And right as I think we have reached the epitome of being disturbed, Dr. Guertin throws us another piece that takes us to another level of being disturbed! What’s funny is that I was just talking about power and corruption today with a colleague and I have a number of new ways to express what I was saying after reading this article…top two are as follows 1. Power dazzles and blinds, and those closest to its heart are often unable to see anything beyond its reflections. 2. Consumption is power, and the ability to consume excessively and willfully becomes the most desirable aspect of power. The figure of the cannibal really gets the point across (though in a very disturbing way) which is needed, as people never change until it is too painful to stay the same…
I love the twin old men in the beginning and Truman’s reference to “the doppleganger special,” which is also indicative of the film itself…
“The Truman Show” embodies Jean Baudrillard’s assertion that: “We are living in a world dominated by mass media, images, signs, and any other simulacra. It is a realm of hyperreality and simulations where truths no longer exist.” Do we live in a world of simulations? These copies of our imagined histories are created out of a necessity to describe our own origins, just as myths are created to help define humanity and human culture. In the end Truman asks: “Was nothing real?” And what is the real answer? We do appropriate the past histories and cultures of our ancestors into our own because we need them to be our past; it’s like the rationale that we need religion as a coping mechanism because without it, we can’t handle the reality of who we might be alone. The same is true of our history and the need to help define who we are now by the basis of who we imagine ourselves to have been. Our history is then much like the loop Truman notices when he realizes the girl on the red bike, man with flowers, and dented bug car and how “they just go round and round” like a loop.
The most disturbing part is the truth: “we accept the reality of the world which we are presented…” We are consumers of images and when The Truman Show ends there is an echo of reality.
My immediate thoughts as I watched Battlestar Galactica for the first time ever, were of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. The characters: Apollo and Starbuck, are just another version of the Star Wars characters… In McCutcheon’s article, I loved the part about “the fact that Battlestar was also embroiled in a legal skirmish over IP, with George Lucas promptly charging that Universal Studios had plagiarised Star Wars. Sf writer and critic Brian Aldiss recalls that the case was never brought to trial; he advised Universal’s lawyers at the time that both texts drew so heavily on prior sf that trying to proving originality for either one would be absurd. ‘The lawyers’ first formal question to me was this: “What was your initial response to Star Wars?” I replied, “I experienced the delights of recognition”. They thought about it. Then they smiled,’” and I smiled as well…even more interesting is the analysis of The remake’s major adaptation strategies give the concept not only a timely realism, but also a fundamentally Frankensteinian premise, as both a cautionary tale of technology run amok.” Very interesting, and my head began to hurt thinking in terms of killing copies and sorting through the layers embedded in what I would have previously assumed to be a silly sf show with superficial plots. Overall, in the end what most apparent is the fact that life/reality is reflected in all we create and “[we] cannot play God then wash [our] hands of the things that [we’ve] created. Sooner or later, the day comes when [we] can’t hide from the things that [we]’ve done anymore” and keep sitting on the sidelines of the debates over intellectual property and the ramifications of the increasing legalities since one could easily swap Canada out with other countries and no doubt be even more disturbed.
I really enjoyed this artistic animated adaptation of the Indian tale of Ramayana. The incorporation of jazz was genius together with the beautiful animation. Then you have the additional layer of the other modern day couple.
Nina Paley gives credit to culture for her ability to create art; her assertion that “the film wouldn’t exist without you” is truly refreshing, spoken by a true artist who manages to reflect this sentiment in every aspect of this film by showing how culture can be consumed while at the same time produce.
My favorite part aside from the hilarious narrators in the film is the end (not where Sita is swallowed up) but where the other woman finishes reading Ramayana and closes the book which is a nice play on the opening of the film that had the “Insert your name here” and “by You” and “Your money” sentiment…loved that! I never really watch much animation of this caliber, so I was surprised how visually stunning the animation really was.
The modern Indie music coupled with the color, shape, and form of the scene where Sita and the other woman’s form merge was so original and a great layering of contemporary and ancient culture; thus, making a clear statement as to where originality exists, which is wherever something new can be made out of something old, such as in the case of “Sita Sings the Blues.” Props should be given to Paley for throwing questions of interpretation in the face of the audience for their own evaluation.
Is it wrong that my favorite part of the movie is the reference to Shakespeare and The War of the Roses? My personal entertainment came from scenes like when Kiyomori reads from “Henry VI” to his men as if he is trying to educate them from his knowledge of fine literature, when in fact he is just as ignorant, uncultured and oblivious as his men.
Sukiyaki Western Django (2007)
And my second most favorite was the costumes, from the “Wild West” outfits to the kimono-like baggy pants to the modern street gang type clothing. The overall aesthetic the clothing creates in turn reflects the mashup of Japanese and Western beyond the use of setting. The film itself is a remake of a remake, and although I did not appreciate the blood and gore, but was able to deal with it because of the sense of dark humor Takashi Miike weaves in and out of the film. I hate Westerns, so the play on some classic Clint Eastwood was amusing for me and made the film more tolerable, along with the action factor. As for the woman warrior, I agree with Lo: the woman warrior representation probably reveals…that gender identity in today’s global capitalist system does not matter and “turns every subject into a ‘fighter.’” So, the woman warrior in “Sukiyaki Western Django” wears the same mask we all wear…
“Being John Malkovich” is a film after Freud’s heart if ever I saw one. I wish it were as simple as the common saying that to Freud “everything is due to sex” because I could easily keep track of the events in the film and trace them back to sex, but when Craig said, “You don’t know how lucky you are being a monkey. Because consciousness is a terrible curse. I think. I feel. I suffer. And all I ask in return is the opportunity to do my work. And they won’t allow it… because I raise issues” I knew his words would ring true…and before the end of the film I had to concur. Of course, even the monkey gets to have a sense of consciousness in this film! And once again the role of conformity and nonconformity come to light, and “eyes wide open” notion like in “Fight Club.”
Which led me to the almost impossible tracing of connections to and from the minds of the characters through the lens of Ignaz Cassar’s theories in “Viewed from Behind: The Projected Image and its Doppelga¨nger.” Thus, one could just take for example, the scene where Maxine thinks Lotte is behind the eyes of John Malkovich” but it’s actually Craig and apply Derrida’s theory of what’s behind, “as Derrida usefully points out, again stressing the link between ‘projection’ and ‘problem’: There would be a concept and a problem […], that is to say, something determinable by a knowing (‘what matters is knowing whether’) and that lies before you, there before you (problema), in front of you; from which comes the necessity to approach from the front, facing towards, in a way which is at once direct, frontal, and head on, what is before our eyes, your mouth, your hands, (and not behind your back), there before you, like an object pro-posed or posed in advance […]. The doubling that occurs in image projections…moves us away from frontality and the ‘knowing’ inscribed in it. It moves us to the extent that we can grasp a potential gap between us, the spectators, and the image – a gap that makes us step back momentarily to rethink what might be at stake in such ongoing attempts to establish front and back as if we would have to take sides at all cost. Indeed, the very activity of beholding the image is thereby called into question. With two faces to show off at the same time, where and who are we?
Maxine didn’t even realize it was Craig until Lotte told her, proving the power of ‘knowing’ or what you think you know is behind what you think you see. I may have to pause for fear of an ensuing headache, but this theory does challenge everything one would never even think to think, which I suppose is the point. Thus, “doppelgangers” take on a new level of doubling that becomes hard to keep up with. In the end, the most disturbing scene is the last one through the eyes of the newest portal, but that is for another blog.
I had forgotten how great Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” really is; the last time I saw the film I was in high school. Since the film itself is a hybrid of movie genres as part Detective Mystery, part Drama, and part Horror, I wasn’t surprised we were watching it. Though the film was done in 1958, Hitchcock was so far ahead of his time, the earliest of film modernist! I immediately thought about the “uncanny” and “doubling” of course; the many character, Scottie finds himself embedded “[into] an uncanny atmosphere, [that] forces upon [him] the idea of something fateful and inescapable.” In addition, he like the woman he becomes obsessed with has a “double” identity so to speak between the man he is with Midge and the man he becomes with Madeleine/Judy (the most obvious “double”). In fact, all of the main character’s in particular, Madeleine’s husband have a quality of doubleness, his being friend/murderer. In the end the “double” has become a thing of terror.” The Vertigo shot that is repeated in the film mirrors the unstable and unidentifiable center of the storyline; consequently I think most of all the zooming in and out reflects the same kind of thought in D.J. Spooky’s article in regards to reality, in that the audience begins to see that reality as Scottie knows it ends and he wanders in a dreamlike state after he loses Madeleine (who he never really had…) and by the end of the film one feels like they too are developing a case of vertigo that like the music throughout the film may never end, and perhaps that is the point, to question one’s own version of reality.
I had never seen “Fight Club” before so this was a great assignment for me! Immediately I saw connections with the play on “the copy” and thought repeatedly of Dimitris Vardoulakis’ article on the Doppelganger in Freud’s “The Uncanny.” The film really drew me in, and I didn’t even realize until very late in the film that the narrator had remained unnamed. Even though he said early on that when one has “insomnia, nothing is real. Everything is a copy of a copy of a copy…” I didn’t apply that thought to him even though his self destruction is mirrored in the character he bonds with, Tyler. In addition, the whole “fight” club concept lends itself in the same way as literary stories involving doppelgangers where the protagonist must take a stand, i.e. the stand made against Tyler. In theory, the protagonist would also come to the knowledge of what his double represents and struggle against it, which the narrator of the film does. Thus, the repression and struggle of the narrator relate to the castration complex (fittingly, castration is literally played out in the film) and Vardoulakis’ explores the idea that ”castration becomes the infinite, the original arrangement toward which the subject strives in its particularity.” In the film, Tyler is the narrator’s doppelganger “that allows for the relation between image and signification to be infinitely repeated (the army of men he creates through their fight club), while that repetition, in turn, allows for the subject’s differential identity” (between who he is and who he wants to be). The film does an excellent job of creating the eerie and “uncanny” atmosphere, very disturbing in multiple ways.
“Shadow of the Vampire” was the darkest, yet sometimes funny film I’ve ever watched. I liked the way the film takes such creative strides to create the story of how F.W. Murnau’s “Nosferatu” was filmed. The suspense created through the character of count Orlock is amazing; I wasn’t sure what was going to happen in the end. I think viewing this film added to the creep factor of my viewing of “Nosferatu.” Everyone knows Bram Stoker’s Dracula and this film is so different even though it stems from the same type (vampire) story that I would most definitely consider the film to be a work of art in and of itself. Which is also how I felt about Murnau’s “Nosferatu.” Consequently, the same applies here as far as how much this movie takes from Murnau’s film; “Shadow of the Vampire” is an entire different endeavor of creativity inspired by the before mentioned though Count Orlock is very reminiscent of Murnau’s Count Orlock, this film adds dimension to the character with the addition of how Schreck took on the role creating an immense fear factor, especially in the last scene of the film when he takes Greta literally along the others. Another cool factor is the play on black and white along with the actual film as the viewer sees it in color. Then the ending although the Count dies like he does in “Nosferatu,” this take on how his death played out in reality was unexpected and so creepy; it leaves no doubt that this film can and does stand on its own.
At first I thought this would be a terrible version of Stoker’s Dracula, but then the atmosphere Murnau created really developed into an impressive artistic interpretation. I liked the placing of the quotes included in the film such as “Wait, young man. You can’t escape destiny by running away…” which enhance the viewing/storyline and foreshadowing capabilities grew, but the music is another story since it does not always match the actions on the screen. Although for a 1922 silent film faced with the limitations of technology and filmmaking at that time, “Nosferatu” does capture the terror of the legend of Stoker’s Dracula eventually conveyed it through the character of Nosferatu (he is rather chilling to see him rise in the coffin scene), setting and use of shadows and lighting, as well as the faces of the other actors and actresses even though they are sometimes a little silly with “over” acting. The most frightening character in the film other than the creepy rodent-like Count Orlock, is the character of Renfield who is held under Nasferatu’s influence from afar; he is just outright evil looking and disturbing. In addition, Murnau successfully creates the mystery around the villain whose past we never find out about and thus more anticipation than I thought a silent film to be capable of. I also found it incredible that I eventually found myself on the side of the villain (perhaps due to the fear for his master that Renfield showed) in this film and even a bit saddened by his death in the end despite the horror of his nature. Overall, plagiarized or not, I liked this version of Bram’s Dracula; the film is a silent masterpiece in its own right.