luca's house of mirrors



( as published in the booklet enclosed in The Ultimate Matrix Collection Box )

When The New York Times  demands that Hollywood deliver action films that are “loud, dumb and obvious” [1] one might be inclined to ask, with of course the proper deference that one must accord such an esteemed and learned publication,  “Why” ?

Such a question would undoubtedly serve to expose oneself to the great pearls of laughter usually reserved for encounters with the bumpkin or the half-wit. So it is with the trepidation appropriate for those who stand antecedent to abject humiliation that we confess that one afternoon, over a decade ago, we sat together in a cramped Chicago apartment with a view of a brick wall, casually pondering said “Why?”, wondering if there was a reason, or perhaps some law of nature that might explain why most action movies are idea-less and conversely, most idea movies remain action-less. Quite suddenly, perhaps even miraculously if one is given to such things, an idea struck like proverbial lightening. It was an idea conceived in paradox and it appeared to us simultaneously born of obvious simplicity and insidious complexity. We were at once excited by the idea and, lacking the wisdom of The Times, we became intoxicated by the possibilities. In our defense we offer only the folly of youth.


Over the next few days the idea grew with the improbability of a sea monkey, absorbing every influence, evolving far beyond our expectations, until, no longer a mere idea, it sat in the room with us a fully formed story. To be honest, it didn’t look like other stories, owing perhaps to the dangers of fraternal conjugation. It did however look a lot like us, reflecting our  own peculiar genealogy of interests and while to some it might appear a hideous, convoluted mistake, to us, a chop-socky flick that comments on the Hegelian dialectic while having a guy  who can fly and stop bullets is something that we are, well, pretty damn proud of .


Why then, you might ask, particularly if you work for the Warner Bros. publicity department, won’t we talk about the films ? Having been to our fair share of  “loud, dumb and obvious” action films, we wanted to offer an audience something else, something they might be interested in thinking about or better yet, talking about. It was our sincerest hope that our movies might inspire or perhaps provoke a little Socratic interaction, something beyond , “Remember that one part ?  That was cool .”


But we discovered that whenever we explained what the films meant to us, other people became less likely to offer their own interpretation. Since the films obviously reflect our thoughts on the nature of the truth, the reliability of dogma as well as the importance of individual feelings in the exploration of  consciousness, we agreed that it felt a bit hypocritical to talk publicly about them.


Which finally (you'd think we got paid by the word) brings us to the two commentaries. When Warner Bros. began constructing this beautiful, comprehensive box set, we asked if it might be possible to do something a little different. While some people find cast and crew reminisces such as,  “remember that day …they changed caterers, god, what a day that was…”  endlessly fascinating, we unfortunately, do not. Instead we thought it might be interesting to record the kind of conversations, which is to say the range of conversations, that our teleological, paradoxical,  sea-monkey lovechild could inspire and provoke.

Warner Bros. , who remain virtuously patient with us, asked what exactly we had in mind. We told them we imagined two different tracks : the first being  a conversation between philosophers who enjoyed the films, while the second would have film critics who did not. If we would have had the time and more importantly, the space for more tracks, we would have added philosophers who didn’t like the movies and critics who did.  The point was not to suggest that one was right and one was wrong, rather the point was the juxtaposition of perspective so that in the implied dialogue that takes place between the two tracks, the viewer would be offered reference points with which they might triangulate their own position. One or the other would never be as interesting as both, nor could one ever say as much about the very question that we started with. We knew however that for some this would be a pretty hard pill to swallow. It was obviously unconventional and considering the reaction of our friends and family that listened to it, potentially combustible.


Warner Bros., again with the patience of saints, asked for clarification. “Let us get this straight. You want to get a few critics to sit in a room and kill the movies for six hours and you want us to pay for it ? “  Right.  “And you think your fans are going to want to listen to this ?”  Well, we think our fans are interested in a different kind of experience and while the critics will undoubtedly exasperate and infuriate them, we think our fans will understand what we are trying to do.  “ And what exactly are you trying to do ? “  Find an answer.  “An answer to what ?”  An answer to “Why?”


We encourage the consciously curious to flip back and forth.going from complexity to simplicity, from internal to external, and somewhere between the search and the denial of meaning, we ask the curious to “make up their own damn mind. ”


                                                                                                As always, we thank you

for your support .



       The Wachowski Brothers


[1] A. O. Scott , The New York Times : July 13, 2003


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