Lost Horizon, Wizard of Oz, Monkey Business

Francis Weidinger
Independent filmmaker

Lost Horizon: Garden of Eden in black-and-white. Frank Capra can be awesome, funny, and satirical. But in Lost Horizon, he got lost. It’s still fun to take the trip and see utopia through the eyes of one of America’s greatest filmmakers.

Wizard of Oz: Finally, color in the middle of the movie even though we had to kill a witch to get it. Makes you want to join the Lollipop Guild. Damn munchkins, ruby slippers, and that yellow brick road. Still a frickin’ great movie. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Monkey Business: Watching a Marx Brothers movie is like strolling through the Garden of Eden. Harpo helping out at customs — and lip synching to Maurice Chevalier — is beyond heaven. I laugh my ass off every time I see this scene. Groucho steers the ship; Chico adds flavor; and I’m still not sure what Zeppo does.

Lost Horizon
(USA) 1937, Columbia Pictures

The Wizard of Oz (Two-Disc Special Edition)
(USA) 1939, Warner Home Video

Monkey Business
(USA) 1931, Universal

Debora Klochko
Director, Museum of Photographic Arts, mopa.org

In the current MoPA exhibition Picturing Eden, photographers deal with the idea of the Garden as a metaphor for good and evil, heaven and hell. To continue with these concepts, try When Worlds Collide, which takes us from destruction to redemption. Scientists discover Earth’s on a collision course with a rogue star. A rocket ship’s built to save a small group so humans can start life on a new planet.

In The Island, two clones (Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson) live in what appears to be paradise but in gaining a new awareness and a loss of innocence they uncover what they really are.

Finally, the original Blade Runner (pre-director’s cut) depicts a future where life’s created and manipulated on a cellular level. The creator’s destroyed and a new Adam and Eve (Harrison Ford, Sean Young) run away to a more idyllic place where being real or fabricated doesn’t matter.

When Worlds Collide
(USA) 1951, Paramount

The Island
(USA) 2005, Dreamworks

Blade Runner (Four-Disc Collector's Edition)
(USA) 1982, Warner

Shane Flores
Curator, Secret Cinema

Code 46 has the sense of closing a circle, when all the elements of our fabled Edenic fall collapse into a terminal near-future, distorted and corrupted by our “tumble down the staircase.” Proscribed self-knowledge, persecuted sensuality, and circumscribed geographies where “inside” and “outside” are defined by the most drastic of consequences.

Remember the ’60s when Eden was something to be found here, now and within? Before we decided to get all Book of Revelations medieval on our own collective ass. The Valley Obscured by Clouds is a postcard found between the pages of book, a testament to how earnest the impulse was then, and how close a seeker can come even now, if only he’s willing to step off the grid.

Derek Jarman’s The Garden — Eden remembered through a plague fever and cast before you in shards by a visionary in memoriam of a time before sex could be murder.

Code 46
(England) 2003, MGM

La Vallee
(France) 1972, Homevision

The Garden [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2 Import - Great Britain ]
(England) 1990, Artificial Eye

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