You watch a movie and wonder, how come so many people have not seen it?
“I have been waiting for you.”
These are movies about darkness and the edge of darkness and the darkness beyond the darkness. For the Watteau dream revellers.
I watched Caught again and all the movies I have watched with the swaggering bad boys came tumbling back in mind. Movies I have watched like To Blue Moon Junction, Shaft (the original) the deliciously disturbing Last Tango in Paris to novels that made much of the bad-ass brothers, DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley I’m talking, and which boy heart of adventure will ever forget RL Stevenson’s Treasure Island? Personally I’m still getting over that Kenyan who wrote Son of Woman.
Son of Woman in rambling craziness ranks for me with Brando’s turn as the man looking for death and redemption in a frighteningly physical relationship with a young woman in Paris. A relationship that begins when the two meet in an empty apartment both want to rent. His redemption, his solace, his relief, the only thing he will offer this young woman hungry for his attention and love is what is between his legs. He insists that is all he has to offer.
His wife has died, he is a widower and though he did not like her, it is just possible that he was in some way responsible for her despondent death back in America where he lived in her boarding house. He is a rich man now, a businessman in Paris and he will not be entangled with another woman. Except women can’t seem to stay away from him no matter that he is the coldest, most dastardly man they will ever meet. He does not even want to have a conversation with this young woman and every time they meet, all he wants to see is her on her knees, her rump in the air facing him. He is that cold. And yet she can’t stay away and the watcher cannot draw his eyes away from Brando. When he speaks, the little he speaks, fall from his lips with a beauty that makes up for all the sordidness that must reign his shrouded heart. And then there is the way he fucks…
Son of Woman is like that too. Except this is in Africa and he careens through cities in Kenya on the run from women, avenging husbands, irate employers, poverty, his mother, and in pursuit of that one woman who he believes will change his life. Will bring him inner peace so that when he leaves a woman in his bed waiting for him to go to a grocery store to buy condoms, he does not feel the urge anymore to chat up the woman who mans the store for a quickie in the back with the condoms he has just purchased on credit. Son of Woman has loved two women in his life; his mother and his sort of half sister and while both women loved him in their own way and he loves them wholeheartedly, they also made him the kind of cad he has become. In prison or down a mine, this brother can smell and find a woman where you would not expect to find one. And not just search her out; he will have to fuck with her even if it means the next morning he will be scrambling through windows, no trousers on, one hand grappling to pull on his shirt, his belt clenched in his mouth, the next morning, feet beating earth in heart-beating flight for his life. This is Son of Woman.
Nick (Arie Verveen) from Caught is another kind of predator, bad boy. The worst. The taker. The hunter with hands hard as a stone-cutter’s but delicate in handling as a piano players. And he has those eyes that burn holes into inanimate objects like he does in Caught in Betty’s (Maria Conchita Alonso) and wrest her away from her husband. The husband quite fond of Nick who begins to teach him the art of being a butcher, a seller of fish without compare. Nick learns. But while he is learning, when Joe’s (Edward James Olmos) back is turned to see the fish frying and sizzling, Nick is watching Joe’s wife change through the window across the street from their shop. He is not just watching. With an arrogance that would not be forgivable in anyone but Nick, will not let her have her privacy in her own bathroom. And she is a woman with a grown son the age of Nick who watches her wrinkles in her mirror and pastes her face like the fish her husband sells. Time is running out!
“Happiness is boring, sometimes.”
I have watched a movie like this before. It was called Two Blue Moon Junction, a sinful minor classic that refueled an interest in a genre with good movies hard to come back. Not since Basic Instinct had I met another that looked into a side of life the movies prefer fade-out on and in everyday conversations we cover with puns, giggles and flicks of eye that seem to tell more but actually do not. Two Blue Moon Junction is one such movie. A movie you should not watch when you’re in a spell of lonely horniness some weekend afternoon and everyone else seems to have a laughing companion head leaning on their shoulder apart from you and life seems everywhere but where you are.
Perry is no Nick. Perry (Richard Tyson) in Two Blue Moon Junction even owns a dog, a dog he loves more than he has ever loved another human being perhaps in his circus following, living in a truck life. Perry has roots and a flourishing of natural black hair women frantically each week try to earn at a saloon. When Nick leaves, Nick leaves everything behind. Of value to him is nothing. He is a philosopher who wears his sweat soaked white sweatshirt like it is a skin. A skin he would discard if it impeded him. He has not come to deliver you, he has come to take from you. He’s a bad boy.
To die with rain drops beating down on your eyeballs.
To die in the rain.