Friday, December 14, 2012

Subconscious Film - Criterion Collection - Eclipse Series 24 - Dying At Grace (2003)

These essays are specifically for reading after ones personal viewing.

What strikes me first is the religion. As the head nurse makes her rounds, the undertone of her questions are a rhetorical utterance of how they should know God is with them. And that this – their pain and suffering – is "part of a bigger picture." None of them seem to believe her, which made me wonder, do you enter the hospital knowingly of this preaching? It’s called Grace Hospital, but nobody except one, who seems to be in a vegetable-like consciousness, is wanting or acceptingly a part of these religious feedings. This made me feel uncomfortable in her presence, and also juxtaposed my preconceived notions of how I thought the human mind worked close to death; instead of reaching out to God in their last hours, calling his name for the fear of the unknown, they threw Him away. But I'm able to understand – as most of their lives have been filled with pain, cancer not being the first spell – at times it seems or perhaps it is, that God has left, or was never there.

Having watched most of Allan King's Actuality Dramas, it helps to be an experienced viewer of vérité, to be able to break-into this new sense of viewing. Having the ability to openly interpret his films, one can then experience these new emotions, undistributed disturbed by a period of confused watching. 

There's a whole tone and voice any director/writer is trying to communicate with you. They're trying to immerse you in this new sense of feeling. Just like a novel. And like novels, we watch films one after another, experiencing different emotions and themes, which are personal to each creator. Sometimes (most of the time) when I read a new book, it takes time for me to escape the tone and voice of the last book I read, and pull myself into this new world, so fluidity may compliment my reading as I understand this new writer's sense of tone and voice. For films, I feel we plague our first viewings either by the last films we watched, or mostly by our own sense of personality, instead of watching with an open eye for the filmmaker's voice. Not that the films we love can't also be important to us personally, but that's not the only reason to love or enjoy a film. Now, it also depends on the filmmaker to have the ability to immerse his/her viewer's in his voice, but, I truly think a film should be a combined effort of both filmmaker and viewer. So even when you don't love a film, after viewing it with an openness of both the makers voice and personal undertones, you may be able to respect and enjoy the film for the vision and talent if it is genuine.

During my viewing, I developed a new filmic sense of emotion: I wanted to throw up from my sadness. I know it sounds terrible, and it was, but when dealing with death, I don't believe it could be any other way. I was then met with an odd aftertaste. When it was done and over, I felt....fine. I was able to lay down and sleep without the worry and anxiety which usually takes over my scattered mind before sleep. It was a sense of peace. Did King somehow instill in me a small sense of hope or acceptance within the walls of the Grace Hospital. That is the true gift of an artist: To instill a new sense of emotion and in turn, feel the relation of man through art. It is wholly inspiring to experience, and I hope to someday be on the side of its creation.

The Seafairy

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Santa with Muscles

By: Henry Melville

The Not-So Abby Normal Brain and Santa With Muscles

    If a repetitious groundhog day allows time for cultivation of a plethora of existential and neighboring philosophies, then Hulk Hogan believing he’s Santa Clause undoubtedly narrows down the spectrum. “Absurdity of conventions” is a phrase that can extend beyond philosophical thinking and describe a film itself. A questionable man goes through an ordeal where he discovers the error of his ways and gains redemption in the end. Why does the formula continue to be used and capture the imagination of children and adults alike?

    The answer extends deeper beyond the acting ability behind Hogan’s facial hair. Existentialism follows the method of thinking that “we and things in general exist, but that these things have no meaning (essence) for us except as we through acting upon them can create meaning." Hogan’s character, a self-involved millionaire, lives life according to a lengthy list of rules he’s designed for himself. It is the very convention of these rules that lands Hogan on his head and into an amnesia-driven journey through an orphanage believing he’s Santa Clause. Standard kid’s movie antics ensue and Hogan winds up remembering the millionaire he is and returning to his mansion, now dejected. A theistic existentialist believes that “recognizing and experiencing absurdity leads to possibility of various kinds of redemption." It is not the absurdity of becoming Santa (with muscles) that allows Hogan his redemption, but the absurdity of the rituals in his ordinary life. The meaning that Hogan creates for himself is within the fabric walls of the Santa suit, helping the orphans he has come across.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Subconscious Film - Criterion Collection - Autumn Sonata (1978)

These essays are specifically for reading after ones personal viewing.

Maybe it's odd I find it positively intriguing, but through the longing monologues and the subtle hard cuts into past experiences, I look at their teeth. They are as they should be. Away from the judgment of an insecure American society, which I was brought up in and live with today. They gleam with the natural tinge of age and proper preservation. They are human and are not afraid of the faults they show. Can a natural process be a fault? No, but I guess that's how we've come to recognize it, as an unhygienic disfigurement if it is not treated by perfection.

I make some social commentary about the differences of society as if they live a purer life, but this is also not true. The same amount of problems occur, but in a different way I am only just able to peek and begin to relate through the cultural differences as I continue my viewing. I can barely make out the dogma that surrounds it and only because I read the essay in my Criterion copy; which was read only before I started this paragraph. It's like reading a book you know is foreign and can feel the language barrier flowing past the top of your head. If only you could read it in its native tongue and feel the cultural microcosms.

But I can feel the beats and am moved by the emotion. Met also by a nice direction; crisp and wistful, into the light of Autumn.

The Seafairy