The film industry is always changing and innovating the essence of storytelling.
For example, "Malcolm & Marie" is one of the latest Netflix films to be released. Focusing on only two characters, as the title suggests, has a vastly unique way to present how it is not like most films that are released for millions to see in these current times. The almost two-hour film explores the character’s emotional complications within the intensity and fragility of a very passionate relationship. Between the woes of their pain, pasts, insecurities and the powerful love they have for each other, the film being a back and forth conversation highlights the lack of communication about their real emotions. Whether these emotions are justified or not, this noir film does provide drastically distant perspectives of their relationship and who they are not only as an individual, but as a couple. This conversation centres around a range of topics. An example of the "distant perspectives" is when Malcolm passionately challenges how the filmmaking industry seeks validation from millions of people that try to generalise the reasoning of every little detail in films, specifically the one he made. Malcolm suggests through this comment that like the film industry, Marie seeks validation from him constantly as her way to give a concrete confirmation that she is appreciated and loved by the man that supposedly saved her life multiple times, as he suggests in their chaotic debate-like talk.
The question of whether Malcolm and Marie are ultimately compatible with each other will be continuously debated. However, I want to address if Netflix and the filmmaking industry will make more films in this matter. The concept of turning films where one of the goals is to convince the audience of a fictionalised world being humanly possible and appealing into films where the characters have a conversation driving the story doesn’t sound strongly convincing. Let me put it into perspective with one of the most instantaneous grabs of relevance of shows of all time, "13 Reasons Why". Imagine the show condensed into a movie with Clay and Hannah as the two main characters having a conversation where she reveals the whole truth, even the truth that she wants to kill herself instead of having 4 seasons of a show that first begun with tapes to find. The potential for this hypothetical film has a higher ceiling than the show in its entirety. Does it not?
Given how skittish the cinematographic (and most artistic industries in general) are about risk in terms of these kind of things, my bet would be that you don’t see much in the way of film-making form innovations unless you have someone already well-established. – J.D. Jankowski5 months ago
In Jordan Peele’s psychological thriller, wealthy, homogenous individuals congregate to buy and possess other humans. Motives vary, between desire to live past one’s own ‘natural’ lifespan, to replacing physical function that one has lost. The hosts relinquish control of their body, retaining limited consciousness as they become slaves to whoever won the bid. This concept feels far-fetched, but is it plausible? The movie presents this ‘new’ form of slavery directly, as all hosts shown in the movie are Black, whereas all known possessors are White. The master-slave duality is certainly present, with White characters navigating delicately (and awkwardly) around unpossessed Black characters; however, what current systems are in place to enable this conspiracy? Does this movie accurately display the race relations in America by enabling this new-age slavery to exist? How does it comment on current forms of slavery in America, such as the prison-industrial complex? I’d argue that this movie could easily take place in other countries, such as Canada, by substituting Black characters with First Nations–Canada’s got a brutal current and historical reputation with the treatment of First Nations. Nonetheless, is it plausible for groups of elite, wealthy, aging individuals to meet at an undisclosed location to auction a living body to possess? Disregarding the scientific plausibility, what might compel such a conspiracy to form and crystalize? Could this film be metaphorically commenting on the appropriation of Black culture and art by White-owned corporations? How so? Is this conspiracy already in motion, present in a form that treats culture as hosts, and elites as slaveowners?
Upon rewatching "Alien Covenant" for the third time recently, the discovery of just how deep the influence of Peter Weyland and his company, Weyland Yutani, have drastically impacted the known universe which the Alien films take place came into full view. Weyland funded the mission to discover the engineers in "Prometheus," he created David, the self aware and free-willed Android that is ultimately responsible for creating what we know as the xenomorph, his company is responsible for discovering them on LV-426, for returning there to capture them and use them as bioweapons, his company returns in the next film to take Ripley in order to extract the queen inside of her, and even Alien Resurrection" could be tangentially tied to Weyland’s company as who else in this future hellscape of interplanetary discovery would have the resources to fund studies into cloning and making a xenomorph queen/human hybrid? The article I propose is taking a deep dive into how Weyland was far more integral to the creation and manipulation of ever single person and android connected to the Alien films (we’re going to disregard AVP as those two films break cannon) like a spider knows everything that occurs within its web. Weyland had the resources and capability to look out into the known universe/galaxy and see how interconnected everything is and how he could control events even past the death of his physical body (spoiler alert, I think he also created an AI that is himself that continued to manipulate everything still even beyond his death). I would like to conclude on the theory of what the next film would then have to accomplish in order to complete the new trilogy and tie all six canonical films together.
Depression, anxiety disorders, and other mental and emotional malaises are more rampant than ever. The stresses of everyday life and the constant feed of nearly apocalyptic news reaching us on a daily basis surely have something to do with our collective plight.
How well do psychological horrors, like Psycho (1960), The Shining (1980), Jacob’s Ladder (1990); and psychological thrillers, such as The Machinist (2004); capture our current state of dis-ease?
Great idea. You could easily turn this one into a book, breaking the movies down by decade. You could also focus this idea into two articles: pre 9/11 and post. The major aspect is to research the experts of each era. Hitchcock, for example, is certainly guided by outdated notions concerning psychology, whereas Brad Anderson is attempting to be more informed with contemporary theories. – Michael J. Berntsen2 years ago
I second that. I'm intrigued about the respect aspect, too. That is, are these stories respectful to real people with mental illnesses? For instance, I don't watch Rain Man or many, if any films whose main characters have disabilities because they all seem to be saintly, severely affected, childlike, etc. That doesn't represent me and I don't think it respects me and other members of my minority group who are not that way. I wonder if people with mental illnesses feel the same way when they watch these films, or yet another film where the villain's primary raison d'etre is tied to psychological or psychiatric illness. – Stephanie M.2 years ago
Claims of mental illness being more "rampant than ever" would require some rigorous data research to back those up, but this is an interesting topic for sure. I wonder if this could be slightly re-framed. Instead of looking back at old films that have been rigorously analyzed for their symptomatic representations of political landscapes at the times of release, it would be interesting to try and explore films of THIS decade to try and determine a common trend in mental illness representation, and how these representations are in reaction to current events. JOKER is an obvious one, and would be an interesting centerpiece since it's just released now, and two months before the decade ends. A sort of retrospective look at this decade's cinematic view of mental illness could be very interesting and illuminating, especially with Trump's presidency taking place halfway through it. A comparative analysis between pre- and post-Trump administration films maybe. – calebwhutch2 years ago
I love the suggestion that Calebwhutch made. I agree that might be a generalization (or at least would take a lot of research to prove) that mental illness is more widespread now than ever before. BUT, as with all art forms, social fears and anxieties are well reflected in art, and it would be interesting to see an analysis of various films that provide such a reflection. Joker is a great choice. Get Out is another that comes to mind. – JCBohn6 months ago
Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead have been making horror films for almost a decade. At least, that’s how their films are classified. Upon watching them, there aren’t any jump scares, no masked killers, no creepy asylums, nothing like that. Instead, in their films Resolution, Spring, and The Endless, a large part of the running time consists of characters discussing their complicated feelings towards their situation, while the horror quietly unfolds in the background, leading to works that feel like they’re about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. With thick atmosphere and deep writing, the filmmakers instead seem to make other genre films with horror elements. Resolution is a character drama, Spring is a romance, and The Endless is science fiction, but all three have horror undoubtedly featured. Try to explore why each film might be called horror, and also why they might avoid the label. Also some points to keep in mind are how the character arcs are informed by the horror parts of the narrative, how the directors are able to maintain a grip on atmosphere, and why the scarier elements are essential to the development of the plot.
’60s and Mid ’70s films made during the Conspiracy Thriller boom such as Manchurian Candidate (1962), Parallax View (1974), All the President’s Men (1976), and Stepford Wives (1975) seem to coordinate a critique or valorization of specifically American contexts. Manchurian Candidate demonstrates a stunning loss of American wartime innocence and domestic conspiracy in the same year John F. Kennedy was assassinated, resulting in the film being pulled from theatrical release. The Parallax View takes the notion of an American working against his/her own people a step further by enlisting an actual domestic cabal pulling the strings behind a patsy. All the President’s Men brings this fear of local threats home (literally and figuratively) with a very accurate retelling of the Watergate Scandal, a scheme that went right to the Oval Office. The purpose of this essay would be to select two to three of these films and identify what conventions used within these films spoke to an American context, and if possible, find what these films critiqued about American society in greater detail and how these concerns are relevant today. Some of the conventions include themes, characters, locations, symbols, and color coordination.
I would strongly encourage whomever decides to write this topic to pick just one or two of these films, maybe three maximum, to discuss in greater detail. The argument could become confused if the writer attempts to cover too much. By narrowing the focus, the writer will have more space to delve deeply. Of course, it is ultimately the writer's prerogative. – Samantha Leersen7 months ago
Thanks for the suggested revisions. It was my intention to give those films off as a list of possible examples to select from rather than propose to cover them all in one go. I went ahead and corrected it. – Runestrand7 months ago
Analysis on the joys and failings of the reboot, addressing all female reboots, sequals, or revivals, such as Oceans 8, Gilmore Girls Revival, Twin Peaks revival, etc. It is easy to be swept up in the excitement on nostalgia, but it often doesn’t deliver. Lets look at why we cant always take that fuzzy feeling to the bank, by observing the box office reports as well as the public response and universal criticisms found in most of these films.
In the film True History of the Kelly Gang, a fictional take on the outlaw Ned Kelly’s life, relations between Britain and members of the Commonwealth (in this case, Australia and Ireland in the 1870s) play a central role. Themes of displacement begin with Ned’s Irish-born parents’ (especially his mother’s) sense of alienation in Australia and distaste for anything that reeks of British influence. This feeling continues with Ned’s propulsion into the role of “man of the house” when his father dies and then when his mother secretly attempts to sell him into servitude for some quick money. Derision of authority figures partially stems from forced separation from or abandonment by one’s home (whether it is one’s country or familial circle).
In connection with relations between nations of different power dynamics, gender plays an important role here as well. Despite the reluctance to perform an expected role, there is a strong male desire to be powerful enough to defend female honor from outsiders (i.e. the sexual exploitation of Ned’s mother and sister) that culminates in the Kelly Gang’s string of police-related murders. Ned is encouraged to “Die a Kelly” and give up his own life for his mother, even if it is at the expense of his unborn child and its mother. Ned’s entry into gang life begins as a “Son of Sieve,” an Irish rebel who dons overtly feminine dresses into battle to appear crazy and, therefore, more frightening. By the end of the film, in contrast, Ned Kelly is finally captured after wearing heavy, uber-masculine “bulletproof” armor in a gunfight that results in the bloody massacre of his men.
What connections are made in the film between male and female dynamics and Britain’s relationship to members of the Commonwealth? How does simultaneous suicidal devotion to a reigning power and an internal aversion to fighting someone else’s battle with the promise of little to no personal benefit play out? What does the film have to say about these opposing tensions and their consequences within this fictionalized depiction of Ned Kelly?