I almost saw The Master in Tel Aviv, after cinemas in my city ignored it for some obscure reason; I almost went to Tel Aviv to see it. It’s interesting to think of it in ideological terms, even though there is clearly nothing ideological about movie distribution, but what if this is some subtle conspiracy to deny us, non-Tel Avivians, with this particular viewing experience. After all, The Master deals with the making of a new religion, or so the trailer leads us to believe.
There is something mythological about it, or at least there is sense of myth in the making while watching the trailer– post-war, lost boys, omniscient father figure. I’m listening to the “Reckoning Song” over and over again in an endless loop because it somehow echoes the same type of curiosity that propels me to want to watch The Master. We will be old one day, but religion is for the young who already embody a sense of missed opportunity.
So I do want to see The Master on the big screen, but so far I’ve encountered resistance among my circle of friends – they’re not familiar with Paul Anderson’s work, the concept of Scientology doesn’t strike them as appealing, the narrow space between cult and religion doesn’t occupy their thoughts. Is it really just me? Am I the only person who wants to be swept away by new promises of old ideas?
You would think that in Israel of all places, The Master would take root, or at least use our symbolic geography as a temporary home – throw fists in the air throughout the Valley of Elah, pray for redemption while grasping at the Wailing Wall, baptize strangers in the Galilee Sea. But it has been dropped and abandoned in Tel Aviv, until the inevitable closing date.
Inbar Kaminsky is a PhD student in the Department of English and American Studies at Tel Aviv University, her doctoral thesis explores the alternative to corporeality in contemporary literature. She has recently published an article in Philip Roth Studies on Operation Shylock.