Sunday, July 02, 2006

Gone with the Wind, Remade by Lars von Trier

It would be interesting if Lars von Trier remade Gone with the Wind. He could pick the elements that are already in the book and/or the film, sharpen the characters' political differences, change the plot, film it from slaves' and ex-slaves' points of view, and add voiceover narration by John Hurt.

Ashley Wilkes is a southern plantation master and member of the Ku Klax Klan, attached to the Lost Cause. Rhett Butler is a businessman from a big city, who knows that the South would lose the war, is not attached to the Lost Cause, would rather do business with Yankees than fight them, but is not about to become a race traitor either. Scarlett O'Hara is presented with two ruling-class political visions. She is first attracted to Ashley's, and then she becomes disillusioned with it, as Ashleys of the South restore white supremacy with terrorism. She embraces Rhett's as the "progressive" political alternative to Ashley's, only to be disillusioned with it, too, as Rhetts of the South decide to live with white restoration rather than build a "new South." She moves back to Tara, alone, and tries to manage it according to her "new South" principle, only to find her plantation threatened to be taken over by a joint-stock company in which Ashley and Rhett have major interests, for her "new South" plantation is boycotted by Ashleys and Rhetts of the South. Then, the film quotes Scarlett's famous soliloquy, substituting Tara for Rhett: "I can't let Tara go. I can't. There must be some way to keep it. Oh I can't think about this now! I'll go crazy if I do! I'll think about it tomorrow. But I must think about it. I must think about it. What is there to do? What is there that matters?" Scarlett's face dissolves into a montage of scenes that show her new management style, in keeping with what it takes to keep her plantation and make it prosper, which in turn dissolves into a montage of modern plantations and sweatshops in America and the rest of the world.

But von Trier has already made a film like that; it's called Manderlay.

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