Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Into the Wild

Into the wild is a movie released in 2007 by Sean Penn It talks about a courageous man with lofty goals who decides to escape from society to live his own destiny, by travelling all around the world as a solitary wild man without anything.
This film could be related to the notion "Myths & Heroes".
Firstly, the main character has quite all the caracteristics of the heroic figure. He is brave, alone in front of the danger, and his journey is totally idealistic. Furthermore, he is engaged on a quest and has goals to fulfilling.
Secondly, this stoy remains us of the Good Savage Myth, which assumes that humans are naturally good, but that civilization has led them into the realm of violence, hatred, and cruelty.
However this movie could also be related to the notion of progress, as it aludes to the rejection of progress. I. e. that the main character is against consumer society and the buying power, technology and so one...

Monday, November 18, 2013

Free post

I'd like to talk about freedom.
For me freedom is one of the most important things in life. I assume there are three meanings of the word "freedom".
The first is the one which is visible, which ables a person to walk without any shackles or without being a slave. That is to say you aren't under someone's pressure, you can make your own decisions.
The second meaning is related to civil Rights : you are free to do what ever you like provided it isn't forbidden by the law.
However "to be free" could also refer to a state of mind. Sometimes people doesn't feel good because of a load of rubbish, boring jobs, arguments, ending love stories, society pressure... we can also be slave of an illness, a dependence, an idea... That's why people could depend on many things, be very vulnerable, and so lost their freedom. I think we must get rid of what can hinder our happiness.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The movie that I have chosen and which is related to the notion of power is called "No". This Chilean drama film was released by Pablo Larraín in 2012
The story takes place in Chile, during the Pinochet's dictatorship. It shows how Augusto Pinochet decided to organize a referendum, and  to what sort of opposition he had to face up. In fact the movie deals with the historic 1988 plebiscite of the Chilean citizenry over whether general Pinochet should have another 8-year term as President.
Furthermore, the main actor is called René Saavedra and is played by Gael García. He stands for a young and clever advertising man. (Effectively the story is when advertising tactics came to be very used in political campaigns) The René's campaign tries to defeat Pinochet and his party, in other words, it promotes the party of the "NO" made up of people who are against the dictatorship. However, the population is skeptical, and very scared to tell what it really wants, so it is unable neither to claim its rights nor to make a choice.

The first aspect of power that we can notice is the political one. As we can hear in the tailor, Pinochet, helped by the head of the police and the Army, has the total control of mass communication and social and economic organizations. He also represses any form of opposition and dissidence. In fact even if people is assumed to have the right of replying "No" to the plebiscite, the government keeps threatening population and more particularly the leaders of the campain. Moreover this dictatorship resulted in the death and disappearance of 3 200 people, and about 38 000 tortured people.

The second aspect related to power refers to the "counter power", in other words to the public opinion as it is question of a referendum. Effectively, even if the government carefully controls the population, we can notice that people are holding demonstrations. Furthermore, the forth branch of government, the media, also alludes to the notion of power. All the story is structured around an ad, that would be permit the party of the "NO" to win, and overthrow the dictatorship.We can see what sort of sequences are chosen and how they are shot, for what purpose... With a few resources, Saavedra and his team succeed in creating a powerful ad, and win the referendum.
To my mind the last aspect of power is the most important : It is the power of happiness. The advertisers decide to build up their ad around the notion of happiness, an incontestable value, in order to be more credible, 
and to gather people to the full.

Monday, November 4, 2013

POST 7: THE NOTION OF POWER as exemplified in Brian De Palma's Redacted movie

( Videos will be here soon, for the moment it doesn't work )

"Redacted" is a movie released in 2007 by Brian De Palma. It deals with american soldiers during the Irack war. The sequences are shot as if it was a soldier who was filming, it conveys a sense of plausibility but it is also very shocking. In fact the main goal of the movie is to show what was hidden by the US government concerning their intervention in Irack. The issues in relation to the notion of power that seem to be tackled are the US military power, the US government capacity to keep some information from people, and more generally the power of a man practised on an other illegally. Furthermore, this movie also suggests that cinematography can be powerful to denounce some abuses.
A review from revcom.us :
Redacted from director Brian De Palma is a must see. This film is a work of conviction which boldly and angrily exposes the carnage and misery that has been the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq—the reality behind the mass media lies, talking points, and sanitizing of the U.S. destruction of Iraq and its people. Concentrating on the actions of one unit of soldiers, it gives a focused glimpse of what the U.S. military machine has brought down on the people of Iraq, the indescribable crimes it continues to commit, and the mentality that the troops are inculcated with and that many become steeped in. It presents a devastating portrait that stands as a much larger metaphor—a challenge to those who want to turn away and hide their eyes from these atrocities.
Redacted is centered around a true story. In March 2006, a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi, was raped, shot in the face, and burned along with other members of her family by U.S. soldiers. Speaking after the film won the Silver Lion award for best director at the Venice Film Festival, De Palma said, “The movie is an attempt to bring the reality of what is happening in Iraq to the American people. The pictures are what will stop the war…"

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Post 4 - The iRack

To my mind this video can refer to the notion of Progress, as it deals with high technology like Apple products.

On an other hand, it can also be related to the notion of power because it alludes to the Irak war and to the American participation, indeed the iRack symbolises the country. Besides, the anchorman could be Georges W Bush, the president of the United States, and it takes part to the notion.

Furthermore as it tackles the issue of the relation between America and Irak, we can talk about the notion "Spaces and Exchanges" (Iran is also mentioned at the end).

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

POST 3 (second edition)

The document that I have chosen is a video from Youtube, released in 2010.
It is an advertisement for Nikon Camera : it deals with camera and the world of photography. It tackles the social aspect, but also gives a view on the world.

The video is structured around a few sequences showing what is called "perfect moments". There is also a music which is "Welcome Home - Radical Face", and the sound of a camera taking photographies.
There are important moments of our lives, such as family ones, when we see a baby standing on his feet, a father with his children cooking, or an other with his daughter in a Russian moutain. It also shows moving emotions like laughing, loving, or feeling alive ... Effectively we see a little girl laughing doing Russian moutain (meanwhile his father is about to vomit), a couple who is marrying, and even more touching, a man who is applaused by an entire audience, with written "I am Alive".
On the other side, it offers a beautiful view of our world, amazing landscapes like pyramids, or simply a man driving in his car, travelling, going in a desert in order to do photographies. Moreover it shows a tornado, with a man rushing to it with his camera.
 Furthermore, there is also a sequence with an astronaut in space.

The most precious moments that can offers life are representated in this video. The advertiser clearly shows that photography permits saving the best moments of our lives. One of the final sequences which shows an astronaut is directly related to the notion of progress. Besides, the message put across by the advertisement is also that a camera could be everything, everywhere, with everybody. Actually the main idea of the video is to create a link between the camera and "a part of the world" as we can read in the tittle.

The document is very efficient to my mind, since it is very touching and enthrailling. Indeed, universal ideas, such as love, happiness or breathtaking landscapes, offer strength to the advertisement. In other words, the Nikon product becomes symbolic by means of incontestable values.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Post 3

This cartoon is representating of the technological advances concerning communication in long distance. We can't find more information about it. It is in the form of a timeline.
It shows four drawings. In each other there is a man who is trying to communicate something : The first is a man without any clothes, who is playing with a tree trunk and sticks. But actually, he is doing some noise in order to communicate with fellow men, in a great distance. In fact, people used to exchange with homing pigeon for example, or by doing significant sounds, like african tribes nowadays.
The second picture represents a man with glasses who is writing something like a letter, with a pen and some ink. Effectively, men communicated with each other thanks to writing, but they also continue doing it.
However, as we can see in the third drawing, today men also speak by phone. Actually there is a man who is wearing a purpple suit and calling someone.
To finish, the fourth image shows us a man with blond hair, as we can see all around us, typing in the keyboard of his phone.
Indeed these days we can easily communicate with our mobile phone, typing messages or sending photos... It takes no more time than one or two minutes. However before, ways of communication were not very efficient : To send a message it took more time and more efforts than nowadays.
Men have searched for something which could allow them to talk to each other. Writings were the first invention which was a complex one, which required specific knowledge and material. Nevertheless, it was neither safe nor effective, given that, sometimes letters had to cross many countries, or to go through many people. Some piece of information could hardly be sent. Thus, these problems rose the telephone line question, and latter, the mobility question. The fact is that a telephone line was problematic as there were note telephones everywhere. The man had to find an other solution to this key issue. The message put across by the document is that communication is always getting better. Moreover, even if the stages are very different, it shows that it is promising : Technology can make great steps.
Howsoever, isn't it a vicious circle, because every time that we find a solution for our problem, a new obstacle stands.  
To my mind communication headway permit human beings to exchange easier and easier. It has improved itself many time, and I think it will never stop searching something that could be better. Generally, the progress has no limits. 
Besides, I think that the document could be better with more precisions. I find that stages are missing, like "Internet" or "email".

Friday, September 20, 2013

When technology is too much / is missing

When Technology is too much

Description : This video is stuctured around 2 main narrative voices : A character illustrating what the voice-over says, while a singer often merely repeats what's just been said.
The setting is a Christian home and a Church. This particular context is meaningful.
We can notice on various occasions that the man is addicted to high-technology products, mostly Smartphones. He is shown as a family man, unable to interact with his wife except through his phone, and as a Church-goer, incapable of attending worship without all his phone vibrating all the time, making him look like he is full of the holy spirit. Finally, he is depicted as a computer geek/guru whose life has become extremely complicated instead of having been simplified.

Interpretation : Basically, this video means that high technology has become a religion for some people, even for Christians, who are not supposed to be materialistic.
In the Christian lifestyle, quite a few Church-goer and believers tend to focus more on materialistic issues than on spiritual ones.
Technology reigns supreme for many people who revere it, as a God enlightening his followers.
Is the technology a real progress for humankind ?

When Technology is missing

Description : Two people are stuck on an escalator un a place that seems literally empty, deserted. The man is upset, annoyed, he could be an office worker walking to his job. The woman claims that she is already late, this is the last straw, that breaks the camel's back. At one point, she is about to cry and begs for a phone. In short, the two of them look helpless, clueless.
Interpretation : We can relate this situation to a fairly common one in real life : getting stuck on an elevator. However, the difference is that in this situation, people have a right to feel panicky, freak out. Whereas on an escalator, there is no reason whatsoever (at all) to be scared. The video points out the increasing reliance of human beings on technology.
If it goes missing, it's as if a crutch had been taken away. These two people can't ever climb. Which would be the normal thing to do. Technological progress makes humans lazy or at least less prone to / inclined to take initiatives, to think by themselves ...

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Chapatte cartoon, herald tribune

We can assume that this humorous cartoon was drawn in May by Chapatte, after the Cannes festival.

It deals with the notion of progress, and more precisely with the technological evolution. Furthermore, it tackles the issue of illegal downloading. Indeed, these are both highly-debated issues.

At first sight in the foreground we can notice a couple of celebrities who is signing an autograph to a fan on the Cannes festival red carpet. The man of the couple, who could be a director, seems to lose his temper, however the fan, who wears a tee-shirt with a "@", is delighted. By means of a speech bubble, we learn that the fan had downloaded all of the director's movies. In the distance we can make out the entrance of the festival. The crowd which is screaming and photographing is also illustrated in the background.

The cartoonist clearly denounces the behaviour of some webusers. He represents them through the fan. In fact the cartoon suggests that people pirate private things on the web without any scruples.
The message put accross by the illustrator could be that the technologic progress goes too far. It can also be a criticism of those who use it without having any respect for the others and their achievements. However some people don't even know that downloading films or music is something bad, as we can imagine thanks to the expression of the fan.

To my mind this document conveys a sense of humour, given that there is a kind of compliciy between the illustrator and the reader. Actually it shows a reality that everybody does and that everybody hides. It is a bit provocative as all of us may feel concerned. This is clever enough to amuse readers, and also to make us become aware of the fact that this behaviour is excessive, but I wonder if a cartoon could really change people's minds. I completely agree with the cartoonist and as far as I am concerned I find that it is a very inventive way to show something delicate. We can easily notice the lack of comprehension between the two men at watching the cartoon, and this disagreement is for me a crucial problem in the world .