Jean-Luc Godard

May 22, 2010

Godard in infinitely cool, in accordance to the French New Wave. The entire movement emboies a smart self awareness about it, simultaneously rebellious–tossing around phrases like “cinema du papa” (Your grand-daddy’s movies). The way Godard calls attention to the materiality of film, with techniques like jump cuts, as well as toying with the genre, through instances akin to sudden changes in mood, makes the French New Wave, in my opinion, a direct proponent in the characteristics of today’s post-modernism. Interestingly, Bordwell points out that this fascinating shift in film’s intellectuality is actually due (in part) to decreased theater attendance, since the fewer that came were more conscious of the film culture. Theater attendance no longer relied on ticket sales from people looking to escape their life, but to those that wanted cinema to be their life (or at least a large part of it). These cinephiles, though fewer in number, rallied a new feeling to movie theaters, one that inspired introspection and, as far as I am concerned, endowed Motion Pictures with an all new legitimacy, one comparable to the first use of color and sound.


Hitchcock

May 22, 2010

Tania Modleski’s argument is one that can be asserted to any and all theories. Simply put, the illustration of one point offers proof of the opposite and equal representation. In the case of Vertigo, the use of the male gaze offers a female gaze perspective, because Hitchcock’s use of the male gaze is deconstructed in the crafting of the film so much that it offers a glimpse into the male viewpoint, consequently unveiling a female gaze. Im reminded of the fact, though on second thought it may be rumor (its consideration applicable either way), that Hitchcock beraded his female actors to evoke a more emotional performance. This shovenism, though seemingly empowering to the male, actually reveals a vulnerability, in that the man in charge is so naive when it comes to female emotion that he must stimulate it for a response, rather than direct the actor professionally as he would a male. In simplest terms, he is overcompensating! This concept mirrors Modleski’s assertions that the male perspective that is blatantly forced in the spectator’s face actually reveals male insecurities, empowering the female gaze.

After examining this line of thought, Hitchcock’s interview with Truffaut becomes quite funny, read as if they are two members of a boys only club. Accoringly, Hitchcock describes the scene when Stewart’s enlisted doppleganger dyes her hair but disappoints him by not putting it in a bun, and Hitchcock relates this disapointment to stripping but not removing the knickers. The male shovenist tone screams insecurity and submission to the power of the female.


Corrigan’s Auteur and Bernstein’s Gangster Film

May 14, 2010

In “Auteurs and the New Hollywood,” Corrigan’s discussion of Tarantino, the typical 1990’s auteur, makes me think of Oscar Micheaux.  Consider Tarantino’s widely known background of working in a video store.  The story, although I am sure is truthful, seems a little too…convenient, I suppose.  I don’t mean to imply that it is fabricated, but it is similar to artists in the music industry selling a character along with their music.  I mention Micheaux because his films career was in the early 1900’s and he, like Tarantino, Lee, and  Lynch, was certainly an eccentric man.  There are stories of his film’s fund raising done personally by Micheaux, door-to-door.  Like Tarantino’s background in the video store, I don’t dispute the description’s veracity, I am merely pointing out the fact that the auteur’s characterization is sold to the public so that when you buy a ticket to their film, you’re not just buying that 90 or 120 minutes, you also buy a ticket into their trend’s organization.  Micheaux illustrates how this sale of character dates back to early cinema.

In “Perfecting the New Gangster” Bernstein describes the characters of Bonnie and Clyde as “1960’s flower children in 1930s garb.”  In other words, they are modernly hip, but with a sort of old school authenticity.  In my opinion, incorporating unconventional sexuality among the trio of crooks would fit this characterization quite perfectly.  The filmmakers feared that this would hinder a primary intention, namely the audience’s identifying with the characters at a time where homosexual tolerance was sparse.  The murder and mayhem didn’t prevent spectators from associating with these loveable characters though.  (Kill, thieve, and run from the cops; just don’t even think about a ménage a trios!)

Along with describing the evolution of the script, Bernstein explains the influences of the film, namely a combination of mainstream Hollywood film and French New Wave.  One interesting example of the French New Wave’s impact is the scene of Bonnie’s poem, as the shot sequence seems to overtly dramatize the poem’s reading.


Bombay Hindi Film

April 23, 2010

Alam Ara is the first Indian sound film, including seven songs with instrumental accompaniment- starting the phase of Indian films’ “unique character” (encompassing music centripetal with drama).  Songs were not full length, but rather proverbial, and the radio popularized these films songs. In the 1940s and ‘50’s, lyrics and melody increased in importance as after WWII. India’s film industry is affected, (somehow-??), by the Indian black market, along with the more obvious influences: the Film Censor board and the radio network.  Bombay musical films become the formulaic norm by the end of the 1940s.  Interestingly, the lyrics did not summarize or repeat any pot points of the film, but the music provided a safe channel to express affections otherwise forbidden in public, eventually leading songs to the front lines of a “war” with the censors.  In the 1960s and ‘70s Hollywood’s influence becomes more apparent in the Bombay films songs, for instance in the presence of theme songs.

After reading Satyajit Ray’s opinion of Ozu and Renoir films, it will be interesting to note how his films conform to and/or defy Hollywood standards, since he seems to respect said defiance so much.


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