“The scene in Back to the Future after Doc scrambles to get the power chord from the clock tower connected. All that’s left are fiery tire tracks leading up to the movie theater at the end of the street. Doc dances and shouts in celebration.”
“I love history,” states Agan Harahap on his FlickR page. What it means to him, however, is something entirely unique. The Jakarta-based artistrewrites, or rather, re-creates, history by incorporating superheroes such as Superman and Spider-Man into famous imagery from the 20th century.
How come we never learned that the web-slinger was there during the Allied invasion of Normandy during World War II? Or that Batman was a close adviser to Cuban dictator Fidel Castro? In fact, it’s odd that no one ever mentioned how Darth Vader (a villain, indeed) had paid a visit to Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin at the Yalta conference in 1945. Harahap’s Photoshopped “Superhistory” presents the past as if it were a comic book, seamlessly integrating pop culture icons into the photographs that build our collective memory.
ronically, video games, not comics, inspired him for this project. Harahap’s friends are all fans of Call of Duty and Medal of Honor, two games that base their scripts on World War II battles.
Alexander Danner has posted a new short comic, telling the true story of one college student’s passive resistance to learning. Check out the rest at the link. Alexander is a good friend and a great writer. We also happen to teach at the same school, so the experience outlined here is one I can easily relate to.
The first part of a two-part analysis of David Holzman’s Diary by Kevin B. Lee, the most influential movie you’ve never heard of. The connections to YouTube, reality TV and mockumentaries are fascinating and reveal something slightly unsettling about how our culture reflects itself in the age of do-it-yourself type of media documentation.
One of the brilliant things about Exit Through the Gift Shop is that no matter which sections are fake, real, or a mixture of the two, ultimately it doesn’t matter. The film is still entertaining, bitingly funny and leaves you thinking.
That’s not really the case with Banksy’s Coming for Dinner, where C-grade celebrities gather at dinner party being thrown by Joan Collins and her husband, all waiting in anticipating to meet a pixelated Banksy impostor. Or are they? The movie markets itself by telling us its very nature questions reality; a documentary that is real, but unreal, wrapped in an enigma, double dipped in mystery, basted in boredom, marinated in who gives a shit? Seriously, the movie’s press statement promises to “question the nature of reality on every level.” Which leads me to ask one question; does this movie even exist? Unfortunately.
Director Ivan Massow was once the chairmen of the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. He resigned after writing a scathing critique of modern conceptual art, which he deemed “pretentious, self-indulgent, craftless tat” and “the product of over-indulged, middle-class…bloated egos who patronise real people with fake understanding”. He called the ICA a “pillar of the shock establishment.” Perhaps he meant the to present real people with real understanding with this movie. Or perhaps he wanted to cash in on Banksy’s name with a film that has next to nothing to do with the artist, but asks us to ask who he really is at the same time. Or perhaps he just wanted a free meal at Joan Collins place.
I find these so strange and beautiful. moviebarcode is a great blog that compresses every frame of a movie into an individual sliver and then sequentially arranges them in a barcode. Check them out, the cinematography really jumps out at you when you look at the whole movie at once.
“Do you want to hear your grandfather sing?” their father asks them after dinner, and all three grown children enthusiastically respond that they do. Their father puts on a Frank Sinatra record and translated the English into Greek. We hear Sinata sing “Fly me to the Moon,” and as the children dance, their father tells them what their “grandfather” is singing. Suddenly, ‘you’re all I long for, worship and adore’ becomes “It’s important that you obey your parents, always.” The brilliance of this scene, in which three different languages (English, Greek and make believe code of the family) coexist simultaneously, points to the brilliance of this film, the best I’ve seen from 2010. The children happily dance with their mother, and they accept this translation willingly. They also accept that “telephone” means “salt shaker,” “zombie” means “a small yellow flower” and “pussy” means “a big, bright light.”
To say this is a strange or unsettling movie would be an understatement, but the importance of the sheltered world the children in this movie live in, literally walled-in and restricted to the only existence they’ve ever known, forces us to consider our own walls, our own language, our own understanding of the way our world works.
We make our own truth, or it’s passed down from our culture, our families, our history, our heritage, our religion. How often do we walk through life, assuming we’re right? How often do we question what we know? How often do you see people clinging to half-truths and rumors, basing their political philosophy after quoteable catch phrases and buzz words that other people feed them through TV or other media? As a society, we’re often so confident about what is “right” and what is “wrong.” But where do these certainties come from? How many of our decisions truly come from ourselves and our own thinking? And if our existence is nothing but a construct, what is freedom?
“Fly Me to the Moon” indeed. See this movie. It’s thought provoking, disturbing, wonderfully shot, creatively acted and a true work of art.