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Mel Gibson's movie The Man Without a Face, Selected and introduced for ELLOPOS by Nat Gerrs
IT KEEPS SURPRISING me, how mysteriously things happen sometimes. "...Everyone thought the story was uncommercial. Then the screenplay got into the hands of a literary agent in New York. ... She showed it to everyone ... but no one was interested ..." - so that it became the task of Mad Max to shoot what is one of the most interesting films in the humble history of cinema.
The film starts as Charles' military triumph, which is his adoration by family and anyone else. Everything seems like he wants it to be, it is a perfect dream - the world under his feet (literaly, since Gibson films Chuck on the shoulders of the rest, even showing the soles of his shoes, above everyone and anyone in the scene, and beyond the scene, even above us!).
Obviously enjoying the thing at the extreme, he suddenly looks around for something he can not see. His pleasure is exhausted and replaced by agony. He is alarmed. He grasps his head and his hat falls to the ground. The whole dream sinks to the abyss of his missing a face: "but whatever the dream, there is always a face that I can't see, that I keep missing, out there, beyond the edge of the crowd".
In his dream Charles creates the world as a crowd by making everyone a subject or an echo of his desires. A crowd exists outside the dream too, wherefrom Charles wants to escape. A large part of the movie deals with what the crowd is, indicating as a crucial property its not needing a face.
As the crowd's king, Charles belongs to it, but somehow he sees that his image is distorted in there. He feels that he will not see his soul by visiting a doctor. And he is starting to know, that his dreams produce just a crowd and some different but equally or even more deformed image of himself. Just as the origin of his deformity is in the crowd's faces, the origin of his true image must be some other face. This seems, then, what he needs: someone not controlled by him and someone who will see him as he is, a soul, in which he would recognise the deep of his own soul - we are in Plato's way.
Cf. Someone Like Hodder | Rilke, Letter to a young poet | Jaspers, Truth is in communication | J. O. y Gassett, The Revolt of the Masses | Tom Schulman, Dead Poets Society | Wordsworth's and Magee's poems | K. Mansfield, There was a child once
More by Nat Gerrs : Why Europe? | J. M. Lefévre, The White Thinking