Although there is no direct link between the Judith MacDougall film, "The Art of Regret" and the Iranian film "The Birthday" there is an ethnographic quality that it embodies, being viewed at the Margaret Meade Film Festival in November.
The first film by Judith MacDougall, "The Art of Regret" was a film of how photos are method of capturing life and yet as this technique revolutionizes constantly the capturing seems to be almost becoming fictitious. MacDougall travels to Hong Kong, where not only is it increasing faster every year a technological center to catch up with its neighbors, China and Japan, it is losing the antique taste that it once had.
Photos can be easily manipulated for customers would go to the mall and want to have a good laugh. Something one would think would be taken lightly not seriously. However, as for a young boy, it was amazing to see how something simple in changing his original wardrobe and making him appear like a girl, disturbed him greatly.
Yet there is still a struggle of conserving the antique and memory of what Hong Kong once was. As can be seen in the exhibit by a photographer, there are those that want preserve this antiquity. The exhibit contained old and new photos of different years of the same spots in Hong Kong.
There was this notion of truth that photographs has a criteria of fulfilling. There was a question asked: If the image, that the camera is capturing, is falsified then does that make the image false? In my opinion I would have to say that yes, it is false. Because the photo is no longer in its original place, then this manipulation that takes place in the photo editing falsifies the true image that was captured.
As discovering the true image goes, "The Birthday" had this theme. The film takes the controversial issue of transsexuals in Iran. Two couples are followed in the film and we see how they deal with their new gender roles. It is acceptable for a woman to change to a man, but were it to be the other way, then that would be deemed unacceptable by Iranian society.
It was interesting to see just what an attraction the Margaret Meade Film Festival is, and it was pleasure to have an experience to watch an ethographic film outside of class.