Tuesday, February 13, 2024



Cord Jefferson's American Fiction like Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York is a primer on creative process. In Synecdoche, it's theater. American Fiction deals with writing. Ellison is the surname but the first name, Thelonious, however heavy-handed points to the musical nature of the undertaking. Leitmotifs, refrains and lots of recitatives go on in "Monk's" head. He's constantly carrying on imaginary conversations with reality. The plot of the the movie itself is driven by the writer's fantasy, particularly with respect to the ending, after a number of dramatic and explosive denouements. In one police rush into the ceremony as Thelonious picks up his award. They shoot him dead thinking the statue is a gun. That's the pat answer--which also contains some truth. Whenever a black man succeeds, he's shot down. One never knows if it's fact or fiction when the movie ends withThelonious driving off of the lot where the film of his book is being shot in a sports car. Endings are notoriously a problem for writers.

read Francis Levy on American Fiction, TheScreamingPope

and also listen to "Borderline" by Madonna

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