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Archiv: H & CF

2017 17 Nov

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Jeder kennt die Liebe auf den ersten Blick. Es gibt sie in persönlichen Begegnungen, aber auch bezogen auf Musik, auf Filme, Buchlektüren. Ein einzelner Akkord, ein Melodielauf, glasklare Evidenzen, etwas von Relevanz. Die ersten Minuten aus der Fernsehserie Halt & Catch Fire laufen ab und gleich ist klar: das Weiterschauen wird ein grosser Spass in den nächsten Wochen, ein entspanntes und bereicherndes Flow-Erlebnis. Man sieht einen Monitor, etwas wird eingetippt in neongrüner Schrift: HCF. Die Bedeutung dieses Computerbefehls wird sogleich erklärt. Ein riesengrosses Gürteltier krabbelt langsam über die Bildschirm, wie in einer Animation. Dann sieht man dieses fabelhafte Viech auf geteertem Strassenbelag, hört dazu das Motorengeräusch eines irrsinnig beschleunigten Sportwagens. Ein Porsche rast die Strasse herauf, dem Betrachter entgegen. Vollbremsung. Der Fahrer steigt aus und sieht sich den Schaden an: im Kühlerfrontgitter steckt ein blutiges Etwas. Diese in rhythmischer, bildwitziger Brillianz fotografierte Eingangssequenz könnte als Metapher gelten für Vieles, was dann folgt. Es um Veränderungen und Entwicklungen der digitalen Technologien. Wollte man dies aufhalten, so würde man überrannt. Es könnte auch Hinweis sein auf die forsche Rücksichtslosigkeit und den Ehrgeiz des attraktiven, bisexuellen, rhetorisch versierten Porschefahrers Joe MacMillan, einst Salesman bei IBM. Ein David Bowie der Computerbranche? Im Vorstellungsgespräch wird ihm Soziopathie unterstellt, zu Unrecht, denn er ist zu tiefen Emotionen fähig. Die Serie kommt aus gleicher Produktionsstätte wie auch Mad Men und Breaking Bad und das sieht man ihr an. Auch an Fargo erinnert einiges. Nichts ist hier zuviel und überflüssig. Dem Betrachter wird nicht Zeit gestohlen, vielmehr geschenkt. Figuren, mit denen man sich gerne identifiziert. Empathie, Katharsis. Eigene Lebenserfahrungen werden gespiegelt, nicht nur im Soundtrack. Eine hohe emotionale Intelligenz zeichnet die Serie aus. Ist das Ganze beendet, nach vier Staffeln, vierzig Episoden und dreissig Stunden Fernsehvergnügen, breitet sich Sehnsucht aus. Wie einst in verzauberten Sommernächten, die man allzu gerne zurückholte. Selbst ein Guru aus dem fernen Osten wäre davon nicht befreit. Denn Sehnsucht ist das Leben selbst. Wie Orpheus steige ich ein zweites Mal hinab in den Serien-Hades, beginne nach dem Abschied gleich von vorne. Schalte die Untertitel ab, geniesse den John-Bosworth-Sound in voller Konzentration. Wann hat man jemals so genial rappenden Texas-Slang gehört?

Not easy. You really need access to all four seasons, and they are, via streaming, only accessible on Amazon Prime. Only seasons 1 and 2 got DVD/BLURAY releases, so, you better wait till the COMPLETE HALT AND CATCH FIRE BOX SET will have been released one day in the future. Future is anyway a main topic here, and, as in so many cases, a future long gone. So when time has come, you will dive into the world of four, five flawed main characters who are obsessed with the dawn of the then new computer age, and, in not so discreet ways, with one another, and their own demons. Full program. Soundtracking is great and overpowers the shitty mainstream of the ‚80s. Don‘t expect any far-reaching analysis deeply grounded in sociological and psychological knowledge here. Please. We have this knowledge, we‘re no dumbheads, but, may I say so in the the name of Joey, too, we are still rendered rather speechless by our heaven-and-hell-ride over the last weeks rushing by like an autumn leaf under a stormy evening sky. Clever writing is strictly forbidden when catharsis still works. The aftermath, the afterglow. It is very helpful to stay away from reading any reviews before entering the world of Cameron, Joe, Gordon, Donna and Bos. Stay innocent and let your heart be broken slowly. Seeing is creating. It works best in the dark, with your love or loneliness or ghost friends at your side. You’ll never watch alone. Interesting, though „Mercy Street“ is wonderfully placed at one point, I got, after having seen it all, a big hunger for a different Peter Gabriel album: MELT. The common ground: everything‘s constantly on the verge of falling apart (with great rhyhtms) – and, here we go, some damn good  story-telling may be on its way to you. Just melt away!

„Halt and Catch Fire is the kind of show that doesn’t shy away from dealing with the complexities of relationships — the selfishness, the connections, the petty bitterness, the support — and the many iterations such relationships can take. These characters have deeply hurt one another, but they’ve also been uniquely understood. In setting the season during the advent of the Internet, there are connections to be made between the simultaneous excitement of being part of a world-changing technology, the cutthroat scramble to get there first, and how these characters relate to one another in such an environment“

– Juan M. Suarez, Popmatters

 
 

„This series at first seemed to be too clever for its own good, but improved in all ways possible, from episode to episode, ending up, from the last third of season one onwards, as one of the most nuanced character dramas of recent TV-history. Even the soundtrack choices quickly grew from smart ass to wise, subtle, and knowing. When, in the last season, sadness nearly became unbearable in episode 8, we can hear, on an old record player, a song by Dire Straits, from an album I personally never liked, Brothers in Arms, and it fucking worked – here – in more ways than the obvious references of the lyrics may suggest.“

– m.e.

Yes, you are right, this is a bit too much for short notes and fleshed-out observations. At least I will give nothing away. A series backed by the rise of home computers and letting time go by till the world wide web is running our communication, is a bit far away from the mysteries of Twin Peaks and The Leftovers, yet these three peaks of modern TV history have more in common than first impressions suggest.

The Leftovers, Twin Peaks and Halt And Catch Fire are are all about systems of belief; it may be a version of the future made in Silicon Valley, it may be the loss and sadness and things left enigmatic in the small world of Twin Peaks. What are the things people turn to explain the inexplicable and why?

Whether you believe a giant egg in a volcano is going to hatch a monster that will end the world or that a series of aboriginal songs are the key to stopping the impending flood of the earth, belief systems help make sense of the narratives that we construct for ourselves and serve as a coping mechanism when we come face to face with things we cannot understand.

 

(There are people reading these lines believing there is a god, the great beyond, others think with dry sarcasm that the creator might not have a masterplan, but for sure, offshore, a decent amount of Paradise Papers.) 

 

The four central characters of Halt And Catch Fire have to deal with similar riddles as the traumatized inhabitants of Twin Peaks and Miracle. The stories they tell themselves come with a prize, and will probably (I stay deliberately vague here) end up in tears. Or a quiet, knowing smile. Does anyone believe in a shining future? It‘s all about illusions lost, illusions found. It‘s all about that Lou Reed / Velvet Underground song Brian Eno covered at the end of The Ship, the end of another story about the end of a world different from the one we seemed to have known. To be honest, knowing smiles are rarely happening here. Jacks had one, different story, on his last motorcycle tour, in the final scene of Sons of Anarchy. Oh, and, if anyone thinks this all is about entertainment, then he’s riding the wrong horse.

K

(a remix of three texts, I saw two of these shows till the final curtain, I‘m waiting for Twin Peaks‘ Third season since 1990, and it will finally arrive at my Electric Cinema after Nikolaus. m.e.)


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