- The Coming of the Next Messiah
- January 31st, 2010
Southland Tales struck me as a direct allusion to the Book of Revelations. Constantly we continued to hear Biblical quotations and metaphors to the end of the earth and we see figures that probably represent key aspects of Revelations. I’d like to first talk about the Baron Von Westphalen who I saw as the anti-Christ. The Baron and Treer are committed to bringing change to the world, what they wanted I’m not entirely sure. But I think they were aware of Krysta Now’s ability to see the future, which is why she wrote “The Power.” I’d like to talk about the Baron though, especially his last name Westphalen. Is this a direct allusion to Voltaire’s work on optimism, Candide? In Candide, the Baron is from the town of Westphalia and employs a philosopher who Voltaire candidly dubs Dr. Pangloss as the professor of métaphysico-théologo-cosmolonigologie. Voltaire sarcastically refers to him as such because of his delapitated view on the world and society, explaining that this world is “the best of all possible worlds.” Examples later in the text suggest that God is in control of everything and humans have no intervention into the well-being and progression of their future. Is Richard Kelly comparing the Baron, the anti-Christ, to someone who believes in the philosophy of divine intervention w/out human interaction? It sort of seems like a contradiction of an anti-Christ. The anti-Christ being the one who changes the controls of God, but Kelly might be saying that even though the anti-Christ can manipulate God (in theory) they are still subsequently inhibited by divine powers. This may be a stretch, but Southland Tales seemed to compare to similar thoughts as expressed by Voltaire in Candide.
The Whore of Babylon seems to be portrayed by Krysta Now. When she flew through a rift in space-time she was the only one onboard who did not develop amnesia, resulting in her keen ability to foresee into the future. She plays the role of the Whore of Babylon because her screenplay, “The Power” alludes to the Beast of Revelations, or the event of destruction. “The Power” was sort of her form of modern-day Revelations in itself, so she is the bearer of the destruction, maybe?
The two witnesses are Boxer and Pilot Abilene who both seemingly understand the end is near. Pilot Abilene constantly quotes from Revelations and reiterates Eliot’s quotation: “This is the way the world ends, Not with a band but with a whimper.” Both Boxer and Pilot Abilene are aware (although at different times) that Roland/Ronald Taverner is perhaps the next messiah? Which leads into who was Jesus Christ? I believe that Jesus Christ was Martin Kefauver, the guy who got drafted to go to Iraq. In this scenario, Christ as Martin, I viewed his decision to shoot down the mega-zeppelin as the last and final decision Christ makes before the end of the world. As Martin jumps off the ice cream truck and dies, he is making way for the next messiah: Roland/Ronald Taverner. When the Taverners are having their dynamic and dramatic dialogue with one another this is the point, imo, that the next messiah realizes his newly granted duties. When one of the Taverner brothers stops crying after being “Forgiven,” his eyes are then able to see the destruction of the world, Christ as the previous messiah, and Jerusalem in its truest form, allowing him to assume his new reign. With Jesus, Martin, back on earth passing judgment (decision to shoot down the mega-zeppelin) and falling to his final death, he departs this earth for the last time, never to be resurrected again but to make way for Taverner.
Maybe this interpretation is incorrect, but it is nevertheless interesting and fun to think-up. To sum, the Baron is the anti-Christ who is possibly plauged with Dr. Pangloss’ corrupt view on humanity; Bobby Frost is the false prophet, Krysta Now is the Whore of Babylon, the two witnesses are Boxer and Abilene, the ice cream truck is the white horse, Martin is Christ, and Roland/Ronald Taverner is the next messiah.
I could be wrong, but it sounds right, to me at least. :) Any other viewpoints?