Great article more from the technical side of filmmaking. As Kubrick is my favourite director, I found this especially interesting. While we may never get to know in his own words what his thoughts and processes were, from Leon Vitali, his personal assistant for many years, we may get the closest thing possible. I especially liked how he describes Kubrick’s insistence on tailoring the technology so that a good film can be shown in the most amount of theatres.
So this is an adaptation of a segment from my all-time favorite novel “The Brothers Karamazov” by Dostoevsky. This segment, The Grand Inquisitor, is considered one of the greatest in all of literature and deals with some pretty fascinating concepts on religion. It’s also got John Gielgud in the main part! Very much worth your time if you’ve got 25 minutes…
Here’s another interesting Harlan Ellison video, this one dealing more with his “persona.” I think there are some very interesting and poignant points made here, and like the best writers and thinkers he really makes you feel something. And often with Harlan, what you’re feeling is anger…
Harlan Ellison is a really great writer but oftentimes his opinions and general persona get in the way of attention being payed to his actual writing. Here is a great short story he wrote with a ‘visual’ tie in of it being based on a series of paintings.
I recently got nominated to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (or I should say my “alter ego” experimental filmmaker Chad Cortez). Instead of doing the typical video, I decided to make a little project out of it by turning it into a narrative and writing/shooting/editing it over a day. It’s essentially two different ideas coming together here, which happened because I was torn between choosing which to pursue.
The first idea came from certain criticisms of the Ice Bucket challenge and I wanted to try and form a response to them by creating a literal dialogue with myself on my moral conflict in making a video really for my own attention and not for a cause (but trying to do so in a humorous, entertaining way). As typical with my series of videos and the Chad Cortez character, I wanted to satirize typical movie tropes (especially of the pretentious, “artsy” kind) and this was one of the ways I tried to keep the video entertaining. Other points of issue people took with the challenge I also put directly in the dialogue of the video (as a way to humorously overstate the points in an overly didactic fashion).
My second idea was to experiment with the post-modern idea of remix and appropriation. This part can mainly be seen in the second half of the video and is meant to follow the free-form ideas of postmodernism (with some obvious references to Dadaism). I have a combination of high and low art forms all mish-mashed into one crazy edit and have appropriated videos from various sources. I again wanted to do this in a way that satirizes the character and the tradition of bizarre, formless art.
Finally, there is the intentional use of pastiche in the opening, which uses footage from Tinto Brass’ Caligula. The reference here is a bit of a self-criticism as I am taking a genre of usually thirty second videos and making it into a 7 minute narrative short film. Could this video itself be as unwieldy, pretentious, pompous, self-indulgent and esoteric as the infamous 1979 feature Caligula? These are certainly words that describe my character Chad Cortez and his megalomania is very similar to the ego of Bob Guccione, the producer and overall saboteur of the film Caligula. I want the audience to draw the association between that film and my video, once again as a joke.
The main goal here is satire, and like the best satire, I hope to raise a real dialogue about the Ice Bucket Challenge and the nature of charity.
First of all you have two of the ALL TIME GREAT directors acting in this movie. But aside from that, look at the cast for this thing! Sure, it looks absolutely ridiculous, but it speaks to the way older films (by and large) were made. Even in a genre like the cheaply made, mostly for a profit “Exploitation Cinema” we have directors, writers, composers and designers who were not afraid to take risks, to fail. When the industry is based totally on surefire ideas that are designed to appeal to a lowest common denominator, we are left with an overall stale, passionless and by and large boring cinema. One thing you could certainly not call this trailer is boring.
It’s an inspirational story. The youth of the world uniting for a humane cause. Brings a tear to the eye. Then logic comes down on your grandiose delusions in the form of political truths. This just re-affirms my rule. One I had forgotten. “Nothing is ever as simple as it appears.” Nothing. We’ve been fed a lie. Which is a testament to the might of the presentational. With popular music, smart editing, and cute children, you can start a viral movement! I’ve been thinking about making one about gum on the ground. It’s quite a travesty. I was walking down the street the other day and steped on the hubba-bubba some asshole spat out. It was then that I decided to stop the travesty once and for all. So I filmed my little brother talking about why he didn’t like to step in gum. Of course, he never did step in gum. Thats why I tried to capture the horror and lack of understanding in his eyes. I also added that hot new Adele track to this documentary of mine. It’s quite the success now.
But after all, what are facts? Sure, they’re honest but they’re so boring! The audience wants Drama! Laughter! Loss! Tragedy! Lovers! (Maybe even a cute little kid or 2)
The only things that make sense anymore are to ask the questions, tell the jokes and learn the truth. Action, is evidently fatal. You wouldn’t want to be singled out as part of the ignorant flock. Well, as the saying goes, “no good deed goes unpunished.”
As Edward Blake, the fictional character in Alan Moore’s Watchmen put it, “Once you realize what a joke everything is, being the Comedian is the only thing that makes sense.” Action, change, protest. All are far more complex than we choose to see it now. Every movement has been over-idealized buy history. Every change has been glorified. And it looks beautiful behind rose coloured glasses.
They opened our eyes, but for all the wrong reasons. Is it simply as the old saying goes, “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absoloutly.” Indeed, what do you call being the leader of an international organization of young activists?
So what do you do in a complex world, where the story that gave you the slightest glimmer of hope was a fabricated lie? Was this all not about the injustice being carried out on young, innocent children? Where the ones who give the truth are not heard, and are called cynical? Where the ones heard are put upon pedestals and soap boxes? The smartest are perhaps the few who say, “I don’t know.”
Nothing is clear. Nothing is ever clear. So as the Latins put it…