November 29, 2009
Karul Quinn on the on going crisis in our woeful film Industry (some highlights from article below):
“By most critical reckonings it was an impressive list, even if the most popular local film of the year, Baz Luhrmann’s Australia, was not on it. But it was also a list that masked deep problems. To put it bluntly, the Australian film industry is in deep crisis.”
“If Australia ($38 million) and Mao’s Last Dancer ($14 million to date) are excluded from the take, the figures look decidedly anaemic – at best, about $20 million between all the other Australian films released.”
“Only Samson & Delilah has made a profit at the local box office. It has taken about $3.2 million on a budget of $1.6 million. (Australia, which cost $130 million, has taken $211 million globally.)”
“IF YOU’RE a typical Australian cinemagoer, you might greet all this with: ”So what? Australian films are crap anyway.” And even at the producers conference, there was much derisive talk of the Australian industry’s preference for ”depressing films about junkies in Darlingurst”.”
“Yet there is no denying the fact Australian movies do not connect with Australian audiences. The dollars do not lie. But is that because the films are no good, or because they haven’t been marketed and distributed properly?”
Do you think we at MUFF, who have constructed a ten year critique of the Industry, have ever, just once!, been inviting on one of these committees, or asked for our advice?
Here is a link to Karl Quinn’s article here.
November 24, 2009
I saw Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds for a second time recently and I feel I’m up to tackling its genius.
In the closing shot of Basterds, Tarantino places the following dialogue into Brad Pitt’s mouth to close out the film, “This might just be my masterpiece?”. Cue Kubrick style classical music. I think QT is self referencing what he thinks of his own work. So, is Inglorious Basterds a masterpiece? I would say, “Yes”, but for reasons a lot more subversive than have been quoted in most film journalism I have read on the film.
First of all the film is pro fascist. What? I hear you cry? It features a gang of Jews Killing Nazi’s… how is this pro fascist? The Jewish Death squad, what do they do? Do they murder and torture German soldiers ruthlessly? What did the Einstazgruppen do? They murdered and brought terror to all Eastern Europe? Are not the Basterds tactics merely a mirror image of Nazi ones? Is not Tarantino secretly endorsing fascist violence, as he has done throughout his career by the way, in this film? I would say so. It is a major theme of Basterds that I suggest has modern political ramifications when you be apply it to forgive and excuse Bush/Cheney tactics in the recent Iraqi war, for example. Or say Israeli violence against the Palestinians. Indeed, the whole Jewish death squad even outstrips Munich as a pro Israeli violence statement, another subversion perhaps?
Second, the film references favorably Nazi cinema. Constantly throughout Basterds Nazi cinema, the last great taboo of any cinephile, is constantly spoken of admiringly. Indeed, the Minister of Nazi Cinema Goebbels is a character in the film, espousing the merits of his Government’s national cinema, and the genius of filmmakers like Riefenstahl, Pabst and many others. Another line of dialogue has Nazi cinema compared to Jewish Hollywood cinema and no lesser person than Winston Churchill asks, “How is he doing (Goebbels)?”. To a response of, “Pretty damn good, Sir”. Indeed, the film features a fictional Nazi movie that has a German Audie Murphy type character in it who slaughters the allies ruthlessly, and even gets Hitler all teary eyed with patriotism. Its parallel’s to 80’s Hollywood anti Commie war movies is obvious. Nazi cinema is praised as a new original cinematic opening that the film, and Tarantino, admires. This mix of the fascist aesthetics and cinema informs Tarantino’s whole oeuvre when you think about it.
Thirdly, its a film that advocates and embraces Historical Revisionism. QT completely rewrites the script for WW2 and has the great hero who ends the war being none other than a genocidal Nazi “Jew Hunter” named Colonel Hans Landa. Yes, its a Nazi who ends WW2! If you can get anymore subversive than that in the cinema recently I’ll be bar mitzvahed in my birthday suit singing the “Horst Wessel” song!! Hans Landa is the archetypal Nazi polymath and villain taken to a new level. He is meticulous, polite, deadly… but very well spoken, in at least four languages. Landa is the main character of the film in many senses, and the performance Christoph Waltz has been rightly praised, awarded and lauded. A genocidal Nazi ending World War 2, I say it again, so its full resonance can stay with you. His deal with the Allies is a master stroke from QT. This making an sort of anti hero out of a Butcher of Lyon/Klaus Barbie type character is the forth and major subversive dimension of Basterds. Sure, Waltz is a self serving nihilist and killer. But he is humanized, intelligent, charming… and even a likable rogue. And, he does end WW2 in a marvelously perverse historical revisionism, that would have even David Irving spinning in his chair.
The cast is a fifth subversion. Waltz is simply superb as mentioned. Brad Pitt is cast as a psychotic and blood lusting part Indian who collects Nazi scalps, no less. Melanie Laurent is ice cold as the avenging Jewess. Diane Kruger is foot fetish sexy as the Nazi actress spy. Sylveester Groth and Martin Wuttke are fun as the tag team of Goebbels and Hitler. Michael Fassbender is great and tres cool as a brit spy in over his head. Eli Roth is a weird choice, but also an appropriate one, given his Jewishness and penchant for extreme violence. Other cameos and bit players all pull their weight in this broad canvas fever dream QT has laid out for us.
Inglorious Basterds subverts the defining historical events of the 20th century and reinvisages them as an ode of fascist violence and struggle for power. Goebbels and The Fuhrer himself, after getting over a few issue like losing the war and being killed in a cinema, would have loved it!
November 18, 2009
The Triple J news and current affairs program Hack with Kate O’Toole totally gives me the shits.
Its Auntie’s (the ABC) youth propaganda half hour. The show is constantly presenting ‘youth’ perspectives on ‘hot spot’ issues like: homeless youth, leaving School early, schoolies, internet censorship, crime and punishment, drugs, indigenous rights, etc, etc. And on and on it goes. All presented with same kind of vapid moral viewpoint and sickening condescension.
For example a program a while back on leaving school early, starts with some moron going, “Yeah its fun to leave school early, you can do what you want mate”. Cut expert saying well it might seem like fun experts say people who leave school early end up losers. Cut to intelligent non school leaver saying they won’t leave school. Cut back to moron saying how he is broke and can’t get a job. Moral: Don’t leave school.
Yesterday I posted this on Facebook:
…I hate that show Hack on Triple J with a passion. Every ‘hot spot’ teen and young adult issue Auntie gets to have ‘a reasonable discussion’ on ( i.e Government propaganda), like leaving school early, etc., any PC issue you can think of really. Todays topic: warning mong proles to have kids before their biological clock expires. Hack, I’d like to do some hacking in JJJ’s programming…
Virginia Tachos: i was listening in on this drivel..this line particularly stunned me ” Have a child as early as you can with your boyfriend/partner” or engage in egg freezing …so many “great” options…drive time drivel by Triple J…triple jjj is not edgy , it’s packaged that way ..people who have an ounce of integrity will decipher this and today’s program was plainly offensive to anyone’s intelligence
Trevor Howis: Who’s running JJJ now? Have they cloned Goebbels?
David Jackson: Agreed. It’s a pathetic program with a boring as fuck host (like everything else on JJJ). It reminds me of the 7pm Report or whatever it’s called. Watered down news and issues with Rove-esque graphics and Garage band sounding loops. Current Affair for the new generation.
I then posted this today:
So I listened again today to Hack again (…why, oh, why?)…this time whinging about equal amounts of women in high powered board jobs, and serious talk of implementing quotas. Then New Moon, is it bad for teenage girls as it teaches masochism and violence in relationships. Question from moron host O’Toole: “This sounds serious, should we be closing cinem…as tomorrow?”. OMG!… its Auntie’s equivalent of a lefty student Rush Limbaugh show…Someone please do something to stop this shit house show!
I wait another flood of hate against this moronic news half hour. It is as bad as, if not worse than A Current Affair and Today Tonight, in its poisonous propagation of lame Left wing ideology and status quo thinking…
I hate it so much I am tempted to found a radio, or even TV show, along Transcendental Fascist lines of argument and philosophical discussion to combat its bullshit. More on this later perhaps…
November 6, 2009
I’ve been travelling again. That’s why not many posts. Having too much fun… as usual.
Here is a visual diary of some things I’ve been doing. I’m back in AU next week, so posts, and thoughts, to resume here soon.
Meantime, enjoy these…