Rebecca ✨’s review published on Letterboxd:
“His body is trying to kill him. We’re making art out of anarchy.”
Okay WOW I was not expecting this movie to hit so hard as someone who lives with chronic pain and autoimmune disease—and also has to eat a modified diet to function. I do want to posit that Saul is disabled, or that his organ growths are an allegory for disability, if only because the world he’s living in punishes those whose bodies are biologically different.
(And then, of course, it’s implied in the title that Saul’s ability to grow these organs is a crime, further reflecting how being disabled feels like a crime in an ableist world since you can’t hold down a job or be a person easily.)
When you’re disabled, everything from eating to sleeping to simply being is a chore. When you’re disabled and living in an able-bodied world, it does seem like everyone is incapable of pain or illness because they can do things that seem so extreme (which, again, is merely living when you’re disabled) with no pain. Every shot of Saul trying to sleep or eat hit really close to home for me since I often struggle to sleep with my chronic pain and eating the wrong thing can have me down for the count for days.
I almost didn’t “get” this movie until that line of Caprice’s. Before he begins eating the plastic like Brecken and Lang, the performance art is his way of coping with his disabled body. It’s a way to make sense of his lived experience and try to make meaning out of it. I won’t say it’s self-hating or internalized ableism, because I don’t believe it was for him; he and Caprice did find meaning and pleasure in it, and for that I don’t want to say the performances were self-harm.
Everything I thought the movie was trying to say about pain and the body was only further confirmed by that breathtaking final scene when Saul is able to eat and feels no pain. It’s not a cure, but it is accessibility. And at the end of the day, that’s all you can hope for when you’re disabled.
SO YEAH GO SEE THE MOVIE? LOL