Author Topic: What Radical Filmmaking Really Looks Like  (Read 1199 times)

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What Radical Filmmaking Really Looks Like
« on: March 28, 2014, 04:55:29 PM »

Every ruling class invents images of itself for the entertainment and edification of the subordinate classes….Every subordinate class constructs an image of itself, and of the ruling class, which does not entirely conform to this invention from above.
—Allan Sekula (1951-2013)

A video tribute to radical filmmakers' calls to action as the New York film series 'Cinema of Resistance' takes off.

By Kevin B. Lee

This is an important & interesting video essay takes a look at films that pose as radical pushing the boundaries. I've found recent films like Something In The Air (2013)  really demobilizing as it all falls down to these ideals are silly and its time to grow up and accept this anti-egalitarian society or the "trot" revisionist Carlos (2010) which is still a great film but frames him as asshole whose uses Marxism as a means to terrorize, no representation of the oppression that would drive him to these ideals in the first place. If any one is interested anymore about revisionism of Carlos see here . I saw the same problems with Malcolm X.

"oh you haven’t truly watched a film if you didn’t watch it on the big screen" mumbles the bourgeois dipshit


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Re: What Radical Filmmaking Really Looks Like
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2014, 11:10:52 AM »
I'm curious about the Malcolm x comment.

Jeremy Blackman

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Re: What Radical Filmmaking Really Looks Like
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2014, 12:23:31 PM »
"Make films that the system cannot assimilate." I get the point that's being made. It's just unfortunate that this doesn't leave room for complex ambiguity or postmodernist critiques, where the object of criticism has to exist in the film. Because that will always create opportunity for misinterpretation, with many viewers passively absorbing the content and missing the critique. (Although I haven't seen Spring Breakers, it sounds like a good example.) I guess that's the nature of things... I just don't want to believe there can't be a solution that would allow for a less literal film that is also sufficiently subversive.

I should try to think of a good example. I know there are films that "can't be assimilated," but their radical messages might also be hard to spot by the same viewer who misinterpreted Spring Breakers or Wolf of Wall Street. Does the message have to be screamingly obvious, or is it good enough to penetrate the subconscious?

You know, actually, that video doesn't praise any examples of fiction. (But it's unclear, since there are some 2-second clips presented without comment.) Is that what it wants to say, that fiction is a problem?

Surely some small amount of intellectual clarity can be sacrificed to be allowed to make fiction, which has its own kind of power. (And gruesome documentaries are never going to reach the masses.)
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Re: What Radical Filmmaking Really Looks Like
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2014, 01:47:46 PM »
I'm not sure I get this video, and if I do I think this isn't very well thought out and the first minute or so is especially cringe inducing.

It presupposes the existence of a reasonable amount of free speech and lack of censorship in the society which the film is trying to mobilize.

Is the object of Radical Filmmaking to affect actual change in a repressed society or to just provide fodder for hip armchair activists in a distant country safely insulated from those issues? Because this essay would seem to suggest it's the latter. Any art that is direct, brutal, and confrontational would be dismissed automatically by a censor in the society it actually matters for it to be seen. Yes that kind of art is very important and needs to exist and you could still disseminate it underground or on the internet for people who seek it out if you want to preach to the choir. But it's also important in those societies for there to exist revolutionary art that is palatable to the masses and non-subversive on the surface but manages to worm its message's way into the people's subconscious.


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Re: What Radical Filmmaking Really Looks Like
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2014, 03:08:35 PM »
I'm not sure I get this video, and if I do I think this isn't very well thought out and the first minute or so is especially cringe inducing.

I agree with this. First question I would ask what aspect of film is to be considered radical? Medium itself, underpinning or something else?

I don't know why, but I think about Jerzy Grotowski when faced with such question. His "poor theatre" and other ideas can be related to film also. Film is composed of other mediums like music, literature, photography, theatre competing with each other and united by editing. Cinema Pur was very early film movement, were one of the main drive was to erase connection with literature. Now I would say that photography and music is far more prominent/popular medium than literature. Grotowski argued that theatre shouldn't compete with spectacle of film, maybe same should be done with cinema? How to such film would look like, where aspects of other mediums are reduced?

Grotowski also wanted to destroy space between audience and actors. Audience that isn't an audience - that is quite a paradox. Would we still perceive a truly radical film as a film? It is compelling to look at this from perspective of digital age we live in. You don't need projector or cinema to show your film - you can upload it to internet and other person can watch it on phone in the bus. You don't need to make and distribute a film within the system. Filmmaking is more democratizes than ever.

Things like "Zeitgeist: The Movie" exist (example good as any). There is so much preexisting footage that you can use for montage,  you don't need to shoot anything to create a film. You can add commentary and then throw it somewhere over the web without reviling a name. Recipe for radical cinema?

There is huge amount of video footage that we don't even consider a films - just look at Youtube. Author of this video essay himself did cross boundary between audience and creator by responding to original video he didn't like. He probably didn't even think about it.

Those are some aspects I would consider, when thinking about radical cinema. The problem is I didn't have answers like author of video essay, just questions.
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