OUT OF STATE
SYNOPSIS + CAST + TRAILER + MOVIE + BEHIND THE SCENES
Out of State started in 1992 when Blaise Kolodychuk wrote the script for a film called Life Sucks. It began the mythology about the Tree of Reason and various other elements that make up the world that became known as fukachuk egg machine. The original script was about a boy, who was only called the boy, and a girl who was called Jenny. And their search for this magical Tree that would allow them to feel happiness for the first time in their lives. The movie was never made. But the mythology behind it grew. It incorporated all the aspects of life that people go through to find their way to happiness. There is the tree, the goal of it all, the tree sticks that try to keep you from it, the frog man who tempts you with things to lead you down the wrong path, the lizard girl who takes care of the tree, the lizards who live in the forest surrounding the tree who do their best to help, the city that doesn't want to let you go, and many many more different things that go along with it all. In 1998 Blaise started making music under the name fukachuk egg machine, the music is all about this struggle and has spawned 15 different albums over the years, not to mention 5 short movies that follow the path to the tree of reason. Out of State has been written and re-written over and over again over the years, and in 2005 Blaise decided that it was re-written in such a way that it could be produced as a movie, that could be enjoyed by most people. It has many of the aspects of the original story but puts them in more of a real world scenario, at least for the first half of the movie, until they reach the town of Minehead. When the power of the tree and all which surrounds it crashes down on these people who came from the city to find it.
A very dear friend of mine, and possibly the only person in the
world who even comes close to understanding the messed up things I am always
trying to say, wrote an essay about "Out of State." She has got almost every
point right. So if you were wondering, "what the hell is this thing I am in
really all about," read on...
Out of state might be about the need to be creative, with people struggling to get free of restrictions put on them by society, even if these restrictions are constructed in their own heads and reinforced by their ideas of other people who have power over them. Raymond is in a lot of ways the central character. But Raymond-Jeremy-January, as people trying different ways to get to the tree of reason, are the main character as one thing too.
There is a big split between men and women. Men are evil and control the world - it’s men that will do anything for money, kill anyone to stay where they want to be. (women might try but they’ll never succeed unless they’re being controlled by men, and then they’ll fail once they’re useless). Raymond takes that idea of maleness to the extreme. Women are things to be consumed, meat, blood, milk, vitamins, nurturing, mothers. fuel for creativity, vessels. Or they are something men have to be responsible for, and make demands of men. No women in the film understand about the tree or about what Raymond has to do (except Julie, but it’s an obvious part of her world).
This division of men and women, people fulfilling their proper roles, is important because of the exception - Jeremy. He is trying to do what is expected of him as a man, but doesn’t feel like he fits the stereotype. (but paradoxically acts like other people should conform to it, i.e. he not only feels responsible for, but in some ways controls January)
The dead beaver is a spokesperson for pure creative force, for the people Raymond has to do what he’s doing for - for the greater good. or so it seems.
Hank, Dr Melaena, and Beefart and Cheenkaw represent different parts of society which are not satisfying for Raymond, Jeremy and January. Hank is a ruthless business man who will do anything for money without caring about who he hurts - the dependence on money and having to work for it, and it feeling cold and immoral. Dr Melaena is conventional ideas of medicine and help set up in society, which can’t help them, don’t understand them and are, with the best intentions, trying to normalize them rather than taking them seriously and valuing them the way they are and believing them. She is also the ideal of a ‘normal’ woman, she has a purse, she goes on dates, she is looking for satisfaction in conventional ways. Beefart and Cheenkaw are the police, laws, the people ready to punish them for not conforming. They’re also only human - the rules are made up and enforced by people.
Cassandra and Suzie have to be consumed for Raymond to complete his task, even though he almost becomes attached to them as people, their lives are normal and petty in comparison to the huge importance of his, and their deaths are nothing compared to the good Raymond needs to do.
Bruce, Julie and The Frog Man are all people from the other dimension, where Raymond is trying to return. they have been sent to this dimension perhaps as a punishment. Bruce is selfish and ruthless, wants to stay here. The Frog Man is slimy, creepy and pure evil, but acts ambiguously. Julie is Bruce’s woman. She acts as is appropriate for a woman, (“julie will be happy to get you something to drink”) facilitating Bruce, letting him know that something needs to be done, but not doing it on her own (i.e. when Beefart and Cheenkaw come to the bar), protecting Bruce’s home he’s made in the town, only Bruce controls the control panel. she reads romance novels. They are manifestations of imagination and creation in the ‘real’ world. Bruce, working for the rest of the town, is manipulating Raymond so that he, and the rest of the town, can stay in this dimension (which is actually not THIS dimension, it’s in someone’s head, and the whole point of this is to get inside somebody’s head, even if bits of it are closed off), but Raymond is trying to get back to where he belongs so if he succeeds he would get what he wants even if he’s being manipulated.
Raymond, Jeremy and January are all linked. in some ways Jeremy and January are one person, in some ways Jeremy and Raymond are one person, in some ways all three of them are one unity, at some points January is an extension of Raymond - acting under his influence (but he’s acting under Bruce’s influence, who is perhaps acting under the influence of the ‘They’ in the other dimension). They are all trying to get to the Tree of Reason.
Raymond can’t fit in. His desires to be creative and effective and to express himself and belong, to be heroic, are too huge to resist. His mission is more important than the lives of anyone around him. he is frustrated by their inability to understand that he is driven by different forces than can fit into their narrow views of what is normal. In order to be an effective, important person he has to punish and destroy the people that can’t understand and get in his way. Raymond has to hypnotise the women (with pretty things, because what girl doesn’t like pretty things) so he can consume them. They’re bad for not giving it to him, because they are too unimportant to realise how much he needs to consume them, but if they offer it to him they’re evil and trying to kill him. Have to be hypnotised because they would resist otherwise, or want something other than to give you what you want, what you need. Ultimately they need to be punished and destroyed because they could never understand. He is desperate to be understood. but he never explains to anyone because it is too big and important to put into words, and there’s no point because nobody would understand.
Jeremy has taken it on as his responsibility to make him and January alright, to get back to the happiness they had in the past. He almost entirely represses himself as an individual to think in terms of ‘us’ - Jeremy+January. He is trying to do the right thing and keep everyone alright, but is struggling against an uncaring society that only prescribes them pills and tries to tell them they’re fixed. he loves January and wants to care for her, but at the same time he resents her for putting pressure on him (but only Raymond can express that). He doesn’t feel like he can fit the stereotype of being a man, being brutal and ruthless, powerful (Raymond takes this to the opposite extreme, proving he can dominate people who get in his way). All he has left are his dreams.
January loves Jeremy, but she (on the surface) mostly thinks of herself, and is trying to find her own happiness, but relies on Jeremy to find the way to save them. She is ineffective and can only do anything with Jeremy or if she is being controlled by Raymond. She is Jeremy’s woman and she betrays him because she can be manipulated by another man, she doubts Jeremy and that weakness lets Raymond manipulate her. She luresJeremy to his death by offering him a fuck. She consumes him, but only under Raymond’s control. She is Jeremy’s ultimate downfall because she can’t understand what Jeremy tells her about the tree, she can’t dream now, and doesn’t properly reject the idea that relying on pills to fix her will never work, she carries the picture of Beefart and Cheenkaw with her, symbolically not letting go of rules, and she perhaps misunderstands and doesn’t listen to the ghost. She does get to the tree, but she only releases its power by accident, and the only way she can possibly find somewhere to belong is by becoming Raymond. As January, she is looking too hard in the wrong places - seeing Siamese Cats. That aren’t there. (even on the tree, but at least the tree has made her dream again)
The ghost might be Raymond, or might be something from somewhere else,he might be the force of good, or he might be ambiguous, in a world where really there is no good or evil, however hard people try to see it that way, he is the force of the unknown, hope, and possibly dreams. At the same time, whatever he says, he is partly or wholly responsible for January killing Raymond, whether intentionally or by accident.
The Tree of Reason is the way people can be saved. It is something inside everyone which can save them. Even if Bruce is controlling how people get to it, it is something bigger and beyond him. It is an alternative to other paths which have failed - looking for happiness, a sense of belonging or a purpose, a meaningful life, a sense of identity; through pursuing your own desires; from conforming to society and being what you ‘should’ be; from trying to help other people. It is something unknown, intangible - a way to get somewhere else or be someone else. It is a boundary that lets people change, it is freedom and home. But it is conditional and it has motives of its own, whether in itself or from the ‘They’ behind it. It is an important part of a bigger plan which gives all life meaning.
It’s not only about saying that rules are arbitrary and there are other ways of thinking about things, different moralities. It is about struggling with the difficulty of trying to fit in, feeling unimportant and unable to change the world and even to control your own life. Conforming feels like it compromises your sense of being an individual, which is hard to hang on to anyway if you don’t exactly know who you are.
It is about feeling trapped by responsibilities and other people’s demands on you, and feeling guilty about wishing that they would let you do what you want, but also not knowing what you want.
It’s about having no choice about expressing yourself and being taken over and controlled by creative forces which you can do nothing to stop and which are more important than anything else. It is about feeling guilty for not stopping your creative desires even when it goes against what other people want from you.
It’s about frustration and that the rules of society, norms of society and of people trying to help you being ineffective, and being desperate and sad that you need to do something to save the world, to be important. Feeling trapped by only being able to do what other people make you do or being controlled by desires and impulses you can’t do anything to restrain, when on one level you don’t feel you should have to do anything to restrain, at the same time as feeling guilty about it. wanting to act for yourself.
It’s about lost people looking for a way to be alright.
Out of State World Premiere