“The ongoing fight against racism mattered in 1965 and still matters in 2015. Selma goes far beyond revealing the roots of anti-black oppression. In two hours, the film offers a much-needed history lesson to a generation still divided by racial and socioeconomic differences, revealing how racism in America has created a system of power and privilege that pervades the everyday lives of people of color.” – Derrick Clifton
The New Republic should have come to my attention earlier than the taping of the Colbert Report that I attended in November of this year. (So glad I got to see him before he left for new ground.) The literary editor of the magazine, Leon Wiseltier, was attending as guest and discussing his contribution to the new book Insurrection of the Mind. The man is a new hero of mine. So, too, the magazine comes under my eyes daily thanks to its presence on social media.
Today’s gripping headline, What Sex is like for Women through the lens of Television. That was right up my alley. It covers gender politics and the entertainment industry. When my eyes wandered across the line “You don’t have to be a puritan to find this alienating. For many women, the aggressive male gaze is a constant reminder that this wasn’t made for you,” I knew I had to share this article on my blog.
The male gaze and entertainment is something I have studied throughout my higher education. It is also something I have experienced, mostly to my discomfort, my entire life. This wasn’t made for you, is the exact sentiment hetero women, and also homosexual men, experience watching some of their favorite shows. It hasn’t been until more recent times that equal body time has been given to hetero normative genders, and to an extent homosexual relationships. I think that Game of Thrones, and the other shows mentioned, are a bit late to the game. I wager that the writer of the article hasn’t watched Arrow or a number of other television series that center men as their protagonist and sex object, not always in straight matches. (Cue the homophobic panic from male fans of the show.) I’d cite Torchwood and Copper (both BBC productions), as well as Star Trek: Enterprise and even DS-9 as bringing a more feminine gaze to television. One cannot forget Firefly and the charming Kaylee Frye or the kick ass Zoë Washburne, who were not simply objects, but helped to bring a feminine gaze to their encounters. The men in the series are on prominent display when sex is the topic. This might explain a lack of success with networks, but great success with fans (BRING BACK FIREFLY!). I would not cite Sex and the City, which is basically a show about women from a man’s point of view that is more touted by networks and basic bitches than real women or gay men. The same for Desperate Housewives. Don’t even get me started on Pretty Little Liars and 90% of ABC Family’s perverse tween and teen to pedo match ups.
But anyway, the point is to check out the article from The New Repulic…
This Is Not A Documentary by Tathagata Ghosh and T Square Productions
I am privileged, in many ways. One of my favorite privileges is to know and work among rising stars in the field of film and publishing. It’s humbling and exciting. Earlier this month, a young filmmaker from Howrah, India, named Tathagata Ghosh shared with me another of his catalog. Ghosh is a young filmmaker working with T Square productions, who attended the Vancouver Film School and St. Xavier’s College (Kolkata). He’s a screenwriter and director. Now and then, he asks for my opinion of his work, and I am more than happy to review it. He’s someone you keep an eye on. His work has noticeably improved, which I suspected it would when I saw the first film. He IS that good and he’s going to be that much better and fast! I am privileged to meet him at the start of his journey and watch him grow.
Ghosh On This Is Not A Documentary:
Some confidential documentary footages! A big racket! Some hidden secrets. A landscape of suspicious characters! One detective solving one mystery after one another! The darkest alleys of Kolkata! But this is not a documentary! Then what?
“This film was shot on a schedule of 10 days. The pre-production took up a lot of time. We visited various parts of Kolkata for location scouting and discovered a lot of unknown facts about the city. We visited the brothels quite often. Me and my lead actor (Gour Gopala) talked with various pimps and sex workers there. It was quite risky initially but as we got to know them, closely we found out more about their lives and won their trust. They are some of the nicest people I know. Thus, this film helped all involved to grow a lot as people.
On the creative side, my cinematographer and editor brainstormed a lot about the lighting scheme and the color palette that was used for the film. This is my 4th big project and I think the most satisfying journey as a whole.“
It shows, Mr. Ghosh. I look forward to more work from you. The lighting and color palette was quite effective and the interest in the subject was evident through the images and story. I was engaged the entire time, though some of the film is not translated for English speakers. It wasn’t difficult to understand what was going on.
This Is Not A Documentary is a detective film. It’s gritty and harkens to much of the noir catalog that loved grizzled detectives. Preetam Ganguly plays that detective with skill and precision. He is surrounded by a supporting cast that compliments his skill wonderfully. The people are real, experiencing real life in the darkest of shadows. It doesn’t color things with the sunshine glitz of Hollywood that just makes it all like a dream. I guess that’s why they had to remind you in the title this isn’t a documentary. It really is a film. So close to life, it might feel otherwise.
The team really pulled this together for the audience, and I think it transcends culture easily. I hope they will submit this on the Indie festival circuit throughout the world. Your support of the film can help make that happen. You can view the film on Youtube.com below…
The adaptation Barry Lyndon (1975) by Stanley Kubrick cannot help but be different from the novel written by William Makepeace Thackeray in the nineteenth-century. The alterations are due to a number of factors, including the difference in media, the number of individuals working on the production, and those viewing the film, or even time periods. Such factors are the especial focus of intertextuality theory. Approaching a text with intertextuality is liberating. It can make use of several theoretical stances without binding the scholar to any. For instance, the structuralist approach of theorist “Michael Riffaterre’s work can be said to straddle structuralism, poststructuralism, semiotics, psychoanalytic theories of literature and various other theories of reading” (Graham, 111). These other theories of reading include audience reception theory, which does not limit the focus on the intended audience of the film itself, as it should include the filmmakers who adapt the work from literature. It should also consider the timing. The adapter’s interpretation of Thackeray’s novel has a direct effect on what is produced. Thus, theorists like Riffaterre may insist they belong to a rigid system of theory, but in finding their meanings in the examined text they are required to use multiple theories.
Despite the numerous perspectives used, intertextuality is not a haphazard means of examining a text. Serious scholars have written on the topic and work to give the theory a more definitive structure. Alan Graham, in his work Intertextuality, defines his meaning of text and work, which are essential notions to the theory. “Work is primary, the text secondary” (Graham, 62). What he means is that the work is the physical object and the text is the meaning found in observing the object. The work must also exist first, before meaning can be made. Graham reversed the formerly accepted idea, which made the object the text (whether it be a song or film, painting or novel) and the meaning the work (Graham, 64). In addition, Graham’s intertextuality ascribes more of an artistry to the work than any other theory (Graham, 73). He sees the author much like a textile weaver, drawing the threads of various texts together to create meaning. “The text, after all, is a plural phenomenon; it has structure, yet also an infinity of meaning” (Graham, 80). Graham is stating that the nature of the text is to have many meanings, which will reveal themselves over time and multiple readings, because they are dependent on the understanding and knowledge of the reader. In the novel Barry Lyndon, a modern reader is required to have a certain understanding of history to access some of the novel’s meanings, while other meanings remain universal. Much of his meaning, the nuances of the period, and the mental image would be limited without some historical understanding. However, limited may not be the best choice of words. Without historical understanding, the reading would be different, along fewer lines than what is possible.
Continue reading at: Barry Lyndon: Intertextuality and Film Adaptation
“Silent film has left a legacy of bizarrely colorful images preserved in the popular mind by nostalgia. Yet in the early days of the primitive film industry, the cinema treated social problems in a way that was, ironically, as fantastic as the glamorous stars and tinsel world of Hollywood’s later silver screen,” (Ross, 43).
The establishment of the cinema does not start with D.W. Griffith’s masterwork The Birth of a Nation (1915). However, The Birth of a Nation became the most widely acclaimed and financially successful film of the entire silent era,” and has since become the watermark for film studies beginnings (May, 67). The film definitively stands out as a landmark in the visual arts that brought about the modern photoplay and a long history of interaction between the cinema and politics. By the time Griffith created his films, “movies were already the best form of cheap entertainment,” (Czitrom, 538). D. W. Griffith is also responsible for the creation of another film, Intolerance (1916), which illustrates the use of cinema as a tool for addressing social problems through allegory. The former film has left a much greater mark on history than the latter, but both will be considered in how history shapes and is shaped by cinema since the art-form’s advent.
Film has a fantastic ability to promote understanding of “the relationship between our historical experience and the means and modes through which we attempt to remember, reconstruct, and forget it, and otherwise orient ourselves in relation to it. Historians and social scientist recently have come to appreciate the extent to which diverse media and means of expression—journalism, newsreels, and movies—were involved in concealing as much about the real nature of…the conflict[s]…that spawned them,” (Williams, 30). This said, “A film is a work of art. It is not meant to be a mimetic replica or depiction of reality,” (Williams, 41). Though film is art, it is rather dangerous to dismiss it simply as such, considering the power it has to communicate with wide audiences. There is always a perspective or ideology to be considered in viewing a film, whether historical or strictly entertainment. Yet, they are also documents of history in themselves, displaying moments, ideas, and visions from another time. “In their documentary effects and social range, these founding motion pictures make a claim for film as history. Their representational aspirations point less to historical accuracy than to the politics that produced these movies, their ideological world views,” (Rogin, 2). Thus, each film can be regarded as a work of art and a source of historical knowledge about the people who made it and the time in which they lived. Considering the many lines of meaning communicated within a project, opens up the work for study on just as many levels. For example, politically driven films “relied on the happy ending, which provided audiences with continuity and faith in the system. Even actual historical events were rewritten to accommodate that expectation,” (Ross, 50). To what purpose would a filmmaker want to create their art in such a manner? There are several answers to the question: to make more money off the finished product, to use the power of film to influence, to promote themselves as a team player and receive the accolades that come with such cooperation, or a combination of these and other reasons.