May 11, 2013

Bad Timing

As far as I am concerned, anytime one happens to run into an image or deplorably mundane piece of music from a little hideous creature and Hebraic hippie like Art Garfunkel, it is most certainly a moment of “bad timing,” especially where the eyes and ears are concerned, yet to my complete and utter surprise, he actually played an interesting lead role in a striking cinematic work that is quite suited for his repugnant character. Playing the role of an American psychoanalyst who happens to be teaching young Aryans the value of subversive Jewish intellecutalism in Uncle Adolf’s homeland and develops a deranged infatuation a bodacious blonde beastess, Art Garfunkel proved to a more than an apt pretentious creep in British auteur Nicholas Roeg’s sordid cinematic tale of sicko seduction Bad Timing (1980) aka Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession. Described by an executive from its U.K. distributor Rank as “a sick film made by sick people for sick people,” Bad Timing is most certainly a brazenly bawdy and decidedly disgusting piece of celluloid about a physically and psychologically sick poindexter of the anti-Teutonic sort whose revolting airs of intellectual superiority are only matched by his seemingly psychopathic jealously and unhealthy sexual fixation with a beauteous, if not bat-shit crazy, blonde babe who happens to be married to a Slavic slob three decades her senior. Told in the archetypically Roegian style of discordant and deconstructed nonlinear narrative via jaded jump-cuts and mesmerizing mosaic montages, Bad Timing unfolds what led a woman to commit suicide and land in a hospital after intentionally overdosing on drugs and the more bitter than sweet romance with a possessive and perturbed psychoanalyst that led to such deleterious behavior. Set in emotionally and culturally sterile Cold War era Vienna, Austria—a post-Nazi nightmare where Sigmund Freud museums stand and the ‘soul doctor’ pseudo-science of psychoanalysis is very much alive nearly a century after its blasphemous birth—Bad Timing portrays a dying Europa where the Fin de siècle of the last century as described by degeneration pioneer Max Nordau seems rather tame when compared to that of the twentieth century, where extra-European powers like the United States of America and the Soviet Union have turned Faustian man’s land into a mundane museum and vice-ridden vacation spot to be raped and pillaged, sort of like how the ‘anti-hero’ of Roeg’s film treats his fair lady.

Dr. Alex Linden (Art Garfunkel) of Bad Timing is certainly one of the most unlikable and emotionally vacant characters of film history as a pedantic yet perverse psychoanalyst/professor who respects no one and nothing aside from his own bloated ego and sterile intellect. Why a lovely yet lecherous blonde lady in her mid-20s named Milena Flaherty (Theresa Russell) sees anything attractive in Linden is quite the inexplicable mystery, but the fact she is married to an ugly, overweight Czech man named Stefan Vognic (Denholm Elliott) certainly proves she has never been a woman of refined taste in men, especially considering her affair with an arrogant American psychoanalyst will lead to a brutal near death experience after being driven to a serious suicide attempt involving the swallowing of a number of nasty narcotics. As a woman who has no problem stating such salacious things as “it’s burning my pussy,” Milena certainly sparks a certain amount of seemingly intangible life in a soulless sophisticate like Alex Linden. While the patent prick of a psychoanalyst initially finds Milena’s free-spirited behavior and sassy and aggressive sensuality to be quite liberating, it does not take Linden long to develop a uniquely unhealthy obsession with Milena, including spying on her and digging up every dirty document (he produces psychoanalytic profiles for his own personal use via American military intelligence data supplied by army psychiatrists) he can find out about her Slavic hubby, a curious cuckold if there ever was one. After a dubious night with Milena that ends in the little lady’s hospitalization after a senseless attempt at self-slaughter via drug overdose, Linden finds himself the sole suspect of foul play by an American police investigator named Netusil (Harvey Keitel), who can read through the psychoanalyst's preposterous pretentiousness. Apparently, while suicide is not a big thing in Austria, “ravishment” aka rape is and investigator Netusil knows when and where vaginal swabs must be performed, but he finds out that getting a confession from a pernicious psychoanalyst—a man who has made a living at raping other men’s souls—proves to be a most complicated feat. 

 What makes Bad Timing especially interesting is the political and cultural context the film is set in. Indeed, I do not think it is a coincidence that the film takes place in Adolf Hitler’s homeland, where instead of featuring museums to the Führer and the reign of the Übermensch, museums exist dedicated to anti-Aryan Freud and degenerate artists like Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele and untermensch Americans, Slavs, and Jews populate Vienna just as prophesized by the National Socialists. With American Hebrew Art Garfunkel—a stereotypical Jew with a Jew-fro who looks like a slightly less swarthy version of auteur Alejandro Jodorowsky—as a psychoanalyst of all who things whose trade, as demonstrated by American evolutionary psychologist Kevin MacDonald, was formed, not unlike Boasian cultural anthropology and Marxism, as a subversive Semitic intellectual movement against Western morals and Occidental civilization, in the lead role of Bad Timing, I think it is safe to say that director Nicholas Roeg was making a statement about who ultimately triumphed after the Second World War. Of course, as a man who demonstrates his curious xenophilia in Walkabout (1971), Negrophiliac race-mixing in The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), cultural-cuckold Kabbalah fetishism in Eureka (1983), and his softspot for Yiddish geniuses in Insignificance (1985), I think it is clear that Mr. Roeg was quite satisfied with the outcome of World War II. In one especially telling scene in Bad Timing, Garfunkel’s character makes the snarky remark, “The Germans have always been very good at archives,” thus alluding to the holocaust in a cynical, self-satisfied fashion and his glaring visceral hatred of krauts. Garfunkel’s character also has a couple stare downs with an Austrian Aryan doctor, who he refuses free cigarettes from (yet excepts the redneck Marlboro red cigs of an American). As the National Socialists carried out the virtuous act of expelling psychoanalytic messiah Sigmund Freud from Austria, it is not by mere chance that Garfunkel is peddling the same tawdry pseudo-science in the same place it was born and later banned. Indubitably, the most penetrating and allegorical scene in Bad Timing is when the less than homely Hebrew Garfunkel psychologically terrorizes and eventually maliciously rapes a buxom blonde beauty. After all, what could be worse timing and circumstances for an Aryan woman than to be in the hands of a psychotic Judaic stalker in Hitler’s homeland after the Second World War. Indeed, holocaust saint Elie Wiesel did not include the sentence “fargvaldikn daytshe shikses” (“rape German shiksas” aka “ rape racially impure non-Jewish kraut women”) in regard to how some of his concentration camp buddies sexually ravaged some kraut women in the original Jews-only Yiddish edition (which, of course, was taken out of the goy translations) of his novel Night (1955) for nothing.

A virtual realist fantasy flick in the spirit of Philip Roth and Herbert Marcuse for Jews and shabbos goys in its perverse portrayal of a lustful sexual savagery between a Jew psychoanalyst and Shiksa goy gal and/or a malicious psychosexual horror melodramas for bad goys and gals, Bad Timing is a positively perturbing and pessimistic anti-love story for the technocratic and bureaucratic post-national cosmopolitan age, where the decidedly degenerate art (paintings by Klimt are featured in the opening credits) and pseudo-sciences of yesteryear have, quite absurdly, been elevated to the level of the best that the West has to offer. Undoubtedly, the female lead Milena's words “Why don’t you just fuck me death?” toward the end of Bad Timing certainly have more than a literal context as the Vienna portrayed in the film is inhabited by hostile rapist Jewish psychoanalysts, philistine Slavs, and exploitative Americans, which is something akin to a deadly outbreak of spiritual syphilis.  With a scuzzy Semite as a leading 'man' and vomit-worthy multicultural noise from proto-hipster monkey-man Tom Waits, power poof pop group the Who, and degenerate Jazz Negress Billie Holiday in the land of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Bad Timing portrays an absurdly apocalyptic zeitgeist in European history that is as disgusting, unnatural, misceginated, and ultimately suicidal as the romantic relationship that is perversely portrayed in the film.  If there ever was an allegorical love story for the decided death of the West, Bad Timing is it.

-Ty E

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