Wednesday, October 22, 2008

La Jetee

La Jetee, Chris Marker's 1962 short masterpiece, is set in a WWIII-ravaged post-nuclear Paris. The twenty-eight minute film is comprised of still shots edited together into a montage, save for a short scene of motion picture. The film is narrated and subtitled. It deals with experiments in time travel, and complications of memory.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Classmates' Responses

These are a few of the responses to various philosophical questions, mostly seen through the lens of dystopic science fiction, from the discussion of my creative work in class.

What is consciousness?
Consciousness (n.) - the freedom to know that you are part of the system. It is the ability to understand that you cannot escape. No matter what you own or who you govern, consciousness is the awareness that absolutely nothing will ever matter.

What is freedom?
(Female) constrained by bricks, plaster, cement, metal
found freedom daunting, distant, detrimental
What a strange idea, to be free
No work? What would pass idle hours?
No Directive? What purpose did she serve then?
No, Freedom was only plausible in small chunks.
was free to wear the clothes she had worn yesterday, she was free to ignore her coworkers, she was free to throw herself in front of a train, and she might do so, if the desire for freedom struck her.

What is good? What is evil?
The good in (Female)'s life is structure. By having a conformist society ruled by order, (Female) can accomplish daily activities without distractions from choices she may have to make. A society that doesn't give options leaves little or no room for questioning ones' self. Therefore all the people in society are equal. This should lead to utopic society and ultimate happiness.
The evil is (Female) seems to not be able to turn off her own feelings. When she sighs about her 11 hour workday, you can feel her displeasure with her regimented lifestyle. The realization that everyone being treated as "equals" is not fair in turn makes the society evil.

How is a priori knowledge possible?
(Female), do you know of what will happen today?
Has your life been made for you?
Before you were born perhaps?
Did the Ideological State Apparatus tell you what to do?
Are you aware? Or are they aware for you?
Do the others know, or are you alone?
A puppet for the ISA,
a preconditioned life for an empty shell.
Will you escape, or will you live your pre-made life to its end?
It's your choice...
Or is it?

Does God exist?

I have to write my character's name within parenthesis ( ) on the blog, as within the intended brackets < > it disappears.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

They Live !

You see Them on the street. You watch Them on TV.
You might even vote for one this fall.
You think they're people just like you.
You're wrong. Dead wrong.

This short story, entitled "Eight O'Clock in the Morning," by Ray Nelson, was the inspiration for the brilliant 1988 John Carpenter cult classic They Live. This short story is quite different from the film however. (The violence toward the female character is not an element of the film, although there is quite a bit of violence in it). Also, as this story is quite short, there is more development of the plot in the film, with more detailing of the underground resistance movements and their infiltration and destruction plans. The most notable element that is present in both versions is the instructive signage, such as OBEY, CONSUME, WATCH TV, CONFORM, MARRY AND REPRODUCE, SLEEP, and NO THOUGHT. These images are hidden from view by normal advertisements, but appear when one wears special sunglasses that allow one to "wake up." Here is a shot from the film:

The special sunglasses also allow one to see the true nature of people, whether they are human or a horrible decaying zombie-like skeleton/alien creature, as many politicians and others turn out to be:

Here's a short clip showing how the glasses work in a supermarket.

If you are so inclined, here is a link to the entire film. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Blade Runner

This is the trailer for the original 1982 release of Blade Runner. The dystopic visual elements are very evident, as well as the noir influence. I think this trailer gives an effective overview of some of the main dystopic elements of the movie, specifically that of the Tyrell Corporation's capitalist-fueled malevolence and the complex problem created by their product, human replicants.

I would like to point out that it is (almost) always raining in Blade Runner's 2010 Los Angeles, an excellent example of an overbearing environmental element that is an important part of a well-developed dystopia. Resultantly, umbrellas are highly specialized in the Blade Runner world, complete with lighted center poles to illuminate the crushing bleakness.

Notice the gigantic video billboard of a geisha eating a meal-pill. These types of billboards are now very common, an interesting point to ponder in that it would have been cutting-edge technology at the time of the film's release.

Geisha video billboard, Los Angeles 2010, in Blade Runner, 1982.

Video billboard upon a floating vessel, Pudong, Shanghai, China, 2007.

One should also note the architecture of the Tyrell Corporation building, which is comparable stylistically with buildings in Metropolis as well as ziggurats. Although in Blade Runner this monolithic building type has been increased in size to seven hundred stories and updated with futuristic technology, it still retains and evokes the same imposing and controlling feel as its predecessors.
Tyrell Corporation, Los Angeles 2010, in Blade Runner, 1982.

Ziggurat at Ur, Iraq, 2005.

This film is based upon the 1968 Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?