Tag Archives: Lars von Trier

The Sun shines regardless

There is a setting that we forge, the setting we do not see. It is the setting we experience by becoming a politically correct hive of sleepy minds. We are in a setting where yesterday is forgotten and tomorrow needs to be planned for. After spending time in the Middle East, and after seeing things you cannot fathom in nightmares, we are confronted on the edge of what we call civilisation bolstered by the reality of events. The guardian gives us (at https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/may/15/vomitive-pathetic-lars-von-trier-film-prompts-mass-walkouts-at-cannes), the view of perhaps one of the most controversial Danes in history. I got introduced to his films in 2002 or 2003; it was Dancer in the Dark. The movie had such an impact on me that I ended up being depressed for over a week. Never before had a movie impacted me to such a degree. Bjork and David Morse were diamonds in a foul soaked universe of corruption and perceived presentations of what people want others to be like, an awesome experience. There would be another movie that would shake me to the core. Gaspar Noé would ‘grace’ us in 2002 with Irreversible. It was interesting in just one part, apart from the overly jumping between time frames, it was stated as “a movie so violent and cruel that most people will find it unwatchable“, yet it was not unwatchable, because when I grew up, this is what my father did to my mother and in the end it would quite literally be the death of him, but not before he caused her death 25 years earlier. The Dutch courts were unable to protect her until it was much too late. It sets the stage of a growing essential need towards the exposure of these ‘softies’ and their inactivity and denial towards domestic violence. To throw some facts at you, 25% of ALL women in the UK will experience domestic violence that means that 8 million women will be gotten at. That is a frightening number and that is only the UK, it is actually much worse, this is gotten from Professor Sylvia Walby as we get: “Whilst this number is shocking, we also know it is grossly underestimated. The cap on the number of violent crimes published, set at five per victim, means that even if a woman experienced 100 incidents of domestic violence, only five would make it into the official data“. The entire setting of ‘capping’ of victim events makes it even worse. It shows a nation in denial, too fixed on not acting, and it goes a lot further than the UK, in this it is a global issue and globally governments are not actually doing anything, merely painting the rooms red so that the blood is not noticed when guests arrive, so in that we see our own denial.

This year, as the Guardian shows us, we might see Lars von Trier shine again, because if a movie can make a man like me truly depressed on watching an event, it means that he is getting his point across, a point that we deny ourselves from grasping. In all this he does not work with beginners or amateurs. In the movie we see Matt Dillon and Uma Thurman. The trailer alone shows that this might be not just the highlight for Matt Dillon; it might end up being one of the most challenging roles in his life. So when we see some of the feedbacks, other thoughts go through my mind. You see, when I see “Al Jazeera’s Charlie Angela also left the screening early” with the response “seeing children being shot and killed is not art or entertainment“, it becomes an issue of debate, you see, from that point Kramer versus Kramer is not art either, neither is the Deer hunter. Yet I am willing to take Charlie Angela on a small tour into Yemen, I can take her for a small walk through Taiz, where we can look at the dozens of children cadavers, we can also look at women and men all shot dead, the reality of war, it is not art or entertainment, we can agree on that, yet it is the reality of life, a reality millions shy away from on a daily basis. The deaths in US schools, not by the NRA, but by really confused people, the mere impact of mental health issues where the government is in denial of the events, all caught in political correctness and inaction. Perhaps it is really good for people to get direct exposure to such things. So for all those people running out of that cinema, I would state: ‘Welcome to real life!‘, in a bus full of people, when you travel on it, realise that each week, one of 10-12 trips, you would have shared a bus with a person just like Jack, so when you look around in that bus, knowing that one of these men is just such a Jack, would you still travel per bus? Instead of making domestic violence and spousal abuse an element of the Human Rights Act article 3, where we would optionally see: “In prosecution spousal abuse and domestic violence will be seen as a transgression of Article 3 of the Human Rights Act as a form of torture, torture of body and mind“, so when that transgressor (mostly men) are prosecuted for beating up his partner merely because he got a little crazy as his football team lost, just how much better will the safety of any woman suddenly become when he goes to prison 5-15 years, when he loses his house, access to his children and no further future? I reckon that the unemployment numbers will suddenly drop to zero. The evidence shown by the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jun/08/police-fear-rise-domestic-violence-world-cup), where we see: “The most detailed research into the links between the football World Cup and domestic abuse rates has revealed that in one force area in England and Wales, violent incidents increased by 38% when England lost – but also rose by 26% when they won“, so when we know that this evidence has been there for 5 years and still we see no change, is it not strange that inaction prevails?

One review (one of many) gave us: “Nicolas Barber gave the film four stars out of five and said “Undoubtedly a bold and stimulating film which no one but Denmark’s notorious provocateur-auteur could have made”” Nicholas Barber of the BBC is right.

If there is one part clear in me is that the movie has the ability of waking up the people drowning in political correctness. They need to be woken up because there is too much data showing that inaction has not worked for decades and we need to step away from it, if only to push change and t push those acting in unacceptable ways to be pushed into the limelight and then out of visibility. If those ‘Christian souls‘ are suddenly visibly forced to embrace people wearing sweaters with the term ‘Domestic abusers’, will they still be Christians? Will they act of keep silent, because the wearer is a boss, their boss or someone really wealthy? There is supporting evidence for that. In that regard we can look at Jeffrey Epstein. When we realise that the evidence which included “the FBI received accounts from about 40 girls whose allegations of molestation by Epstein included overlapping details“, when we see “In May 2006, Palm Beach police filed a probable cause affidavit saying that Epstein should be charged with four counts of unlawful sex with minors and one molestation count“, did we expect what was coming? When we see “escaped a prosecution that could have seen him jailed for the rest of his life“, now consider that the conviction: “he was sentenced to 18 months in prison. He served 13 months before being released” and no one seems surprised, is there anyone still surprised?

So when we see the dialogue of Jack in the movie, where we hear (it is in the trailer) “When I think about all the things I’ve done in my life, without it in any way resulting in punishment“, we need to realise the nightmare scenario. What happens if every domestic abusing man becomes another Jeffrey Epstein, and if caught merely needs to wait 13 months to do again what his dark soul demands of him, when we realise that our inactions are the cause of our undoing, our politically correctness gives us the setting of something so incorrect that it can no longer be corrected for. What then will you do? When we realise that it was not the gun that killed, as is the truth, but our sense of righteousness send us targeting the people and the evil that they do. What will the life of the US attorney general be like when he wakes up in some future and that morning he learns that 10 Wall street executives were shot in the head, a one clip 10 rounds magazine, one bullet per executive? Will his motivation be that these Wall Street executives had rights, that there was the onus of presented evidence against the 175,000 people they made homeless or the optionally missed taxable $293 million in revenue that the state of New York is now missing out on. What would drive him (or her) that day you think?

The House that Jack built is a very different wake up call, reality expressed through art. to some it is a very valid thought that it is not entertainment, yet now look back at Kramer versus Kramer and wonder who comprehended even in the slightest the plight of the child in Kramer versus Kramer? Now ask yourself, what else have we missed out on? What did we sleep through in our politically correct driven universe and think of 8 million women in the UK alone, battered and bruised? How would you like to wake up like that at least one day a month, after month, after month? Most people including me will not consider the House that Jack built entertainment, yet, just like the Deer hunter, can we avoid seeing it, can we turn our backs on levels of reality we are unable to deal with? Consider Wolf Creek and the reality of what happened, so when we see: “criticizing it for its realistic and unrelenting depictions of violence” and now consider “the July 2001 abduction of British tourist Peter Falconio and the assault of his girlfriend Joanne Lees by Bradley John Murdoch“, who got a life sentence for the murder of Peter Falconio. When you were unaware of the reality of it and the impact that some people made on the reality of life of their victims, we need to remain aware that at some stage we must take notice and realise that the legal system to a much larger degree is flawed, perhaps even permanently broken. I reckon I can get no less than 8 million witnesses of that fact. In addition when we see that the victim Joanne Rachael Lees was willing to do an interview as: ‘she felt the public profile of the case had diminished‘, that took merely 4 years, 4 years for people to forget what a couple had to go through in a rich world setting like Australia, not Myanmar, not Thailand or Yemen, Australia! It is a setting that is unsettling and perhaps it requires Lars von Trier to make sure that we forever remember that the reality of some settings exist through political correctness and inactions. Even as some defence goes up as the culprit in Australia was caught, take a look at this short advertisement (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9DQgai4-C0) and wonder how many did not get caught and how many events are we turning our backs on so that we need not take notice of our inaction on all of it?

They sometimes state that the rain falls on the just and unjust alike, as well as the sun shines regardless of good and evil, yet will it truly do that in the long run? Whether through politically correctness, or inactions, we are slowly turning our world into a place that is less and less liveable, perhaps it is required to give it a rude awakening every now and then, and the movie the House that Jack built is merely (a lot more than merely) a reminder to wake up every now and then.

This is reflected in other news too. When we consider the Jerusalem Post we see the words of Haim Tomer, words I actually disagree with. Haim Tomer, formerly a top official at Mossad believes that the situation is that Israel, the US and Saudi Arabia can secretly help advance Iranian regime change. I believe his thoughts are folly. They are wishful and not very realistic. The play we see ongoing as Mahmout Ahmadinejad was not re-elected is not an elected official (President Rouhani), but a person that the Clerical and military side of Iran allowed to elected in accordance to their needs, the inactions that the President showed to have as Iran military provided (speculatively with the blessing of Iranian Clerics), is that Hezbollah is provided for, in Yemen Houthi’s are provided with missiles and in all likelihood training from Iranian military advisors. The rest of the world did not intervene in any way as we saw actions in Yemen and merely the outbursts against Saudi Arabia and merely soft whispers for any Iranian missile fired from Yemen aimed at civilian populations in Riyadh. Our inactions, the inactions of elected governments; governments that sat on their hands for years whilst the slaughter in Syria continued, all inactions that have long term impacts, we merely ignore them.

So when I kill 12 people, I am a serial killer, as Hezbollah kills hundreds as quoted through “In Syria, Iran’s special forces and its mercenary recruits — Hezbollah militiamen from Lebanon and Shiite hired guns from Central Asia — have helped President Bashar al-Assad perpetrate a ruthless genocide against Syrian Sunnis, including the use of poison gas, in order to maintain a pro-Shiite, pro-Iranian dictatorship in Damascus” (source: NY Times), they are now referred to as ‘militiamen‘, not terrorists, not mass murderers, no: ‘militiamen‘. Is this merely political correctness, or a way to set the stage for inaction? How much actions against events must happen for things to truly change from bad to worse?

I think that when you coldly look at the House that Jack built, when you realise that these inhuman acts are actually happening on a near daily basis and we do nothing, we are stopped to talk about it via political correctness and the politicians and elected governments, elected by people like yourself are setting stages of inactions, will the movie not be the wakeup call that you need to make a first change?

In all this EU governments are setting the stage to keep a nuclear deal going, a nuclear deal with a nation that has visibly shown that it will act out in inhumane ways towards civilians, through the Hezbollah puppet that they fund. In the end, consider that your inaction left no trace on your soul, you still sleep like a baby because the issues in Syria did not matter and they still do not matter for the thousands dead in Yemen, so when you consider that the House that Jack built was too revolting for words, consider that your inactions have made that setting an optional reality, because in the end, those who do survive Syria and Yemen grow up, do you think that they end up being balanced people? Do you think that the watched atrocities by children in Yemen and Syria will create happy people? In the end the real difference between a soldier, a mass murderer and a serial killer is merely the willingness to wear a uniform and the willingness to end the life of another person. Two elements driven by a lack of empathy and morality, merely two elements that has seen flaws as it is impacted by political correctness on the outside of the issue and forgotten as well as ignored by those who faced the issue; in that light it became flawed, some revert to stating that political correctness is merely ‘Moral Decency‘, yet that decency is set by the masses and they are too often very willing to remain in a state of inaction (Chemical attacks in Syria is clear evidence), so in that light, how was decency served?

I wonder how long it will take for religious speakers to get to the street and force inaction to give way to ‘social radicalism‘, when that happens, do not cry, you wanted that all along, that is what we see through the inaction of too many. When those political principles make waves and hit the limelight, make no mistake, social media like Facebook will drive it to very different levels of hypes and there is no way to block it, so when you hear that there is no social radicalism, you are in error. It is already happening in the UK, in Australia, in the Netherlands, in Sweden and Germany, France has it as well as Italy and Spain; it is pretty much everywhere. The Odyssey (not the book) gives us “freedom of speech allows us to speak openly about whatever our interests may be. I feel that many people take this to the extreme, spouting bigotry and ignorance without reason“, there is also “Many people are not willing to postpone particular standpoints in order to evaluate what stands outside their own perceptive bubbles“, which I personally believe to be the driving bubble in all this. The media at large uses this to their ‘circulation advantage‘ by focussing on the emotional drive in this, like the bulk of Murdoch media has done for the longest time (not just them though, it is a globally large community that is just like Murdoch, or envisions to become like them). They focus on getting emotionally driven hypes and in absence of filtering and non-emotional evaluation, we get a collective of angry people speaking out, normally it is a good thing, yet there are globally more and more angry people and that drives another wave of chaos, fuelled by inactions we see more and more people willing to become extreme in one way or another and in that we see social behaviour in decline, empathy falls as angry people tend to not consider or allow empathy and that is where we create a larger mess.

Perhaps angry or not, sitting down and taking serious notice of a movie like the House that Jack built is essential to create a wave of opposition, a wave that shocks us to a degree where we consider our perspective on what we consider to be real and actionable and when we consider the bettered woman and consider that this was once our mother, how can we not become protective of the victim we see?

In finality, when you consider that the FBI defines mass murder as murdering four or more persons during an event with no “cooling-off period” between the murders, now consider the amount of angry people, people pushed onto the edges for various reasons, some very valid and consider that they merely need to reach the point where they are willing to take a human life. Now realise that this was not the NRA, or its members promoting this, guns do not kill people. People kill people! We allowed the setting for so many to become and remain so angry often due to inaction. We are our own worst enemy and until that situation changes, we ourselves are the driving force to create more and more victims.

The sun will shine regardless we do this actively, or whilst we remain inert and inactive to the events around us, and politicians love to mention that the sun is shining, they don’t even have to actively achieve anything for that.

This setting gets a larger exposure when we see (at https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/may/14/margaret-river-shooting-murder-suicide-could-not-be-predicted-wa-premier-says) “The murder-suicide of seven people at a rural property in Western Australia could never have been predicted and the cause may never be known, the state’s premier has said”. I do not believe that to be true. When we see: “Peter Miles, 61, his 58-year-old wife Cynda, their daughter Katrina, 35, and her four children – daughter Taye, 13, and sons Rylan, 12, Arye, 10 and Kadyn, eight – were found dead at Forever Dreaming Farm in Osmington on Friday”, we see the loss of 7 lives, something like that does not merely happen. When I see ‘embroiled in a bitter dispute with Katrina about access to the children’, I see it is not that simple, but it is still, to some part a larger issue that involves frustration and anger, the smallest of settings for what we now see evolve (compared to Syria and Yemen). In light of what I wrote earlier, I believe that anger and frustration in light of ‘political correctness’ become unwanted emotions, we turn away from them, filter them away. I believe that this is merely one additional factor in all of this, we turn away from the realistic cold light of day from what displeases us and as such we miss the dangers that grow within our very communities, it is a global issue and it is growing. Yet in the northern hemisphere, it is May, it is spring and the sun shines, it will shine regardless in too many places and what we see will happen again, on several levels. When you watch the trailer of the House that Jack built in the Guardian article (or at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eA0pI_k-Dmo), now consider the one scene at 1:35, where we see merely a flash, in addition consider Lukas Moodysson’s Lilya4ever. I lived in an apartment building like that, it happens for real to people around us under our very noses and we no longer see it happen. The movie Lilya4ever was loosely based on the true case of Danguolė Rasalaitė, and examines the issue of human trafficking and sexual slavery. I think that the House that Jack built is more important than we realise, if only to realise on how we react to it and when we realise that there is reality on several levels shown, consider how much in denial we all really are, regardless whether the sun shines or not.

 

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Explicitly exposed

There is an issue pushing to the forefront. In the upcoming elections, certain parties are playing a different game. The article ‘Facebook and YouTube face tough new laws on extremist and explicit video‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/24/facebook-youtube-tough-new-laws-extremist-explicit-video-europe) is showing a story that is not just incomplete, it is not telling us about certain dangers we all face and it is not coming from extremists. You might have missed it all and that is fine, but you need to be aware of the mess that some parties are increasing. The quote: “European Union ministers approved proposals from the European Commission on Tuesday“, now the article gives us that the rules are not yet public, because they are still talking about it, which is fine. Let those people get their act together before presenting it, I have no issue with that. It is the ‘trialogue’ part in the article that beckons view. The negotiators from the EC, the European parliament and the Council of the European Union are in the midst of this and we will at some point hear what is agreed upon. What I find utterly boggling is how the people were left in the dark regarding Article 50 for years (during the Grexit era) and we now see an overreaction regarding “forcing them to remove hate speech and sexually explicit videos or face steep fines“, now, I have no issue (within legal limits) on fines for Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Yet what those players are not realising and not considering is that THEY themselves wanted the smartphone era, they wanted connectivity, they USED those options to get new taxation, new revenues and new technological iterations, yet they are in denial of the opposite side of the scales and there has never been a balance in any place of used technology where it applied. Yet they knew better! I know for a fact (from mere history books), that porn was not part of the first photograph ever taken, it was definitely part of the first 50 photographs taken in history. With movie the same way. There is Etruscan erotic art 900 BC and the clock goes back a lot further, so we knew that it would happen. Now for the most, it gets stopped, yet at times the filters fail. This is because there is a global wave, you see, the statistics gives us that in the recent past there was a total upload of 60 hours of movies EVERY MINUTE. That is just YouTube, there is no way to see how much the other channels in different formats operate at present. What these overreacting individuals seen to be oblivious about is the stuff that they find ‘objectionable’. They will happily steer away from every bogus sales and scam video uploaded as those do not show breasts, penises, vagina’s or suicide bombers. Video’s on how to get wealth with so much certainty. On how the next hype whilst getting your neighbours involved is not a Ponzi scheme. The list goes on, but they will not act there. Or how the people are fooled by ‘YouTube Marketing Training Scams‘. No, they do not care about the thousands that get fooled by slick pitches that could have fooled many in the actual industry. No, the tits are out and we see how the outrage is in a state of overreaction. You see, when these ‘commissions’ start getting traction, the players will suddenly find that these large corporations will insist on other solutions, and the commission will not be able to do that. Because on that point, privacy will actually stop. Now, when it comes to stopping some of the video low lives that exploit the people for personal greed, I will be in full support. Yet these European nations will then learn that they were alas unable to prosecute those people. The mere levels of hypocrisy here is just too sickening for words.

Now, we have two issues. Yes, we do want to stop extremist video’s and I feel 100% certain that Google wants that too. Yet video is about content and identifying an extremist video is a lot harder than one thinks. censoring 60 hours of movies every minute is just nearly impossible. If it is set to priority it will just be another way to stop net neutrality, because the advertisers would want to get checked first. Meaning that an engine of free speech will be taken away from the people. The question that everyone is skating around is the number of explicit video’s produced and where from, as well as the original and numbers of extremist video’s. Now consider the element of Extremism. What if it is an imam giving a Muslim lecture? How could we see that it was extremist in nature? There are so many outlets and methods of communicating these dangers that the setting is (as I personally see it) not about fines, or about stopping any of this. It is about setting a stage to gain control of a media, where the some and the fat cats want control. And in this specific setting Google and Facebook are not the fat cats on the menu. So who are these ‘ménage-a-trialogue’ people facilitating to? You see, when you realise the 60 hours of video a minute, the three examples given in the article are less than 0.000,000,23% of all uploads and that is merely for one day of uploads. This is as useless as trying to get gun control in the US, guns do not kill people, people kill people. So as the criminal offenders film their events and as we can see that it is statistically impossible to prevent this from happening, why are the three parties having large lunches, uncanny levels of expenditure and levels of remunerations that go beyond most incomes, why is this happening?

I believe that this is merely to set levels of control, levels that do not benefit anyone at all, perhaps the church, which would start an entirely different debate. We are already moving towards a new technological setting of non-repudiation online, but the levels of settings, whilst we also know that hackers can get online ending up leaving the blame with some innocent granny who has internet is just not the way to go. The articles do show my side as partial evidence in the final paragraph. As we see: “The proposals, which fall under the digital single market legislation, also include a quota of 30% of European films and TV shows on streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Video, up from the 20% originally proposed by the EC“, so if this is about bandwidth and streaming, we now see a different picture. One, why the hell do I get to pay for some Netflix need, one that I do not want in the first place. And with “Member states will also be able to require video-sharing platforms to contribute financially to the production of European works in the country where they are established and also where they target audiences” we see that video sharing now comes at a price of funding other matters? How will that work? 50,000 students (likely that times 500), all creating their video channel, in a field of their passion, hoping to get discovered and actually make their passion a reality on real life on TV for all their audience to see on the large TV. So as they do this, why is there a need of funding?

Also, when we realise that this is already in play, why would Google need to give 20 hours a minute of streaming time to European films? Will that be free of charge? I am going with ‘NO’ as the answer from the movie creators, so this will be about money, about surcharging that will push the non-viability of net neutrality because it is now about limiting bandwidth with a value to the mandatory availability of other materials.

So as these players are explicitly exposed, their ‘balls to the wall’ so to say, we should request the names of the members of this obscene ‘ménage-a-trialogue’, so that we can get some art going. Perhaps we can get Lars von Trier to make some new work called ‘Nymphomaniac Politicologica’, or perhaps ‘For a few Terabytes more‘ with music from Ennio Morricone. You see, in a few second I added hours of European promiscuous non-explicit art of a European nature. I am willing to bet the house that these people would prefer to remain in the shadows, because that is seen when we consider the quote “discussions between negotiators” in a time when all those imaginative attaining politicians, this is a setting between negotiators? Who missed that part of the article?

Yet it is not all gloom and doom. The quote ““We need to take into account new ways of watching videos, and find the right balance to encourage innovative services, promote European films, protect children and tackle hate speech in a better way,” said Andrus Ansip, EC vice-president for the digital single market” is not one of negativity. Yet as the watching video’s options is set on a shifting scale. New connection methods, new stream utilising options and new ways to offer other materials is in the corner of innovation, keeping that door open is the only way that innovation hits us. The one element in all this is the data provider, that was the simplest of issues to figure out. The issue is however seen, not in Google or Facebook et al, it is seen in the facilitation of the data stream itself, the ISP and they know they cannot get to the stream provider as that person is in it for the money and that provider has local government protection. KPN in the Netherlands, BT in the United Kingdom, Telia in Sweden, Mobile providers all over the European states and so on. The moment they go anywhere near this is when they get cut from everything and the censor marketing police will shout fire, rape, help, whatever they will shout to get the limelight. In all this Netflix might need more bandwidth and better deals, so they will happily facilitate this path. I am merely wondering why Andrus Ansip is happy to facilitate his voice for all this. You see it is not up to YouTube to promote European films, it is up to the film maker to creatively facilitate marketing for their movie. So, perhaps it is less about the DataStream, perhaps it is in equal measure getting proper television to look beyond the Marvel movies. When I was a lot less old than today, I would watch Simon van Collum (Netherlands), Jo Röpcke (Belgium) and Barry Norman (United Kingdom). I would dream of becoming like them, making a living talking about movies. Alas, I never had that option and I happily reviewed Video Games for a decade. These people were giants and they fell away whilst no one filled those shoes. So for the internet to pick that up is a little bit a stretch. And as YouTube is probably one of the most innovative services of this century, we could start asking a few more questions regarding the push that we see here. So as we see the one element in this that can be answered immediately, we see “tackle hate speech in a better way“, which can be solved on the spot. Because my response here is a non-diplomatic: “Clean up the Criminal Justice mess you currently have, and properly identify and prosecute those shits!“. You see? The issue is now solved, yet it is not, because European law is an utter mess and as Strasbourg will do too little to tackle the option as it is too restrictive on free speech, we see that the European Commission is stopping their own European commission to achieve anything ground breaking. In all this, as I personally see it, for those who need it there is a fictive solution in retrenching net neutrality that is no longer neutral and the European Commission Gravy train could run for years on this element alone. So as we see this level of facilitation, the term ménage-a-trialogue is a lot closer to the truth than some consider it to be. And as long as those balls to the wall don’t make it to YouTube, we will see no result that is a solution or fair, European would merely be receiving a lot more Netflix, but at what price?

 

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Rampling was the domino

It is a side I had not thought of for quite a while. I have my own views, movies I like, movies I go to see. When I do, there is no regard towards race or religion. I just want to see a good movie, for the mere reason that going to the cinema is expensive, so when I go there, it better be a good one. So when I initially read the article ‘Charlotte Rampling finds herself outnumbered in Oscars diversity row‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/jan/22/charlotte-rampling-finds-herself-outnumbered-in-oscars-diversity-row), I was not entirely sure what to think. For me, I am still slightly upset on the Golden globes, because no matter how much I enjoyed the Martian, it is NOT a comedy. A light-hearted drama at best. So in my eyes, the foreign press desperately wanted to get the Martian elected even though EVERYONE knew that the titanic achievement ‘the Revenant’ could not be equalled. So, they were willing to screw over Paul Feig or Judd Apatow, depending on your view of comedy. In that same light Matt Damon should not have won, not because his achievement was bad, it was quite excellent and I will look forward to own this achievement on Blu-Ray in 17 days, 13 hours and 14 minutes (roughly, but who’s counting). Yet, I will see this as excellent drama, not as a comedy. All the movies I saw, had a Caucasian caste. I thought nothing of it, no bad thoughts; no directed thoughts. There was an African American in Star Wars and he played his part really well, just nothing I would nominate a Golden globe or Oscar to. The day is young and I will look forward to him rocking my world as an actor in a future movie hr does. I have seen my share of excellent acting in Sidney Poitier (Heat of the night), Morgan Freeman (loads of movies there), Eddie Murphy (Beverly Hills Cop/Harlem Nights), and Don Cheadle (Traitor). Here I pause for a moment, you see, this is a serious piece of work based on an idea by funny guy Steve Martin. The result is a spy thriller of unrivalled proportions and until the very end, you have no idea what will happen. As Spy stories goes, this is a killer! We tend to look at Freeman in the Shawshank Redemption, or one of my favourites ‘I, Robot’ with Will Smith, but in all this, we are limited by the exposure we tend to see through marketing (trailers). Because of that element I almost missed out on a gem called ‘Seven Pounds’, which is an amazing piece of work. Yes, it is sentimental, and there are truths in the view Todd McCarthy from Variety has, but it seems that his world is about one view, it is his view. I try to see multiple views, not always mine, one I can agree with or a comfortable one, but the fact remains that we all have our own skeletons, sometimes they are dark and leave no sunlight or a shadow. In this his last ‘view’ was “an endlessly sentimental fable about sacrifice and redemption that aims only at the heart at the expense of the head” (at http://variety.com/2008/film/awards/seven-pounds-2-1200472723/), but in all this Variety forgets that movies are made to appeal an audience and in a directly addressable audience of well over 3 billion, there is a need for everyone. It is for that reason I have a similar appreciation for Lars von Trier’s ‘Dancer in the Dark‘ (and ended up being depressed for well over a week).

The question becomes, how correct is Charlotte Rampling. She is not wrong and I feel that the issue goes a lot further than is currently illustrated. That part is also shown in the Guardian article when you see the video on that page with Mark Ruffalo. But neither show the element I am aiming for. You see, it was not until the Golden Globes that I saw that Will Smith was nominated for a role in a movie I had absolutely ZERO awareness of. Wiki and the trailer of Concussion shows a drama that hits at the heart of America. It shows two sides, one, do not ever mess with their ‘sport’ and the second issue is that America remains in denial as long as it is convenient for their bottom dollar. In that Concussion seems to surpass several dramas. You see, this issue goes a lot further than what we see from either Charlotte Rampling or Mark Ruffalo state, although Mark reflects on the direction. You see it goes further than we see in the article. the quote “An analysis by the Los Angeles Times in 2014 found that the 6,000-plus members are 93% white and 76% male, with an average age of 63“, a system that is set around a nation where the median age is 39, state wise spread from Utah (29) to Maine (44). You see, the people looking at the entertainment industry are no longer representative of their age, which gives a new problem. It is their marketing and publication side. The fact that a gem like Concussion, a 2015 movie that only gets visibility after the nominations of the golden Globes is a bigger problem than many realise. Now we see in the Hollywood Reporter, the following quote by Charlotte Rampling “I simply meant to say that in an ideal world every performance will be given equal opportunities for consideration“, which is true and part of the problem, because that is unlikely to be the case. Equally true is the quote we see from Michael Caine “You Can’t Vote for an Actor Because He’s Black“, which is equally true. The actors I mentioned earlier did the work, the hardship and ended up with the nominations, yet in opposition I offer that my view is in equal measure that there is an indication that votes are lost, or not duly received because of colour. In that light I offer ‘the Color Purple‘ which in 1986 rocked da house! The Academy awards had given it 11 nominations, ZERO wins. Whoopi Goldberg did get her Golden Globe, but they lost out on 4 other nominations. One out of 15, which is statistically a joke. Yet is it mere fate? You see Out of Africa was good, but not great (a personal view). I feel this because I enjoyed both movies, but I have since (1986) watched the Color Purple at least 8 times on DVD and Out of Africa? Nil times! In other lights, it had fierce competition from Prizzi’s Honor (Anjelica Huston) and Ran (Emi Wada), yet are the other 9 times deserved non-winners? I feel I cannot state this for certain, but with the exception of Best Original Screenplay I have a few too many question marks.

In all this we see that the Color Purple is more than a failing marketing and visibility campaign. Which is at the heart of non-recognition. In 2016 there is another side that we see in the Oscars. Concussion gets zero nominations. Here is it harder to oppose it, because the Revenant, Spotlight and Bridge of Spies are massive pieces of Work, which does allow for the situation to exist, yet in that same light, as we see the group that represents the Academy Awards, how many were clearly aware of Concussion and how many of them would see Concussion as the gem it is? In that same light, did the failure of marketing and publications now propagate the situation that Concussion is not making the BAFTA list? We have to accept that this is about American Football and as such, when we see that the BAFTA’s stated purpose is to “support, develop and promote the art forms of the moving image, by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public“, we have to consider that American Football is an American interest and as such, Will Smith could miss out for the interest group, not because of his quality or the fact that he is an African American. But the issue remains, has marketing and publications cut themselves in their American fingers?

An issue that will remains for a longer time, because as the power players are growing away from the average younger audience, the selection could become a lot more disjointed, which might actually be a little too strong an expression.

The truth remains that we all have valid questions at times, yet in that same light we must accept (to some degree) that the bulk have an opinion, an impression and a preference. It is at times influenced by marketing as the people are given the royal tour by the promoters of the movies. We see at PRSA.ORG “Oscar campaigns are not cheap — campaign budgets can run $24 million per film. Mailing DVD screeners to the Academy’s 6,000-plus members, advertising in trade publications, attending festivals, hosting screening events and conducting media tours are only the beginning“, the Public Relations Society of America is decently outspoken here. Money rolls, which means that the name alone will not do it. Will Smith is a bankable name, but in the end, it is more than just the name, the DVD screeners and opportunity here. It is a business model, which now implies that art is not at the heart of the matter, product marketing is. The question that remains here is that if a movie needs that kind of marketing, how memorable was it?  Perhaps that is the wrong question too. Not everyone has time to see all the movies and the fact that some movies are not released on disc long after the Oscars is equally an issue, so is that approach wrong?

I cannot vote against it unless it is more than the actual book, the movie or the soundtrack. Optimising any product is far enough, but in that light, was Concussion properly optimised for exposure to the public and the audience at large? If not, who was behind that part? It is a Sony production, yet should this be about the awards? I wonder if the really good actors really take a role for that reason. In this I like to quote Tim Mincin In his UWA acceptance speech. There he states “Happiness is like an orgasm: if you think about it too much, it goes away. Keep busy and aim to make someone else happy, and you might find you get some as a side effect“, which seems to be (in my mind) how the great actors could think. Will Smith has had 85 nominations and 45 awards. None of them golden globes or Oscars. In the Golden globe section he lost out to Russell Crowe and Forest Whitaker who both delivered amazing performances that year, yet as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air he lost out to both John Goodman and Jerry Seinfeld, both series I was never a fan of, but they have their own following. In the Academy Awards he lost out to Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker. A much harder choice, because both The Pursuit of Happyness and The Last King of Scotland are amazing works of art. I found the call between Ali and Training Day much harder because of my admiration of Muhammad Ali. So I know that I have bias here, I feel valid bias as the arts are about moments and ideals, Will Smith has been on that fine line many times. It is CNN (at http://edition.cnn.com/2015/12/18/sport/nfl-head-injuries-will-smith-movie-concussion/) that gives us “I probably won’t be getting my free Super Bowl tickets this year“, which is part of all this (apart from the fact that I never received ANY free tickets for any of the Ashes games), we see again that America will be in denial or in opposition as the NFL is the bottom dollar at least one day a week. I cannot oppose this. Yet reflecting on this, I feel a little uncertain when it comes to an outspoken #OscarsSoWhite. My issue in this case is that the opposition this year is massive, Spotlight, the Revenant, Bridge of Spies and the Martian are outstanding pieces of excellence. We can complain that these roles were too absent of African American roles, but that is based on different elements, in my view, not a #OscarsSoWhite view, or is it?

In all this we must see that we are not part of the actual world the actors and actresses live in. They would have a more realistic view, which makes the entire #OscarsSoWhite such an uneasy issue. You see, I feel that #OscarsSoWhite is almost a personal attack, I see the movies I like, and because of the reasons I see them. So, even as a written off product like ‘Seven Pounds’ is one I enjoyed, I enjoyed Gravity as well, and I enjoyed the Martian in near equal measure (the special effects in Gravity were just so awesome). In all this race was never a consideration. That is my personal view, I cannot answer for others, you must decide on your reasoning and your preference, which is as it should be with anything that comes from the arts.

This now gets me to the final part. As I saw it, from the first moment I saw the movie (not when it was released as I was 5 at that time), is that Virgil Tibbs made ‘In the Heat of the night’ the movie it was, the legend it became. Sir Sidney Poitier made the movie what it was (Rod Steiger was great too). So here we have our issue we want to feel that #OscarsSoWhite is valid, we do however want to base it on the now, not on 50 years ago. So can we question the issues, or is there a second layer that we are to some extent conveniently ignoring. One of marketing and PR, the other on the denial that the NFL (Americans with their idolisation of their sport in general) seems to bring. Two elements that seem to equally make the movie Concussion fall short. Those elements are not illustrated in equal measure here, which does not give any less value to Will Smith, it only impacted the topic Will Smith illustrated (as I personally see it).

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