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Isild Le Besco,
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Pure Gaze of the Beyond aka Beyond "Good and Evil"
We could extract many elements out of this movie, and focusing only on one philosophical aspect/thought sequence right now, sequence with certain 'ethico-religious' consequences, the following comes to our view: one thing which is recurring and like a repeating cycle overwriting itself, a "constant" through the film, is the perpetual and persistent "gaze" of the main protagonist.
The gaze somehow in its element of "gaze as such"/the pure gaze, transcends the limits of "particularity" and connects itself correspondingly with the vast and vacant environment, the mountains or trees or the sun on the horizon etc. Those visual fields are the approximation to this pure gaze, which just gazes, absorbs the various elements in itself, enveloping the whole environment and making it extinct in the "act of the gaze", somehow dislocating itself from/through the "particular" to connect itself with the "universal", like the empty canvas which contains all the colors and contours of the picture; the gaze remains like this empty canvas, which is somehow beyond "good and evil", in a sense, it is the indifferent element, which takes both good and evil as the same and interchangeable - the pure gaze appears as if untouched by different particularities or the content which it will process along the way.
Could this "hors-satan-gaze" be the pure gaze of the (pure) consciousness, the spiritual tradition is talking about? In various religious traditions there are divine madmen, who appear crazy, to whom the moral standards don't apply anymore, to whom the codes of normality, the rigid distinction between good and evil is just useless and a sign of fear and conformity. Is the main protagonist of the movie this kind of divine madman? Could be. Is his perseverance to do what he has to do (without obvious and self-evident reasons behind his actions), at the specific junction of the action/happenings that take place, a certain "death drive", drive that goes beyond life, beyond the safe and life-preserving functions; does that make him diabolical for that reason?
Could we link his character, for example, to the characters like Bobby Peru (played by Willem Dafoe) from David Lynch's "Wild at heart" or maybe crazy Anton (played by Javier Bardem), the Coen Brothers movie "No Country for Old Men"? In some sense all those characters appear stronger than the Life itself, driven by a sort of pure Death drive, not minding the consequences, like strange impersonations of the apocalyptic figures that destroy what needs to be destroyed along the way (by some unfathomable self-will), but at the same time confront us with radical truths which remain hidden to us, or better, the truths "we don't want to know anything about them". Are they divine figures that confront us with our own devils? It is to be answered individually.
What is more diabolical, the action itself, good or bad, or the "gaze as such" which is witnessing both? In a sense, this gaze remains intact and 'pure' by the good or bad input; it accepts them both. Isn't this the perversity of the gaze itself, to be indifferent, to take upon itself whatever it comes, without any distinction? If we say that one person is good or bad, we say this according to the standards of what is good and bad action; action needs to be done so that we can retroactively evaluate if the person is 'good' or 'bad'; only when the action is done we can say, that this person has decided (though it can/could be theoretically 'predetermined' by the causal chain events) to act according to his 'eternal' nature, which shows its "eternal character", only through particular actions that someone takes upon through the course of life.
In the instances of "Hors Satan" characters, it appears as if they evade this logic and are the subjects which freely rearrange the parameters of life, as if by a bizarre strike of "deus ex machina" intervention, and thus change completely the scenery and current events by dropping down the unbearable truth of confronting us with our worst nightmares and casual fears. They are certainly not the universal remedy, but they bring a certain perspective which pushes the ordinary reality to its borders, forcing us to rethink the thin lines between good and evil.
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