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Seen and Not Seen: Confessions of a Movie Autist Kindle Edition
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There couldn't be a more relevant book for our times. Through a relentless process of individuation, where all layers of culture are shed like snakeskin, Jasun emerges with eyes wide open. It begins (where else?) in his childhood, where with the wisdom of hindsight, Jasun examines his "obsession" with fantasy, in comics and Clint Eastwood movies. Ever-present throughout is the idea of trauma and how it creates a dissociation in our psyche and how we seek meaning through the mirror of entertainment. Rene Girard's mimetic theory is introduced. Autism, or neuro-diversity, is explored. The book is more autobiographical than anything, the author baring himself before us. We learn of his complicated and tragic history with his brother, Sebastian. Earlier works of his (The Blood Poets) are re-examined, elaborated upon. It's easy to see there will be a sequel (and it keeps getting better).
Certain films are highlighted, like Taxi Driver and Blue Velvet. Mostly, movies that explore darker regions of our culture's unconscious. You simply won't be able to watch a movie in the same light after reading this book. Once upon a time, we would eat our buttery popcorn and hold hands with our loved one, and stare mindlessly at the vapid screen. Jasun's penetrating perspective pierces the veil and reveals our complicity, our guilt in the abduction of our very consciousness. Yet it seems he is chasing after a Macguffin; he even seems aware of this. After all, he is admittedly writing another book about movies.
The perplexing thesis (maybe) presented in the book is that we must see our way not out but through. We must account for our obsessions, our heroes, our enemies. Who is writing our script? Hollywood is the mythic template for such a herculean task.
These ideas aren't new or even radical; in fact they are totally logical, and dare I say inevitable. Yet somehow, this is a rarely approached subject. Probably because it is too controversial, too personal. We want to watch movies to take our mind off things, but our mind is being taken. Kudos to Jasun for raking the muck.
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