THE WAY WE ARESYDNEY POLLACK• Changes in the moral fabric of our society are responsible for the kinds of movieswe see today, not vice versa.• Society’s values have changed and it is reflected in the movies.• People are nostalgic for the “old values” => Encourage the return of these values.• Screenwriter & Directors: moral content =><= Economics of the industry:entertainment and profits.=> A filmmaker’s prime goal should be to entertain an audience & Movies simplyreflect the surrounding society.
ENTERTAIN PEOPLE AND BE REASONABLYINTELLIGENT ABOUT ITCREATE GOOD MOVIES AND MAKE IT REACH THEMORE PEOPLE THE BETTER
THE POLITICS OF MOVIEMAKINGSAUL AUSTERLITZ• Art is at its most successful when politics is at its most reactionary.• The rebirth of documentaries, which are unashamed to take a political slant.• Network news programs have proved so derelict in their duty and presented ahighly distorted vision of contemporary reality.=> Filmgoers are choosing to go to the movies to be faced with a clearer versionof reality than what they get from the local news.=> Entertainment is used as a platform for advocacy.• Two primary tacks: straight-on tackles or allegory and metaphor.
Political eventsVietnam WarSeptember 11th 2001Sept 11 vs Arab - AmericansPresidency electionsThe Bush administrationHolocaust/Bombing/ShootingsWorld War II
POLITICS HAVE MOVED SIGNIFICANTLY CLOSER TO HOMEFILMS HAVE LONG SERVED AS A BAROMETER OFAMERICAN LIFE, REFLECTING THE COMPLEX, TANGLEDWEB OF FEARS AND DESIRES ANGLING FOR SUPERIORITY.
RAISING THE DEAD: UNEARTHING THENONLITERARY ORIGINS OF ZOMBIE CINEMAKYLE BISHOP• The rise of zombie is seen as an archetypal figure in contemporary culture.• Zombie is “the only creature to pass directly from folklore to the screen, withoutfirst having an established literary tradition => The zombie remains a primarilynonliterary phenomenon.• The zombie film retains its ability to make audience think while they shriek.
RAISING THE DEAD: UNEARTHING THENONLITERARY ORIGINS OF ZOMBIE CINEMAKYLE BISHOP• A zombie does not think or act on reasonable motives – it is purely a creature ofblind instinct.• Zombies are not uncanny because of their humanistic qualities; they are uncannybecause they are, in essence, a grotesque metaphor for humanity itself.• The physical form of the zombie is its most striking and frightening aspect: Itwas once – quite recently - a living person.• Because anyone can potentially become a zombie, these films deal unabashedlywith human taboos, murder, and cannibalism.
THE HORROR OF THE ZOMBIE MOVIE COMES FROMREGCONIZING THE HUMAN IN THE MONSTERTHE TERROR OF THE ZOMBIE MOVIE COMES FROM KNOWINGTHERE IS NOTHING TO DO ABOUT IT BUT DESTROY WHAT ISLEFTTHE FUN COMES FROM WATCHING THE GENRE CONTINUE TODEVELOP.
APATOW AND TARANTINO:TWO CONTEMPORARYFILMAKERS
A FINE ROMANCEDAVID DENBY• Slacker – Striver romance.• Screwball comedy.• Male infantilism vs Female ambition.• Grow up vs Loosen up.• Opposites attract with mysterious force.• Many people can relate themselves to the movies.
Slacker – Striver romance• Establish the self-dramatizing underachiever as hero.• A slovenly hipster and the female straight arrow.• Usually meet by accidents.• She breaks up with him => he talks with his pals and receives bits ofmisogynist advice => the end of youth for him, crisis for her => bothundertake drastic alteration => he has to shape up and she has to loosen up.
Screwball comedy• The fight was waged between equals.• The man and woman may not enjoy parity of social standing or money, butthey are equals spirit, will and body.• The characters have to dive below their social roles for their true selves tocome out.• First confused and then enlightened, discover whom they should love/marry.• Less about possessions than about a certain style of freedom in love.
.THE KEY TO MAKING A GREAT ROMANTICCOMEDY IS TO CREATE HEROINES EQUAL INWIT TO MEN.
FREAKS, GEEKS, AND MENSCHES: JUDDAPATOW’S COMEDIES OF THE MATUREALEX WAINER• A mensch: A man who does good deeds, and/or is an upright or rigorously decenthuman being.• A male protagonist who undergoes a change from a shlub to a mensch.• The Apatow comedies ultimately deliver a message that support traditionalfamily values.• Praise conformist capitulation to bourgeois middle-class expectations and theirmoral implications.• Searching for their escape out of a boy’s life and into manhood => challenge hischaracters to act their age.
FREAKS, GEEKS, AND MENSCHES: JUDDAPATOW’S COMEDIES OF THE MATUREALEX WAINERR-rated morality tales• Vulgarity and profanity.• Characters talk the way people in this subculture speak – except probably wittier.• The F-word and other such language flow freely because that is the social worldof these nerds and geeks.• However, they all confront their problems and the need to put away childishthings and belatedly face responsibilities set these films apart from other R-ratedcomedies.
FREAKS, GEEKS, AND MENSCHES: JUDDAPATOW’S COMEDIES OF THE MATUREALEX WAINERBoys to men [The 40-year-old virgin]• Lack of romance and sexual activity.• Young males who are mostly still little boys on the inside.• True love waits
FREAKS, GEEKS, AND MENSCHES: JUDDAPATOW’S COMEDIES OF THE MATUREALEX WAINERA second take [KNOCKED UP]• Does not know how to be an adult at first.• Look for advice => abandon previous lifestyle => make an effort to takeresponsibilities and grow up => demeanor has changed from that of a man-child tosomeone who acts like a husband.• The wildly different couple has been transformed by the process into goodparents for their baby daughter.• Holding out for love and not breaking up for the sake of the baby.
CRITICS WERE STRUCK AT FINDING SUCH TRADITIONALVALUES IN AN R-RATED SEX COMEDYAPATOW CLEARLY BELIEVES INMARRIAGE, FAMILY, BOURGEOIS DUTIFULNESS.
PULP FICTIONALAN A. STONEThe controversy surrounding Tarantino’s moviemaking aesthetic.Pulp Fiction put an emphasis not just on depicting the gore of violent acts, but alsoon suggesting the pervasiveness of violence in modern society.Violence is included as an essential element of the visual experience. Tarantino’sdepiction of violence is described as “stylized” and the film is both a celebrationand a satire of popular culture.Tarantino blurs the line between appeasing a societal depiction of violence andmocking it at the same time.There is much more to value beneath the visual surface of blood and gore.
PULP FICTIONALAN A. STONE• Violence in American film is pornography that appeals to the lowest commondenominator.• Like American fast food, it is destroying the taste for better things.• Psychologists believe that film and TV violence teach American’s young peopleto be violent, or at the very least, inure them to real-life violence.• Many people are refusing to see this film.•However, the film is politically correct for there is no nudity and no violencedirected against women.
TARANTINO DIVES INTO A NIGHTMARE ANDCOMES UP WITH SOMETHING FUNNY, TAKING HISAUDIENCE UP AND DOWN WITH HIM.
IMDb 8.5Directed by Sam MendesProduced by Bruce CohenDan JinksWritten by Alan BallStarring Kevin SpaceyAnnette BeningAwards 72nd Academy AwardsBest PictureBest DirectorBest Actor (for Kevin Spacey)Best Original ScreenplayBest Cinematography.
THEMESTHE MEANING OF LIFETHE HOLLOW EXISTENCE OF THEAMERICAN SUBURBSIMPRISONMENT AND REDEMPTIONCONFORMITY AND BEAUTYSEXUALITY AND REPRESSIONTEMPORALITY AND MUSIC
“Because everything that was meantto happen, does…eventually.”- Angela Hayes -
“Everything is just for show, acommercial for how normal we arewhen we are anything but.”- Lester Burnham -
DISCUSSION1. Sydney Pollack suggests that “Changes in the moral fabric of oursociety are responsible for the kinds of movies we see today, notvice versa.” Do you agree or disagree with his statement? Why?2. Give examples of 2 popular movies, one of which represents someform of art and the other is a product of sheer commerce. Identify atleast 2 significances of each movie. Which one do you prefer? Why?