19
May
2010

Alea and Sembene0

The films made by Sembene and Alea are filming for the struggle; the struggle for freedom. There is a zoom on working people and people with less voice in the country. There is energy of revolutionary thought. When speaking of the artists’ role he says “He must feel the heartbeat of society and be able to create the image society gives him.” There is a practical reflection in Sembene’s thoughts of filmmaking. I like his idea of not really picking a side when filmmaking, but instead posing an idea and/or a question. The purpose of his films is to pose an image in people’s mind. Let is soak in, and then let them do what they please with it. Both directors bring forth an image of a way of life to real people. They illustrate real sufferings, struggles and problems. Not that they are trying to start problems with society or make people revolt, but to simply put forth the truth. It feels good to watch something that is just simply true, and not an exaggerated lie of a life which does not exist or have any importance. It is important to be aware of your surroundings. I appreciate the work of Alea and Sembene and others like them. They are work to take seriously and at the same time to enjoy. I find it much easier to enjoy political work than the work of abstract, random clips of dead moths. Through film like Memories of Underdevelopment I can feel a strong sense of emotion and reality which needs to be addressed. There is a mixture of history, purpose, psychology, politics, desires, and many other issues brought up in depth in the film, Memories of Underdevelopment.
I also enjoy the fact that these directors stay true to their culture and heritage. It is good to spread the knowledge of one’s country. That is how a culture stays alive. It is up to the country’s children to recognize and nurture their culture and their people. This includes preventing others from taking advantage of your land and people. Alea illustrates the ongoing effects of the revolution. He posts snapshots of the aftermath of the revolution. He even poses the side of the bourgeois and how they think. All this in attempt to show the audience a world in which we live in today; the issues which need to be addressed, the struggles which are being experienced. This shows concern for his people and his country. Otherwise he would paint a pretty picture of how perfect everything is, and the beauty that the revolution created. Like Sembene, he merely films what society is showing him, and then he reflects this image back to the society. Both directors are political ones. Their films have meaning and substance. There is history worth telling. There is a message worth spreading. After watching the film, a bit of motivation and awareness of one’s surrounding is brought upon the table.

29
April
2010

“No music, no Hindi cinema.”0

When I think of Hindi films the first thing which pops into my mind would of course be music and dancing. I have not seen a Hindi film which did not have that involved. Not only is it involved but its always spectacular and full of color, if it’s during the time of color TV. The songs are always so romantic and beautiful. I remember I had a friend who is Guyanese, and watched lots of Hindi films. Most of the Hindi music she listened to was always from a Hindi film. When I watch music videos, a lot of times the video contains clips from the movie the song came from. The whole music genre or a big part of it is born and revolving around the cinemas. As mentioned in the reading, Moulin Rouge was greatly influenced by Hindi film. It is obvious not only through making a Hindi cultured play, but also in the way the movie is made all throughout. The love of a man and woman which will never cease but unfortunately is forbidden. The constant input of singing and elaborate dance moves involved in each important scene making it highly emotional. It’s always so dreamlike and fantastical watching Hindi films. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of it and completely absorbed into this glamorous love story?
All the songs and singing show the Indian culture and their creativity. India’s philosophical standing is shown through the songs. The words sung in movies are always so poetic, speaking of love and life. Watching a movie is like sitting for a philosophical convention. A truly classic and enlightening performance.

Having song or short hymns placed in the middle of a scene give a sneak peak of what was done as a past time especially during the early 19th century. What is else is there to do but to sing, write, and read when there is no television or computers to take up your time?
“Play back song” was a great advantage to the Hindi film growth and popularity. I thought it was particularly interesting when I found out that most actors in Hindi films don’t actually sing in the movies. Instead it is another person singing the song that has already been prerecorded. This is an advantage in the way that the songs can be sold separately because they are already separate. What a great way to unite India and its people with a similar culture without leaving out the poor who cannot go to the cinema all the time. It is easier to understand why movie music is the most listened to music in India, rather than just pop singers like we have in the US. There is a fine line between movies, and music. Sure soundtracks are sold, but they don’t even compare to the market or Hindi film music in India.

27
February
2010

Females, More Slick Than You Think2

Lady Eve,1941, directed by Preston Sturges had me laughing all over. The female role was just so strong and upfront. She knew what she wanted, and she made a way to get it. This is so opposite from what most movies show of how the woman role should be. Instead of a woman waiting for a man to swoop in make all the first moves and do with her as he pleases, Eve schemes a plan to make the man fall in love with her and do what ever she pleased all through out the movie.
After watching the introduction, where there is a snake playfully sneaking through out the apple tree, I couldnt help but to think of how Eve convinced Adam to bite the apple. I feel that once she hit Charlie on the head with the apple, that was her first step to trying to convince him to bite. The ‘accidental’ trip, the ‘attitude’ she gave when he did so, her clever ways of making him go on his knees and slip on a pretty s’lipper’ were all part of the convincing. Finally once she had Charlie in her hands, ever so closely, whispering sweet nothings in his ear you can tell he has been bitten by this lovely and enchanting snake. It was comical to hear her say “Don’t let go of me!” when it is her who is smuthering him. He didn’t really have much of a choice.
The scene where Charlie and Eve was on the couch in her room, the couple was definietly thinking of sex the entire time. The girl sublty making sexual comments to him, playing with his sensitive, little ear. By the time she was done with him, he couldn’t stand and had his hair looking like a mess. If I had not seen the scene, I would have thought he had just had intercourse with the woman.
There was one scene where I strongly feel the couple did some sexual activity, or atleast some very intimate kissing. When Charlie and Eve was at the front of the boat, the two became so close to eachother and professed thier love in eachothers arms. All of a sudden at a sort of climax of the scene, the screen goes straight to the waters splashing at the bottom of the boat. I couldnt help but laugh here because it reminded me of the K-Y His and Her Comercials that has been playing on television lately. A couple would talk about thier bedtime experiences in a subtle kind of way. To explain how the jelly makes them feel the scene is just cut to a clip which shows excitement. Some times the scene is cut to a video of a classic movie or natural water flowing out of the earth. Could this mean the couple might have gotten a bit ‘wet’ during thier evening in the front of the boat? KY commercial ky commercial \’socks\’

The poor guy is being strung like a puppet throughout the entire movie. Charlie is an innocent guy who doesnt drink or like beer, and isn’t much into gambling. He can’t recognize when a girl is flirting with him, and falls for a girl who bosses him around. You would think such an adventurous guy who travles wild jungles and loves snakes would be a little more slick. Charlie feels he is and says hes got some tricks of his own, but I’d say Eve’s got a lot more tricks than him.

18
February
2010

Make My Dreams Come True0

While reading “Wild Bill”: William A. Wellman Interview by Scott Eyman, a very practical view was brought to my attention. The directing industry is all about pleasing others. The audience, the agents, the producers. When Dore Schary told Wellman that they’d by making “pictures that we want to make,” Wellman’s reply was simply “You make pictures to amuse the public, not yourself.” Pleasing the audience is what is most important. Especially if you’re a man like Wellman who only made a chage for “either freedom or money, usually money.” The public is where all the money is coming from.

The audience could be a group of people who may always want the same type of mood, with the same type of character, who ends up with the same type of destiny. The director has to stay within that box. In Robert Warshow’s The Gangster as a Tragic Hero, it is stated “For such a type to be successful means that its conventions have imposed themselves upon the general consciousness and become the accepted vehicle of a particular set of attitudes and particular aesthetic effect. One goes to any individual example of the type with very different expections, and originality is to be welcomed only in the degree that it intensifies the expected experience without fundamentally altering it.”(page577) The director can venture once the audience has ventured in accepting new ‘conventions.’ This can only be done with an inch or so because by the time that movie ends, the director better be making the audience feel like they were thoguht of, and God forbid they changed the audiences expectations of the movie or its genre or the director’s movie just won’t be liked any more.

Its sad that a person can not be both an artist who follows thier creative soul and a person who wants and gains money. One of those features must go. You can’t have both. Near the end of Eyman’s interview with Wellman, not only was I sad for Wellman, but also upset at the lack of freedom an artist may have if they are depending on others for things like money and publicity. Eyman asked Wellman what he thought about his movie Lafayette Escadrille, and instead of answering with a simple sentence, he actually went on a sort of rant on how unfairly his movie was made. He had all the right to be upset. His story was butchered, manuevered, and people took no regard to the original meaning of why c’est la guerre was made in the first place. Wellman said to Dotty “Dotty, I’m tired, I’ve worked too hard and I made a deal with a man I hate, knowing he’s wrong. I’m never going to make another picture as long as I live.” Even though he said he did alot of things for money, I feel he was also a natural artist. When hearing that, I couldn’t help but put myself in his shoes and wondered “what if someone tried to take my art and change the looks and meaning of it”. I’d feel so empty. Like they had reached inside me and punctured something I’ve been taking care of for oh so long. A piece of my hard work and soul only to be dumped. It’s sad, but unfortunately that’s how the cookie crumbles. We could only hope we could all take our destiny in stride and continue our lives with satisfaction like Wellman has.”I’m very happy.”

 

Robert’s Warshow’s The Gangster As Tragic Hero was very interesting to me. Who wouldn’t like a good gangster film? Everyone following the rules, doing what’s expected of them get to sit for 2 hours and live through a man who gets to do everything thier little, not-so-innocent imaginations have thought of throughout thier entire lives. In Wellman’s interview, the grapefruit scene in Public Enemy was mentioned, and explained. The scene came to be about because Wellman always wanting to do that to his wife when he was frustrated or angry with her. Instead of daydreaming about this action of rage, he can bring it to life on screen. Like the audience, Wellman lived his impulsive desires through the movie. In Warshow’s article he states ” In ways that we do not easily or willingly define, the gangster speaks for us, expressing that part of the American psyche which rejects the qualities and the demands of modern life, which rejects “Americanism” itself” (page578). These ideas remind me of the surrealist movement, Salvador Dali, and Freud where dream analysis and hidden consciousness was the main topic of every pianting, literature and movie they made. To reject the ideas society would deem immorale, and accept those impulses and automatic feelings we tend to get secretly. Being this movement started in the 1920s, it wouldn’t surprise me if these surreal and Freudian ideas were still lingering throughout the directors’ minds and imaginations. Allowing for the gangster to become a sort of hero, is in a way, saying doing these things we all desire to do subconsciously are not abnormal, it does not make you a mad man, and it can be accepted, atleast in these 2 hours of film time.

With all this mental, inner liberation of the subconscious mind and repressed desires, there still comes a limit. Sure in the movie you can live out all these incredible, wild, brutal dreams, but once the movie ends things have got to be put back into place in according to what is accepted to the mass. That bad guy, the gangster always dies. According to the article, his death is not so much caused by his criminality, but his pursuit and accomplishments of success. Success, failure, and death all ride on the same boat. “It is dangerous to be alone. And yet the very conditions of success make it impossible not to be alone.” (page580) This to me is like an oxymoron. It has become inevitable for the successful man to reach some sort of dangerous situation and fail. Thier failure, in my opinion, does not lie in the success, but the greed for riches. The greed for more, more, more leads a person to make gangster-like actions. It leads to people disliking, hating, and envying you. The greed creates enemies. In a world of enemies, then a person is truly alone.

14
February
2010

Hello world!0

 

ACTIVATION COMPLETE.
FINALLY!


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