Monday, September 14, 2020

Dialogic Cinephilia - September 14, 2020

More than 40 years on from the release of Apocalypse Now, the opening sequence still leaves an unshakeable sense of dread. The film casts an immediate spell, and 'The End' is its incantation. The song’s delirious vocals and shadowy, brooding psychedelic instrumentals are eerily apt accompaniments to the visions of warfare that unfold onscreen. As Captain Willard’s head swims with napalm and choppers, The Doors invite you to join him in the darkness.

Although inspired by Joseph Conrad’s 1899 novella Heart of Darkness, director Francis Ford Coppola had quite a different world to work with. Instead of European empires and the Congo, Apocalypse Now deals in America and the Vietnam War. 'The End' also nods to the wider tumult back in the States at the time — to a counterculture learning to question its government’s virtue at home and abroad. The song’s gothic despair sets the scene for the horrors to come. It’s the perfect overture for an all-American nightmare. – Frederick O'Brien

Azeez, Hawzhin, et al. "Remembering the Many Lives of Our Friend David Graeber."  ROAR (September 13, 2020)  ["David embodied humanity. His immeasurable generosity of spirit, his astonishing ethics as an anarchist and academic, his legacy with Occupy Wall Street, his open unwavering solidarity with the oppressed of the world, including the struggles of Rojava — all elevate him to one of the greatest visionaries of our times. As the oppressed, we needed intellectuals of such giant proportions to stand in solidarity and unwavering support with us. For those of us who knew what he contributed to our lives and to our struggles, his loss is an unbearable burden."]

Desplechin, Arnaud."Ismael's Ghosts." The Close-Up (April 11, 2018) ["Featuring brilliant performances from Mathieu Amalric, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard, the shape-shifting drama is about a filmmaker whose life is upended when his wife Carlotta returns after having disappeared twenty years earlier."]

Hernandez, Eugene, Michael Koresky and Nicolas Rapold. "Pedro Almodóvar and Pain and Glory." Film Comment Podcast (September 18, 2019) ["Koresky writes, “There has been no clearer onscreen representation of the filmmaker’s essence than the main character of Pain and Glory, played with exquisite middle-aged restraint by Almodóvar’s longtime muse, Antonio Banderas.”"]

Johnson, Adam and Nima Shirazi. "Hollywood & Anti-Muslim Racism (Part 1) - Action and Adventure Schlock." Citations Needed #113 (July 8, 2020) ["The United States and its close allies Saudi Arabia and Israel have been bombing and occupying large sections of the so-called “Muslim world” for decades – drastically ramping up after the 9/11 attacks and seemingly with no end in sight. The U.S., like all empires, cannot operate a large, complex system premised on violence, meddling and subjugation without a moral pretext. This moral pretext, even before 9/11, was primarily about fighting a war on so-called “Terrorism” or “Islamic extremism” while allegedly promoting “stability,” “freedom” and “democracy.” Along with American news media’s constant fear-mongering over scary Muslims lurking in the shadows, a major pillar propping up this moral pretext is pop culture – namely the cultural products coming out of Hollywood. Our decades-long "War on Terror" would no doubt be much more difficult to sustain without a constant reminder from TV and film that, despite the fact that the average American is more likely to be killed by a vending machine than a terrorist attack, the threat of Islamic terrorism remains ever-present and existential, marked by an inevitable “clash of civilizations” devoid of context or any notion that the U.S. is a primary driver of violence across the globe. Over the course of three episodes, we'll be taking a look at how Hollywood’s television and studio film output helps prop up America’s military aggression in the Middle East, engages in both casual and explicit racism, strips conflicts of any historical or imperial context pushes the idea the only Good Muslim is a snitch or CIA agent, and generally leaves its audience angry and ill-informed.  In this episode, we review Hollywood’s long history of anti-Muslim racism in both classic and campy action/adventure films and TV and how it both primed us for – and sustains – the never-ending and self-perpetuating "War on Terror.""]

Stokes, Leah. "This Is Climate Change”: West Coast Fires Scorch Millions of Acres & Blot Out the Sun." Democracy Now (September 10, 2020) ["The skies of the Bay Area and Northern California turned a dark orange as 90 major fires burn in the western United States, from San Diego to the Canadian border. At least seven people have died as a result of the fires, which have already burned 2.5 million acres in California alone. Despite heavy coverage in the mainstream media, however, few outlets are highlighting the link between the blazes and the accelerating climate crisis. “The fact is that TV news is completely abdicating its responsibility when it comes to telling the truth of what the West is dealing with right now,” says Leah Stokes, assistant professor of political science at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a researcher on climate and energy policy. “This is climate change. It’s not rocket science. And when will the media start calling it that?”"]

No comments:

Post a Comment