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Archive for the month “November, 2013”

In adventure and space,do we progress in the television industry

So hello everyone again,I will be spicing up that film blog with my thoughts on television shows (Mostly British).

Today I would be focusing on a particular TV movie-Adventure in Space and Time in my discussion.

As a non-Whovian who runs a tumblr blog, I am extremely aware of the Doctor Who fandom and its prescene in British television. I have a friend who loved Doctor Who (her favorite is David Tennant I.E the 10). Doctor Who is like synomous with everything British alongside tea,Shakespeare and James Bond. It happens that they celebrated its 50th anniversary last weekend,yes my country do have that live-screening of “The Day of The Doctor” at 3.30 A.M in the morning! Few of my fandoms can be linked to  Doctor Who Sylvester McCoy (The 7th Doctor) is in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit as Radagast (Jackson is a big Doctor Who fan),Christopher Eccleston recently appeared in Thor 2 as the evil elf Malkeith (It’s a pity that it did not mentioned him). The writers of Sherlock,Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat wrote episodes of Doctor Who. I just cannot escape its influence for Sci-Fi genre.

Now back to the topic An Adventure in Space and Time which is written by Gatiss,on the origins of Doctor Who in the sixties. It was the craziest decade in  pop  culture,you have The Beatles and Rolling Stones,the Bond Franchise is up and you have the counterculture rising. At this time Doctor Who was telecasted,it concede with the assassination of JFK. I mean it was a turbulent year of values. Not only that fact Doctor Who is shown on that assassination but the creators of it.

It was conceived by a Canadian who desired to teach children history. Ok a white male- Sydney Newman…But what strikes me is the power duo that pushed Doctor Who for what it’s. A Jewish Female Vertie Lambret,given an impossible task of pitching a madcap show of doctors,aliens and cavemen to veteran male producers. An Indian junior director- Warris Hussim have to directed an experienced William Hartnell and deal with the technical problems of that era. What? a female producer and a person of color directing something crazy ? I am so mind-blown. As the T.V film progressed,they did the impossible,Vertie convincing Sydeny (The creator of Doctor Who) to give Daleks as a model of tolerance. Making each child interested in the fun effects while learning something. Giving hope to British society in times of darkness despite  Hartnell battle his personal demons and the aftermath of JFK’s death. I admit I nearly shed a tear on the meeting between soon-to-be-gone Matt Smith (2nd youngest doctor to date) and William

Houston I think we have a problem

There I have an ephinany halfway in the film…O.K looking at today’s Doctor Who crew…most are white and male. Even the actors are male (even though I am looking forward to Peter Capaldi to get me started into Doctor Who).  The POC characters are mostly sidekicks,the females…I say they are one-dimensional in Moffat’s writing.

I did watch the 2nd half of Moffat’s “Day of the Doctor”, I do like John Hurt as The War Doctor (he is so fun). I do like the hopeful ending,I do like the “Ride of The Valkyries” invasion to freeze Gallfiery with Capaldi’s badass moment.I am aware of Eccleston’s refusal to come to 50th.It feels missing without Nine (My sister was upset when we did not see enough Eccleston) I find Clara rather boring (I do not care as I am fangirling over Tennant)

However reading at the comments of what others say,  plus tweaking Queen Liz I does not do good for the History buff Whovians. However I do not enjoy it as much as this TV movie and the five(ish) doctors reboot (a hilarious shortie written by Peter Davison with PJ and Ian McKellen goofing around). These two specials got me closer to the spirit of Doctor Who than Moffat’s special. I am somewhat convinced that Doctor Who is special.

I think what I feel we need to change after I watched Adventure of Time and Space is perhaps how we put female and POC perspectives in Doctor Who (or basically any television show of your choice). Let’s use Doctor Who as an example.

  • Female writers,look at fan fiction. Most of the writers are female (I know one who wrote fanfics). Why can’t you used the female psyche to nuture the characters in television instead of shallow stereotypes.
  • Now about female characters,I have a thing for strong female characters since secondary school. It’ss difficult to find girls I could admire. They are often terribly written….Perhaps let’s look at another television series Avatar The Last Airbender and Korra. The females are more than Damsels in Distress. They are the go-changers and if not equal to their male counterparts…Look at Toph     that 12 year old is one BAMF,she does not her disability get in her way and in addition all the guys liked her. Moving on to Korra,and there is Jinora (My flawless queen)  She is a 10 year old,pretty smart and very strong in her spiritual side (even outshining her dad). Despite her trapping by Unalaq,she let Korra to find the light and saved the world. Female characters should not be simple as black and white,but varied. Moffat if you are hearing me take ALTA and LOK to make BAMF female characters.
  • Person of Colour perspective,I heard that they do want a POC as the Doctor. I do not mind at all,as there are so many POC actors that could played that well-loved character. It would diversify the perceptions of colored persons! I mean the POC kids would be screaming in joy at the hallways,”I am the Doctor”. They found someone to look upon. Of course they could make their POC companions more significant than just be pushed to the sideline
  • About directors,editors and the crew of Doctor Who….How about a POC female director? A POC writer? I could name so many…Open your eyes and go beyond that generic “white and male” box. I think Doctor Who would be further enriched with plot lines that are so different in perspectives.

I could list so many stuff and mind you I did not touch the LGBTQ aspect yet. Do television do progress from its conception of Vertie Lambret and Warris Husseum pushing Doctor Who in the sixties despite its racial prejudice and gender inequality? A little…..we do seen POC characters on TV and film Steven Yuen in The Walking Dead,George Takei in Star Trek,Idris Elba in Pacific Rim and Thor (A POC playing a Norse God,that is awesome). Female characters,I can name Miyasaki’s females like San from Monokeke Hime and Sophie Hatter from Howl’s Moving Castle…. But it’s not enough,the crew must be diverse in perspectives…We need more female Television and film roles beyond costume designer and makeup artist.

In the end,this special actually provoked me to thinking about that..We need to do something to change how we wire TV and film industry. I would like to end with the quote that Hartnell mentioned in the special

“Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine.”

I do believe that one day we would have main POC characters and strong females which I needed for my television series (and film)

Solitude with the movies

Well I have to write somewhere,so I am going to do something a little nostalgic and leaning to that perspective of Martin Scorsese…

Whilist I was watching the double treat of two Italian Neo-Realist films,I wished there is another person to share my experience when I seen the pregnant Karin climbing up that treacherous volcano in Rossellini’s Stromboli (1950) where I wept when she screamed God have mercy on me or that dread Magalnda have in Vulcano. I asked my mum and dad to join with me on this screening despite knowing that my parents are not that interested in these type of films. It feels lonely when you watch it on your own when watching films is an event of community.

I bet all you other cinephiles do feel that same feeling as me and that is why I am sharing my experiences with you.

My parents are from a poor background and they do not spend their childhood at the movies and focused on the practical aspects in life. It all started with me writing a book  in high school about what I wanted to be “I want to be a film director” . Maybe I was spurred after seeing a film version of To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) for my literature class.

Of course for my reading about film,I assume those few names that struck me,Alfred Hitchcock,Andrew Adamson-the director for The Chronicles of Narnia. I have no knowledge of who are these people…

There you know the story that Julie Taymor’s Beatles musical-Across The Universe changed my perception of film. I think my real habit of being a cinephile all started with me ticking off the AFI 100 films,with David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia. It changed my whole being,as I could not sleep thinking about that windshield and Peter O’Toole’s jaded face for not saving Arabia after marathoning for four hours.

Of course in film school,we started watching films,Hitchcock,Vittro De Sica,Muramu,Fritz Lang,Wes Anderson,Jean Renoir..so many names..Sadly most of my classmates do not share that same passion for old films like me..They are more tech-savy than me  I really wanted to keep that habit to watch films,but due to the stress of school,it ebbs and flow at time. The only time I could marathon it was the holidays. It’s hard to find people with similar interests in old films.

I tried to persuade my family to watch these films with me,I managed to succeed a few times but I respect that decision they do not want to watch with me.

90% of the time I watched the film all alone. It’s disheartening as no one will discuss with you the aspects and symbolism of that film. No one will geek with you on how beautiful Brigette Bardot was in Godard’s Le Mephris. No one will wonder how the director created the vision. They just see if it was entertaining and that is all. As quoted by Tom from the Glass Menagire (One of my favorite Tennessee Williams plays)

“…People go to the movies instead of moving! Hollywood characters are supposed to have all the adventures for everybody in America, while everybody in America sits in a dark room and watches them have them! Yes, until there’s a war. That’s when adventure becomes available to the masses!…” – Tom

We just wanna forget this world. I have that struggle of being analytical and yet enjoyed the film itself.

Looking back perhaps the beauty of watching films by yourself,is that no one will pester you with massive SMS or knocking. You are your own audience. You feel the things and there you judged it yourself. You are not influenced by the person. You can express it in your writing platform,where I started on writing my anime reviews of what I feel. Perhaps it was that habit that is even healthier than what most teenagers do as Frank Carpa,the director of It’s A Wonderful Life famously quoted “Film is a disease. When it infects your bloodstream, it takes over as the number one hormone; it bosses the enzymes; directs the pineal gland; plays Iago to your psyche. As with heroin, the antidote to film is more film.” You cannot get enough. It is alright if you have faces of horror that you loved Old Hollywood films,it’s alright if they cannot get the coda of The Bicycle Theives,it’s alright that you blurt out random trivia about the making of Taxi Driver. All people who are passionate over their things do feel secluded. However there is hope,once you can find the right community like what I do. You never feel alone. I am glad to go for that route of cinema. I do love that darkened room,with the film shutter rolling and being absorbed in the beauty. I do love exploring the filmography of my favorite directors. I do love reblogging the GIF sets of the films I loved. I do loved reading what people would think about that particular film.

So don’t be discouraged over the darkness of being alone when you watched that Kurosawa film at either your laptop or Lawrence of Arabia on the big screen. Eventually this is what you loved to do and I will do a pumped fist if you forget what others think about your habits and just doing what you love. To us it was cinema,as what Francois Truffaut quoted “Film lovers are sick people.”.

We cannot get enough of cinema.

 

Film restoration Asia retrospect

Well hello everyone,I am so super sorry for the silence of that blog. I have been a very bad admin as I am busy with my dissertation on Wes Anderson (which thankfully I am done) and lots of coursework!

However I was given perhaps once in a lifetime opportunity to pursue my interest in film history…Film restoration! As I do mentioned earlier,it was Lawrence of Arabia (and Hitchcock’s Rear Window) that make want to pursue my love for film preservation

Film_Restoration_School_Banner

That is where I am gonna tell my event…originally this programme is collaborated by the mother of all film restoration center,Cinema Bologna in Italy and National Museum of Singapore. They do ave the practical classes which I originally wanted to do but due to cost skip that thing. Oh well luckily they have free lectures and screenings for me to go to,thanks to the invitations of lecturers.

Here is a funny story I would like to share,originally there is supposed to be 3-5 of my classmates who signed up with the program. On the first day they came in,but I did not see them for this entire week. It is such a pity because they are so many lessons in regards to film restoration,so I would summarize my thoughts of that programme

The Highlights

1)Two Italian Neo-realism films in a row!

Nice! Personally I do think that I need to watch more Italian Neo-Realism films-the last one I watched was Umberto D which is like ages. Of course one does not simply skip a double dose of Italian Neo-Realism films. It was interesting as both broke the conventions of what I perceive of Italian Neo-Realism films,Rossellini do have that flair that is very opposite to Satiro’s sparse style and I liked it. Both are very strong films of their own…However Stromboli(1950,Rossellini) etch a very strong impression,that I nearly teared at the ending.

2)Meeting Apichatpong Weerasethakul

I know his name due to Uncle Boommee (2011) by actually him discussing his debut film was an eye-opener. In addition I do have a quick chat with him and he is a very easy guy to talk too! Apparently The French do love his films. It makes me wanna watch his body of works (Recommendations for him please)

3)Lawrence of Arabia and Taxi Driver restoration (in addition watching Taxi Driver)

It’s sad that Glover Crisp is unable to discuss his works on the restoration of these two Sony Classics! However by the look of the restoration clips,I was tearing up on the inside. It looks gorgeous on screen…I mean seeing the clips on the big movie screen it was mind-blowing. I was cursing to myself that Singapore should bring this,I mean if you are looking for film restoration-Lawrence of Arabia was one of them. The main head Dario said that it was the most remarkable restorations in 10 years.  I did approach the head of my local cinematechque if it is possible to bring that film here. So crossing my fingers to get this film on the big screen

In addition guys,if you do manage to catch Taxi Driver on the big screen,I swear it was the most magical moments here. The cinematography looks amazing,I was soaked to that film. It was mind-blowing beautiful.

4)Why do we restore films talk

Perhaps I see it as the most important talk among this week,yes you can have the practical aspects of fixing each film strip but why do we restore? It’s not glamourous. It is to give future people a glance on the past as we seen films as time capsules of cultural and historical significance. I nearly teared at the end and gave a quiet hell yeah. It retouched that core why I wanted films to be restored.That quote that Gian Lucan (The head of Cinema Bologona) said “You never battle alone” just tugged me.

Things what I learned from this week

  1. The state of Asian film archives blew my mind big time,for a while I have been bugging my local archive if I could take part. That panel enlightened me on that state,film preservation is Asia is considered second priority. I think we need to change that! I mean we need to get people excited about film preservation
  2. I do need to be more unaware about the filmmakers around my region…Watching Lewat Djam Malam (1954) by an Indonesian filmmaker that I do not know,gave me a shocker….I feel that film reminded me of a teen melodrama Nicholas Ray’s Rebel Without a Cause..Yes it’s local yet it have a global film. It happened that I blog a picture on tumblr and there is a response of it…It happens they wanted to watch that..Sadly the films of my region is not easily available…so there is a big problem..
  3. Lastly I do feel that young persons need to be excited about film preservation,being the only person who is neither an archivist or a working adult but a film student. It is a shame that we do not take these lessons… I know it’s not interesting as shooting it but personally we need a love for old films and do not disregard them as films that are stuffy and old. As Martin Scorsese said “Movies touch our hearts and awaken our vision, and change the way we see things. They take us to other places, they open doors and minds. Movies are the memories of our life time, we need to keep them alive.” If we do not care about the films. It could be gone and it’s sad. So I am hoping that the museum would at these people.

Overall it was an eye opening event on film restoration,I would like to thank the ushers who greeted me fondly when I came early,a lady Yvonne who I bumped at the Taxi Driver screening always eager at my thoughts,Mr Gian Lucan Farellini for such a moving speech on the preservation of film and the cinematechque team who made this event possible. I would like to end my thoughts of that event with a quote of Martin Scorsese,an advocate of film preservation

” And that’s actually part of the wonder. Whenever I hear people dismiss movies as “fantasy” and make a hard distinction between film and life, I think to myself that it’s just a way of avoiding the power of cinema. Of course it’s not life—it’s the invocation of life, it’s in an ongoing dialogue with life.”

These films spoke about our lives whenever the past or now. That is why we need to preserve that heritage

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