Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Bodies, Bodies, Bodies

De humani corporis fabrica (2022) - Castraing-Taylor, Paravel de-humani-corporis-fabrica-4 Setting aside the politics of healthcare and its inadequate system, let's consider the frailties of human bodies. And this is what Julien Castraing-Taylor and Verena Paravel are interested in to document, in graphic detail- the blood, guts and no glory. Gaining unprecedented access to 5 hospitals in Paris, we are presented to operating tables, endoscopy, colonoscopy, Ophthalmology procedures, morgues. Tiny cameras in tubes goes in and out of the bodies, exposed human brains, cutting flesh, cesarean sections, exposed, bleeding penis... while doctors and surgeons talk about their daily lives as if the patients they are treating aren't even there. And you ask yourself, why do I need to see this? This is a legitimate question to ask. But this is fascinating stuff.

De humani corporis fabrica is not unlike Brakhage's Act of Seeing with One's Own eyes, where he filmed autopsies in the morgue. Brakhage's idea of showing dead bodies might have stemmed from making the audience confronting the uncomfortable truth that one way or another we all die. That death is part of our life and we don't need to seperate ourselves from seeing the dead and avoid it. It had a death positive intention.

Castraing-Taylor and Paravel go even further with the idea. There is a giddiness in De humani... Cutting out shiny flesh from the body with the help of tiny camera and monitor and doctor's indifference in treating the human body like any other object showcases unprecedented human progress in medicine contrasting with elemental nature of a human body- bag of bones. At times it is triggering, but as with their other films, especially Caniba, the filmmakers push us to an uncomfortable areas to contemplate the body and soul connections. Yes we are basically a bag of bones. As we grow older, our bodies deteriorate. But we got to be more than bags of bones, but are we?

This beats any documentary about debating healthcare with talkingheads.

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