Now that I have H's DVD set, I've watched Rope (for the paper due next Tuesday) a few times, and I'm starting to see the creativity possible with the very different style of filming Hitchcock was experimenting with in the film. From what I read, he saw it as a failed experiment, but as noted before I think it was actually a rather good film (although maybe the experiment he was talking about factored in whether it was feasable as a general way to make films). As I may have noted (I sometimes repeat myself on my BLOG, I imagine, because it generally covers whatever's in my head plus a few notes, topics, and URLs in a textfile I collect from time to time), Rope is a standard-length movie, shot in a very small number of very long takes, with all but two of those lightly disguised, in order to give the impression that the whole film is an uninterrupted whole. The perspective moves entirely between three rooms in an apartment, rotating, following characters, etc (made all the more impressive by Technicolor cameras being huge and thus stagehands and walls constantly moving things around out of sight, with any blunders stopping the ~10min take). Initially I was impressed by how much more real the space the actors were wandering around in felt, but on the third viewing, I started to see that H was playing with a lot more - as just one of many examples, when two characters pull some deception to leave a party room to get some relative privacy, the gesture becomes much more exciting by letting the audience follow it - the nuances of such an act, filmed conventionally, would feel empty and cutworthy, but the constraint of the medium makes it immersive and expressive. That's just the start of it - there are plenty of other things H is playing with.
On that topic, I should rewatch Dancer in the Dark (once I figure out who I loaned my copy to) - von Trier's camerawork is interestingly different there, and I'd like to see if this class has opened my eyes to more depth in his choice of handheld cameras. On the topic, does anyone else know of good films that use the camera (or other perspective tools, such as in Waking Life/Scanner Darkly) in "out there" ways?
I've decided that Moo3 isn't worth playing. The interface (and some parts of the game design) is poor, meaning the player has to jump through a lot of awkward hoops to achieve the level of control they need to play the game, and the game as a while feels like it could've used another six months to cook. Oh well. I have way too many games to play waiting in the wings, plus a large pile of books I've been slowly working my way through and the increasing friendliness of the outdoors.
This weekend is a weekend of many maybes... I still need to figure it out.
- While I'm pleased directly about a partial-birth abortion ban being upheld in the US (it falls on the wrong side of my nuanced abortion stance), I am concerned at some of the reasoning behind it - the NYT reports that Justice Kennedy's opinion suggests that pregnant women should be protected from potential depression and regret from making the choice to abort. I'll have to read his full opinion at some point (hooray for CMU's onsite (limited) free access to LexisNexis), but I don't like that reasoning and I worry that it will be pushed much further to outlaw abortion entirely (even before significant brain development, which is where I draw the line).
- One of America's pet "terrorists" is released to his family in Miami. I find this very disappointing.
- Britain is thinking about repeating one of the tragic mistakes the United States made some years back - deinstitutionalising a large group of mentally ill in the name of cost-cutting.
- Tim O'Reilly, while occasionally amazingly self-serving (consider the Amazon one-click patent), sometimes uses his position as head of a prominent publishing house (and only-partly-deserved cultural icon for the overlap of the opensource community and the "deep techies") to embarass people who need to be embarassed. I think embarassment usually is very healthy for culture - if people were very reliably called on their corruption, poor concern for the public good, and lies, society would be much better off, if less bussinesslike (hey, bonus!)
- Kind of related, I think it's a very good thing that NBC has passed on to the public the content the VTech gunman mailed to them - it would be unforgivable to hide relevant information to help people understand the event, even if some families are squeamish and don't want it shown. No matter what it is or who makes it, from Osama bin Laden's speeches to the Unabomber's manifesto, society benefits from that information.
- An Israeli friend of mine some time back suggested I read YNet to supplement my reading of JPost. That article there I found to be an exceptionally poor delving into philosophy using Daniel Pearl's unfortunate death as a springboard. Finding something that a lot of people condemn is not a counterargument against moral relativism - to make that argument is to invite people to abandon a clearer position for a more emotional one through emotional blackmail, and advocates demonisation over understanding. It's important for people who think as I do to condemn this type of thinking whenever we see it, and further to remind people that we can oppose things without blinding ourselves or pretending that the universe itself agrees with our value judgement - it's in fact *more* meaningful to be a moral actor with that understanding because it's not based on emotional masturbation and lies. Of course, in condemning, we need to also oppose people who take their understanding and let it make them oppose all value statements.
- I'm amused that the leak of the conversation between Tony Blair and BushJr where they considered bombing Al Jazeera so their propoganda in the Middle East wouldn't have competition is leading to a lawsuit over leaking of state secrets. The lawsuit is against the public interest - the world deserves to know when two (very dangerous, unfortunate) powerful political leaders are planning things of that nature, and I applaud those who revealed it as much as I am disgusted that it was considered. I am further amused that the lawsuit appears to help make the fact that the conversation happened more solid to anyone who's paying attention (not that many people do)
- I'm interested in revived interest in connecting the Russian Far East (effectively, Vladivostock, despite its great distance from the actual proposal) and Alaska via rail. While Alaska and that part of Russia have a number of interesting similarities, and some people argue that because they're the least developed parts of each country, it's not worth it, I think it could be a very positive development both because it'll be a learning experience building and maintaining the tunnel and because a number of Russian politicians are starting to put a lot of effort into developing the area. According to the Far East Journal (which I occasionally pick up in bookstores), for border regions, China has a population density of about ten times that of the Russian territory right across the border, and the area has incredible natural resources. On the other hand, this does seem to be something that will have a pretty serious environmental impact..
- Pravda has an interesting article on cultural attitudes towards adultery.
- I want to get my hands on this movie. Night of the Day of the Dawn of the Son of the Bride of the Return of the Terror is a redubbing of Romero's classic with a silly, MST3k-esque style.
- MC Frontalot has a new album called Secrets from the Future. Perhaps this track will be my Macbeth..
- Mohammad Ali Abtahi on law and order