Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Scarface and Carlito's Way are so intertwined for me that I often get them confused. In which one does he own the nightclub? Am I sure he didn't have a beard in both? Carlito's Way does not as much redeem the sins of Scarface as fill that film out--it's the missing chapters in between rather than an apologetic epilogue. The characters are not Carlito Brigante and Tony Montana, but Al Pacino and Brian De Palma. The existence of Carlito's Way makes Scarface a better film just as Scarface tarnishes Carlito's Way--and the other way 'round as well, for Scarface also makes Carlito's Way a better film and Carlito's Way mars Scarface.
It's an odd situation, considering the fact that we tend to view films as individual works, or as wholly independent parts of a community (the cinematic narrative). The advantage cinema has over literature is that a writer can only write what he or she notices, but in a movie there a million other outside factors that make their way into the production. And so Scarface had Carlito's Way waiting for it in the future, in our future collective memory, in a form of dependency alien to books.
This kind of relationship--the cinematic narrative, the cinematic history--is almost proto-Internet. We think about the Internt in ways we could never think about cinema or literature--a website, after all, is not a "work," since the "work" is the Internet itself. The Internet does not consist of many parts, but is rather a single whole--the presence of information on the Internet colors other information on the Internet. The relationship to other websites is an integral part of a website. It seems as though every medium we invent is treated more collectively--first television, then pop music, and now the Internet.