Posts Tagged ‘audience’

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Cancel Culture and the Dangers of Policing Art

 

Not a great article, but kind of timely. Not sure where I stand on this issue. Malignant art should be called out and critiqued. If that means the audience rejects it, then good.

 

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Online

 

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Article and podcast:

How to Make a Living From Your Original Films

 

 

filmmaking

 

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The Insufferably Boring Left

Joe Giambrone
Love him or hate him, Swamp Thing sure does make a lot of noise. One badly completed Tweet sends the world into a frenzy for days, #covfefe.

The Left, not so much. Unless it’s Kathy Griffin being excoriated for daring to hold up a puppet, and that’s largely the result of the right’s echo chamber of hatred. They smelled blood in the water, and by the end of the day a dozen highly original memes showed her chopping off her own head. Ted Nugent’s death threats against Obama received little play, despite his chumming it up inside the Oval Office with Swampy the Victim.

The bread and butter Left propagandists, churning out their daily diatribes, are far less compelling though. Those with microphones and unlimited podcast time are the worst offenders. It goes on and on and on, and I can’t imagine average shlubs enduring more than a couple of minutes. That’s all I can take, and I already agree.

The Left just doesn’t get how to make their messages palatable, and they’re losing–with a few notable exceptions. Robert Reich used to produce short videos featuring a white board that were usually a bit too long, but more impactful than most. Jimmy Dore fills time, but usually he’s got better things to say and imbues it with some humor. A number of these Left echo chambers send out images of pointedly cogent Tweets, and these pithy memes cut through the noise.

Other Young Turks shows are wastelands of endless half-assed babble, and no expertise on display. With the 2016 chaos more progressives started streaming video, and with zero production value or show conceptualization, these are frankly unwatchable. Prior to those, the Greens could usually be found delivering long-winded speeches and essentially saying the same things, the same phrases, for hours. It turns people off to politics when even the opposition you like makes it unbearable to sit through. There’s no entertainment value, and that’s the problem.

Those who would lead the revolution against the right need to take cues on how to expand into the mainstream. It’s not enough to preach to the choir, no matter how ego-fulfilling it may seem. The great blob in the center is a tough audience with no patience, infinite choices at their fingertips, and they need to be attracted, sold on a concept, and released back into the wild before it becomes burdensome.

Filling time is not going to win them over. The luxury of the infinite podcast has been a great negative, a dead end, as it generally turns people off to podcasts and videocasts. These offer very little useful information per unit of time. There isn’t enough there to justify the time commitment. Time is money, or even more valuable. Time is life itself: treat it that way.

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HULU has this little indie doc up.  Explores the history of subliminal messages.  Judas Priest on trial, Edward Bernays, Hitchcock and all sorts of wacky claims…

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Hollywood’s Glass Ceiling: Why Doesn’t the Film Industry Trust Women?
by Mellissa Silverstein

There’s a myopia to some of these articles that irks me.  It’s that she doesn’t seem to care what the stories themselves are saying — the entire point of this blog, btw — but only if they are directed by women, produced by women, or about women’s issues.  It’s a hard numbers kind of argument, without regard for the actual propaganda content of the films.  I tend to see it a bit differently, to say the least.  Kathryn Bigelow’s pro-torture opus does not end up in my plus column, least of all because she happens to lack a penis.  There are issues beyond who gets to direct, important issues, society-wide issues of war, peace, empire and authoritarianism.

That’s my simplistic response to the article, I admit, but it does cover my main gripe:  Hollywood is part of a fascistic system of social control, selling authoritarianism in partnerships with increasingly despotic surveillance states.  Whether those hammering out the next propaganda extravaganza possess dicks or not is not my primary concern.

Her myopia is the expected result of issue politics, where support is thrown behind tyrants based on narrow sets of interests and narrow understanding.  The counterargument to that will of course cite how this isn’t strictly “narrow” when talking about half the population (gender bias).

The concept holds though.  By obsessing over one metric, one parameter, we ignore the rest.  This is why Obama can turn America into Orwell’s worst nightmare: at least he’s not Bush.

Now I’ve heard debates over this Hollywood gender problem, the underrepresentation of women in Hollywood,and usually the first thing trotted out by the defenders of the establishment is that the box office dictates the decisions.  Is this true?  It’s not just perception, they argue, but actual ticket sales that determine these movies getting made the way that they are.  After all, these shlock Superfests sell tickets, and they sell them to male and female.  Hard to argue against that.

Women do make films about women all the time, but they aren’t the ones raking in the dump trucks of money. Melissa Silverstein:

“… but the sad news is that the numbers have remained consistently dismal for the last decade. In 2012, in the US, women made up 18% of the directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors working on the top 250 domestic grossing films.”

On the top grossing films???

Well who made that happen?

That’s the audience, not a dark cabal in suits smoking cigars and sticking voodoo needles into Barbie dolls.

Now if an argument could be presented for more marketing dollars affecting this equation, and male movies being typically funded at much higher levels (probably true) then there would be a more solid foundation, but Silverstein doesn’t even bother to go there.

The counterargument will remain that this is what the movie-going audience is “demanding” according to the strict economic dogma of supply and demand.

So if we’re talking gross box office, at what point does the audience share in this responsibility, this culpability?

If women themselves aren’t supporting women up on the silver screen, then how can this be considered some great intractable problem?

“When we don’t see women, and we don’t see women’s stories, we get the message that women don’t matter as much, that our stories don’t count, that our experiences are less valid.”

Ever tried watching TV?

It’s ALL WOMEN ALL THE TIME!

Perhaps women prefer the comfort of their living rooms compared to the excursion to the overpriced, smelly, crowded MultiPlex where you overpay for popcorn, candy, liquid junk and have to endure the cell phones and blather of nincompoops while you try and follow the film.  Then you must miss scenes while you head off to pee in the middle, and perhaps some jerk will start a fight or shoot up the place and kill everyone.

Maybe there are other factors involved.

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Joss Whedon satirized the horror genre and succeeded in elevating it into another realm altogether.  But, what does the film ultimately have to say?

Having rewatched Whedon’s 2012 twisted take on the horror phenomenon, it left me a little bit distanced and empty by story’s end.  This is certainly a masterfully plotted and told story, playing upon genre clichés and conventions, subverting them when able, and always with ulterior motives.  But, what are those motives exactly?  In the final reckoning, it’s a very silly story of supposed giant gods dwelling beneath the earth.

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While the story goes to great lengths to identify with the expected American demographic, and then to twist that identification around into something altogether unrecognizable, it then hangs a wide turn somewhere along the way.  As Whedon is known for adding complications, he does so here.  There’s a third path he steers toward, a path where humanity is tired and relishes the suicidal instinct to give up and turn over the reins so to speak.  Is that where we are, in reality?  It seems a stretch, and not at all that coherent.  Much of the story is of survival, only to throw it away on the grandest scale imaginable.  And the reasoning is not entirely clear, a bit muddied in some gibberish pieced together from moldy legends.  Again, high on technique and plotting, but short on actual meaning.  There’s a pseudo meaning, with the gods and the end of humanity, but that hardly explains what we’re to take from it.

That I think is the major flaw in the picture.  It’s all smoke and mirrors, but in the end, so what?  It pretends to be greater than the sum of its parts, but fails to be so.

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Okay, Indiewire calls it a “hilarious, sincere and boldly feminist comedy.”

And the trailer looks promising.

I don’t always trust Indiewire anymore, having been burned too many times.  But this reviewer, Beth Hanna, doesn’t ring any bells.  Yeah I’ll probably go see it.

Indiewire’s praises for Holy Motors and Spring Breakers, for example, were misleading.  Both films were poorly done, and Holy Motors seems to have contempt for the brains of its viewers.  It’s fundamentally against making any sort of sense.   Is that supposed to be a good thing now?

Anyway, here’s the trailer for In a World.

 

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The Argentine/French auteur has attempted to push the envelope in terms of camera movement and perhaps even in shock value. Enter the Void (2010) is a mind bending journey unlike other films in several regards.

Noé’s previous film Irreversible (2003) was similarly shocking and stylistically aggressive in the extreme. That tale is told backwards in sequence. The backwards narrative, while confusing, is also naturally filled with mystery and urgency making it a tense thriller and hard to look away.

Some audience members walked out of Irreversible early in response to the extremely violent rape and the sadomasochism that transpires inside a gay nightclub. Noé also employed strobing flashes that can induce seizures and that assault the viewer’s eyes deliberately.

“My aim was to make you feel out of your minds,” said Noé in an interview concerning negative audience response to Irreversible.

By far the most striking element of Gaspar Noé’s style would be the floating, swooping, swooning camera that buzzes around on a crane for extended periods of screen time. Without regard to the framing of the actors, Noé’s camera flies melodically about the room, as in the opening shot of Irreversible, or throughout a city as in the bulk of the film Enter the Void.

This floating, flying camera seems to be Noé’s signature move, and a phenomenon he explored and pushed right past the breaking point in Enter the Void. Here the flying camera represents a spirit inside “the void,” searching lackadaisically for something as it travels from scene to scene slowly piecing information together in the otherworld.

Enter the Void
opens with a stroboscopic psychedelic title sequence that attempts to induce the feeling of being under the influence of a hard drug, as the main character is also on. Tarantino called this title sequence, “Maybe best credit scene of the decade. One of the greatest in cinema history.”

As the film opens in a Japanese hotel room, we find that the entire world, every shot is the point of view of a young western man, who happens to be a local drug dealer there. This strict and formal forcing of the camera to show his first person experience takes some getting used to as everything unfolds in real time. The film continues this strict formalism even as the boy is shot to death in a bathroom stall by anti narcotics officers. His spirit then floats away from his body and into “the void” where it hovers just above the city for the remainder of the film, jumping from scene to scene as he attempts to belatedly understand his place in the universe.

The only time Noé breaks this POV rule is during a flashback sequence of the boy’s childhood, where an automobile accident killed he and his sister’s two parents.

Much of the film revolves around his surviving sister, who is a strip dancer in a sleazy local club. Actually, a bit too much of the film revolves around this relationship, as the POV is taken to new absurd heights in the skirting of the issue of incest. The camera/boy’s POV actually goes all the way on its journey to be reborn, apparently as his own nephew, and the obvious biological processes that would entail.

The reincarnation plot apparently derives from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, which is referenced at the beginning of the film. The plot then shows a literal version of a spirit that is ejected from one body and then finds a new opportunity to be reborn on earth.

This is a fitting usage of the flying / floating camera technique and a brilliant move by the director. But, the narrative comes to a crashing halt just after the boy is killed, near the beginning of the movie. At that point there is no obvious plot for viewers to latch onto or understand. He is simply dead and floating around — for what purpose? Because Noé doesn’t clue in the viewer as to what is eventually going to happen, a gaping disconnect renders the middle of the film rather meaningless and frankly boring. It appears as an extended series of floating camera sequences to no end. Only much later is the sister/reincarnation goal brought into the story. The effect is to overuse the flying camera in the service of trivial or side issues, and to avoid the main throughline of the story for far too much screen time.

Noé has been quite unsuccessful financially with his efforts. If BoxOfficeMojo is to be believed, both films performed poorly, and Enter the Void may have lost a huge amount of its budget. Noé may have assaulted his potential audience a little too brutally. That website omits DVD and other rental tallies, which are hard to locate. Perhaps Noé and his style will be vindicated by the “long tail” of on-demand streaming over the coming years.

His imdb page lists no upcoming new feature at present.”

PS

* Noe’s newest project:

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If David Lynch and Krusty the Klown had a bastard child, and that bastard child was genetically enhanced with French chimpanzee DNA…

This movie may help the French in some way that is beyond my comprehension, but American audiences will find it rather head scratching at best.  It’s loaded with stunning trailer moment images, but perhaps this works better as a trailer.  I still have no idea what the hell I just saw, and I’m pretty damned forgiving with absurd dream logic – ask me about Mulholland Drive.

Anyway, you’ve been warned.  Some wannabe pretentious critics have been lauding this film, but I’m not one of them.  In addition to being incomprehensible gibberish in love with its own senselessness, It’s often boring for long stretches.  When it’s not, it’s frustrating as hell, as if the point of the vignettes is to frustrate and annoy the audience.  Whatever.

 

 

 

Cutting edge method of getting the audience and the artist together. Check it out.