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Subversive.  You hear that word a lot in indie circles (and no, I do not exclude Sundance from this practice).  When they think a new film is incredibly cool and groundbreaking, it's "subversive".  When the humor in a comedy is dark and sly, it's "subversive".  When a filmmaker sets out to turn the audience's viewpoint on its collective head just for kicks, that's being "subversive".

  You would think they'd be more careful about tossing their words around in such a loose, changeable manner.  You'd think that, wouldn't you?  They don't.  They aren't.  I have tried being subversive.  Usually it just makes me wonder what I was smoking and with whom when I review it in the cool aftermath. 

  So.  The word subversive comes from subvert.  All I know is that the derivation is Latin--or possibly a combination of French and Latin.  O tempora, O mores!  (Hogwash!)  When you're trying to subvert something, you're almost always trying to attack or destroy your target from within or below a structure.  Subversion is the act of trying to subvert.  To be subversive implies that you're the leader of an underground insurrection against the local authority figures in the area.  The very word, subvert, implies secrecy, hidden catacombs, and an almost undetectable plan of slow-creeping destruction and decay.  Get the idea?

  So, the next time I hear someone talking about a subversive romantic comedy, I may make it a point to ask what conventions of the genre the film is trying (in vain!) to destroy from the inside out.  How about a subversive action-adventure?  Or a subversive western?  A subversive neo-noir?  Would you consider a film about a straight woman trying to deflect accusations of lesbianism subversive? 

  In closing, my subversive friends, I would like to thank the subversive founder of this production company, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, for being subversive enough to let me join and just be my subversive, geeky self.  What?  Me throw words around carelessly?  I don't know what in the subversive hell you're talking about.  *wink*

Created: Jul 07, 2012


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