Amoeblog

The Tarantino Solution 3: Inglourious Basterds (2009), A Moral Defense

Posted by Charles Reece, September 27, 2009 11:06pm | Post a Comment
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Aryan Some Differences

While its propaganda might seem dated, Sergei Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin presents a critical alternative to heroism as traditionally depicted in most films, collective instead of individualistic. Along with a wishfullfilling counterfactual approach to history and a five act structure, Inglourious Basterds shares a similar approach to the heroic act, closer to the first 20 or so minutes of Saving Private Ryan than its remaining hour and a half. (I note that two early supporters of Eisenstein's film, who helped bring it to world attention, were Goebbels and -- as Tarantino has it -- his Hollywood role model, David O. Selznick.) Eisenstein's two most prominent characters, the sailors Vakulinchuk and Matyshenko, serve more as inspirational catalysts for the inchoate revolutionary spirit than a John Wayne (or even Tom Hanks) type who dominates narrative destiny through his will. As Bill Nichols suggests in his analysis of the film (in the book Film Analysis), the idea of a revolution begins to widen across each act:

One of Eisenstein's great achievements as a filmmaker is that he provided a model for a cinema of groups, crowds, and masses rather than individuals. In Battleship Potemkin he does so by telling the story of three distinct examples of political awakening over the course of five acts. [...] Each awakening broadens the political scope of the film, from the revolt of one ship's crew through the rising up of one town to the rebellion of the entire fleet. -- p. 163-4

Indeed, as he points out, Vakulinchuk dies in the second act and Matyshenko doesn't reappear until the fifth -- hardly the kind of heroism as charismatic leadership favored by a Leni Reifenstahl or George Lucas (the latter's well-known appropriation from the former receives a nice spoof here). No matter how seemingly innocuous the fantasy (from the Golden Age Superman, despite his defense of labor, to Star Wars), there's always a whiff of authoritarianism that accompanies this great man portrayal of heroism -- that a change for the betterment of all comes solely from the determination of a few. That is, follow those so privileged by God, genetics (Aryan, Kryptonian) or midi-chlorians, not morality per se.

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Budget transmissions from the heart of the New Hairy! Skygreen Leopards' Jehovah Surrender

Posted by Mark Beaver, September 26, 2009 06:45pm | Post a Comment
skygreen leopards jehovah i surrender
I know that many out there have found that any "milk of human kindness" that they may have had on reserve for all things "freak folk" has long soured. Granted, Devendra Banhart, the Jewelled Antler Collective and those that traipse along under similar standards are an inconsistent lot, and that may be part of the whole modus operandi. I mean, doesn't exactitude of key and clear direction and purpose of lyric and melody just end up being a stone drag...man?

I hear all of that criticism, and I get it. I picked up the recently issued 4CD Jewelled Antler Library box, and amongst all that dusty immediacy, birdsong and flecks of deep inspiration, there was some serious dreadfulness.

All that said, Skygreen Leopards, featuring JAC founders Glenn Donaldson (also of Blithe Sons and Thuja) and Donovan Quinn, have held to their own modus of trippy, immediate, flawed songs partially recorded in the open air and likely in one take. Just six songs here, none of them clocking in over four minutes, but all of it strangely, dreamily compelling. The vocals are troubled, the grooves are lazy and lethargic, but I will take it over anything by Bevis Frond in a hot minute, because it's all of a piece. Everything refers to everything else, the vocals are sung like the guitar is strummed like the drums are brushed...as if it's all good, Brother Bear, and it's ok to just sway in place and turn your face, flower-like, towards the sun.

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Hispanic Heritage Month - Latinos in American Cinema

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 26, 2009 01:51pm | Post a Comment

Aside from a brief fetish for Latin Lovers in the silent era, roles for Hispanics and Latinos in American silent film were few, far between and generally quite minor. In the sound era, images of Hispanics and Latinos in Hollywood began to increase in number, although Latino characters were at first usually portrayed by non-Latinos in brownface whilst real Latinos were frequently used as all-purpose ethnic types.

Ramon Novarro and Lupe Velez in The Laughing Boy  Duncan Renaldo and Leo Carrillo
          Ramon Novarro and Lupe Velez (as Navaho) in Laughing Boy                                Leo Carrillo and Duncan Renaldo

1930s-
In the first decade of sound, there weren't many roles for Hispanics or Latinos aside from in popular, long-running series like Zorro, The Cisco Kid and The Mexican Spitfire series, the latter a vehicle for Lupe Velez. Pedro Armendáriz mostly starred in Mexican films; when cast in American ones, he invariably had to exaggerate his accent sufficiently. Throughout the '30s and the following decade, Arizona-born Chris Pin-Martin appeared in almost eighty films, invariably as a heavily-accented, broken English-speaking Mexican in small roles and as sidekicks, like Pancho in the Cisco Kid movies and as Gordito in the Zorro series. The Zorro franchise, begun in the 20s, continued to be popular throughout the era. The Cisco Kid series dated back to the teens. In them, unlike with Zorro, Hispanic actors like Leo Carrillo, Duncan Ronaldo and Cesar Romero were usually cast in the lead. Hispanic actress Rita Hayworth (born Margarita Cansino) was initially billed as Rita Cansino in a series of unrelated B-movies. In them, she usually played a variation on the fiery Mexican maiden in need of an honorable Anglo's protection and love.

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BERKELEY VIDEO & FILM FESTIVAL - DAN K HARVEST INTERVIEW

Posted by Billyjam, September 26, 2009 10:50am | Post a Comment

This weekend the Berkeley Video & Film Festival is happening at the Landmark Shattuck Cinemas with a concentration on short films/videos typically of about ten minutes in length. At opening night last night of the eighteen year old festival, Dan K Harvest was at the downtown Berkeley cinema and got to view a dozen of these shorts. "It was invigorating, with lots of dark, foreboding, futuristic doomsday themed films Dan K. Harvestand a lot of relationship commentary," he said. In addition to about 15 local productions, there are also many entries from around the US and overseas, including challenging new independent cinema from Italy, Cuba, Germany, Venezuela, and Great Britain.
 
"There was even a film by a 12 year old that was fascinating," said Harvest. Today, the second and final day of the fest, at 6:30pm, Dan K will be featured in the ten minute Escapin' From Oakland. Earlier this week, while still at the Interbike Convention in Las Vegas, I caught up with the longtime Oakland renaissance man, whose illustrious career has included being a rap recording artist, a BMX bike champ, and almost a reality TV star, among many other things (a few years back he was featured in an East Bay Express cover story), to ask him about the festival, the film, and himself. Never one stuck for words, Dan K responded in detail via his iPhone.


Amoeblog: What would you say is your greatest accomplishment in life?

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AMOEBA MUSIC HIP-HOP WEEKLY ROUND UP 09:25:09 (VIDEO VERSION)

Posted by Billyjam, September 25, 2009 07:01pm | Post a Comment


Amoeba Music San Francisco Hip-Hop Weekly Top Ten c/o Luis: 09:25:09
brother ali

1) Brother Ali Us (Rhymesayers)

2) Andy Allo UnFresh (Allo Records)

3)  Peanut Butter Wolf 45 Live (Stones Throw)

4) John Forte StyleFREEThe EP (Theory 7)

5) V/A Definitive Jux Presents 4 (Def Jux)

6) Blue Scholars Bayani Redux (Duck Down)

7) Trick Daddy Finally Famous: Born a Thug, Still a Thug (Dunk Ryder Records)

8) Lil Boosie Superbad:lil boosie The Return of Boosie Bad Azz (Asylum Records)

9) Cage Movies for the Blind (High Times Records)

10) Beastie Boys Hello Nasty (Capitol)

Super special thanks to the ever knowledgable Luis @ the hip-hop department of Amoeba Music San Francisco for always being so down to supply the Amoeblog with up to the moment news on what's popping at the SF store, new music- wise. For the second week in a row Luis has provided us with a Top Ten due to the wealth of releases (both new and reissues) dropping recently. Above you can see the chart in video and text forms, while below are a series of videos by several of the artists in this latest Top Ten chart.

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