T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G

T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G ★★★★★

It happens rarely for me, but sometimes a movie I watch and do not like stays with me. It keeps hanging around in my brain like it has more to say and reveal to me. Today I was driving home from San Diego and something about the structuralist ideals this movie represents clicked with me. It was the realization of a stylistic approach I had long been performing with images in my own head, but hadn't had a name for.

Re-watching this divorced from the context of Sharits' other films (which I lumped together on my first viewing) it feels more like an angry blast rather than a continuation of the tiresome efforts Ray Gun Virus and N:O:T:H:I:N:G.

Most notably it is Sharits use of sound to reinforce the structuralist aesthetic that really drives home his message. We must learn to destroy both visual and aural stimuli in order to divine their true meaning and worth to each individual.

I recall ghostdinosaur putting forward the idea that Structuralism was somehow bound to fascism (edit: that might not actually be what he said because my memory of the exact conversation is a little hazy, but that ultimately led me to my realization so I'll leave it in anyway), but this film feels like the opposite of that. It's a film in which the message is "deconstruct everything and know what you're brain is being fed". Even though the voice commands the viewer to "destroy" and the images suggest physical destruction, the backward progression of the images and actual aural destruction of the word through repetition seem to suggest a movement away from the act of personal destruction and a movement toward understanding of what these acts and sounds really mean. I think at no point is this more evident than when the subjects eyes finally open in the final minutes of the piece. Open eyes signal understanding of the surroundings and the look in the eyes of determination signals knowledge and comprehension.

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