Friday, September 14, 2007

Like most people who are assholes, most of my regrets are concerned with times I could've said something obnoxious and seemingly wrong-headed that I totally believe, but didn't, because I didn't think of them at the time.

Today, as I cooked seashell-shaped pasta, I thought back to my class Art Media Praxis. When a kid suggested we watch a Hitchcock movie as an example of a normal film, well-done, for its editing rhythms, to contrast with Maya Deren or something. The teacher's response- "we all know what a normal movie looks like" is basically true, and I had a problem with the kid citing Hitchcock for how safe that is.

But anyway, what I should've said, was "Rope is an experimental film." Which I would argue, but I think is indisputable. Fuck, man, Rope. This blog post will take as a pretext that you've all seen the movie Rope, although you probably haven't. It's my favorite Hitchcock movie, done all in one take, with a moving camera, the splices between reels done as the camera moves past someone's back and the screen goes black for a frame or two. It's explained in issue 3 of The Ganzfeld how it was done- all the walls were on wheels, and the skyline outside the window was pretty thought out.

I realized that Rope is pretty much the opposite of another movie cited on my Myspace favorite movies, the Japanese anime Mind Game that is pretty much the only anime I like. (There are others I tolerate.) Rope is about committing the perfect crime. But the crime has already been committed, so the film then becomes about getting away with it. Meanwhile, the technical side of the film is this weird highwire act, with the same imperative- getting away with it, making it work, having all the artifice come off as reality. Alternately, it's about the morality- the leads imagine themselves as Nietzchean ubermensch, who should be allowed to do whatever they want. Jimmy Stewart realizes that this isn't actually the case, this is completely wrong- that there should be restrictions to behavior to keep us human and good. The film's likewise formally restricted, and this helps make the film good.

Mind Game isn't restrained at all. It's about living your life freely, and the animation is constantly freewheeling- it's stylistic exercises/excesses make the argument that characters in the film make. That movie has a part that's restrained in terms of its plot forward movement, but even that can't stop the nonstop shifting of visual approaches. I wanted to screen Mind Game, I think, because of how powerful the visuals are. The way that style can fit content in narrative works seemed like an important point to get across, along with the limitlessness of style that film possesses.

Tomorrow I'm going to see Animal Collective play in Seattle with Eric Copeland of Black Dice opening. That'll be great!

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