— rabatjoie

December 2011

A quote from Elfriede Jelinek’s acceptance speech for the Heinrich Böll Prize 1986:

In den Waldheimen und auf den Haidern dieses schönen Landes brennen die kleinen Lichter und geben einen schönen Schein ab, und der schönste Schein sind wir. Wir sind nichts, wir sind nur was wir scheinen: Land der Musik und der weißen Pferde. Tiere sehen dich an, sie sind weiß wie unsere Westen, und die Kärntneranzüge zahlreicher Bewohner und deren befreundeter Politiker sind braun und haben große Westentaschen, in die man viel hineinstecken kann. So sieht man sie in der Nacht nicht allzu deutlich, diese mit dem Geld befreundeten Politiker und deren Bewohner (das Wahlvolk, das Volk ihrer Wahl, das die Politiker in ihren Herzen herumtragen), wenn sie wieder einmal slowenische Ortstafeln demolieren gehen. Vielen von ihnen würden, nach eigener Aussage, gern noch einmal nach Stalingrad gehen, wenn sie nicht die ganze Zeit damit beschäftigt wären, die Kommunisten im eigenen Land zu bekämpfen.

Full text.

Above a video by Primal Scream, for the song Kowalski, from their 1997 album Vanishing Point. Kate Moss and Devon Aoki (who would go on to play Miho in Sin City) can be seen stealing a Dodge Challenger, the same car that was featured in the 1971 car chase classic Vanishing Point. The two girls drive through London and stop by a random guy’s place to beat him up, handcuff him to the bedframe, and leave him to be discovered by the yellow press. They then go on to karate-chop two members of Primal Scream unconscious and dump them in the streets near the port of London.

References abound: Kowalski is the name of the driver who, in the film, races a white Dodge Challenger from Denver to San Francisco, high on speed, trying to escape the clock, the cops, and maybe also the dawning seventies. The voice which can be heard throughout the video belongs to Super Soul, a blind Radio DJ who guides Kowalski during his odyssey, and who in his speeches elevates Kowalski’s voyage to the level of a transcendental struggle:

This radiostation was named Kowalski
In honour of the last american hero
To whom speed means freedom of the soul

There goes the Challenger
Being chased by the blue blue meanies on wheels
The vicious traffic squad cars
Are after our lone driver

The last American hero
The electric centaur, the demi god
The super driver of the golden west
Two nasty Nazi cars are close behind
The beautiful lone driver
The police number are getting closer, closer
Closer to our soul hero, in his soul mobile
Yeah baby, they’re about to strike
They’re gonna get him, smash him
Rape the last beautiful free soul on this planet

Ten years later, Quentin Tarantino brings out Death Proof, the second half of which also has a couple of girls drive around in a Dodge Challenger and beat up a guy. Tarantino makes his hommage to Vanishing Point very clear, even annoyingly so when he has one of the actresses literally explain it to the audience. However, viewing the Primal Scream video one wonders if there is not a second layer of reference to be found here, one that Tarantino maybe was more hesitant to flaunt?

So apparently they’re making a new live-action Akira movie, and the majority of the cast will be made up of western actors. This guy will play Kaneda, and the role of Kei will be taken on by (brace yourselves) this charming lady here. Just sayin’.