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Mothlight - On a purely aesthetic level I enjoyed this movie. However, I probably would have enjoyed it just as much as a series of still photographs or as pieces of leaves glued onto textured paper, so it wasn't the 'moving' part of it that did anything for me really. I found it very interesting that although there was no narrative element to the film, many students in the class felt that the film did express some sort of story, and the quote at the beginning by Brakhage can support this. If this film is the birth, life and death of a moth, then I want to say that this is deep and meaningful and a fascinating look at life experienced through a bug's eyes. On the other hand, I want to condemn it in my capitalistic fashion as a meaningless piece of art that doesn't follow any traditional or nontraditional narrative structure, and without some sort of narrative structure, meaning or message, I find it hard to see the worth of the piece, unless the whole point is seeing the film as an empty vessel waiting for a viewer to project some sort of meaning onto it, a concept that vaguely appeals to me but ultimately I reject. Why, I'm not quite sure. It seems almost lazy, the artist throwing together a couple of images and asking you to provide meaning. I mean, with this excuse ANYTHING can fall under art. This red blob? How do YOU feel about it? Don't ask the artist why they put it there! By the very act of DECLARING xyz art, the artist states that it is MEANINGFUL. There is nothing wrong with a viewer putting their own meaning onto something, but the artist should have a meaning present to begin with. Isn't art also about communicating with other human beings, trying to give over something to someone else, whether it be an actual meaning or a feeling? Again, we come back to my feelings on contemporary art. At least Mothlight is beautiful in a way, which is more than I can say about some of the crap in the UCLA sculpture garden (Can you believe it? That weird structure in the right hand corner is a sculpture - it was this big thing you could walk inside. No clue what it was for, rather boring piece of art) I was forced to walk through to reach my film classes at UCLA (much UCLA <3 though)

Fireworks - So at least this film tried to get a meaning across, despite lack of narrative structure, so I can't rip into it for that. I WILL diss it though based on the pretentiousness of the voiceover and the sometimes in-your-face symbolism. I find it hard to relate to this film as I am not into homosexuality, BDSM or fantasies about hot young sailors, but I loved the hand with the finger broken off (my mother was like, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? and I'm like, CASTRATION IMAGERY MOM, AND BTW THANKS FOR PUTTING PHALLIC CURTAIN RODS  IN MY BEDROOM. Oh yes, I have been in the humanities department too long). The firecracker in the pants was disturbing because I question the sanity of anyone who would want to put that anywhere near their genitals, but it was an effective image.

The thing that did catch my attention most about this film was the lack of explicit sexual content. I mean, Anger totally got this points about sexuality across without resorting to flapping flacid dicks around or showing the poor sap getting raped other than his facial expressions, and I totally appreciate that (I got the impression that his later films were more explicit though, yes?). Even though I may stand in opposition to this film on so many levels - morally, aesthetically, narratively - fillmmakers should take note that it is possible to convey meaningful and powerful sexual concepts without resorting to graphic, explicit, gratuitous or titillating sex and nudity (and yet I feel like this totally wasn't Anger's point, but hey, as a viewer I can put my own interpretation on this ha). I have yet to watch a film or tv show that was made better by the addition of such things. Seriously, if you want boobies, get some porn. Don't screw up my favorite tv show. I found Anger's depictions of sexual issues far more meaningful and creative than, say, all the prostitutes showing off their lack of boobs on Dexter. Hey, if Anger can do it, then Showtime can tone it down a bit, yeah? FADE TO BLACK is your best friend.

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tamar the great

December 2009

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