M. Leary

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  1. What elements of the film did you find blasphemous?
  2. Also couldn't find a better place for this, but for Hal Hartley fans, the Amazon series Red Oaks is worth a peek. He directs half of the episodes in Season 2 - and the first one of the season is pretty darn good.
  3. i meant the opposite. Not sure why the antonym came out like that, sorry.
  4. Yeah, there are. But more often in the sense of a black director constructing a space in which black audiences would perceive the race crisis in a different way - like all of Burnett and the Black Independent Movement cinema stuff. Same could be said of Spike Lee's narrative films. Baldwin's writing always worked in a similar way, trying to help his audience connect dots between class, policy, and autobiography. But a more direct example is Lee's Malcolm X, which is very much about X's spiritual awakening(s). Also Jewison's In The Heat of The Night is a good example of both white and black characters shifting in their racial expectations of each other. Boyz in the Hood is a good document of race identity in the 90s, and was a direct attempt to "wake up" black viewers to the toll of urban violence.
  5. I hear you. I was not intending to shift the list toward that theme. Just wanted to raise the question, as I would hate to see Image/A&F get hammered on Twitter for perpetuating a connection between cultural privilege and spiritual awakening in an era when people are getting "woke" to even deeper connections between social polity and religion. Ownership over the definition of what constitutes "waking up" is a really powerful thing. A positive thing about this concept - it works like a litmus test on me. When I got into cinema, I really associated "spirituality" with the contemplative tradition, which is predominately either white and European, or the independent scene in the US which is still pretty really white and middle class. Even all the bits of Asian or Latin American cinema I find so energizing trickled down to me through the same channels. I know I am walking into a minefield with this comment, but I have been trying to break out of that mold over the past five years or so by shifting the ways I find films, trying to bracket out "sacramentality" as my default description for what constitutes spirituality in cinema, and unlearning some of the continental theological stuff which has so inflected my sense of what it means to be a person. As it turns out, my very sense of what constitutes "waking up" is not always shared by other film directors. -- Funny that you should mention Crying Games. I thought of you nominating that film given your past comments on it.
  6. Also want to toss in that being "woke" right now is specifically connected to awareness of our current civil rights crises. I fear a list of films about "waking up" which are euro-centric philosophical parables or about a bunch of white people having mid-life crises would really not be "woke" at all. I say this not as a claim that our community here is insensitive to these issues - rather a comment on the word choice.
  7. I like this idea, but am still really struggling with the actual list. Seeing the films nominated, I am having trouble cobbling together what the common theme or element might actually be here. And looking through the threads on this, I did not see a definitive working concept on "waking up." Did I miss something? In another thread, JP said: "I believe such a list would focus on stories where characters' eyes' are opened to spiritual realities, both with and/or without institutionalized religious contexts." I get that. But under this general rubric, I am still having a hard time distinguishing between conversion narratives, apocalyptic, surrealism. religious imagery, big time plot twists, characters having dramatic changes in self perception, and characters literally waking up. There seem to be pretty big differences between The Moviegoer kind of waking up, a Buddhist waking up, Mothlight as waking up, and an Its a Wonderful Life waking up. Big enough that I am not understanding how the list would have much utility. And in Bazin's terms, any film with a sufficient material or psychological realism is inherently a space for "waking up." Forgive me if this has already been covered, just looking for help with the concept.
  8. Good catch. Yes, my disagreement with the link is this idea that the sense of communication/order belongs to Will and not the killer. Really, the contribution of Harris to the crime genre is taking the material Locard Exchange Principle and making it psychological. Which is a pretty awesome concept.
  9. Just wrote a piece on Amelie during which I mused on a connection between empathy and perception/imagination. So this is timely and confirmatory. " If the empathy that he brings to crime scenes is an act of imagination then the resulting sense of design must belong to Will, not the killers themselves..." Well, maybe. I thought the subtext here is that a killer wants to communicate and can't help but leave traces of that language on the crime scene. Will is empathetic specifically toward that desire to communicate, to make meaning out of things, and thus can sense clues about the identity of the killers other investigators simply can't see. But the whole genius of Harris framing of Will's character is that while he understands why these killers operate, at a deep level of id an aesthetic, he is still driven by a moral compass. This is very much present in the show. What distinguishes Will is not just this investigative empathy, but he is also in one specific capacity smarter than Lecter. He has a moral intelligence, and is thus more aligned with the grain of how things actually work than Lecter (even though Lecter's whole business is being basically a reverse Christus Victor embodiment of natural entropy - a flawed and inherently doomed self-perception even if it is mannered and well-studied). So Will will always win, it is just a matter of his more moral sense of nature actually running its course. This brings us full circle to the eschatology of Hannibal. All the Blake stuff coats serial murder in a vibe of teleology. All this killing is symbolic of some great destruction to come, and it is also kind of inviting that destruction to come (similar to how some evangelicals presume that rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem will hasten the return of Christ). But there is a natural theology to Will's investigative approach which presumes the opposite. Given time and moral energy applied the same direction, murder will come to an end. The lambs scream out while they are slaughtered, but someday the slaughter will come to an end. Without this layer of eschatology, the whole subtext collapses into mere noir. The show excels, however, at ensuring the Will/Lecter combat occurs at the level of this conflict between nihilism and a hope in the natural order of things.
  10. Right, subtitled for this one. Sounds like you have watched it by now, what did you think?
  11. I am very out of the loop when it comes to film conversation right now. I fear it is because after things filter through Twitter and Letterboxd, not much makes it to forums any more - and I do not have extra time to spend on either of those platforms. So I am stuck with journals mainly. Though there is still a lot of terrific film writing out there. Much more than there seemed to be 10 years ago.
  12. One can now see the first five minutes: https://www.dailydot.com/parsec/ghost-shell-first-five-minutes-clip/ It is pretty disappointing, in that it all feels a bit flat despite the ornate CGI. Parts of it are frame for frame copies of the original, but something is just not translating into the live version (at least these five minutes). And I hope I am wrong, but I wager the 1 Cor 13 references scattered throughout the film are absent in this script. This would be a shame, given that this interplay between Paul's theology and post-humanity in the original made for one of the best pop culture biblical references in the 20th century.
  13. I would talk to the folks at Cascade though too, as I bet they would be open to suggestions for series of some sort.
  14. Have always wished Jarmusch would take this on. I think he would do well with how sharp and interior the book is. But Johnson is pretty wonderful, so this is exciting.
  15. Great review, Andrew. I wrote a paragraph or so on how this wonderful documentary connects to all that great black cinema around Burnett in LA in the 60s and 70s. There are a lot of similarities to dig into.