Tag Archives: Fine Line Features

Elephant (2003)

"Okay. You take the two hundred on the left, I'll take the two hundred on the right."Most commentators believe the title refers to that elephant in the room no one wants to talk about. Director Gus Van Sant claims that it refers to that poor pachyderm from the Chinese proverb, the one getting groped by five blind men, each of whom believes he has something different under his hand. The very subjectivity of that ambiguous, titular word epitomizes Elephant‘s problems with subjectivity as a whole. By attempting to present a subjective view of one (fictional) American high school shooting Van Sant, quite unawares, paints himself into corner. So with us all.

This film is, as far as I or the IMDB can tell you, the first “straight” cinematic attempt to deal with this subject by a famous (as opposed to infamous) director (we’ll discuss Uwe Boll later). Showtime’s 2002 made-for-the-network Bang Bang, You’re Dead doesn’t count for reasons a quick Google search will easily reveal. Winning a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Special didn’t help that film out. This picture won a Palm d’Or at Cannes, of all fucking places, but don’t let that scare or surprise you. Gus Van Sant loves him some European, impressionist film, a fact that becomes self-evident as soon as the Elephant opens up. In this he shares much with the board at Cannes, and I say, Good for both of them, reinforcing each other tastes. I, on the other hand, prefer the occasional shred of meat with my potatoes. {More}