Mysteries and Desire: Searching the Worlds of John Rechy
Mysteries and Desire: Searching the Worlds of John Rechy is an interactive biographical work of a novelist. Unfortunately it was the weirdest interactive cinema experience that I have ever had. First of all it was about a novelist that I did not have any clue about – although I gathered some info before seeing the movie but it did not help much it is mostly because the topic did not get my attention – and above that the interface of the movie was obtrusively complex to solve – at this point I can take the chance and say it fulfills the meaning labyrinth as in the project. Secondly, it serves to the viewer as an interactive game rather than being an interactive movie which I did not expect at the first place.
Movie welcomes viewers with a looping main menu which contains three sections such as Memories, Bodies and Cruising. Each sections have its own subsections which have audio and visual contents such as pictures, comics, videos, audio excerpts from John Rechy’s works etc. In addition to that some sections has their small games. For instance, the comic story at the Body Section contains body building game that helps a skinny man to gain weight and build some muscles with the movement of the cursor. In the story the skinny man was bullied by an muscle man so he had to work and be like him. Every time spectator moves the cursor up and down the skinny man gains weight.
First section opens with a quote from Kierkegaard which refers to memories; “Life can only be understood backwards”. Selected photographs from John Rechy’s memories –reference to his memories– construct a panoramic collage which can be seen with the cursor movements. Every memory has its own subsection that can be reached by clicking to it. Most of them are the picture contents with explanatory audio attached to them. Second section is Bodies which goes beyond the biography of John Rechy. In this section his memories are the main structure again but accompanied by surrealistic dynamics. As a body builder John Rechy praises the human body and support the concept with an esthetic and artistic dance performance. With its subsections, Bodies has the most fictional contents amongst others such as dancing performance, comics, photographs with commentary audios. In the last section he depicts gay world around the country through his memories and his art by giving a church wall that full of different choices and ends with a confession.
Throughout the movie documentary and fiction intertwined, sometimes one can be more that the other but eventually this collage of visuals and audios serve as an unique and weird experiment and leaves the spectator to obscurity. Rather than being an explanatory work of ones life and his/her art, the movie amalgamates the unanswerable images and surrealistic creations and does not care about the spectator who does not have any idea what the movie about. On the other hand it mostly provokes the spectator to gain more experience on the movie, to control all sections and their contents, go over and over again and gain all the information it has and pushes to understand what is all about.
Ender d. Ozdemir