Forty Guns (1957) Revisited

Forty Guns (1957)

Ever since I saw Forty Guns (1957) a few years ago I have not been able to shake that opening sequence of sheer madness and cinematic magic as the Bonnell brothers are stopped in their tracks by a stamped of Jessica Drummond (Barbara Stanwyck) and her men as they ride on by them, inviting you into a world that is anything but normal. Raising the dirt from the ground, leaving these three men in bewilderment at this spectacle that is only to continue as we enter into the cattle barons town.

It’s one of the few westerns that really made for the wide-screen, making full use of the format and pushing the visual boundaries of what you can do. Samuel Fuller is giving us a different brand of film-making, one that is all out there, taking your on a journey from different points of view and throwing in anything that comes into his head. You could say this is a movie that should only be shown on the big screen, no widescreen TV can really do it justice.

Forty Guns has nothing to do with the myth of conquest as such. It’s a myth within the myth where anything can happen. As we saw in the opening titles to the first showdown with cuts back and forth to elder brother Griff Bonnell (Barry Sullivan) who makes his mark after the marshall has been shot dead. You can see strong influences for Sergio Leone with the closeups that fill the screen, looking on at the audience, he’s coming for us, no, he’s coming for Jessica’s brother Brockie Drummond (John Ericson), and without a shot he’s down. There’s a new form of law in town, independent from that imposed by Drummond and her puppet Sheriff Ned Logan (Dean Jagger). These are the Earp’s or the of the town, complete with their own history, bringing law with them. A dying breed of man who everyone knows will be gone soon. Even Griff himself who follows in a long tradition of gunfighters who cannot stand still in a town for long.

Even thought Stanwyck was no stranger to the genre she is particularly strong in this masculine role. The men are referred to as guns not men, tools that she uses at work, those who she gives orders to on her ranch. It takes a really strong man to stand up to her, which we find in Sullivan. Also the rifle-makers daughter (Sandy Wirth) is a match for middle brother (Robert Dix), it’s a masculine position that makes her more attractive, not just at home or in the dancehall, working the gambling tables. Our view of her on the screen is still very masculine even looking down the barrel of a gun, a target that has to be caught and married. When he visits her one time, he is measured for a gun, much like a suit, a gun is still seen as an essential part of being a man. A made to measure tool for the man, by the woman, allowing him to get closer to her, or more the other way around. Acting as the secondary romance to that between Griff and Jessica which does come out of the blue, both strong characters who brought together by chance. 

Thats chance encounter being a tornado, a real personal touch by the director, another of those moments of spontaneity which bring these two characters together. Well forced I should say by the elements. You could say nothing make sense in this film, that was my original conclusion as it goes against tradition and the language of the genre to deliver a thrill-ride of a film. Throwing in these motifs in part to engage a declining audience and to make the genre fresh again. Acting as an antidote to the darker Anthony Mann westerns of the decade, with all the hallmarks of New-wave cinema, combining classical imagery with unconventional cinematography.

With the crooked sheriff, with have a cowardly lion who’s roar is soon quietened, living in the pocket of Jessica, before living in fear of her after the arrest of one of her men/guns. We see a loyalty to the landowner destroy him as the film progresses. There’s a lot going on for a film that has only an 80 minute running time, so much happens and you can’t really process it. This was a welcome and much anticipated revisit that has given me so much more. A powerful female figure in the west was factually rare, and on cinema even rarer. Stanwyck’s presence on-screen is softer, able able to retain that far better. She never loses authority of her, it’s just over what she has authority of than changes.

Meeting P.T. Anderson Update (23/5/15)

Once again I am taking advantage of the bank holiday to do as much as I possibly can. Following on from last weeks test video I had the idea to do the reverse of what I have been doing in the past four test videos, which was in essence removing the dialogue, leaving only silence or the space either side of the dialogue.

Using found footage from The Master (2012) once more I looked at the same sequence again and a tiny bit more that I found, leaving only but the dialogue. I was careful to leave a bit of silence in places incase I had to cross dissolves some of the clips together to make it look smoother. As I began to cut into the clip it became evident how much faster the conversation was going, however the longer you are confronted with that speed of deliver you feel watching at a job interview which goes break-neck speed without time think, hearing all of these questions. Once you get to the end you are relieve its over, it does take you more into the mindset of Quill (Joaquin Phoenix) who is being drilled and tested to his mental stability and his potential to join Dodds (Philip Seymour Hoffmangroup. It did remind me of the old Warner Brother style of film of fast paced deliver,  however there would be more of a chance to breathe.

Moving onto what would be the final test of the day, I looked at how a scene was broken up over the course of a montage, I wanted to cut one sequence that took place over the duration of that montage. I don’t think this has work as well as previous pieces. Maybe because its different from what I have done before. I’ve torn a montage apart and reassembled what is going on, removing the parts in-between, slowing down the film, or ignoring the rest of Quill’s journey. It does become a sequence in it’s own right which it wasn’t before. However I am thinking in the back of my mind that Magnolia (1999) is practically one carefully constructed montage really of different events that overlap. Would the same thing happen if I for example reconstructed Jason Robards characters journey to be one short film, what effect would that have on the rest of the film, you have minor roles for Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Tom CruiseHowever the interview sequence is something that could work well put together.

I decided not to look at the rest of my footage as those sequence as interesting as they are, work just being themselves, if I was to manipulate them I don’t believe I would be bringing anything new to the discussion. The more I look at just one of Paul Thomas Anderson‘s films I am starting to think of that trilogy, moving away from Hard Eight (1996) to Magnolia alone could be the way forward. Although a part of me still wants to take a look and see what I can find. Am i just jumping ahead or shouldI just follow my instincts on this. For now I think I’ll see how things go with Hard Eight just to see what happens then jump into Magnolia to see what happens there.


Cop Land (1997)

Cop Land (1997)Ok Cop Land (1997) is not the best title for a film, it sound primitive and thoughtless, something from the first draft of a scrip that thankfully changed to something with a better ring to it. However that’s not the case here, plus it doesn’t matter with a cast as good as this. Even with most of them in supporting roles behind Sylvester Stallone an actor I usually avoid, not really taking to his brand of macho films. I gave this film a chance based on the line-up not him so much. I came away surprised really as Stallone plays against type, a town Sheriff who is stuck in a position where he can’t progress to make a real difference to his community.

A community made by cops for cops to live in safety, with one of the lowest rates if crime in the state of New York, coincidence I think not. When you scratch beneath the surface of this suburban town you see cracks begin to show. After two black men are killed in a drive-by-shooting with Murray Babitch (Michael Rapaport) who thinks his career is over. Yet another case of racially motivated shooting by the police, thats all they need. Leave it to Ray Donlan (Harvey Keitel) to clear up the mess and create a hero from the wreckage of the crime. You don’t expect this twist that turns the film upside down and invites internal police investigator Moe Tilden (Robert De Niro) who begins to stick his nose where it’s not wanted. Even though none of this happens on Freddy Heflin‘s (Stallone) patch he is drawn in slowly. 

I think the reason that this is Stallone isn’t throwing his weight as much as we have come to expect him to. He hardly throws a punch, only fires a few shots and spends most of his time in the community. Reflecting on his past, and the choices that have lead to his current position. It’s much a more about his emotions, we see him more depressed and down-trodden than anything else which is a refreshing change and something I can really buy into from him. Allowing the other actors to take up the weightier material as they all act as his conscience. As Tilden wants his help with his investigation into Donlan’s corruption. Whilst Donlan is trying to keep him quiet the more he pries into things he shouldn’t.

There’s a history of keeping quiet as we learn from Gary Figgis (Ray Liotta) who lost his partner and friend who is blames on Donlan. You could say this is a partial reunion of the Goodfellas (1990) cast which is further from the truth. All supposedly on the right side of the law this time. There is lot of shades of grey here, as they all fight crime but using their own rules. Donlan and Tildan act as Heflin’s conscience. It’s only when events escalate that Heflin s forced to act, the push over starts to stand up and investigate his colleagues, a dangerous move, whistle blowing your friends.

What makes this film memorable is that the system that is there to protect the public is protect itself from the outside world. Hiding the corruption in order to live a safer live, in the pockets of gangsters, the strong stand tall, able to fight crime whilst also committing their own. They believe they are above the law. Even with soft sheriff Heflin who takes his time to pick himself up and put a stop to it all. Filled with traditionally tough guy actors they all show flaws in their character. Personified by Stallone who does a role reversal of his screen persona to deliver a very different character which I can identify more with, an average cop who rises above it all. Set against the mid-nineties media landscape that keeps things in perspective for the audience, the bigger picture is painted opposite a character driven cop film that wants to give us something different and to an extent does.


Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Mad Max Fury Road (2015)It’s been years since I last saw one of the films from the Mad Max trilogy (1979-85) leaving me with a thirst for more on-screen violence from in the post-apocalyptic outback of Australia. George Miller and Mel Gibson creating a myth built on legendary characters. Ok the first outing Mad Max (1979) was made on a budget, it hash;t aged to well. With all the larger than life characters that were painted, the danger and Gibson a then unknown having loads of fun. The idea of a desolate future was being written. The next instalment we meet him in Mad Max: Road Wrarrior (1981) very much a changed man after witnessing the death of his family at the beginning of this apocalyptic future. A few years down the line we are in this world where anything goes, with even larger than life characters in all kinds of contraptions, spikes, spears and skulls on cars of all shapes and sizes from bygone days, pimped up cars, kitted out for the desert. We can see that life does go on, there is hope. Where the is hope this is also despair as factions of bikers and other gangs of petrol-heads are after all they can get as we find, more dangerous than the good guys, It’s all a giant play-ground for the male imagination, cars explosion and death and destruction to revell in on the big-screen. Before reaching new levels with the last part of the trilogy Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) trying to be more commercial with the inclusion of even more kids and the bombastic Tina Turner as Aunty Entity leader of a group built on-fear and control. Modern society in the later two has clearly broken down, reverting back to a more primal state. It’s far beyond what we have in The Rover (2014).

Ok with a some context in place this latest instalment 30 years later or should I’d say Mad Max:Fury Road (2015) re-boot is more of an amalgamation of the three earlier films. With the past built into flashbacks the other two are built-in in terms of borrowing elements here and there to recreate that world for a new audience. I’m usually one to say on Facebook when I see a post that yet another classic is being remade or rebooted, I hang my head in shame or despair, why return to something that worked so well. Going back to the watering hole for more of the same instead of being original. However I have no doubts about this one thanks to George Miller being all over this film. Only he could deliver a fresh take on what makes Max tick, the cars the insane characters that roam the desert.

The reusing of the same elements has ensured that there is some continuity to the universe. We left Max last time as he sped off into the distance, the kids and any responsibility they believed he had to them. We had images of a ruined city and that theme tune that has done far better than the film. We find Max now still getting into scrapes, fighting to get free, now also afflicted by flashbacks, the guilt for leaving others to die. A haunted and complicated man of few words. Gibson’s Max had a few more. We do still retain the over-protectiveness for his car though, not much really changes. Held prisoner by Immorten Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrneruler of the Citadel a figure straight out of a H.R. Giger sketch who is held together by the best technology and fear that he can inspire. He probably has about as many lines as Tom Hardy who struggles to keep one accent for a single page of dialogue. He needs to really find and focus on who he is, with a voice that is all over the place, he’s Australian one minute, American the next, just make your mind up. Unlike the rebellious Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) who has left the faction on a routine delivery, made out to be the best of her kind, having proven herself to Immorten Joe. She’s fully formed and a deeper character,  Max we can’t get into, needing to rely on the flashbacks and the original trilogy to fill in the gaps. He does however fall into the Leone figure of the west more so that Gibson’s take on the role.

If you’ve see the previous films you’ll know what I mean when you see this film begin making you feel at home with what you know before cranking up the explosions which come at regular and welcome intervals as the Furiosa takes her truck of a detour away from it’s destination. We learn her true mission. Its not just a male dominated world, women still have a voice, something that has been lacking from the other three. Ok there were families and Entity but not on this scale. A rare action film that will definitely pass the Bechdel test.

It turns into a rescue and escape mission for Furiosa who you can see and had to fight for all she has in life. Harbouring 4 of Immorten Joe’s wives, reflecting the current state of immigration and refugees in the world today. The Although there isn’t the fear of crossing the channel and having someone break into your car and your lorry. There is still that core ideal of wanting a better life on a world that is no barren. Max is caught in the middle of all of this after being tied to a stake on his car part of a war party, driven by Nux (Nicholas Hoult) a glory hungry half life, one of the legions of loyal soldiers who will kill for Joe

This group of unlikely characters band together to get the promised land, this time the Green, which does sound like paradise. we do capture glimpses of such a life, hidden behind the guarded world of Citadel. If it wasn’t for the recession we may not have had another Mad Max, not to say we should have economic disasters to make films, it’s an interesting reflection of our times placed in a future where s*** has hit the fan big time and everyone is picking up after the fallout. The powerful have find ways to control the people whilst others band together. There’s a lot going on, I saw Mad Max in 3D which was perfect, given all the action, the crazy explosions, it feels too much then you end up wanting more. Its better than “mediocre” its marvellous. Can there be a sequel? I’m not sure, there is plenty of room to go to other tribes/factions, see how Max is thrown into it all. However it needs to break free of the past to be truly modern, build on what it has to be truly fresh.

Meeting P.T. Anderson Update (16/5/15)

Even though I’ve not been in the studio long today I have produced 4 very different test videos using footage from The Master (2012) as a form preparation for looking at the loose trilogy of Hard EightBoogie NightsMagnolia (1996/7/9) I am really wanting to working with Hard Eight more than ever now after seeing todays results, the relationship between male characters without dialogue is something new two me. Of course coming from a Western perspective which is a very masculine genre I have never really approached the dynamics beyond my reviews. Today I have started to work through the footage I sourced last weekend.

The first test looks at Freddie Quill (Joaquin Phoenix) and a doctor who is asking him questions, I have noticed a strange pattern in all of these videos, that Quill laughs in every test, which I have left in as it’s not exactly dialogue so I believe shouldn’t be removed. Which has become a rule for me, even though it requires using the vocal chords its not actually speech but an emotional reaction. The video itself is more about getting into the practice of removing dialogue so it’s not the smoothest, I have started to look at gestures that Quill does. I also noticed his mouth movements which I am sensitive off, so don’t want to emphasise

The second is a lot more fun as we find Quill working a department store photographer, here going out of his mind, playing with the lighting. I wanted to see how I could turn this into something about gestures. The removal of dialogue doesn’t detract from the scene, if anything it adds to it more so. I have taken liberties to speed up a small section for comic effect. I think it works well, and should be used elsewhere if the content allows.

The third is the first time that we find Quill and Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) in the same room. Its vert introductory for them both, we see them now eyeing each other up. Trying to figure each other out with just movements. Although you can see more what I have done.

The fourth and final is the one I am proudest of. You can feel tension between the two men. It’s a processing session that Dodd leads in order to better understand Quill who we can’t tell if he’s just enjoying the ride, being in Dodd’s group or really wants the help to sort his head out. This scene was intense, leading me to my next test that I will produce, being dialogue heavy. I have in essence created a negative video, the lack of dialogue here, to have a positive, wanting to pack in all the dialogue, the questions and answers with no break, it will go a lot faster too.

Ultimately I want to look at footage from clips such as this one below. I just feel I need to look at another before I get into the trilogy to see what is going on in each.  Until then it’s time to look at a later film of Paul Thomas Anderson

The Paperboy (2012)

The Paperboy (2012)Probably positioned at the beginning of the McConaseince which has seen him shake on that awful rom-com image to be taken seriously as an actor who finally picked up an Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club (2013). I seem to be picking up these film in the wrong order, still each one sees him on top form. We see him here in The Paperboy  (2012) a neo-film-noir in the early 1960’s as two journalist set out to prove a murderers innocence. A story that  not as cut and dry as we think it will be.

Told in retrospect not by a male characters but the ex-maid of the papers family Anita Chester (Macy Gray) to another reporter, trying themselves to get to the truth of the novel that the film is based upon. Slowly transitioning back to the murder of a sherif, gutted like an Alligator, brutal to say the least just the film gets going. Jumping forward to find a sexually and generally frustrated and obvious money draw to the film Jack Jansen (Zac Efron) who meets his brother Ward Jansen (Matthew McConaughey) and writing partner Yardley Acheman (David Oyelowo) as they return home to investigate and hopefully free death-row prisoner Hillary Van Wetter (John Cusack) for Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman). It’s a strong line-up of actors on the face of it set in the Florida with hot temperatures, things are going to get a lot hotter around the collar for everyone.

You could say this is another Cape Fear (1962/1991) (kind of) that prods the underbelly of the disreputable members of society. It’s not just about lust that a man feels for a woman he can’t have because eventually they give in to these animal urges. It’s a film noir in the full sixties colour with a modern sensibility, which is an interesting twist, although it doesn’t always work. One of the characteristics of the genre is how confusing the strands of the narrative progresses which this film became in parts which again lost me at times. With a brother who was sexually confused, and another who was homosexual it was hard to tell who wanted what until its in your face, and brutally too. 

That event does leaves Ward very much a changed man as Jack comes into his own at this point, forcing him to grow up after what he has seen. The rest of the characters are compelling yet it feels there is too much over-acting than anything going on. They are all chewing up the scenery and having a good time sweating amongst themselves. It is fun when you’re not confused by the twist that brings us to the last act which feels too short to really bring closure, we are left in shock by what has happened, its immediate leaving you little time to think. It’s very much style of substance for me. You can see they are all having fun in these roles, the dark Deep-South comes alive once more, the slimy characters comes out from the cracks (or swamp) to creep us out.

Meeting P.T. Anderson

The start of my break away from the Wild West looking at the conversations that are found within the unofficial trilogy of Paul Thomas Anderson‘s first films, beginning with Hard Eight (1996) and ending with Magnolia (1999) which share more than their casts amongst one another. Before I make a start on pulling them apart I have decided to see what I can find with The Master (2012) which has given more ideas than just conversations between just two men. I need to do some experimenting before I say any more and share my findings with you then. I thought for a moment  that I may extend the work to all of his films, still I need to see the potential in these four first.

You’re Not You (2014)

You're Not You (2014)When I first read the title You’re Not You (2014) I was thinking this was going to be Hilary Swanks Still Alice (2014) which I was wary of. Instead it’s her version of The Theory of Everything (2014). Either comparison you could say is unfair or just coincidence. I decided to give this film which I had slipped by unnoticed last year, probably kept quiet in the wake of Eddie Redmayne was all but silenced. Instead of being a public figure we have a middle class successful couple who have been married for 15 years. Immediately it feels too polished, to nice and soft. I can see the direction that the film is trying to go in, that anyone can develop Motor neurone disease which is both brave and honest, it can and does effect anyone.

What the real selling point of this film is that it has a female focus, which is refreshing too. There are too many male dominated films, sadly it takes an indie film to add to that minority in Hollywood today. With Swank as the sufferer Kate of the disease and her carer Bec (Emmy Rossum) who goes on the standard transformative journey from failed student to a better person. It’s all pretty standard really for a film that deals with a horrible disease that literally stops you in you’re tracks.

Ok with my initial thoughts in laid I need to explore what actually went on. You can see from the start it’s going to be a gentler and more intimate film that has a small cast. Probably a budget aspect but it does allow us to get to know Kate and Bec all that much better. The middle class setting however cold it feels to the audience is there for a reason, looking beyond the nice clothes and house we have a woman with a debilitating disease who is not really understood by her friends who don’t usually see such suffering, wrapped in their comfortable lifestyle. However it feels like it’s poking at the middle class rather than making you think this is your friend whose sitting there still.

The focusing being the patient carer relationship that begging 18 months into the disease when sometime university student Bec who we find sleeping around, enjoying her single life and all that comes with it. Good on her too, but it all gets shaken up when she goes for an interview that changes her life. The shot in the arm she needed really. Going through life with little responsibility besides looking after her grandma when she as younger, looking after Kate is a big step-up for her. A woman who is has just sacked her last carer for making her feel like a patient, something you can really understand. What begins is a relationship that lasts the duration of the film through all the high and lows which get more depressing as the film goes on.

It nearly goes into assisted suicide territory that is quickly averted when they meet fellow sufferer Marilyn (Loretta Devine) and her carer Eric (Ernie Hudson) allowing them to share their experience, knowing that they neither of them are alone. I also have the sneaking suspicion that their inclusion was to tick the minority box so it’s not an all white film, or am I just being cynical. I have to say to Devine’s credit she makes he most of the rare straight role away from comedy. Either way Loretta being another sufferer gives Kate a friend and confidant that she cant have in Bec, making her think about her future which is coming faster than she thinks.

This is all whilst she has broken up with her husband Evan (Josh Duhamel) who has struggled being an almost sole carer and husband. Which the audience is supposed to related to, looking at another aspect of the situation. However I just donut care about him, coming across more of a pretty boy than anything else. I know this film has all the right intentions and is sensitive about Motor Neurone Disease which I can’t fault. The central performances are fine, but don’t really set the world alight, theres nothing that really pulls the heart strings that this subject matter really should do. Which is what Still Alice and The Theory of Everything both have in heaps, and Still Alice is also an indie film, something is definitely missing. 

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Heat (1995) Revisited

Heat (1995)Its about time that I took the time to re-evaluate the epic crime drama that finally brought together two of the biggest actors of the last twenty years together. You can’t really count The Godfather Part II (1974) as the first time that Al Pacino and Robert De Niro were on-screen together. As I write this I have watched just under half of Heat (1995) which was first brought to my attention in a lecture at university, where I saw that famous scene where see  the two actors finally meet on-screen. You have to realise that its more than an opportunity for these two to clash on-screen. WE have a view of Los Angeles that we don’t usually see. Of course there are hundreds of films that involve the infamous LAPD, just as famous as the NYPD.

The point I’m trying to make just under half way into the film is that we don’t see any of he glamour of the great city that is easily accessible to Hollywood, the epicentre of the American dream, where here anything can go wrong. As criminals lead by Neil McCauley (De Niro) are living the life of luxury, carefully planning robberies whilst the police are living a life of misery. It’s a complete reversal of fortunes so far.

The good life versus the bad life juxtaposed against the bright lights of LA that never seem to switch off. Emphasise by the lighting on the film by Dante Spinotti who maintains that sunny glow of the day through the night. From the opening titles we are bathed in light, little is left in the shadows, no where to hide. It’s as if the city is too big and vast to even need to hide. As McCauley and his gang are almost asking for it. Getting away so far based on technology and bribes, power goes along way up from the bottom. And on both sides too as we find with Lt. Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) who uses his connections to get what he wants. Knowing all the time that McCauley is one step ahead. So far they have looked down the barrel of a camera lens twice before they finally do meet.

We are looking at not just an investigation into a gang, but the lives on both sides and how it affects their private lives. As one is fighting to keep hold of his lover whilst he is torn between his messed up job. Another is discovering someone and enjoying the fortune that comes with that. I do feel that things are played more in the favour of the criminals who we spend slightly (I say that lightly) more time with, looking in Val Kilmer‘s direction who’s own marriage is breaking down. With that one criticism, I am looking forward to completing the film and my re-assessment that was once just a few paragraphs previously about a film that has more to offer than the cops chasing the bad guys, the emphasis of character reversed, the city of LA becomes a character itself, not just a backdrop. What else will I discover?

The first think was the wealth of camera glare that you just cannot shake. Most film-makers try and avoid such mistakes. Here they are embraced, using them as part of the fabric of the film, a city filled with light its part of the environment that can’t be ignored, dancing around the screen, the only element that cannot be controlled beyond an understanding of movement and angling. Before switch back to the reality of the film where we finally bring both Hanna and McCauley for that coffee, a scene that only lasts a few minutes and feels like an hour as they both say their piece, each with their jobs to do, not willing to give them up. Theres a mutual respect which you don’t find in crime dramas. Respecting the enemy in order to understand them, getting closer to them,

Both of their worlds are crumbling down, modern life in the city is not what most film make it out to be. As the last bank-robbery gets under way we are treated to an onslaught on violence that begins to numb you to the sound of bullets as they go back and forth at an incredible rate. Blurring who the good guys and cops are. Each taking casualties it’s a costly battle that cannot be given up as the gang are have to split and go their own ways, it seems all is lost for Lt Hanna and his team who invested so much time.

We have to wait longer before the finale which we thought was never coming. Its tense and momentous as both men are brought together in a final shoot-out after all the mayhem they leave at a hotel as a standard diversion. On the airfield we find promises being kept, to break them would to not be true to yourself. I had completely forgotten this final scene that has aged well with the passing of time. If we were to have two younger leads this would be a completely different beast, it wouldn’t be a beast at all, just another standard cop film.

You have a wealth of film history  on-the screen that culminates in this post modern film that has all the hallmarks of the cop-genre which has grown up if only for a moment. Modern life creeps into the private lives far deeper than other films making Heat stand out and up amongst the others. I decided to re-watch Heat as it had been a while, my first review only scratched the surface, here I have made a deeper cut that has given me a better understanding and another chance to see the film for what it really is.

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Tonight I showed my latest video during crit group which was well received with a few comments that I could use in my next video, which I am definitely going to consider when it comes to my next video a direction I will definitely go down as it really works for me.

– Working on a blank canvas away from the studio which did come off as distracting at times, as the train passed other members work in their respective places.

– The angle of the train track sequences in the video could have been higher up, going more towards a 90 degrees angles.

– Things for the future to maybe add could be the place myself in the video in someway, maybe acting on green-screen that could be superimposed onto the model set. I have heard the idea of me in the work before. I’ve never really been excited by it as I prefer to work behind the camera. It would be a brave move to make, becoming a performative piece which would be new to my practice. I could re-enact scenes from my favourite westerns and place myself into my cardboard world.

– Using low-fi special effects in the work which is also something I have shied away from, I could do it with gun fire or explosion, all with that low-fun aesthetic

Turning to where I wanted to talk about was the possible Native American piece which I was worrying over nothing really, the whole group knew I would be sensitive about the subject matter. My idea however seems to be irrelevant in that we as an audience already know that their depiction was simplified for a white audience to enjoy. What more can I possible add to that discussion beyond repeating it. What I could be doing is more of a documentary if I went down the political route which is something I am not comfortable with. Also I feel it’s a subject better articulated by those who know the subject best, the Natives themselves have more agency and a stronger voice.

What I need to do is think about my position a male living a Leicester, in the U.K. what is my position and relationship away from all that about the depiction of the Native Americans. My position so far is as a young artist exploring and understanding a genre that is not in its prime, looking at it with a sense of wonder like a child at all the gun play, the masculinity which has become irrelevant, sadly we are allowed to cry and apologise. Yet there is still something to be said for being strong and standing up for yourself. Backing away from a fight is far better than getting killed. These are modern notions that are harder for older generations to accept. I enjoy the myth that has been created on-screen and how it was born out of the old west mythologizing itself. It’s the exploration of it all as I watch more films broadening my understand and love.

How do I articulate and express all of that comes with time and thought. An idea coming to mind a running with it. If I were to look at the Native Americans what more could I really say beyond what we know? We watch them as children, not fully understanding them, growing up to learn more about racism and depiction of others on-screen, it’s become a part of understanding the world around us. How can another piece of art do that we do it as a course of living. What I need to focus on is the passion of what I love, for instance the man of the West compared to the modern man and how they compare and differ. The Duke comes to mind, a strong part of my work who could be the centre of a new piece, how his characters words are positioned today, what is there meaning. How they compare with say Eastwood a more enlightened man of the West, both meeting chronologically in the 1960’s when tastes and ideas began to change.

My work is naturally moving towards making a film, it’s going to happen and will happen. I came close with Pericles of the West before is grew into something else. For now I need to think, ideas already in my head from working with a collection of dime novels to the idea of masculinity in there genre which is appealing.

I’ll leave you with where I want to go for the present whilst I give this work time to breathe, looking at a possible dialogue free video concerning the films of Paul Thomas Anderson which I have been thinking about since Hard Eight (1996) concerning the loose trilogy of films. It’s just an idea which does need to be tried out before I know if it will work.


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