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Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Nomads/1986/U.S.A./91min. 

faceless shot of a hooded ‘Eskimo’ person - dark van overlooking L.A. – trying to catch some sleep on her break, Dr. Eileen Flax wakes up to the sound of a phone ringing - calling Dr. Benway - cops picked up a guy on the beach- handcuffed to the bed - the last few screaming words - sudden violent whisper transfers memories via her ear - he ends up dying of past calamity - last thing a man says is supposed to be significant - “N'y sont pas; sont des Innuat” - dreams of some graffiti - a woman - French anthropologist Jean-Claude Pommier - his wife, Veronique - on duty Eileen collapses and has a series of visions - black van roars by - bottle falls in slow motion, consciousness smashing away - ‘sex death pigs kill’ painted on his garage door - punks hanging around a black van - a roll of bloodied carpet with newspaper articles - realizes he has to check them out - gas stations, diners - Eileen at the beach - messed hair and a distant look - literally seeing through his eyes - hostile spirits capable of hanging out at some picnic tables - Southern California, where rootlessness is in – rhythmic African drums - they bash a guy’s head in and toss him in a dumpster - Pommier returns to the garbage bin finding no sign of a body - following his instincts, hearing tribal drums mixed with guitar noise, he finds the gang in front of an abandoned looking building – taking their picture, Mary Woronov’s character does a lewd dance on top of a car for his camera - explaining to his angry wife, “I wanted to know what kind of people could think of a murder as some sort of shrine - people who do not live anyplace, do not work anyplace, I called the government and their vehicle isn’t registered - don’t you understand? They’re Nomads – yes - yes, Nomads -like all of them - like everyplace we’ve lived for the last 10 years – yes - here, now - in this city - in the middle of a modern city - they go from one party to the next, one restaurant, one gas station - these people live in parking lots - in thirty hours they did not stop moving - don’t you understand? - outside any structure - they do not participate - no exchanges - no constraints - they resort to violence at no provocation - and they get away with it” - “des Innuat” - some sort of nomad myth - wandering in the desert, whether of ice or sand - hostile spirits capable of assuming human form - thought to inhabit places of past calamity - they brought disaster and madness to any humans who fell in with them – photos develop without subjects – running from the black van, he enters the abandoned building the gang was in front of - a nun with a flashlight - dusty old rooms - she knows his name - some tea? – she warns him, but we know its too late - a hanging nun - flashing her breasts in the shadows - faces without flesh - he jolts into consciousness smashing his face into the windshield - murders Adam Ant’s character with a tire iron – but in the morning the body has disappeared – Eileen shows up at Pommier’s house – Veronique wonders how she knows so much about Jean - nomads surround the house - cut the phone line - break through the door - the roof - the windows - they climb into the attic and Eileen experiences the severe beating Pommier took from the nomads - screaming suddenly stops and the nomads leave - after dark Eileen and Veronique find the house trashed - graffiti on every wall – get in their car and drive away – followed by a nomad on a motorcycle who turns back at the California state line - Pommier is played horribly by Pierce Brosnan with a fake French accent – early attempt at an experimental movie by John McTiernan, director of ‘Die Hard’, ‘Predator’, and the terrible remake of ‘Rollerball.’

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