Sunday, 17 February 2013

Week 14 (Tues 29 Jan)

In the seminar today, we returned to the subject of history, and to put us back in the appropriae mindse, we rewatched some clips from Platoon and quickly went over what we felt the film was about (Vietnam War, Race, Reality of war, Moraliy/making choices, Man's cruelty to man, Internal fighting in the platoon between the troops, good vs evil as personified between the two sergeants, anti-war sentiment). On that note, we also looked at a quote from film maker Francois Truffant, 'No such thing as an Anti-war film', and discussed i's validaty (many felt that, as long as we have some type of sympathy or emotion for the soldiers on screen, then we still are somewhat, in a way, supporting war rather than dismissing it completely as one would think for Anti-war).

Then, we did an activity, in groups, where we came up wih a story for a film about 9/11 (sort of following from an exercise we did some weeks ago dealing with representation) and what approaches we would take: For a narrative, we tossed a bunch of ideas, such as there being an internal conspiracy (playing on various theories hat have been discussed over the years), the event being used as propoganda for the Iraq and Afghan wars to gain popular support, what motivated the terrorists (religion, social views, hatred, psychosis?) and even looking at more of the aftermath with the soldiers and their thoughts. As for characters, aside from the latter, we felt it should focus on the actual citizens of NY and how they reacted/feel during that incredibly harsh event, and maybe look at a cross section of society (the poor, the workers, public services, the rich, politicans etc.)

Afterwards, in the lecture we watched the two episodes from the second season of the acclaimed horror-fantasy-action series, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, in which the main character's vampiric boyfriend turns back to evil after experiencing true love, something that fulfilled a curse placed upon him by the gypsies. For me, while the ideas presented here are interesting, and having a dependable actor like Anthony Head involved defintely raises your quality, in my view, there's nothing here that makes me want to carry on watching, as I found it a tad too melodramatic for my taste. But that aside, we then looked into Text & Subtext (what something is, and what something REALLY is i.e. a werewolf film is a monster/horror film (text), but its subext could be repressed sexuality, aggression and loss of control. In Buffy's case, vampires lend hemselves very obviously towards sex and all the issues surrounding that). More specifically, we looked at three main aspects: Subtext (just discussed), Intertextuality and Legacy. In the case of the latter two, Intertextuality is to do with what other works does the piece in question draw on, for example, in Tim Burton's Ed Wood, Martin Landau plays Bela Lugosi, who played Dracula in the 1931 Universal film. Landau's daughter also played a vampire on Buffy, bringing it full circle. As for legacy, that refers to the impact and subsequent effect/influence of something on other works i.e. in the revived Doctor Who series, the relationships between the Doctor and his companions are more akin to those in Buffy, and have a bit of a romantic undercurrent, no surprise given that the producers of 'Who' were also big Buffy fans.

To close off, I feel that today's activities were a tad uneven: the seminar was quite promising, and I did enjoy looking at the ideas of anti-war and how we treat that, and cerainly Truffant brought up an interesting idea that we got to play. As for the seminar, though David Cottis delivered an extremely entertaining lecutre, and the subject was interesting, I wish a different example had been used, as Buffy's subtext is pretty obvious, and I would've preferred something less conventional than just vampires=sex. I found it a little underwhelming, but even so, it served its purpose, and I see why it was chosen.

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