So, I was first convinced to try Zeroville by this article on The Millions. Cinema and a book. Promising combination. Read it during spring break, after I finished Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, V for Vendetta by Alan Moore (illustrated by David Lloyd), and The Magician King by Lev Grossman. Mostly light reading over spring break, until I hit Zeroville.
Zeroville came into the library the same time as The Magician King. And since I just finished The Magicians in a reading/homework-neglecting binge a month or so ago, I figured I’d go for that first. After finishing The Magician King, I picked up Zeroville, skimmed the blurbs on the back—holy shit, Thomas Pynchon blurbed it.
If anything, surely a Pynchon blurb was a mark of quality. So I started eagerly, the book warmed up slowly, not asserting anything of particular interest until about a quarter to halfway in. When the pieces started to fall into place, and I wasn’t aimlessly reading for the plot, or a curiosity behind what the numbered sections meant (the book is divided into 227 numbered segments 1-227, and 227-1, I believe).
Then, shit got real. Vikar’s take on the movies was fascinating. He’s supposedly a cineautistic, and possessed by the movies; explaining his strange dreams and the tattoo on his scalp of Montgomery Clift, and Elizabeth Taylor, the two most beautiful people in the world: he the male version of her, and she the female version of him.
The purpose of the novel gets clearer and clearer as reality seems to fall apart, creating a bunch of awesome revelations that relate to some of the main themes: parental relationship/similarity to God, existence of God & cinema, which came before him, the cyclic nature of film “round like a reel of film,” how a movie is in “all times,” but truly good movies exist before they were made, the nature of profiles (how everything can be divided into two, and how the destruction of one profile affects the rest). Just awesome, mesmerizing stuff.
Also: I now plan on watching these movies (even though I’ve seen some of them), cause they’re mentioned as Vikar’s favorites.
- Blade Runner
- Taxi Driver
- Black Narcissus
- The Passion of Joan of Arc (Probably 2nd most important movie of the book)
- Touch of Evil
- In a Lonely Place
- Leave Her to Heaven
- Fascination (by Rollin)
- Masque of the Red Death
- Alphaville (Godard)
- A Place in the Sun (Mentioned endlessly in the book. Watch this if you don’t watch any other movie.)