Friday, May 8, 2009

Film Review - Vepris

Synopsis: “Vepris”is a 6-hour silent Latvian documentary about a girl raised in the wild by a family of boars. Tracing the girl’s life from 2-months-old through adolescence, it details her life in the forest growing up with no contact with humans. Filmed by her birth parents with a telephoto lens, the child is unaware of their presence.

While the film is silent, there is a sound track that alternates between an accordion and a fiddle. Also, there are subtitles (in Latvian) that explain what the girl and each of the boars are thinking and doing (similar to Discovery channel voiceovers) and that deconstruct the transgressive narrative for the post-modern viewer.

The subtitles include a Latvian translation of the conversation that took place over the years of filming between the filmmaker parents and giants such as Derrida, Foucault, Lyotard, Lacan and, most impressively, Chomsky.

It’s playing at midnight at the “Cine Pretensia.”


The seminal film Vepris, takes the Ovid myth of Venus and Adonis and turns it on its head. What would have happened, the film asks, if Venus had sought the boar that Adonis was chasing rather seeking Adonis?

“Sexual identity is part of the futility of sexuality,” says Derrida; however, according to de Selby, it is not so much sexual identity that is part of the futility of sexuality, but rather the defining characteristic, and eventually the stasis, of sexual identity. Vepris illuminates this paradigm.

Vepris builds on and then demolishes as trivial, the works of Fellini, where the predominant construct is the concept of postdialectic art. The primary theme of the works of Fellini is the role of the writer as participant. But in Vepris, filmmakers Karlis and Thunda Ulmanis, participation is invisible – but for the narrative discourse offered by their subtitles.

The characteristic theme of Prinn’s model of semioticist socialism is the bridge between society and sexual identity. It could be said that in Satyricon, Fellini deconstructs textual situationism; in Amarcord he examines subtextual deappropriation. The subject is contextualised into that which includes reality as a reality. In Vepris, reality loses its privilege in discourse and consciousness and becomes entirely situational.

If one examines textual situationism, one is faced with a choice: either accept Derridaist reading or conclude that society has intrinsic meaning, given that the cultural paradigm of expression is invalid. In a sense, Bataille promotes the use of Derridaist reading to challenge class divisions.

Vepris resolves this choice.

And more. Sontag suggests the use of cultural narrative to attack and analyze truth. If textual situationism holds, we have to choose between Marxist capitalism and postcapitalist objectivism. The characteristic theme of Sargeant’s analysis of textual situationism is the stasis of neotextual sexual identity.

Vepris resituates situationalism, avoids the false choice Sontag posited, and subdeconstucts the narrative to arrive at a post-millennial construct of animo-identity, which lays bare the threadbare poverty of previous attempts to merely reconstruct sexual identity. By constructing and then deconstructing animo-identity, the film exposes the failings of capitalist mythology and explains the eroticized “banking crisis."

There could be no more timely film. It brilliantly balances a fierce nominalism and anti-essentialism with a new, experiential substantialism of experimental shapes and intentions, conceived as an antidote against belief-oriented and collectivistic being.

Kudos to the Postmodern Generator, which provided this review with so many great lines.

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