When is the film coming?

HBO — DAVID MILCH — DEADWOOD — 2004–2006

A very good series that casts a bright light on the western side of the past of the US and that explains a lot what the USA is today. We are after the Civil War in what is a territory at first and it is later on part of a county that is finally attached to South Dakota.

The series shows how wild it was at the beginning and how it became more or less legal, legit, law-abiding, orderly, with a lot of time. In such a city with a gold rush going on you have many stores and institutions that would not be even tolerated beyond the city limits in most American cities; Bars, saloons, brothels, gambling halls, and many other more or less immoral activities.

Firearms are the daily friends of most men and women and killing someone is just a small event in such a camp. A Chinese community lives and prospers next to it, doing all kinds of tasks for the hotels, bars, and other stores, as well as for the residents: laundry of course but also dirty jobs like getting rid of dead bodies by raising pigs as body-disposals that will end up on the breakfast plates of the people.

What the film is built on is some contradictions among some types of people. The gold rush attracts the lowest people you can imagine and even if you have a good imagination you may not come to some cases easily. You will imagine racism is the daily rule, and you will be right for some people and you will wonder why on earth black people would come to such cities. The Chinese are different because they seem to prosper within this ever-present racism by making themselves indispensable, but they cannot use the front doors of stores and they have to remain hidden as much as possible. But imagine the profit of being paid for giving a dead or nearly dead body to their pigs and then selling the bacon to all these nice white people who are cannibals without knowing it.

In the city, authority is in the hands of the strong men and a saloon-brothel-hotel is the best place for a strong man who wants to control the situation by providing whiskey, beer, women, food, gambling or whatever solitary men may desire. If you titillate and satisfy the most fundamental desires of men, you will control them through and through. And women are not a real problem since most of them are just backroom workers in bars and saloons. The few who are not like that can be schoolteachers, bankers (why not?), shopkeepers, and I must admit I did not see many housewives. Sexism comes back from very far away in the USA.

But, of course, as soon as the city becomes more important, with gold and stores, and a railroad, and a lot of freedom as for all perversions and addictions, some ambitious capitalists come up to capitalize on this human gold mine by taking control of the mining and then the stores and finally the economy of the whole city. These wild capitalists that kill everyone who is in the way of their ambition, lead to plain dictatorship and you can imagine what the market can be in such a situation. “Show me your gun first, and then I will show you mine, so I can adjust my price!” Anyway, if anyone does not like it, either they leave, or they end up dead, most probably with a nice cut across some essential arteries to avoid the noise of a gun detonation.

But if you do not like profanities, stay away or buy special protection, obscenity-profanity-filtering earphones for example that you can find on every street corner. Nudity is rather kept low with a predilection of course for women, which is going well with their profession.

Entertaining, rather dynamic and swift, and the accent is so heavy you might need a translating machine, from gold-rush-frontier slang to standard English.

Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU