Escape from the Internet Swamp: ZACH BLAS with Iván Zgaib

Blas-Figure-4-960pxContra-Internet: Jubilee 2033 (2017), Zach Blas

by Iván Zgaib 

*This article was originally published in the april edition of The Brooklyn Rail


This starts with a paradox. I’m sitting in a small café in Berlin without Wi-Fi connection, worried because I can’t communicate with Zach Blas. I want to WhatsApp him: “I’m here, waiting for you on a lost table at the end of a narrow hallway.” But he finds me easily. He sits down and immediately starts speaking out against the internet. He says it is like a big musty swamp in which our dreams of a different world are drowning. And everything that Blas is saying beats in the bright heart of Contra-InternetJubilee 2033, the film at the centerpiece of his exhibition showing at Art in General.

So here is the thing: Zach Blas tells me about CIA drug experiments and about the use of LSD to increase people’s ability to work. The bearded waiter looks askance at us while he brings a cup of coffee. Blas’s words might just sound like a paranoia lecture on a Monday morning. Nevertheless, Blas consistently vindicates the use of dystopia as a narrative and aesthetic device to observe the present.

This new work of the American artist and filmmaker crosses multiple materials and temporalities: the space of the gallery, cinematic narrative, feminist theory, dystopian science fiction, and Jubilee, Derek Jarman’s 1978 film about the punk scene in England. In Blas’s re-invention, Ayn Rand travels from 1955 to 2033 to find her worst nightmare has come true: the Silicon Valley ideal that she had fought for is in crisis. A group of rebels has taken over the city and threatens to destroy the global hegemonic order held by the internet.

“Can we even imagine a world beyond the control of the internet?” Blas asks me as he takes a sip of coffee to wake up. And this vision of the universe of virtual networks also implies a question about cinema: if films can create audiovisual forms to bring different perspectives on the world, what are the possibilities they open to imagine the unimaginable? Thus, Blas’s proposal operates in an expansive sense: it tries to create images where the capitalist values promoted by Ayn Rand and her followers are confronted by an alternative.

The possibility of the internet’s disappearance—much less capitalism’s—seems far beyond the horizon of contemporary discussion. But Blas is trying to erase those limits.

Blas-Figure-3-960pxContra-Internet: Jubilee 2033 (2017), Zach Blas

Iván Zgaib (Rail): One of the things I found interesting is your take on Jubilee, because that film came from such a specific political and cultural context: the punk scene of the ’70s in the UK and that moment before Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister. What is the context that influenced ContraInternet in 2018?

Zach Blas: The context for me is California in Silicon Valley. And basically a certain kind of tech development that is having deep political effects across the world and that is pushing for the kind of governments we are living under. Since I lived in California for a long time, I thought this couldn’t be a film about England. The narrative structure of Jubilee, if you strip that bare, is really about a political figure from the past that time-travels into the future and sees the wreckage of society that that person is complicit with. And I think that is interesting: moving this confrontation with a political figure into the future to explore the material conditions of our present.

What was interesting for me was to think: OK, Jarman’s version was very much about nationalism. It is all about England. But we live in a world where politics and nations are much more complex. Globalization has happened, and a really interesting way to think through that is global infrastructure, like the internet. So my film is about a figure who inspired a certain kind of political and philosophical way in which these infrastructures are developed, innovated, and managed.

Rail: So how do you come up with the character of Ayn Rand?

Blas: Maybe this is more in America, but there are a lot of articles, like in Vanity Fair, about all these Silicon Valley entrepreneurs that are influenced by Rand—the real Ayn Rand, who lived in the 20th century. There is actually a documentary on it. Many people openly talk about this: they are naming buildings and children after her. So there is this link between the kind of philosophy and ideals of living that she put in her writings and the Silicon Valley culture that is embracing her. I also wanted to make a film that is about philosophy. You can say that she is the proto-philosopher for Silicon Valley.

Rail: And what is also interesting in your film is that she sees a rebellion in the future. So it makes me think about how the end of capitalism is so rarely addressed in culture and cinema. It usually seems to appear in the form of dystopia and utopia. Could you talk a bit more about how dystopia, anti-utopianism, or utopianism is expressed in your work?

Blas: One main theoretical inspiration for me is two feminists who wrote under one name: J.K. Gibson-Graham. The book read by one of the rebels in the film is like a plagiarized and reconfigured version of The End of Capitalism (as We Knew It), which was written by J.K. Gibson-Graham in the mid ’90s. They make this beautiful argument: often, male Marxist philosophers choose to theorize capitalism as that which has no outside. And they say the problem with that is that it forecloses the possibility of arriving at an anti-capitalist alternative. They have these beautiful phrases where they call these thinkers “capitalist-centric.” So they say the first thing we have to do is an intellectual-theoretical project where we understand that capitalism does already have outsides, and they look at different economic practices that they call non-capitalist.

1520334498644-jubilee2033_still-dal-film_2Contra-Internet: Jubilee 2033 (2017), Zach Blas

Rail: And how are these ideas manifested in ContraInternet?

Blas: What is so incredible about this feminist work is that it snaps so beautifully onto the question of the internet today. Because the thing with the internet is that you can’t untwine it from capitalism, governmental control, or global surveillance. So if you follow J.K. Gibson-Graham, the question now is: how do you think beyond the internet? What is outside of it? And what is so interesting is that if you ask people that question, their eyes roll over. People can’t even register that question. What would that be? And when you hit something that is “unthinkable” it makes you realize it is becoming a totality. And it is not a totality.

Rail: But it is sensed like that.

Blas: Exactly. So I wanted the rebels’ lecture in the film to be very poetic. But the core is when they say: “There are heroines within the infrastructure.” And this refers to this alternative network activity that is really happening around the world—where you have people in Hong Kong during pro-democracy protests using autonomous networking infrastructure to communicate when they are not connecting to the commercial internet. These examples around the world reveal horizons about what we desire politically. And what I want is to connect queer politics to those questions. Because so often queer politics stays at the level of the body, sexuality, and identity. Which is fine, but I want to show that those politics can be engaged in these pressing questions of the contemporary.

Rail: You are talking a lot about the importance of imagining an alternative to capitalism. And I was thinking about the formal approach of the film, in terms of how you picture visually and sonically a future that sometimes is unthinkable.

Blas: I think there are some things that come out more in the installation. The installation pulls out these questions of psychedelics and mysticism a lot more. But I guess I just wanted to make this queer sci-fi film. And I think there is something at the level of the image that is very libidinal. It is one thing to talk about these ideas, but when you see the passion, the bodies, the sexuality, the burning, the destruction, the critique hits at a different level. It is so much more visceral. I wanted it to be lush. I wanted it to feel indulgent in its aesthetics: I wanted it to be colorful; I wanted the images to be intense, rich, and exaggerated. And part of that is thinking that technically this is all an acid trip. That is why it needed to be very heavy on CGI. This is an acid trip from 1955 to the future, and it has to happen through computer graphics. It has to happen through the material engine that these people are developing. That is why I felt very strongly about the last scene at the beach. That was the scene where no CGI was allowed (except for the character of Zuma), because I wanted the beach to be the counterpoint. It is this very material moment where I present a different idea of nature. So if you were going to think: what would be an abstract expressionist painting that could represent Silicon Valley today? I think it would literally just be a network fiber. For me these are aesthetic representations of Silicon Valley’s taste. The world has been stripped of everything except networks. That is all there is.

Rail: How does Nootropix (the rebels’ leader) break that capitalist Silicon Valley representation?

Blas: I think it is about Nootropix’s physicality. Her embodiment is the counterpoint to that.

Rail: Because it is more material?

Blas: Yes, exactly. For me the funny thing about Ayn Rand is that she is this completely rational philosopher. She is all about rationality. But then she sees Nootropix wearing a dildo and she is so entranced by this phallic object that she doesn’t realize it’s attached to a gender queer body. And she just can’t help but touch herself. For me that is the moment where the rationality of Ayn Rand gets undone by the libidinal desire.

Se asoma en la pantalla: abriendo espacios de resistencia política en la Berlinale  


 Notes-on-an-Appearance-2-1600x900-c-default Notes on an Appearance (2018), Ricky D’ Ambrose


por Iván Zgaib

 *Esta nota fue publicada originalmente el 24/02/2018 en Otros Cines


El año es 2018. La ciudad es Berlín y sus calles están llenas de gente. Alguien quiere entrar a la estación de subte Hallesches-tor, pero está completamente cerrada. Afuera, la policía interviene en los disturbios entre un grupo de Neo-nazis y otras personas que organizan una contra-marcha. Desde ahí hacen falta solo dos estaciones del metro para llegar a la Berlinale, donde la alfombra roja impecable, las estrellas vestidas delicadamente y los flashes de las cámaras parecen salidas de algún mundo paralelo. Pero si uno indaga un poco más, otras historias políticas semejantes son reveladas por los extranjeros que visitan el festival: fuerzas de seguridad del Estado chileno que se mueven con impunidad, recortes económicos en Argentina, brotes discriminatorios contra refugiados en Rumania y  partidos de derecha vendiendo slogans de desarrollo neoliberal en India.

Si los sucesos del presente histórico tienden a trazar el retrato de un mundo desbordado, la cultura contemporánea responde con un imaginario lleno de reflejos distorsionados. Las ficciones sobre apocalipsis que amenazan la humanidad y las imágenes sobre estrellas pop que bailan hasta que se acaba el mundo son apenas algunos ejemplos. Se trata de visiones que suelen aparecer como síntomas de una imposibilidad; la de imaginar una práctica política contra el capitalismo. Si el sistema económico se sostiene bajo la ilusión cultural según la cual no hay otra alternativa, es válido preguntarse cómo las películas elaboran aquel paisaje histórico. Porque, después de todo, el cine puede constituir un dispositivo expresivo que propone nuevas visiones del mundo bajo formas audiovisuales. ¿Cuáles son las posibilidades que ofrece el cine contemporáneo para imaginar lo inimaginable? O, en otras palabras, ¿cómo hacen las películas para abrir un espacio que represente la resistencia política?

La idea de un movimiento político emergente y la dificultad para entenderlo aparece en el centro de NOTES ON AN APPEARANCE, el nuevo film de Ricky D’Ambrose programado en la competencia Forum. La turbulencia dramática de la película se mueve sobre una sensación de incertidumbre, cruzando dos hechos simultáneos. Por un lado, la misteriosa desaparición de David, un joven que es contratado para catalogar los trabajos de un filósofo. Por otra parte, la muerte de este último, un pensador ficticio llamado Steven Taubes. Son dos desapariciones que sostienen el tejido dramático del film y con las cuales juega D´Ambrose: lo que sigue es un desarrollo críptico donde lo político (¿cuál era el mensaje teórico de Taubes?) y lo personal (¿qué sucedió con David?) quedan unidos a través de una poética de índices.

Gran parte de la narración en NOTES ON AN APPEARANCE sigue a Todd, quien intenta descubrir qué le sucedió a su amigo David. Se trata de una búsqueda que genera la estructura de una historia noir llena de pistas detectivescas. El paradero de David y la visión sobre el estado político del mundo se representan como inalcanzables; no son más que signos incompletos que sugieren una realidad desdibujada. Incluso la apuesta formal del film pone al frente una lucha empecinada y frustrante por descifrar aquel misterio. De ahí la importancia que ocupan los planos donde se muestran objetos. La desaparición de David y los pensamientos de Taubes son rastreados a través de mapas, videos caseros, libros, postales y recortes de diarios. Es un carácter indicial que trama la poética del film y que se repite en la misma composición evocativa de los planos: la imagen de la cama de David, con las sábanas blancas arrugadas, ponen de manifiesto un espacio vacío. Así se anuncian las huellas de alguien que estuvo presente y ya no está más.

365902The Rare Event (2018), Ben Russell & Ben Rivers

Los pocos datos que aparecen sobre la filosofía de Taubes son confusos. Un libro llamado “Abandonando el capitalismo y lo que sigue después” sugiere un posicionamiento en contra de las desigualdades del sistema. Algunos recortes de diarios mencionan seguidores que consideran que el filósofo es un visionario mientras otros artículos lo acusan de reaccionario y anti-semita. Es a través de estos detalles y elipsis que NOTES ON AN APPEARANCE ensaya una aproximación estética y narrativa ajustada al estado fragmentario de la sociedad contemporánea; nos muestra un mundo que no puede terminar de armar una idea más abarcadora y completa sobre su propio tiempo presente.

Otro camino filosófico es adoptado por THE RARE EVENT, una de las películas programadas en el Forum Expanded. Codirigido por Ben Russell y Ben Rivers, el film construye una puesta en escena al servicio del debate político. ¿Cuáles son las posibilidades de resistir en el mundo actual? Ese es el interrogante central que reúne a un grupo de pensadores en un foro de ideas. Mientras tanto, los directores introducen a un hombre extraño que los rodea, su cuerpo completamente cubierto por un traje verde. Así, la exploración de Russel y Rivers abre una dimensión sensorial sobre los procesos del pensamiento. Sucede muy a menudo que las discusiones entre las personas son interrumpidas, distorsionadas con ecos o filmadas desde ángulos que dejan fuera del cuadro sus rostros. En ese sentido, no son tan importantes las afirmaciones sobre la noción de resistencia, sino las estrategias estéticas para dar forma al proceso de debate e imaginación en torno al accionar político.

La aproximación sensorial en THE RARE EVENT trabaja sobre un enrarecimiento de lo cotidiano. Cada tanto, el traje del Hombre Verde se convierte en la ventana a través de la cual abandonamos el “foro de ideas” y accedemos a un espacio visual más abstracto. Teñida de verde, aquella dimensión está compuesta por un coro de voces inidentificables y por el soplido resquebrajado del viento. También hay figuras geométricas que vuelan, se fusionan y reforman. Es así como Russell y Rivers construyen un espacio visual y sonoro que alude a las posibilidades de discusión sobre la resistencia en el mundo contemporáneo. Se trata de una intervención sobre la materialidad de la imagen que hace de la abstracción un componente sugestivo, como si fuera una pantalla vacía donde el espectador puede proyectar sus propias ideas sobre el accionar político. La reacción contra el capitalismo no adquiere acá un aspecto concreto, sino uno difuso que pone en escena la imaginación como posibilidad.

Si NOTES ON AN APPEARANCE elabora una poética indicial sobre las prácticas políticas atrapadas en el capitalismo, la dimensión verde en THE RARE EVENT abre un espacio cinematográfico sensorial, como si fuera un laboratorio de potencialidades transformadoras en reconstrucción continua. Entre el nihilismo de D’ Ambrose y la posición más esperanzadora de Russell y Rivers, ambas películas recuperan el lenguaje cinematográfico para plasmar una parte de la sociedad actual. Así expresan un espíritu aventurero que no se limita a reflejar problemas sociales, sino a crear composiciones estéticas que los expresan. El accionar político y el pensamiento sobre el capitalismo se reelaboran dentro de un espacio de posibilidades o imposibilidades; funcionan como un fresco que materializa un estado del mundo inacabado y en movimiento. Ese carácter expansivo es el que las hace más potentes. Con estos intersticios, el cine puede volverse un lugar más liberador.


Breaking through the screen: opening spaces of political resistance in the Berlinale  


 365902 The Rare Event (2018), Ben Russell & Ben Rivers


by Iván Zgaib

 *This article was originally published in the Talent Press and FIPRESCI websites on 23/02/2018 


The year is 2018. The city is Berlin and its streets are crowded. Someone wants to enter the Hallesches-tor metro station, but it is closed off. Outside, the police intervenes in the conflict between a group of Neo-Nazis and other people who organize a counter-protest. From there it is only two subway stations to the Berlinale, where the impeccable red carpet, delicately dressed stars, and the camera flashes seem to come from some parallel universe. But if you dig a little deeper, other similar political stories are revealed by foreigners visiting the festival: the Chilean state’s security forces acting with impunity, economic public cuts in Argentina, discriminatory outbreaks against refugees in Romania and right wing parties selling slogans of neoliberal development in India.

If the events of the historical present draw a picture of a world on edge, contemporary culture responds with images full of distorted reflections. The fictions about apocalypse that threaten humanity and the images of pop stars dancing until the world ends are only a few examples. These visions usually appear as symptoms of an impossibility; the one of imagining a political practice against capitalism. If the economic system is sustained under the cultural illusion according to which there is no other alternative vision, it is valid to ask: how can films elaborate that historical landscape? Because, after all, cinema is an expressive device that proposes new visions of the world in an audiovisual form. What are the possibilities offered by contemporary cinema to imagine the unimaginable? Or, in other words, how are films opening spaces for political resistance in representation?

The idea of an emerging political movement and the difficulty to understand it appears in the center of NOTES ON AN APPEARANCE, by Ricky D’Ambrose in the Forum. The dramatic turbulence of the film is developed through a feeling of uncertainty, at the intersection of two simultaneous events. On the one hand, the mysterious disappearance of David, a young man who is hired to research the work of a philosopher, and on the other, the death of the latter, a fictional political theorist, Steven Taubes. Both disappearances sustain the drama with which D’Ambrose plays: what follows is a cryptic narrative inquiry where the political (what was the theoretical message of Taubes?) and the personal (what happened to David?) are connected through a poetic use of indexes.

NOTES ON AN APPEARANCE mostly follows Todd, who tries to find out what happened to David. It is a quest that creates the structure of a noir detective story full of clues. Both David’s whereabouts and the outlook on the political state of the world are represented as unattainable; they are only presented as incomplete signs suggesting a blurred reality. The formal approach of the film puts forward a persistent and frustrating struggle to decipher that mystery, hence the importance of the frames where objects are displayed. David’s disappearance and Taubes’ thoughts are tracked through maps, home videos, books, postcards and newspaper clippings. These introduce an indexical quality that weaves the poetics of the film. It is an aspect that is also repeated in the frames’ evocative composition: the image of David’s bed, covered by wrinkled white sheets, reveals an empty space which announces the trace of someone who was present and is no longer there.

Notes-on-an-Appearance-1-1600x900-c-defaultNotes on an Appearance (2018), Ricky D’ Ambrose


There is very little legible information about Taubes’ philosophy. The presence of a book called «Flight from Capital and After» is the first clue to hint at a stance against the inequalities of the system. Some newspaper clippings mention followers who consider the philosopher a visionary while other articles accuse him of being a reactionary anti-Semite. It is through these details and ellipses that NOTES ON AN APPEARANCE stages an aesthetic and narrative exploration that adopts the fragmentary state of contemporary society; it shows us a world that cannot manage to put together a cohesive narrative about its own time.

Another philosophical path is offered by THE RARE EVENT, screening in the Forum Expanded section. Co-directed by Ben Russell and Ben Rivers, the movie builds a mise-en-scène around a political and philosophical debate, and asks: what are the possibilities of resisting in today’s world? That is the central interest that brings together a group of thinkers in a “forum of ideas”. The filmmakers introduce a strange man, who orbits them in a green suit, which also cloaks his face. Russell and Rivers’ exploration thus opens a sensorial dimension into the processes of reflection. Discussions between people are often interrupted, distorted with echoes, or filmed from angles that leave their faces offscreen. In this sense, the statements about the notion of resistance are not the only focus, concentrating instead on the aesthetic strategies that shape the debates and imaginations of political action.

The sensory approach in THE RARE EVENT works on a rarefying effect of the everyday. From time to time, the Green Man’s suit becomes the window through which we leave the «forum of ideas» and access a more abstract visual space. Rendered in green, this dimension is composed of a chorus of unidentifiable voices and the blowing of a cracked wind. There are also geometric figures that fly, merge and reform. This is how Russell and Rivers construct a visual and sound space that alludes to the possibilities of discussing resistance in the contemporary world. It is an intervention into the materiality of the image that makes a suggestive component out of abstraction, as if it were a blank screen where the audience can project their own ideas on political practice. The reaction against capitalism does not attain a concrete result here, but a diffuse one that stages imagination as a possibility.

If NOTES ON AN APPEARANCE elaborates a poetics of indexes about political practices that are trapped within capitalism, the green dimension in THE RARE EVENT opens up a sensory cinematographic space that functions as a laboratory of transformative potentiality in continuous reconstruction. Between D ‘Ambrose’s nihilism and a more hopeful position in Russell and Rivers, both films recover the cinematographic language to capture a part of today’s society. They express an adventurous spirit that does not limit itself to reflect social problems, but to create aesthetic compositions that convey them. Political action and thinking about capitalism are reworked within a space of possibilities or impossibilities. They work like a fresco that reveals a state of the world that is not finished, but in movement. That expansive quality is what makes them more powerful in both political and cinematic terms. It is those interstices that can turn cinema into a liberating space.

Feliz apocalipsis nuevo

La cultura pop y masiva sigue fascinada con las visiones del fin del mundo. Donnie Darko, un fracaso en la taquilla del 2001 que se volvió película de culto en VHS y tendencia de streaming en Netflix, construye un imaginario apocalíptico que no pierde vigencia.

donnie darko new test_0-01Donnie Darko (2001), Richard Kelly

 Por Iván Zgaib

 *Esta nota fue publicada originalmente el 2/1/2018 en La Nueva Mañana


Brindé con la sensación de que festejábamos un apocalipsis nuevo.

Flashback oscuro del 2017: mi abuela casi no camina, la Gendarmería desfila por Buenos Aires, yo renuncio a un trabajo deprimente, el Estado deja desempleados en la calle, Marcos Peña es el CEO del año, a mi perro le cortan la cola. Chín chín: ¡Feliz año nuevo!

A veces pienso que tengo una visión apocalíptica por falta de consciencia histórica, que no viví de adulto otros momentos donde las cosas también parecían agitadas. Pero más allá de esa percepción personal, la cultura masiva tampoco deja de reinventar su fascinación trágica con el fin del mundo: en Game of Thrones está llegando el invierno, en Twin Peaks hay una viejita moribunda que habla con un tronco sobre todo lo malo que se avecina, en Invasión Zombie vemos un empresario que se descubre tan frío como los muertos vivos que ocupan Corea. Si vivimos el capitalismo como una pesadilla en loop que no parece terminar, ¿habrá manera de despertarnos sin imaginar una bomba de tiempo que resetee la historia?

Leer las noticias o salir a la calle a veces se asemeja a una versión poco espectacular de un apocalipsis pop. En algún momento, todos somos el Jake Gyllenhaal de Donnie Darko, ese adolescente embroncado que sueña con un conejo deforme vaticinándole el fin del mundo. Y esta película dirigida por Richard Kelly sigue encontrando nuevos espectadores por la habilidad con que captura aquella sensación de estar al borde; pasó de ser un fracaso de taquilla cuando se lanzó en 2001 a una reliquia de culto cuando apareció en las estanterías de VHS y una tendencia en las listas populares de Netflix con la llegada del streaming.

El mundo de Donnie Darko parece salido de un cómic lleno de imágenes iconográficas (el conejo nihilista o el pedazo de un avión reposando entre la calma de un barrio familiar) y de personajes arquetípicos que se repiten en miles de narrativas adolescentes (la chica que recién se muda al pueblo, los malos de la clase, el pibe inadaptado que es más inteligente que el resto). Pero Kelly impregna la narración con una cualidad de otro mundo; un estado alucinógeno lleno de detalles y texturas que construyen una atmósfera perturbadora. La música, que oscila entre melancolía pop y silbidos misteriosos, no dirige nuestras emociones, sino que tiende a ubicarnos en un lugar perceptivo: hay algo retorcido que se respira y se palpa en la fantasía de la generación MTV.

Aquellos personajes también adquieren densidad por el modo en que se traman sus vínculos. Por eso los pasajes donde Kelly presenta el universo espacial de la película son, ni más ni menos, el procedimiento cinematográfico para observar cómo se gesta el destino triste del mundo. En unos pocos minutos, la cámara se separa del protagonista; cambia el eje narrativo que había establecido y deja a Donnie fuera de campo. Lo que vemos en cambio son los otros personajes que habitan el paseo verde de los suburbios estadounidenses.

En una escena, la imagen empieza patas arriba y gira como si entráramos a un mundo dado vuelta, una especie de Alicia cayendo por el agujero hacia un reino paralelo. De fondo un himno new wave acompaña los desvaríos de la cámara flotando por los pasillos escolares. Es un claro ejemplo de la capacidad descriptiva del director, cuya mirada incorpora particularidades del entorno y de las rutinas cotidianas como si importaran igual que las acciones narrativas. Entonces lo que acompaña la trama apocalíptica son los indicios de un malestar social, de la perfección de las casas de clase media y la libertad de pensamiento en las escuelas siendo invadidas por el avance del republicanismo conservador, la filosofía de autoayuda y la violencia cotidiana.

Cuando el movimiento de los cuerpos se acelera o ralentiza, Kelly introduce en el montaje la preocupación que mantiene despierto a Donnie. ¿Es posible viajar en el tiempo? ¿hay portales que nos permiten espiar el futuro? Y si es así, ¿podemos cambiar ese destino prestablecido? La película avanza en capítulos diarios, como una cuenta regresiva que se sacude con la ansiedad del protagonista. Su psiquiatra y sus padres creen que está loco, pero la película sugiere (siempre exponiendo y nunca explicando) que Donnie puede ver las miserias de las que el resto no termina de ser consciente.

El final abierto profundiza la negación de la película a sobre-explicarse: las piezas para absorber la propuesta de Kelly ya fueron dispuestas delicadamente durante dos horas. Gyllenhaal interpretó al adolecente enojado que podemos ser todos cuando vemos el mundo caerse a pedazos. Su rabia no tiene límites temporales. La manera en que Kelly la capturó tampoco. Donnie Darko es eterna.