Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Poisonous Image in Wisconsin Death Trip

This was a while back, but 366 Weird Movies published another piece of mine, on an obscure documentary called Wisconsin Death Trip. It's a pretty cool, out-there kind of movie.
Frank Cooper’s account of Black River Falls, above, may be little more than a publicity blurb, but in Marsh’s film, it represents something much larger. It is an image of the town and an image of small-town life as a whole, an idyllic fiction created and taken as a faithful reflection by those who identify with it. It is a broad meta-narrative, a reassuring script – a framework to give larger meaning to many small lives and arbitrary circumstances. This is a category of “image” that Mitchell barely touched upon… the reflexive mental image called a self-image, which gives identity to both the individual and (by custom and consensus) the collective. Unfortunately, as the citizens of Wisconsin discovered in the late 1800′s, this self-image is a fragile thing, a glass castle on a precarious perch, and its destruction can be catastrophic.

-- The Poisonous Image in Wisconsin Death Trip, published in 366 Weird Movies

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