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Paula E. Sheppard,
The near future. Like tomorrow. In a world marked by closed borders, corporate warriors, and a global computer network, three strangers risk their lives to connect, break through the barriers of technology, and unseal their fates.
Luis Fernando Peña
"Wax" is very likely the oddest film I've ever seen. Marvelously, beautifully, lyrically, and profoundly intellectually stimulating in all respects. Breathtaking in its scope and achievement. But very odd.
I have read medical reports containing sodium pentathol interviews and transcripts of schizophrenics' monologues. I have read memoirs and fiction by schizophrenics and hard drug users. I have read Surrealist and Beat Movement literature. I have read James Joyce and Gertrude Stein. I have read the visionary poetry of Charles Williams and H.D.
I have watched films by Kenneth Anger and David Lynch and Maya Daren. I have read Yoruba ethnic literature from West Africa and studied Aleister Crowley's skryings on the Enochian aethyrs. I have read H. P. Lovecraft and also Kenneth Grant's post-Crowleyan magickal writings describing journeys behind the Tree of Life which would have preempted H.P.L.'s usual nightmares had he but known of them.
"Wax" stands tall in that company. A hypnotic, hallucinatory, purely poetic fusion of words, images, political ideas, and mystical transformations, nothing quite resembles it. "Pi" (1998) tried for something as distinctive, but that film gave us a glowering, paranoid, tortured vision shot in deliberately painful close-ups. "Wax" makes a complete contrast in its joyful freedom of eloquence in narration and visuals.
"Wax" enhances life while critiquing it. The film employs early, simple computer graphics. It juggles idiosyncratic desert architecture, prosaic photography, and absurd juxtapositions of common images.
It tells a story of Middle Eastern honey bees along with offering a hard view of the original U.S. military actions against Iraq in 1991 (a time so simple in retrospect as to seem the good old days). It links Los Alamos with transformations in consciousness. "Wax" leaps beyond the merely political in its luminous metaphors for human existence.
You can find stronger films, more beautiful films, more linguistically spry films, but you will probably never find anything quite like this fireworks display of language and image. Think "2001: A Space Odyssey" on a home movie budget. Your grasp of reality (and cinema) may never feel the same.
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