Wax, or the Discovery of Television Among the Bees

1991 cyberpunk extravaganza

Rating: 15/20

Plot: A beekeeper is given a special bee television in his head that enables him to connect with the dead.

2001: A Space Odyssey meets My Dinner with Andre, maybe? That's not really an appropriate comparison at all, so don't pay any attention to it.

I'd wanted to watch this because I knew William S. Burroughs was in it (a non-speaking role, by the way) but kept putting it off. I wish I understood the ideas in this movie more, but I doubt even watching it again and again would help me glean anything else from it. There's a lot thrown at you here: lots of bees, stuff about war, death, other planets, moon secrets, supernatural photography, more bees, Biblical references, flying saucers. You want them all to fit neatly together, like honeycomb vectors, and you especially want to do that because of the matter-of-fact, earnest tone of the pseudo-documentary's narrator, who, by the way, sounds a lot like Richard Brautigan to me. Is the movie anti-war? Pro-bee? Or is it all just the tinfoil-hatted ramblings of a lunatic?

I thought the entire thing was hypnotic, letting it in to kind of stroke the lobes for what a lot of people would consider a very long hour and a half. My mind needed a good scrub anyway. That guy's voice, combined with a lot of now-antique computer graphics that I think I could produce myself using Powerpoint, lulls you into another state of mind. Those effects--digital distortions, weird symbols, etc.--create a cheap digital psychedelia, and I can't exactly say that it was visually impressive but it did add to the weirdness of the whole thing. Most of the movie is stock footage of bees and missiles with the occasional fake home video footage of William S. Burroughs. Oh, and lots and lots of shots of director David Blair walking around the desert in beekeeping garb. There's also an auditory assault with lots of abstract noises and pieces of noises. Whether you like it or not (I suspect most won't), you'd have to admit that it's a unique experience.

David Blair hasn't done much else, just a drama from 1996 that imdb has no information about. Apparently, he's been working on a sequel to this over the last several years. It's too bad because the world of film needs more visionary minds like his.

Oh! 2001: A Space Odyssey meets My Dinner with Andre and La Jetee! That's a little better.

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