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interpreting hair ....

[import from deadjournal]

re-watched hair (the milos foreman movie). is or isn't there a strong gay subtext? i'm (have been) wondering & have asked my sister before, she said, no, she hadn't seen that.
it's too long since i've last seen it on stage (though i seem to remember it being less focused there) but the movie seems to make more sense to me on the assumption that berger is in love with claude. i am seeing this & don't think it's only my imagination running away with me, in fact i'd even say it's a bit too obvious to be entirely unintentional.

for once, they're extremely physical with each other, or at least b. is, the way he has his hands on c. the whole time, as opposed to the other guys, or even jeannie (or sheila), who haven't, not that way. that scene in the beginning (manchester, england), where c. is stoned and/or drunk, leaning back against b., he's looking relaxed, blissed-out in a way he never does with sheila.
i tend to think that for b. s. has always, unconsciously and/or consciously been a means (the socially acceptable way) to get to c., right from the beginning. and that's not even getting into the possible implications of him taking out his dick, (almost?) pissing on her picture in that paper, and then using this as a way to get c. come back.

from c.' pov... too unaware, too deeply buried, too little time. he's aware there's something going on, but he ultimately interprets it in the conventional fashion, the only one open and reasonable to him at this time, namely that he wants s. and b. wants her, too, the usual male rivalry over the girl. which, when he accuses b. of it at the end of the lake scene makes b. finally lose his patience, look at him in a you really are blind? way, snap 'and you're saying i am ridiculous?' (or whatever it is in english, i only had the german version), actually hit him...
the director allows just enough evidence to make this superficially credible to c., as well as the viewer, who's also basing his conclusions on the on the socially acceptable boy wants girl plot.
the rest of the movie c.'s looking half like he's trying to figure out something, half like he's aware he's running away.
there's that scene at the end, with c. on the car's passenger seat, b. standing beside him, so that c. basically looks at his stomach/groin, only he's not really looking, his eyes are continuously darting away, then back again, when b. (after being asked twice how s. was) decides on the fatal uniform change, there's look-half grin-half panicking-what are you doing when the shirt goes, full fledged panic what are you doing!!!? when b. opens his pants. it's rather unlikely that c. is supposed to be unaware of any sexual implications there. (if only the embarrassment of being found in a car with a naked guy - i suppose there's some army rule or another against that), if he hadn't noticed the undressing routine in the lake scene.

neither c. not s. look very happy or passionate at the meeting afterwards, which, considering that s. hadn't even known what to write back, that the trip most certainly hadn't been her idea, isn't exactly surprising. the final scene at the graveyard, she's standing beside him, but his hands are firmly clasped behind his back, they're not touching.

s.: i think she's (supposed to be portrayed as being) at least on some level aware of what's going on, starting with the scene at the lake. she senses something amiss, her first reaction is to break it up, to get between them, abruptly asking b. to take her home. she withdraws physically and emotionally, maybe gives it a last try, despite her better knowledge, joining c. in the lake, but she's instantly ready to believe that c. is part of b.'s joke of taking her clothes, even if this is entirely unreasonable.
ironically the scene ends with both s. and b. being angry at c., for much the same reasons, his inability to figure out his feelings, and those of the people next to him.
she might (probably, even) want b., because he's more foreignly interesting to her, dangerous, but she isn't really getting anywhere and she knows this. as for c., i think one can presume that by winter (the letter scene) she doesn't really care much for him. giving b. the letter might be part trying to re-establish contact with him, part awareness of his love for c.
i may be wrong but some of the looks they exchange speak of she knows / he knows she knows, before they drift off into a subtle psycho duel over the letter and the (im)possibility of the trip to nevada: he quietly daring her, more or less saying i knew you didn't love him (like i do), she but it's not getting you anywhere, look at reality for once, look at me. she wouldn't have known what to write back, he decides on a 2000 miles trip in a split second, which she later joins presumably as much for b., or adventure in general, as for c., but basically she's resigned, a bit melancholy maybe. the way she looks at him thoughtfully, when he has his hair cut, grinning at her enthusiastically when everyone else looks rather shell-shocked. she looks at him, bemused, knowing what it means, maybe saddened by the futility of it all.

i tend to believe this must be intentional, but if it is, it's, i don't know, extremely sad, because that's a rather big thing, central to the plot, to slip in without even really mentioning it, leaving it entirely at the viewer's willingness to notice, or not notice it. and either i'm imagining all this (which, after all, is a good possibility, as i looked around a bit and didn't find anything to support this on the internet), or else it's really something not generally noticed. i usually like this in a movie, not having everything spelled out word for word, but this seems a bit too closeted to me. if you end up dying for someone, accident or choice, part of me demands this be stated more clearly. but maybe that's the interesting part, the ambiguity. but on top of the usual kill the gay character (if that's what he is) routine, it seems a bit, i don't know. unfair. harsh.

ah well, maybe i'm really hallucinating, after all. then again, there's tarantino and his interpretation of top gun *g*

se non è vero, è ben trovato.


solitary summer

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