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Image above: Vik Muniz
A Bar at the Folies-Bergère after Édouard Manet, from the Pictures of Magazines 2 series, 2012.
Out of the refuse of modern life—torn scraps of outdated magazines, destined for obscurity—Muniz has assembled an ode to one of the first paintings of modern life. Édouard Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, painted in 1882, explores the treachery of nineteenth-century Parisian nightlife through the depiction of a bartender attending to a male patron reflected in the mirror behind her. Muniz plays on Manet’s style, replacing Manet’s visible brushstrokes with the frayed edges of torn paper and lending the work immense visual interest.
“Thank you for DogStarNYC, in general. The site speaks to so many kinds of interests; it discerns which qualities will appeal to many different tastes in a tremendous number of activities. I love how it encourages young people to pay attention to the unusual.
In New York we let so many teens walk around the periphery, mildly shell-shocked by life, while the information that they need to make sense of their world sits in the center of the room. DogStarNYC welcomes them into the middle of the room; the blog tells them how to walk there. ” - Stacy L.
DOG STAR is the creation of a high school English teacher in New York City. This blog began in 2008 as an online community for a journalism class and has since evolved into a curated site on the creative arts, arts-related news and a guide to free and low-cost events for teens. Our mission is to offer teens real-life options for enjoying all the creative arts in New York City. May wisdom guide you and hope sustain you. The more you like art, the more art you like!
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Chaos Cinema: A Breakdown of How 21st-Century Action Films Became Incoherent
If you read Open Culture, you probably love watching movies. I’d wager, however, that you don’t love watching action movies. I don’t mean that you operate at an intellectual level far above any such paltry entertainments; I mean that the craft of action filmmaking has itself declined.
You’ve surely felt that today’s big-budget spectacles of chase, fight, and explosion — Transformers, the Jason Bourne films, last few Bonds, the latest Batman trilogy — don’t thrill you as did those of decades past — Hard Boiled, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Wild Bunch, Die Hard — but perhaps you can’t pin down quite why. Have action movies changed, you may wonder, or have I?
German-born, UCLA-based film scholar Matthias Stork argues for the former, breaking down the corruption of modern action filmmaking in his video essay Chaos Cinema. ”Throughout the first century of moviemaking, the default style of commercial cinema was classical,” he begins. “It was meticulous and patient. In theory, at least, every composition and camera move had a meaning, a purpose, and movies did not cut without good reason.”
No longer. Where action filmmakers once “prided themselves on keeping the viewer well-oriented” in time and space, they now throw disparate images together haphazardly, enslaved to ”rapid editing, close framings, bipolar lens lengths, and promiscuous camera movement,” trading “visual intelligibility for sensory overload,” leaving it to the soundtrack to provide a semblance of continuity.
Stork examines the qualities and effects of this new style of “chaos cinema” in three parts.
The first covers the visual disintegration of action sequences themselves; the second covers the deficiency’s penetration even into scenes of dialogue and music and the emergence of the “shaky-cam”; the third summarizes and engages responses to the first two parts.
Whether or not mainstream commercial filmmaking will ever cure itself and return to convincing, coherent action rather than the impressionistic ”general idea of action,” we now have a fascinating diagnosis of the disease. (For further discussion of Chaos Cinema, consider listening to Stork’s appearance on Battleship Pretension, a favorite film podcast of mine.)