The puzzle of "LEISURE" : LUSENET : Aeon Flux : One Thread

Hi guys, I just chanced upon this forum and it is extraordinary. Aeon Flux is a complex and enigmatic cannon so it is both exciting and thrilling to see that there is a site devoted to provocative debate about it. Well done!!

Empathising with all of you, I surmise interpretations, valid or not, whatever the matter, through logical analysis (yet never underestimating the sheer fun in watching the cartoon!) and therefore have amassed quite interesting theories. Aeon Flux was introduced to the grand arena at large, so it belongs to us now.

However, the short, "Leisure", has installed a basic mental block. I can not for the energy in me think my way around it. I don't understand it at all. I see the irony in how acrobatic leisure for Aeon becomes the means of escape from pursuit, and other from the enjoyment factor, I cannot see how everything else links. Why is there a man in her cupboard? Why is he feasting on the green matter of eggs? Why, when Aeon pilfers the eggs, does she grasp at some sort of curtain of cells? What was that curtain all about??

Anyway....I am at a loss and would very very much appreciate your help. Cheers-keep up the debating!!


-- James Wan (, June 09, 2000


Response to The puzzle of "LEISURE&quo

Check out the thread "Leisure - Episode Analysis". A little advice: In the future, please try to use the pre-existing threads as much as possible, so this board doesn't become redundant.

-- Paul D. Gilbreath (, June 09, 2000.

So the people at Checkers/Rally's changed their minds and the commercial is being delayed for a week. I'm not off to Korea just yet... so I'll post a few words here while I have the time.

I just looked at the thread "Leisure - Episode Analysis". What on earth...? All right, first of all, there's a lot written here that crosses over the line into geek territory. Questions of why the aliens haven't colonised the region if they've been there for a long time; whether the guy in the cupboard is Trevor before or after he became chairman of Bregna; whether or not it's a clone of Trevor, and on and on. It may be fun to speculate, but when people start talking like this, they come perilously close to Trekkies debating whether Spock's Vulcan or human genes are dominant, or whether it's the Klingons or the Romulans who are more technologically advanced. Who cares?

These issues are beside the point, arbitrary, and make the speaker sound like he's lost touch with the fact that we're dealing with a work of fiction. They also distract the viewer from being able to understand the point.

In the reply to Steve Mirarchi, I tried to say that the particular elements in a plot are not the point of a story. These can often be interchanged without affecting the meaning of a story because the meaning actually lies in the relationships between events and characters-- the spaces "in between". People often ask me why I came up with the character of Aeon Flux. Am I personally a gun-leather- s&m fetishist? (by the way, the answer is no.) In truth, I could probably tell essentially the same stories-- stories about betrayal, guilt, the problems with communication, etc, using a different protagonist, say a potato farmer living in the steppes of Kazakhstan. But who would watch it?

The point of a story is whatever the viewer can manage to extract from it. I say this because this is the way it is in life. What stories exist in the real world? Perhaps there are none; the accumulation of raw events and experiences invite us to find the connections, but these depend on the needs and disposition of the person trying to make sense of it all. What is the story of World War 2? Of the Kennedy assassination? Of the Clinton whitehouse? Where do these stories begin and end? Who is to say? We manage to trace a series of causes and effects because the players in these events are motivated by human drives with which we identify. The players are the authors of their own experience just as you are the author of your own life. But just as in a work of fiction, the meaning of an event is often at odds with its player's original intent. This is why I say that trying to deduce the intent of an author in his creative process can only take you so far in understanding what he's created. The artifact that is the residue of that process is almost always an imperfect realization.

The episode "Leisure", is a good example of this. The particular difficulties attending the production should be immaterial to anyone's appreciation of the pattern staining this particular exposed strip of celluloid. The fact is that I had only the resources to animate one set of acrobatic moves as Aeon jumps through the wire grid. In an arcane way, the repetition of this sequence during the episode draws attention to itself and becomes significant-- it comes to signify that the first run was a rehearsal for the latter one. It became a limitation which I turned to my advantage. On the other hand, Aeon's emoting while she tears the fabric inside the alien ship was inaccurately animated (by an otherwise brilliant Japanese animator, Mr. Nonaka); the intended performance was not achieved, and so countless interpretations have sprung up as to what she's doing by justifiably confused viewers. To put the question to rest, she's supposed to be agonising while trying to resist breaking one of the eggs. Her desire to play with the embryo is stronger than her good sense to get out of the ship quickly before the parent alien comes. But if you like your own version of it better, then by all means, stick with it.

It pains me to go on beyond this, but everyone has seen this episode enough by now, that I guess I won't be spoiling it too much. I know I'm going to catch some flack for this, but here goes...

It's true that I got the idea to do this episode after watching "Star Trek 6". (What was I doing watching "Star Trek 6"? At the time, animator friends were recommending that I see Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" for its technical virtues, and against my better judgment, on a lazy summer afternoon, I relented and headed for the multiplex. After about 20 minutes of agony, I couldn't allow my memory of Cocteau's masterpiece to be further corrupted by this atrocity, and I slipped out to check the screen next door.) Apart from being stupidly entertaining, "Star Trek 6" for once laid bare the Star Trek strategy for making ethnic stereotypes acceptable in the 1990's. (Now further being explored by the probably-unaware George L.) Commies from the planet Klingon! Alien motifs and manners used as the rationale for a blatant caricature of foreign people! I was inspired.

I knew, of course, that Aeon would die in this episode. But unlike her other deaths, I wanted this one to feel justified. She would encounter aliens who appeared monstrous. At some point in the episode, the viewer would realize that Aeon was the true alien. A line would be crossed, and our sympathies would be upended. Aeon is shown in this episode to be a game addict in a cruel sport. Her leisure consists of stealing the eggs of a sentient alien, then torturing and killing the embryos for amusement. Being unable to resist playing her game despite the danger of being caught in the alien ship brings about her end.

It was only after finishing the episode and viewing it several times with friends, did I realize what I had done. The episode, it turns out, lays out a very neat metaphor for the misuse of abortion to deal with the consequences of recreational sex. In this case, the pleasure of the sexual act has been merged with the surgical process of dismembering the fetus-- well, why not? In the end, if the one leads to the other, then where is the boundary? Aeon has gone from experiencing pleasure by having sex, followed by the abortion to simply enjoying the abortion process for its own sake. So I've decided that this is what this episode is about.

Feel free to respond.

-- Peter Chung (, June 10, 2000.

Peter, this is one ep I felt was really difficult to even comment on, it almost had the feeling of a drug trip, it was so surreal. It was obvious Aeon was enjoying her game to me, and her death is the one time I felt comfortable about it. Having worked in a county hospital on the sick baby unit, I have come to see and meet young girls whose charts I have had access to, girls who get drunk or use drugs, have had over 7 abortions, and have 5 living children, with no husband, and are now dealing with a malformed baby. Their callousness to their actions, and the pitiful state of the baby is something you seem to have touched on here. You have answered my unasked question, that is you 'do you use animation like Van Gogh used art', that is to express inner feelings of your own. I like this use of animation, it raises questions in peoples minds whereas sometimes I think people get caught up in living with no inner reflexion, and that leads to actions with no conscience. I realize others use animation this way, but not with the same sense of values as you do. I hope to see more of your work, and I'm glad you're out there.

-- Barb e. (, June 10, 2000.

Looking back on that post, boy, I was among the geeky speculators. You're right, it is fun to speculate, I guess it got the better of me :) I suddenly realize how much like my grandpa I can be as a film critic. He's always talking about the "suspension of belief" being paramount to a story, how a movie must be believable to be enjoyed. I never agreed with him on this, but I suppose he left me with a legacy of looking at the environmental details of a fiction and trying to justify them as the phenomena of a plausibly "real" world. It's a bad habit I'll have to break. Peter- I must admit that I hadn't fully realized what you meant about the plot being only a framework for what's really important and interesting about a film, though now I have a good idea (thanks to your extensive explanations). I'll have to put it to use; I'll certainly think differently about every film I see now, considering this technique. Anyway... The abortion metaphor was something I had never considered, even after viewing this lovely little clip many, many times. Looking back, it seems entirely too obvious, and really ingenious. But in any case, I always felt she enjoyed whatever she was doing in this episode, and of course, she did it all willingly (Aeon wouldn't have it any other way, after all). Her scene with the curtain made it obvious to me that this was a difficult decision for her, though exactly why, I wasn't sure. The sexual aspects were pretty obvious in this short (the constant moaning, groaning, the "plop", the playful laugh, the "butt shots" behind the view of the bag of eggs, the eggs themselves as sexual components, the somehow sperm-like squigglies behind the curtains, ripping the curtains like articles of clothing during violent sex, Aeon "penetrating" the alien fortress to reach the eggs deep within, etc.) I see more clearly now that Aeon in this case is a sort of sex-addict, doing this act for pleasure at the potential cost of something else (her life).

-- Matthew Rebholz (, June 10, 2000.

Sorry about the bold letters, my mistake.

-- Matthew Rebholz (, June 10, 2000.

Aeon is a phallus?

-- Frostbite (, June 10, 2000.

It must be a guy thing, I don't remember any "butt shots". In fact, I only vaguely remember it being sexual.

-- Barb e. (, June 10, 2000.

BTW: Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite movies, I often think of the last words of the beast, (not the exact quote), "we beasts, we must grovel to show OUR love...", he licks the water out of her hand in another part. I found this to be the most romantic and touching gesture, and so I find Aeon's foot fetish to be maybe a need to see someone love her so much, they grovel at her feet, not necessarily narcism, but a real need to see love proved.

-- Barb e. (, June 10, 2000.

Man, the end of Mat's letter's real turn on.

-- Barb e. (, June 10, 2000.


-- Frostbite (, June 10, 2000.

Just teasing Mathew. If people didn't willingly suspend their disbelief at movies, then how does one account for the success and popularity of 'Fantasia' as well as tv sitcoms with laugh tracks?

-- Barb e. (, June 11, 2000.

Whoops, that's what I meant, suspension of disbelief. Sorry. Anyway, you're right, people do it all the time, taking certain aspects of the medium for granted (like you mentioned on sitcoms - and have you seen the living room on "The Cosby Show" from behind the couch?). I'm in the habit of trying to create understandibly plausible concepts and physical aspects whenever I write a story, sometimes it gets the better of me, but I think it goes a long way sometimes to draw the viewer in. I try not to get too tied to it.

-- Matthew Rebholz (, June 28, 2000.

Interesting. I do remember understanding Aeon's animation by the curtain as her fight over carrying on or stopping right now to play with the eggs. But then maybe that's because I understand the will to evil a bit better then I'd like too. It reminds me of Hellraiser III, Pin Head fighting the human side of his own soul, using his knowlodge of his own evil inclinations to tempt him.

-- Ricardo Dirani (, November 27, 2002.

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