Archive for September, 2007

To me, turning a historical figure or classic literature texts into modern day film
with upbeat soundtracks, good looking cast, although it would be an insult to those “stick in the muds” i say GO FOR IT! Sometimes the words in musty old books, no matter how brilliant the language, and narrative… still can’t beat AUDIO AND VISUAL PLEASURE!!

wp1_12801.jpg marie_antoinette.jpg marieant.jpg

I mean people, will watch the movie, fall in love with the soundtrack not to mention… and at the same time, they may get interested and hopefully research up on it, learn more and in a way,the film has managed to get one more person to be interested in world history…

More directors should try to convert historical epics or “dry boring” lit classics into pieces of well “pop movies” like “pop art and pop music” to get the general population to tune in…one never knows what will come out of it!

On the note about music…i think Baz Lurhman’s
moulin rouge

and romeo-and-juliet.jpg

are GREAT examples of movies based histories/text combined with modern day changes and music…you get a hit!:)

As written in the second reading “The issue is not how a particular piece of music or performance reflects a people but how it produces them, how it creates and constructs an experience-a musical experience-an aesthetic experience-that we can only make sense of by taking on both a subjective and collective identity”

And “According to Frith, these “moods” are internal qualities of music, but they learned and signified through emotional, cultural and dramatic codes (qualitites of “matter” and “mind” go together)

Films like Marie Antoniette, Moulin Rouge, Romeo Juliet have elaborate sets, colorful costumes, major sensory experience but most importantly the sound track keeps the movie going! 


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My Sisters Keeper http://www.jodipicoult.com.au/mysisterskeeper.html

after watching Children of Men i was reminded of the book My Sister Keeper.

With the test tube babies, cloning, biomedical advancements, creating plastic goodness knows what organs to replace failing ones, in a way its great that science can now help save lives but it is also scary to think what if it falls into wrong hands and gets used for their own personal selfish gains.

Which brings in the question who is to decide? Board of Medical Directors? Public? Governing bodies…

is a pretty interesting website to surf around…

Personally i think that as long as we are answerable to ourselves when we look in the mirror, not harming another living thing/being…i guess that is most important…


was another show that was trying i guess to talk about cloning, life sciences and present to us what the future might be (but seriously, it was too draggy and too many Hollywood stunts) but yea i cannot deny that i was freaked out when the lab and human “clones” were destroyed…

A med friend of mine is currently awaiting the board of Medical Ehtics to approve her research and the question that comes to mind is…what makes them so highly moral or ethically to pass judgements…then the common man, what criteria or standards were then benchmarked…

Check this out…The British government’s chief scientific advisor has set out a universal ethical code for scientists.


Now i am going to attempt to reason out Jacques.R Artistic Regimes and the Shortcomings of the Notion of Modernity in the reader…(the bits i could grasp at least…)Based on this bit, “Vico’s discovery of the ‘true Homer’ as a poet in spite of himself, Kantian ‘genuis’ that is unaware of law it produces, Schillers ‘aesthetic state’ that suspends both the activity of the understanding and sensible passivity, Schellings definition of art as the identity between a conscious proscess and unconscious process”


http://denisdutton.com/schiller_excerpts.htm to me was about as confusing as the article but if you read it a few times it may help makes sense of “The Aesthetic State”

Interestingly enough, “Schiller’s Letters on Aesthetic Education (1794) present ideas based in large part on the aesthetic philosophy of Kant, whose Critique of Judgment was published  just five years earlier. While his views are pre-scientific and speculative, they also adumbrate contemporary naturalistic thinking in aesthetics. Schiller finds in art an intrinsic love of play and suggests that there is a partial continuum between animal play and the imaginative human pleasures of art.”

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In aesthetics, the sublime is the quality of greatness or vast magnitude, whether physical, moral, intellectual, metaphysical or artistic. The term especially refers to a greatness with which nothing else can be compared to and which is beyond all possibility of calculation, measurement or imitation. This greatness is often used when referring to nature and its vastness.

Jean-Luc Godard and Notre Musique, to me was heavily sublime…

Found this site http://www.wellspring.com/movies/text.html?movie_id=59 pretty interesting in summing up the film…


In the chapter “Analytic of the Beautiful” of the Critique of Judgment, Kant states that beauty is not a property of an artwork or natural phenomenon, but is instead a consciousness of the pleasure which attends the ‘free-play’ of the imagination and the understanding. Even though it appears that we are using reason to decide that which is beautiful, the judgment is not a cognitive judgment “and is consequently not logical, but aesthetical.

A pure judgement of taste is in fact subjective insofar as it refers to the emotional response of the subject and is based upon nothing but esteem for an object itself: it is a disinterested pleasure, and we feel that pure judgements of taste, i.e. judgements of beauty, lay claim to universal validity. It is important to note that this universal validity is not derived from a determinate concept of beauty but from common sense. Kant also believed that a judgement of taste shares characteristics engaged in a moral judgement: both are disinterested, and we hold them to be universal.

In the chapter “Analytic of the Sublime” Kant identifies the sublime as an aesthetic quality which, like beauty, is subjective, but unlike beauty refers to an indeterminate relationship between the faculties of the imagination and of reason, and shares the character of moral judgments in the use of reason.

Recognizing my own biasness, for me, at the end of a film, it should deliver what is in the head of the director, deliver the purpose of the film or have a message, something to ponder on and analyze.

I was watching La Petite Lili on SBS, they sure had lots of talk of aesthetics and generational conflict, and intellectual art vs. commercial pandering, lust being the primary motivator and so on but for all their intellectual bantering (perhaps well intentioned) all the characters (blame it on the actors/actresses perhaps) were flat, one dimensional.


Some may say it was a straight to the point, realistic, thought provoking film but to me it just fell flat on its face. However, my point being, for example, if you take a look at some of the comments, http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0335351/usercomments, i guess we are all at the end of the day only human and bound to make judgements based on our own experiences, upbringing, natural inclination towards certain issues….and it is so difficult to be fairly critical no matter how hard we may want to stay neutral…

(i tend to think that the time, mood we are in when we watch a film has a HUGE impact on how we feel, if you watch the film another time later on, you can really get different feelings, just like re reading a book…)

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I can honestly say watching Dogville was tough, very tough, but as written by Walter Benjamin, the camera assumes a  “Messianic-prophetic power” thus making the cinema a “technical apparatus which permits one to forget anthropological lack”. I guess the power of Dogville was the articulation of space which helped to create a basic but dramatic and choreographic rhythm of  the whole film.

“Film is one medium capable of overcoming the physiological, historical, and ideological limitations of the human body by acting as a prosthetic extension of our perception, providing us with a complete vision of ourselves through variable framing and editing.” For Dogville, the entire setting… … it is very seldom that film has a movie set that does not involve buildings, city, nature parks etc unless it is like broadway, but even then it has props and backdrops and stuff, I think Dogville was really difficult to stomach when you are watching and even after that it takes a lot out of you…

In an interview with Von Trier, it was written that “by the end of this long long film, the director wants us to believe that the human species is just naturally incline to evil and that like a dog who cannot help but behave in a dog-like fashion, humans simply can’t be expected to live up to their owh high ideals”

Also, looking at Grace based on Kant, her sexual and physical abuse is a kind of cannablism and that she becomes a consumable thing.

It is scary… on a micro scale, looking at office politics for example, the way people will sacrifice others to get what they want or macro scale, the politics bigger countries with the power, the things they do and how people suffer…its hard not to ponder what is the value of human life today…


Somehow strangely when watching 4 i found myself thinking of Dogville.
Maybe i was dwelling on the human relation aspects…

To express what i got out of 4, i have to quote from the 2nd article in the reader

“We live with agency, perhaps but not really identity”
“We create elaborate alter egos for ourselves”

Unlike Dogville, i was confused by the message that 4 was sending out at the end,
it was realistic depiction of the way people behave but then it was at times bleak yet somehow at the ending you walked out feeling that not all was lost? (get it?) hmmm

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Jack NeoJack Neo is one Singapore’s Directors and like Abbas Kiarostami he tackles issues of the country we live in and children!

Like, TEN which explores Iranian mother and son relationships and provides and insight to the lives of the people in Iran through a series of conversations held in the taxi, with various other characters,

Jack Neo (to me) is a director who has his own unique way of tackling issues back home, straight to the point and hits the nail on the head like Kiarostami. Of course there is Eric Khoo who directed Mee Pok Man  and Royston Tan who directed 15 both of who have become “famous in their own way” but to me not as “successful”.

I NOT STUPID by Jack Neo questioned the educational system which we as students (in singapore) are put into and though that may be a local issue, it covers universal problems  that parents face with teenagers, education, marriage, divorce, smoking and so on…

I not stupid the movie 

and his other film The Best Bet

The best bet the movie which tackles the stress of work life (in singapore) for adults, some who choose to shun away from society and indulge in gambling and how it affects their life, marriage and so fourth.

As mentioned in the lecture “Kiarostami’s film forces you to consider your theoretical, epistemic position, ie, what sets of institutional knowledges aesthetic positions, and concepts do you bring to bear when watching, engaging with, and analysing a film that falls under the rubric of “third world cinema?”

I feel that Jack Neo’s films which many have critcised as too local, not international enough and lacking in that X factor. It is all because people who watch it (even singaporeans themselves), watch it with the same rubric of “LOCAL cinema”.

To me it is a pity that his films were not given enough exposure and publicity. If someone wants a insight to life in Singapore, (some Singaporeans may disagree) but i think Jack Neo, like Abbas Kiarostami manages to hit the nail on the spot for the people of their country.

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Yes i promise this is the last reference to massumi (i cant help it, i just think the article is WOW)

“Dispossessed people like the Palestinians or the people in Irian Jaya just can’t argue their cases effectively through the mass media, which is why they’re driven to violent guerilla tactics or terrorism, out of desperation. And they’re basically theatrical or spectacular actions, they’re performative, because they don’t do much in themselves except to get people’s attention — and cause a lot of suffering in the process, which is why they spectacularly backfire as often as not. They also work by amplifying fear and converting it into group pride or resolve. The resolve is for an in-group and the fear is for everybody else. It’s as divisive as the oppression it’s responding to, and it feeds right into the dominant state mechanisms.”

“The September 11 terrorists made Bush president, they created President Bush, they fed the massive military and surveillance machine he’s now able to build. Before Bin Laden and Al-Qaïda, Bush wasn’t a president, he was an embarrassment. Bin Laden and Bush are affective partners, like Bush Senior and Saddam Hussein, or Reagan and the Soviet leaders. In a way, they’re in collusion or in symbiosis. They’re like evil twins who feed off of each other’s affective energies. It’s a kind of vampiric politics.”

The ending of No Man’s Land (side track, these 2 are links to interviews with the director)

*ending, was particularly heartbreaking as the man with the bomb under him was left alone, i was silently cursing. The unfairness of such situations where a human life is sacrificed and the pompus a*ses like the UN director in the film. Its frustrating to think of how things can escalate and render us helpless or really.. ARE WE?

i would like to think (when i am not busy being negative and cynical) that we can in our own way start with trying to be aware and spreading the awareness, and HOPE that some how the people with the power, money, to do something to make a difference will hear and make the necessary changes…

cliche as it may be , i still think it is true that in whatever way, big or small, every contribution, every piece of drawing, writing, expression may just create a miracle…

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Also from the Massumi Interview…

“No one emotional state can encompass all the depth and breadth of our experiencing of experiencing — all the ways our experience redoubles itself. That vague sense of potential, we call it our ‘freedom’, and defend it fiercely. No body can escape gravity. Laws are part of what we are, they’re intrinsic to our identities. No human can simply escape gender, for example. The cultural ‘laws’ of gender are part of what makes us who we are, they’re part of the process that produced us as individuals.”

A rather cynical view that i sometimes feel ones the feeling of euphoria fades is that, as much as we struggle to admit, we are all under rules regulations and governed by bodies, policies…

And then, there is Aesthetics, as written in “Free Particles” by Terry Eagleton,

Aesthetics is born as a discourse of the body, its all about perception and sensation.
(which kind of reminds me of the question, is the glass half full or half empty)

“Aesthetics is born of the recognition that the world of perception and experience cannot simply be derived from abstract universal laws, but demands its own appropriate discourse and display its own inner, if inferior logic.”

“At the root of social realtion lies the aesthetic, source of all human bonding”

To me, be it humans, ants, wombats, snakes even plants, we can never be free, we belong, to a certain classification, submitting to a higher order/power. Somehow we just have to find a way to stop hurting one another (not to mention the environment!)

Sadly when you have “boy and their toys” you get nuclear weapons, germ warfare, bombs, terrorism…

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