Thursday, February 8, 2007

Blog Chat: Cinephiles?, Gateways, Plagiarism, More Children of Men

Andy Horbal asks this question over on his blog:
Do you
A) identify with
B) feel alienated by
the term cinephile? Or would you choose
C) none of the above?

I chose B): to me "cinephile" sounds too much like "audophile" which I (perhaps unfairly) associate with people who are really into their stereo system. I prefer "film buff", partly because it's a lot more casual sounding.

Blake Bell has a thoughtful post on the mainstream comics industry's delusions about coming up with gateway comics.

Eddie Campbell has a (perhaps) provocative post about plagiarism, Roy Lichtenstein, and IP. He quotes R.G. Collingwood:

Let all such artists as understand one another, therefore, plagiarize each other's work like men. Let each borrow his friends' best ideas, and try to improve on them. If A thinks himself a better poet than B, let him stop hinting it in the pages of an essay; let him re-write B's poems and publish his own improved version. If X is dissatisfied with Y's this-year Academy picture, let him paint one caricaturing it; not a sketch in Punch, but a full-sized picture for next year's Academy. I will not rely upon the hanging committee's sense of humour to the extent of guaranteeing that they would exhibit it; but if they did, we should get brighter Academy exhibitions. Or if he cannot improve on his friends' ideas, at least let him borrow them; it will do him good to try fitting them into works of his own, and it will be an advertisement for the creditor. An absurd suggestion? Well, I am only proposing that modern artists should treat each other as Greek dramatists or Renaissance painters or Elizabethan poets did. If any one thinks that the law of copyright has fostered better art than those barbarous times could produce, I will not try to convert them.

I bet you can find this kind of cross-pollination with the folks making videos for sharing on YouTube, too. Hmmm... Thinking about it, the line between the people producing original content for YouTube and the people just uploading found/captured videos looks pretty fuzzy.

And Sean Collins responds to my post on Children of Men. Once again, I find myself not only agreeing with Sean, but wishing that I had put it this way myself first:
...I still found the dystopia convincing and frightening, and I think that at least in part that comes from approaching those elements as horror... Children of Men fails as a dystopia that one could logically arrive at from its constituent elements, I think, but succeeds despite that because of the way those elements add up as a big frightening collage of Things That Are Horrifying. Domestic terrorism, ecological and economic breakdown, torture, prisoner abuse, large-scale human rights violations by a Western nation, internecine warfare between "freedom fighters," increased video surveillance, assassinations, plausibly deniable action by the government against journalists and dissidents, Abu Ghraib, Vladimir Putin, the drug war, limited nuclear exchanges, pandemics, Islamic fascism, urban warfare, intrusive media and advertising presence, euthanasia, and (I think this is the real emotional key to why the film works and I haven't seen anyone comment on it) the constant presence of animals in great danger, as undiluted an conveyor of helplessness as it gets--put it all together and it works in the same way that, for example, The Shining takes axes and ghosts and corpses and haunted houses and child abuse and rivers of blood and isolation and psychics and puts them all together and that works.

The more I think about Children of Men, the less my quarrels with its ideas seem to matter. Usually, it goes the other way around for me, as it did with The Queen, which I saw around the same time, where the nagging, nay saying voice in my head was relatively quiet while I was watching the movie, but grew louder the more I thought about it.

On the other hand, I still think there's something a little underhanded about the way Cuaron et al. do a complete 180 on the novel's take on immigration. And it's the fact that the novel makes more sense regarding this issue that keeps me a little bit suspicious of Cuaron's choices.

No comments: