Trusting Gregg

From Third Rock to Araki with Joseph Gordon-Levitt

ThetricktoMysterious Skin isthatyourcharacterismoredamagedthantheoneplayedbyBradyCorbet,whohasrepressedeverything.

Exactly. More delusional even. They were both molested by their baseball coach. One's telling an elaborate science-fiction story about aliens, the other is telling an elaborate story about a love affair. It's tragic that someone would mistake that kind of abuse for love. Everyone experiences events, especially tragic events, differently—and interprets it differently. It's that subjectivity, that diversity of point of view, that's actually the saving grace of humanity. In this movie, the fact that the two characters are different allows them to save each other.

Thelookonyourfaceinthatscenewhenyoufindoutyou'regoingtoBrightonBeach,andrealizeyou'vebeenpickedupbythewrongperson,isreallyfrightening.

Well, that was important to me. There are a lot of different parts of the movie that are upsetting, but they're true to the story and true to the world. Some people call the movie "dark." But you can't show light without darkness.

Itcouldhavebeenahellofalotdarker—evendarkerthantherapescene.

It really could have been. But it's not a movie that's trying to upset you for the sake of upsetting you. So many more people have loved the movie that you would expect. At the Toronto Film Festival there was one screening at a theater, and there were a lot of older people there—not a festival-type audience. All these middle-aged women coming up to Gregg who were so moved and so into the movie. MysteriousSkinis a story about the way two different people deal with child abuse, but it's also about how two different subjectivities relate to experience.

* * *

Ella Taylor says filmmaker Gregg Araki has traded the gloom and doom evident in his earlier films for hopefulness in Mysterious Skin.

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