“American gods”: a song of migration

On the screen in slow-motion, flying severed limbs, North American on the beach with each other to fight the Vikings. A man is released from prison. We are witnessing his final days behind bars. The shooting location was a prison in Oklahoma. The rules of the game in “American gods”: the ultimate styling in one scene and contemplative realism.

The world of “American gods” is the Middle West of the USA. Flat land, successive towns, casinos, bars and regional airports. The scene that takes place in this world, are supplied with a note “somewhere in America”. I wonder what that “somewhere” is always easy to identify Chicago, Brooklyn, Los Angeles. Shadow moon left the prison the protagonist of the series, on the contrary, it seems that traverses the world, which cannot be called “somewhere” — it’s just America.

It is in this primitive American “nowhere” the shadow of the moon meets a man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. He had a glass eye, and he claims that he sacrificed an eye for knowledge. At least now, not only every kind wagnerians becomes clear with whom the Shadow flies across the United States.

The new gods get more than the blood of the lamb

God is One (Wednesday) takes it as “adjutant, my Lord” in search of gods and mythical creatures who were brought to the United States. Many of these metaphysical immigrants correspond to what Carl Gustav Jung called “the trickster”: mephistophelean players and a party pooper personality as A cue Zakasni (Loki), Mr. Nancy (West African God Anansi) or old Slavic deity Chernobog.

Together with them, Mr. Wednesday wants to join in the eschatological battle against these new, modern gods, such as the Internet and television. They are represented, for example, Lucy Ricardo (Lucy Ricardo) from the sitcom 50 years of “I love Lucy” (I Love Lucy) performed by Gillian Anderson (Gillian Anderson). New gods, too, make sacrifices, as she explains the Shadows: “time and attention, much better than the blood of the lamb.”

The series is based on the novel by Neil Gaiman “American gods”, written in 2001. He is in no hurry with the material. Novel Gaiman has become a mythological film journey. A hymn to the open spaces of North America, ethnic enclaves and many local mythologies, many dreams and fears that migrants brought to the New world and to which here, under the bright flickering of the TV screen, there was a threat slowly fade.

The author of the TV version of Bryan fuller (Bryan Fuller), the latest creation of which is hallucinatory TV series “Hannibal” with Mads Mikkelsen in the role of Hannibal Lecter. Although it’s a movie with swords, fantastic creatures, and an excess of violence, of course, the audience associated with “Game of thrones”, “American gods”, both visually and narrative, different from the numerous imitations of “Game of thrones” the skill of its creators. Instead of realism and psychological accuracy, this series relies on psicodelico, now: Buffalo, belching fire from his eyes, the man disappearing into the vagina of the Babylonian goddess of fertility.

What is mythology, if not systematized nonsense?

But “American gods” is not only grotesque of competitors, but also more concentrated. Instead of disparate story lines and constant movement forward a lot of time on individual characters, the story refers to episodes from the distant past. The goal is not to first come out here. The series devotes a lot of time nonsense, nonsense, which presented characters are to each other, or that one series offers viewers.

Depending on the individual limits of tolerance can sometimes seem too much, but nonsense, of course, is systematic: because what else is mythology, if not systematic? For the creators we are not talking about a simple game with mythical values, and the question of why such values needs the United States. Instead of stealing, as it was decided in your fantasy Joseph Campbell, the series “American gods” refers rather to Ludwig Feuerbach (Ludwig Feuerbach) with a pinch of Marshall McLuhan (Marshall McLuhan).

Divine magic

Like a real mythology, the series is compelling, and not in spite of beshitrosno, and thanks to her. As in the novel Gaiman, Odyssey, Shadow can be a bit picaresque: one episode follows another. Fascinating characters appear briefly and disappear again enchant. Readers of the novel know they will appear again, but since the first season considering only the first third of the novel, it is possible that the return will be only a few years — so I want the gods of TV.

But it is unlikely there would be a more effective method of storytelling for this material. “American gods” make stylistic violations of the principle of his style. The series switches between the two modes: patient, laconic style of narration in which the characters is given enough time, almost looks like a movie by Jim Jarmusch (Jim Jarmusch) or WIM Wenders (Wim Wenders). But on the other hand, the grotesque, reminiscent of the “Grand Guignol” scene from the fountains of blood, severed limbs, theatrical rage and insane games with historical themes. The series “American gods” can spend minutes just watching as the newly widowed the shadow of the moon is removed in the house where he lived with his wife. And then his dead wife literally pulls the skeleton out of the skin of a scoundrel.

Fallen Holiness

The point is that both of these world confront each other for a long time: the special effects are deliberately clownish, as if even the most powerful metaphysical flights — ultimately, only the magic of the gods. Conversely, dirty motels, pubs, regional airports and casino is a depraved Holiness. They promise happiness, peace, bliss — real life Church of the motorway. Sublime and void are inseparable from each other in “American gods”: when a character tries to commit suicide in the Jacuzzi by using insecticide spray, in the end, in purgatory awaited him Anubis with insecticidal spray.

Neon signs, bars for truckers, motels with cable TV: such a cliche that could be taken from the songs of Tom waits (Tom Waits), the series understands how modern mythical stories. And the story itself is probably less important than the question of why he’s here. In “American gods”, shows how violence and its reflection in American history: the revolt on the slave ship, the scene where the Shadow threatens a lynching. In these episodes the ultimate styling makes historical exposure tolerant. Abstract expressionist splashes of blood, on the contrary, more like the art of Jackson Pollock (Jackson Pollock) than “Game of thrones”. Aura of violence, its aesthetic framing, how could they not become one of the main themes in the series about the gods and the sacrifices that we bring to them?

As strange as it was, the aesthetics of “American gods” seems a bit old-fashioned: the Intro is reminiscent of a newly-launched video for the band Nine Inch Nails, 1999, and the music sounds the same. First of all, it resembles a brilliant cover version of Karen O (Karen O) and Trent Reznor (Trent Reznor) for the song Immigrant Song Led Zeppelin. The allusion is probably intentional: not only because in the beginning do the Vikings “came from the land of ice and snow”, but because the show “American gods” sings a song about migration. At a time when the United States surrenders to the belief in one America with a single dream and identity, American gods Gaiman and fuller reminded of many overlapping each other dreams and injuries, bones cracking which is America.

“Here I am — a bad memory.”

Their gods is the sediment coming one after the other waves of immigration. Dreams and fears that came with the conquerors and settlers, slave-owners and slaves in the New world. They left because their constant bickering, their nonsense and their errors they represent America better than leveling via television and the Internet. But they are under threat, because those who brought them with him, brought not only the desire to remember the forsaken home, but an irrepressible will to oblivion. “In the old country I forgotten, says God (in his role Peter Stormare, Peter Stormare) — here I am — a bad memory.”

America from “American gods” — a patchwork of hastily discarded the sad memories, folklore hundred countries, the object and the subject of hundreds of thousands of disparate dreams and nightmares. The place which is not a religion but more irrepressible faith in faith itself. Faith in the mountains that she possibly can to move, the foolish idea that a person can carry another person. “No one has ever become poor from what underestimated the intelligence of Americans,” once wrote Henry Mencken (H. L. Mencken). More correctly, perhaps, it would be: no one has ever become poor from the fact that he underestimated the will of the Americans to the faith.

The series “American gods” is may 1, 2017 on Amazon Prime Video.