Transcendence & nihilism:
There's not much transcendence or redemption in the universe of Dark Energy, not much in the way of useful lessons about life either; in fact, whatever the intent of these movies individually, the effect of Dark Energy as a unit is nihilistic. But I find the tone comforting. I don't go to the movies for lessons about life, just for a little rapport. It can come from a genius or a hack. I'll take it where I find it.
And those numbers on the spooked side, Carnival of Souls*, for example, or Barton Fink*: in the context of this list, the supernatural manifestations that are at the heart of many of the gothic pieces are not so much the leakage of some spiritual fourth dimension as they are a dramatization of an emotional response to the chaotic unknown that ultimately swallows everyone. Which is to say, they reflect something from inside rather than out.
Should the viewer prefer to not read Dark Energy as a nihilist manifesto, an alternate take would suggest that if the universe were in some way conscious and could be coerced into spending time on the analyst’s couch, the prognosis would not be good. Or, to put it another way, if there is design, it's not particularly intelligent.
For sure, there's a certain neurotic tension in Dark Energy involving the merger (or collision) of three cinematic strains: plot-driven storytelling, expressionist subjectivity, and social-realist objectivity. Individual movies lean this way or that, but there's no reason you can't have it all, you greedy swine, you.
The bookends to the entire Dark Energy are the two documentaries and their themes: the savage naturalism of Eternal Enemies and the institutionalized savagery of Shoah. The fiction in between follows the movements of certain characters as they navigate the maze of their own existence within this environment. This maze is partly primal and partly contrived, partly tangible and partly imagined; and in their struggles these characters attempt to harness or escape the invisible and incomprehensible dark energy that drives them forward or stops them in their tracks.
Dark Energy is the babble of a fan or possibly someone less evolved than that, a voyeur who's come to realize that these movies specifically, and the tone they imply generally, follow a course which runs parallel to the life he leads. It’s rather in the way that dreams, fantastic and absurd as they may be, are familiar and resonant and maybe, in some peculiar way, meaningful.
It’s all very personal. That's why your list of wonders and mine should not be the same.
If, then, this list is not a recommendation, why go through all the trouble of creating and maintaining a web-site? Self-indulgence? Absolutely. Why else go to the movies at all? Why bring them home like cheap dates? In any case, the effect these beauties have on me is a sort of intoxication, and when people are drunk, they can't shut up.
Further hallucinations can be found in the notes.