‘The bigger the fantasy got the more ridiculous it seemed,” said U.S. filmmaker Andy Wachowski of his oeuvre, a body of work he created with his brother and directing/writing partner Larry.
Andy said this during a promotional video for their forthcoming film, Cloud Atlas, which is circulating virally and is a bit fantastic itself.
But there is nothing ridiculous about it.
Andy appears in the promo with his sister Lana, who in fact used to be Larry – the co-creator of the blockbuster Matrix series. The promo, in which Lana appears with Andy and co-director Tom Twkwer, reveals a very attractive woman with a shock of hot pink dreads, a sweet face and a small, shapely body.
She looks wonderful, and perfectly at ease: Is it simply the benefit of hindsight that makes one remember Larry as always looking uncomfortable, and ill at ease?
The long trailer for the hotly anticipated, trouble-fraught film (studios were leery of the scope of the project –a modern Rashomon, traversing time and space) is exciting on more than a cinematic level.
It’s introduced by the auteurs as, essentially, profound fun: a film with “drama, comedy, romance” that is “political” and “philosophical” and has “lots of action.”
The extended trailer, released to ignite excitement about a largely independently funded project, reveals what Andy Wachowski frustration with genre: a 19th century sailor veers into a tragic future-bot; an old man is menaced by a new breed of Droogs; a young black woman (Halle Berry), most fantastically of all, falls in love with a confused Tom Hanks (outfitted here, alternately, as a dashing piratical sort and a straw-haired goofball in poly-pants).
Ultimately, Cloud Atlas, based on David Mitchell’s prize-winning bestseller, is about the Butterfly Effect of an act of kindness, the impact of reading/looking and, most significantly for the directors, an “idea of connectedness and karma.”
Which takes us back to Lana Wachowski.
Reactions to her transition are largely positive, if not a shrug. In this day and age, the shock value of gender transitioning is, thankfully, long past: There are no more demi-horror films about the burning question Glen? Or Glenda?
Still, this is big news for a aps no Hollywood player has ever transitioned before (publically, that is) and Lana, with her laid-back, smiling video launch, so to speak, makes the entire process seem simple, and natural.
Natural, because she looks so happy and good: this is exciting news for all of us, interconnected people in a somewhat duller world than the Wachoskis have always seen. It is a dispatch from, not the future, but now that also concerns genre, and fantasy.
The directors’ initial excitement over the Mitchell book has to do with the consequences of actions; bad and good; with the pleasing way in which it moves its plot forward with no particular concern with conventional logic or hard, immutable reason.
For a man or woman approaching or entering transition, gender itself may be perceived as fixed, and static: what better way to transcend its, ultimately, arbitrary boundaries than simply believing that it is possible to do so?
If modern life and traditional films are like science–-rigidly affixed to received and provable information–-fantasy, and a fantastic life have more to do with faith.
With acts and leaps of faith that begin as plainly as saying “I’m Nina,” to millions of viewers, and the trolls be damned.
There are trolls and haters, of course, but let’s ignore them.
On Tuesday, when I learned of Wachoski’s video, I was in an elevator with three employees of a Toronto hospital.
“She just transitioned,” one of them said, of an acquaintance.
“To WHAT?,” another said, sneeringly. “I sent her a card,” she added. “Saying Good Luck to that.”
And I called her a name and got off the elevator and looked at a poster of artist Nina Arsenault, the trans-goddess, who gives workshops in health care systems towards being “an ally to trans people.”
I chose to align myself with her, to take that pill.
I choose to be interconnected with the beautiful women who take risks and know themselves, intimately, deeply.
Who make art and fulfill fantasies out of pain and confusion or frustration with a world that barely exists anymore, to the truly faithful.