I like cultural crit. Think it should be encouraged.
Why are so many films so bad? This year’s Oscar nominations are a parade of propaganda, stereotypes and downright dishonesty. The dominant theme is as old as Hollywood: America’s divine right to invade other societies, steal their history and occupy our memory. When will directors and writers behave like artists and not pimps for a world view devoted to control and destruction?
The question of how Hollywood constructs collective memory is worthy of a thread.
What is meant by the term “industrial murder”?
On The Hurt Locker he heaps his invective:
Her film offers a vicarious thrill via yet another standard-issue psychopath high on violence in somebody else’s country where the deaths of a million people are consigned to cinematic oblivion. The hype around Bigelow is that she may be the first female director to win an Oscar. How insulting that a woman is celebrated for a typically violent all-male war movie.
And this teaser:
By contrast, the fate of an admirable American war film, “Redacted,” is instructive. Made in 2007 by Brian De Palma, the film is based on the true story of the gang rape of an Iraqi teenager and the murder of her family by American soldiers. There is no heroism, no purgative. The murderers are murderers, and the complicity of Hollywood and the media in the epic crime in Iraq is described ingeniously by De Palma. The film ends with a series of photographs of Iraqi civilians who were killed. When it was ordered that their faces be blacked out “for legal reasons,” De Palma said, “I think that’s terrible because now we have not even given the dignity of faces to this suffering people. The great irony about ‘Redacted’ is that it was redacted.” After a limited release in the US, this fine film all but vanished.
And on, ahem… Avatar:
Non-American (or nonwestern) humanity is not deemed to have box office appeal, dead or alive. They are the “other,” who are allowed, at best, to be saved by “us.” In “Avatar,” James Cameron’s vast and violent money-printer, 3-D noble savages known as the Na’vi need a good guy American soldier, Sgt. Jake Sully, to save them. This confirms they are “good.” Natch.
Read ther parts on Invictus, a film I’ll avoid as long as possible, because it takes its name from a paen to egoism written by William Earnest Henley – maybe one of the worst poems ever written by my lights.
And Pilger’s disturbing description of Up in the Air:
The film most nominated for an Oscar and promoted by the critics is “Up in the Air,” which has George Clooney as a man who travels America sacking people and collecting frequent flyer points. Before the triteness dissolves into sentimentality, every stereotype is summoned, especially of women. There is a bitch, a saint and a cheat. However, this is “a movie for our times,” said director Jason Reitman, who boasts having cast real sacked people. “We interviewed them about what it was like to lose their job in this economy,” said he, “then we’d fire them on camera and ask them to respond the way they did when they lost their job. It was an incredible experience to watch these non-actors with 100 per cent realism.”
What say y’all?