Presidents’ Weekend Marathon 13:Altered States

I think the scene where William Hurt is sitting in front of the couch talking to Blair Brown, who is laying on said couch, is one of the prettiest shots of two naked people I’ve ever seen in film.

There are a lot of pretty shots in Altered States. It reminded me of why I’m a Ken Russell fan in the first place, and at once made me feel guilty for not keeping up with him.

States is the story of Eddie Jessup, a professor searching for the ultimate truth, the primordial self–his version of God. He is driven at first by religious visions he had as a child, and finally by the discovery that what he sees in his search is becoming manifest physically. He is becoming his own truth.

The film started an isolation-tank craze in the 80s, and I have to admit it’s something I’ve always wanted to try. Though I don’t expect to be transformed into soup, like Dr. Jessup, I have that human desire to look inside myself to see what may be at the very core of it; to quiet this outer din and find that point of irrefutable reality within myself. Does it exist, or is Jessup right when he says: “The only truth is that there is no truth.”

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