Saturday, July 19, 2008

It's Grinding Down the View--Herrmann Grosz and the new Expressionism

Portishead's brilliant new CD (aptly named Third) is out, and has been, for quite some time now. The latest video--

--which could be some sort of sleek ultra-sophisticate-bit of esoteric sterility (the sound of the track certainly begs to some extent for such a treatment) instead goes for retro pencil-and-paper narrative that mirrors the works of Grosz, a man out to skewer the corruption of Weimar Republic Germany and its slide into Nazism. It also mirrors the skewed cityscapes of Expressionist movies of the era, such as Caligari. Regarding the Portishead track, this certainly isn't the video I'd have imagined for such a machinistic--and to a great extent horrifying--track of such bleakness, but it certainly adds an important layer to it. It also fits into the Big Movie of the Moment, Batman, and its focus on those who simply want to watch the world burn. There was much of that in the Thirties, and is much of that in the Twenty-aughts.

No comments: