2/25/2006 11:23:00 AM|W|P|Matt|W|P|
So, regarding my last post, one can see that I am not exactly the highest proponent of films released in the last few years, at least not made in Hollywood. So this time around, I'm going to write what I do enjoy, starting from the beginning. The silent film. Yes, yes the forgotten father of film and everything that comes with it: the sped up camera work where it looks like your watching a less sexually oriented Benny Hill Show, the incredible overacting, the scratchy almost illegible film. I love it all. Wait, I take that back. I don't enjoy overacting, the sped up camera always pissed me off a little, and hard to watch film is, well, hard to watch.
So what do I enjoy so much about it? Let me give an example of one of my favorite films, silent or otherwise: The Passion of Joan of Arc, or La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc for you traditionalists out there. It recalls, in harrowing detail, the trial of Joan of Arc after her capture, with Carl Theodore Dreyer utilizing the records of the actual trial for his screenplay. Now a new initiate to older films would find this one, at first, fairly difficult to watch as most of us have been hotwired into a system of things that go boom. This sentiment of antiquity is soon forgotten, though, as the actual power of these images comes across. I can give it no justice writing about it. I suggest you run, do not walk, to view it. But back to my main point. What makes this film what it is? I'm straight out saying much of it is the fact that it is silent. The most problematic thing with introducing sound is the fact that much of the weight of the images is lost. The ear overtakes the eye, and we are, albiet, drawn more into the world created but at a cost. We lose the expressionist, representational weight that images provide us. Actually, they are still there in newer films. We just don't know how to see anymore. Now some tried to circumvent this particular problem by literally deconstructing the world they created. This started with a playwright by the name of Bertolt Brecht. His theory, coined Brechtian distanciation, "refers to the destruction of the theatrical illusion for the purpose of eliciting an intellectual response in the audience." How much such an idea worked is a question I still pose.
So this is not a critique, or a plea to return to our caveman ways or any crap like that. It is more, hopefully, an idea of why silent films should still be appreciated for the reactions seemingly so foreign to us now; that of an emotional, expressionistic response to an image, and an image alone.|W|P|114089778206425099|W|P|Silence is Not Only Golden, It's a Must|W|P|2/26/2006 12:51:00 PM|W|P|Mat|W|P|Another example would be Nosferatu. Without the aid of sound, it conveyed fear and horror through images alone. Horror movies these days typically use loud noises to startle instead of scare.3/03/2006 05:15:00 PM|W|P|Joseph|W|P|this blog is also very nice. you should set up a website with mat, mattmat.com something like that. naturally, a website about science and film would make you millions.2/24/2006 02:33:00 PM|W|P|Matt|W|P|What's wrong you ask? Nothing. The biggest problem is the view that Hollywood is anything more than a business, more now than ever before. Consider, for example, what happened in the 80s, I think it was, when Campbell's novel, The Hero With a Thousand Faces, was first used in the movies. Some stupid ass screewriter based an entire film on it. Now Hollywood has been doing it ever since. Why? Because it sells. There are some who hate what they think is a bastardization of film into a commerical entity when it should be a wholly artistic process. I am one of them, but to deny that movies are anything but a commercial entity is just as stupid as sitting complacently watching the newest Steve Martin shit fest. But this brings up the question of what makes classic cinema any different. These films were still formulated, written, directed, and released on the basis of making money, but the underlying difference is the fact that old films made their money differently. They really had to. Technology had not yet provided the spectacle as we now know it. Yes, they had the Ben-Hur's, the Birth of a Nation's (despite it's horrendous social critique), but these were created almost as realistically as the fictional tales they were meant to represent. Instead, the normal, classic film had usually but one thing in common to make it a classic: plot. That's what we're fucking missing these days! Plot! With visual effects, larger and larger screens, and a population of a little more than half that voted for George Bush, the brain is out and the ADD riddled child within is, well, in.
Here are some additional links to anything posed here:
The Hero With a Thousand Faces - Wikipedia
Information on Birth of a Nation
CNN 2004 Election Results (Yes I'm still bitter)
The Crappy Pink Panther
The Good Pink Panther
Here is a link to a wonderful book on the subject of Hollywood as a business.
Open Wide: How Hollywood Box Office Became a National Obsession|W|P|114082237092360581|W|P|What's Wrong With Hollywood?|W|P|2/24/2006 01:51:00 PM|W|P|Matt|W|P|First some information. My name is Matt Fields, a Junior at Kansas State University (save your midwestern biases please) This was created in a response of sorts to a good friend of mine, who recently created his own forum for the unquestionably important subject of Evolutionary theory and its detractors (The link is on the right side of the page). Now mine has no such goal of giving any relevant information except for, hopefully, a love of cinema. I have made attempts the past few years to study the particular art that is film, from classic American to French New Wave. Creating this is an extension of such a pursuit, one which I can only hope to give some entertainment. So here it goes.|W|P|114081842085521391|W|P|The Creation of My Obsession|W|P|