After all of the thoughtful feedback and comments regarding my last blog, I decided to revisit the companion film the same titled Pink Floyd's The Wall that was made several years after the release of the album. And so, my partner and I set up the Roku and hooked up the quality stereo speaker. We settled in and pressed play. For the next hour and half, I don't remember breathing.
When it was over, we looked at one another with wild, staring eyes; finally exhaling. I realized I would be painfully remiss to not write a second “The Wall” installment about this masterpiece of a film. And then I will write no more about the whole phenomenon because it disturbed me so.
Often I have revisited a film from my youth and have found it to be sadly dated in it’s content and relevance. This was not the case with The Wall. If anything the film held more meaning as I watched through the eyes of a relatively wizened adult. It's been at least twenty years since I saw it last and frankly, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. The movie is still incredibly articulate, brutally honest and pulls no punches.
With the screenplay written by Roger Waters himself, the film provides sharp clarity and dimension to the story of a soul sick rockstar who has isolated himself in a hotel room; already well into a breakdown and on the verge of a probable fatal overdose. When he realizes that his wife is having an affair, the final brick goes in, his psychological spiral quickens and "the worms eat into his brain". During scene after scene of metaphoric beauty and horror, Pink is visited by the spectres who make up the metaphoric wall he's constructed around himself.
With startling, inventive animation; unflinchingly depicting disturbing and brutal images of war, violence and depraved sex; this film is still not for the faint of heart or stomach. I indeed felt nauseous during the school sequence whereas hordes of children, bearing identical masks of helpless terror, mindlessly march forward toward a giant meat grinder. One by one, they fall into the machine. They don’t scream or fight. They are already so numbed by the abuse and repression of the system they just step off the edge. An issue so close to my heart; I’m sickened at the knowing that the echoes of such a system are still alive and seething today.
Another scene that really grabbed me depicted Pink creating a detailed mandala on the floor of his hotel room using cigarettes, pills, needles, broken guitar pieces and old photographs. A painfully beautiful heartbreak. Through the psychoanalytic lens, the mandala is a symbol of the self. Pink was trying to find his way back to his true self.
As he fights for his sanity and his life, he is visited by himself as a child; the only inner or outer representation that offers any compassion or hope. And to be sure, in the end when the wall finally blows apart, it is the children who lovingly begin to pick up the pieces.
Viewer be warned: This is a film that brings the watcher through an artist's experience of a psychotic break in a very powerful, visceral and disturbing way that I found difficult to shake off. There is so much more that could be said about it but I choose to leave it here for the sake of my own psychospiritual well being. Thanks for reading.