Amoeblog

Celebrate Today's Holidays With a Movie or Two -stocking stuffers for the ones you love

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 16, 2007 03:26pm | Post a Comment


Boss Day



Dictionary Day



Hurricane Thanksgiving Day - US Virgin Islands


St. Gallus Day - Switzerland



World Food Day



Anniversary of the Pope's Election - Vatican City



Ether Day



National Feral Cat Day



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Eric Brightwell is an adventurer, essayist, rambler, explorer, cartographer, and guerrilla gardener who is always seeking paid writing, speaking, traveling, and art opportunities. He is not interested in generating advertorials, cranking out clickbait, or laboring away in a listicle mill “for exposure.”
Brightwell has written for Angels Walk LAAmoeblogBoom: A Journal of CaliforniadiaCRITICSHidden Los Angeles, and KCET Departures. His art has been featured by the American Institute of Architects, the Architecture & Design Museum, the Craft ContemporaryForm Follows FunctionLos Angeles County Store, the book SidewalkingSkid Row Housing Trust, and 1650 Gallery. Brightwell has been featured as subject in The Los Angeles TimesHuffington PostLos Angeles MagazineLAistCurbedLAEastsider LABoing BoingLos Angeles, I’m Yours, and on Notebook on Cities and Culture. He has been a guest speaker on KCRWWhich Way, LA?, at Emerson College, and the University of Southern California.
Brightwell is currently writing a book about Los Angeles and you can follow him on AmebaDuolingoFacebookGoodreadsInstagramMubiand Twitter.

Art Prints

Cinema Direct vs. Cinema Verite - The Quest for Cinematic Truth

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 15, 2007 12:55pm | Post a Comment
Today marks the one billionth time the term "cinéma vérité" was used in a manner with which I don't agree. This time it was in reference to a shaky-cam advertisement for blue jeans or cell phones or something. 

Cinéma Direct

Cinéma Direct is documentary genre that began in Quebec in 1958. The Quiet Revolution, a cultural assertion of the French-speaking majority under the rule of the Anglo-minority, encouraged the development of a distinct Quebecois identity. As part of this cultural expression, filmmakers sought to re-instill truthfulness in the documentary genre, which, by the 1950s was usually studio-based propaganda rife with dramatizations and mickey mousing. In 1922's Nanook of the North, for example, Nanook (actually an Inuit named Allakariallak living in Inukjuak, Quebec) was built an oversized igloo to share with his wife (who wasn't really his wife) to allow a camera crew and sufficient lighting inside. He was filmed hunting with a harpoon. In the scene, Allakariallak looks in the direction of the camera laughing and smiling memorably. He only knew how to hunt with guns. You can almost hear Robert Flaherty taking him aside and asking, "Could you act... you know... more Eskimo?"

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Burnt Offerings

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 1, 2007 03:29pm | Post a Comment
When I was a young'un, my parents exposed me to many horrifying films which they correctly reckoned I wouldn't understand but wrongly assumed wouldn't scar me for most of my adult life. I was four or five when my father took my six-year-old sister and I to see Alien. When I saw it again about twenty years later I was surprised at how vivid my memories were, although I could now recognize that the decapitated Ash was an android, and not, as I had previously surmised, someone with milk in his veins.

Another movie that haunted me when I was young that I have spent many years wondering about. I saw it in the late 1978 wood-paneled RCA Selectavision VCR. I didn't have much to go on. I remembered a country house, black & white sequences, an old woman in a chair that gets spun around and, most importantly, a chauffeur with an awful and inappropriate smile that he flashes during a funeral. After that I used to smile creepily at my younger brother whilst my sister relied on draping her long hair over her face like a Y?rei.

 

Anyway, for years I have repeated those vague details to co-workers and horror aficionados, blogged about it and watched things like The House of Seven Corpses which turned, in every cast, out not to be what I was looking for...

Hispanic Heritage Month

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 14, 2007 09:31am | Post a Comment
   
Hispanic Heritage Month began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week. We never learned about it in my schools, which prided themselves on being among the most progressive in the country. Every year we celebrated Black History Month, which began, amazingly, in 1926 as Negro History Week back when the Ku Klux Klan enjoyed its peak membership of 4 to 5 million people (or a whopping 15% of the nation's eligible men). Anyway, we students always raised the same questions: Is it in February because it's the shortest month? Where's Asian or Latino History Month? Where's White History Month? I don't recall my teachers having the answers except that we learned plenty of white history year-round and Black History Month was a time to recognize the contributions of a people to American culture who'd been systematically ignored.

So, this year I found out about Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, which began in 1978 and which I had NEVER heard mentioned. Some Asians I knew had, including, of course, noted justice-minded free-thinker Ngoc-Thu Thi Nguyen. She said it was marked by more documentaries about Japanese Internment Camps being shown on PBS. At the same time, I found out about Hispanic Heritage Month, which I mentioned started in 1968, and which I'd also never heard about. 

When I first moved to Los Angeles, I thought (educated mostly by Los Angeles' films and TV and music videos) that it was going to be 25% plastic people living in palatial homes, 25% blonde, leather-skinned weddos rollerblading down the Venice Boardwalk, 25% Crips and 25% Bloods. I don't know any of those people except O.G. Crip Greg "Batman" Davis, who's one of the patron saints of Amoeba's Black Cinema section. But that's pretty much what we were fed. And I thought, given its famous palm trees, it would be steamy and sub-tropical like my former home in Florida.

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Summer of Sequels Presents -- Jason Bourne

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 13, 2007 10:05pm | Post a Comment





Jason Bourne
is a guy who's trying to remember his past and figure out who he is because he suffers from amnesia. In the course of his quest he was informed that his real name is David Webb and he was born in Nixa, Missouri but he seems to totally ignore that, or at least they don't depict him trying to glean anything from this. 

So I'm here to help fill in the blanks, like it or not. No spoiler warning.

"Webb" is an occupational family name meaning (in Old English) "weaver." OK, so at least the paternal branch of Jason/David's family is from the British Isles. He looks pretty Irish. Nixa, Missouri is in the Ozark Mountains. In 1717, the Ulster-Scots, aka Scots-Irish, began to move to the area which was by then mostly abandoned or otherwise depopulated by the indigenous population after a 13th century famine.


The Ozarks, a mix of the Shire and Rivendell

Rich, slave-owning planters on the South Coast called the new inhabitants "hillbillies" because (according 
to one theory) as Protestants back in the British Isles, they had supported William III "Billy" of Orange and lived in the hills/highlands.

During the Civil War, Missouri was split between pro-Union sympathizers and those who were pro-Confederate. The state was represented by stars on both
nations' flags. Confederate sympathizers called Border Ruffians waged war the impoverished hillbillies who were often pro-Union. 

The Chicago Tribune wrote of them as “a queer-looking set, slightly resembling human beings, but more closely allied … to wild beasts…They never shave or comb their hair, and their chief occupation is loafing around whiskey shops, squirting tobacco juice, and whittling with a dull jack-knife.” The next few years, in addition to the Civil War, the state became mired in what was known as the Bushwacker War.

The Ozarks continue to have a distinct culture. They call heavy downpours "gully washers" or "frog stranglers." They say "yins" instead of "y'all." Ozarkians frequently complain about characterizations of them as poor, crazy, sleazy, gun-toting, moonshine-making, backwards folk and then they go and sell stuff like a corncob as "Hillbilly toilet paper" in every gas station. And then there is a mountain in the Ozarks called "Knob Lick mountain." And every truck has a gun-rack in the window.

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