The Belgian film Hasta La Vista, about three disabled young men on a road trip in Spain’s wine country to lose their virginity in a specialty bordello, has been getting some critical acclaim, most notably, the grand prize at the Montreal World Film Festival. Not surprising, given the film’s firm European bent; this one on the subject of cripples, the disabled, which has a long tradition in northern Renaissance painting that include Durer, Cranach, Bruegel, Bosch, Grunewald and others which linked suffering to Chrsitianity and the symbolism of ugliness and shame to an aesthetic of poverty contrasted with an upper class appropriation of Jesus.
Come As You Are ( Hasta La Vista ) is a reflection of this tradition; mankind being depicted as a collection of the disabled and crippled struggling towards an intense and rich interior existence where a righteous, traditional sense of morals translates into a new formulation. The negative hero where isolation and silence are appropriate responses which reveal a hidden divinity. Again, its a protestant language of visual art, a representation loaded with paradox that ends up revealing only through the art of concealing.
Its an artistic vision spun from the Protestant Reformation of Luther and which was subsumed by more materialistic themes by the middle of the seventeenth-century as Lutherism resembled the opulent Christianity it had fought against. Its apotheosis was with Rembrandt, most noticeably, where the imagery of the fallen and ugly would transfigure humanity through divine love in opposition to the bourgeois materialist values. It was the paradox of a soul hidden, yet radiating a message that the ugly and fallen were objects of special divine love and acted as messengers to those, ironically too blind and emotionally crippled to understand…
From Variety Magazine: Three young special-needs men go on a road trip to lose their virginity in Belgian helmer Geoffrey Enthoven’s “Come as You Are,” a likable if somewhat formulaic-feeling seriocomedy loosely inspired by Asta Philpot, the U.S.-born Brit advocate for handicapped persons’ sexuality. …
…The protags are friends in a well-heeled suburb, brought together (and isolated from other peers) by their different disabilities. Genial Jozef (Tom Audenaert) is almost completely blind. Often childishly petulant prankster Philip (Robrecht Vanden Thoren) is a paraplegic. Likewise wheelchair-bound, Lars (Gilles De Schryver) has a degenerative terminal illness that is causing paralysis and occasional fits. All still live with their parents, from whom they require considerable assistance. But dreams of independence take flight when Philip hears about a Spanish brothel catering to people “like us.” He announces they must go there on vacation, alone — well, aside from a hired caretaker.
Their families are not at all excited about this idea, though they reluctantly agree once a reassuringly experienced van driver/nurse is recruited. All plans are scotched, however, when Lars’ prognosis takes a turn for the worse. Without much time left, he determines he’ll live it to the hilt — so the threesome sneak away on their trip after all, parental concern be damned.
With the first nurse/driver having declined the job, the three are stuck with a seemingly far less desirable chaperone: Claude (Isabelle de Hertogh), a gruff, heavyset woman who speaks only French. They resent her presence at first; Philip is particularly rude, as is his wont. But after she saves the day in an emergency or two, the collective mood lightens. Slapstick mishaps happen, life lessons are duly learned, tragedy is confronted and so forth.
Fictitiously elaborating on Philpot’s real-life trips to a wheelchair-accessible Spanish brothel and his advocacy of prostitution as one sexual-expression option for the disabled, Pierre De Clercq’s episodic script runs a familiar gamut from laughter to tears. But it’s never condescending.
Though a few of Rembrandt’s beggar prints depicted crafty, humorous figures in keeping withtraditional moralizing and satirical images of the poor, most used shabbiness and filth as a paradoxical veil, simultaneously hiding and revealing human beings crushed by larger socialforces. While this unprecedented combination of repugnant ugliness and inner humanity may haveoffended bourgeois Dutch eyes, it yet reflected contemporary modes of charity. If Protestant Holland rejected Catholic alms giving which functioned as a “good work” leading the wealthybenefactor to heaven, poor relief remained nonetheless an individual spiritual and moralobligation. Read More:http://www.scribd.com/doc/57145923/Baldwin-Rembrandts-Art-of-Paradox
So too, Rembrandt’s vagabond etchings and drawings sought out Christ among the rags and poor people of Amsterdam. Transfigured into a spiritual quality by his mood-setting chiaroscuro, the poverty of Christ evoked the Protestant mystery of the hiddden God stressed repeatedly by Luther, and here, Calvin.He came into the world so as to be everywhere despised; his glory lay hid under the humble form of the flesh; for though a majesty worthy of “the only-begotten Son of God” shone forth in him, yet the greater part of men did not see it, but, on the contrary, they despised that deep abasement which was the veil or covering of his glory…the shame of the cross…Such imagery lay at the heart of two of Rembrandt’s greatest etchings, the Hundred Guilder Print and the Three Crosses. In the former, blind beggars and cripples moved toward Christ, much as they did in an earlier Protestant emblem representing the human condition. By integrating a variety of narrative incidents from Matthew, Rembrandt revealed a divine love encompassing all of society, even the outcast, the sick, the elderly, and the infantile. “Poor”, “sick”, “blind”, and “childlike”, the Protestant human being can only”beg” for grace. In turn, the mystery of God’s love for fallen mankind was powerfullyexpressed, a theme brought out in a passion oration by Rembrandt’s contemporary, Daniel Heinsius. Read More:http://www.scribd.com/doc/57145923/Baldwin-Rembrandts-Art-of-Paradox