An In-Depth look at the Besson/Johannsson vehicle and its
Transhumanist ‘Enlightening’ Entertainment
The film “Lucy”, written and directed by Luc Besson, is breaking into box-office buzz this weekend. The trailer has been out for at least two week, the film is now showing, and the reviews are popping up like sunflowers in Provence in summertime.
Dana Stevens, in Slate’s article Überfrau calls it “trippy transhumanist sci-fi fantasy”.
I haven’t seen the film, though I have watched the trailer. To “review” a film I haven’t seen is a bit audacious; call it remote viewing if necessary: I’m simply exercising my expanding synaptic junctions.
I will admit to some prejudicial opinion on several counts:
- I am not a fan of Scarlett Johansson, despite much recognition of her as “one of Hollywood’s modern sex symbols”;
- I’m immediately suspicious of a film that understands that its scientific under-pinnings are patently false (or at least that the audience will come to that conclusion); and
- I am immediately alarmed by its premise that the human being and its brain can be accelerated through the use external agents.
Here are some essential links in the event that you have just beamed yourself back from some extra-terrestrial Club Med vacation spent scuba-diving in the Ligeia Mare.
Make what you will of your own first impressions.
http://www.lucymovie.com (official site)
“… Lucy is also an extremely wacky, zippy action thriller that bats around a lot of big concepts without going too deep, which might just be a roundabout way of calling it dumb…. Time Out’s Keith Uhlich said the film spends way too much time on “Z-grade intellectual components” which left him “feeling shorn of grey matter.” …Amy Nicholson of the Village Voice said the movie “feigns at depth” filled with technical mumbo-jumbo to justify its nonsensical plot turns…..”
“… The first image we see is that of a cell dividing; these days biology is as hot a discipline on-screen as off. The narrative itself cleaves between Lucy’s evolution and an exposition of science and pseudoscience that’s conveyed in a lecture-hall setting by a brain researcher named Prof. Samuel Norman “lending scientific and philosophical gravitas” [C. Orr in The Atlantic]. The professor is played, with honeyed orotundity, by Morgan Freeman, and his lecture on cerebral efficiency is illustrated with exuberant multimedia. Mr. Freeman [one of the NWO’s leading actors, along with Samuel L. Jackson] is an actor of such unassailable authority that he could make a case for two plus two equaling pi if the script required it…..
Ms. Johansson has played aspects of this role in the recent past—as the nameless, womanlike creature in “Under the Skin”; as Samantha, the vocal soul of a smartphone’s operating system in “Her” …”
“The guy who narrates the Science Channel show “Through the Wormhole” must know what he’s talking about, right?” [WaPo]
“… We watch as an early hominid, Australopithecus, drinks water from a stream a few million years ago. In voiceover, Johansson asks us, “Life was given to us a billion years ago. What have we done with it?” [C. Orr in The Atlantic]
The film, by name and with its own early flickering tip of the cap, alludes to several hundred pieces of bone from the skeleton of a female Australopithecus afarensis, discovered Awash in Ethiopia.
“The skeleton shows evidence of small skull capacity akin to that of apes and of bipedal upright walk akin to that of humans, supporting the debated view that bipedalism preceded increase in brain size in human evolution.
“In her Ethiopian homeland, Lucy is called “dinknesh,” which means “the wondrous one.”
The discovery team “nicknamed the fossil AL 288-1 as Lucy, after the Beatles‘ song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds“, which was being played loudly and repeatedly on a tape recorder in the camp.”
“Scientific historian Londa Schiebinger questions the claim that Johanson’s team made concerning Lucy’s gender, citing that they wrote “the pelvic opening in hominids has to be proportionately larger in females than in males to allow for the birth of larger-brained infants.” Contradicting this evidence was the timing of development of large hominid brains. Schiebinger continues to critique the assumptions made concerning Lucy’s gender based upon the skeleton’s size.”
The team that found the upright hominid included “Donald Johanson, an American anthropologist and curator at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, who later became the Founding Director of Berkeley, California’s Institute of Human Origins, now part of Arizona State University [see https://iho.asu.edu]; Mary Leakey, the noted famous British archaeologist; and Yves Coppens, a French-born paleontologist now based at the Collège de France…..”
The film becomes “an attempt to chart humankind from its finite prehistoric age to the era of a fully evolved Homo sapien [sic] with 100% brain capacity — what Besson calls “the ultimate cell.”
“”We put a big piece of paper on the wall,” says Besson, “and we wrote 10%, 20%, 30%, all the way to 100% — and then I filled the entire paper with what she can do and can’t do at each level. It was almost like a checklist before you take off on a plane. So every morning when Scarlett knew which scene we were doing, she would just refer to the big piece of paper on the wall….”
The movie “Lucy” might be seen as a metaphor for female empowerment — a globalist political movement these days — but the original “Lucy” might not have been female.
“Thank goodness that primitive woman has now evolved — into a bleached blonde, airheaded student of some sort, living in Taiwan.” (JOCELYN NOVECK AP National Writer @ ABC News)
The role of Lucy [IMDB] was first given to Jon Voight’s daughter, the internationalist spokesperson for refugees. CFR-member Angelina Jolie.
“Since its founding at the 2007 Clinton Global Initiative, Jolie has co-chaired the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict, which funds education programs for children affected by disaster.In its first year, the partnership supported education projects for Iraqi refugee children, youth affected by the Darfur conflict, and girls in rural Afghanistan, among other affected groups. The partnership has worked closely with the Council on Foreign Relations‘ Center for Universal Education—founded by the partnership’s co-chair, noted economist Gene Sperling—to establish education policies, which resulted in recommendations made to UN agencies, G8 development agencies, and the World Bank. Jolie joined the Council on Foreign Relations in June 2007.”
Jolie’s humanitarian work earned her further recognition when a species of trapdoor spiders “who seize their prey after leaping out of their burrows and inject it with venom” was named after her.
Here’s her interview with an Israeli journalist about “the conflict in Israel”:
And see these three articles by Debbie Schlussel, who gave “Lucy” “half a Reagan”:
And these two by the blog “Hollywood Jew” at the Jewish Journal:
…. But this isn’t about Angelina Jolie.
Lucy is an English and French feminine given name derived from Latin masculine given name Lucius with the meaning as of light (born at dawn or daylight, maybe also shiny, or of light complexion)….
“… We looked back at a slew of movies built around this myth to find out all the things a human can do when full (fake) brain potential is achieved. Here’s what you can accomplish:
Finish writing a long-gestating book in four days. —Limitless
Develop algorithms to manipulate the stock market. —Limitless
Solve puzzles that previously vexed you. —Charly
Easily learn languages. —Limitless; Phenomenon; The Lawnmower Man; Lucy
Recall and execute Bruce Lee moves you watched on TV as a kid. —Limitless
Move sunglasses and pens around without touching them. —Phenomenon
Move people around without touching them. —Lucy
Speed read. —Phenomenon
Predict the future. —Phenomenon, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Read minds. —The Lawnmower Man, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Lucy
Instantly change your hair color (without dye). —Lucy
Turn people into swirling balls of molecular mass. —The Lawnmower Man
Fight like a ninja. —Lucy
Realize the childishness of comic books. —The Lawnmower Man
Squeeze toothpaste with your mind. —The Lawnmower Man
Hack into people’s cell-phone calls and other magnetic wave disruptions. —Lucy
Retain knowledge of how to navigate all of space. —The Flight of the Navigator
Stay awake forever. —Defending Your Life
Manipulate your senses so food that taste like “horseshit” to dumb people, tastes good to you. —Defending Your Life
Throw blue balls of energy and fire, along with other general wizardry skills. —The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Travel through time. —Lucy
See any person’s past, present, and future by touching them. —The Dead Zone
Find the error in the science that made you so smart and predict your own demise. —Charly
Feel everything. —Lucy
“Besson’s augmented main character, having tapped into her full potential, is oddly inhuman for someone who’s supposed to be her fullest possible self.”
“Lucy can shoot a gun and learn languages instantly. She can read minds and see radio waves, levitate enemies, turn from blonde to brunette, type on two keyboards at once and make computers do things that, no matter your brain capacity, computers will never, ever do. As the movie progresses, a number flashes across the screen every time Lucy gains access to a larger percentage of her brain, basically leveling her up in the big video game of life.”
“Besson-the-fantasist has delivered another serving of cartoonish female kickbutt jizz-whizz that uses a semi-imaginative, micro-cellular, La Femme Nikita-meets-Matrix-meets-2001 undercurrent about super-cranked brainpower and biological transcendence and, well, the myriad opportunities that such imaginings afford guys looking to jam-pack their films with knockout CG. Except you need to turn your brain off for at least half the running time to get through it.”
“How is it that a bunch of random Chinese ER doctors seem to know more about the power and perils of CPH4 than, say, the pharmaceutical industry, the military-industrial complex, and the actual global crime syndicate that is smuggling the drug around the world?”
“… A real chemical produced by pregnant women, CPH4 is described as an “atom bomb” for babies during pregnancy, opening up their brain functions and development of their bones….”
“… the wonder drug begins to expand her human potential at an alarming rate. First, she’s transformed into a sexy Jason Bourne, out for revenge. Then she becomes Neo, a superhero with near omnipotence. And her ultimate destiny, before the high can wear off, might be complete transcendence.”
“We upload our lives to the cloud, Google pours it into the Knowledge Graph to feed the algorithm, applies natural language parsing, and the Singularity, that moment when digital devices become more intelligent than humans, draws close.
But is the real story that machines and humans are meeting in the middle? Are we evolving to become plugged into the great digital cortex to become hybrid- humanoids? It’s a subject that’s fascinated Luc Besson, director of the new movie Lucy, for over a decade, and his film is astonishing.
Besson spent time with world-renowned neurologist Yves Agid, who co-founded the Brain & Spine Institute (ICM) in Paris, to learn how cells communicate with each other and what cerebral capacity could be unleashed if the human brain’s 86 billion densely packed neurons fired at once.,,, As her brain capacity increases, Lucy slips through the doors of perception and into the matrix, sees mobile telephony signals rendered in 3D, defies gravity, attains telepathy, telekinesis and control over mind, matter, and time travel…. Besson goes mystic as Lucy’s brain expands. She feels trees “grow,” senses peoples’ thoughts, and accesses their memory banks. We move, briefly, into the Buddhist realm of meditating monks who control their metabolism and experience infinite space…. Right now, performance-enhancing drugs like anabolic steroids contain synthetic forms of testosterone to build strength and increase muscle mass. People with depression are treated with mood-altering chemical combinations that target NMDA receptors in the brain, increasing serotonin levels. Parkinson’s disease can be managed with electrodes implanted in the brain to keep it firing smoothly. And a company called Neural Signals in Georgia does invasive brain-machine interfacing to allow “locked-in” paraplegics to control robotic arms.
Meanwhile, neuroscientist Michael Weisend Ph.D., uses trans-cranial direct current (TCDC) to effectively “shock” subjects with healthy brains to target preferred neural networks for specific tasks, thereby significantly enhancing motor skills. Partially funded by DARPA, studies showed increased accuracy in snipers hitting targets.
So if humans are becoming advanced through pharmaceuticals and modern electro-shock techniques, while digital devices achieve levels of sophistication in “understanding” through data-mining and natural language processing, are we not meeting in the middle?
The sticking point with scientists has always been how one defines consciousness. Ray Kurzweil, now Director of Engineering at Google, has always argued that machines and people are not so different.
“… ”Lucy” hangs together, not only through sheer velocity, but from the unmistakable sense that this is no cynical product. It’s an honest expression of the filmmaker’s mind – his prurience, his paranoia, his grandiosity and his aspiration…..”
“… importing that level of heavy-handed montaging onto a sci-fi film requires you to get your scientific theories straight, or at least have a great character as a foil. Unfortunately, the script is a weird tangle of evolutionary psychology and bootleg transhumanism, falling back on booming pseudo-profundities like “humans are more concerned with having than being” and “we never really die.”
Myth-use of the human brain:
Neurologist Barry Gordon describes [the 10% of brain use] myth as laughably false, adding, “we use virtually every part of the brain, and that [most of] the brain is active almost all the time.” Neuroscientist Barry Beyerstein sets out seven kinds of evidence refuting the ten percent myth:
•Studies of brain damage: If 90% of the brain is normally unused, then damage to these areas should not impair performance. Instead, there is almost no area of the brain that can be damaged without loss of abilities. Even slight damage to small areas of the brain can have profound effects.
•Brain scans have shown that no matter what one is doing, brains are always active. Some areas are more active at any one time than others, but barring brain damage, there is no part of the brain that is absolutely not functioning.
•The brain is enormously costly to the rest of the body, in terms of oxygen and nutrient consumption. It can require up to 20% of the body’s energy—more than any other organ—despite making up only 2% of the human body by weight. If 90% of it were unnecessary, there would be a large survival advantage to humans with smaller, more efficient brains. If this were true, the process of natural selection would have eliminated the inefficient brains. It is also highly unlikely that a brain with so much redundant matter would have evolved in the first place.
•Brain imaging: Technologies such as positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) allow the activity of the living brain to be monitored. They reveal that even during sleep, all parts of the brain show some level of activity. Only in the case of serious damage does a brain have “silent” areas.
•Localization of function: Rather than acting as a single mass, the brain has distinct regions for different kinds of information processing. Decades of research have gone into mapping functions onto areas of the brain, and no function-less areas have been found.
•Microstructural analysis: In the single-unit recording technique, researchers insert a tiny electrode into the brain to monitor the activity of a single cell. If 90% of cells were unused, then this technique would have revealed that.
•Neural disease: Brain cells that are not used have a tendency to degenerate. Hence if 90% of the brain were inactive, autopsy of adult brains would reveal large-scale degeneration.
Another argument is that, given the historical risk of death in childbirth associated with the large brain size (and therefore skull size) of humans, there would be a strong selection pressure against such a large brain size if only 10% was actually in use.
[Did you compare the two articles?!]
“… The plot rests on a premise that even director Luc Besson admits is bogus: that average humans use only 10 percent of their brain capacity.
“It’s one of the most popular misconceptions in biology,” Christof Koch, chief scientific officer for the Allen Institute for Brain Science, told NBC News…..
Researchers at the University of Oxford took the other side of the argument in a paper published Thursday by PLOS Genetics: Their computer analysis of genetic information from a variety of mammals suggested that only 8.2 percent of the more than 2 billion bits of chemical code in the human genome was functional…..
Every week seems to bring fresh findings about the role played by non-coding DNA. For example:
•A study in this week’s issue of Nature reports that non-coding mutations appear to have an impact on the development of colorectal cancer. “We applied this completely innovative methodology to colorectal cancer, but it can be applied to understand the genetic basis of all sorts of cancers,” the University of Geneva’s Emmanouil Dermitzakis said in a news release.
•A study in Genome Biology reports a linkage between activity in non-coding DNA and RNA and the development of brain tumors — suggesting that “junk DNA” may serve as a type of cellular long-term memory. “This could also explain explain why the health effects caused by exposure to hazardous environmental substances often do not emerge until years later,” Jörg Hackermüller of the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research said in a news release…..”
NPR’s review points out that “a suspiciously well-informed Movie Doctor has the duty of explaining to ScarJo that the stuff in her system is in fact a synthetic version of a chemical expectant mothers produce naturally to nourish the babies in their wombs”, which extends the BS factor and adds to the tendency to think that improvement stems from pharmaceuticals (or experiences with street drugs like Ecstasy). [Astute observers understand that, in many cases, there is little difference between the way that designers drugs marketed and how new BigPharmaCeuticals are marketed; we should probably ask the former Wite House aide and SecDef (and top 9/11 suspect) aboutaspartame.]
“A survey last year by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research found that 65 percent of Americans believe the myth is true, 5 percent more than those who believe in evolution. Even Mythbusters, which declared the statistic a myth a few years ago, further muddied the waters: The show merely increased the erroneous 10 percent figure and implied, incorrectly, that people use 35 percent of their brains. Like most legends, the origin of this fiction is unclear, though there are some clues. According to Sam Wang, a neuroscientist at Princeton and the author of Welcome to Your Brain, the catalyst may have been the self-help industry. In the early 1900s, William James, one of the most influential thinkers in modern psychology, famously said that humans have unused mental potential. This completely reasonable assertion was later revived, in mangled form, by the writer Lowell Thomas in his foreword to the 1936 self-help bible How To Win Friends And Influence People. “Professor William James of Harvard used to say that the average person develops only 10 percent of his latent mental ability,” Thomas wrote. It appears that he, or perhaps someone else in his day, simply plucked the golden number out of the sky.
The 10 percent claim is demonstrably false on a number of levels. First, the entire brain is active all the time. The brain is an organ. Its living neurons, and the cells that support them, are always doing something. (Where’s the “you only use 10 percent of your spleen” myth?) Joe LeDoux, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at NYU, thinks that people today may be thrown off by the “blobs”—the dispersed markers of high brain activity—seen in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the human brain. These blobs are often what people are talking about when they refer to the brain “lighting up.”
Say you’re watching a movie in an fMRI scanner. Certain areas of your brain—the auditory and visual cortices, for instance—will be significantly more active than others; and that activity will show up as colored splotches when the fMRI images are later analyzed. These blobs of significant activity usually cover small portions of the brain image, often less than 10 percent, which could make it seem, to the casual observer, that the rest of the brain is idling. But, as LeDoux put it to me in an email, “the brain could be one hundred percent active during a task with only a small percentage of brain activity unique to the task….
[T]he 10-percent myth, compared with other fantasies, is especially pernicious. It has a distinct air of scientific plausibility—it’s a zippy one-liner with a nice round number, a virus with obvious vectors in pop-psychology books, easy to repeat at cocktail parties. The myth is also part of a larger way of thinking about the brain that is characterized by misleading simplifications—like the notion that the right side of the brain is creative and the left side rational. “Those kinds of ideas self-perpetuate,” LeDoux told me. “It’s like saying dopamine is responsible for pleasure and the amygdala makes fear. Both are wrong.”
Neuroscience is still in its adolescence, but it is all too often served to the public as a more mature field. …”
Source of image: http://vigilantcitizen.com/musicbusiness/transhumanism-psychological-warfare-and-b-e-p-s-imma-be/
Slice from that article:
“Transhumanism is the name of a movement that claims to support the use of all forms of technology to improve human beings. It is far more than just a bunch of harmless and misguided techie nerds, dreaming of sci-fi movies and making robots.
It is a highly organized and well financed movement that is extremely focused on subverting and replacing every aspect of what we are as human beings – including our physical biology, the individuality of our minds and purposes of our lives – and the replacement of all existing religious and spiritual beliefs with a new religion of their own – which is actually not new at all.
For now, let’s just start at the start.
The Elitist Creators of Transhumanism and Eugenics
“The term ‘Transhumanism‘ was coined by biologist Julian Huxley in 1957, who defined it as “man remaining man, but transcending himself, by realizing new possibilities of and for his human nature.”
Julian Huxley was the brother of Aldous Huxley, who you may know was the author of the very famous book, “Brave New World“, which is a vision of the future that most people view as “The New World Order” (along with the book “1984“, by George Orwell) – a depressing future police-state world in which a one world government uses technology, such as surveillance cameras, psychological warfare (propaganda) and brutal military/police forces to control everyone and everything in this dystopian, fictional world.
The founders of Transhumanism, were highly educated and wealthy individuals of primarily British and European descent. These individuals were what we would call people of the elite, ruling class of society, and their views were absolutely elitist, if not outright totalitarian and fascist in nature.”
“Besson clearly understands that the film’s central myth endures because people are intrigued by the prospect of activating our whole heads. He runs with that idea full-tilt and at top speed, even if it means turning Lucy into a walking X-ray machine/broadcast network/telekinetic demigod. It’s possible to be swept away by the fun in all that, but only if you’re capable of silencing the messages bubbling through your own gray matter and ignoring the inevitable questions. Like this one: If Johansson’s Lucy has such command of her mental faculties that she is, essentially, the most enlightened being on the planet, shouldn’t she be able to figure out how to get what she wants without causing so much destruction and loss of life?”
“… if Lucy can control movement and space and time, why can’t she expand the 24 hours? And really, why does she need to fly commercial to Paris?” (JOCELYN NOVECK AP National Writer @ ABC News)
“… Scarlett Johansson as sublime portal to the posthuman future: That seems to be a thing lately, whether she’s playing a fast-evolving digital intelligence in Her, a deadly space alien disguised as a human being in Under the Skin, or whatever combination of Neo and the Terminator she’s supposed to embody here. It’s easy to see why one would cast Johansson in such a role. Her combination of earthy sensuality with cool, cerebral remove—not to mention the best husky female voice since Kathleen Turner—makes it entirely plausible that Johansson might, in fact, have been designed by alien overlords to lure men to their deaths in featureless black rooms, as her character does in the bone-chilling Under the Skin. But Besson’s Lucy, for all its whoa-dude-my-mind-is-blown aspirations, is too dumb to engage either Johansson’s intelligence or the viewer’s.”
“[A]s a result of biomedical advances, we are facing the possibility of a future in which our humanity itself will be altered beyond recognition”, says Francis Fukuyama in Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution; “he ability to manipulate the DNA of all of one person’s descendants will have profound, and potentially terrible, consequences for our political order, even if undertaken with the best of intentions.”
There is a one-hour book discussion on CSpan at
Source of images: http://www.thenanoage.com/transhumanism-posthumanism.htm
The urban dictionary has 86 entries for the meaning of that four-letter term “lucy”.
Finding Lucy: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/07/1/l_071_01.html
What Does It Mean To Be Human? Smithsonian
The Smithsonian Institution is established as a trust instrumentality by act of Congress, and it is functionally and legally a body of the U.S. government, but separate from the government’s federal legislative, executive, and judicial branches.
More than two-thirds of the Smithsonian’s workforce of some 6,300 persons are employees of the federal government.
Source of image:
Be sure to read about the controversial Russian biologist Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov
Source of Image:
Singularity: Reading our genes like computer code
9 December 2013 Last updated at 19:47 ET
“Biological life spreads in the biological-chemical world, computer codes can spread in the digital computer world. That is a rule – no self-replicator has ever overcome the digital-biological barrier. Until today. Here I show a method how a digital computer code can infect biological DNA, thus spread in the biological-chemical world. The method is mainly based on the fantastic research by the J. Craig Venter Institute on synthetic life, and might ask new questions about the definition of life itself.”
Lucy DNA sequence quality and vector trimming tool
Lucy was designed and written at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR, now the J. Craig Venter Institute), and it has been used here for several years to clean sequence data from automated DNA sequencers prior to sequence assembly and other downstream uses.
The quality trimming portion of Lucy makes use of phred quality scores, such as those produced by many automated sequencers based on the Sanger sequencing method. As such, Lucy’s quality trimming may not be appropriate for sequence data produced by some of the new “next-generation” sequencers.
Lucy is available in the form of a software download only. I currently have no plans to create an open-source community development project for Lucy. If you think that would be valuable, please contact me about it. In the meantime, the download package includes the full source code, so feel free to customize it for your environment.
You can download the lucy distribution from our SourceForge,net project page.
Lucy is described in the following publication:
Hui-Hsien Chou and Michael H. Holmes (2001) DNA sequence quality trimming and vector removal. Bioinformatics 17: 1093-1104.
One of the authors of Lucy has developed Lucy2, which adds a GUI interface to Lucy. It is available separately, here:
(Note that Lucy2 is not included with the lucy download package.)
“… Lucy is a “humanzee”: half human, half bonobo. Lucy soon becomes a magnet for the controversy that has colored debates between creationists and evolutionists for decades, as well as an object of interest to a clandestine military think tank.”
SIMON: Does the name Lucy mean what a lot of people will think it does, referring to what’s often identified as the first human Lucy?
Mr. GONZALES: Yeah. Actually, recently there was an older – 4.4 million, I believe, year-old skeleton found. So, Lucy’s been kicked off her throne. But the answer is twofold. One is in the book Lucy’s father says, I didn’t name you for that. I named you because Lucy means light. And so, that’s his reason.
My reason for choosing the name, however, is the Australopithecine that you’re referring to.
Source of image:
Here’s an indiewire write-up that attempts to sum it all up:
“… Love it or hate it — and you’ll have plenty of company either way — Luc Besson’s “Lucy,” which is predicted to capture the box office this weekend, is a singularly eccentric vision. Part of the fun of reading reviews of the movie is watching critics (including this one) try and describe what BuzzFeed’s Alison Willmore aptly calls “a future stoner classic.”
Wesley Morris, Grantland: “It’s as if Besson sat through a half-hour of Terrence Malick’s ‘The Tree of Life,’ hit fast-forward, and thought, I can do that but with drugs and guns and car chases.”
Chris Klimek, NPR: “‘Lucy’ does for recreational drugs what ‘The Fantastic Four’ did for Gamma Rays. If the overdose is massive enough and the dope powerful enough, it unlocks doors previously accessible only to those who’ve read ‘The Secret.’ Or ‘Flowers for Algernon.'”
David Edelstein, New York: “As our descendants evolve, colonize more of their own brains, and approach the man-machine singularity, filmmakers can continue to add onto ‘Lucy,’ and then some critic can add on to the end of this review because we’ll never evolve beyond movie criticism.”
Fortunately, director and co-writer Luc Besson has already come up with the perfect way to describe his movie, which he did at the script stage (via The Film Stage):
Fortunatley, “‘Léon: The Professional‘ meets ‘Inception‘ meets ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,'” is not so easy to visualize, so you’ll just have to see “Lucy” yourself and make sure it finishes first. Movies this big and this weird don’t come along often.
“Professor Norman advises Lucy that, as she approaches 100 percent capacity — and death — she should do something useful with all the precious knowledge she’s acquiring.”
“… Today, IBM Watson, the first cognitive computing system, is coming to Africa as part of a 10-year, $100 million initiative to address the fast-growing continent’s greatest business and societal challenges. With “Project Lucy”, IBM researchers in Africa, together with their business and academic partners, will use Watson and related cognitive technologies to learn and discover insights from Big Data and develop commercially viable solutions to Africa’s grand challenges in healthcare, education, water and sanitation, human mobility and agriculture.”
[See the full infographic as well as the slide show entitled “City Lights”!!]
Film, consciousness, and mystery
by Jon Rappoport
July 25, 2014
There is more mystery in two minutes of David Lynch’s Inland Empire than in all American films produced in the last 50 years.
The first films ever made registered like dreams with audiences, and they were made with that idea in mind.
Mystery. A priceless commodity which has no market.
I’m not talking traditional suspense, which depends on beginning, middle, and end, and clues sprinkled on the way to a satisfying resolution. That is organized mystery, a contradiction in terms.
The opposite of organization isn’t chaos, although many people believe it is. In the hands of filmmakers like Orson Welles (The Trial, Touch of Evil), Jean Cocteau (The Blood of a Poet, Beauty and the Beast), Luis Bunuel (Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie), and David Lynch (Mulholland Drive, Inland Empire), the opposite of organization is mystery; an atmosphere.
Word, image, character, motion, rhythm, tempo—somewhere in the films another previously unknown reality takes over. There are no labels for it.
Society is not attuned to it. People dedicated to living ordinary lives hate it.
“Well, he should have started the story with the theft. Then we would have known what he was talking about. And if he’d given the wife a few extra scenes, her relationship with her son would have been obvious, and the climax would have made sense…”
Cut things down to their essentials. Sharpen the focus. Make the audience track with the storyline. Unequivocally deliver the punchline. Sell it.
In other words, eliminate any shred of mystery.
Perhaps someday, Hollywood will be able to make a film that transmits itself in two seconds, like an injection. The sequence of imparted emotions will substitute for content. Sensation A, followed by sensations B. C, D, E, and F. Done.
“I thought it was tremendous. How about you?”
Consciousness, freed from the web of social consensus, is hungry for mystery, a fluid in which gesture, language, and motion explore and invent the impossible; what could never be lived before.
To achieve a simulacrum, a vapid imitation, audiences will sit in a theater and watch “dream-buildings” collapse (Christopher Nolan, Inception), or some kind of assembly-line time-slipping “tour de force” (Cloud Atlas, Tom Twyker, the Wachowskis).
A person committed to an ordinary life will take an occasional leap and look at Possibility in the form of popcorn surrealism.
Film was supposed to be about something else, but it became chopped steak and cars and toasters and invading machines. In the early days, a few yutzes moved out to LA from New York and became moguls of schlock. Which their PR machines sold as culture.
The improvised Citizen Kane, Touch of Evil, and The Trial aren’t even stories. No need. They’re a walking talking series of low-angle black-and-white photographs of astral locales the usual kind of film noir can merely hint at.
By the time David Lynch reaches Inland Empire in his career, he’s doing a ballet of gesture, each movement advancing, with gills, through a bone-muscle-flesh undersea city of corruption only he could have come upon.
Cocteau used living paintings and papier mache as his medium; human characters were driven by impulses in dreams, from which they never awakened.
For all of Stanley Kubrick’s films, it was in Barry Lyndon where, for a minute here and a minute there, the audience was finally and ecstatically delivered whole to another time; the sensuous rooms of the 18th- century Lyndon estate in England. Mystery realized.
“A film is – or should be – more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what’s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.” (Stanley Kubrick)
“A film is a ribbon of dreams. The camera is much more than a recording apparatus; it is a medium via which messages reach us from another world that is not ours and that brings us to the heart of a great secret. Here magic begins.” (Orson Welles)
“The image it [cinema] once held for us all, that of a dream we dreamt with our eyes open, has disappeared. Is it still possible that one thousand people might group together in the dark and experience the dream that a single individual has directed?” (Federico Fellini)
“Fortunately, somewhere between chance and mystery lies imagination, the only thing that protects our freedom, despite the fact that people keep trying to reduce it or kill it off altogether.” (Luis Bunuel)
In the journey into fertile mystery, you go knowing you’ll dispense with your navigational instruments. You’ll find new stars. You’ll follow and at the same time spontaneously draw another map. This is what consciousness wants, not the tired archetypes and cartoons of other minds. And when you come back, you’ll be refreshed, whole, and able to watch, with some degree of interest, people sculpt themselves into units of a highly organized cosmos.
The true power of film has just begun to be tapped.