“Real life is the life of dreams”

Said by the character Marilena to the main character Wanda in Lo sceicco bianco (1950, Federico Fellini).

whitesheik1952.95686_091820150253.jpg

If ever you need a film to show you just how, whatever route a woman takes in her life, it is not what she believes it to be.

This is why progress in the women’s movement is slow because sexism is so deeply imbedded in our system that it has become part of a cycle. Either way a woman takes, she is still lesser than and thus within the realms of control.

Wanda is disappointed in finding herself in a marriage so mediocre and dull that she seeks the character of her fantasies. Once she finds that there is no such world as simple as it appears in her weekly romance photo comics, she returns to her husband convinced that she has the best that the world can offer.

Advertisements

Brigsby Bear & Self-Acceptance

http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/2017/10/02/film-house-brigsby-bear-and-self-acceptance

Kyle Mooney offers us a film about self-acceptance and embracing one’s inner-child as a way to finding our most creative self.

Brigsby Bear (2017) stars and is co-written by Kyle Mooney, who we know as one of the cast members of Saturday Night Live.

Dave McCary, who directed the film, also works as a segment director on SNL. However, even without this information the film clearly has a distinct sense of humour. With Andy Samberg, as a member of the comedy group the Lonely Island who made popular the SNL digital shorts and is famous for his SNL musical collaborations with Justin Timberlake and Beck Bennett, another SNL cast member, the comedic timing of the actors is performed so smoothly that those who watch it should mirror the characters on the screen and not take themselves too seriously.

The film shuts down any attempt in making any situation seem traumatic or any character seem tragic. Mooney’s character, James, has only just gotten to see the real word after being abducted by a couple and living with them in a locked up house for most of his 25 years of living. When people just assume that he has led a difficult life, he is quite clueless about it and does not completely understand the commotion over it. He believes his life has a been a positive one so far as a result of the TV show Brigsby Bear. He finds out that he was the sole viewer of the show as his abductor father made it especially for him. However, he does not perceive the bear as a product of his confined childhood like his real family does but as a vessel for his imagination and motivation to share this unique show and character.

The film starts out appearing nostalgic. The way James dresses, the cassettes he plays Brigsby Bear with, and the computer he uses to blog about it are a mixture of fandom and nostalgia. In addition to that, the man who plays his abductor father is none other than Mark Hamill who is known for playing Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars film series. Star Wars remains one of the most financially successful films of all time. It has influenced many young filmmakers, and still is, just like James is encouraged to make a Brigsby movie. It is also known to have an abundance of merchandise similar to James’ clothes and bedroom decoration.

There is also this sentimentality to it about how people’s insensitive remarks to such an obsession can stunt one’s creativity. Once that changes and there is support, your imagination can do wonders. In other words, embrace your eccentricity and act clueless to those who wish you nothing but failure.

When coming from the underground ’90s world to the present world, there is a need to simplify things. As an outsider, the basics are seen as the answer and its what makes the film’s comedy bits timeless.

The film becomes transcendental in its depiction of James’ mind and imagination. By the end, we understand that the only way to be content with one’s way of living is through self-acceptance and being oblivious to those with negative intentions.

What we are exposed to since birth is what has shaped us. Our attitude to life, our health, and our intelligence come from the values that were depicted in the films and shows we watched and the music we listened to.

Certain Women & the Denial of Vulnerability

Screen Shot 2017-09-30 at 8.53.54 PMScreen Shot 2017-09-30 at 8.54.52 PMScreen Shot 2017-09-30 at 8.56.04 PMScreen Shot 2017-09-30 at 8.58.37 PM

Certain Women (2016), Directed by Kelly Reichardt

What a cinematic experience Certain Women was and perhaps I should’ve guessed it would be so with a Reichardt film. You sort of become hypnotized and captivated by the longer than usual attention that is given to each character. It is beyond what words can explain. The characters themselves would not admit to feeling such emotions that are displayed on the screen. It is only given some air when not being looked at it but immediately goes into hiding when there’s a threat of appearing vulnerable. Jamie, played by Lily Gladstone, and Fuller, played by Jared Harris, are the only ones who lets themselves feel and act on their emotions. The outcome for them is pain.

This might be a commentary on womanhood and the requirement for extremes to be taken seriously.

Carnal Knowledge Seminar Response

Women’s experiences are not exclusive to just women. They are affected by men and the societal pressures that are placed on them to behave a certain way that happens to degrade women. I think that the seminar failed to focus on masculinity and Carnal Knowledge’s commentary on how impossible it is to achieve it in perfect form. The men in the film treat their women the same way Francis Bacon treats the subjects of his paintings. However, there is a delusional expectation that the women will remain both loyal and alive when put through this treatment. This can be applied to Last Tango in Paris (1972) as well, making the Bacon reference more relevant.

Susan was not absent in the second half of the film. That is the point. As it was mentioned in seminar, she is indecisive; she is an act. She has no personality, which the reading also says. The fact that she has no personality is equivalent to her being an object, which leads to her ultimate objectification in that split second in Jonathan’s slideshow. She is just a concept to both Jonathan and Sandy even in the beginning. She is a concept and a factor to their level of masculinity.

Carnal-Knowledge

I think as film-viewers, we should remember that film characters do not have to be three-dimensional to be successful in invoking something. They can be symbolic of something and they can just be concepts. Jonathan symbolizes society. In other words, he is the rule-maker. Sandy is the conformist. Everything else to them is just tools to making them reach the peak of happiness and relief. This, to them, means the relief of knowing they are masculine.

“Wondering if you’re happy is a great shortcut to just being depressed.”

“Having your heart broken is a tremendous way to learn about the world.”

20th-century-women-annette-benning

– both said by Dorothea played by Annette Bening in 20th Century Women (2016) directed by Mike Mills

A great study on the unfulfilled and confused desires of the parent-child relationship. Mike Mills opens himself up for us to reveal what every single person can find relatable which is the willingness to be forever uncomfortable for your children.

“Necessity has no ethics, sir!”  – Doctor X (1932) directed by Michael Curtiz

p3445_p_v8_aa

Fay Wray and Doctor X, what more should I say?

Michael Rennie was ill
The Day the Earth Stood Still
But he told us where we stand
And Flash Gordon was there
In silver underwear
Claude Rains was The Invisible Man
Then something went wrong
For Fay Wray and King Kong
They got caught in a celluloid jam
Then at a deadly pace
It Came From Outer Space
And this is how the message ran…

Science fiction (ooh ooh ooh) double feature
Doctor X (ooh ooh ooh) will build a creature
See androids fighting (ooh ooh ooh) Brad and Janet
Anne Francis stars in (ooh ooh ooh) Forbidden Planet
Wo oh oh oh oh oh
At the late night, double feature, picture show

Contemporary Color & the Merging of Arts

I wrote a review for The Film House on The Standard: http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/2017/08/21/film-house-contemporary-color-and-the-merging-of-arts

The film starts off with a vague idea of what is about to be revealed to us. However, once you’re there you find yourself learning about something you should’ve known about a long time ago, which is colour guard and David Byrne’s Contemporary Color.

Contemporary Color is a performance event conceived by Byrne, of the new wave band Talking Heads, and co-commissioned by Brooklyn Academy of Music and Toronto’s Luminato Festival.

Byrne had realized that colour guard, an under-appreciated “sport of the arts” that is usually performed during half-time shows at football games, could be transformed into an event specifically showcasing their talents. These high school and college level “dance” groups are used to being secondary entertainment or competing against each other.

In an event like Contemporary Color, 10 lucky 20- to 40-persons teams are chosen to perform in a celebration of what they do. With artists such as Lucius, Nico Muhly and Ira Glass, Nelly Furtado, St. Vincent, Devonté Hynes, How To Dress Well, Zola Jesus, Ad-Rock and Money Mark, Byrne and Tune-Yards pairing up with the teams to create original pieces for them to perform to, it is truly an event like none other. A lover of any of these artists would appreciate these interpretations and, additionally, be introduced to other musicians accompanied by these remarkable visuals.

con

Directed by Turner Ross and Bill Ross IV, the film shows us what happens when two arts merge together and interpret each other.

What better place to screen Contemporary Color than at FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, a place that celebrates variety and diversity.

It would be too simple and too narrow a description to call Contemporary Colorjust a documentary. It does more than that. It introduces us to the world of interpretive art. The musicians, the dancers and the filmmakers are all given that challenge to understand each other art. What is difficult here is the openness and the receptivity that is required to do well in communication such as this.

As the audience, we can only appreciate this type of silent art with what the Ross brothers choose to translate to us. There are no flashbacks and no over-used backstories. There is only the respect that they all have for each other, knowing the time and effort it has taken to get to where they were. By the end of it, we are able to see all the many different elements that had to come together to produce something so transcendental.

With such silent non-explanations for the determination it takes for them to do what they are doing, the film resembles the films shown at the time of Expo 67. Hearing the voice-overs, seeing them perform at their neighbourhoods, the superimpositions, the slow zooms and even the music itself all give the film a dream-like and almost hallucinatory energy. As a result we are given these peculiar visuals of the merging of the arts.

Contemporary Color is an educational, entertaining and unique experience. It is so captivating that you leave unsure of whether you want more films like this or if you want to go see Contemporary Color live.