Wax, or The Discovery of Television Among the Bees

Wax, or The Discovery of Television Among the Bees ★★★★

Dude..... what?

As an audiovisual accompaniment to an utterly original, exceptionally fascinating, and completely out-of-its-mind postmodern short story, this is like nothing I've ever seen before. The early computer animation presents the abstract metaphysics of this world better than modern techniques ever could, the bizarre Windows Movie Maker contortions selling how totally incomprehensible Blair’s odyssey of intelligent bees communing with moon ghosts via television becomes. 90s anime and JRPG dweebs like me would probably find a lot to love in the narrative's blend of biblical frameworks, eldritch god-beings beyond death, ancient family secrets, and devotion to techno-spirituality.

Blair isn't a raving madman, though, as his anxiety about increasingly impersonal warfare (contextualized through the Gulf War in maybe the strangest moment in a movie full of them) and the inherited sins of our violent humanity shine through all the would-be nonsense. It's a missed opportunity then, that the film is presented as a weird documentary, Blair's constant narration keeping us a bit too grounded and cursing the wonderful images and sound design with this droning layer of noise on top. I dozed off somewhat in the middle because of it, but that may have also been the result of this being the closest I've seen anything replicate the unconscious, and thusly I was lulled into sleep. I may never understand this work, but it's inspiring to see something so fiendishly ambitious and insular given life and find at least some kind of audience.