Since I made the decision to actually go forward and shoot this film project (rather than just ruminate over it and periodically outline it), I’ve been watching films in slightly changed light. Now, I’m much more conscious of really parsing out:
what a director’s intentions were,
when something was executed (i.e., writing, acting, directing, setting, editing, etc.)
how he/she did it (i.e., technical processes, decisionmaking process).
I basically have gotten into full “influence/tool/idea absorption mode. The result so far is a list of films I’ve seen or re-seen recently that have an impact on me and this project in some way (all links are to imdb and/or amazon):
Agnes Varda’s The Gleaners – a simple, powerful movie–shot on DV–that basically pushed me over the edge to make this film.
Jacques Demy’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg – Bizarre if you get right down to it, but an essentially unique film that I’ve fixated on. I’m not making a bittersweet, technicolor french musical, though. [DVD]
Hirokazu Kore-eda’s After Life – unassuming, thought-provoking, frankly touching, and carefully made (Kore-eda interviewed over 500 people for the film and included some of these non-actors in the production). [DVD]
Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge – What is it about me and unconventional musicals? I was heartened that such a singular vision of a film could be realized, even if it’s not completely successful. It blew me away in some ways, though. [soundtrack]
Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (Redux) – We saw it last night, first time on the big screen. Yow. Overwhelming. Whether it was just me, or the re-edit, or the big screen, it was definitely better than I remembered it. But basically, it’s the diametric opposite of what I’m trying to do with this film. In so many ways. [DVD]
Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line – I can’t seem to stop watching this movie, whose release got so overshadowed by Saving Private Ryan (it seems silly to put them side by side for anything now…). It makes me want to shoot quavering fields of sun-dappled grass, though. [DVD]
Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Decalogue – a 10-part made-for-Polish TV masterpiece of subtle, yet extremely deliberate storytelling based (somewhat thematically) on the Ten Commandments. Kieslowski’s sense of narrative and of portraying the inter-related nature of individuals’ lives and actions is an inspiration. [DVD]
Some links I’ve found as I familiarize myself with to-date research and thought on how culture, worldview, personality, and behavior patterns develop or are transmitted:
Faces of Culture [via PBS.org]
this appears to be an introductory anthropology course comprising a series of films/tv shows. Interesting-sounding episodes include 204 Language and Communication, 205 Psychological Anthropology, and 206 Alejandro Mamani: A Case Study in Psychological Anthropology.
Developmental Theories of Crime and Delinquency: Advances in Criminological Theory
A dense but intruiging-looking essay on the theorized difference between people who demonstrate temporary/situational and repeated/persistent antisocial behavior. It showed up in a google search for cumulative continuity.
Resource list of Margaret Mead’s work [from the Institute for Intercultural Studies]
Syllabus for Margaret Mead and Cultural Relativism [from Swarthmore.edu]
The Fateful Hoaxing of Margaret Mead : A Historical Analysis of Her Samoan Research, by Derek Freeman, is a refutation of Mead’s highly influential study of adolescence in Samoa, Coming of Age in Samoa. Both her theories and the controversy that emerged only after her death are interesting. (Of course, if these weren’t interesting to me, I guess I wouldn’t spent the time logging them.)