Interstellar

November 21, 2014

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Any attempt to make a huge, awe-inspiring, intelligent science fiction epic is at its heart a great ambition, but the ambition doesn’t come from the difficult special-effects work and technical expertise to pull off the visual spectacle. Rather, it comes the difficulty of exploring Big Ideas on a budgetary scale that demands a standard narrative and emotional form – after all, who is going to pay that much money for something abstract and probably alienating? One of the peculiarities of cinematic history, at least for my uncomprehending, relatively young mind is the success and ongoing popularity of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, a film to which Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar owes a great debt. 2001 is, structurally, four separate films, the only real connective tissue through the whole thing being the black, alien monolith. It is quite accepted that the only character with any genuine emotion is the computer HAL 9000, and his “villainy” also gives the third section of the film the most recognizable cinematic “thrills” you’d expect from Hollywood, as well as its most moving tragedy. Read the rest of this entry »

A deviation from the standard (though admittedly irregular) for this blog.  This is something I drafted when throwing around ideas with the director of Parque Central for an article he was invited to write.  This was my experience scouting the documentary, which you can still contribute to at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1808754869/parque-central

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The idea for what would become Parque Central came when the director and conceiver of the project, Ricardo, went to Antigua Guatemala on holiday. He had fallen in love with city and even went back in a relatively short period of time. During his visit he had his boots shined by a kid in the park, and the image stayed with him – an American tourist looking down at a brown-skinned adolescent huddled over his shoes, shining them with rapid precision. It’s an uncomfortable image to think about if you’re coming from a position of privilege, but one that also represents a reality of the kind of labour necessary to survive. The kid probably thought nothing of it, because he’s just trying to make a living. Read the rest of this entry »