This morning David Cronenberg and Robert Pattinson visited the New York Stock Exchange and participated in a long-held promotional tradition: they rang the bell to open trading. It's a photo op, and it's been done by The Smurfs, Hillary Duff, Ronald McDonald, the cast of GI Joe, Gene Simmons and many of The Expendables.
But Cronenberg and Pattinson weren't promoting just any old movie; their latest film is Cosmopolis, an adaptation of Don DeLillo's novel, and it's (among other things) a scathing look at post-industrial money markets, at the emptiness of a world where wealth is built managing money, not goods. The movie, as the book does, opens with the following quote from Zbigniew Herbert: "A rat became the unit of currency." Herbert was talking about a city under siege, DeLillo uses it as an illustration of the surreality of money markets. The movie (and book) is an indictment of the shitty, hollow lives of the men and women who stood on the trading floor, looking up at the director and the star as they rang the bell.
It might have been the most subversive thing to happen at the NYSE since the day when Abbie Hoffman stood in the viewing gallery and threw dollar bills down, which led the hyper-wealthy traders, who deal in billions, to scramble on the floor after singles like starving dogs snapping for meat.
Thanks to Jordan Hoffman for sending the link. Jordan says "inviting Cosmopolis to the stock exchange is like the NAACP inviting Birth of a Nation."
Cosmopolis opens in limited release this weekend. My review this week!