Review by Harvey Karten|
2½ stars out of 4
President Bush, playing up to right-wing zealots, is "offended"
by the concept of cloning despite mounting evidence that the
technology can cure serious illnesses. Maybe we can't blame
him if he opposes the cloning of actual human beings since,
after all, what if Saddam Hussein gained a foothold into that
process? Osama Bin Laden? In any case the president might
change his mind somewhat after seeing "Teknolust." Watching
how one beautiful woman avidly seduces men, even those who
look like Josh Kornbluth, even Dubya might have a chance with
that centerfold material.
The sexy brunette who hits the streets somewhere in California
is named simply Ruby. She approaches guys, even those who
are so disorganized that they are not carrying protection with
them, whips out a colorful condom for each one and proceeds to
collect not their money but their semen. There's something
about Ruby. The something about Ruby is that she's not real, or
rather, for a while she's just a three-dimensional piece of
autonomous software eagerly seeking to break free of her
creator like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein monster. And like the
Frankenstein monster, she does not like to be harassed
(though she's pretty keen on doing the sexual harassment) and
she thrives on affection. Cuddling is the one thing she needs to
break free and become real. Give her love, love, love, crazy
love and watch her blossom.
"Teknolust" is itself the creation of Lynn Hershman-Lesson,
whose "Conceiving Ada" four years ago is a more complex
fantasy contrasting the lives of a modern computer geek named
Emmy with that of Lord Byron's daughter, Ada the 19th century
woman who developed the forerunning of today's computer.
Ada was played by the remarkable Tilda Swinton, a good choice
not only for that pic but for computer-lover Lesson's current
project, in that along with her beauty comes the vague feeling
that she is herself an alien.
When Tilda Swinton's character this time around, Rosetta
Stone, downloads her own DNA into a software program, she
creates three clones of herself, Ruby Marine, and Olive. The
clones and Rosetta are all played by Ms. Swinton and as
photographed by Hiro Narita, their separate identities are
flawless. Swinton can hug Swinton and you'd swear you're
watching two distinct people clutching each other. Just as the
U.S. must seduce some strange people in Saudi Arabia to keep
America's lifeblood flowing, the young women need sperm in
order to keep going and they don't mind men who look like
strange people. They learn the womanly art of seduction by
watching old films while they sleep, movies like "The :Man With
the Golden Arm," and Ruby whose immune system is the
strongest goes out into what is called "the jungle" to get her
The kicker is that consciously or not, the mousy, virginal bio-
geneticist Rosetta has created women who can do what she
cannot. She has no idea how to act romantic with men, leaving
the clones free to clue her in. Despite the viruses that the
accosted men temporarily develop which require their
quarantine, all's well that ends well. Love is the answer.
The movie is remarkably short at 82 minutes and comes
across mostly as a sketch for a fully developed comedy.
Featuring the nerdy Josh Kornbluth (who starred in the abysmal
ego-trip "Haiku Tunnel" not too long ago) and the interesting
Jeremy Davies as a lonely, mama's boy-xeroxer who ironically
lacks experience in reproducing (and who was hilarious in
"Spanking the Monkey"), "Teknolust" gets an A for creativity but
is difficult to feel other than respect for the job rather than what
is prescribed for all of us--love.
Copyright © 2002 Harvey Karten