Our fantasies that eat us

“If man were happy, he would be happier the less entertained he was. writes Pascal. Understand: if man were intrinsically happy, if his own life corresponded to the happiness for which he was made, he would not need to entertain himself with his sad everyday life. And on top of that, if he enjoyed eternal happiness like God and the saints, he wouldn’t need to organize parties to divert his attention from death, a menacing shadow that will fall over him overnight. Pascal knows that life is not always rosy, and that entertainment has the advantage of being “the only thing that consoles us for our miseries”. He adds, however, that this same entertainment “it is the greatest of our miseries”. A dark paradox. And wonderfully fair, because “entertainment amuses us and imperceptibly drives us to death.” But once dead, how can we still do good, serve God, truly love? It will be too late, and we should have thought of it sooner rather than having fun.

The other night, to have fun with these Thoughts very loud but a little depressing, i went to see boop, by Jordan Peele (film released a few weeks ago). Lucky stroke: here I am before a masterpiece. Great Hollywood cinema: funny like Billy Wilder (irony, gags, actors’ facial expressions), virtuoso like Jeff Nichols (handsome but unaffected), smart like Hitchcock (we rack our brains all the time). Operation Failure: The film questions me deeply about my penchant for entertainment. Peele’s camera, never intrusive, transports us to the rhythm of the setbacks of a family of horse breeders for the cinema (the mise en abyme is one of the main motifs of the work). Little by little, the bizarre invites himself into the slow everyday life of the Haywoods, in particular OJ (Daniel Kaluuya), whose brooding and suspicious face must face the enigmatic death of his father, the strong character of his sister Em (Keke Palmer). , then to the movements in the sky of a strange and voracious flying saucer (was it an animal?). Here, too, is a cheesy amusement park, where failed shows follow one another in front of sparse bleachers…

The possible readings of this mystery film are certainly countless. But I try my luck: in flashback form, a murderous chimpanzee serves as a key to reading Jordan Peele’s story. Where some saw a critique of animal exploitation for entertainment purposes (the ape trained to make spectators laugh kills its fellow humans), another interpretation is possible: it is a brilliant meditation on the Frankenstein myth. Because the chimpanzee is a synthetic image that has become violent (a scene with balloons allows me to strongly support this reading, go see). The flying saucer, animal, carnivorous, with changeable form, is also a human creation, escaped from an amusement park (the screams of its victims are also reminiscent of those of the passengers on a roller coaster).

In short, my hand to cut: Jordan Peele’s film is a reflection on the ability of our inventions to turn against ourselves. In Revelation, the “image” of the Beast comes to life “to the point that this image begins to speak, and kills all those who do not bow before it” (Rev 13.15). In Nope, conversely, the entertainment monster devours those who adore him. The idols we create to entertain us run the risk of swallowing us without warning, just as the fantasies materialized on screens already know how to kill their slaves (anorexic youths disfigured by Instagram, pornography, etc.). And Peele ratifies Pascal.

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