Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

March 24, 2005

Solitary Fracture

Filed under: Uncategorized — louisproyect @ 7:16 pm

Posted to www.marxmail.org on March 24, 2005

Some months ago I received an invitation from Deniz Michael, a young film-maker, to watch a dvd of a movie he made called “Solitary Fracture.” Since his website (www.solitaryfracture.com) doesn’t really describe its content and since he stresses the novelty of the fact that there is only a single character in the film (Mike Peters, played by himself), I wasn’t that eager to watch it. For some reason, a film by a young man with only one character played by himself evoked student work at NYU or some other film school, where the emphasis is on being daring just for the sake of being daring.

Since I have been on vacation this week, I finally carved out some time to watch “Solitary Fracture” and am very impressed with his work. While watching it, I realized that you certainly can make an interesting work with basically one character. After all, most of “Cast Away” consists of Tom Hanks talking to himself while he struggles to survive.

With all proportions guarded, this is essentially how “Solitary Fracture” succeeds. It is the story of a young man cast adrift in capitalist America who fights his own kinds of battles to stay alive. With Tom Hanks it was the need to find water to drink and food for eat. For Mike Peters, it is the struggle to find a job and stay sane–a struggle that he eventually loses.

The film starts with Mike Peters losing his job as a stock broker and moves along inexorably into his futile search for a new job, mental breakdown and suicide. It is not a pretty tale but it is a deeply truthful one.

When Arthur Miller died last month I wrote:

As a salesman he [Willy Loman] is the critical link in the circulation of commodities. With nothing going for him except a smile and a willingness to put up with rejection, the salesman can climb his way to the top. Loman falls eventually because he is growing old and losing a step. In a climactic scene, when he discovers that his boss has no use for him any more, Willy cries out “You can’t eat the orange and throw the peel away…a man is not a piece of fruit.”

It is good to see that a young artist still takes themes such as this seriously. If you go to www.solitaryfracture.com, you will learn how to receive a copy of the film for next to nothing. Although it is a grim film, it is entirely captivating. It would also spark a good discussion in a college level economics or sociology class.

Good work, Deniz Michael…

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