Heavy Breathing in the Evening
This last week we premiered the second drafts of our mash-ups. I was impressed with the level of creativity that came from some of the students projects. One in particular dealing with the interconnection of humanity and in which way we treat each other. It was an amazing example of the power of editing and juxtaposition, he mixed his own song out of several Daft Punk songs and manipulated the images to play to the beat, it had a moment where we are taken from images of the beauty of life to the destructive reality of the violence of war and terror- this is probably the most impact full part because you literally are not ready to witness the shocking footage. I feel like once you get through the mashup it offers room for you to release your breath and reflect on the video (which is exactly the point!). I could have never come concocted such a more perfectly created project.
There were only a handful of videos that were as good as the Human Together mash up, the only other ones I felt were really great was a video that used old footage of beauty products juxtaposed to modern beauty adds.. he started the clip with the intro to the Jersey Shore over laid with old intro clips from retro sitcoms and it really set the mood. The point of the video was to compare how beauty has an evolution to it, that what was once classically beauty is now replaced by highly sexualized expressions of men and woman who are “beautifully” fit and perfect. It was not a completely original idea but how the creator went about the project was very creative and overall enjoyable to watch.
Lastly was a mash up that took clips from the GOP Presidential debates and overlaid them to soundbites from “the real housewives..” show. This was really funny seeing how at times it looked like the clips and audio really matched up. A spot of Rick Santorum addressing the audience saying, “If you think I’m a bitch, bring it” was a highlight for me. The girl who worked on the project did a fantastic job creating an example of how childish and useless politics can be, let alone the politicians who run for president!
We had to read Adam Stiney’s “End of the 20th Century” article for class discussion. Stiney reflects on how cinema (most avant gard) was shaped during this century and speculates on who film lost and what that had done to film as a growing medium. Stiney mentions that with the death of these influential filmmakers it really put a damper on what was to be expected in the coming century as film progressed. I found the article insightful and to a degree, interesting. A lot of what Stiney had to say had this sense of nostalgia for old cinema, and who shouldn’t have that.
What I felt was a little unusual was how he starts off with such a (in a sense) lack of optimism for the future of cinema. In part looking back on the first 12 years of this century it has not produced as many profound and iconic symbols of expression as one may have hoped, and I think that is in part for where cinema has found itself. it has always been a business, and with the rise of commercial power it would only lead to a billion dollar industry being run by those who profit off it. It’s a shame that creative, fresh visions get “compromised” down to senseless slush and archaic formulas, all for the sake of knowing that people will pay to see this. It has monopolized and tarnished films ability to become an artistic medium over a medium aimed at consumer margins.. though that does not mean there are not talented people in the industry today. I think hollywood is in a transition period caught between greed and technology. So what would that have for the future?
With artists like Chris Nolan, Darren Aronofsky, Martin Scorsese, Mary Haron and plenty of the likes cinema is still a proving ground for commercial success and artistic passion. These filmmakers are capable of dynamically effusing their films with modern capabilities as well as preserving a cinematic philosophy that inspires many filmmakers everyday. Stiney had this low optimism for the films future but I feel that there is so much potential for new masters to arise, it just takes time.
Cutting Through History was the prescribed chapter for us to read both last week and this week. It chronologically lays out different methods and critics of cinema through the eyes of narrative juxtaposition. It was super interesting and had a lot of stuff to say about cinematic traditions and how some filmmakers found ways to reinvent story telling all together through the cinematic eye. Overall good stuff!