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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Aesthetics & Politics / Learning to Deal


A few years ago, I Netflixed Idiocracy, a feature-length, not-so-grossly-hyperbolic-anymore futuristic dystopian satire of a world where people are fed not only on their high-tech couches, but by their high-tech couches (it was also directed by Mike Judge, creator of Beavis and Butt-Head). Such technology, no matter its superfluousness, is definitely not indicative of the current intelligence quotient exhibited by the population in the film. More relevant is this future's president (see this scene from the film), characterized by a brutish and violent man (who also makes a lot of promises about things he's going to do in the future). Anyone from this world (not the film's) might wonder from what basis or reasoning he would be elected.

I laughed during the movie's stronger first third and was disappointed by its last two, but being the cynic I am, like many films with a negative, prophetic narrative, I took from it more than just a grain of salt.

Film Comment's Post-Election piece looks at past and present cinematic likenesses to our new political reality (briefly mentioning Idiocracy) and gauges how exactly these film culture folks think the cinematic repercussions of making films will change under the demagogue president elect. Violet and company don't complain either. We know they didn't vote for Trump, and that they feel strongly about that, but they don't use the discussion as a platform for their own set of issues with our country and its new leader (they also realize cinema is becoming a smaller niche within entertainment spectra).

This discussion is moderated by the Film Society of Lincoln center's Violet Lucca, and the guests are New York Times film critic Jim Hoberman (he mentions, among others, A Face In the Crowd / Elia Kazan, 1957) and Tobi Haslett, Village Voice critic and contributing writer to n+1 and Art Forum (he mentions, among others, Hypernormalisation, a recent Adam Curtis film. Hoberman also reminds us that Birth of A Nation, the 100+ year old D.W. Griffith epic silent, is now more relevant than ever.

The more I think about this most unwelcome and recent political change in my own life, think back on something I once heard from a high school history teacher of mine.

"The more things change, the more they stay the same."

Friday, June 19, 2015

Quote of Year - Nathan Lee on the Wachowski Bros.

If you, like me, have pondered how to distill into words the genuinely unmistakeable style of their films, I don't think anyone could've said it better:

"...let's remember that the Very Serious pop philosophy of The Matrix was a fluke. The Wachowskis are living for a unique, utterly doomed brand of earnest Maximalism."

-Nathan Lee, Village Voice contributing critic

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Can You Find the Celebrity Here?

During my inaugural trip to LA last week, me and my girlfriend had lunch at Gjelina in Venice Beach. My girlfriend's cousin snapped this photo. As was her intention, it looks like just a photo of me, but in the background is someone famous. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Schrader, Writer of Taxi Driver, Tells Us About Tech

The famed writer of Taxi Driver - and director of numerous films, including the slightly whatever The Canyons (with Lindsay Lohan) has written a great article about the biggest technological achievements in cinema, among them the close-up and the use of the 700mm lens. This is the second of three parts, all published by Film Comment.

Read: The Close-Up | Film Comment