background img

Faded Films: National Nightmares


This column is late and I want to have a good excuse, like I was backpacking through Guam, but I don’t I’ve just been so horribly upset, depressed and uninspired that I couldn’t bring myself to try to reflect on the state of things, my life included. But here I am and I don’t have much to say but I thought I’d share the stench of my rotting insides. My physical body has began to absorb the disparity, ugliness and sadness of my emotional body, and in turn has started to rebel against me and shut down. I’ve had more health ailments in the last few weeks than I’ve had in most of my entire life. But like Dostoevsky’s underground man I’m here to elicit sympathy for the pain that I’m wallowing in. Feed me your sympathy, empathy and pity and if you have the stomach for it watch the movies below which examine the myth and reality of America.

There Will Be Blood

Originally, this week’s column was going to be about alternative versions of the same reality or story — comparing There Will Be Blood to Giant. Giant romanticized the American West, the search for oil and the life of the rancher with sprawling scenes of American wildlife and depictions of the strength and beauty of the American family. There Will Be Blood starts out similarly enough but by the time Daniel Day Lewis yells out “I’m finished” after bashing in the head of the Pastor using a bowling pin, there’s nothing left but the dark realization that there is no glory in America’s past or in it’s future.

We Need To Talk About Kevin 

The school shooter is all too common a presence in the real world, so it took me about four months to get through this movie. I think I watched We Need To Talk About Kevin in 20 minute increments because otherwise I would have never gotten through it. The movie is done through the juxtaposition of flashbacks through Kevin’s childhood with his mothers life post-shooting. The movie is haunting as it slowly spells out the horror Kevin inflicted on his school, his mother and humanity.


Spring Breakers left such a bad taste in my mouth that I almost forget that Harmony Korine is a genius when he’s not busy feeding James Franco’s alter egos. Gummo is a non-narrative depiction of the backwaters of America, the towns already suffering even before they’re hit by tragedy. It’s horrifying and disturbing mostly because it paints the stark realization that catastrophe and trauma doesn’t always breed anything more than more hardship and grotesqueness.

Film column by Tamim Alnuweiri. Follow her here.

Other articles you may like

Leave a Comment