What's up? This is my first post on these boards.
I don't know if anyone here can still remember Steve Rach Mirarchi. I don't think he posts anymore. He used to have a blog, too, but now it just seems like he's disappeared from the internet completely.
Anyway, I saw on the old boards that he had worked on an episode guide for the series, and it seems like that too has faded into e-oblivion. Does anyone here know where I could find that guide? Maybe if it's not online anymore, somebody saved the files and could e-mail them to me? I know it's probably been about a decade or so since he originally posted them, but I just thought I'd ask. I was rewatching "A Last Time for Everything" over the weekend, and I got all nostalgic as I remembered watching it in Doc Mirarchi's high school film class.
If those guides still exist, I'd love to be able to find them. Thanks for your help!
― TJ McLain, Tuesday, 3 March 2009 00:43 (ten years ago) link
Wow, I think I remember those. Was he soliciting opinions on the AF mailing list for discussion way back then?
― Nhex, Tuesday, 3 March 2009 05:04 (ten years ago) link
To Steve Mirarchi, Yes, I've seen your episode guide with the discussions of the first four episodes. I'm impressed with the detail and depth of the analysis. In a few instances, I think you've spent more time thinking about these stories than I have. Many times, a creative decision will be made instinctively-- because it somehow "feels right". At other times, creative decisions are forced by circumstances. Of course, you present unintended interpretations which are derived from such story elements, and I've found these amusing. This is not to say, though, that analysis can't sometimes reveal why a decision "felt right" to begin with. The author may have known why only subconsciously at the time of writing.
I'd say that the main point to a work of fiction, just as for any work of art, is to shift the consciousness of the reader/viewer; to nudge him/her to discover for him/herself the meaning in events. The plot is an armature on which to hang such events, but is not important in itself. A story which emphasizes tight plot over everything else ends up like a hermetically sealed object; it becomes irrelevant. Escapist movies are meant to be irrelevant-- so the primary importance given to plot in Hollywood is understandable. The mechanics of plot must be logical, but the elements required to support the plot are largely arbitrary. Plotting constitutes the nuts-and-bolts labor a writer must endure building as a means of holding his audience. I believe it's the spaces in between plot elements which are of the most interest in a story. How does the film linger in the mind after the experience of viewing is over? Has the experience opened the mind to a freer state of consciousness? The main problem in human affairs seems to be the inability of many people to consider points of view other than their own. Perhaps it is the role of artists to derail patterns of thinking lest they become entrenched.
I'll address a couple of questions that you've raised in your discussions. It will be refreshing to finally get these off my chest:
The title "Utopia or Deuteronopia" is a private joke which I don't expect anyone to get. (In fact the joke is so private that I'm the only one in on it.) The phrase was once used by a very well-read friend of mine who used it to describe the title of a book that didn't exist. He was playing with the idea that the formal logic of the phrase (its rhyme) rather than its meaning, made it a good title. The fact that deuteranopia is an obscure word which happens to rhyme with utopia would serve to puzzle people; the choice of the conjunction "or" would merely compound this puzzlement-- must the former exist at the exclusion of the latter?
In fact, deuteranopia is a medical term used to describe the most common form of colorblindness in which the colors red and green are not distinguished. Unfortunately, the way it appeared on the episode is misspelled (I thought it was deuteronopia, as in Deuteronomy.) I know this is a stretch, but I thought the title could be taken to mean "utopia or colorblindness (defective vision)?" I'll leave the rest up to you.
Regarding the stockings hanging from Sybil's window in Thanatophobia: I'm surprised you missed this one. From the episode guide:
7) Are the stockings hanging in the window important?
>Very. They keep appearing throughout the episode as symbols of >Sybil's romantic dedication to Onan. She says to Onan, "Remember >when you got me these?", trying to spark some romance in him. >But his heart's in Monikka, and he doesn't even hear her.
While this is true, the important function of the stockings is to visually foreshadow the disembodiment of Sybil's legs which happens at the end of the episode. Because the amputation is such a shock and may seem to come from out of nowhere, I thought it was important to subconsciously accustom the viewer to the image of Sybil's disembodied legs. Notice that her longing views at Monica beyond the border wall occur "through" the frame of her stockings (her legs)-- the price she will ultimately have to pay.
The choice to use this image was initially inspired by the scene in Dario Argento's Suspiria-- early in the film, a woman's slip and stockings are seen hanging in space outside a window. However, in Suspiria, the motif is used simply to unsettle the viewer. It's dark and cold outside: what are those pieces of lingerie doing out there? That image has haunted me ever since.
I'm quite intrigued by what you tell me regarding your use of Aeon Flux in your teaching and academic work. What subject do you teach? I'd be very interested in seeing some of your students' comments.
Thanks for the favorable comparison to David Lynch and Kieslowski. I don't deserve it, but I'll try to live up to it. Lost Highway was by far the best film of 1997. Of Paul Auster's work, I've only seen the film Smoke; Kazantzakis is another person whose work I've yet to absorb.
For what it's worth, I'll mention some of my own personal filmmaking idols: Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock, Michelangelo Antonioni, Luis Bunuel, Alain Resnais, Andrei Tarkovsky, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Nagisa Oshima, Kihachi Okamoto, David Mamet, Anthony Mann, David Lynch, Jean-Luc Godard, Akira Kurosawa, Federico Fellini, Orson Wells, Bertrand Tavernier, Vincente Minnelli, David Lean. If this list seems outdated, I guess it"s because I've seen little in recent years that has had the kind of impact I've felt from the work of these giants.
A few people posting messages seem to think that Aeon Flux is somehow special because of its stance of moral ambiguity and open narrative. They'll find that the body of work by the above filmmakers explore these themes in an astonishing variety of ways.
Special mention to these films: Leave Her to Heaven (John Stahl) Branded to Kill (Suzuki Seijun) Deaths in Tokimeki (Yoshimitsu Morita) Toei's "Scorpion" series of the 70's (Shunya Ito) Les Enfants Terribles (Jean-Pierre Melville) Umberto D. (Vittorio DeSica) L'Argent (Robert Bresson) The Thin Red Line (Terence Malick)
Guilty pleasures: The Ladies' Man (Jerry Lewis) The Opposite Sex (David Miller) Casino Royale (a whole buncha guys) Barbarella (Roger Vadim) Esther Williams musicals (various) The Phantom Menace (George L.)--to cmmartin: did you dig the architecture on Coruscant as much as I did...? Esp. the Senate chamber.
Damn, I was afraid that starting to post messages here would begin consuming too much of my time. This will be it for a while. I'm off to Korea again to work on Checkers/Rally's spot #5. Peter Chung
-- Peter Chung (pkch✧✧✧@media✧✧✧.n✧✧), June 06, 2000
― Barb e., Wednesday, 29 April 2009 05:49 (ten years ago) link
A Last Time For Everything
― Barb e., Wednesday, 29 April 2009 05:54 (ten years ago) link
Thanks for posting these Barb!
I remember reading those episode guides back in high school - I was very taken by them. Reading those guides and joining in with discussions on the old greenspun board was a pretty significant part of my mental growth back then.
― Sam G, Sunday, 3 May 2009 01:49 (ten years ago) link
Actually I wish I could also produce the episode guide by Mirachi, but I cannot find it.
anyone can, please do.
Great to read this though, what a fabulous response by Peter Chung.
― Barb e., Monday, 11 May 2009 04:02 (ten years ago) link