Film

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Confusing Ambiguity for Meaningless Substance

In any form of art, whether it be film, poetry, or literature, some of it is very abstract. So abstract, that some people assert that perhaps it is lacking in actual meaning. Many students in an Intro. to Creative Media class I am taking has postulated that David Lynch’s films are void of meaning because they are so abstract and ambiguous. Is this something that should be thought? That simply because we cannot conceive of the artists’ intention that perhaps there is none?

  • Maybe the artist finds it funny that there is no meaning his meaning is to show that people find meaning in anything? Or maybe he has no meaning, but it's meaning is a study on what people come up with?I honestly am not the hugest fan of trying to find meaning. Poetry, literature, film, I think it's all how you perceive it. If it evokes emotion in you. If you find it clever, relatable, beautiful. What's more important: what the author meant? Or what it means to you. And honestly, unless an author specifically says what he means, it's all speculation anyway. And from that standpoint as far as scholarly analysis goes, everyone's opinion is valid and all opinions can be discussed. – Tatijana 5 years ago
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  • Lynch's films are surreal because their narratives are essentially dictated by dream logic. They usually have so much meaning (too much for some) that they can present a very difficult challenge for a mind unconditioned for the processing of such abstractions. His idiom demands a special discipline, much like learning a foreign language. Because his films don't conform to mainstream methods for conveying ideas they can seem too far beyond one’s capacity to process and that leads to frustration, resulting in unfair pronouncements of his work being “void of meaning.”As an artist myself, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a piece of work completely “void of meaning.” A piece of art may have meaning that’s inane or pedestrian, but just placing oneself within the process of producing something stimulates meaning. Even if that meaning is simply, “I create, therefore I am” – kublahken 5 years ago
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  • I don't know if this a direction you'd want to go, and I don't have much knowledge in the way of film critique. But you could, exploring meaningless, bring up existentialism. Citing Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Camus, Sartre, Foucault, and the like, could help explain the meaningless portrayed on screen. You could even maybe start with Derrida and explain his beliefs about language being a fruitless endeavor that doesn't actual convey anything of ontological substance, just concepts that lead onto each other. Then, you could move to Camus and absurdism and explain how, once seeking meaning is thrown to the wayside, the viewer and artist are free to enjoy the pure aesthetic value of the subject or piece being viewed. Like an art informed nihilism or something. haha – PGJackson 5 years ago
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Books Adapted into Movies

It would be a great idea to analyze a bit more on what made film producers want to create a film after a book. This analyzation can introduce the readers to a few reasons that may have attracted the producer to want to see a story from an author come to life. The topic can focus on the romance genre as there have been many movies adapted from books of romance. For example, 50 Shades of Grey which has been a big deal in today’s generation. The book trilogy got not just one movie, but three. What were the attractions that the film producer got from the book that he/she wanted to see on the screen?

  • I think it has a lot to do with popularity, i.e. being listed as a bestseller book and a growing fanbase. From that fact alone filmmakers might have a sense of built in security that the theaters will be full. Take a look at the recent trilogies becoming movie franchises (Hunger Games, Divergent, etc.). Also notice similar plots and themes. Genre craze.In regards to Fifty Shades, there really isn't much guesswork to be done. Sexual content, and twisted romance pulled the crowd in just to read. Who would miss it on screen? Modern TV nudity doesn't cut it anymore, rated R movies with "unusual behavior" seems to attract people. – sbermudez 5 years ago
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  • Maybe include something about how when a book is translated into a movie the content usually changes some, or something gets left out, and how that affects the viewing experience. – rinamg 5 years ago
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  • I would pick a few different movies that started first as books, and talk about how the producer came to choose that book to make into a movie. Then discuss what they might have added/taken away from the original plot and way. Then maybe finish with what you/others consider to be the better of the two options between the book and film. – BlueJayy 5 years ago
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  • Because film is a more popular medium, the scary thing is that a lot of people don't even know that many films adaption even came from books. – Lazarinth 5 years ago
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Trans* characters being played by cisgender people, nbd?

This past weekend, Jeffrey Tambor won the Emmy for outstanding lead actor in a comedy series for playing a transgender woman in Amazon’s show Transparent. Also, Eddie Redmayne will be playing a transgender woman in The Danish Girl in an upcoming film that looks like it’s an Oscar vehicle. And think of how well Dallas Buyers Club did for Jared Leto. It seems that these roles are often portrayed in interviews and articles as "complex challenges" for cisgender actors to take on. Is this problematic? Should we be arguing for more trans* actors to play their own roles, or is it okay to continue casting cisgender actors?

  • If you want to add more references to this list, there's also been controversy surrounding Elle Fanning playing a transgender boy in "About Ray," along with the director of the movie spreading inaccurate information about trans* people with his statements. – pixiemina 5 years ago
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  • Thanks for the suggestion! I hadn't heard of About Ray. Reading about it now. – southdakoda 5 years ago
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  • Have a look at John Cameron Mitchell with Hedwig and the Angry Inch, that might help. Also think about Laverne Cox in Orange is the New Black who became the first openly transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in the acting category and the first to be nominated for an Emmy Award since composer/musician Angela Morley in 1990. – Rachel Elfassy Bitoun 5 years ago
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  • Wasn't aware of Angela Morley's work, either. Thanks for the ideas! It also might be interesting to explore how Laverne Cox's twin brother plays her in the flashbacks before she came out. I wonder if there are trans* actors who have had to play themselves in flashbacks in other films. Also, now I'm thinking about how trans female actress Erika Ervin actually auditioned as a male for the trans female role she had in AHS: Freakshow--very Victor/Victoria. I'm realizing there's so much to explore her, and many different angles one could take! – southdakoda 5 years ago
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  • Not sure if it quite fits, but Cillian Murphy has portrayed a nb character in the film Peacock, as well as portraying a trans woman in Breakfast on Pluto. I suspect he was cast because of his "feminine" features, but it's still exclusionary and highly problematic regardless. I adore this topic! I was just discussing it wrt The Danish Girl with my gender-nonconforming pal yesterday. – marlaina 5 years ago
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  • I think something that should also be taken into account when talking about movies with trans characters is the director. They speak the loudest when it comes to why they make the decision to cast cis actors. I mean Gaby Dellal is very clearly transphobic and her reason for casting a cis girl is because the part 'is a girl and she is a girl'. The directors choices are very important to this conversation – netafeta 5 years ago
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  • Jamie Clayton on Sense8 might be worth looking into as well. – ctaylorhen 5 years ago
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