The Cell

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THE CELL. Tarsem (Singh), dir. USA: New Line Cinema, and Avery Pix, Caro-McLeod, Radical Media (prod.) / New Line (USA dist. [others for offshore]), 2000. Mark Protosevich, script. Eiko Ishioka, costume design. Tom Foden, prod. design. BUF Compagnie/BUF, Inc., SpFX.

A stylish psychodrama: think Silence of the Lambs meets Psycho and Dr. Caligari, as painted by Heronymus Bosch, Salvidor Dali, and a Dadaist/MTV convention on a mostly horrible acid trip. Significant here for images of a water torture cell in which female victims are videotaped by automatic cameras: the male gaze demonized and made electronic; also for images of dreamscapes inside the minds of people inside rigid suits inside a laboratory watched by technicians whose instruments to some extent can tell what is going on inside the minds of the subjects. Cf. and contrast DREAMSCAPE (1984),[1] and DREAMSCAPE (2007)[2]mostly contrast THE LATHE OF HEAVEN.[[3]] Also note miscellaneous horrific, low-tech mechanisms and images of women—and at least one boy—reduced to dolls. Briefly discussed by Frederick C. Szebin, "The Cell: Music video director Tarsem enlivens the serial killer genre" (Cinefantastique 32.2 [Aug. 2000]: 8-9), our source for parts of this citation (also: IMDb). (RDE, 22/08/00; 26/XII/14)