Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Shock of the Real

The gun shots, the crying of women, the hustle of police clanging with their gear to the scene--this is a shock of the real.

Beatriz Jaguarbe's essay "The Shock of the Real" recalls what she believes shock to fall under. Jaguarbe wrote that shock of the real is a "specific representation on the unwritten narrative and visual imagery that unleashes an intense, dramatic discharge that distabilizes notions of reality itself" (Jaguarbe 70).

This can be best seen in the haunting film about a bus hijacking, "Bus 174." The shock Jaguarbe wrote is a "breakdown of representation by events so large or so unexpected in dimension that htey momentarily spress conceptual coinage of the 'shock of the real;' rapes, murders, muggings, fights..." (70).

Sandro de Nascimiento, as the film points out, was another one of the victims of favelas in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Because violence is such a central part of this city, not necessarily wanted nor is it the only thing involved culturally with Brazilian life, it still has made an impact on how the poor live. Children are forced to live on streets and band together to survive. Most of them will get into drugs. The ethnographic authority in this film gave the voice very much to everyone involved in the scene as much as possible.

The shock of this film was that Sandro's deep disturbance that no one, not even his Tia could remove from having lost his mother at such a young age. Yet at the root of it, the filmed repeatedly to how Sandro could not truly shoot anyone, and how one of the bus survivors recounted that she didn't believe that he would shoot anyone.

Jaguarbe wrote, "[Shock of the real] unleashes a cathartic release but contrary to the response elicited by Greek tragedies or romantic poetry. The catharic element here does not necessarily here does not necessarily wish to provoke the classic sentiment of compassion or pity" (page 70).

From Nichol's essay one of the three methods of realism; empirical realism, was probably the most present in the film. Every side from the police, to the victim (kidnapped in the bus, who kidnapped the bus) every side of the story was told as exhaustedly as possible. The psychological realism of the film was what the people who knew Sandro what they could best defer was going on in his mind, once again leading to his run with violence with and without the police.

Lorang's Way, a less violent film about a man who gained success through his many wives and livestock.The film was very muc life under toned reality life show. People came into his home and wanted to film and he gladly obliged. Yet the element of story telling is very imminent in the movie.

As for realism, I was slightly confused by Nichol's interpretation of realism in teh literary sense making it sound very naked and bare without much feeling that he pushed towards when defining it in the cinematic sense.

The Warriors and the Alligator

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket  height=

It is a delicate process to take one specific group of people that has continued their way of living for many years, without very much alteration to their rituals and government form and show them to the world without having to take a bias of some sort when representing them on film. If one decides to take the route of of Chagnon, with a highly reputable name no one or rather almost no one except that of John Tierney will question your calling the tribe a vicious people for thirst of violence.

I thought it was interesting the outing of Chagnon's manipulation of the Yanomami. In a word, the journalistic review was his exposure of sensationalism, similar to yellow journalism. One creates controversy because they believed that no one will want to read it unless it has sex and blood it. After all isn't that what makes Hollywood. I doubt Chagnon was looking for a contract to make his film a blockbuster hit in the summer though.

When previewed in class the movie "The Ax Fight" directed by Napoleon Chagnon, was intersting that Chagnon decided to go back so many times to show how many times the situation can be altered.

Chagnon wrote this in "Yanomamo: The Fierce People" as his first encounter with the Yanomami:

I looked up and gasped when I saw a dozen burly, naked, sweaty, hideous men staring at us down the shafts of their drawn arrows! Immense wads of green tobacco were stuck between their lower teeth and lips making them look even more hideous, and strands of dark-green slime dripped or hung from their nostrils--strands so long that they clung to their pectoral muscles or drizzled down their chins"
(Chagnon 10).

After this Chagnon proceeds to describe a series of rather chaotic events that took place during his visit. The reader can only assume that they are vicious people from his account of their living style. I believe this is what Juan Downey was making a sarcastic response to.

Juan Downey's film "The Laughing Alligator" was borderline humorous and disturbing. As an attempt to lift the serious face of ethnographic film. The amusing thing about Downey's film is during the forest scene when he is walking with two other Yanomami men, both who are carrying gun. Setting the audience into this mood and making everything completely serious as he stands wondering whether or not the Yanomami man is going to shoot at him. The actions that the man takes by faking a shot, shows that they are perfectly capable of understanding the outside world and know what occurs in it.

They are not childish people that Chagnon may have them appear to be, who only crave violence among their people. There was a manipulation of events that occurred in "The Ax Fight" for some reason that fight was no different than some arguments I have seen occur in life time. The only difference was they weren't speaking a language similar to ours.

In light of the tomfoolery, the film "Warriors of the Amazon," shed some positive light on the Yanomami as people who merely exist from day to day. They are shown in an almost positive light, like that of Lizot, who's writing was almost trying to paint the most picture perfect account.

Vertov and the Cinema Eye

Eisenstein wrote in "Methods of Montage" that in order for the correct "pulsing" (p.73) between the film and audience there had to be an exact measurement of the mise-en-scene. If there was an "overcomplexity" then a "distinct emotional tension" would arise from the audience. Throughout the essay Eisenstein mentions the four different methods of montage--metric, rhythmic, tonal, overtonal--become constructions when each works together with one another.

This method for Eisentstien could not been seen as an achievement in Dziga Vertov's film, "Man with a Movie Camera" (1928). Vertov, in this film, decided to record the daily occurrences of life in Moscow from dawn to dusk. As the film progress it starts with silence, which if thought about could be like sleep, where everything is silent and as the audience walks towards their seats, they are ready to "start the show" or rather ready to wake up. Vertov starts with regular things like waking up and getting ready. The montage of images throughout the film, especially with the impressive images of factory work; from machine to human and from machine to their hands and showing how quickly each one moves was extremely impressive.

The movement throughout the film was as speedy as most silent films were back then. But the interesting thing that Vertov did was the juxtaposition of images, how the whole flow of the movie went through. Everything was seen in the eye of a camera eye. Another creative aspect was the movement of the camera itself with the montage of the audiences faces, who were entertained by a camera moving about by itself.

At the time that the movie was released, it did not receive high acclaim, especially from Eisenstein who disappointed by how slowly things progressed rather than with his method of montage time that a mise-en-scene film should move at. However, in the essay "From Magician to Epistemologist," edited by Adam Sitney, Vertov's film is seen as highly misunderstood, as most films are in their day. The film is compared with that of James Joyce's "Ulysses" a lengthy, complicated and confusing work of literary genius. This the author argued was what brought thinking up to a new level, and believed that Vertov did so as well.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Phillip Kim: The Golden Boy

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
California is home to many a laid back person. But when searching the streets of the sunburst state, especially in Southern California, particularly that of Los Angeles, there are few young adults that can truly astound you. I came across my subject Phillip Kim a year ago in a Journalism class. What shocked me the most was Phillip’s unrestrained mannerisms. He approached purely out of the blue and could make a conversation out of anything, and turn it into something meaningful. He is always looking to talk about something meaningful. Yet there are other times and sometimes it can be very dangerous when he wants to joke around.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

We continued to converse throughout the year and everyday was a new experience from him. Phillip has always dreamt of going to New York and plans on transferring here for school in the Spring. He mainly wants to come to New York to “move out of his parents’ house.” But from what I have observed, this place would be a perfect palette for the world that he has created for himself.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I believe that he attained this trait from having grown up in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It's a pretty difficult thing for people to let go of their fears and live life purely by instinct and the variety of moment. My friend Phillip Kim is an example of fearless living. Everyone back home knows him as the extremely lucky kid, the Golden Boy, the boy who could do wrong but with very good reason.

There were moments throughout the year that Phillip had surprised me completely. For instance when visiting the Bay area of San Francisco, I had turned around for a second and when I turned around Phillip had grabbed a rope and was trying to swing himself. I immediately thought to myself at how unstable the young man was.

When visiting in New York, he brought along his camera with him to go on many of his well-known “photo adventures.” Anyone who knows Phillip knows that he will always carry around his Nikon camera with him. And anyone who knows him even better that if you begin to pick up a conversation with, it will some how lead to photography, since he has on many an occasion professed it as his passion.

One would think that he would be the regular hipster if they saw him outside Starbucks in his green apron ( since he works there) sipping coffee and smoking cigarettes. However, once during a silly conversation gone serious, he asked what sort of category he thought that I believed he fell under. After regarding him, I took him for more of a surfer bum. He was surprised, since that was the first time anyone had ever called him that. and then thought to himself and agreed with me.

Usually over lunches we will try to get to know each other since we were only acquainted with each other for a year. He will usually ask me about my life. Phillip is always interested in what other people like and will stem his conversation on that. The last time I saw him he claimed that he was becoming a vegetarian. About a week after that he was eating meat again.

It is amazing that Phillip lives in the dull city of La Canada, CA, a very suburban city about 45 minutes away from Downtown Los Angeles with good traffic or speeding. Surprisingly with the fast paced way that Phillip lives, he is an extremely slow driver.

He has a vast knowledge of music thanks to who his sister who is an executive for a music company, I can never remember which one. When speaking he doesn’t realize that his Brazilian accent will slip out from time to time. He likes to crack jokes at inappropriate and appropriate times.

For the grief that he bestows on people sometimes as a bit of a slacker and a bit of flake, anyone friends with him or knowing of him that when given the chance to spend time with him, it is a time to do anything you want because he won’t object to anything, except if it will involve some sort of violence.