Tag Archives: Film

Good Times: Liquor Stories – The Pilot

This video was provided by AKA, at kaleconspiracy.com.

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What I learned in College (Fall Semester 2014)

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Day One of Winter Break, I look back and think on this past semester. Fall 2014 was nothing short of interesting, trying, and above all, eye opening/mind expanding (whatever cliché). There was copious reading and unfollowed syllabi. One comes into contact with fliers on the walls of buildings; peers, scholars, and professors. A person can see groups talking in the mall in the sun one moment, and then weeks later, few huddled bipedals running bundled for warmth on sidewalks, and into halls. Minneapolis is as diverse in weather as it is in people.

The classes were four in number, and somewhat different; each offering a unique perspective on relevant, and mostly interesting topics- though Hamlet is still ubiquitous and rampant at the U of M campus (I am not sure if this is good or bad). I took part in a Science Fiction course which focused on social critique, a Film course which focused on gender, a non-linear Deutsch course which focused on focusing on the syllabus, tentatively, and acting, and talking, and projects which come with that, and of course tangents. I found solace in reading, in its entirety, Moby-Dick. This American Literature 1 course was enduring, yet all the same rewarding. And again, this entire experience did not come without the most important part, the people one connects with.

University is great for connecting with people. I came into contact with real-life actors, monomaniacal professors obsessed with Melville, and their TAs who wear low-cut shirts and gave smiles over discussions of hangovers. I met a professor named Craig who was the most loving, and caring woman; more open and honest than the average person outside of their homes. Moreover, I had a professor who gave me 65 percent on a paper, a fucking D, the first since high school, and it was deservedly. Examples of people I connected with, there were a million: AV a boy who carried his works in a backgammon case, Theresa who was a non-traditional student and would tell you that fact numerous times, but was as youthful as anyone my age, K, B, and D and everyone in German (H,H,…) anyone I forgot; all of these people were special and amazing and scholars in their own right. We took something from one another; student from teacher, teacher from student; student from student, etc.

These people appreciated like wine; ever getting better, and more seasoned. I can see vividly the situation where a human being is that, a human being. At 8 am in the morning we are all the same; we crawl from the warm womb of our beds to look into the mirror and judge ourselves, as we hope others won’t. We all have to get outside today, things to do. Whenever a project, assignment, quiz, or test came up, as a thorough student, I realized that the person on the other end was actually a person indeed. Writing in small letters would make it more difficult to grade, same as showing late would fuck up the flow of the lecture. I learned that that person had shit days, and had good days too. I was shown that no one is perfect, or always on time, or always smiling every second of the day. College enlightens humanity by showing examples of humanity. My experience was more personal than a letter grade.

What college has done for me so far is opened my eyes to new and unknown concepts. Even if I am reading and writing on subjects which have been read and written on a millions times over, I am doing something unknown and new. No moment is exactly the same as the moment before, even with all of the same parts involved. These parts are the people. I met people of interest, people from different and varying backgrounds; those people who took the challenge of academia as I did. We became parts of this semester, of this time, of this progressive movement called education, this system of grades and titles, and hellos and handshakes.

I think back to sitting in Walter Library every Monday at around noon talking to a friend. I would eat Cheerios out of a repurposed Talenti jar. We would discuss language, relationships, and the week ahead. We met once a week, it almost reminded me of seeing a therapist, this real-life person, with real-life opinions, sharing an honest and open real-life discussion over the things, any, which came to mind. There was no agenda, there never has been. That’s life. We walk guided by invisible strings. I sat and munched Cheerios and smiled and tried to focus on the person directly in front of me. Even the ceiling and walls offered a story. I would say, see you next week, and without text, without call, without social media, no convolution, it was so, like clockwork.

Now, looking back, I see a tinge more clearly of everyday life. The mind is a camera which captures and records. After each semester at the University I take something away, and I have left a bit heavy-hearted, and less and more of myself. I wonder: would I see these people again? Would I ever sit in the same spot with the same group with the same ideas with the same professor, words, ideology, and mindset? No. I do not think so. But now I can look back and take with me what I’ve gained. What I have gained is experienced learned. What I have learned is that we must all learn from those around us, and teach others as if they are learning too.

Things to Think on: “Untold History of United States”

Children of Men; Is it Worth it?

Children of Men is an intense tale of the inability of humans to reproduce. It is set in a dystopian future. Children of Men is a harrowing cinematic wonder, which enacts long takes with few cuts, and an immensely beautiful, yet terrifying setting, contrasting modern battle grounds, and industry, with deep green landscapes. It seems the most poignant shots offer the least amount of cuts, and vast range. This movie offers opposite pars and poignant meaning in social critique of violence and birth.

Children of Men highlights the human condition: we strive to reproduce and pass along our heritage. Being unable to do this, we become depressed and despondent. The human race is setup against a fascist government and a terrorizing guerilla activist group, F.I.S.H. With the setting we are drawn into a world of binary design; one aspect of the world is city-centric, very much modern dystopian, the other is one closer to nature, deep, rich, and holistic. This dichotomy offers a reprieve from what seems an endless barrage of violent attacks which plague the city centers. With this the audience is offered two ideologies: 1) a world based off of free love, attempts at birth, and peace (Shanti Shanti Shanti), and 2) a world based off of violence, oppression, and control. What is offered in drastic contrast is played out tenfold in this move; we see comparisons between life and death, humans and animals, and peace and war. Doubling extremes keeps this film at a fast pace.

In each shot there is much movement and sharp narrative change. Some of the most intense scenes go from a whimsical playful stance to a tragic situation, or vice-versa, in mere moments; the car chase, the baby exiting the building in the middle of an artillery battle. What we see is two very different concepts placed next to one another. We have the love of humanity, wanting to reproduce, create, expand, share, love, and then juxtaposed that, we have death, violence and deception. The question one must ask during Children of Men is not whether we have the ability to reproduce, but whether we should reproduce.

The director of Children of Men is extremely clever. He pits light-hearted empathy with the most atrocious violence. One moment the audience is laughing, the next moment they are gasping in shock. Children of Men is not your run of the mill movie, but something exceptional, and riveting, with a greater meaning. By comparing life and death, peace and war, the director shows two sides of human nature. The film draws you in with humanity, and begs the question: with all of this destruction of life, is creating new life worth it?

Boys Don’t Cry, and then People Die

Boys Don't Cry Poster

Boys Don’t Cry Poster

Boys Don’t Cry carries from start to finish with an emphasis on light, perspective, violence, and deception. One thing to note especially about Boys Don’t Cry is the beginning and ending are the same: the audience is given a car on a dark highway, traveling to anywhere, driven by a female character. The lights are out of focus and what is dark surrounds. This set-up and finish could be symbolism of the protagonist Teena “Brandon” Brandon. Hilary Swank, who pulls off a Justin Bieber/young Matt Damon in this film, is astonishingly believable as a soon-to-be F to M gendered person. She moves in the night, in the shadows, sans good light, and those around her can’t really pin-point her basis, or what she actually is. Her foundation is out of focus. Peirce captures this incredibly well, and that is what makes this movie so gripping, its honesty. The audience does not know what is coming next… That is honest. Life is not scripted, anything can happen. It could be physical violence, romantic sexual expression, or a drunken domestic outburst centered round the most sacred part of the house, a living room. The beauty of Boys Don’t Cry is the reality it mimics, the unknown- and not knowing.

Sexuality within the film focuses on “Brandon” trying to find love, find himself/herself, while moving around just trying to exist, survive. He deceives all those around him by not being straightforward about his situation; he is not a man. Brandon comes into a precarious situation by way of alcohol and drugs, and probably chance. The audience is taken in, first-hand, as Brandon is. He build relationships and is pitted against what would seem “normal” or “average” antagonists, against an ambivalent character. Brandon tries to be macho in respect to Lana’s ex-lover, felon, Brandon tries to win the heart of Lana. Role reversals within Boys Don’t Cry seem shocking; Brandon is raped (as a woman), Lana is intrigued that Brandon is actually female, and the drunken mother. I think the message within the film is that there is a duality to each situation. It is not so much about labels, blame, or deception (everyone is to blame within Boys Don’t Cry), but rather how it makes you feel, and for what purpose. That is the most important bit.

Lana and Brandon seemed in love, as opposed to Lana and her ex-lover, total drunk loser. There was a peace in the atmosphere when Lana was with Brandon that took her out of the “Hell” which was her living situation. And that all came to a violent end.

Kimberly Peirce’s directing utilizes fast cuts and manipulated lighting, not to mention the set, makeup, and overall appeal of the environment which is being imagined. It appears to me that most of the scenes take place at night or in the dark, or in sorted establishments. This filter affects one’s perception of reality, characters who appear in the dark, are not as they appear during the day. Fast cuts emphasize the fast pace of the movie, there exists this whirlwind love affair which is bound to become disastrous and volatile. Swank’s general presence gave me an uneasy feeling; I wonder, if one can be so convincingly conjured that no one is to know the difference, who around us is real? And what is “real”? Does it matter as much as the feeling that individual gives off? This not knowing of what is “real” creates the tension that eventually leads to the climactic ending.

The culmination of the film was shocking; people got shot, in the head. The interesting thing is the passing of the torch at the end. We have another character touched so much by Brandon’s ambition, concepts, and love that she embarks on what was to be his journey. The dangers of deception, manipulation, and drunken violence transcend intent (as good as it may have been), hence why Brandon was eventually killed. Boys Don’t Cry is a powerful film with a poignant and tragic message; people are still concerned with labels and other peoples’ sexual preferences, so much so that they will carry out violent acts in retaliation.

Deep Contrast; Scorpio Rising

Film: Maya Deren- Meshes of the Afternoon