August 13, 2013
I’m over ‘the Other’. People always accuse everything of being racist, so I’m having a little go at it and accusing the concept of ‘the Other’ as being counter intuitively racist. In what sense are foreign people ‘other’? Are we not just as ‘other’ to them, also? It seems to me to be a crit theory lazism catch phrase and magic ‘give me a grant’ wand that supposedly embraces foreignness and diversity. When I was in Uganda, I did not see the people I met or hung out with who were African as Other – I saw them as human beings – plain and simple. Often in a shitty country, run by corrupt officials and thieves our Government is well in bed with. Ricky Anyway Richards, my ‘brother from another Mother’ in Uganda was a just a bush bloke, former LRA soldier and now a peace worker. He was doing a good job, but he was human and smart too and he could see through the ‘otherness’ bullshit and our Western hypocrisies. There is no ‘other’. There is only people, regions, power, geopolitics and the way things are on the ground. There is much we can do to make foreign lands more prosperous and to flower in their own unique way- and to really help people – etc – and ditching the idea that they are ‘other’ might be a good start. They are not exotic and strange, even if they may appear so at times to us. They are simply themselves and their culture, as we are ours. Difference reigns, equality is a nice concept, but as anyone knows who has traveled, it is not exactly a reality.
August 13, 2013
The Rocket looks a bit lame – it’s not really an Australian film. The same filmmakers who made their kitchen sink dramas no one wanted to see are now getting their Screen Australia Travel vouchers and going all Orientalist and ‘other’ as they examine and ‘come to be one’ with foreign cultures – ohmmm – in films no one really wants to see. No doubt in between their five star hotels and full body massages, naturally. I should see it to be sure – but it looks a bit like a PC white guilt ‘don’t we just love the ‘other” and aren’t we so foreign and exotic outing. Go on a OS holiday and get the same feeling.
I think when foreigners – like Australians – go to a foreign land and feel they are somehow spiritually connected to it by making a work of art there – they are often deluded. We all love travel. It’s one of life’s great pluses. But don’t kid yourself your connected to the plight of Laos or Cambodia or China or whatever. You are not. And the people who live there would tell you that to your face if they could articulate the disgust they must secretly feel at your barely repressed Colonial fantasies and pretentiousness.
August 13, 2013
I hope you all picked up the Yeats reference of Tread Lightly or Softly – because you tread on my dreams (He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven) – from the new Breaking bad episode. From Whitman to Yeats – that’s the arc. Breaking Bad is a tragedy, even though Walt has crossed over to Macbeth territory – it is still tragic and sad what wake his dreams have wrought. I think the key idea of Breaking Bad is that of Meta Tragedy. Not necessarily that of Walter White, but us – wasted potential, wasted generations, wasted civilization, wasted History, wasted conquests – like Ozymandias – “look upon our works ye mighty and despair. ” The Tragedy is Us. http://whatculture.com/tv/amc-release-breaking-bad-ozymandias-trailer.php
August 13, 2013
Spoke to a number of different people at MIFF about the films they saw. Most said the fest played films that rank about 5 or 6 out of ten. With a few exceptions of course. I have noticed a dulling of taste and curation in art and Indy film circles of late. People like safe and mediocre things. Even in genre and geek land these days. Things that do not challenge or stand out too much. Things that are somehow a little passionless and lifeless. I have noticed this trend in other festivals outside MIFF – of it’s ilk and caliber. And a dulling of the critical mind and even a sense of outrage. Look at that film The Act of Killing – that is essentially a collaboration with genocidal maniacs who still heavy Chinese people who they once massacred – IN the film. This is a sick film on many levels. Sicker than any Horror fiction like Human Centipede and Serbian Film. The film subtly normalizes genocide. And the art house and fest circuit lap up this repulsive dreck – mostly without a peep. That’s an odd case, sure – but many other films at MIFF and those that play at many other festivals are just so, so. They lack passion, a directorial or authorial voice, they are gimmicky and niche driven, they lack something to say in general and are a kind of like an ersatz cinema – not as interesting or confronting or original as the the cinema that moved me in the 70’s to the 90’s. Cinema has died and Cinema 2.0 is in it’s birth stages. It’s a critical time to foster authentic and independent voices and help bridge the aesthetic crisis of the art itself. Thoughts?
August 10, 2013
Well, this is one of the best films of the year – so, don’t believe any of the negative hubbub floating round net land. A tale of dueling psychopaths – one rich, one poor – and the women left in their wake. Christian is a classic Ellis character up there with Clay and Patrick Bateman – a manipulating trust fund kid movie producer control freak with Daddy issues and a nice pair of rubber gloves and accompanying blade. Best line: “I will kill him and get away with it. Look at me, babe”. The script is tight and a slow burn toward a psychologically powerful climax. This is plot wise most like parts of Glamorama and The Informers from Bret’s oeuvre, so his literary fans will find plenty to commune with. This is Schrader’s most accomplished directing effort in 10 years – from the haunting title sequence to The Hills type mise en scene – but darker and smoother. It’s reminiscent of his earlier masterpieces American Gigolo and Comfort of Strangers and sits in their company. James Deen is a revelation as Christian – the looks, all stone cold menace and boyish insecurity – not unlike a young Tony Curtis – but with more gravitas. Lindsay Lohan gives her best performance in years, that is hard to fault and is rather sympathetic. Who cares if she behaved like a brat who needed a slap on the ass on set a few days – or has some drug issues. Whatever – when is that new there in Hollywood? Her Tara anchors the film down with some level of emotional humanity and is delicate, sassy and most importantly – lost. Ryan, the third wheel to this pair, is played by Nolan Funk who steps up as the financially challenged second narcissist and rival to Christian. An ice cold portrait of contemporary LA in all it’s blank ‘glory’ – from a uniquely assembled team alchemizing a truly impressive new piece of cinema2.0. on a micro to low budget. Look at it, babes.