Friday, October 3, 2014

Jaws as an Exploration of the Triune Nature of Man

From a magical standpoint, the year is halved. We're fast approaching Samhain, and yet the days seem longer, the nights too short (or my back is aching earlier) and there's nothing to watch on TV. I want to be doing lots of magical stuff, but then just when I think I should go do something constructive like laundry, the universe hands me a sign and says "See, we were paying attention."  So last night, I tuned into E!  Behind the Scenes and was reminded how close we walk in both worlds (this one and the astral).  Bring on "The Making of 'Jaws' the Movie".  Now before you go snorting and rolling your eyes, listen to this.

Jaws was filmed in six months off the coast of Martha's Vineyard. The mechanical shark was a problem child par excellence. From the moment it arrived on the Vineyard, it didn't work or only worked occasionally. This meant Spielberg had to shoot around the scenes that included the shark. The writer re-wrote the script daily, because once the shark arrived, it never consistently worked from moment to moment. And as I so well know, in film time really is money. So, they began to make up stuff so they could keep shooting without the shark. It was the old gag of "Let's show the shark, by not showing the shark". They even asked John William to make sure his score for the film had a "voice" for the shark, because no one was going to glimpse it until you had viewed three quarters of the film.

So what happens? Hollywood, in all of its brilliance, gives the film four Academy awards for editing, sound, musical score and production (despite the overruns) but nothing to Spielberg who figured out how to save everyone's butt by not showing the shark. But if you look through your occult glasses, what do we see?

How about inner knowledge of the astral planes, defined by not the presence of something but the absence of evidence - a true example of bringing the unknown to the known. Spielberg gave the world (in 1974) its first astral entity, manifested through the eyes and mind of the Sheriff on the vineyard, played by Roy Schneider. For in the beginning of the film, no one but Schneider even believes there's a shark. It takes the Sheriff going out to sea (plumbing the depths of his subconscious) to bring the creature to the surface of the water (manifestation) before anyone really takes him seriously. And then, the only people to actually see this manifestation are the other two men on the ship - his alter egos, as it were.

Why, if you look a little deeper, the triune nature of the Deity were in play.  You had the Youth, played by Richard Dreyfuss, the marine biologist and specialist in sharks. You have the Father played by Schneider – his character even has three little boys, a repeat motif throughout the production.  And finally, you have the Sage played by Robert Shaw.  The three figures go to sea.  The Sea is often a metaphor for intuition. This time sea becomes a visual metaphor for "seeing" - finding themselves or a deeper meaning to themselves. On the sea, the shark devours the Sage (knowledge returning to the primal waters), as the Youth flees (inexperience) and the Father saves the day by destroying the beast (conquering his fears). The fierce some beast never even makes it to shore.  It slowly dies in the aeonic waters of return (the astral) and sinks back to its other realm, awaiting rebirth in Jaws II.

Gosh, I felt like I had just watched a Grecian tragedy played out in modern terms! The production weirdly echoed the themes of the movie - three men at the helm of the project - Spielberg (Youth), Zanuk (Father) and Brown (Sage). Youth fleeing the project's formal storyboarding in favor of his own design. The Father taking them out to sea, literally to film each day, to avoid the phone calls and harassment from the studio in California. The Sage being devoured by the production costs and overruns. Art imitating life as it were.

And the shark? What ever happened to that cranking piece of machinery?  Well, he's guarding a junkyard in southern California, strung up unceremoniously over the gate, limp, rotted and ruined. A mighty lousy ending for a manifested entity. But then, perhaps, that's how we've always treated our gods - hunt them down, demand proof of their existence and then - when they actually do show up, we blow them to pieces, and string them up like cheap souvenirs of a by gone time.

Yep, art imitating life. So raise the popcorn and pass the Nietzsche, please. (And be grateful you don't live with me).

Much Love, The Existentialist Mambo

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