Sunday, March 1, 2009
My favorite Carl Marks movie? I’m glad you asked. It’s Koba! That’s the shit—a musical biopic of the Man of Steel himself, Josef Vissarionovich Dzugashvili, with Party officials in blackface to a beat of Isaac Hayes. As an aside, if that was my name, no fucking thing in the world would get me to change it. Robert Goulet’s avatar as Koba himself is a masterstroke, and I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise. Thing about Marks is that when he’s on his game (and we will forgive him his trespasses, among which I would number British Library and Great Leap Forward), he makes you want to be a communist. Not because you give a shit about labor or because you even know what dialectical materialism is, but because it’s cool, man. And there’s one of his great contradictions. If fascism is partly the pure aestheticization of power, Carl Marks turns communism into an aesthetic proposition with his films, which is more or less a fascist act. He wants you to think, or so he says, and I don’t think he’s lying. But he wants the gosh-wow give-me-some-of-that reaction in the gonads, and that’s where the real power of the movies comes from. Hot hot hot. Now that he’s going to jail, if the wheels of justice grind to that conclusion, we have lost our greatest appropriator of the images of dead movie stars. I hope I sounded appropriately somber there.