"Fire is motion / Work is repetition / This is my document / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all defenses."

- Cap'N Jazz, "Oh Messy Life," Analphabetapolothology

Sunday, October 29, 2006


UPDATE(2.26.07): comparative analysis done! find it here. -stephan!e

Hey there, Martin Scorsese! I LOVED your new film, but I gotta say -- and I say this not out of spite or bitterness or frustration, but because I love you and want you to get an Oscar for your fine work: you might have pissed a lot of fine people off.

And I don't just mean the Chinese...

Hello, readers!
I hope you're having a good weekend. I am, because I saw THE DEPARTED and though I loved it, I soon found out it was a remake/ inspired by (depending on who you ask) a Hong Kong film trilogy, INFERNAL AFFAIRS (2002).

I am considering a research project now in which I will watch both TD and IA and compare them (especially since the bad guys in THE DEPARTED were, surprise surprise, Chinese! I thought this ironic, especially after I learned it was preceded by a strikingly similar Chinese film!) I thought it would also be interesting to compare INFERNAL AFFAIRS to other Chinese action films, to hopefully discover some nuances in genre that might explain the overwhelming popularity of this film in particular.

Let me know what you think.

P.S. Don't get me wrong, I think Scorsese deserves an Oscar. And I think THE DEPARTED was BRILLIANT. I want it to get an Oscar... but then again, it seems too far off from an original work to deserve one. Which is unfortunate, because the acting, cinematography, use of music, and direction were so intelligent and phenomenally done, it is a huge disappointment to see that this film might get some critical flak for seeming too much like theft of intellectual property.

P.P.S. And don't get me wrong, if this film doesn't get critically acclaimed or recognized, it would be for this very reason alone (and, I think, a well-deserved critique at that). Yes, THE DEPARTED was brilliant. BUT, so was INFERNAL AFFAIRS. And, as the predecessor/ the inspiration/ the original/ what-have-you, deserves some more credit than what Scorsese is willing to give (Says director Scorsese: "'Infernal Affairs' is a very good example of why I love the Hong Kong Cinema, but 'The Departed' is not a remake of that film. Our film was inspired by 'Infernal Affairs,' because of the nature of the story. However, the world Monahan created is very different from the Hong Kong film. -source) That's all I want, just an admission of attribution.

p.p.s. also read:

Hong Kong Handover

By Brian Hu

Not surprisingly, Martin Scorsese's awaited remake of Hong Kong's beloved Infernal Affairs is a high-octane blast of pure cinema. The surprise is that the guns are pointed at China.

In Martin Scorsese's The Departed, Frank Costello, the maniacal mob boss played by Jack Nicholson, is about to deal sensitive weapons to some shady mainland Chinese agents who bring uncommonly large guns to the secret meeting. "Bringing automatic weapons doesn't add inches to your dick size!" he responds. With his trademark smirk, Nicholson starts to spew that machine-gunfire barrage of lunatic insults we've come to expect from him. In his best Chinaman accent, he snickers, "No tickee, no laundry," an insult I must confess to not understanding. Meanwhile, the Chinese agents silently take the verbal abuse, conceding their defeat.

The crowd -- comprised by a good number of film critics -- roared in laughter. Looking around online, it seems that this has been the general consensus among mainstream American viewers. That crazy Jack Nicholson! Those silly Asians!

On the other hand, I found it a bit harder to laugh. Yes, the scene was indeed funny even though I recognized that at the heart of the humor was not Nicholson's charisma, but decades-old stereotypes about sinister Chinese people or mysterious Chinatown (visually rendered with the same attention to grime and sleaze -- complete with porn theater -- as in Taxi Driver). But the bad accents and the laundry references weren't what bothered me; like many Chinese Americans, I've learned to expect this sort of juvenile racism from Hollywood.

No, what angers me to no end is that this film is a remake of the Hong Kong thriller Infernal Affairs, one of the most beloved Chinese-language films of the past ten years and a source of pride for Chinese-speaking audiences who lament the death of their own national cinemas to Hollywood domination. Like many fans of the film, I had mixed feelings about the proposed Hollywood remake, although I was willing to hold out hope since a revered director like Martin Scorsese was announced to direct it.

As I've argued before, there's nothing inherently wrong with Hollywood remakes of Asian films; as with the case of The Grudge, the cross-cultural contact opens new thematic possibilities. In fact, I was looking forward to seeing how the very-Hong Kong theme of good gangster, bad cop is transported to Boston. The evil of the Hollywood remake isn't in the plagiarism, it's in the strategic erasure of its Asian antecedent. We're not supposed to know that The Lake House is based on Il Mare or that The Departed is based on Infernal Affairs. This differs from, for example, the Bollywood remake of Fight Club, which is billed as 'our' version of Fight Club to be held up next to the original, and not a direct replacement of it.

The makers of The Departed have worked hard to disassociate themselves from the original. Jack Nicholson has publicly stated his refusal to watch the original because he wanted to be true to his own instincts. In the press kit, the screenwriter William Monathan similarly defends his decision not to watch the original (even though he worked from an English translation of the original script). In the same notes, Scorsese maintains that The Departed is "not a remake."

But as most fans of Infernal Affairs have observed, The Departed is indeed very similar to the original. It's not a re-imagining of the story as much as a direct translation, with certain items added to appeal to American sensibilities (sexuality, psychological motivation, sarcastic dialogue, etc.). By denying the influence of Infernal Affairs, The Departed denies its non-American roots and cultural hybridity, while it offends the fans (Asian and non-Asian) of the original.

Given this disrespect, the negative stereotypes of Chinese characters only compound the offense. Don't the filmmakers realize that when you steal somebody else's culture, they'll be carefully watching what you do with it? Don't they realize that there are audiences of The Departed who will be watching very carefully, sensitive to every deviation from their beloved original? Do these minority subjectivities even matter to Hollywood?

Sure, the scenes involving the mainland Chinese comprise only a small portion of the film, and sure the characters in the film also insult women, gays, blacks, Italians, and countless other groups. But this remake is supposed to be a tribute to Hong Kong cinema. Perhaps Scorsese's denial that this is in fact a remake exonerates him from having to pay respect to the originating culture. Hollywood doesn't need to be politically correct; it needs to be culturally honest.

I'm shocked that this issue hasn't been more prevalent in critical discourse. Fans are debating it in various blogs and message boards, but critics are absolutely silent. J. Hoberman of the Village Voice and Manohla Dargis of the New York Times correctly note that Hong Kong cinema has long been indebted to Martin Scorsese, but this only justifies Hollywood's attempt to erase its own indebtedness to Hong Kong.

Thinking that Chinese fans would express their dissatisfaction with the portrayal of Chinese people, I turned to the Chinese language media. The Taiwanese press has indeed expressed some concerns, although for a different reason: as part of his verbal humiliation of Chinese people, Nicholson's character taunts the mainlanders to "nuke Taiwan." Meanwhile, Hong Kong audiences are laughing at the poor Cantonese accents, as well why mainland agents are speaking Cantonese to begin with. Mainland China, not surprisingly, is not allowing the film to be shown in theaters.

Very few of these negative reactions are from people who disliked the film. I too, found The Departed an exhilarating film, and I'll be the first to admit that while I found Infernal Affairs a more emotional experience (with a better ending), Martin Scorsese is a hell of a better all-round filmmaker than the directing team of Andrew Lau and Alan Mak. I'll also be the first to acknowledge that Infernal Affairs too wasn't without objectionable representations; the Chinese trafficking scene in The Departed corresponds to the original's Thai drug deal scene, which itself is based on stereotypes of Thai criminals. But then again, Infernal Affairs wasn't a remake of a Thai film. So, what I object to about The Departed isn't the filmmaking or even the Asian pot-shots, but the haughty attitude the film and its makers project in the name of Oscar-worthy "art." Thanks, Hollywood, you've uncovered a new way to simultaneously congratulate yourself while offending the basis of your success.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

the departed

i just got back from seeing THE DEPARTED and i just...


i haven't seen a movie in so long that hit all the right spots. i mean... i came out of this movie feeling totally satisfied. and it was nice!

two and a half hours, and i wanted more. can you believe it?

i'm going again next week. anyone care to join me?

there's gotta be something critical and pompous i can say now, but why spoil the moment?

just go see it if you haven't yet. o wow...

p.s. on a totally different note, BORAT comes out in just one week!! now who wants to see that, eh?? o, you know i'm a gonna be in the front of the line for that one!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

speaking of satire...

(old post i've been saving for a week now, enjoy!)

wow, you could not ask for more serendipitous circumstances in terms of real-life satire.

i mean, there's nothing to say here. this takes care of itself...

By Joe Giordano

Staff Writer

Thursday, October 12, 2006

An MTV reality TV star (<- this is what got me. "reality TV star." haha, too funny.) was a victim of road rage after a retired Miami University administrator pointed a handgun at him Wednesday morning at an Oxford residence.

Police say a man in his 70s aimed a small handgun at 24-year-old John DeVenanzio, a cast member of MTV's "The Real World: Key West." A traffic violation appears to have sparked the armed confrontation.

According to police, DeVenanzio's girlfriend crossed a double yellow line to pass a Cadillac crawling southbound on McGuffey Avenue at approximately 10 a.m. The Cadillac then tailed the former Real World star and his girlfriend, who is a Miami student, a few blocks until they reached a Quail Ridge Drive residence.

As DeVenanzio's girlfriend pulled her Dodge Neon into the driveway, the Cadillac followed behind blocking the Neon. When DeVenanzio approached the car, he told police the elderly man reached into his glove compartment and pointed a handgun at him. The reality TV star then retreated to his girlfriend's vehicle and called 911. DeVenanzio was able to get the car's license plate, which led officers the an elderly man's residence.

When police questioned the man at his home, the former MU administrator said he flashed the gun for his safety.

"The driver stated DeVenanzio approached his vehicle in a threatening manner, and he pulled out the gun for his protection," Oxford police Sgt. Jim Squance said.

Police found the gun, which they describe as a Derringer. The elderly man possessed a permit for the handgun, which he says was not loaded during the confrontation. Police have not filed any charges against the former MU administrator. A university spokesperson said he retired in 1984.

Authorities are not releasing the man's name until the investigation is complete. Squance said they are currently speaking with the Butler County prosecutor about the case.

"We're going to complete the investigation and present it to the Butler County prosecutor," Squance said.

Police believe the next course of action will be sometime next week.

Contact this reporter at (513) 523-4139 or jgiordano@coxohio.com.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


come to Students for Staff's public event!

who: Workers, Faculty Members, and Public Officials
what: Speak out about wage disparities on our Miami University campus.
when: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 25th @ 6pm
why: Because poverty is a growing problem in our local community, and this is just one small step toward absolving the issue.

come, bring your friends and family, and meet some fantastic open-minded people, and MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

having fun with stereotypes and prejudice

Q: so what happens when you put a gang of progressive liberal hippies and a gaggle of rich conservative republicans together with their internet access and email capabilities?

A: you get the western listserv.


Q: and what happens when you get this already ridiculous situation and you throw into the mix "serious" conversations about stereotypes and prejudice?

A: oh ho ho. a fucking riot.

b/c no one likes to be called a racist. especially not liberal-minded folk or their conservative counterparts who are particularly aware of their own demographic stereotype.

but, as i thoroughly enjoyed pointing out in one of my rare contributions to listserv chatter this week, everyone is just a little bit prejudiced. and yes, everyone uses stereotypes. even liberals. (in fact, especially liberals. studies have shown that those who strongly believe they are NOT prejudiced are actually the ones who are most aware of stereotypes.)

but, that doesn't mean we shouldn't all be aware of what we say, right?

oh indeed. ;-)

what follows is a taste of the recent jabbering on the western listserv (clogging student, faculty, staff and alum inboxes since its inception). what you can't tell is that this used to be a discussion about the upcoming elections in ohio. (as i said, things got/get out of hand). what began as an earnest effort to get people to vote, soon devolved into name-calling, agitation, and good old taking-things-too-seriously.

so enjoy the best of the worst, and read the full discussion on the online archive (click, then follow discussion by clicking 'next in topic.')

love and splendor (and a stereotype-free evening),

p.s. i blame this uncharacteristic burst of sarcasm on my film class, in which i am happily learning to take things less seriously, to laugh a little, and to look at things more critically, with an eye for humorous opportunities. oh professor yeck, you've ruined me... ;-)

NOTE: names have been removed to protect the innocent

--- person 2 wrote:

> I remember in CCI learning about stereotypes and how
> harmful and misguiding
> they can be. Does anybody out there want to argue
> and say that stereotypes
> are good? I just don't think it would fly...
> In the past WEEK, I have THREE TIMES in the past
> week heard blatant negative
> stereotypes of "rich" people, all by peers I thought
> I respected. In the
> class I take to be a CLA, a fellow student
> characterized the College
> Republicans as "rich, stuck-up, and ignorant". I
> know for a fact that this
> kid went through 10 weeks of training, most of which
> concerned diversity and
> tolerance, and in the last class he says this???
> Here, on our very own supposedly diversity-loving,
> liberal-minded, open to
> all people Western Listserv, again rich people are
> assaulted. Since when
> are all politicians "Lizard Rulers"? And why must
> you be rich to be one?
> And how does being rich automatically make you
> eligible to be a lizard ruler
> too??
> Believe it or not, there are good rich people. Being
> rich does not make you
> a bad person. Being rich does not make you ignorant
> or uncharitable. Being
> rich does not make you a Lizard ruler or bankrupt of
> moral values. One of
> the biggest stereotypes is that rich people vote for
> Republicans. Yes, 53%
> of adults making over $50,000 a year voted
> Republican in 2000. But 46% of
> that income group voted Democratic in that election;
> in fact, 43% of adults
> making over $100,000 voted for a Democratic
> President in 2000.
> I'm puzzled at this: we all know that it is not OK
> to stereotype poor
> people, at least we would never do that over the
> public listserv. You
> wouldn't say "If any of you welfare bums would get
> off your asses, get a
> job, and stop being lazy, then you could have a
> decent life." NO - that is
> not OK. Why? Because we know that not all poor
> people are lazy, or on
> welfare, or unemployed. Indeed many poor people are
> the hardest working most
> ambitious and honest people you would ever meet.
> Then why is it OK to stereotype rich people as being
> next-of-kin to the
> "lizards"? Don't call a poor person ignorant or
> immoral, and don't call a
> rich person ignorant or immoral either.
> An anonymous quote: "Stereotypes are devices for
> saving a biased person the
> trouble of learning." Saying all politicians are
> rich and corrupt (and thus
> being rich makes you a good candidate to be a
> corrupt politician) is not an
> opinion, but a stereotype, a bias, a prejudice.
> -person 2


i agree. we SHOULD put an end to stereotypes. they're
not fun for anyone.

while we're pointing out ones we don't agree with, i'd
just like to add that i was frustrated by the lizard
stereotype. why are lizards getting such a bad rap,

i'm upset to see all this unjustified implicit
prejudice against the lizard population. just as we
wouldn't assume a poor person is lazy/ irresponsible,
or that a rich politician is arrogant/ selfish/
ignorant/etc., we should not assume that all lizards
are bad. i mean sure, they might be cold-blooded, but
they can also be quite loving animals, and make
excellent companions. i don't know for sure myself,
but i'm sure this is true since the lizardous pet
industry is just burgeoning these days.

so why the comparisons to politicians? i'd say corrupt
politicians have done more harm than lizards (the No
Child Left Behind debate last night is excellent
evidence of this). and what's so good about human
beings anyway that we can assume superiority over
lizards? that's not only specious, it's specist.

so before we continue this discussion, let's just
pause and consider our own stereotypes and opt to take
more care and consideration in what we say.


Monday, October 16, 2006



can anyone out there in the wild blue yonder tell me how i might be able to post podcast files here? or how i might be able to avoid that altogether and still do a podcast thru itunes or something?

i've got this fantastic audio files program i've been meaning to play with and it's high time i got back to radio (but since i don't own a radio frequency, will have to settle for an ethereal one over the internet... too bad too since it's funder week at WMUB, where i work, and have noticed dropping pledge rates.)

SO, if you're near a computer, please help me figure out this podcast situation.

and donate to NPR!!! public radio is the only public service medium left!!


Thursday, October 12, 2006

exposing the human animal: a review of BEST IN SHOW (2000)

so, it's midterm week, and i definitely stayed up ALL NIGHT writing three papers, two of them being film reviews.

here's one of those labors of love now...


BEST IN SHOW (dir. Christopher Guest, 2000)

Christopher Guest’s film BEST IN SHOW (2000) delivers provocative caricatures of several different subcultures, inspiring critical reexamination of their follies, as any successful satire should. The film’s “mockumentary” style is particularly effective, as it allows the actors’ endearingly quirky exaggerations to be interpreted as near-truths. The artistic direction and photography mimic the aesthetic of film documentaries, making the audience feel that what they are seeing is merely a version of the truth. And indeed, it is. The film’s characters and situations are exaggerations, but these slightly hyperbolic depictions reveal underlying truths about the absurdity of human nature.
As the film tackles the conventions of professional dog shows, it highlights our assumptions and stereotypes of the people who participate in them. While we may initially laugh at the comedy and irony at the surface, deeper down, BEST IN SHOW works at exposing our assumptions and stereotypes of the crazed pet owner, and reveals a deeper understanding of the tragedy of middle-class America and a criticism of consumer culture.
Parker Posey and Michael Hitchcock evocatively portray the foibles of the yuppie subculture in their roles as contestants Meg and Hamilton Swan, respectively. We are first introduced to the Swans in the middle of what appears to be a family therapy session, where the Swans are discussing what we assume to be their misbehaving child. However, as the camera angle slowly changes to reveal, we are witnessing a puppy therapy session, and the patient, the focus of the characters’ (as well as our own) attention is actually the Swans’ dog, Beatrice. We are immediately struck with the absurdity of the situation: We know that therapy is expensive, even ineffective. Therapy for dogs, then, would just be a waste of money and time. But no matter, here are the Swans, talking about every awkward moment of their private intimate lives with a therapist, while their precious Beatrice reclines in human fashion on her own couch, listlessly falling asleep despite their goading.
The Swans don’t necessarily need to take Beatrice to a therapist. Certainly the money being spent on her therapy sessions could be better used to buy toys or kibble. But this kind of reasoning would not work on yuppies such as the Swans. After all, these are people who consider themselves lucky to have “grown up on catalogs,” who spend their free time poring over J. Crew magazines and sifting through the newest additions to the L.L. Bean collection. The Swans are people whose romance began when their eyes met across the street from different Starbucks, who met for the first time while sipping soy lattes and working on their “Macs.” They are the discontented wealthy, the delusional consumers, the disconnected people who put their trust and faith in brand loyalties and seek happiness and comfort in expensive purchases. They revel in the joy of catalog shopping because “you don’t have to talk to anyone.” Even with each other, they communicate more in their conspicuous consumer choices than they do in actual conversation.
And as the film suggests, these are people who are tragically boring and unhappy. Their neutral-toned clothes, save for the occasional splash of “merlot,” suggest they have very in the way of personality. They lack excitement, and we can’t help but feel their sex lives are equally dull (as Meg says early on in the film, “[they] got a book, The Kama Sutra…” Only a haplessly out-of-love couple would need a book to teach them to love one another). Indeed, we see them as a nonsexual couple, and Beatrice as their surrogate child.
And as such, Beatrice falls subject to their crazed “stage parent” antics. The Swans’ manic behavior comes to a peak in the moments before Beatrice takes to the stage. Upon finding that Beatrice’s toy “Busy Bee” (a character almost in its own right) is missing during the ritualistic pre-show preparation, Meg storms off searching for a new one. “Raised on catalogs,” with apparently minimal experience or skill in face-to-face human interaction, Meg struggles to communicate with the store manager, only to give up and return with the “wrong” toy. Posey’s performance is particularly derisive, and exposes the absurdity of our consumer culture: such is the state of society that anything we could possibly want is available for us to buy. Even toys for our dogs are available in multiple varieties and colors, and still, it’s never enough, and we are never satisfied.
When Beatrice eventually buckles under the extreme pressure of the Swans’ ceaseless “freak-outs,” they discard her (perhaps put her down?) in favor of a new dog, Kipper, who they gush about at another one of their therapy sessions. Again, the Swans are depicted here as falsely believing they can control their lives with the things they buy. If the dog doesn’t work, get a new one. If the clothes don’t fit, get a new wardrobe. Fittingly, the Swans are shown in their epilogue wearing a rainbow of bright and pastel colors, reflecting their re-energized spirit and enthusiasm for their new pet.
When Meg and Hamilton are frantically trimming Beatrice’s whiskers, brushing her coat, and giving her pep talks, like the other contestant couples around them, we see the human condition with all its follies on display. These are people who probably pay exorbitant fees to send their dogs to pet spas, who just might buy ridiculous outfits for their dogs so that they can more easily pretend they’re people.
The film is humorous and effectively satiric, because it reminds us that these are dogs, and that their misguided owners are human. Prolonged shots of the owners with their dogs show the dogs looking indifferent and unaware. As was probably the case in filming, so it is with dogs in shows: they may “sense the tension,” as the commentator suggets, but they are no more cognizant of the importance of the show to their owners than their owners are willing to acknowledge the dogs’ indifference.
The film reminds us that the contestants and their animals are participating in a dog show, a sadistic competition created by pet owners to take their extreme abuse of their canine companions to an obscene level. Dogs are animals, and naturally have no need for plush insect toys or trimmed whiskers. Yet who comes out looking more rabid, the humans or the dogs? In the end, the human characters are understood to be the irrational ones.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

how's this for an educational focus?

I am an Interdisciplinary Studies major, focusing in the intersections of mass media and education, and how these two systems may be better utilized to include and empower marginalized groups in cultural production.

yea buddy... ;-)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

beautiful use of music

this was an inspiring use of music in film... or film in music, i guess...

(sigur ros's "glosoli," from the album TAKK)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

critical distance: how woody allen's fear of getting close draws us closer

hello hello.

i've decided: i am going into film! it's the only thing that brings joy to my life now. i love watching and critiquing and thinking about film. i want to write and direct. maybe even act.

until i get there, i am content to write about films and film technique.

and here's one of those now: a review of woody allen's ANNIE HALL...

(this appeared previously as an assignment for my satiric film class, but what the hell. the internet can stand one more review by a non-authority (yet) on the subject...)

ANNIE HALL (Woody Allen, 1977)

Voice-over is a frequent satirical device, in that it creates a critical distance between the viewer and the subject matter. With this distance comes the freedom for critique, and the opportunity to consider the follies or foibles of the characters depicted.
This critical distance is perhaps especially important when dealing with matters of the heart, and particularly, love. We are, as Woody Allen might say, schmaltzy to a fault. We too easily lose ourselves in romantic narratives and find ourselves hoping for happy endings, wishing the two main characters would just give in to Romantic conventions and fall in love. Unfortunately, relationships don’t always work out, and life is miserable and short.
And in ANNIE HALL, Allen doesn’t try to convince us otherwise. Rather, Allen would have us believe that we are witnessing the most miserable of individuals, Allen’s on-screen persona Alvy. He is unlucky in love and unluckily in love. Endearingly neurotic, self-deprecatingly funny, and irritatingly brilliant, Alvy is at once so idiosyncratic that he pushes everyone around him away.
What results is a film of dissonance and distance, removal and remoteness. Not only are the characters alienated from one another, they exude their isolation outwardly, such that the audience is removed from the narrative just enough to appreciate Allen’s satirical view of human relationships. While the characters Annie and Alvy are falling in and out of love, the audience is being drawn in and pushed away by Allen’s unconventional style.
As the audience soon sees, Annie and Alvy’s relationship begins to fall apart as they fall away from each other. When Annie is denied her ritualistic grass before going to bed, she becomes removed. We watch as her inner self floats out of her body and takes a bedside seat, literally, physically, and visibly apart from the Annie with whom Alvy is in bed. Interestingly, Allen’s Alvy is then aware enough to look up and notice what has happened, to point at Annie’s inner self across the room and remark, “now that’s what I call removed,” and then proceed to ask her to give herself in her entirety, rather than just her body. It is a poignant scene, and a familiar one to most waning love stories, the acknowledgement that your significant other is merely going through the motions, while you believe you are in love. In reality, such a realization would bring cause for remorse, but in ANNIE HALL, it draws laughter, the impossibility of the situation (the physical impossibility of Annie’s split self) underscoring the impossibility of the relationship itself.
It further reinforces critical distancing. While Annie literally splits and removes herself from the bed, we are forced to remove ourselves as well and take a critical glance back at the two characters and their relationship. Allen’s use of innovative film techniques (switching to cartoon, incongruent and distracting subtitles, split screens, and direct address, to name a few) are so jarring to the film’s flow that the audience is forced to suspend their complete immersion into the story. Rather than become lost and invested in the characters and their relationship, the audience is consistently reminded that they are watching characters on a screen. Allen’s use of innovation in the visual medium has the effect of spectacle, resulting in surreality, separateness from the reality on which Allen comments.
This creates a detachment of the viewer, enabling us to enter into the narrative only so far as to criticize the characters and to turn our attention to satiric elements. Whereas a romantic film would allow for a happy ending with an escapist/idealist resolution, the characters’ awareness and interactions with the viewer create commentary on Allen’s subjects without becoming lost in the narrative and lost to Allen’s message: that life is miserable and short. And love is no exception.

Monday, October 02, 2006

fighting subtle racism

Q: how does one begin to confront someone regarding their suspected implicit racism, especially if that someone is one's professor, extra-especially if one is at the WASPy institution known as miami u?

A: very carefully...

or not at all.

suffering silence,