Thursday, February 15, 2018
"Elephant": Gus Van Sant's disturbing 2003 film somewhat related to Columbine
I do recall seeing Gus Van Sant’s disturbing film, “Elephant” (2003), at the Avalon (non-profit) independent theater in NW Washington DC in early 2004, shortly after I had returned to the area.
The two perpetrators seem to have been bullied, and one is a pianist (he plays Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” in one scene). I remember some hint that they are gay and intimate, although some commentators think too much is made of that.
What seems so chilling is toward the end as the two kids (played by Alex Frost and Eric Deulen) seem so calculating in their speech. That is what seems related to the Parkland Florida shooting on Wednesday, February 14.
The film also presents the catastrophe from the viewpoints of several other students, as “cameras”.
This film was very challenging work from the controversial gay director (of “Good Will Hunting”) and, however provocative, it won a prize at Cannes. The film is shot 1.33:1 on amateur video (it looks like Super 8). It seems to be filmed in Portland OR.
There are some detailed reviews of this on imdb. One of the reviews says it is modeled right off of Columbine. The film has been distributed by Fine Line Features and HBO.