Alright, I can’t contain my childish glee at this news, but Tim Burton is filming Alice in Wonderland. This brings a few of my favorite things together: Tim Burton, Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway (yeah, I know, I’m lame but she’s so Victorian… too bad she’s completely facile in interview), and Helena Bonham Carter. I am not sure why I like the cinema of Tim Burton so much. Between the years of 9 and 13 I lived in a small village outside of Boston, MA, named Sudbury. These were tremendously formative years for me. But over and above this there was something almost magical about Sudbury, primeval and pervaded by a sort of singular essence that I can only refer to as a “style of being” or a “sense”. Of all the directors I’ve ever watched, only Burton manages to capture this essence or what is “in the original 13 colonies more than themselves.” This is especially the case with the atmosphere of Sleepy Hollow. When discussing Kafka’s literature Zizek criticizes the thesis that Kafka writes about the fantasy underlying bureaucracy, instead claiming that Kafka captures the real of bureaucracy, it’s essence, what is it beyond any and all fantasy. This is what Burton somehow manages to do with the Northeast. In many respects, this place, Boston, has always remained my essence. I still remain haunted by its greening, its rocks, its moss, its ferns, its mist, its history, and stories of Colonial soldiers, jack-o-lanterns, different gourds, lobster, steamed clams, hills, pines, apple trees, concord grapes eaten fresh off the vine, boxer turtles, wild asparagus found like a surprising gift, salamanders, musket balls, Colonial uniforms and parades, split rail fences along which you would walk like an acrobat, stone fences piled haphazardly, strange green sea glass worn smooth and opaque by the action of Boston Bay evoking thoughts of old ale bottles from hundreds of years ago, Quincy Market with all its smells, its raw oysters on the half-shell freshly shucked, its vegetables and so many other things like frightening and pathos filled Halloweens that are not genuinely understood anywhere else outside the country, and meaningful Thanksgivings with their gnarled gourds, massive piles of snow covered with ice from Winter storms, Fall, brown haired girls with their sensitive, deep blue or brown eyes, accents, wild turkeys singing their song as they run through the underbrush where I fished in the creek for bass, catfish, and bluegill, and all the rest. Burton makes me ache for home, the chill air of my little house in Winter that was heated with only a wood burning stove upon which we would heat our socks as oil was too expensive, and the pleasures of fresh lobster right from the sea and corn on the cob. He fills me with with memories of moss covered granite rocks where I would have picnics with my sister and parents, eating cheese, French bread, sliced apples, and summer sausage.
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