"The Wall", the film by Pink Floyd, forty years later |  It was rock's first self-criticism and is recognized as a masterpiece

“The Wall”, the film by Pink Floyd, forty years later | It was rock’s first self-criticism and is recognized as a masterpiece

When in 2010 film critic Roger Ebert agreed with what he had said about the film The wall nearly thirty years earlier, a recurring gaze crystallized. She ruled, so to speak, that perpetual bloc of millions and millions of ordinary people who consider her, without further ado, a masterpiece. He said it then as the best of all serious fiction dedicated to rock. And it seemed even bolder than when he had seen her give birth in the Cannes Film Festival May 1982, the day when the very high decibel audio ended up blasting the paint off the walls. “For the first time, the rock star is not just a pampered narcissist but a living, suffering image of all the despair of this nuclear age,” Ebert said at the time. The perfect and round closed time circle for the great specialist, as well as for the others of his lineage.

Vision one, then: The wallthe film –whose first celebrates its 40th anniversary today– is, was and will be an extraordinary and unique event. A way of capturing in images, music and illustrations in movement, up to what level of destruction and reciprocal self-destruction the human being can reach, if the things of the world continue their course.

The position of the apologists of the wall endorses the treatment that its creator reserved for the world of rock. The alienation embodied by “the rockstar”, for example, applies to yesterday, today and always, at the same time as it produces one of the first serious self-criticisms of rock, in aesthetic and artistic terms. And does his guts, beyond the exaggeration of trying to compare the rock industry with “the Nazi”, or with something Nazi, as shown in the scene of the two thousand skinheads populating the Royal Horticultural Hall , to praise the shapeshifting Pink. Placing the magnifying glass on such sequences places the film in an aura extraordinary achievement, at least in terms of the conjunction between cinema and rock. On a Creole scale, meanwhile, another passage that hit the mark when it premiered here, with Malvinas around the corner, is that of the English flag which turns into a cross of blood, and gets lost in a sewer. .

Brilliant picture. Brilliant and unforgettable.

But as for The wall the generals of the law are inscribed, like any artistic work of great transcendence, Critics were quick to come which changed the state of the question. Danny Peary, another movie bug, considered it “repetitive”, something that director Alan Parker and Roger Waters himself -as a screenwriter- had recognized it by removing “Hey You” from the soundtrack, precisely because of its recurring images. To the self-criticisms of the director and the musician-creator, who also often complained of not being able to connect with her as an audience, others were added from the kidneys of the group. A Rick Wrightwho at the time of the premiere had already ceased to be part of Pink Floyd, was not at all interested, to the point of not even attending the public premiere on July 14 at the Empire Theater in Leicester Square. David Gilmour It was also a little hard for her. He said it was quite a distance from the album and the gigs – which weren’t many, after all – in which a wall had also been erected between the band and the people.

In any case, what stands out as a definition four decades after this cinematographic-musical milestone is that it continues to challenge. Somehow, hook or hook, The wall it continues to put its finger in the sore spot, even with its resignifications on its back and its passing influencesOf course, at the risk of reading it out of context. It is irrefutable that in certain passages it remained, if not ancient, at least beyond temporal reach. It is not possible today to support the way we look at education, for example.

If it’s resumed Argentina recently escaped the civil-military dictatorship of ’82’-’83, not only the scene of the treadmill dragging the children towards the abyss like a meat grinder, but also the repression of the boy-poet by the teacher, then this same teacher humiliated by his wife at home, had an impact very liberating. Cathartic. It was mind-boggling then to know that someone was facing such sharpness in school repression. or education as a colonizer of minds, so much so that even Arturo Jauretche himself – who almost three decades ago had written Pedagogical colonization This would have made the sequence national and popular.

Fortunately, it is not a look at education that we can have today, given a pedagogical state rather characterized by tendencies Freirien, logically more open, democratic and inclusive, when the view of the subject posed by the film is rather retrograde. was what “Pink Waters” had suffered as a child in the immediate post-war periodwhich plunges this narrative passage into the logical and personal limbo of the creator rather than into a sociological observation.

And the mother. Are today’s Judeo-Christian mothers like the one Waters had and tried to exorcise in The wall? Does Freud govern? Is Roger responsible? Do Jung’s archetypes reign? Are mothers the cause of the problems? Do you have that cold, inquisitive face? Is it a universal? What is the name of the rose? Or the one about the carnivorous plant that devours Pink? Is it a brick or is it millions? Questions that are surely still being asked by some young people – there are some – who come to swell the floydian leaders from year to year.

Another point: the repression after an outrageous rock concert in “In the Flesh? -the version sung by Bob Geldof- gives more for a lecture on 20th century history than for describing the topicality of a phenomenon like the mega rock concerts, closer today to a baseball player at the VIP lounges than the rough rebellions of yesteryear, those that used to implicate, explain or confront violence, cultural malaise or outrages at the edge of the law.

So far, well-discovered moths.

What is difficult, yes, is digesting the verdict of Gilmour’s rejection of the film. In his favor gravitates that he is him, of course. And it is to him that the world owes one of the best songs in the world like “Comfortably Numb”, plus “Run Like Hell” and another very well done like “Young Lust”, which were not at the origin. album demo. But the music of the film, contrary to what the guitarist claims, is simply moving. Sum compared to that of the album, released two years earlier, and the counter-argument goes through several aspects to list: the addition of “When the tigers broke free” is an observation that imprints an abyssal drama on history, as much as the completely reformed version of “Mother”with its tense heartbeats, a kind of music box with the sound of childish fever, and an acoustic imprint that is more austere and melancholy than original.

Another “little detail” is the reciprocal mutation between “Empty Spaces” and “What Shall We Do Now?with Gerald Scarfe’s plant mating, which of course adds depth to the narrative, as does the beauty of “Young Lust” -whose face is that of the unforgettable Jenny Wright-, the dull and abyssal keyboards of “Don’t Leave Me Now”, and his desperate plea for help; the acoustic depth of “Hey there you are” and the re-recording of one of the most beautiful short themes in history: stop.

In short, in this coming and going of crossed glances, it turns outThe wall. in these paradoxes. In this tension that always worries historians of any branch whatsoever: the tension between the permanent universal and the strictly circumstantial. Between the durable and the changing. What belongs to one era and not to another. Or all of them. And of the two The wallSure.

The rest is empirical, racconto, factual history. It started with Waters and his idea of ​​building the wall to distance himself from his audience. A little jaded, drooling from a nervous breakdown and aware of having collectively given everything through the wonderful triad The dark side of the moon wish you were Here Animalsthe musician began to cut himself that evening in 1977, during one of the presentations of Animals, at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal. It was the night of the spat on the fan who, somewhat drugged, insistently demanded the band play “Careful with That, Eugene,” an iconic psychedelic Floyd theme from the late ’60s. the first film idea had been of the Floyd performing live and bombarding the audience with fireworks.

The problem was that the MGM studio rejected it and it was Alan Parker who had to insist from another place, so that the EMI label accepted it. It was he who wanted to redirect – at least in form – the personal, complex, stormy and obsessive universe of the artist, everything he wishes to sublimate in a great work of art.

And then moving images could be designed on the layered structure that represented Pink’s desolation, claustrophobia, and paranoia. From his mental and emotional universe, a continent capable of translating into something akin to the apocalypse, at a time when Pink Floyd was no longer Pink Floyd but a very inspired leader no longer a brilliant guitarist, but not very committed to work; a Nick Mason more interested in the miles of Le Mans than in his friend Roger’s masterpiece, and Rick Wright, the ex-keyboardist then hired as a session musician, who didn’t care The wall.

Pink Floyd had last performed live with their classic line-up in June 1981, three months before shooting for the film began in locations such as the Saunton Sands battlefield, where beds would then be hung. A momentary failure of reason, or the desolate place where the child waits for a father who never returns… “Vera”, another image of enormous and sad beauty. And then another powerful paradox emerged: seeking to distance himself from his public, Roger Waters ended up moving away from the musicians of the groupwith whom he will not find himself until nearly twenty years later, on Live 8. Another flat out of a thousand.


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