Contributing writer for The Artifice.
Exploration of Hulu's 'The Path'
‘The Path’ unfolds, largely, through the POV of a member of a cult who deals with his shaken faith and thoughts of leaving his community. The show relies heavily on his family life and wife whom was born into the cult. Other story lines unfold around him as we get a look into the ways the cult hooks, indoctrinates, and keeps its members. There are also key stories involving outside views of the community.
This article could explore the depiction of religion in this contemporary thriller and how it addresses the "American staple" aspects American cults have in American culture. Possibly compare contemporary foreign films depicting cults and how cultures depict them through media. How does the view towards the main character shift the show from a one-sided negative depiction to a sympathetic American issue?
A contemporary multi-cultural look at a modern multi-cultural film: 'Belladonna of Sadness'
This article would work well for someone who is interested in Japanese erotica adapted from a French novel. ‘Belladonna of Sadness’ (1973) by Mushi Production; the French novel ‘La Sorcière’ (1862, Jules Michelet) was the source material.
This epic film was created by men, and originally written by a man nearly 100 years prior; how does an 2016 American interpretation of a 1970’s Japanese adaptation of a 1860’s French idea find a story of women’s awakening? Meaning, across the ages and cultures, how does a person now and here see this woman’s sexual awakening and how it translates to her strength as a woman? How does this epic play now, and how does the retelling in film expands itself from the classic novel?
The "V" Word and Its Public Appearance
This article would discuss the impact of feminine art in popular culture and it’s designation in ‘shock art’. Aside from an article which was just posted to the site this last week (the artist who painted the portrait of Donald Trump from the previous article would be off limits to this one), this article would focus on four points: menstrual art, vaginal art (artwork representing the vagina and vulva), and way these types of feminine art are received compared to falic art, and the artistic representation vs commercials for feminine products. Why does this art only see feminist shows and shock art galleries? What is still so taboo about the subject the expressive forms suffer from lesser public appearances and appreciation? How can the constant ad revenue for feminine products be accepted, but the presence of celebration and politics concerning the feminine body is recoiled against?
American politics and the influence over 'Rock the Kasbah'
‘Rock the Kasbah’ (2015) has been in theaters for only a few days, and already, reviews of the film express a lack of interest and the wonderful feeling of being "Murray-ied’. Critics and public viewers alike are unimpressed and can’t stand how slowly the film moves through a plot which flat-lined within the first half hour. Through all of the unrest regarding the movie, one critic I have not been seeing is how the movie was loosely based off a riveting and touching documentary "Afghan Star" (2009).
The film centers around Bill Murray’s character, a Hollywood music manager. He goes to Afghanistan with a musician on a U.S.S tour, she ditches him there, and a few bad decisions and wacky circumstances lead him to find a Pashtun woman who is a (surprise) talented singer. Salima (played by Leem Lubany), goes on the Afghan version of ‘American Idol’, ‘Afghan Star’. She risks her life to do so, and a truly inspiring ending is the result; however, this film is dedicated to a real woman, Setara Hussainzada.
Who is she, you may ask? Hussainzada was a female contestant on the real-life show "Afghan Star" and was the first of four to be eliminated. Her final goodbye was inspiring, she danced freely and without her hijab. She recieved death threats and became a social outcast for her scandaless performance. Lema Sahar, a Pashtun woman, was another contestant on the show and was eliminated after Hussainzada.
The film takes a beautiful, empowering moment in Afghanistan current culture and white-washes it to the point where a white, male, American is not only the center of the film, but is responsible for Lubany’s characters bold demonstration of feminine strength. It can be argued such changes were made to not only get Murray in a film but also to make it more appealing to American audiences, but this is where the problem resides. This film could have been an American take on the stereotype-breaking event of two empowered Afgah women; in the end, the credit was given to a fictional American man. This could have been a movie to celebrate two women who risked thier lives to express themselves without forcing an American in to help ‘liberate’. Hussainzada and Sahar did that themselves, but you wouldn’t know that from the film they inspired. How is this a reflection of American bias against Afghan people and culture?
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