::: metaphlog ::: philm shorts
Wed, May 21, 2003
Punch Drunk Love
"That is what 'Punch-Drunk Love' is about, a film that comes across as a tender, funny, harmless comedy, but has a dark, sad, enraged heart: he is from a country that forces its citizens to think and act uniformly, and in these ways, ties up their emotional and analytical connection to themselves; they are under such pressure, that they either break or give in." Argues that the film is "a psychological study of the lonely ones, struggling like a fish caught in the net of the system, and finally able to break through the mesh. By falling in love and being loved." (Tom Tykwer, "Nothing matters anymore, except love," ptanderson.com/Spiegel, 3/12/2003)
Sun, May 18, 2003
Frederica Mathewes-Green has written the only positive review of Roberto Benigni's Pinocchio you're ever likely to come across. Her interpretation explains why: "This is a movie about the natural selfishness and carelessness of childhood being tamed into productive, responsible adulthood. No wonder Baby Boomer-era critics hate it." Don't miss her discussion of fairy tales vs. modern movies. She also gives a brief reading of About Schmidt: "Schmidt returns home feeling like a hero for attempting to stop the wedding, and we realize that he is the same selfish boy Pinocchio was at the beginning of his film." (Our Sunday Visitor, January 13, 2003). Her April essay in Touchstone goes into more detail. "The character himself wasn’t appealing, no matter who played him." ("Why They Hated Pinocchio," Touchstone, April 2003)
Wed, May 07, 2003
The Lord of the Rings
This one is too funny. The transcript of an "unused" commentary track for The Fellowship of the Ring by radicals Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn. For them, the "point is clearly made that the 'master ring,' the so-called 'one ring to rule them all,' is actually a rather elaborate justification for preemptive war on Mordor." And: "You are correct when you point out that Middle Earth depends on pipe-weed in some crucial sense, but I think you may be overstating its importance. Clearly the war is not based only on the Shire's pipe-weed. Rohan and Gondor's unceasing hunger for war is a larger culprit, I would say." (Jeff Alexander and Tom Bissell, McSweeneys.net)
Tue, May 06, 2003
Somebody should put a name to the syndrome of reading oneself into one's interpretation of a film.
This reading sees Scottie Ferguson (Jimmy Stewart) as a detective who "soon finds himself in the role of a psychoanalyst: searching for Madeleine's lost memories, attempting to interpret her dreams, seeking the integration of dissociated personality fragments, striving to liberate Madeleine from the claws of her enigmatic obsession and free her to live and to love." (Emanuel Berman, "Hitchcock's Vertigo: The collapse of a rescue phantasy," First European Psychoanalytic Film Festival, 2001.)
Fri, May 02, 2003
"The real source of the fascination with The Matrix is that, despite all appearances, the movie is not a dystopia. Rather, it's a utopia, a geek paradise. The Matrix is a sci-fi John Hughes movie, in which a misfit learns that he's actually cool. (Think Harry Potter with guns.)" Or, Neo as "Everynerd" and "early adopter" (Chris Suellentrop, "The Matrix—It's Harry Potter with Guns," Slate, Thursday, May 1, 2003). An overly glib declaration of "the real source of the fascination" with the film, but an interesting conclusion.
Fri, Apr 18, 2003
Another interpretation on the Kubrick suspense classic: "But The Shining is not really about the murders at the Overlook Hotel. It is about the murder of a race—the race of Native Americans—and the consequences of that murder." Bill Blakemore, "The Family of Man," San Francisco Chronicle, 1987, now on the web at drummerman.net.
Tue, Apr 01, 2003
Madeleine Brand talks with Pat Gill, professor of Media Studies at the University of Illinois, about her forthcoming paper on slasher films. Her premise is that slasher movies caught on for a generation growing up with divorce, which gave kids a strong sense of having to save themselves. ("Slasher Movies and the Family," NPR Morning Edition, Friday, July 26, 2002)
Tue, Oct 08, 2002
"Our love is real, but we are not: A Butch-Dyke Fantasy." An interpretation from The Village Voice.
Tue, Apr 09, 2002
"Trainspotting is a contemporary Confessions that stops short at Book III. Renton understands about as much about himself at the end of the film as Augustine did in his early manhood at Carthage." —"It's Heavy, Man," by J. A. Hanson, Regeneration Quarterly 2.4 (1996).
Mon, Mar 11, 2002
Thu, Mar 07, 2002
The Lord of the Rings
"In the fellowship of the microchip, you may crash but ultimately you win. In computer games the goal is to overpower the enemy. There is no place for negotiation or compromise." An editorial interpretation by Sherry Turkle in The New York Times: "The Lord of the Hackers," March 7, 2002.
Mon, Mar 04, 2002
2001: A Space Odyssey
An interpretation of Kubrick's 2001. The Space Odyssey Explained. A beautiful Flash site. Check it out.
Fri, Aug 17, 2001
Apocalypse Now Revisited
t isn't a picture of real war or the real people there, but a peerless evocation of the war as filtered through technology, the mass media, and the ruins of dead mythologies. In Coppola's 'Nam, what's inescapable isn't the VC so much as the TV, old movies, show business, and the buzzing feedback of rock'n'roll. Apocalypse Now isn't about how we invaded Vietnam so much as how the war invaded our psyches, how it permeated pop culture and came to be the sight-and-soundtrack to a new, bad American dream. In that idyll of apocalypse, defeat takes on a perfect, preordained inevitabilitywhen you've got nothing left to lose, on some level the war really does become Disneyland with live ammunition, at least until your ticket's punchedand it develops its own downward-spiral momentum and exhilaration.
Howard Hampton, "Jungle Boogie," Film Comment (May/June 2001)
Sat, Jun 16, 2001
"A.I. is not about the future of robots and our Faustian bargain with technology. It's about what middle-class parents want, expect, and feel they deserve out of their children: perfection. David doesn't need food, he doesn't use the bathroom, he doesn't need to be trained in morals or manners or, really, anything. He's the perfect child, tailor-made to your particular neuroses. But even perfect children have their weaknesses and shortcomings; they inescapably place demands on their parents." (Read Mercer Schuchardt, "A.I.O.U.," The Wilberforce Forum, 2001)
Wed, Feb 28, 2001