Author Topic: PTA Worldview: Humanist or Misanthropist?  (Read 1863 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Punch Drunk Hate

  • The Call to Adventure
  • *
  • Posts: 22
  • Respect: +10
PTA Worldview: Humanist or Misanthropist?
« on: October 25, 2016, 05:51:43 PM »
0
 I'm writing a paper on the worldview of Anderson filmography in my Film and Philosophy course, as I think it's often misrepresented by many critics and academia. Criticism from many cineastes is that Anderson films tend to be cold, which I don't necessarily share, even think There Will Be Blood has some warmth in the portrayal of H.W, who finds connection with another deaf individual in a moment of grace in dark fare. It seems to me that Anderson has too much love for his characters to really approaching misanthropic. Don't  how this Anderson craze forum thinks, I'll love to hear thoughts just to get some thoughts before turning in my essay.

polkablues

  • Child of Myth
  • Admin
  • *****
  • Posts: 7090
  • Respect: +1836
Re: PTA Worldview: Humanist or Misanthropist?
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2016, 06:47:41 PM »
+6
I feel like There Will Be Blood is the only of his films you could even make the slightest accusation of misanthropy against, and there I feel you can make a very strong case that it is a film ABOUT a misanthrope, not a film that is itself misanthropic. Yes, Plainview lacks empathy for others in most situations, but the film, by contrast, shows tremendous empathy toward him.

Otherwise, PTA's films tend to be about characters who not only love, but are fully overwhelmed by their capacity for love. Constantly he goes back to the well of characters craving meaningful connection with other people. Donnie's line from Magnolia, "I have so much love to give, I just don't know where to put it," could almost be taken as a mission statement of sorts. Everything revolves around that core theme.
Now you're in the *spoiler* place.

wilder

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3634
  • Respect: +1714
Re: PTA Worldview: Humanist or Misanthropist?
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2016, 07:08:10 PM »
+3
I don’t disagree with the things you’ve said, but I also think his movies are so attractive because they’re honest in terms of…there’s hate in there, too. There’s a constant oscillation, an internal war, between love and hate. The movies ultimately aim for love, love is always the goal and the hope, and wins out a lot of the time (PDL can even be interpreted as a fantasy, aside from all of the UFOs and curb diving etc., because the out of nowhere over-the-top attraction to a guy like Barry from Lena is so improbable, realistically…), but there are clear moments of earned hate in his movies, from my perspective.

Sydney’s ultimate killing of Jimmy in Hard Eight, Jimmy’s death in Magnolia, the most explicit example being Daniel in There Will Be Blood — that misanthropy is real. There’s a real detest for all Eli represents, the lie, the lie being the opposite of truth, the truth (in a way) being something you could equate with love. It's all the more interesting in Blood because Daniel recognizes the same things in himself, he's not necessarily the moral contrast. The hate usually stems from things that are symbolic of the death of love, agents of change that keep the protagonists from realizing their dreams. There’s an interview with…I think Ben Gazarra, on the Criterion release of The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, that talks about this concept. That the thing in Bookie that motivates Gazarra’s character to carry out the killing he so desperately doesn’t want to participate in is the want to perpetuate his club, “his art”, and that all these people working against that, the gangsters and the money men, were representative to Cassavetes of all of the people who want to “kill the dream.” This movie is a clear, and I'm pretty sure conscious antecedent to Boogie Nights in terms of its themes.

More than that, though, PT’s movies are most honest about self-hate: In Boogie Nights: Jack Horner’s striving not to be the thing he’s ended up as, Amber’s dissociation from the conflict between her roles as performer and mother, Scotty’s whole fiasco, wanting to be wanted as much as Dirk is throughout. Frank TJ Mackey’s run from himself and the past he’s lived through that’s caused him to misdirect his own anger, Lancaster Dodd’s “pigfuck!” reaction to the man who questions him during the auditing of that older woman in the NY apartment comes from a place of being pigeonholed to confront his own lack of truth. Even Daniel Plainview’s self-loathing comes from a conflicted place. He makes small gestures to his son in TWBB, going back and forth between abuse and small acknowledgements of his worth. The love in PT's movies isn't portrayed as the the easy thing to do or a saccharine, end of the universe meaning that's easy to put yourself into if only you decide to free yourself from other emotions (as in a stoner kind of way) -- it has to be strived for, it's a constant struggle to get there, but shown to be worth it in the end.

Edit - was writing this as polka posted. Polka's observation about TWBB being about a misanthrope but the film being empathetic is salient.

polkablues

  • Child of Myth
  • Admin
  • *****
  • Posts: 7090
  • Respect: +1836
Re: PTA Worldview: Humanist or Misanthropist?
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2016, 07:50:02 PM »
0
The love in PT's movies isn't portrayed as the the easy thing to do or a saccharine, end of the universe meaning that's easy to put yourself into if only you decide to free yourself from other emotions (as in a stoner kind of way) -- it has to be strived for, it's a constant struggle to get there, but shown to be worth it in the end.

This is so good and beautifully said. Ignore what I wrote and internalize this instead.
Now you're in the *spoiler* place.

Punch Drunk Hate

  • The Call to Adventure
  • *
  • Posts: 22
  • Respect: +10
Re: PTA Worldview: Humanist or Misanthropist?
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2016, 04:27:09 PM »
0
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Sincerity

Other critics have suggested "new sincerity" as a descriptive term for work by American filmmakers such as Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson, Todd Louiso, Sofia Coppola, and Charlie Kaufman, Zach Braff, and Jared Hess,[22] and filmmakers from other countries such as Michel Gondry, Lars von Trier, the Dogme 95 movement, Aki Kaurismäki, and Pedro Almodóvar.[23] The "aesthetics of new sincerity" have also been connected to other art forms including "reality television, Internet blogs, diary style 'chicklit' literature, [and] personal videos on You-Tube. . .


This term fits the sensibilities of some of Paul work, especially Magnolia. Don't know how the community feels about the label, I find it accurate to his sensibilities, as he was taught by the godfather of the movement, David Foster Wallace.

Drenk

  • The Return Threshold
  • ****
  • Posts: 876
  • Respect: +498
Re: PTA Worldview: Humanist or Misanthropist?
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2016, 05:37:16 PM »
0
I dislike that label, and David Foster Wallace never claimed any "new sincerity". It's very vague...

But he wrote that, which could apply to PTA's fiction:

Quote
If what's always distinguished bad writing--flat characters, a narrative world that's clichéd and not recognizably human, etc.--is also a description of today's world, then bad writing becomes an ingenious mimesis of a bad world. If readers simply believe the world is stupid and shallow and mean, then [Bret] Ellis can write a mean shallow stupid novel that becomes a mordant deadpan commentary on the badness of everything. Look man, we'd probably most of us agree that these are dark times, and stupid ones, but do we need fiction that does nothing but dramatize how dark and stupid everything is? In dark times, the definition of good art would seem to be art that locates and applies CPR to those elements of what's human and magical that still live and glow despite the times' darkness. Really good fiction could have as dark a worldview as it wished, but it'd find a way both to depict this world and to illuminate the possibilities for being alive and human in it.

I'm so many people.

wilder

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3634
  • Respect: +1714
Re: PTA Worldview: Humanist or Misanthropist?
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2016, 07:43:09 PM »
0
Like Ellis' fiction or not, that's such a slanted and dishonest portrayal of his writing. People relate to art in different ways, some get catharsis from witnessing beauty directly, others find solace in the recognition of the wrong, which, when done with enough skill and intent, by extension implies what's good (as in the 2+2 adage of Billy Wilder). The excising of something (i.e. empathy) is so conscious that it’s actually indirectly present -- that's a version of the "CPR" Wallace refers to, too. Ellis' fiction varies a lot in terms of quality, and he's undoubtedly a pessimist, but to assert that his fiction exists just to make you feel bad about the world just isn't true.

For what it's worth I don't agree with the new sincerity label, either (and all those filmmakers cited are nothing alike?!). Earnestness itself doesn't make something not false.

Punch Drunk Hate

  • The Call to Adventure
  • *
  • Posts: 22
  • Respect: +10
Re: PTA Worldview: Humanist or Misanthropist?
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2016, 03:03:35 PM »
+2
You know what feels amazing? Getting an A on your essay from the professor will get you down through the day.

modage

  • Admin
  • *****
  • Posts: 10785
  • Respect: +727
    • Floating Heads
Re: PTA Worldview: Humanist or Misanthropist?
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2016, 05:03:51 PM »
0
Can you share it with us? Would be curious to see how it turned out.
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.

 

DMCA & Copyright | Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy