Friday, July 6, 2007
Being previously familiar with Dali's work, especially the film "Un Chien Andalou", seeing his art shows the reoccuring symbolism used in both sides of the spectrum. Many of pieces contain images of ants *such as the ants coming out of the hand in the film*, mouths *the disappearing mouth of the man* and hands *the hand in the box*. All the reoccuring images reveal how the symbols were repeating in not only his art, but also his dreams.
The fascinating aspect of "Un Chien Andalou", which is collaborated with friend Luis Bunuel, is that the entire film is a sequence of multiple dreams. Not only is that fascinating, but the fact that the film was put together by the two men when either of them knew what the other was doing for the film. This is so different from any film we are used to today because everything always has to be extremely planned out. The thought of a film with no direction or plan is almost unheard of.
Dali went against the status quo, even though many thought *or still do think* he was crazy. I mean, he was exiled from Spain for his art. How often does one get to see inside the mind of a mad man? Not often and I can say I am glad I have.
"What is surrealism? I am surrealism"
A darkened room. Cherrywood. All four walls covered with bookshelves. Cigar smoke still lingers in the thick forest green carpet. An old man is still sitting at his desk with yesterdays newspaper when...
"Papa! Why are you sitting in your study? Grandma said dinner is ready"
"Come on! Let's go eat."
He looks at his granddaughter and suddenly realizes how fast she has grown up. Wasn't it yesterday he was holding her as a newborn in the hospital? Now she's already twelve, although an outsider would guess much older.
"No, sweetie. Just a moment. Go get my Jean Toussaint for me."
"Alright Grandpa, but Grandma's gonna get mad."
"I'll tell her it's all my fault. Play Lament For Kenny."
The smooth jazz notes hit his hear as he closes his eyes. His mind drifts as it follows the music up and down. He can't tell if it makes him feel content or sad. Jazz has that way with him. It has that way with most people, he thinks.
"This is pretty good music Papa"
"I know sweetheart..."
The music continues to play as the two sit in the room. They both forget about dinner as the camera fades to black.
My boyfriend's neice loves Wicked. On more than one occasion she has insisted everyone within earshot sit and watch her rendition of "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished". Like most little kids would, she knows all the words to her favorite songs, and could probably recite most of the performance's speaking parts, too. What is not certain, though, is whether or not she realizes the impact of the words she's singing. Yes, Wicked is a musical. Yes, it's fiction. But that does not mean there is anything less than serious about it. Through this musical, people of all ages see and can know for themselves that there is always something left unsaid, something you cannot possibly know unless you ask. In today's world, this is especially true. The Wizard says it best when he says, "Elphaba, where I'm from, we believe all sorts of things that aren't true. We call it - 'history'". For everyone, but for children especially, this message is crucial. "There are precious few at ease with moral ambiguities. So we act as though they don't exist", says the Wizard. I wonder if President Bush has seen Wicked...
Everything you do has the potential to be horribly misconstrued and misunderstood. Life isn't always fair. Not everything you hear, or think you know, is wholly or even partially true. People lie, and not everyone is who you think they are. Those are the lessons taught by Wicked. But let's not forget maybe the most important lesson of all... despite the struggles, despite the deceit, and despite your own doubts, sometimes "life has a funny way of helping you out". (Thanks, Alanis)
There is a sort of eerie feeling when you grasp the fact that you are walking along similar if not the exact same paths that a serial killer did some hundred and some odd years ago. The graphic nature of the crimes is what truly adds to its horror and gives it somewhat of an artistic touch. The undeniably infamous “Jack the Ripper” could be defined as one of hundreds of different categories of people depending on who is asked. Using the lens of the once terrifying cinematic character Hannibal Lector, it could be said that Lector would view the streets of
These prostitutes had time to repent before they were sentenced to their rightful punishment by the blade of a man who was carrying out his duty to all those of
Billy Wilder’s The Lost Weekend was a powerful film that depicts the life of a diseased alcoholic through the character of Don Birnam. A failed writer, Birnam becomes engrossed with booze; although his dearly loved ones struggle to help him battle this addiction. There are many ways to define an alcoholic, but this film portrays to society the definition of a true alcoholic. According to Webster Dictionary alcoholism is described as a chronic disorder marked by excessive and usually compulsive drinking of alcohol leading to psychological and physical dependence or addiction. People everywhere define alcoholism differently from having a drink anytime during the weekday, one drink a day; two drinks a day, etc. further showing more severe forms of drinking. In Birnam’s situation he literally can not function without alcohol flowing through his bloodstream. He also suffers from withdrawals when he cannot obtain liquor into his body. As a result, Wilder conveys the epitome of a chronic alcoholic. The story of Birnams’ dependence is one of serious importance that is not usually revealed on the big screen. Many films and television shows have portrayed drunks as being humorous and are not taken seriously. For example, The Simpsons’ character Barney Gumble is a character that the audience is enthralled by. The writers play with the concept of drunkards being hilarious. However, in Wilder’s film this is not the case, and he demonstrates how this evil spirit takes full control over the body and mind. Birnam says, “I can't be cut off completely. That's the devil. That's what drives you crazy.” Another example is the director uses the imagery of circles to illustrate the eternal struggle that Birnam attempts to defeat. While at the bar multiple circles from the shot glass symbolize this ongoing struggle. Birnam explains to Nat, “Don’t wipe it away, Nat. Let be have my little vicious circle. You know, the circle is the perfect geometric figure. No end, no beginning.” This can be related to Dante’s inferno of the circles of hell. Dante’s inferno is shaped in concentric circles with different levels of sinners. The inferno is shaped similarly to a cone with the first circle being the largest and progressively getting smaller. People have committed sins and are forever trapped in the circles of the fiery ashes and gates of hell. Sinners are therefore placed here for all eternity. Birnam battles this in his real life and it appears that he will struggle with this illness even until he reaches his afterlife because of this constant vicious cycle that he has succumbed to.
Thursday, July 5, 2007
A screen was set up on one side of the theater for those who couldn’t or wouldn’t fight thru the crowd of people on the opposite end. Though really hostility wasn’t a factor as everyone was there for one thing and one thing only, to be apart of the Potter extravaganza. Television cameras and their correspondents were lined up in one section for their chance to bombard with questions. I was surprised to not see anyone dressed up. Back home, at a Harry Potter premiere it was unheard of to not go to the extremes. Even at a Star Wars premiere you’d see Anakin’s.
Walking around London I knew the Harry Potter Film would have to be a tremendous event. I searched Google because accurate information was imperative. Hope everyone enjoyed the show and shower on a Tuesday in London town.
Another thing: Why is it necessary to be camera whores in today's society? Where ever a news anchor went, a screeching scream who come out of the crowd of mostly young girls, trying to get noticed in the background. This kind of behavior gives way to "Girls Gone Wild." There was this one girl who must have slept there overnight to get her spot in the front of the barricades. She had a bright yellow sign that said "Dan Dan He's Our Man", obviously to get Radcliffe's attention. while it never was seen by Radcliffe, that girl with her sign must have been seen worldwide on millions of television sets, showing how devoted people are to their stars.
Society makes it OK to worship these idols in today's world. I just hope that some old man doesn't come down from a mountain in Hollywood somewhere and break a couple of tablets of stone with writing on them, completely damning us for our ways.
Please do not take offense to this flyer. It has been completely fabricated and formulated to mock a Jack the Ripper online flyer.
Having said that, and having caught your attention with the above:
People have since the beginning of crime, been fascinated by the psychology, motives, and tactics behind crime and horror. The Exorcist one of the top horror movies of all time has grossed $442,000,000.00, there have been 9, count them 9 Halloween movies, and another is on its way. That is just the movies. Whole documentaries and studies have been made on the basis of delving into the mind of a serial killer. What is it that drives our curiosity and fascination with terror?
In today’s world, human beings generally speaking, do not have to worry about being hunted. Terror was a common reaction when we still lived amongst great predators. Nowadays we fabricate horror in the guise of movies or haunted houses because there is something cathartic and energizing about facing danger and stress. Horror serves as a form of dealing with our own mortality and the existential implications of the fact that no one escapes death.
The Cowardly Lion, played by the incredible Bert Lahr, conveyed a simple-minded character who cannot face the counterattack. He can put on a mean face, but cannot man up once someone stands up to him. The Lion says he lacks the courage, being that even though he is the King of the Forrest, he does not have the bravery. Who said these things to him to make him believe that? What kind of upbringing did he receive to allow such self doubt? Unfortunately, we will never full know these answers. However, through both the book and film, the Lion shows qualities of courage which nobody notices other than the audience. All along, the Cowardly Lion was not a coward, just self loathing and self doubt wrongfully applied to himself. His character, just like every other character in the film, is a metaphor of the human psyche and how we as human doubt ourselves so much that we begin to believe we don't have certain qualities. We as human have such a powerful grip on our own consciousness that we can trick ourselves into whatever we think. Realities and dreams intertwine and we confuse ourselves. The Lion obviously has courage when he says, "All right, I'll go in there for Dorothy. Wicked Witch or no Wicked Witch, guards or no guards, I'll tear them apart. I may not come out alive, but I'm going in there." If you believe in yourself, you can achieve what you want: A great lesson taught in the Wizard of Oz
Society has placed a certain "god-like" vision of entertainers in the past 100 years. Why? Do they not breathe and eat like ourselves? Do they not have the same faults and mannerisms everyday people have all around us simple folk? No, they do. They’re human. Jude Law sat up on stage and woman almost purred at the sight of him, but all he did was gave a simple conversation on a film he probably never saw or had his entourage give a brief synopsis to him before heading into the French Film Institute. Maybe that's a little too harsh, but how can you not see the humanity of someone you see in film once you see them in person? (I'm going to say 'I' for the next few sentences, but it's for a reason) Since moving to greater part of Los Angeles, California, 6 years ago, I have had the opportunity of running into movie and television stars from time to time, most notably Vince Vaughn, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Kirsten Dunst. Growing up in DC, movie stars were hard to come by; politicians came a dime a dozen. However, after living in Cali and seeing these people with my own eyes, I just don't see how people can get so crazy over another human being. They all look like they just got out of bed, don't shave in the morning, and can't keep a healthy relationship to save their lives (listening, Jude?). Every person has their flaws, even movie stars. Actors in Shakespeare’s time barely got by with the money they made, and were almost looked down upon. When and where did that change? The only reason actors and actresses seem "larger than life" is because the movie industry needs to make money by having large screens in large venues to shove large amounts of people in and out. Why did the camera change everything? One interesting thing I noticed at the Film Institute was that after the intro, Jude picked up his chair and brought it to the side, not making someone clean up after him. Maybe it’s nothing, but it seemed like a small, courteous gesture uncommon in the film star of today.
Hey Jude don’t let her down:
Yes Jude please don’t let her down…
One of the most noticeable characteristics of the audience that night at the viewing of Le Samurai was that it was predominantly female. It isn’t exactly shocking that a gaggle of girls should show up at any opportunity to see the one and only Jude Law, but it must get annoying, for his roadies that is, to see this short and messy excuse of a man (Jude Law was much shorter and untidy in person, a little shocking) always bagging hot chicks, always having to deal with screaming fans willing to do anything for an autograph, and then there is you a loyal roadie standing by picking up the scraps.
However in the male attendees defence, what Jude had to say about the movie was actually insightful. The fact that it was Jude Law talking about the film, made movie goers a bit more attentive to the aspects of the film that he pointed out. You paid more attention to the movie because a celebrity has shown interest in it as well.
Don't you know that it’s a fool who plays it cool:
The conversation between the old man (im sorry I don’t know his name, when I probably should) and Jude was very cool and casual, a bit “Inside the Actors Studio-esque” which made every body a bit more comfortable and less anxious about seeing the “big celebrity”.
You'll do, the movement you need is on your shoulder:
He needed to move his shoulder a bit for my sister to get a better photo op :)
The minute he stepped onstage Im sure he was temporarily blinded by the thousands of camera flashes. It seems that people were there for the celebrity instead of the film. If you go to the French institute any other night less than half of the same theatre is full. Jude packed the house.
Then you can start to make it better:
Ultimately Jude Laws presence, and more importantly his opinion, made Le Samurai more enjoyable. Most people stepped into the Le Samurai experience with a preconceived acceptance because of Jude’s praise for the film. Those who did not, probably adopted the opposite opinion just to be contrary: to try to prove wrong, and disagree with a celebrity.
Le Samurai itself turned out to be an enjoyable film. Jude's insight into the characters helped decifer some of the films cryptic meaning, specifically the protagonist's gentle manlyness, he was a romantic hit man, a paradox in himself. That may just be the effect of Jude taking its toll on my opinion, however it is an intelligent opinion to have.
One such issue is that of racism. watching Disney’s 1941 film Dumbo, it is as plain as night and day that racism saturated society. All of the human characters are Caucasian, most of the anthropomorphized animals seem to be derivative of white society and the characters that are obviously not white are represented in such a stereotypical manner.
The only black characters in Dumbo are the black birds. The birds, obviously based on urban black culture of the time, are represented as not very well to do, wearing patched clothing, and intellectually inferior. The biggest sign that the birds are inspired by the black culture of the 40’s is in their speech. The birds use slang and ebonics, calling each other “brotha”, speaking with southern accents, and generally using mutilated grammar, traits usually stereotypical of the black community in the 40’s. It is a bit ironic that these characters that society holds such prejudice against, turn out to be some of the most integral characters to the story and success of Dumbo. The birds are ultimately the ones who teach dumbo how to fly and thus lend a hand to his success and happiness. It is ironic that the characters that were inspired by the “lesser race” play such a positive part in the story. Did the writers include this contradictory representation on purpose? Were they avant-garde civil rights activists?
There is a rhythm to life. A beat courses through every action, every movement, every sound, sight, and smell. This beat is the soundtrack of everyday; it is up to you whether you listen and hear it. The next time you are walking down the street, notice every little detail, and listen in your head to the sound it makes. See the sounds.
This process works both ways. Listen and see. Close your eyes, slam a book, you can see how dense it is, if it is paperback or hardbound, you can see it hitting the table and falling to the ground. What about abstract sounds, something that doesn’t already have a visual connotation in your mind? Play a piano, but do not picture a piano and the player, instead follow the story that the notes tell you. Pay attention to the mood of the music and set your own images to the auditory tale that each sound weaves.
Listening to master saxophonist Jean Toissant’s wailing music, many jazzy images pop up: a tap dancer, a smoky bar, a sexily clad lady, a burning cigarette. However one piece in particular, told a different tale. This piece evolved with time, starting off with a steady beat, a slow introduction. I saw a nervous athlete, getting hyped up before a game, knowing what to expect, and expecting surprises. Meditating on a bench spotlighted in a dark gym, elbows on knees, hands kneading his neck deep in concentration.
The tune changed a bit, quickened, and Toissant hits some high notes. The game has started, our hero’s heart is beating, adrenaline pumping, ready to fight. Here is the tip off, the ball is in possession.
As the song continues you can imagine the game progressing, the beat of the ball hitting the ground with each step, players passing back and forth moving up and down the court. Any small hiccup in the tune can be fancy foot work, or a fast break.
As the song comes to a close, the pace quickens again full of suspense. I imagined a rebound, our hero grabs the ball out of mid air, spins and heads down the court. The sax wails and screams as he dribbles toward the basket. A sudden screech means our athlete ran into some trouble, had to stop in his tracks and avoid some defence, he swivels around evading the grabbing hands of the other team and passes to a team mate. This all happens in slow, yet fast motion. His senses are heightened, similar to a life or death situation. His court vision is spectacular, he can see everything happening, he feels the sweat on his face and back, he can hear shoes squeaking on the waxy court, and like tunnel vision he zeroes in on the ball that is headed straight toward him. The music follows each sense explaining how the ball feels in his hands, how he can smell the players around him. Each squeal of the sax is another exciting moment.
As the music begins its crescendo; the drummer picking up the pace hitting each drum, the piano running up and down the keys frantically, the bass keeping that backbeat going, and Toissants sax singing out of control, our hero makes it past the defence. He jumps, flying above everybody. Hands shoot up trying to block him but it is too late. He stretches reaching for the basket and almost effortlessly releases the ball, like handling a fragile bird, and lets it slip through the net. With the last lingering vibrations of the drummer’s symbols, the lights fade to black on the court and our athlete is walking head held high through the exit.
Anyone who claims there’s no way that people of different races, religions, genders, and political ideals can't get along together in tight quarters should go stand in a throng of enthusiastic fans, waiting for a spectacle. During those moments (or hours, as it were), everyone wants the same thing and no one will leave until they get it.
At the premier this past week, thousands of fans showed up just to catch a glimpse of the pseudo wizards and witches. Posters and homemade signs became prepubescent girls’ most prized possessions as soon as TV cameras came within 20 yards. Like their lives depended on it, they shook and waved their handwritten proclamations of love in desperate attempts to catch the eye of interviewers and stars alike. Rarely did it actually get them anywhere, but it fed the crowd’s energy, so it was good.
Age was not a common factor throughout the group. People covered the spectrum—some had to ditch school to get there, others hadn’t been to school in decades. No one bothered dressing up, either. On an unspoken level, everyone knew the stars would take the cake no matter what. The individual did not matter.
When the stars finally showed, the rain rushed them into the protection of the VIP area, away from the fans, much to their vehemently expressed chagrin. But no amount of yelling, cussing, or whining would bring them back. Despite the fact that no one important was staying in view of the cameras for long, the mobs could not bring themselves to break from the idol worship until nearly every Mercedes in the entourage had delivered its passengers.
An event like this is one of a kind. It is the only time a bunch of people will stand around strangers to gawk at other strangers… and everyone is perfectly happy with that.
What you desire, what you deserve, and what you get:
A rich prince walks into a bar, sits down and immediately starts boasting about how rich and fabulous he is. He has three palaces in various countries, thousands of ladies to choose from, and millions of pounds at his disposal, which he has no qualms spending freely. The old maid bar tender listens attentively while washing out a glass.
Rich prince: give me a bottle of only your finest!
The old maid squints an eye and knowingly chooses a particular bottle. Handing the prince his bottle she warns him,
“he who drinketh this shall gain what many men desire”
The rich prince proclaims “well that is of no matter, I desire nothing!”
As soon as the prince takes one sip of “the finest” he drops dead and is never mentioned again.
A few weeks later a bitter apprentice comes strolling into the bar. This apprentice complains to the old maid about how he deserves much more out of life. He claims,
“My master knows nothing, and I have to put up with him day in and day out. If I had it my way I would be a well to do nobleman, with 5 wives and endless wine!”
The old maid nods her head at all of the appropriate comments while wiping down her bar.
Apprentice: “Hag, give me what I can afford!”
Slamming down his life’s earnings, he decides to drink to his self pity.
The old maid flares a nostril and calculatingly reaches for a specific spigot. Handing the apprentice a pint she cautions him
“he who drinketh this shall get what he deserves”
The apprentice: that’s fine by me I deserve all of the gold in the world!
And with one gulp thousands of pounds of gold come crashing down on the apprentice killing him instantly.
A few weeks later a poor wanderer wanders through the old maid’s doors. She looks up from counting her cash and notices the state of the man. He wears hand me down thrift clothes which have been shabbily patched. She judges they are probably his only possessions, when she notices a small mangy looking dog at his heels. The man reaches down and scratches the dog behind one ear, then continues to the bar.
Wanderer: “M’am, I am but a poor wanderer, I have not a pound to my name, but I assure you if you could spare some bread and water I would forever be in your debt.”
The old maid takes uncharacteristic pity on the man and breaks half a loaf for him and hands him a cup of water. As the man turns to head out the door she wagers, she will never see him again, and she was only abetting his begging ways. But at that moment the man bends down and offers the starving dog all of the bread and water.
Astonished, the old maid invites the man to share a pint of beer. The wanderer thanks her kindly and chooses a stool at the bar.
The old maid purses her lips and goes off in search of a certain brew. She pours two mugs and in her toast she explains “he who drinketh this must give and hazard all he hath” the wanderer doesn’t understand a word but humbly toasts and the two sip in tandem.
Sputtering, the wanderer chokes as all of his clothes change from flea ridden rags to a new suit. He watches in amazement as the old maid transforms from a wrinkle ridden old hag into a beautiful young bar maid.
Once the dog stops barking, and all chaos ceases, the once old maid explains that she had been cursed for centuries. She had been turned into an ugly old maid and was forced to judge men on their character and allot payment or punishment accordingly. When the wanderer came and did not demand a thing from life, or desire more than what he had, and gave everything he could, he broke the curse.
A few weeks later the now young maid and the wanderer exchange vows and live happily ever after.
While Shakespeare’s scene revolves around image and inner beauty, my scene spins off of his references to human character. The caskets in his scene remind the suitors that they cannot always have what they want, they cannot always get what they think they deserve, and they must always give in order to receive. Once the suitors spend time with Portia, they realize that the ornamental caskets are merely pretty boxes holding nothing inside. Lead however, is merely an ugly exterior holding true inner beauty. My scene revolves around the inscriptions on each casket and what they imply.
To be sure, Disney intended to tell the endearing story of a deserted baby elephant who, with the help of his friend the circus mouse, ultimately learns to fly. And so he did; that story is obvious. What he could not refrain from doing while simultaneously telling the obvious and happy tale, was injecting the plot with mature social undertones. Dumbo’s mother goes insane because of a bunch of unruly boys jeering and taunting her son. The circus men lock her in a cage to keep her separated from all the “normal” animals, not at all unlike what happened to people, mostly women, who were deemed mentally ill for centuries, leading up the time of the movie’s release. The Freudian influence on the understanding of psychology, especially of “hysterical” women, is painfully evident. After his mother’s rampage, the other elephants socially ostracise Dumbo. Granted, children know very well who and what they do not like. But it is not until others teach them that they learn to shun those who are “different”, even if the difference has no negative consequence whatsoever.
But even more compelling, and especially more controversial, than themes of mental illness and social ostracism, is the notion of racism Disney has been accused of portraying. Near the end of the film, after Dumbo’s night of pink elephants, he finds himself up a tree he could neither have climbed nor jumped into. A flock of black crows, voiced almost entirely by African American choir members, sings “I be done seen ‘bout everything when I seen an elephant fly”. What many people opposed to the supposed racial discrimination portrayed in this portion of the film are quick to point out is that the crows are loud, obnoxious, and “stupid” and are meant to represent black culture. However, what is perhaps undermined by the racial discrimination argument is the fact that the crows are the only characters, besides the mouse or Dumbo’s mother, who show any kindness to Dumbo. In fact, they are the only other characters who cry, or say kind words to him, and they actually end up helping him find his proverbial wings. In essence, they are his saviours and social mentors. Usually, if an audience is to be convinced of a characters “badness”, a film will not portray him or her doing kind deeds or saying nice things. So, while there very well may be racial representation from a very narrow and stereotypical standpoint, given the actuality of who the characters are in relation to Dumbo, it is less than convincing to argue that the racial representation is, in fact, racial discrimination.
So, while the film is rife with adult content and themes, the debate over whether or not the crows characters are in fact poor representations of the African American community is the most controversial.
The movie follows Jean through his childhood, growing up in the Virgin Islands, then moving to London at the age of 16 on his own, with no money, no family and nowhere to go when he arrives. All he has is a backpack with two shirts and a loaf of bread and his saxophone. He had heard that New Orleans was the place to go, if you want to play jazz for a living; and it was only a short boat ride away from the Virgin Islands. As it turns out, New Orleans was a jazz mecca and only a short boat ride away. Jean happened to board a boat that was headed to London, not the US. After a week on the boat realized the mistake he had made. Nonetheless, after arrival in London, Jean set up shop in a London tube station, trying to make some money. When the movie reaches the opening scene of Jean playing in the tube, it does not stop there. I continues on, with Jean eventually playing gigs every night and headlining clubs around the world. There is even a scene with him becoming computer savvy and making his own website and myspace page.
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Kathie Moffett: "Can't you even feel sorry for me?"
Jeff Bailey: "I'm not going to try."
Kathie Moffett: "Jeff ..."
Jeff Bailey: "Just get out, will you? I have to sleep in this room."
"Out of the Past" was not at all a bad film, just an overrated film noir.
Adolph’s film was extremely sympathetic to criminals that ruined hundreds of peoples lives. The clips placed in between the interviews, such as the golf scene or the toy car scene, paired with the nostalgia-inducing music made the viewer imagine they were in the mind of the con man. There were two noticeable themes that the con men shared that also made the viewer understand where they were coming from. One common thread was they all had some sort of traumatic past or childhood, such as spending years at a home for child delinquents or being severely beaten by their parents or having to give up their toy cars for other children to play with them. Another was how all the con men said how stupid their victims were by mentioning things like, “if they would have just checked, made a call, looked it up etc....”
After viewing the film, you really had the feeling that you got inside the mind of a con man. It is hard to imagine that Adolph wanted the viewer to feel anything less than pity and possibly even empathy toward the con men at the end of his film. Adolph’s excellent organization of the documentary into how they conned, their past, their lives as con men, and finally the consequence of their actions, made a perfect circle out of the most imperfect lives.
With the opportunity to witness first hand the mayhem that surrounds/is celebrity, we took off to the screening of Jean-Pierre Melville’s "Le Samourai." The most obvious feature of the the audience was the percentage of female attendees. While it is impossible to know for sure how many were at the Institut Francais to view Melville’s film and how many were there to see the Jude Law, the majority must have attended because of the latter. The people in the front row were giddy as school girls and their cameras came close to matching the number of flashes that go off when the paparazzi are constantly following Jude. It was also noticed that some ladies even left twenty minutes into the film, after they had seen there fill of Mr. Law.
The media portrays celebrities such as Jude Law as alcohol absorbed and lusting after everyone and anyone. From this fabricated image the media creates, (although not all of it is untrue--after all where there’s smoke, there’s fire) we stop thinking of actors as artists. For that reason, it was surprising to hear Jude talk about Alain Delon and his character Jef Costello with such fervency. One memorable anecdote from the night was when Jude told the audience how much he loved the opening scene, with Delon lying on the bed, almost lifeless-looking, except for the bellowing smoke coming from his mouth. When we viewed the film, I took note of this scene and it definitely made it more significant to me knowing Jude Law himself picked it out.
What was really intriguing was the fact that the con artists would reverse the role play. Instead of realizing they are greedy, they would justify their actions by saying the people being conned were greedy. Rather ironic seeing that the conman should be considered greedy, wanting to take money away from individuals who though they established this “trustworthy” relationship. Perhaps money does get the best of some and the thought of more causes people to change. I found it quite hilarious that the parent’s of the conmen were completely oblivious to the acts, saying it was out of character and “they didn’t mean it”. Perhaps that is the role of the parent, to always be on the side of their children. The real life elements of documentaries, as shown in "Con Man Confidential", makes one feel for victims, but the sad thing is that is almost makes one feel for the con man.
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
- Mr. Cowardly Lion is a single male (?) who lives alone, and has no children or family to speak of. He is not currently employed, and recent employment records do not indicate gainful employment at any time during the past 24 months.
- Mr. Lion did not actively seek treatment. He was involuntarily committed after being arrested for vagrancy. He has since been exhibiting nervous and paranoid tendencies in addition to a generally aggressive personality. He also appears to be experiencing schizophrenic hallucinations of a land he calls “Oz” where he intends to meet a “wizard”. The hallucinations also reference three other individuals, namely a young woman called Dorothy, a “Tin Man”, and a scarecrow. Multiple personality disorders are not to be ruled out.
Preliminary DSM-IV Diagnosis:
- Axis I: Clinical Syndromes (Diagnosis)
o Generalized Anxiety Disorder:
§ Evidenced by Mr. Lion’s excessive worry, and accompanying physical symptoms of such anxiety (shaking, tail wringing, etc.)
§ Possibly the result of childhood abuse (would explain the aggressive/self-defense tendencies toward even non-threatening others).
§ Delusions of Oz and the Wizard
§ Delusions that someone (a small dog named Toto, or a witch) is trying to hurt him
§ Visions of grandeur (often heard singing “If I were king of the forest…”)
§ Hallucinations of other individuals (both visual and auditory)
o Sheep Phobia:
§ Claimed he could not count them to get to sleep because he was afraid of them.
- Axis II: Developmental and Personality Disorders
o Borderline Personality Disorder:
§ History of negative self view and inconsistent moods combined with significant impulsivity (with an exaggerated inability to control aggressive impulses).
§ Indicative, again, of childhood abuse and a resulting history of unstable relationships.
§ Also currently exhibiting the fear of abandonment and attachment to imagined figures (see above).
- Axis III: Physical Conditions which play a role in the development, continuance, or exacerbation of Axis I and II Disorders
o Role play therapy needed to work through childhood issues (possible hypnotherapy if voluntary regression is unsuccessful)
o Intensive cognitive-behavioural therapy needed to reduce negative self thoughts and behaviours
o Desensitization/flooding therapy to alleviate phobia of sheep
o Traditional antipsychotic medication
o Possible antidepressant program
- Hard to determine. If schizophrenia is ruled out (unlikely), the anxiety and personality disorders should be treated more successfully.
It was a rainy night in London and Peter had come to his favorite jazz club which was named Club 606. This was a special night because he got to hear the musical stylings of an incredible sax player named Jean Toussaint. The room was dimly lit and cozy and he sat himself at a table near the front where the band was playing. He ordered himself a bottle of the pinot noir wine and a tasty meal as was customary in this club. Then he began to take in his environment and took a glance around the room. As he did so he saw a beautiful woman sitting alone in the corner of the room. She was wearing a white dress trimmed in gold. He wondered why such a beutiful woman would be sitting alone. Then their eyes met and a slight smile appeared on her face and something in the way her eyes sparkled when she looked at him made him feel a little funny. He wanted to aprroach her but the music had just begun and he was for a moment engulfed in listening to Jean Toussaint play his beautiful music on the saxophone. When the first set of music ended he took his chance to approach her and talk to her. He decided to come right out and ask her why a beautiful woman such as herself was here all alone. She then told him that the reason why she does things alone is that that way she always got to do exactly what she wanted without having to answer or cater to anyone else's desires. Peter had never thought about it before but then he realized that is why he too enjoys going out on his own. He then asked what if she found someone who also enjoyed the same things as her, and would it be more fun to have someone to enjoy things with. She had never given much thought to the idea but when she thought about it a smile appeared on her face and she aked Peter if he would like to join her at her table and listen to the next set with her. He eagerly agreed and sat down with her. They had a lovely time talking and listening to the music and decided to try and enjoy each others company again sometime, and that is how the beautiful music of Jean Toussant brought to independent and slightly lonely people together on that rainy night at Club 606.
"Now get of this room. I have to sleep here." "Baby, I don't care."
Oh, the one-liners in this movie. . .Simply amazing. the dialog flows so quickly between each other. The actors snap great lines back and forth between each other so fast I couldn't keep up. Did people back in the 40's and 50's talk like that anyways? In that dry, lightning fast sarcasm with no remorse? I would love to hear it if my grandparents spoke like that to each other.
Out of the Past is a classic film noir in the sense that it has the femme fatale, the womanizing yet moral hero, and plenty of backstabbing to go around. Yet, compared to other noirs I've seen like Double Indemnity, there are subtle differences that gave the film a much more majestic and powerful feel. The drama is not cramped into a city setting, but out in the country side and open areas, like Lake Tahoe and Mexico. Typical noirs have all the action taking place in urban centers like Chicago and NYC where the hard nosed hero eventually ends up dead.
Was America scared of women back in the 40's and 50's? It seems as if women in almost all films in that day were portrayed as double-crossers and untrustworthy. Maybe it's the idea of the Post War, working woman was bad for society. This portrayal of women quite possibly may have helped the feminist movement.
Monday, July 2, 2007
The ripper of the 1888, who most likely was not named Jack was one messed up guy. Walking along this guy’s old stalking ground really caused a sense or dark mystery. Why would someone want to mutilate so many women that were just toothless prostitutes? The fact of it was, it did not matter how creepy or twisted Jack the Ripper was, the police should have caught him. From the way the story was very interestingly told, it seemed that the main reason why this man remained free was because of a police tiff. The city of London police refused to cooperate with Scotland Yard, and because of this, much of the evidence was destroyed. This idiocy can still be seen in today’s governing forces even in the US. A perfect example of this is how the FBI, CIA, and DEA hardly share information. More times than probably shown through the media, this has caused slower resolutions, and even suspects to remain free. Our government needs to look at situations in history, such as Jack the Ripper, and understand that much more can be accomplished with a joint attempt. It is possible that had all the evidence been properly documented, and the City of London Police and Scotland Yard had cooperated, Jack the Ripper could have been stopped. It is only speculation but the Story of the horrible murders in 1888 teaches that it is better to work as one together, than to be rivals and separate.
Sunday, July 1, 2007
It was interesting comparing the sets in the movie The Wizard of Oz and the set of Wicked; all the sets in the film look like sets from a play, lots of painted scenery, fake trees and plants. The musical had an amazing set equipped to change easily for each scene in a short amount of time. There were many parallels between the film set and a set that would be found in a play, or musical, though Wicked's set did not look too similar to The Wizard of Oz film.
Wicked dramatically changed the story both from Frank L. Baum's childrens series and from The Wizard of Oz movie, modernizing the story and giving a new perspective on the adventures in Oz. In contrast to the original story from Dorothy's point of view, Wicked shows Oz through the eyes of the misfit Elphaba Thropp otherwise known as the Wicked Witch of the West. Elphaba's story begins with her unfaithful mother having an unfortunate affair with the man who will become the Wizard of Oz. Elphaba born green, is unloved by her father and spends time desperately trying to win his affection. She idolizes the Wizard until she realizes that he is the head of a corrupt government locking up all the animals, in order to bring people together according to the wizard "nothing brings people together like having a common enemy". This idea reflects many governments, from Hitlers Germany, to even in some ways the war on terror, having a common enemy to unite people. In fact even in small group situations if there is one person nobody gets along with that itself gives everyone else something to agree on, bond over even. Wicked's modern interpretation of the Witches of Oz, and the story of the Wizard of Oz is entertaining and refreshing, thought some parts don't exactly line up with the story, such as the wicked witch being the one to make the tin man, and Fiyero becoming the scare crow. Also in Wicked Elphaba was really a good person, one who I sympathized with, but in the original story and the film she seems truly wicked, and out to get Dorothy. Wicked was a beautifully done production, the differences made it fun, and new to watch, while the songs remain stuck in my head still today.
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Jean Toussaint’s technique and lyrical sound leave little room for anyone to actually invent a movie scene. The scene, the script, and everything you need is already there. It’s like a coloring book. All you have to do is choose the color. Drift from reality as con men do and let your imagination take over as we take off to the sounds of “2 Miles” 5…4…3…2 \/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/
The star… HA! Who’d you expect? Just after 6:00. Waltz down to the local social spot to grab a sip of someone beautiful. Get comfortable with the bar, put out the vibe. Low lighting, dark wood furniture, small but swanky. I like it. “Bar tender! Vodka Tonic.” Survey the environment. Glance right, lean left and turn. Glance left, and return to center. “Five pounds sir.” 7 o’clock just over my left shoulder sitting on the coach. Distance… might as well be two miles, because I don’t exist… well, not yet. Stunning brunette, green eyes, reading glasses but no book, and heels under 2 inches drinking an apple martini that’s almost empty. Beautiful enough to catch the eye of the females in the room, but no courage from anyone in the room to approach. Only one call, “Bar tender, two apple martini’s.” Best part, no guy. Worst part, she’s not looking for one. My call says it has had a hard day at work, it was too early for a shot and a beer just wouldn’t cut it, not to mention the ‘fuck off bitch’ stamped on her forehead. “Ten pounds sir.” Locked and loaded, time to move. Deep breath. Smooth walk like the smoke lingering in the air. Cool … calm. Prepare for entry. Ten feet……. Five… four…three… “Hello, my names chip.” Turn, pivot, and sit. Shit, beat to the bunch by some schmooze named chip. So close I can smell the ocean coming off the waves of her hair. Status check, I’m good. Patience is a virtue. Take it slow, time is on my side. She can’t take the first guy, no no no. She’s too beautiful to take the first one. She’ll wait for the second or third like a seasoned ball player who lets the first pitch go. Chips stock is falling fast. He’s taking a nosedive off the rejection tree and hitting every branch on the way down. You can see her discord like the sun being blocked out by the moon. Approach, angle, speed, timing, its all off. Like a bad rock song playing for a lady who needs someone smooth. Only one solution, but first we have to deal with our friend Chip here. Just can’t take a hint can he. Don’t blame the guy, blame the girls. They really screwed with this guys head leaving him lost somewhere between taking rejection for face value and taking it as try harder stupid. Knock, knock. Better get that, its opportunity at the door. Every woman loves her savior. Time to go ‘con man’ on the poor sap. Who am I… I know exactly who I am. Walk up, pat him on the back and look her in the eyes and say “Hi honey, how was work?” She gives me a smile from ear to ear, and that was the last we heard of Chip.