Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Everything Everywhere All at Once

The l9th Century discovered the labile nature of personality. The innovation of Ibsen’s. Peer Gynt was to see personality as layered. Dreams, which Freud termed the "royal road" to the unconscious, enabled mental health professionals to work from the "inside out." Nietzsche's "Doctrine of Eternal Recurrence," also a product of the l9th century, proposed that given infinite time, anyone could be anything. Change in this futuristic paradigm would be accomplished "outside in," through a highly sophisticated form of time travel. Which brings us to Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert's Everything Everywhere All at Once. The directors, who call themselves "Daniels," set their narrative in a Chinese laundromat. Evelyn, the owner (Michele Yeon), is having trouble with an IRS agent, Deirdre Beaudeirdra (Jamie Lee Curtis), her husband Waymong (Ke Huy Quan), who has served her divorce papers, her lesbian daughter, Joy (Stephanie Hu), and her tradition-bound father Gong Gong (James Hong). If you had quotidian problems like these you'd need to escape is the joke. However seriously one takes the situation, Evelyn's plight is only mitigated by "versing;" she and others find other forms of themselves in alternate universes. It's My Beautiful Launderette meets Being John Malkovich. It also recalls Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York, which also famously theatricalizes the structure of personality. The  enormous filo dough pastry or accordion of disquisition requires constant expansion and contraction to render its effect. If there is a drawback it's that the viewer begins to feel they've jumped into an alternate universe called The Never Ending Movie.

Read "The Wormhole Society" by Francis Levy, The East Hampton Star

and watch the animation of Erotomania

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