Question about End Sinister

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OK so whats so wrong about being a pink condom shaped machine or a flock of crescent formed thingys. I personally, found it a bit erotic, maybe not so bad after all, I mean, wasn't it supposed to be incoprehencible anyway?

nalle, Wednesday, 5 December 2007 02:24 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Am I rally the only one who's wondered about that stuff in "End Sinister" , I guess I think it is a releveant thing to discuss considering it's about evolution.

nalle, Friday, 7 December 2007 03:58 (eleven years ago) Permalink

eveyone does it

chaki, Friday, 7 December 2007 04:30 (eleven years ago) Permalink

"Am I rally the only one who's wondered about that stuff in "End Sinister" , I guess I think it is a releveant thing to discuss considering it's about evolution."

No, you're not, and I apologize about the lack of responses. But see, this forum is very old. Most of us have grown tired of holding the same long drawn out discussions time and time again. At this point the board mostly lives off of short bursts of energy that arrive when Peter, or those affiliated with the show, do something new. Occasionally other discussions about film, and animation pop up as well. Sorry we're not more active.

J. F. Aldridge, Saturday, 8 December 2007 00:14 (eleven years ago) Permalink

lets activate

chaki, Saturday, 8 December 2007 22:28 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Well, to keep this thing alive, and to extend a welcome to newcomers, I'll try my best to continue answering topics as long as they don't repeat subjects that have already been exhausted.

On the portrayal of the distant future at the end of End Sinister, I'll just say that the imagery came directly from a peculiar and vivid dream I had.

Since I'm working on writing the new version of AF right now, the subject is very much on my mind.
I won't discuss the story, but if anyone has any general suggestions, criticisms, or ideas they'd like me to consider, I'd be happy to hear them.

The old forum is still available, so in case anyone here missed the discussions the first time around, I suggest you go to: (Start from the bottom and work your way up)

http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a.tcl?topic=Aeon+Flux

You can also search the ilxor boards, though you'll have to use the search tool to dig up old topics.
Search for topics started by:

Barb E
Aldridge
Rebholz
Syra
Polyencephalic
Skye
Your Hair
Peter Chung

Peter Chung, Sunday, 9 December 2007 16:08 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Thanks Peter, you're obviously as much a member of this little group as any of us. I have to admit that lately even I am having trouble staying engaged here. Thank you for putting in the effort.

As always, looking forward to the return of Aeon!

Matt Rebholz, Sunday, 9 December 2007 22:49 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Have you ever considered reverting back to the mute/rebooting Aeon from the shorts? I always found them particularly fascinating; I think it's what got me hooked in the first place.

Stevie D, Wednesday, 19 December 2007 15:07 (eleven years ago) Permalink

that would actually be awesome.

chaki, Wednesday, 19 December 2007 20:31 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I cant wait to see what you will do with AF next Peter. I have enjoyed everything that you have created, even when your input was peripheral. But it goes without saying that your personal projects, where you had complete control are your most brilliant and best. I understand the need to pay the bills also, but it seems like such a long time since we've gotten the pure uncut Chung. Be it Luvula or a new AF, I just want to see your full talents out there again for us to appreciate.

robthom, Friday, 21 December 2007 03:15 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Indeed

By the way, will Denise return to voice Aeon?

nalle, Friday, 21 December 2007 09:51 (eleven years ago) Permalink

This is going to sound silly and salacious, but I think it'd be cool to see Aeon nude and/or more overtly sexual. Throughout the series her sexuality was constantly alluded to, but also covered up. Of course, sex and violence are not the points of the series at all... but considering that Aeon's day job is in the sex industry (albeit as a foot model), it's almost silly not to portray it directly, now that some of the shackles are off (ahem, so to speak.)

As I said above, it's really not important, but... she's done a lot of talking the talk, but I think it'd really drive home the punch to see her actually walk the walk this time, and in addition, show it to the audience. (A thought experiment has just occurred to me: would it have made more of an impact if, in the conclusion of "Utopia or Deuteranopia", Aeon had exposed herself not just to the crowd of Breen soldiers and the Breen media, but to the audience as well? Or would it just have been excessive? And then there's the question of whether evading the censors by inventing strange, implicitly sexual scenarios instead, such as Sybil's case, is just more interesting in the end anyway.)

(If anyone doubts my intent here, let it be said that I'm very gay.)

Of course, if she were to go through with this, it might bring a whole new (unwanted, if you ask me) hentai crowd to the table...

Matt Rebholz, Saturday, 22 December 2007 03:21 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Throughout the series her sexuality was constantly alluded to, but also covered up.

It seemed pretty overt to me. What about the opening 40 seconds of Gravity consisting solely of Aeon and Trevor's making out, or her, uh, reaction after she drops the egg in Leisure, or her idea of paradise in Pilot?

Stevie D, Saturday, 22 December 2007 13:21 (eleven years ago) Permalink

You're right, but what I mean here is explicit sex or nudity, like something you might see in an R-rated movie.

Matt Rebholz, Saturday, 22 December 2007 18:06 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Have you ever considered reverting back to the mute/rebooting Aeon from the shorts? I always found them particularly fascinating; I think it's what got me hooked in the first place.

You're right, but what I mean here is explicit sex or nudity, like something you might see in an R-rated movie.

Stevie, Chaki, Matt-- You'll all be pleased with the direction the new Aeon is taking. I concur with all your suggestions/ observations. Now it's just a matter of actually getting it all done.

Peter Chung, Saturday, 22 December 2007 19:06 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Peter, will the new series be cel driven or computergraphics?

My vote is for cels because I'm in love with your art but I can imagine someone in the business would be anxious to go with the new media techniques (not that cg's are all that new). My vote is for hand painted cels. (I think I've said this before, forgive me for being redundant if that is so).

Since the time Aeon Flux came out the culture has changed so much I'm always wondering what direction you'll take.

The first time I saw the series I was on a totally different plane. When I saw AF it at once pulled me in it's direction, inspired me. It did not make me do anything overt in my own work as a painter but what is not apparent is the reason for the subject chosen by an artist. I had lost my muse previously, so to speak. I was rekindled from AF's fresh direction.

Oh, and believe it or not AF gave me the inspiration to work out, I became a treadmill runner, a high not often found anywhere else, I can relate to her wonderful strides very well!

AF was always so beautifully dreamy even when life was real and hard in 97. Now again the world is real and hard and I find that art world to be lax again in creativity. What I hope for is again for the opium-like layered quality of the show. Will the dreaminess continue?

It's pretty hard to criticize Aeon Flux...but I for one would miss the voices and the involved stories of the MTV show.

Barb e., Wednesday, 26 December 2007 22:23 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Bring back Romeo Svengali for the new episodes!

nalle, Friday, 28 December 2007 18:55 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I like the mix of CGI and cel animation used in your most recent stuff, Peter. Besides, I figure in this day and age it's pretty much unavoidable in the industry, as I imagine that using CGI models for certain things is just easier in the end.

Matt Rebholz, Saturday, 29 December 2007 06:33 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Oh and Barb, I think these days all the actual cel painting, even if it is hand-animated, is automated by computer. I don't think anything is lost in these cases really, in fact you probably gain a lot as far as time and money. Skill and motion and beauty can show through whatever technology is used.

Matt Rebholz, Saturday, 29 December 2007 06:36 (eleven years ago) Permalink

In my case, my dreams (and hence my idea of dreaminess) contain little or no significant speech.
That has no bearing on their degree of psychological or structural complexity. So much of how we think about the meaning of events is habitually wrapped up in words. I find the tyranny of language stifling. The sad thing is that viewers so often can't cope with narrative that doesn't spell itself out in words.

In film, the role of dialogue is to provide some texture. I have to include dialogue only because to exclude it would be contrived.

The ideal film to me is one in which specific trains of thought are conveyed through the orchestration of sensory experience. For me, whether a viewer chooses to pick out a particular "story" out of that experience is not important as long as the intended meanings are understood. I do write intricate stories, but I consider that process like designing intricate environments. Story is functional. Story is an armature. It's the untranslatable part of the viewing of a film that is the crux of the matter.

Philip Pullman, being a writer of books, stresses the importance of "literature" over "story". I'd say the same applies to "cinema" with regard to the medium of film. It's not about the "story".

http://books.guardian.co.uk/bookclub/story/0,,2232838,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed=10

Barb, all hand-drawn animation is colored digitally these days. Novelists write books on word processors; musicians record their acoustical performances to digital files. The computer is just a tool. The creative process remains organic.

Peter Chung, Sunday, 30 December 2007 12:45 (eleven years ago) Permalink

"In film, the role of dialogue is to provide some texture. I have to include dialogue only because to exclude it would be contrived."

I disagree. I feel you're writing off dialog as suffocating not because of it's inherent limitations, but because of it's difficulty of use.
Look at Hemingway's Hills Like White Elephants, which is recognized as one of the greatest short stories in the English language. This story is probably about 9/10ths dialog. Would you seriously try to write the story off as psychologically narrow because of the "tyranny of language?"
Also, I don't believe dialog is just to provide texture. It's to provide a sense of realism. Your shorts were able to function without dialog because your characters were in situations where dialog could be realistically omitted. To have tried the same thing with the longer episodes, in a context where dialog matched a genuine portrayal of reality, WOULD have been contrived. Or at least conceived of as an "artistic statement." This fact doesn't represent a fault in your viewers. It's inherent in all art forms. If you do something out of the ordinary, you draw peoples attention to it. You either use this effect, or try to overcome it, but it's not the viewers fault that it exists.

"Philip Pullman, being a writer of books, stresses the importance of "literature" over "story". I'd say the same applies to "cinema" with regard to the medium of film. It's not about the "story"."

No where in the article does he stress the superiority of "literature" over "story." He merely identified "literature," distinguished it's unique uses, and describes how it must be shaved off in a story's translation to film. He does say that he is fascinated by it's abilities, but I don't think that is an expression of superiority. His books clearly have a story, so I don't think he's really a martyr for pure literature. If you really want one try John Ashbery.

P.S. I'm saddened by this new onslaught of internet jackals. I wonder where they came from, and why all so suddenly.

J. F. Aldridge, Tuesday, 1 January 2008 00:59 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Now that I think about it it's pretty funny you brought this up.
I think you would like the final,"switched gender," story I turned in for my narrative techniques class. The uniform criticism I got for it in workshop was that it was all "literature" and no "story." I've been slaving over the first draft for the past few weeks trying to pull a story out of it, or at least pull it more into the forefront.

J. F. Aldridge, Tuesday, 1 January 2008 01:31 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I have nothing at all against writers who are masterful in their use of dialogue. I should have been clear that I don't consider myself among them.

I love what David Mamet is able to do with dialogue in Glengarry Glen Ross, House of Games and American Buffalo - though these are more like filmed plays than examples of the art of cinema. I couldn't write dialogue like that, nor would I want to attempt it. I do find it telling that even he (in Bambi Vs. Godzilla) writes of striving for scenes (now as a writer/director of films) that operate non verbally.

When I came across the Philip Pullman article, I was reminded of the discussion here on V for Vendetta. I'm always annoyed by comments that compare filmed adaptations of books which point out how much has to be left OUT when a book gets translated to film. I would argue that Pullman is lamenting in his article the film version's inability to convey the "literature" of the book he wrote, since that, the "narrative voice", is the reason he writes.

The world is not made of words. Words are a code, and a tool for helping us communicate. That is all they are. Just like a scale of measure, like inches or centimeters, are an abstract convention that enable us to judge distances. Life is sensation, experience, and consciousness. Consciousness exists without language. We have become so dependent of words, we have forgotten what appreciating reality can be without the filter of language.

Without attempting here to advance a rigorous argument for my positions (that would take many pages), I will say that the films that have had the greatest impact on me, and which inspire me to make films in turn, are those (to return to Barb's comments) which are most like waking dreams. Films that evoke meaning precisely because they get underneath the overtly conscious instrument of the words we learned in school. 2001: A Space Odyssey, Playtime, The Holy Mountain, Eraserhead, L'Avventura.
Those are the mysterious powers that intoxicate me.

Peter Chung, Tuesday, 1 January 2008 12:23 (eleven years ago) Permalink

By the way, I hated the movie version of V for Vendetta.

Two films that are better than the books they are based on would be A Clockwork Orange and Blade Runner. Some day I'll write about my thoughts on them, though to put all that in words may be spoiling the magic.

I've yet to read a book adapted from what was originally conceived as a film that surpasses its original version. But then, as I've said, I haven't really sought them out.

Peter Chung, Tuesday, 1 January 2008 12:39 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I feel you're writing off dialog as suffocating not because of it's inherent limitations, but because of it's difficulty of use.

From my view, I'd say the opposite is true. Dialogue is a shortcut, a convenient means of conveying thought processes, and therefore is used easily by most screenwriters. Just watch any hour long TV drama. They all rely almost entirely on dialogue for character development, delineation of theme, moral dilemma.

What's difficult to use is not dialogue, but non-verbal modes of communication. Writers and directors write off the viewer's capacity to understand through sensory inference. That is the void I am interested in filling. That is the greater creative challenge, and the public's need to trust his own ability to form meaning out of the raw perception of events is what is needed now - not the verbal gymnastics of rhetoric, which is as good for deception and concealing meaning as it is for revelation. Just listen to our politicians.

People have the ability to understand innately concepts such as injustice, betrayal, altruism. Those words exist because we have recognized certain traits that are consistent in human nature.

Peter Chung, Tuesday, 1 January 2008 20:53 (eleven years ago) Permalink

From my view, I'd say the opposite is true. Dialogue is a shortcut, a convenient means of conveying thought processes, and therefore is used easily by most screenwriters. Just watch any hour long TV drama. They all rely almost entirely on dialogue for character development, delineation of theme, moral dilemma.

Ain't that the truth. I'm on my New Year's vacation and just got finished watching an entire season's worth of Star Trek episodes (a guilty pleasure for me since I was a kid), and I feel like my dramatic palate has been cleansed with something really bland.

Luckily, I also invested in the Twin Peaks gold box edition... that oughta add some spice again.

Matt Rebholz, Wednesday, 2 January 2008 01:26 (eleven years ago) Permalink

What about the dialoge in a movie like "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly"? Would that be a good example of what Peter is talking about?

nalle, Wednesday, 2 January 2008 19:59 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Nalle,
I can't comment on the Good, Bad & Ugly, since it's been such a long time since I've seen it.
Also, I'm not sure what you're asking?

Examples of "dialogue as texture" would be Playtime, 2001, Antonioni films, 70s Altman. Dialogue is banal, functional, not directly thematic. Throwaway lines which, in context, can become loaded with subtext.
One of my favorite exchanges in 2001 is aboard the moonbus in which is raised the portentous question of chicken sandwich or ham. An offhanded, but devastating revelation of man's yoke of monkeydom.

On the other hand, easy dialogue that stands in for true filmic exploration of theme and character-- that would be what you see in V for Vendetta, Matrix movies (esp. the sequels), Star Trek, Spiderman movies, LOTR, Kevin Smith, Richard Linklater, all Hollywood Osar-bait message movies (A Beautifu Mind, et al), most of primetime TV (judging from what little I've recently seen). Oh yeah-- and the AF live action movie.

Peter Chung, Thursday, 3 January 2008 02:44 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Let me start by stating that I have neither enough knowledge in tha art of making movies or in the english language to express an opinion about what you and Aldridge are talking about but upon reading some old post from the Ilxor and Greenspun boards, plus a interesting video lecture you held on an american universitiy on a similar topic, I myself have started thinking a lot about the subject of dialoge in movies and how seemingly easy it is for the creator to manipulate the audiences feelings surrounding the characters moral choises and so forth.

As I have come to realise, the Aeon Flux community and of course the people who created the show, is for the most part a very passionate and intelligent bunch of movielovers that i find very intriuiging to read posts from, and thats more then I can say about most boards for filmlovers who seemingly are populated with people who just wants to express their emotions without any real insights to share (just have a look at the Aeon Flux ,the movie board on imdb.com).

Now as for ”the Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, Well, it’s one of my favourite films of all time, I’ve loved it since I was a kid, I am not sure exactly why ,but I got reminded of how much I love that movie when you mentioned that: The world is not made of words. Words are a code, and a tool for helping us communicate. That is all they are. Just like a scale of measure, like inches or centimeters, are an abstract convention that enable us to judge distances. Life is sensation, experience, and consciousness. Consciousness exists without language. We have become so dependent of words, we have forgotten what appreciating reality can be without the filter of language.

For me that movie is a good example of what you’re saying, but I guess I asked because I simply wanted to know what the rest of you think.

By the way, do you have a favourite scen from Glengarry Glen Ross?

nalle, Thursday, 3 January 2008 20:52 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Peter, I wonder do you think Juliet of the Spirits to be a good example of writers and directors using viewer's capacity to understand through sensory inference? The meaning of that film has to be discerned by the viewers, don't you think?

Barb e., Thursday, 3 January 2008 21:19 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Nalle, I'd say your knowledge of English is excellent, so I don't think that's the issue. I think the difference between Josh's views on language and my own have to do with his choice to use writing as his medium and that I choose to use film. I'm in no way saying that film is a superior medium. I am inspired by good writing as much as anything.
What I mean by the "tyranny of language" is the fact that so much of our education, and thus our critical discourse, is predicated on some variant of the idea that "if it can't be put into words, then it doesn't count". That to understand and appreciate, say, a dance performance, someone has to articulate a theory IN WORDS or write a critique ON PAPER about it. Viewers want commentary tracks on their DVDs. They walk into painting exhibitions with audio guides glued to their ears which TELL them what their eyes should be noticing. This last phenomenon is particularly irksome, in that it has resulted in a lot of conceptual art that now comes attached with notes from the artist that explain the process and intent of the work. Does anyone think that Van Gogh wanted viewers to have their first impressions of his paintings to be accompanied by some critic droning in their ears? A painter's greatest hope is that a viewer will be struck by a way of seeing that evokes a spontaneous feeling that is personal and intimate precisely because it defies verbal description. Language is a PUBLIC structure. Words have no innate or natural meaning. Only the meanings that a society confers upon them through convention and consensus.
That is why I find so much art that relies on words stifling.
Observation of events through our senses works differently. A living cat is real. A picture of a cat is a facsimile. The word "cat" is less than a facsimile, it is an alias.
A lot of what interests us is not physical, however. As I've said above, we have named certain traits of human nature "injustice, betrayal, altruism", etc. My contention is that even a child, who may not understand the words, is capable of recognizing injustice innately. If that child is punished for stealing when he has not, he knows something wrong has occurred. He may not be able to name the problem, but he understands it.
But minds can be swayed by words even when their senses tell them otherwise. Politicians (and artists) exploit this tendency by waving around words that conjure associations (God, evil, terror, preserve, on and on) that may or may not fit the individual's experience or observation. Words are spin.
Which brings me back to Pullman's article. What he describes as "narrative voice", which he seems to equate with "literature", I would call "spin". He offers this example of something lost in the translation to film:

"That was Lyra's world and her delight. She was a coarse and greedy little savage, for the most part."

It's the words themselves and the tone of voice they imply that are so difficult to find a screen equivalent for, and the film wisely doesn't try.

To me, "She was a coarse and greedy little savage" is not a prejudice I want imposed on me by the narrator of any story in any medium. In life, when I observe the people I encounter, they do not come with labels stamped on their foreheads "Greedy" or "Savage". If their behavior reflects those traits, then I will be able to reach that conclusion on my own.

The fact that so many viewers have come to expect their biases towards events and characters to come predigested for them by the author's spin (whether writer or director) is why it's possible for films as loaded with rich characters, important ideas and rare feelings as I've mentioned above (2001, Playtime, The Holy Mountain, Eraserhead, L'Avventura" can be considered "boring" or "plotless" by today's audiences. And the problem is only getting worse.

Peter Chung, Friday, 4 January 2008 00:44 (eleven years ago) Permalink

My favorite scenes from Glengarry Glen Ross are: Alec Baldwin's motivational speech; the exchanges in the bar in which Moss entraps Aranow with complicity by the act of listening; the Kenilworth-cued conspiracy played out between Roma and Levine for the sake of Mr. Link. Also, the "Patel" running gag, the over-the-top general profanity which becomes a kind of metered verse, the precise evocation of the Nyborgs, whom we never see. I used to play a cassette of the audio track from the film endlessly as a kind of background music in my studio.

Juliet of the Spirits and City of Women are my two favorite Fellinis. They're examples of films that defy the arbitrary boundary most films erect between the inner and outer worlds of their characters. And like dreams, they take advantage of the free juxtaposition of imagery to form connections in the mind of the viewer. To me, the viewing experience of such films is invigorating and stimulating-- the opposite of stifling. I never tire of watching them.

Peter Chung, Friday, 4 January 2008 06:29 (eleven years ago) Permalink

"Nalle, I'd say your knowledge of English is excellent, so I don't think that's the issue. I think the difference between Josh's views on language and my own have to do with his choice to use writing as his medium and that I choose to use film. I'm in no way saying that film is a superior medium. I am inspired by good writing as much as anything."

It's not only grounded in the medium I choose, but also my background of psychology. If a child does not learn a human language during what's called the "critical period" of language acquisition, that human being can never progress intellectually beyond the level of an ape. Language does not entirely make up a humans world, but I would argue that it is the structure of all thought above the feral level, of all thought that requires symbol and analogy.

"From my view, I'd say the opposite is true. Dialogue is a shortcut, a convenient means of conveying thought processes, and therefore is used easily by most screenwriters. Just watch any hour long TV drama. They all rely almost entirely on dialogue for character development, delineation of theme, moral dilemma."

Yes, sure, when dialog is abused it becomes little more than training wheels for the viewer, but as you yourself have pointed out, with a clever use of subtlety and analogy dialog can greatly enhance the emotional and thematic content that is being portrayed.

"To me, "She was a coarse and greedy little savage" is not a prejudice I want imposed on me by the narrator of any story in any medium. In life, when I observe the people I encounter, they do not come with labels stamped on their foreheads "Greedy" or "Savage". If their behavior reflects those traits, then I will be able to reach that conclusion on my own."

I used to believe this myself. It's the old writer's saying "show, don't tell," but there are times when direct characterizations have to be used to maintain the flow of the narrative, or to indirectly characterize the narrator. Granted, Pullman's example may not display the most refined way of doing such a thing, but you must keep in mind, he does write children's books.
I recommend you read Flannery O'Conner's Everything that Rises Must Converge. I typed it into google and numerous free prints of it came up. (I think it's old enough to avoid copyright restrictions.) I think it shows how to use characterization in a way that is more tactful in it's directness.
Besides that, it quite a wonderful story.

J. F. Aldridge, Friday, 4 January 2008 19:30 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Aaah-- this is what I hate about rhetorical debate. In order to clearly convey a position, one is often required to polarize a divergence of views. Yes, I absolutely agree that words and dialogue used well are an enhancement, not a crutch. (I got tired of arguing to those who were disappointed by the addition of dialogue to AF that I was not copping out.)

It's no doubt true that abstract reasoning arises from language acquisition. (I think my example of a child's ability to innately recognize "injustice" is actually more a description of the origin of moral awareness than anything-- but that's another discussion.)
But once a foundation of basic reasoning skills have been acquired, individuals are capable of deducing fresh connections from direct observation. All people have the ability to experience or to imagine beyond the range of the language they've been taught. It is the exercise of stimulating the imagination into unfamiliar, unnamed modes of awareness that, for me, is the main purpose of art.

Peter Chung, Friday, 4 January 2008 22:15 (eleven years ago) Permalink

peter dont sleep on vahid's good question! landscapes of aeon flux

chaki, Friday, 4 January 2008 22:33 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Come to think of it, I don't think the origin of moral awareness is another discussion at all. I believe that part of the motivation for acquiring language and reasoning is based on moral awareness, which precedes both. By "moral", I am not referring to anything metaphysical, but simply the cooperative evolutionary strategy for survival discussed by Richard Dawkins and Pat Churchland. Such "moral" behavior is present in animals not endowed by language or reason. It arises from self-interest, which, in the end, is the source of all evolutionary strategies- including language and reason.

Peter Chung, Saturday, 5 January 2008 00:40 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I guess Bambara would need to learn a bit more about cooperative evolutionary strategy

nalle, Saturday, 5 January 2008 18:22 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Per Dawkins, someone like Bambara is a "defector" seeking to take advantage of the tendency of the group to cooperate. He (and any criminal) is well aware of the strategy the group (society) uses to mutual advantage. He takes advantage of that tndency by playing the group for suckers.

Peter Chung, Saturday, 5 January 2008 19:44 (eleven years ago) Permalink

This reminds me of a guy who used to live in my studentdorm, he never did the dishes, and as a result the kitchen was always dirty. Everyone suspected him but we could never really prove that he was the one responsible, we confronted him togheter at several occations but he blindly denied that he was the one, as a result we all started to suspect each other even though it was fairly obvious that every one else did there duty. It resulted in misstrust among all of us but as soon as the guy moved out and the kitchen all of a sudden were sparkling clean, we realised that he, and he alone, had been the problem all along.

He had taken advantage of the groups tendecy of cooperation, by spreading lies and distrust, all because he was to damn lazy to clean up his own shit in our collectively operated kitchen.

This story also reminds me of what you said earlier Peter, about mans yodel for monkeydom, it's not hard to imagine a similar situation thousands of years ago when the early homo sapiens simply cast out the "defector" from the tribe in order to restore cooperation. We really haven't gotten that far when it comes to how we handle "defectors".

nalle, Saturday, 5 January 2008 20:07 (eleven years ago) Permalink

The other brilliant exchange in 2001 is the encounter between Floyd and the Russians aboard the space station. The dialogue is couched in a lot of banal pleasanteries and politesse, but seething beneath it is a jealously kept territoriality which mirrors the earlier battle among apes for the watering hole. Man may have colonized space, but his basic nature remains unevolved. He has extended his monkey tribal thinking to carving up the surface of the moon.
Also: Floyd still needing to defecate (reading the zero gravity toilet instructions) in the course of his travel. Silently funny and poignant.

The long silent passages of travel from Earth which describe Man's millennia of development of all manner of technologies. We see visually (all without commentary) evidence of the creation of written language, mathematics, commerce, electricity, mechanics, hydraulics, aeronautics, computers, even the mastery of artificial gravity. Many viewers complain that nothing is happening in these scenes. That they're boring. They are nothing but. In the orchestration of these carefully designed images, Kubrick manages to tell the grandest, most enthralling narrative of human civilization ever committed to film. People just need to learn how to use their eyes and see.

Peter Chung, Saturday, 5 January 2008 20:40 (eleven years ago) Permalink

yikes, big typo.

On Edit:

The other brilliant exchange in 2001 is the encounter between Floyd and the Russians aboard the space station. The dialogue is couched in a lot of banal pleasanteries and politesse, but seething beneath it is a jealously kept territoriality which mirrors the earlier battle among apes for the watering hole. Man may have colonized space, but his basic nature remains unevolved. He has extended his monkey tribal thinking to carving up the surface of the moon.
Also: Floyd still needing to defecate (reading the zero gravity toilet instructions) in the course of his travel. Silently funny and poignant.

The long silent passages of travel from Earth which describe Man's millennia of development of all manner of technologies. We see visually (all without commentary) evidence of the creation of written language, mathematics, commerce, electricity, mechanics, hydraulics, aeronautics, computers, even the mastery of artificial gravity. Many viewers complain that nothing is happening in these scenes. That they're boring. They are nothing anything but. In the orchestration of these carefully designed images, Kubrick manages to tell the grandest, most enthralling narrative of human civilization ever committed to film. People just need to learn how to use their eyes and see.

Peter Chung, Saturday, 5 January 2008 20:49 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Oh, I left out "aesthetics" from the list of human inventions. It always strikes me how visually elegant every aspect of the technology on display looks. From the opening flower of the moon base landing pad, to the Pan American logo on the winged shuttle, to the flight attendants' makeup.

Peter Chung, Saturday, 5 January 2008 20:58 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Speaking of aesthetics, 2001 can now be bought on blue-ray with 1080p High Definition

nalle, Saturday, 5 January 2008 21:57 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Dialogue, Shmialogue. L.A. slicksters dont want you to be a unique genious because they cant get any money off of a unique person.

robthom, Sunday, 6 January 2008 06:19 (eleven years ago) Permalink

"Two films that are better than the books they are based on would be A Clockwork Orange and Blade Runner. Some day I'll write about my thoughts on them, though to put all that in words may be spoiling the magic."

I would love to hear why you consider BR better than "electric sheep". I love BR, but despite all its beauty and some timeless stabs of dialog it is still a bruised masterpiece flawed by logic holes and stilted pacing. I think these problems would be less noticeable in a fantasy or partial fantasy scenario but stand out more crudely against BR's serious tone and realistic setting.
(BTW: I think BR would have been twice the film that it turned out to be if Ridley had been able to film it in canada or england).
I enjoy both the book and movie, but I find the book superior in many ways often for things that where omitted from the film. Such as the empathy box and mercerism. Deckards relationship with his wife. The qualities of humanity and the differing values placed on it between androids, humans and chickenheads. Buster friendly's attempt to gain equality (or power?) for his kind by discrediting a religion. The loneliness of the abandoned planet, and the spiritual need to care for the last remaining animals and lifeforms (and sometimes a simulacrum ).
Admittedly the book is not perfect either, and I've heard others say they just didn't care for it (including Hampton Fancher). But IMO it is on par with the movie and surpasses it on as many levels unique to its medium as the movie surpasses the book in its own medium.

I dont want to take time from your new projects (and a new Aeon, Yay!), but I would really love to hear your opinion in more detail regarding this classic film and the book that inspired if you get a chance.

robthom, Tuesday, 8 January 2008 15:01 (eleven years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Peter, i take it that you prefer music without lyrics as well?

derbesy, Saturday, 26 January 2008 10:48 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Obviously for AF, but I meant in general.

derbesy, Saturday, 26 January 2008 10:53 (eleven years ago) Permalink

It 's not a matter of preferring the presence or absence of words - in either films or in music.
I'm actually not saying that I prefer films without dialogue to those with dialogue.
All the films I've cited above do contain dialogue. The way the words are used is just not central to conveying the work's meaning. The same applies to good songwriting.

With songs, the vocal quality of expression is more important to me than the meaning of the lyrics. I do find I can continue to enjoy instrumental pieces repeatedly without tiring of them. For me, songs with unambiguous lyrics tend to get old fast.

Peter Chung, Saturday, 26 January 2008 18:24 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Ah.

derbesy, Sunday, 27 January 2008 01:54 (eleven years ago) Permalink

mmm

chakles, Sunday, 27 January 2008 08:15 (eleven years ago) Permalink

uuuuuuh

forksclovetofu, Sunday, 27 January 2008 16:56 (eleven years ago) Permalink

If you were a assassin for hire, how much of a running jibber jabber?
The perfect lover IMO.

robthom, Monday, 28 January 2008 06:27 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Has anyone played the computer game "Civilization 4"?
As you advance through the ages of human history in that game, leading your civilization into the future from ancient times, the music changes depending on the era you are in (ancient, mediaval, renessance, modern and so on). Beacause of the large amount of time you spend in each era it is vital the player doesn't get tired of listening to the same pieces of music many times over.

Civilization 4 is probably one of few computer games that I have played that manages to pull this of and it is done solely with opera music! Further more, the games music is an exellent example of how really good music can capture and say something about the time it was written in without containing a bunch of pretentious lyrics as the case often is with modern music.

Since I played Civilization 4 I will forever associate the industrial age with the composer Antonin Dvorak

nalle, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 18:19 (eleven years ago) Permalink

What exactly are pretentious lyrics?

J. F. Aldridge, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 23:32 (eleven years ago) Permalink

That game is like, twenty years old.

derbesy, Thursday, 31 January 2008 13:45 (eleven years ago) Permalink

In computer game years.

derbesy, Thursday, 31 January 2008 13:50 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I would define it as an unjusified or exaggerated attept at making the lyrics intellectually important or complex

nalle, Thursday, 31 January 2008 16:50 (eleven years ago) Permalink

In the case of modern music, i'd say that asinine lyrics are more frequently the problem.

derbesy, Friday, 1 February 2008 02:14 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I probably could have phrased that better.

derbesy, Friday, 1 February 2008 02:15 (eleven years ago) Permalink

ten years pass...

"Two films that are better than the books they are based on would be A Clockwork Orange and Blade Runner. Some day I'll write about my thoughts on them, though to put all that in words may be spoiling the magic."

I posted today on another discussion board on this topic and was reminded of this old post. I recently made my case for Blade Runner on the "Thoughts on Fiction" thread.
Here is what I have to say about A Clockwork Orange.

First, the review by Pauline Kael that I was responding to.

http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/amk/doc/0051.html

Kael's critique is the usual one about the moral bankruptcy of Kubrick's adaptation.
Picturing the movie that Kael claims she would have preferred makes me thank God it is Kubrick and not Kael who is calling the creative shots.

Kael's review of A Clockwork Orange is a prime example of confusing the message of the story with the meaning of the film. They are not the same thing.

Kael does a great job of describing exactly what the film does in its portrayal of Alex while missing the point entirely of why that is the only way to tell the story. Also the reason why the movie is superior to the book.

One notices right away that Alex is the only normal and sympathetic character in the movie while everyone else is a grotesque caricature. But Alex is the one telling his story. He's a psychopathic rapist and murderer, and a very unreliable narrator. If you listened to a killer tell the story of his crimes, you should believe very little of it.

If the movie were to portray a fair and objective version of Alex's story, that would be an egregious disservice to the material. Alex's voice and point of view is integral to the purpose of the work. To discard it in favor of some "balanced" treatment would be cowardly and result in a movie that I'd have no interest in seeing. This movie is dangerous- as it should be.

The beauty of the movie is that Alex is charming, and he almost manages to con the viewer into accepting his version of events. In the book, Alex is more clearly a monster, and the didactic "message" is more simple.

The opening shot is a tight close up of Alex's eyes, staring straight at us. The movie is the world seen through his eyes. Kubrick uses every form of subjective manipulation of the image to put us in his mental state.

A Clockwork Orange, the film, is a chance to experience the realization, first hand, to distrust the artist. Alex's mental conditioning is achieved by watching films, which mirrors exactly the experience of the audience.

The final shot is inside Alex's head. When he says "I was cured, all right", hopefully it is the viewer who has finally understood the trick.

Peter Chung, Sunday, 3 June 2018 04:38 (nine months ago) Permalink

The film's story is about a world that decides to sacrifice free will for the sake of social harmony and the ill effects (on the criminal) of that choice.

But that is not what the film is about. The film is interested in the seductive power of violence and especially the power of violence on film. The film's method is to seduce the audience into sympathizing with the perspective of a murderer. You find yourself uneasily enjoying the amoral spectacle, then being confronted with your own complicity as a viewer. The film itself subjects the audience to the treatment being given to Alex, to expose our own visceral enjoyment of violence.

Raiders of the Lost Ark is morally bankrupt. As are Unforgiven, Robocop, Kill Bill and John Wick.

Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange was way ahead of its time, and I suspect that the public still isn't ready.

Peter Chung, Sunday, 3 June 2018 05:05 (nine months ago) Permalink

The movie A Clockwork Orange was, at the time, the single biggest influence that drove me to do Aeon Flux.
I could even say that without Kubrick's film, Aeon Flux might never have been made.

Peter Chung, Sunday, 3 June 2018 05:10 (nine months ago) Permalink

In the book, Alex is more clearly a monster, and the didactic "message" is more simple.

is this true? iirc burgess would say he was making the message harder - that despite the brutal things alex and his droogs do, the mind control is *still* wrong. it’s effectively, as in much of AB, a Catholic message.

i would also argue, less certainly, that burgess does present a beauty to alex - not just the content of but the cadences of his speech, his friendship, and those odd still moments of reflection that begin “ah” or “oh”. in some respects, despite the evil he and his friends do (and it is definitely *evil* in AB) it is the definition of breaking a butterfly upon a wheel. (i haven’t read it for at least twenty years so this could be not just wrong in terms of interpretation but also factual recollection)

Fizzles, Sunday, 3 June 2018 05:14 (nine months ago) Permalink

is this true? iirc burgess would say he was making the message harder - that despite the brutal things alex and his droogs do, the mind control is *still* wrong. it’s effectively, as in much of AB, a Catholic message.

Burgess himself has admitted the book's flaw is that it is too didactic.
https://transgresslit.wordpress.com/2014/05/25/violent-transgressions-anthony-burgess-a-clockwork-orange/

The film doesn't make the case one way or another regarding the wrongness of depriving the criminal of free will for the sake of society. It portrays Alex as a victim of the treatment, but then everything is in service of a stance advanced by Alex himself to rationalize his right to commit crimes. So of course he would say that. Just because the main character holds a strong view, that doesn't mean that it is the view of the film or the author.

The movie uses the story of that dilemma to craft a provocative experience for the viewer. As I've been saying, the story is not the point. The story is there to enable an experience.

Peter Chung, Sunday, 3 June 2018 06:49 (nine months ago) Permalink

i don’t think i agree with the “too didactic to be artistic” tbh. or at least think he’s looking at a v romantic, pure version art - exemplars, fables and allegories would all fail his test here.

and it’s interesting to recall kubrick only knew the US version of the book which did not include the final chapter (burgess’ “vindication of free will”), which is fulfilment of the didactic part.

this raises the question of whether the book’s “didactic” element is only really created by the final chapter, and whether the story as vehicle or enabler for an open experience (without a moral thumb on the scales) is more available in the book if you remove that final chapter. i’d also say one of the important ways the book is “experienced” is through the experience of learning and being distanced by nadsat.

setting the book and film against each other isn’t my intent here, but i’d make a claim for the the book and alex being more complicated than your statement above allows, for one thing a simple didacticism would make it considerably shorter.

there’s an element of burke’s the sublime here - experiencing terrible emotions as a transformative process, which, well that’s causing me to come round a bit more to your pov again... hmm will think on.

Fizzles, Sunday, 3 June 2018 08:37 (nine months ago) Permalink


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