This week, right? I mean, seriously, this week. Oy. You should see the cinetrix's cuts and bruises. (Really.) Time to spend some soothing stretches in front of glowing screens, not exploding barges.
In some sense, it’s only natural that home video releases stir such feelings. DVD and Blu-ray versions tend to fix a film in time and space; the image is immune from the scratching and cinching that occasionally afflict film prints, but it’s also removed from the realm of interpretation and manipulation available to the projectionist or archivist. There’s no adjusting the focus or framing after a studio QC tech has ruled the matter closed. Magnificent Obsession is either 1.37:1 or 2:1, but not both. (The recent vogue for 16:9 HDTV sets, which approximate fairly closely the 1.85:1 theatrical ratio, often dictates the ultimate answer, just as decades of 4:3 sets once assured a very different outcome, with the left and right edges panned-and-scanned away for cropped consumption.) For asset managers and telecine operators alike, the question of the proper aspect ratio can yield but one valid answer.
Long-time fans often dispute this answer. They recall television broadcasts or 16mm prints seen in decades-old campus film society screenings and the widescreen versions simply contradict the emotional and aesthetic unity they found in these open-matte prints. Trade papers and studio records may dictate a wide aspect ratio for a given film, but the fan holds onto details at the far reaches of the frame that look artistically indisputable. In some sense, this is the ultimate form of auteurism: the director intended things that the entire motion picture industry, from mogul on down to projectionist, conspired to cover-up. The great auteurs defiantly went about their business anyway. (Incidentally: if you ever do watch Touch of Evil in 1.37:1, notice, for example, the way the shadows seem to dance on the ceiling in some shots, a baroque extension of Welles’s and DP Russell Metty’s claustrophobic design.)
Despite the fact that social dances necessarily have a musical component, dance is typically overdetermined by the visual, which in Western cultures we are better equipped to address. The sound and feel of dance experiences are often overridden by the spectacle of dancing, which the following clip demonstrates. In this clip showcasing the final battle from the 2007 Freestyle Sessions in Los Angeles, the spectacle of these amazing dancers distracts you from the actual social dynamics of their battle, of which music is central.
Overdubbing songs that you do not have clearance for is in compliance with copyright laws that force the video’s producers to instead play songs to which they have legal access, in sacrifice of aural-kinesthetic experiences the videos attempt to capture. Yet even in cases of the below clip where we hear the original song, the recording cannot capture the quality of the force of the music that is loud enough to feel throughout your entire body, thereby promoting a shared sensorial experience in the room. Whether one is recording with a camera or in writing, capturing the aural-kinesthetic can be tricky.
For now, let’s take advantage of this digital space and collectively consider our options. Here’s a task I hope you might take up: post a link to a song or a video clip that makes you move. Describe some quality of your visceral response to the song and place your thoughts in the comments section below. Include the multiple fronts that help you to articulate your experience. While music and dance have the capacity to “speak” in ways that verbal language cannot always reach, my hope is that a range of possibilities might get us there. or at least much closer.
Dunham has a strong grasp on how to guide mood and displays a versatility in her graceful transitions from decidedly comic to more dramatic sequences, and in particular has a gift for creating a slice of life atmosphere. I can’t think of a better image in television in the last year than that of Hannah and her best friend Marnie, framed in the doorway of her room: the camera tracks back as they dance a bad day away. Dunham captures how, even on the worst night, one can be rescued by a pop song and a friend. The careful compositions—including the most memorable shot/reverse shot with social media since The Social Network—underscore Hannah's shift from depression to Robyn-triggered ecstasy.
I must confess that I didn’t expect to enjoy it nearly as much as I did, especially because it could be described with fair accuracy as the Russian equivalent of Rob Marshall at his cheesiest, set in 1950s Moscow, and is full of preposterous plot developments.
Silver Screen Society honors the many stories told through the world of cinema each month by bringing a new film and a continuous stream of creatives that carry with them their own unique interpretations and ideas.
the overwhelming majority of library musicians will remain more or less anonymous for their entire careers. Film crews will never shoot B-roll of them for “Where are they now?”–type television reports; people will not identify a song of theirs when it’s played in a café; and it is thoroughly unlikely that they will ever perform in a sequined gladiator outfit at the Super Bowl half-time show. But it is safe to assume that most people who want to spend their lives making music find a peculiar freedom in anonymity, and that they’d much prefer to hone their craft quietly, without the peculiar burdens of fame and superstardom.
The Fleshtones are a band that I love. Their songs find the perfect balance ofAnimal House cool, Swinging Medallions style garage rock, and campy B-movie flavor. They have cred too, as they were a frequent act in the late-70s CBGB punk scene who shared a rehearsal space with The Cramps (a similar, but notably more famous band). Their song “American Beat” was key in the soundtrack of Tom Hanks’ shlocky 1984 film Bachelor Party. Peter Zaremba, the group’s singer, was a host on MTV’s interview based program, I.R.S. Records Presents the Cutting Edge. And, best of all, The Fleshtones have been largely eclipsed by bands with more visible albums, members, and histories. The band is all mine, and they serve as the perfect accent to any mixtape or conversation trivia at a mixer.
In a stupendous feat of intellectual overproduction Žižek has created a fantasmatic critique of the present order, a critique that claims to repudiate practically everything that currently exists and in some sense actually does, but that at the same time reproduces the compulsive, purposeless dynamism that he perceives in the operations of capitalism. Achieving a deceptive substance by endlessly reiterating an essentially empty vision, Žižek’s work—nicely illustrating the principles of paraconsistent logic—amounts in the end to less than nothing.