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Time Destroys All Things: Irreversible: Straight Cut @ Brooklyn Horror Film Fest

[seen as part of The Brooklyn Horror Film Festival]

Time Destroys All Things.

20 years to destroy the immutable.

But this was the plan always; A question of how to go back from that thing we cannot go back from. If we could turn back time from our trauma could we avoid it? If we reanalyze it, and decontextualize it looking backward and forward from every angle, could we change its effect on us?

It was a Tuesday in the middle of the day, I had found a DVD at goodwill and had a vague memory of folks talking about the title but couldn’t remember what. Was this that film where the guy got tattoos because he couldn’t remember? I went in blind, and alone.

It is its own sort of trauma watching Irreversible for the first time. The film assaults the senses, and there truly is no going back to the way things were before it. My first was one of the very few times I questioned if this was a thing I should be watching. I considered turning it off and walking away. Haneke had insinuated the complicity of the spectator, and I felt guilty watching this.

Most people never feel a need to revisit it, but time destroys all things. Does the distance numb the impact, and does the context of the world? Is it simply time?

Irreversible, reversed yields new blood to an old wound, revealing elements that I had missed in the original. I cannot see this film outside of the context of my first viewing and wonder how much the knowledge of things to come was responsible for my tension throughout. However, having gone through this level of inferno before I knew I would make it through with a new perspective. The Sisyphian pendulum of this film, reversing an irreversible act, to be reversed again, asks us to revisit our trauma and linger with it, live in it, and reconsider it. I enjoyed the film, but I find it challenging still to sit through it, and the challenge is one of the many values I find in this film.

Having seen this I don’t know if I would stand sturdy on the grounds that one must view the original before seeing this cut, but I am pleased with having had that experience myself. I know at the U.S. premiere at Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, there were a number of people in the audience who had never seen the original and I wonder how many will revisit it. Is the impact enough to invert the violence? I don’t have an answer, just this thing that sits with me. I guess I get to linger with it.