Monday, May 01, 2006

Bookshelf: FLICKER

It started with the cover image: a blue-ghost wisp of an old-time movie siren's face barred by strips of film. Over it all--the harsh silver of a Maltese cross.

My attention was caught. I picked up the novel from the second-hand bookstore rack, looking at the title now. FLICKER. Never heard of it, but since I was writing my second Vampire Babylon story at the time, I thought it might get me into the Hollywood groove.

I got a lot more out of it than that.

Without revealing too much, FLICKER is a conspiracy novel, a cult phenom that's rumored to become a movie soon (directed by the wildly creative Darren Aronofsky no less). It's a major trip through all that's beautiful and ugly about the cinema; it's a complicated, brilliant weave of film's present, history, and future. I don't want to ruin a thing about it for anyone who hasn't read it yet, but this is a story that cries out for discussion. Yet since the book has been out of print for years, conversation on a large scale about this story isn't likely--at least, not until the movie comes out. (If it ever survives the development stage.)

But let me try to tell you why I liked FLICKER so much. On the surface, it's about a film student who develops an odd appreciation for some below-B grade movies made by a forgotten director named Max Castle. There's just something about this deceased director's films that gets to the student, and as he researches Castle, he uncovers a truth that goes beyond sinister.

This book not only compelled me with its amazing research, but it delves into theories about where society is going. That's the scary part about FLICKER and, coupled with my last blog (re: HOSTEL), I've had a real thoughtful week about what's happening right in our own backyards. I highly recommend FLICKER, but be warned--there's a lot of exposition that might bore someone who could care less about cinema. Otherwise, try to hunt it down. It's a keeper.

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