jueves, junio 28, 2007

Anthony Druggan, KIAROSTAMI AND THE POPCORN FILMS


One very noticeable difference between the large "popcorn" Hollywood films
and a director like Kiarostami is the latter concentration on the everyday
moments of his characters lives. No CGI, set piece car chases, explosions
etc. Just PEOPLE that are very recognizable to the audience. People operating
in a familiar world of the everyday that an audience can relate to as THEIR
world. Contrast this with the spectacle of ,say, the comic book films
-Spiderman/Fantastic four/Lord of the Rings etc-and films such as Die
Hard/Lethal Weapon et al with their sanitized violence-as opposed to the
visceral violence of say, to use an infamous example,"Salo-120 days in
Sodom"(try showing THAT to a Saturday afternoon audience)-which films lack
any depth of character or development and operate in a world of great
spectacle and, therefore, suggest something very different from
Kiarostami. The latter characters find-or lose-their meaning in the
world of the audience unadorned by special effects and comic book violence. In this way the film has a connection with the audience whereas I wonder if the Hollywood films are suggesting to people that meaning is to be found only in a world of high
spectacle populated by celebrity actors and that the audience are NOT
participants in this world but simply passive spectators-the role of the
audience proper to this world is to passively CONSUME the product and that
the glitter of special images and celebrity is a world they passively
observe and participate in only as observers. Thus the subtle suggestion is
the world of the AUDIENCE is merely the everyday world of unimportance
compared to the glitter of celebrity spectacle and culture and, in order to
find meaning or excitement, the passive audience can find these NOT in their
own lives but in the world of the glitter realm-spectacle etc. Thus these
films in some way devalue the world of the people in favor of the world of
glitter and consumption. These films are conventionalist in that they simply
confirm the schema of consumption and powerlessness of the
audience. They challenge nothing unlike Kiarostami who juxtaposes images
of everyday life into unusual combinations to effect change in the audience perceptions of the film and, hopefully, themselves. Then of course there are films such as "The Pillow Book" that challenge many conventional ways of being/seeing
etc. The subtle suggestion of the Hollywood films is "Don’t think-just keep
eating the burgers and never imagine that your life might be of interest
apart from the world we feed you...."

Anthony Druggan

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