Thursday, August 22, 2013

Le Quattro Volte (Frammartino, 2010): Mini-Film Review

Le Quattro Volte is an exceptional, captivating account of an Italian shepherd's life, which then morphs into a depiction of the farmer's livestock, the passing of the seasons, and rural communal life. The film is slowly paced, yet oddly the wordless 88 minutes seem to move quite quickly as it depicts ways in which people and nature are linked in interesting ways. Some of the images will stay with me for a long time. And it's an exemplar of the long take. I am grateful to have come across this film in part thanks to scholar Kiu-wai Chu's SCMS presentation “Beyond Human World: Eco-cosmospolitanism in Global Art Cinema” which asks: how can film convey a global/planetary environmental awareness?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Jameson Quotation from "Globalization and Hybridization"

 ... I find Jameson inspiring here as usual as he keeps the totality in mind while theorizing the transnational, mapping globalization by way of "what cannot be narrated":

"I start from the premise that mapping the totality is still one of the most vital functions and ambitions of art at the present time, as it was under the very different conditions of the modern period. The totality today is surely what we call globalization, and it is therefore the problems involved in the representation of this new and seemingly unimaginable totality which offer the most interesting challenges for the artists and writers of the postmodern, as well as for its literary theorists. But postmodern philosophical positions also warn us to avoid the implication that correct or definitive "representations" of reality are possible or conceivable in the first place: so that what is wanted is an inventory of the dilemmas of representation, of what in the structure of object or subject alike makes representational accuracy or truth an impossible achievement and an ideological ambition or fantasy as well. We map the contours of globalization negatively, by way of a patient exploration of what cannot be perceived and what cannot be narrated."

-- Frederic Jameson, pg. 315 from "Globalization and Hybridization" in Durovicová and Newman's edited volume: World Cinemas, Transnational Perspectives (Routledge, 2010).

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Big Heat (Lang, 1953): Mini-Film Review

Glenn Ford and Gloria Grahame are stellar in this, one of the best film noir crime dramas of the 1950s. The movie includes, to this day, one of the most sadistic outbursts of angry violence on film when Vince Stone (Lee Marvin) splashes a pot of burning coffee across Debby’s (Grahame’s) face. What stands out is the inability of Ford’s character Bannion to maintain a Leave it to Beaver-esque, seemingly perfect, hetero-normative, cookie-cutter lifestyle -- which exists and has every potential to thrive in the film -- after a crime syndicate sets out to destroy everything he loves. Redeemable seedy characters in the film similarly long for the domestic lifestyle Bannion no longer has access to. Crime destroyed family values, apparently. The 1950s never looked so great, realistic, and bad.