×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cracking the Wachowskis’ code

When it comes to the elusive and enigmatic “Matrix” creators, it’s hard to tell where the picture ends and the brothers begin.

CANNES — To the immense press corps here, waiting for the Wachowskis has taken on the surreal qualities of “Waiting for Godot.”

Journalists are lined up for bits of wisdom from the reticent auteurs of “The Matrix Reloaded,” but the Wachowski brothers have remained stubbornly invisible, avoiding even their Cannes premiere.

Not since the days of Kubrick, whom the brothers are said to venerate, has a filmmaker seemed so disinterested in representing his work.

Hence, I was especially pleased last week when wandering the back streets off the Croisette I came upon the Wachowski brothers having coffee at a sidewalk cafe.

“Aren’t you Andy and Larry?” I asked tentatively, hoping that by invoking their first names I wouldn’t scare them back into their cocoon of silence.

“Yeah, we’re the brothers,” the bearded one responded. “Do we know you?”

“Sure,” I lied. “From Chicago. Congratulations on your opening grosses; a home run. So why have you guys dropped out of sight?”

“Hey, success is not our dominion,” the second brother replied. “It’s all there in Nietzsche, man. We dwell in the dominion of truth and are marshalling our armies of metronyms and anthropomorphisms into our future work.”

“They’re misunderstanding our picture, man,” the bearded brother put in. “We’re giving them causal ties to a mechanistic world and to its dynamic quanta. Schopenhauer had it right.”

“If audiences aren’t getting the message, perhaps you should be out there explaining it,” I offered.

“Explanation is only the description of the superficial,” said the first brother. “It relates back to that manifold succession where the naive man and the prober of older cultures try to perfect the conception of becoming. It’s tough, man.”

I was perplexed. “I saw a Keanu Reeves interview where he said, ‘The truth is often terrifying when the cost of knowledge is the central theme.’ Maybe you could elaborate on that in terms of Neo’s personal quest and the role of Morpheus as teacher and spiritual leader.”

“You’re oversimplifying, man,” said the bearded brother. “You’re forgetting that dialectic thought is only an attempt to break through the coercion of logic by its own means. That’s tough shit, man. Theodor W. Adorno demonstrated that in his book ‘Reflections From a Damaged Life.’ ”

“I haven’t read Adorno recently, or Schopenhauer. But look at it this way: you’ve given great entertainment to the mass audience, both in your movie and your videogame. There’s truth in that alone.”

The second brother shook his head ruefully. “Erecting truth directly amid the general untruth only perverts the former into the latter.”

I peered at him as he returned his attention to his pages of script. “I understand you’re serious about this dilemma,” I said. “By the way, are you Andy or Larry?”

“I’m just a brother, man,” he said. “We’re the brothers.”

“Even the official program notes for the movie said that very little is known about you…”

“That’s how we like it,” the bearded one said. “The self is indissolubly linked with imitation. Those are pre-ordained social laws of exploitation, which we resist.”

“Well, in view of your decision, I’m glad you have your producer Joel Silver out there to represent you,” I said.

“He’s a bear, man,” said the first brother. “He’s canonical. He understands that truths can be metaphors that have lost their sensuous power. He read his Nietzsche, man.”

“Then I shall seek his message,” I assured them as I walked away.

I saw them returning to their pages and I wondered, “Were they really the Wachowskis? Or were they just two strangers who had seen the ‘Matrix’ movies once too often?”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • "Jade Dynasty" in front at the

    China Box Office: 'Jade Dynasty' in Front Ahead of Mixed Competition

    With “Jade Dynasty” in front, Chinese-made action and Asian animation films led the way at the China box office over the past weekend. Although a few American titles are in play, they’ve failed to attract a crowd.  Chinese action fantasy “Jade Dynasty” led the weekend box office in its debut with $38.1 million, figures from [...]

  • The Painted Bird

    Venice Competition Film 'The Painted Bird' to Be Czech Entry in Oscar Race

    Václav Marhoul’s “The Painted Bird,” which world premiered at the Venice Film Festival in the main competition and also played at Toronto Film Festival in Special Presentations, has been selected as the Czech Republic’s entry for the 92nd Academy Awards in the foreign language film category. The pic follows the journey of an unnamed boy [...]

  • Pakistan Picks Freshman Effort 'Laal Kabootar'

    Pakistan Picks Freshman Effort 'Laal Kabootar' as Its Oscar Entry

    Pakistan’s Academy Selection Committee has chosen “Laal Kabootar” as its candidate for the Oscars’ international feature film category. Directed by first-time helmer Kamal Khan, the gangland thriller set in Karachi’s underbelly follows the events that transpire when a woman in search of her husband’s killer is thrown together with a cab driver and petty criminal [...]

  • Atlantis

    Toronto Film Review: 'Atlantis'

    “It took you 10 years to cleanse this region of Soviet propaganda and myths,” says one character to another in “Atlantis,” going on to suggest that the devastation now left behind may never be “cleansed” at all. A strikingly bleak vision of a near future in which Ukraine has won its war with Russia but [...]

  • Beyonce Knowles'The Lion King' film premiere,

    ABC Announces Behind-the-Scenes Special for Beyoncé's 'Lion King' LP

    ABC has announced a new behind-the-scenes look into the making of Beyoncé’s “The Lion King: The Gift” LP, which is set to air September 16 on ABC at 10 p.m. EST. Titled “Beyoncé Presents: Making the Gift,” the new hour-long special will allow viewers to “experience the process” behind the “Lion King” companion album, according [...]

  • Jason Lei Howden, Samara Weaving and

    Daniel Radcliffe On Acting With Weapons Nailed To Your Hands

    How did “Guns Akimbo” director and writer Jason Lei Howden convince Daniel Radcliffe to play a character with guns nailed to his hands? Easy, he sent him the script. Radcliffe joined Howden and “Ready or Not’s” breakout star Samara Weaving in the Variety’s Toronto Film Festival studio, presented by AT&T to talk the limits of [...]

  • Box Office: It Chapter Two Maintains

    Box Office: 'It: Chapter Two' Continues International Reign With $47 Million

    Pennywise’s reign of terror hasn’t wavered: Warner Bros.’ “It Chapter Two” maintained first place on box office charts, led by another strong showing overseas. The sequel, based on Stephen King’s horror novel, generated another $47 million at the international box office for a foreign tally of $169 million. After two weeks of release, “It Chapter [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content