I just watched it at the suggestion of Eddo that it had some value to our recent Pirsig / McGilchrist dialogues – the divine or sacred right-brain view of reality obscured by the dominance of the received-wisdom “science-led” left-brain model of reality:
(Freedom runs on rails. Rules are for guidance of the wise and the enslavement of fools, so rules cast in stone are bad news. There is no absolute freedom in life and reality is more complicated than any rule-based model. The natural world is more than science’s model of it.)
Anyway the film: 20th C Humans have messed-up.
Heaven would like its tablets of stone back. (Why, no idea.)
The symbology is so transparent and unsubtle, the outline of the plot above is stated explicitly in the opening lines, and the layers of religious-symbology and supernatural-cliché are piled-on thicker and thicker thereafter. (But why, still no idea.)
As well as the film and book being 20 and 30 years old, the plot starts in and is inspired by the 60’s (60 years ago). So, after a bit of student anti-war & anti-military-industrial-complex protest, and some revolutionary-socialism, it’s blasphemous theology all the way. Possibly less clichéd if seen 20 or 30 years ago, but from a 2022 perspective:
We have Name of the Rose, American Gods, Satanic Verses, Da Vinci Code and La Comedia thrown in the blender. Oh, and a raven called Edgar (!) leading our blue-eyed angelic child – with supernatural powers of premonition – on his quest for “Daddy” even though he’s only “a shadow”.
Education, books, libraries, historical art, music and architecture are clearly the good guys. But finally, Heaven and Hell seem to be locked in a mutual conspiracy to keep humanity in the dark about the value of that divine or sacred something we can only glimpse obscurely.
[Also: Cosmic brotherhood. Sexual nudity (?) – we already knew where babies come from. Symbols of all three monotheistic faiths on the lovers’ necklace gift. The puzzle of finding words to describe or define “the divine”. Auschwitz as our ubiquitous symbol of hell on earth. Coincidence of place. The centre of the centre / the holy of holies / the sanctum sanctorum. The arc of the covenant / the keys to the locks / the tablets of stone. Moses’ staff parting the red-sea. Three faiths meeting each other and the underworld in the Jerusalem of Mohammed, Jesus and the Jews. The freeing of the text from the tablets’ destruction. The ascension to the light, and yet ending in continued endarkenment of humanity. Why? Confusingly overdone with no “redeeming” message that I could see. Maybe the book fares better?]