Wednesday, 4 December 2013

POST 10: TWO NOTIONS ILLUSTRATED IN SEAN PENN'S MOVIE, INTO THE WILD (2007)




             Having already seen this movie, I already know what it's about. So I promise not to spoil anything about the movie. This film directed by Sean Penn and based on a real story, is all about the desire to escape and return to the most basic ans natural lifestyle. Basically, the main character is escapng from society, deconnecting from everything and everyone, and leaving everything of his previous life behind. He is on a journey, a search for a place where he can just live a plain, non materialistic life. We can thus relate this movie to two of the four notions: spaces and exchanges, and the idea of progress. Firstly, the notion of spaces and exchanges, because this movie is all about travel, escape and a journey to find the ideal place to be in direct contact with nature and not be disturbed by civilisation. The main character also meets several very interesting and diverses individuals, which leads back to exchanges. The idea of progress is also present in this movie, because as said previously, this character wants to run away from the modern world, from the society that he lives in. He wants to go back to simpler times, to live in complete isolation, and he believes, like the French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, that man is best when in his natural surroundings. Meaning that he is sick of people, and their materialistic ways, and believes that to be happy, he must reconnect with nature.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Friday, 15 November 2013

FREE POST: Blue Jasmine



    Blue Jasmine is the last Woody Allen movie, starring Cate Blanchett in the lead role. She acts spectacularly in this film and is a considerably talented actress. The story takes place in San Francisco and New York, and tell the story of this woman, Jasmine French who was married to a successful business man who then turned out to be a corrupt thief, who stole a lot of money. He is sent to prison, all their money is gone and all their possessions are taken from them. Jasmine is left with nothing, and is a very unstable and troubled character, who has spent her whole life living the dreaming, letting everyone do everything for her. She goes to live with her sister in San Francisco, and finds herself in a working class society, which is very different to her usual upper class lifestyle. There are many events that occur, and Jasmine becomes more and more unstable and even psychotic. As not to ruin the rest of the movie, I shall not say anything more, but I sincerely think that it is worth seeing. Cate Blanchett gives a remarkable performance, the movie itself is witty, funny, but also rather dramatic, sad and moving. A real success in my opinion and this film is a masterpiece we've been waiting for, seeing as the last few Woody Allen movies were all a bit deceiving. 
 We can compare the scenario to an old classic called A Streetcar Named Desir starring Marlon Brando, but it is different and the director puts in his own style and sense of humour. All in all this movie is a must-see and what really defines this movie is Cate Blanchett's  incredible performance.

Monday, 11 November 2013

POST 8: GAME OF THRONES (Your Choice of a Film or Series dealing with the notion of 'Power')



     I have chosen this series because it deals with several forms of power. This series is all about power, where it comes from and what different people do with it. The notion of power is seen mainly through political power and royal power, but can also be seen with supernatural power (dragons,etc...). What I really love about this series is that no one is safe, everyone's power is changeable in the blink of an eye, and characters are continually being killed off, no matter how important they are. This means that you never know what to expect, you are always surprised and can never predict what's going to happen next. 
       Game of Thrones was first and foremost a series of books written by George R. R. Martin. These books were then transformed into an extremely popular TV series by HBO. There are three seasons already made, and a fourth shall be coming out in May 2014. 
   The story is based in an imaginary world, in which there are seven kingdoms. It can easily be compared to the atmosphere in Lord of The Rings, being full of mystical creatures and big battle scenes. It relates to the form of power through several ficticious realms and monarchs. Practically each character is fighting for their right to be king or queen. Even when you think that a character has absolute power, there's always someone planning to take it from him. There are mainly four separate families: House of Stark, House of Lannister, House of Baratheon and House of Targaryen. Through the stories of all these families and many many many characters, we can ask ourselves several questions about power. For example, what connection does it have to morality? How does it affect people's behaviour? What is the real definition of power? Is it political, military even supernatural? Where does this power come from?

                                      game-of-thrones-chart.jpg


   Each character represents a certain form of power, it can be bravery, loyalty, love, intelligence, honesty, physical strength, moral strength, supernatural gifts and many more. The theme of revenge is often brought up in this series, and the determination of getting back what is rightfully their's.

    Some find that this series contains too much nudity and can be rather boring at times, because the episodes are quite long (1 hour) and there are very long scenes in which there are only two characters talking. But there are also very intense and epic moments, there is a lot of drama. 
   This series is very entertaining, and that's the main goal of any kind of entertainement: to entertain. There are also a lot of questions asked in this series about power and what is truely important in life. 


Friday, 1 November 2013

POST 7: THE NOTION OF POWER as exemplified in Brian De Palma's Redacted movie





The film Redacted, directed by Brian De Palma in 2007, deals with the very controversial issue of the war in Irak. It shows very graphic and horrifying images of American soldiers in the Middle East. This film is based on real events, making it even more alarming. It wants to criticize not only the bad behavior of American soldiers, but also how the truth his hidden from us by the media. In one of the trailers it says:
 "Truth is the first casualty of war." 
This movie is filmed as if it were an American soldier who was filming everything with his own camera, creating a very realistic feeling, making it even harder to watch.
This film is extremely shocking and polemical because it shows the gritty truth, it shows unimaginable things, things that have been kept from us. It can be related to the notion of power because it denounces America's role in this war, how they abused their power to behave extremely badly. It also denounces the horror that was happening and that the media wasn't showing us, this is a kind of power, the power of knowledge and awareness. Technically the media isn't the one to blame, it is the government that controls the media who is really to blame. So we can talk about censorship, and legal restrictions. 

SYNOPSIS: (IMDb)
This film is about the real-life rape and killing of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl by U.S. soldiers with shocking images that will leave some viewers in tears.

Inspired by one of the most serious crimes committed by American soldiers in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, it spares the audience no brutality to get its message across.

Made in a deliberately episodic form, Redacted tells various stories about the war in Iraq, ostensibly from different viewpoints. One film portion by a French filmmaker tells the story of U.S. soldiers watching over checkpoints. In another episode, a superior soldier makes a casual mistake dealing with garbage that was set out in a road and is blown to bits. It's all leading to the pivotal rape and murder of the pretty girl who is discovered by the soldiers on a raid of an Iraqi house in order to find evidence. One night, the drunken and mostly morally lost U.S. soldiers discuss going back for the "skank" whom they saw in the house they raided. One soldier straps a camera to his helmet, and the footage of the girl's rape is secured.

The rest of the film mostly deals with measures taken by the army against the criminals. A final scene has a soldier from the criminals' unit confessing to his friends a war story that he will never forget: the plundering and murder of the Iraqi girl.

REVIEW: (All Movie Guide)
In the years following the start of the second Iraq war, numerous filmmakers tried to grapple with the thorny issues at play there. But few made quite so clinical an approach as Brian De Palma in Redacted. Since many of those films were considered misfires, a different approach might not be such abad thingDe Palma presents an array of media -- a French documentary, an al-Qaeda website, a blog by a soldier's wife -- as if stockpiling evidence for a trial designed to determine some kind of universal truth. The story's backbone is the amateur footage shot by a soldier named Angel (Izzy Diaz), who hopes to parlay his observations into acceptance at film school after returning home. Through this we meet the five central characters. All of this is fictitious, of course, leaving Redacted in the category of "fictional documentary." The results can feel simplistic and on the nose, but that's partly intentional. De Palma's scenario is constructed specifically to have an every-soldier feel to it, dealing primarily with the brutal rape of an Iraqi teenager and the killing of her family. In this way, De Palmaindicts all American soldiers in all wars (accusations of such behavior ran rampant in Vietnam), and even the very mentality engendered by invasions and occupations, regardless of who's doing the invading/occupying. Nor does he let the locals off the hook, intimating that they look the other way when roadside bombs kill American soldiers. De Palma's serious purpose doesn't mean he's overcome by sobriety, however. Some of the camaraderie among soldiers is disturbing, but some is downright funny. In all, the cast of unknowns convinces us they're real grunts just caught up in a cycle far bigger than they are, one that has repeated down through the decades, where no one is really innocent.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Post 4: MADtv iRack Video


      If I were to relate this video to one or more of the four notions, I would choose The Notion of Progress, Forms of Power and Spaces and Exchanges and Myths and heroes. Firstly The Notion of Progress because this video uses the example of Apple technologies to criticise the war in Irak. So we can talk about the progress in technology, with the example of Apple. We can then also relate it to the notion Forms of Power, because it's criticising the United States declaring war in Irak after 09/11, and how it's leading nowhere, it's costing money and killing American soldiers. So we can see a criticism of the U.S.A's power. We can relate this video to the notion Spaces and Exchanges, because as said previously it talks about the war in Irak, and thus we can see geographical references in this video. Finally we can relate to the notion Myths and Heroes because two "heroes" are caricatured in this video, Steve Jobs and George W. Bush.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

POST 3: INDIVIDUAL WORK ON 'THE IDEA OF PROGRESS' VIEWED THROUGH HIGH TECH PRODUCTS




                This is a photo published in the British newspaper called The Daily MailIt was part of an article on the man in this picture: Nigel Ackland.

This article was published on the 5th of November 2012, so it's a rather recent article. It's about this man who lost his arm in an accident and who was given the most sophisticated bionic arm ever made.
       It's been referred to as Terminator-like and is made out of carbon fibre, aluminium and alloy knuckles. It's operated by the movements in his upper arm, apparently by sending the same signal from his brain that he used to send to his normal human arm, he can control this mechanical arm.
            
         This bionic arm is the new Bebionic Myoelectric hand. it moves exactly like a real hand, it can even type on a keyboard. 
       In the photograph shown above, we can see Mr. Ackland holding an egg, so representing fragility. This meaning that this bionic arm so extremely sophisticated that it can hold very fragile things such as eggs. 
       
      Nigel Ackland is one of the seven lucky people who were given this mechanical hand as part of a four-month trial.
      This arm actually costs 25,000 pounds to buy and is worth every penny. Of course it's a serious tragedy if you loose your arm, but this mechanical arm is the closest thing to a real arm, and can help you return to your normal, handicap-free life. For example, you can dress yourself easily and do pretty much anything a regular arm can do.

           This is a good example of the good side of technology. Thanks to the serious progress that has been made in the development of technology, things that were once impossible, can now come true. Thanks to the high quality of technology nowadays, Mr. Ackland can live a normal life with his family.
           This article has no real purpose to advertise this product but more to inform people on the advances being made in the technological world. It searches to show how mechanical arms have improved and are becoming of higher quality.
       It is hard to show the intention of this article and of this photo, seeing as it's main goal really is just to inform, there is no advertisement or influence, making us like technology. It just shows us how technology helped one man, no different than you or me, to live a better life.
       
          There is a real presence of the notion of progress in this article. Although it's not a cartoon or video with a clever and funny joke in it, it shows how new technology can also be seen as a positive thing, instead of always criticising how brainwashed everyone is because of the domination of technology in our everyday lives. 

        I chose this document because I believe that it reflects the good side of technology. It creates quite an impact, because it kind of makes you think of robots, and creating artificial human beings... This bionic hand, that resembles the one in Terminator, makes you wonder if one day they will be able to create a robot, capable of doing anything and everything a human can do. There have already been many people who have attempted to create robot, but they've never quite been as sophisticated as humans, they can only do a few things. But, with the example of this bionic arm, I think one day, someone will be able to create a robot capable of anything...Should we be afraid? Excited? Worried? NO one can tell what the future will bring.
         
           
                               

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Post 2: Videos

1


2



1) When technology is too much.

DESCRIPTION:

     This video is structured around three main narrative voices and a character illustrating what the voice-over says while a singer often merely/simply repeats what's just been said.
The setting is a Christian home and church, so this particular context is particularly meaningful.
We can notice on various occasions that the main character is addicted to high-tech products, mostly smartphones. 
He is shown as a family man unable to interact/communicatewith his wife, except through texting.
He is also shown as a church-goer incapable of attending worship without all his phones vibrating all the time, making him look like he's full of the holy spirit.
Finally, he is depicted/described as a computer geek/guru whose life has become extremely complicated instead of being simplified.

INTERPRETATION:

    Basically, this video means that high technology has become a religion for many people, even Christians who are not supposed to be materialistic.
Then, in a Christian lifestyle, quite a few church-goers and believers tend to focus more on materialistic issues than on spiritual ones.
We can add that technology reigns supreme for many people who revere it as a God enlightening his followers.
The question is , is this real progress for humankind?



2) When technology is...missing!

DESCRIPTION:

    Two people are sruck on an escalator in a place that seems literally empty/deserted. The man looks annoyed/upset. He might be an office worker walking to his job. The woman claims that she's already late, so for her this is the last straw (that breaks the camel's back).
At one point, she's about to cry and asks for a phone, and yells/screams for help.
In short, the two of them look helpless/clueless/powerless/hopeless.

INTERPRETATION:

    We can relate this situation to a fairly common one in real life: getting stuck on an elevator.
The difference is, however, that in this situation, people have a right to feel panicky/freak out/panic.
Whereas on an escalator, there is no reason whatsoever/at all to panic/be scared.
 The video points out the increasing dependance/reliance of human beings on technology.
If it goes missing, it is as if a crutch had been taken away, so these two people cannot even climb/walk up the escalator, which would be the normal thing to do.
We could also think that technological progress makes humans lazy or at least less prone to/inclined to take initaiatives/make efforts/think by themselves.





Friday, 6 September 2013

POST 1: A Cartoon

             




     This cartoon is by Chappatte, for the International Herald Tribune. There is no precise date, but it wouldn´t really have any relevance to the topic. This document tackles the issue of piracy and the disadvantages of the power of the internet, which is a current issue.
     
     In the background, we can spot a sign indicating that we are at the Cannes Film Festival, where a fan is asking a famous actor for his autograph. This fan seems very excited and thanks to the symbol on his T-shirt we can deduce that he is computer friendly. He is telling this actor about how much he loves his movies, and that he´s pirated all of them. They're standing on a big red carpet and the background is full of photographers, fans and police officers.
       This is a sort of caricatural cartoon,  stereotyping the Cannes Film Festival, in which one character is talking thanks to a balloon, this is happening in the foreground.

     The cartoonist is criticizing the power of internet, through the example of piracy. We could say he is satirizing a common situation considering that it´s quite a funny illustration. He aims to show through this cartoon, that piracy is a serious problem, because everyone does it and no one cares. It´s as if there was nothing wrong about stealing. Setting this in Cannes makes it even more poignant because we're at one of the most prestigious events of cinematography, where cinema is celebrated and rewarded as an art, and this fan has no problem affirming that he illegally downloaded movies, in front of the people who made them.
      The overall message is: piracy is bad, it is theft, yet everyone is pirating everything now, very casually, as if it were nothing.

      This isn't particularly sophisticated, but still has a strong message. It is quite convincing and thought-provoking but I still feel that it is not enough and will not prevent the fact that everyone is pirating nowadays. In some ways I feel like it's too late... It is quite clever and well thought-out but the younger generations don't really care, and have been brought up with this illegal system. I do agree with the cartoonist, and it´s quite a controversial issue, yet it will be extremely difficult to actually stop piracy, seeing as it has expanded so much.

     Every time I think of piracy, I think of this ad that was always shown before watching a movie on a DVD. It was all about how piracy is a crime, and how you wouldn't steal a car or a T.V. so why would steal just because it's on internet. However, recently I feel like they stopped using this ad on every DVD. Have they given up? Am I just imagining things and they're still showing it? And if they've stopped, why? I sincerely feel that nowadays, the  Internet has become such an important part of our lives that we don't really realise how powerful it actually is. People think that they can do anything on a computer, but in reality it's the same thing to steal a movie in a shop than on the internet.