writing poems in class and in between his overprotective mother (Christine Hargreaves) who smothers her only child while growing up.
Even after getting married (be sure to spot Roger Waters as Pink's best man), there's another layering of bricks added to the "wall" between Pink and his wife, who ultimately has an affair with a fellow peace demonstrator (James Hazeldine) while Pink's on tour. This truly sends the rock star over the edge and have a mental breakdown as he trashes his hotel suite scaring off a groupie (Jenny Wright) out of the room. This gradually begins Pink's hallucination of "worms" gnawing at him and sanity thus transforming him to this neo-facist dictator side. Yet back in reality, his manager (Bob Hoskins) tr4ies pump the rock star back to life with drugs so he can continue the show after he and the hotel manager (Michael Ensign) burst into the room discovering what has happened. Meanwhile, inside Pink's mind, he's imagining more of his neo-facist side where he's at a rally and then his followers randomly attack ethnic minorities all over town. Soon, that side of him grows out of control and we're suddenly thrust back to present reality to find Pink cowering next to the toilet having another breakdown in between incoherent mumblings of his poetry. As the guard opens the stall door, we are now witnesses to his "trial" in which the major characters of his life (the teacher, wife and mother) present testimony against him to the "court". His ultimate sentence, blogspot readers, is the destruction of the "wall" thus exposing Pink and his fears to all.
If you haven't seen this movie on the big screen, SouthSide would like to state how utterly amazing and awesome it was to see it in theater. Compared to viewing it on DVD, she never realized during the opening scenes how cold and uninviting the hotel hallway was where we first meet Pink crashed in front of the TV ...or how terrifying yet politically symbolic the animation wonderfully depicted our society especially while explaining the reasons for war (Goodbye Blue Sky) and our materialistic nature (What Shall We Do Now / Empty Spaces). It was incredible to behold and at the same time be squeamish while watching Pink shave off his body and head hairs and eyebrows amidst his transformation to his neo-facist side. Notably, this actually did happen when former bandmate Syd Barrett came to the 1975 recording of Wish You Were Here with shaved off eyebrows, body and head hair. SouthSide never realized the kind of horrible life Pink experienced when growing up without a father ...something he longed for in which you can hear the anger in his voice during the song explaining how the high command informed his mother the news of his father's death and Another Brick In The Wall part 1. Still there was a newfound appreciation for this movie especially when watching the iconic anthem - Another Brick In The Wall part 2.
All of us in one way or another can related to Pink and his "wall". Each one of us some sort of wall and/or multiple personalities adding and layering bricks as they come ...that we don't allow others to see because we might be afraid of being caught showing feelings ...feelings of an almost human nature. In honor of Roger Ebert, SouthSide would like to post an excerpt from this legendary critic who "...described The Wall as 'a stunning vision of self-destruction' and 'one of the most horrifying musicals of all time...but the movie is effective. The music is strong and true, the images are like sledge hammers, and for once, the rock and roll hero isn’t just a spoiled narcissist, but a real, suffering image of all the despair of this nuclear age. This is a real good movie.'..." He along with fellow critic Gene Siskel gave this movie two thumbs up and then added it to his list of great movies in 2010. The Wall was also the chosen movie for opening night of Ebertfest that same year.

Until next time, support your local scene,

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