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About Seth

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    cinema, linguistics, philosophy, religion, literature, foreign policy
  1. Seth


    nope...that's what Ecclesiastes is for. :wink: this is a fantastic thread. i hadn't really noticed, before i read this thread, that many of the criticisms against Von Trier are very similar to criticisms against David Lynch...particularly in regard to how those filmmakers portray women. it seems like a filmmaker can be easily dismissed if he consistently portrays women in a certain light...that's an issue for which our societ doesn't cut a lot of slack, i guess. and we probably shouldn't. but i think Von Trier offers a very nuanced portrayal of women...it's just that his women aren't ve
  2. i think there's a lot to be said for Mr. Schaeffer's views. some people, looking for ammunition to use against "The Passion," have cited the Second Commandment, and the traditional Jewish prohibition of images of God. i think that's an argument very few Christians can make, because that's a concept that very few Christians acknowledge...obviously Mr. Schaeffer does, in all aspects of his life (not just in regard to "The Passion"). but the problem i'd have with adopting Mr. Shaeffer's perspective is that the line between "art" and "liturgy" or "prayer" isn't that clear to me...it's all very
  3. of course...but as you say, that's the difference between sources and substance. but when it comes to films...well, as i said earlier, i just don't believe systematic or methodological morality can be applied to films in the way we apply them to people, or a person's actions. you can't bring a jury before a film and ask them to judge it, from a moral point of view, and then base your entire moral perception of the film from the jury's conclusion. systematic morality can be applied to actions (which is what juries do...they don't even judge persons, just a person's actions). i don't think yo
  4. ha! i loved the portrayal of Pilate in this film, but i think Mr. Douglas hit the nail on the head. Gibson obviously made Pilate an anti-hero and Ciaphas a villain, and that has obvious interpretive implications. have we discussed the fact that some historians (namely Tertullian, in his Apology) claim that Pilate became a Christian later in his life? maybe this was the basis of Mel's portrayal. (i know historians don't give Tertullian's claims much creedence, but i figured it was worth mentioning)
  5. not necessarily. here's what i think you're saying: "I find it easier to determine a film's moral value with my gut, rather than with a methodological approach." you're not saying that movies don't have moral values, or that a movie can't be morally repungant, or that there's no absolute system of morality that human beings should live by. you're simply saying you don't believe there's a good systematic approach of criticism that can adequately represent a film's moral worth. i would agree with that assertion. i never apply a methodological system of criticism to movies (or anything)
  6. but is CultureSnob asking for a moral evaluation, or a moral interpretation? ie, does he want to know if we think those films are morally good/bad, or does he want to know how we'd go about determining that in the first place? is he asking us to rate the films according to a "Christian rating system," or does he want to know how such a system would even be applied to those films? if he's asking for a mere moral evaluation...well, i don't think any of those films represent immoral perspectives; they don't seek to undermine "traditional morality" as i understand it. i don't watch any of thos
  7. Seth

    King Kong

    didn't Orson Welles say "King Kong" was the greatest movie ever made? unless the casting of Jack Black is some kind of joke, i don't think it's totally offbase. the original "King Kong" had a very unique tone, a delicate balance of horror, humor, and adventure. in a way it looks totally comical to audiences today, and it was more dramatic and even frightening to its original audiences...but i think close examination reveals that the filmmakers were keenly aware of all these nuances, and many others. it was obviously made with a sense of frivolity, and i believe it has aged percisely as the
  8. here's a question... is it useful to gauge a film's "moral outlook" (ie, the moral lessons and/or implications of the narrative) based on what happens to the characters? i ask because i was considering "Vertigo," and my feelings toward that film (at least on a moral level) are determined largely by what happens to Jimmy Stewart's character, and the devestation that befalls him and pretty much everyone who comes into contact with him. can we determine a film's moral bias based on which characters prosper and which fail? can we say, "Hitchcock is condemning Stewart's moral choices bec
  9. then i think the CultureSnob would probably argue that it's better to call the filmmaker "morally poisonous," rather than the film, since what's really being judged is the filmmaker's intentions. i agree with you that he's reacting to SDG's terms more than anything else. he may be getting worked up over SDG's semantics, but as this thread has already proved, people get worked up over semantics, and that's why they're important - after all, he is using semantics, and you got worked up over his semantics, and i got worked up over yours, etc. people are always going to be irritated with how p
  10. i think genre definitions are pretty fluid, anyway, and one film can obviously fit into many genres - i could definitely see where you're going when you say that "Braveheart" started the trend toward "Saving Private Ryan," et al. they all kind of appeared around the same time, and certainly influenced each other in terms of treatments of violence. and i agree with your inclusion of "Glory" - i definitely see films like that in "The Passion" more than "King of Kings," more than the old Biblical/classical epics of the '50s. as for the comparisons between "The Passion" and Italian horror cinem
  11. to be honest, i think "The Passion" is totally and utterly unique among Jesus movies, in style and execution (the similarities between "The Passion" and "King of Kings" or "Jesus of Nazareth" are, imo, inevitable, because the subject is the same...i wouldn't link these films stylistically) - to find its closest aesthetic kin, you have to look back to the paintings of Gr
  12. actually, i'd say CultureSnob would argue that viewers are more responsible for a film's morality than directors, or at least as responsible. no offense, but people often cry "semantics" when they don't want to be percise about something. you can say it's just semantics, but semantics are very important - especially if movies have inspired people to murder, rape, etc. it's an important issue, and not one you can get sloppy over. it's important to understand who or what is responsible for that sort of thing, and it's important to be percise on the issue.
  13. aw man...talk about ruining my day...
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