Author Topic: does anyone think fight club is a little pretentious?  (Read 14325 times)

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UncleJoey

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does anyone think fight club is a little pretentious?
« Reply #30 on: May 05, 2004, 03:50:12 PM »
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Quote from: El Duderino
you see something new everytime you see it.


I feel the same way. A couple nights ago I noticed this for the first time:

In the interrogation room, when they're about to castrate Norton one of the cops asks "Is anyone timing this?" I thought that was so funny and I was surprised I hadn't noticed it before.
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picolas

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does anyone think fight club is a little pretentious?
« Reply #31 on: May 05, 2004, 08:02:57 PM »
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Quote from: El Duderino
Quote from: UncleJoey
the splicing in of the penis right at the film's conclusion.



i didnt see that until like the 3rd time i saw it. i've noticed that, for me at least, you see something new everytime you see it.

yeah but if you missed the penis the first two times you must be the longest, most prolific blinker in the world or had penis-vision disabled or something.

Gold Trumpet

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does anyone think fight club is a little pretentious?
« Reply #32 on: May 05, 2004, 08:05:15 PM »
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Quote from: UncleJoey
As cheap as the "movie land logic" defense generally is, I think it actually does have more strength with this particular film than many others. This is due to the fact that the movie itself draws attention to the fact that it is a film. Examples: When Tyler points to the cigarrette burns during the scene in the projection room and, of course, the splicing in of the penis right at the film's conclusion.

Also, I think there are several other moments where people hint at the split personality. Helena asking what he's talking about when Norton hears Tyler in the basement, several odd looks characters give him. I admit that I haven't gone through the movie looking only for holes in that plot line, although I've heard several exist. I don't doubt that, actually. However, I don't let that deter me from focusing on the other elements the film brings to the table. Perhaps, I'm just a sucker. Oh well . . .


Thats a good responce to the question of believability for the plot trick in the film, but what do you think about the entire gimmick that Norton was really Pitt and so forth? Did it elevate the movie for you on the grounds of why you thought it was a serious work? Or did the film go to a Hollywood gimmick and bring it down to a genre film more so?

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does anyone think fight club is a little pretentious?
« Reply #33 on: May 05, 2004, 08:18:46 PM »
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Quote from: The Gold Trumpet
Thats a good responce to the question of believability for the plot trick in the fiim, but what do you think about the entire gimmick that Norton was really Pitt and so forth? Did it elevate the movie for you on the grounds of why you thought it was a serious work? Or did the film go to a Hollywood gimmick and bring it down to a genre film more so?

You forget Fight Club was a book.  There's nothing "Hollywood" about the gimmick, and it doesn't bring down the film in any way.  It reminds me of something Tarantino said about Pulp Fiction and the writing process.  Paraphrased, he said, you know, if I was writing a novel, there would be no mention of the shifts in time I employed.  But since Pulp Fiction was a film, suddenly these time shifts became something people obsess about.

Now I haven't had a chance to read the Fight Club novel yet.  But I would be incredibly interested in seeing how Palahniuk handled the schizophrenia -- it seems like it would be much harder to pull off in a book, because some things have to be overt or they're left vague.  I could be wrong, though, but one thing remains certain: The more I watch the film, the more I realize how seamlessly integrated into dialogue and actions the non-existence of Tyler Durden really was.

Gold Trumpet

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does anyone think fight club is a little pretentious?
« Reply #34 on: May 05, 2004, 08:54:21 PM »
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Quote from: Onomatopita
Quote from: The Gold Trumpet
Thats a good responce to the question of believability for the plot trick in the fiim, but what do you think about the entire gimmick that Norton was really Pitt and so forth? Did it elevate the movie for you on the grounds of why you thought it was a serious work? Or did the film go to a Hollywood gimmick and bring it down to a genre film more so?

You forget Fight Club was a book.  There's nothing "Hollywood" about the gimmick, and it doesn't bring down the film in any way.  It reminds me of something Tarantino said about Pulp Fiction and the writing process.  Paraphrased, he said, you know, if I was writing a novel, there would be no mention of the shifts in time I employed.  But since Pulp Fiction was a film, suddenly these time shifts became something people obsess about.

Now I haven't had a chance to read the Fight Club novel yet.  But I would be incredibly interested in seeing how Palahniuk handled the schizophrenia -- it seems like it would be much harder to pull off in a book, because some things have to be overt or they're left vague.  I could be wrong, though, but one thing remains certain: The more I watch the film, the more I realize how seamlessly integrated into dialogue and actions the non-existence of Tyler Durden really was.


There is something very Hollywood about the gimmick used in Fight Club. Forget what Tarantino says. It has nothing to do with use of time shifting in Fight Club and essentially all he was saying is that with books structure is a lot more free than in movies. (and it is)

If Fight Club was a serious film, you would have known at the beginning the extent of Norton's pysche problems and would have been going along as he acted out one persona and acted out another, analyzing the differences of each one knowingly. Its like what the Danish film The Vanishing did for the thriller cause not only did it reveal at the beginning who the killer was, but the entire film was a portrait of difference between the killer and victim. Hollywood can't stand this cause they want one story running along on a simple enough thread to follow and always building up to another hierarchy of conflict in the three act structure. With Norton's revelation at the end, it acts more as "twist" to the entire story than anything else. It would make you look at new things upon rewatching it, yea, but it doesn't give you the depth of viewing the way The Vanishing did in really looking at the complexity of the situation.

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does anyone think fight club is a little pretentious?
« Reply #35 on: May 05, 2004, 08:57:58 PM »
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I used to really like fight club when it first came out. When i was in high school. Now I feel disconnected. It almost feels like its being cool just to be cool. The visual style and excitement is there, but it just feels like it's trying to be too clever for it's own good. I feel the same way about K smith movies as i do about fight club, it's fun, but i could care less.
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does anyone think fight club is a little pretentious?
« Reply #36 on: May 05, 2004, 11:27:40 PM »
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Quote from: The Gold Trumpet
It would make you look at new things upon rewatching it, yea, but it doesn't give you the depth of viewing the way The Vanishing did in really looking at the complexity of the situation.

But you can see flashes of Brad Pitt! That must mean he's there!

[I agree with you, GT.]
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UncleJoey

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does anyone think fight club is a little pretentious?
« Reply #37 on: May 06, 2004, 02:39:39 AM »
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Quote from: The Gold Trumpet
There is something very Hollywood about the gimmick used in Fight Club. Forget what Tarantino says. It has nothing to do with use of time shifting in Fight Club and essentially all he was saying is that with books structure is a lot more free than in movies. (and it is)

If Fight Club was a serious film, you would have known at the beginning the extent of Norton's pysche problems and would have been going along as he acted out one persona and acted out another, analyzing the differences of each one knowingly. Its like what the Danish film The Vanishing did for the thriller cause not only did it reveal at the beginning who the killer was, but the entire film was a portrait of difference between the killer and victim. Hollywood can't stand this cause they want one story running along on a simple enough thread to follow and always building up to another hierarchy of conflict in the three act structure. With Norton's revelation at the end, it acts more as "twist" to the entire story than anything else. It would make you look at new things upon rewatching it, yea, but it doesn't give you the depth of viewing the way The Vanishing did in really looking at the complexity of the situation.


I'll agree with you that the twist is pretty "Hollywood." However, I think it would be a shame if anyone let this prevent them from pondering what I feel are very interesting ideas prevalent in the film's story. The twist at the end prevents you from doing this, but not me. That's OK. I suppose I'm just willing to allow the filmmakers to be subversive within the system. My English class discussed this film for over an hour the other day and could have gone on for much longer. We didn't discuss the whole split personality plotline and how it has been used so many times in Hollywood because it isn't important to a discussion of the film's philosophy, or at least not to us. Not saying it isn't important to the discussion of the film as a whole, of course. The delivery system of the ideas may be flawed to some people, but I think the ideas themselves are worth exploring nonetheless.
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socketlevel

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does anyone think fight club is a little pretentious?
« Reply #38 on: May 09, 2004, 11:22:09 PM »
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Quote from: UncleJoey
Well, I would say that the center of the film is about the rejection of commodity fetishism and the return to a more "will-based" form of life. The Narrator is just a typical consumer going crazy living in an isolated world with no love and no real "human" passions. He, with help from Tyler, turns to violence through fight club to return to a more basic human experience. The people fighting are simply imposing their will on another human being - the most basic human experience. This is also possible through love, but the film makes a point of exposing the absense and failure of that in modern society. Basically, the narrator and the members of Project Mayhem are using violence as a means to an end - that end being life without debt and without commodities. As the buildings blow up, we see the end of debt (which some people would tell you is the most powerful tool of oppression the powers-that-be have - who do you know that isn't in some kind of debt? It's an enslaving process.) and the end of commodity fetishism. So I would argue that the ending isn't just a typical "thriller" ending, but also ties up the major social arch of the film. It isn't violent merely for the sake of entertainment, but for the sake of advancing the main social goal of the film's characters.

Of course, that's a very incomplete analysis. I'm just trying to get some discussion going.


i think everything you're mentioning is the intent of the film, don't get me wrong on that.  but it sells itself short.  the very notion of edward norton and brad pitt being in the film is a consumer ploy.  the film works as a material controdiction to the film's message, and we buy it up like we're fucking mad.  the fact that the film is "cool" (and tries so fucking hard to be) is what brings people back to the cinema and their television screens time after time, not these philosophical ideas you're mentioning.  it doesn't work the other way with this film.  for instance, when i see something like JFK i walk away thinking about the subject matter and pondering the state of American polotics.  when the average movie goer walks away from fight club their thinking about something like "hey wasn't it cool when he held that gun to the guys head" or "wow did you see those spliced in frames of brad pitt."  they don't care or even see the stuff you're talking about.  to them: who the fuck cares.  the fighting is slowed down to like 120 fps so that we can watch the beautiful choreographed fight sequences.  it choses a exploitive way to tell the story when the film is actually attempting to give the counter message.  it does need to be violent, but it is also very important how you convey this violence to the audience.  do you excite them or disgust them.  fincher went with excitment because that's what sells tickets.  there is no subversion of this at the end of the film, which would justify the exploitive storytelling at the beginning of the film.  alas fincher comes across like a douchebag because it is transparent that he views cinema as "cool" before "intellegent."  he should have just stuck with cool, like in the game but he needed to get some indie cred from fans willing to add in any subtext they can to the hollow images.

-sl-

oh yeah and i fear your response is going to be something about how the average movie goer doesn't need to understand it and how this is ultimately is a huge compliment to the film because it is so intellegent that the laymen needs to educate themselves to disect the film language and stuff like that.  no.  there is a difference of being intellegent with subtlety (ie. dawn of the dead) and controdicting yourself in cinema.  fight club is delivering polar messages at the same time.  this is a bad thing, not clever.  the filmmaker did not realize this big mistake, that is apparent.  it's like going to read the "celestine proph" for deep philosophy, it's a white wash of something deeper.
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UncleJoey

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does anyone think fight club is a little pretentious?
« Reply #39 on: May 09, 2004, 11:40:16 PM »
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Quote from: socketlevel
i think everything you're mentioning is the intent of the film, don't get me wrong on that.  but it sells itself short.  the very notion of edward norton and brad pitt being in the film is a consumer ploy.  the film works as a material controdiction to the film's message, and we buy it up like we're fucking mad.  the fact that the film is "cool" (and tries so fucking hard to be) is what brings people back to the cinema and their television screens time after time, not these philosophical ideas you're mentioning.  it doesn't work the other way with this film.  for instance, when i see something like JFK i walk away thinking about the subject matter and pondering the state of American polotics.  when the average movie goer walks away from fight club their thinking about something like "hey wasn't it cool when he held that gun to the guys head" or "wow did you see those spliced in frames of brad pitt."  they don't care or even see the stuff you're talking about.  to them: who the fuck cares.  the fighting is slowed down to like 120 fps so that we can watch the beautiful choreographed fight sequences.  it choses a exploitive way to tell the story when the film is actually attempting to give the counter message.  it does need to be violent, but it is also very important how you convey this violence to the audience.  do you excite them or disgust them.  fincher went with excitment because that's what sells tickets.  there is no subversion of this at the end of the film, which would justify the exploitive storytelling at the beginning of the film.  alas fincher comes across like a douchebag because it is transparent that he views cinema as "cool" before "intellegent."  he should have just stuck with cool, like in the game but he needed to get some indie cred from fans willing to add in any subtext they can to the hollow images.

-sl-


Well, I'll address how violence was portrayed first. I think one problem is that you're assuming that violence is supposed to be flawed or wrong in this film, but I'm not sure that it is. It's portrayed in an exciting way because that's exactly how it should be shown within the philosophy of the story. Violence is used to return to a more "real" form of being, as I've been trying (perhaps ineffectively) in my posts. I don't think Fincher portrayed the violence in a disgusting way because it isn't supposed to be disgusting in this story. Then again . . . it isn't disgusting when Norton beats up Angelface? I think violence can be portrayed in a manner that is simultaneously exciting and disgusting.

I don't think you can criticize the casting of Norton and Pitt. Yes, they are certainly big names that bring in audiences, but they are also very good actors. It wasn't the first time Fincher worked with Pitt; perhaps they developed a good working relationship and that was the reason he was cast more than anything else. I see your point, but I think the fact that Fincher used "stars" doesn't necessarily mean the point of the film is undermined.

Oh, and when the "average movie-goer" walks away from just about anything they miss the point.
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Myxo

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does anyone think fight club is a little pretentious?
« Reply #40 on: May 14, 2004, 12:37:09 PM »
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No.

Vanilla Sky is pretentious.
Donnie Darko is pretentious.

ono

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does anyone think fight club is a little pretentious?
« Reply #41 on: May 14, 2004, 12:40:11 PM »
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Quote from: Myxomatosis
Vanilla Sky is pretentious a poor remake, a vanity project at best.
Donnie Darko is pretentious brilliant.

Just fixing up some minor errors in your post.  :)

See also: What makes pretention, a wholly pretentious thread delving into that pervasive mystery plaguing film snobs the world over.

SoNowThen

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does anyone think fight club is a little pretentious?
« Reply #42 on: May 14, 2004, 01:19:34 PM »
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I really don't think Fight Club was pretentious at all. Finch didn't present the film as having any great meaning beyond the fact that most men are unsatisfied with their lives and feel out of place, and don't know how to fix it. The obviously bizarre contrast of the Animal Man getting back to his roots then turning into some neo-Facist stormtrooper, while at the same time becoming non-corporate anarchists, I mean, they're veering off in every direction, because they're all fairly clueless, so they're rebelling in the most predictable (albeit overly dramatic) ways possible. Some people misconstrue this as filmmaker's indecision, but he knew what he was doing. Just because he created characters that were pretentious doesn't mean the movie itself is.

Now if you really must rag on the film, I suppose you could say it was just an excercise in style. Fair enough, if it didn't impress itself upon you. But for a younger generation of filmgoers (myself included), it brought renewed interest in playing with forms of narrative. Yes, it has all been done before. But like Tarantino renewed several aspects of cinema with Reservoir Dogs, and then exploded them with Pulp Fiction, this film carries a huge importance for late 90's American cinema. Whether they like Dogs/Pulp or not, people have to recognize the impact they had in opening people's eyes to great ways of telling stories. He reminded us what we could do. I guess Tarantino avoided getting raged on by everybody by embracing shlock genres, rather than modern philosophy/psychology. To see the great tricks used by Finch, in a big budget Hollywood movie with stars, no less, it does count for something. It was different than any massive commercial movie I had witnessed in my young film-going life. The constant narration and direct address to the audience is something that you might have been able to call gimmicky, if it hadn't worked so well for this movie. Add to that the extensive effects shots intigrated so skillfully in the movie, and you have a blend of narrative techniques used mainly in comedy, and effects used mainly in action, making this film a unique and special mix.

This was an ill considered rant, I didn't have to time to really look anything over, so I apologize if the organization is off, or the ideas seem a little hasty. It's just getting tiresome to see this movie constantly balked at like it was a total piece of shit. At least give some credit where credit is due. Or at the very least stop throwing around this goofy word "pretentious", and putting it in the same twist-reliance category as Sixth Sense.
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does anyone think fight club is a little pretentious?
« Reply #43 on: May 14, 2004, 03:42:34 PM »
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Quote from: The Gold Trumpet
Quote from: Onomatopita
Quote from: The Gold Trumpet
Thats a good responce to the question of believability for the plot trick in the fiim, but what do you think about the entire gimmick that Norton was really Pitt and so forth? Did it elevate the movie for you on the grounds of why you thought it was a serious work? Or did the film go to a Hollywood gimmick and bring it down to a genre film more so?

You forget Fight Club was a book.  There's nothing "Hollywood" about the gimmick, and it doesn't bring down the film in any way.  It reminds me of something Tarantino said about Pulp Fiction and the writing process.  Paraphrased, he said, you know, if I was writing a novel, there would be no mention of the shifts in time I employed.  But since Pulp Fiction was a film, suddenly these time shifts became something people obsess about.

Now I haven't had a chance to read the Fight Club novel yet.  But I would be incredibly interested in seeing how Palahniuk handled the schizophrenia -- it seems like it would be much harder to pull off in a book, because some things have to be overt or they're left vague.  I could be wrong, though, but one thing remains certain: The more I watch the film, the more I realize how seamlessly integrated into dialogue and actions the non-existence of Tyler Durden really was.


There is something very Hollywood about the gimmick used in Fight Club. Forget what Tarantino says. It has nothing to do with use of time shifting in Fight Club and essentially all he was saying is that with books structure is a lot more free than in movies. (and it is)

If Fight Club was a serious film, you would have known at the beginning the extent of Norton's pysche problems and would have been going along as he acted out one persona and acted out another, analyzing the differences of each one knowingly. Its like what the Danish film The Vanishing did for the thriller cause not only did it reveal at the beginning who the killer was, but the entire film was a portrait of difference between the killer and victim. Hollywood can't stand this cause they want one story running along on a simple enough thread to follow and always building up to another hierarchy of conflict in the three act structure. With Norton's revelation at the end, it acts more as "twist" to the entire story than anything else. It would make you look at new things upon rewatching it, yea, but it doesn't give you the depth of viewing the way The Vanishing did in really looking at the complexity of the situation.


Very good points.  I hadn't really thought of it that way, and I really like The Vanishing quite a bit (too bad they bothered with the american version).  That being said I also really like Fight Club and what makes it interesting for me is being able to go back to the film and have a deeper viewing the second time, knowing the outcome.  In a way The Usual Suspects is similiar because we are essentially "tricked."  Both of the films are very engaging IMO, and most people, while immersed in the film, wouldn't take the time to think to themselves - "I'll bet this is all bullshit, and Brad Pitt is really Ed Norton's alter ego, or Verbal is actually Keyser Soze." especially since there aren't really any clues to give such a thing away.  I liked being tricked by those films.  I liked watching them a second and third time and trying to find clues or inconsistencies.  Anyway GT, I liked your points, but I still view Fight Club as a serious film with alot on its mind

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Re: does anyone think fight club is a little pretentious?
« Reply #44 on: February 07, 2008, 10:20:58 AM »
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'Fight Club' On Broadway? Director, Writer Plan To Mark Film's 10-Year Anniversary With A Musical
Trent Reznor might even do the music, author Chuck Palahniuk says he heard from filmmaker David Fincher.
By Shawn Adler, MTV

I am Jack's ... gorgeous libretto?

A long-rumored Broadway adaptation of "Fight Club" is closer than ever to happening, an excited David Fincher told MTV News, admitting that preparations have been amped up in anticipation of the film's upcoming landmark.

"I want at the 10-year anniversary to do 'Fight Club' as a musical on Broadway," the director enthused. "I love the idea of that."

Apparently, so do many others. Now that Fincher has broken Fight Club's first rule (and, for that matter, its second), the masterminds behind the film are eager to join the chorus — none more so than "Club" author Chuck Palahniuk, who said he thinks the idea for a musical is as beautiful and unique as a tiny snowflake. (Note: You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.)

"So he's now publicly talking about it?" Palahniuk enthused. "If it happens, it would be extraordinary."

"If" being the operative word at the moment, both men admit, since no concrete plans have yet been finalized. If it does make its way to the stage, though, "Fight Club: The Musical" would join a long list of movies adapted for the Great White Way, including recent additions like "The Producers," "Spamalot" and "Young Frankenstein."

Those movies and others, however, already had the benefit of being a little campy, making it easier to retroactively fit big song-and-dance numbers into their respective story lines. This is something "Fight Club" cannot claim — or can it?

"Everybody would look at me like a leper," he said. "[But] I always saw it as a comedy."

Which is good news for those of us who'd like to see songs like "I Am the All-Singing, All-Dancing Crap of This World," "His Name Is Robert Paulson" and "How to Make Napalm From Orange Juice and Gasoline," but not so good for those who might like a more serious take.

Luckily, Fincher and Palahniuk have a pretty solid plan B, they told MTV News.

"The last I heard from David was that Trent Reznor was going to do the music," the author revealed (representatives for Reznor had no comment by press time). "Maybe 'Choke' the musical will be next!" he added, referring to another one of his works that is being made into a film (it's due in theaters August 28).

Maybe, but either way, Palahnuik admitted he'll have little involvement with any future adaptation.

"I might write the book or the script," Palahnuik said, "but [a musical is] a whole different animal for me."

There is no word yet whether any of the film castmembers would reprise their roles. The 1999 film starred Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Meat Loaf and Helena Bonham Carter.
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