Read my review of Dallas Buyer’s Club, over at my other blog.
Secret cinema found beneath Paris.
In September 2004, French police discovered a hidden chamber in the catacombs under Paris. It contained a full-sized movie screen, projection equipment, a bar, a pressure cooker for making couscous, a professionally installed electricity system, and at least three phone lines. Movies ranged from 1950s noir classics to recent thrillers.
When the police returned three days later, the phone and power lines had been cut and there was a note on the floor: “Do not try to find us.” (via)
SECRET, MILDLY THREATENING UNDERGROUND COUSCOUS CINEMA
I WANNA GO
LET ME JOIN YOUR KIND, UNDERGROUND MOVIE PEOPLE
nO YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS ENTIRE CINEMA WAS HIDDEN BEHIND AN UNDER CONSTRUCTION SIGN THAT LEAD TO A CHECK-IN DISK WITH A FULL CCTV HOOKUP THAT WOULD TURN ON AND RECORD ANY UNREGISTERED VISITORS. AND IF SOMEONE SNUCK IN? A TAPE OF BARKING SECURITY DOGS WOULD BEGIN TO PLAY.
BEYOND THE CRAZY FRONT DESK AND THE MOVIE THEATER, THERE WAS A STOCKED BAR AND TABLES AND CHAIRS, MEANING THAT AFTER CATCHING A FLICK IN AN ILLEGAL PARISIAN CATACOMB THEATER, YOU COULD THEN EAT COUSCOUS AND SIP A COCKTAIL NEXT DOOR. THERE WAS A PROFESSIONAL ELECTRICITY SYSTEM SET UP, AND AT LEAST 3 WORKING PHONE LINES. THIS SHIT WAS LIKE A BOND VILLAIN.
BETTER YET? IT WAS RUMORED THAT THE PLACE WAS SET UP BY THE UNDERGROUND FRENCH ART GANG UX “Urban eXperiment”, WHO NAVIGATES THROUGH THE PARISIAN UNDERGROUNDS AND ILLEGALLY RESTORES ABANDONED WORKS OF ART, ALONG WITH HOLDING FILM FESTIVALS IN THE BASEMENTS OF GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS. THEY EVEN RELEASED A SHORT FILM ABOUT THEIR WORK RESTORING THE ICONIC PANTHEON CLOCK OVER THE COURSE OF ONE YEAR. NO ONE SUSPECTED THEIR INVOLVEMENT, UNTIL THE CLOCK BEGAN TO WORK AGAIN AFTER 60 YEARS OF RUSTING.
IF YOU DON’T THINK CATACOMBS AND THE PEOPLE WHO HANG OUT IN THEM ARE SOME OF THE COOLEST FUCKING THINGS IN THE WORLD THEN I IMPLORE YOU TO EAT SOME COUSCOUS AND RECONSIDER.
I’m dying at the couscous. It’s just so bizarre. Seriously, that shit would be worse than popcorn for the mess. What happens when you get to a scary point in the movie and jump? That’s right. Couscous EVERYWHERE.
FILM STUFF IN THE CATACOMBS AMAZING
I’ve added a donation button to the side of my blog. If you are interested in donating to my cross-country web series, you can do so now!
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Could be useful for commissions.
THIS IS A GREAT WAY TO DEMONSTRATE CINEMATOGRAPHY ALSO.
And it has Mr. Incredible.
After seeing Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave, I walked out of the theatre with both the movie, and the reviews I read about the movie beforehand, weighing heavily on my mind. The reviews had heralded it a masterpiece BUT, the critics said, the ending was anti-climatic. It lacked the emotional punch of the triumphant human spirit. The critics were right, I thought.
As I thought some more though, I realized the critics were wrong in this regard. 12 Years A Slave tells the story of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), adapted by his own accounts of these events by John Ridley. It begins with Solomon being ripped from his family and home, and ends with Solomon rejoining his family in their home. In between we will witness him fight his predicament, be beaten down, fight again, be beaten down some more, fight again, until finally he breaks and accepts that he is in fact a slave. But, in the end he escapes and returns home to his family in a scene that had me in tears.
How is this anti-climatic? Simple. It’s fucked up when you stop and think about it. The reason why this story about a free black man, who goes through unmitigated hell, gives up and loses all hope, only to be released and rejoined with his wife and kids after TWELVE years is considered by critics, white critics, to be anti-climatic, or just missing some emotional oomph, is because there’s no cookie for white people at the end.
As white movie goers we are accustomed, when it comes to movies about slavery, to have at the end the abolition of slavery, or at the very least an act that signifies a clear path to the abolition of slavery. Some movies even take place during the Civil War and act like the North wanted to free slaves and that’s why they were fighting. In other words in movies about slavery, made by white people, there is a sort of “Hey. We fucked up. Our bad. But hey, we helped out in the end. Are we not merciful? Didn’t we save you in the end?”
McQueen does not do this. In fact McQueen and Ridley do something so daring that they it will surely cost them any chance of being nominated for an Academy Award. They shoot the entire movie from Solomon’s point of view and in doing so force white people for the first time in my generation, to identify with a black character. A slave.
Early on Solomon is told by another slave not to reveal to anyone he can read or write, or they will beat him for being uppity. Repeatedly throughout the film Solomon tries to seek help from the white people that surround him. There are no white saviors in this movie.
There are no cookies at the end. This happened. There is a happy ending for Solomon, but it’s mired by all that came before it. It doesn’t forgive, and I think that’s what has white critics saying the ending lacks ‘something’. Well, pardon my Missouri roots for showing, but ya’ll can go fuck yourselves. There is no cookie for us at the end, and there shouldn’t be. 12 Years A Slave is a masterpiece from start to finish. I could go on some more but I fear I’m near to overstaying my welcome. It’s a must see. It’s that simple.
You know a performance is powerful when you’re still thinking about it weeks after seeing the film. This is the case of the Lupita Nyong’o in Steve McQueen’s film adaptation 12 Years A Slave.
could you talk more about the male disney villains being queer coded with stereotypes?
Pink hair bows.
Many male Disney villains are what we would call “camp.” Effeminate, vain, “wimpy” and portrayed as laughable and unlikable. Calling upon common negative stereotypes about gay men, these villains are characterized as villainous by embodying these tropes and traits.
Think about it: Often Thin/un-muscled figure, heavily inked and shadowed eyes (giving the impression of eyeliner and eye shadow?), stereotypically “sassy” and/or manipulative, often ends up being cowardly once on the defensive, many have comedic male sidekicks (such as Wiggins, Smee, Iago, the…snake that isn’t Kaa)
Am I the only one around here who didn’t know about or give a shit about gender roles and sexuality as a child?
When I watched Disney movies as a little girl, I never put this much thought into the character designs, because a) I was a little kid, so I didn’t give a shit, and b) I never even thought about the sexuality of the characters.
Personally, even going back and thinking about all these Disney villains, and perhaps a few others, I personally don’t see them as being gay/homosexual in nature. I feel that the slenderness of some of their figures is to illustrate that they use more brains than brawn in their planning. More often than not in Disney films, our heroes end up being more brawny in the beginning and end up having to use their cleverness to outsmart the villain. To me, that has always been a message from Disney that brains beats brawn, and to work hard at being clever.
The dark eyes and colors are more to signify an obvious evil presence about them than to make it look like eye-liner (except in perhaps Jafar’s case because of where his story takes place he may very well be wearing eye-liner to help protect against the sun).
But, if I may take a moment to individually go over to characters illustrated above, I think I can offer another opinion.
1) Governor Ratcliffe: if you think about the original story this film is based off of, as well as the era of time it takes place in, you also have to realize that men of that era often wore heels to appear taller, and did wear ribbons in their hair on occasion. Ratcliffe may be a little odd, but he’s also supposed to be a parody of the era. I don’t see him as a gay analog, really.
2) Scar: Scar is an good example of my point about using brains over brawn. As a kid, I always viewed his thinness to mean that because of his lower standing, he was unable to eat as well as Mufasa or the larger lions. As for this particular screenshot features in this post, I never associated it with any sort of sexuality. In fact, I always had a feeling that Scar was also jealous of Mufasa because of Surabi, because maybe he was in love with her. Again, I don’t see him as a gay analog.
3) Hades. Okay, so just because a man has a martini, he’s gay? Lot’s of men, STRAIGHT MEN, drink martinis. Look at James Bond. He’s the hero of so many straight men, and his signature drink is a martini. If you want to argue that Hades is supposed to be gay because the martini he drinks is pink, think about censorship. Disney couldn’t portray a character, even a villain, drinking alcohol. They had to add some kind of color into the drink to make it look less like alcohol, and they probably went with pink because it makes a good contrast to the rest of the shot, including the worm in Hades’s drink. I’ve never seen him as a gay analog, but he has always struck me as a Jewish one.
4) Jafar: Again, this is my brains over brawn thing. He’s a sorcerer, so he’s more than likely spent more time reading or using magic than doing anything that would help him to build a lot of muscle. As for the “eyeliner” thing, as I said he’s is Arabia. Lots of people (men and women included) wear eye-makeup to help against the sun. Random people in Agraba (merchants and the like) are also shown wearing eye-liner. The only weird thing about that movie (aside from the inaccuracy to the region, mostly that concerning Jasmine—though I do like a lot of the changes they made to her character) is that the Sultan is actually while. Everyone else in that film is still dark skinned appropriate to the region.
5) Hook: I’m not sure how many people out there have actually picked up a copy and read James Barries’s Peter Pan: The Story of Peter and Wendy, but this character design is actually very accurate to the book. Captain Hook, despite being a pirate, was a gentleman. He dressed in fancy clothes and demanded his crew to act accordingly, and hated Peter Pan because he misbehaved. “Bad Form, Peter,” was basically his catchphrase. Even as a kid growing up (before reading the novel) I never saw Hook as a gay analog growing up either.
6) King John: Okay, King John’s slenderness was there to illustrate that he couldn’t fill his older brother’s (King Richard the Lionheart) clothes. He wasn’t the King Richard was because he was greedy, incompetent, and cruel. His thumb-sucking wasn’t a gay analog, it was to show that he was childish and had attachment issues. He never came off as a gay analog to me, just an incompetent, child.
As for the “comedic male sidekicks”, Disney Villains aren’t the only ones. Most Disney Heroes have the same thing:
1) In Pocahontas, John Smith has the young red-headed boy (whose name I cannot remember) and eventually obtains Ratcliffe’s dog.
2) Scar may have the Hyenas, but Mufasa had Zazu, and Simba has Timone and Pumba.
3) Hades may have had Pain and Panic, but Hercules had Pegasus and Phill
4) Jafar had Iago (who in later films becomes a good guy) in the same capacity that Aladdin had Genie, Abu, and Carpet. Heck, he had way more goofy friends than Jafar did.
5) Hook had Smee, and Peter Pan had an entire group of Lost Boys. Plus, as a pirate, Hook would have a first mate, so him having a side-kick makes sense6) King John had Hiss, and Robin Hood had Little John.
Most, if not all, Disney Characters are given a smaller and often goofy companion, not to show that they are any kind of gay analog, but for the same reason that bride’s maid’s dresses are ugly: so that the bride looks more beautiful by comparison. The goofy characters in Disney films are to make the Heroes and Villains more competent by comparison.
Honestly, I think people often read too far into elements in movies for children. Kids don’t think about this stuff. Kids don’t care. Kids don’t get it. Stop trying to assume that every movie or toy or snack is some conspiracy theory to brainwash kids into being some kind of right wing fascists.
Hey fun fact: I was a kid once. (I know, amazing. Queer people were once children too.) I noticed. I thought about this. I cared. So don’t give me that “kids don’t care!” crap. Fuck you. We do.
Just because it never occurred to child-YOU that common stereotypes about gay men were being used to characterize villains as evil and cowardly doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen, doesn’t mean that we’re making it up.
I don’t really care if you can ignore this CLEAR and deliberate queer-coding by giving everything a good wash of heteronormativity (Scar was in love with Serabi? Are you shitting me?). I don’t care if you “don’t see things as a gay analog.” That doesn’t change that fact that these gay stereotypes are being used as tools of villainization.
It’s just amazing the lengths people will go to in order to hand-wave any questionable thing that Disney does. I bet you’d defend Tiger Lily’s portrayal in Peter Pan too at this rate.
in the lion king musical, scar tries to make nala, so people could try to use that as evidence of scar not being queer coded. of course it’s silly because a) that’s not the movie, it’s the musical, which was made afterward and adds to the story in the musical incarnation only, not the film, and b) that doesn’t mean there isn’t queer coding because people do add stereotypically queer attributes not specifically to say “this character is queer” but to add characterization that makes their villainy more obvious - and in media, it is commonly accepted that such characterization = evil. THAT adds subconscious queerphobic aspects to the film.
This just in: Oscars Still Terrible!
- nomination for Idris Elba. Nelson Mandela thought some of Elba’s performance was archive footage of himself. I’m pretty sure when you trick the actual guy you’re playing into thinking you’re him, you should win the Oscar by default.
- They did extend a nomination for Best Supporting Actor to Jared Leto, who played an HIV positive trans woman in Dallas Buyers Club. OMG SO PROGRESSIVE not
Coverage of the Oscars by the LA Times reveals that Gravity and American Hustle lead with 10 nominations in the headline. They “forgot” to mention that 12 Years a Slave also received 10 nominations. 12 Years a Slave received 9 nominations, so that was an error on my part. But also on the part of the Academy.
- Aaand Lone Ranger was nominated for Best Make Up and Costume Design. If you don’t get why that’s fucked up, please read this and literally everything else on Native Appropriations. I really feel this image should be sufficient though.
it’s not news that the oscars are racist, it’s not news that the golden globes are racist , yet somehow people still defend hollywood’s current favorite white girl, jennifer lawrence, and her award credibility to the death because they think she’s the best actress, based on their I Just Googled What “Meisner” Is So I’m Qualified school of drama experience
i grew up in hollywood, i grew up in the industry, i’m not going to pass out a namedrop list but these people are my friends, my family, my mentors; i am a trained shakespearean actor and have studied theatre and cinema since i was six
but even without that experience, anyone watching these awards should know that it’s not enough to watch lawrence and go “that was great! throw some gold at her!”, you have to examine a) what her role is and how far removed it is from her own life, b) who she’s up against, and c) what their roles are
in silver linings playbook, lawrence played a contemporary “crazy” pretty housewife; she won over emmanuelle riva (playing an elderly woman slowly dying, and we all know how hollywood treats older women), naomi watts (playing a victim in the 2004 indian earthquake and tsunami, but they changed the nationality of the actual real life survivor maria belon from spanish to british so that’s messed up in its own right), jessica chastain (cia officer in charge of bin laden operation, which has its own controversy around it because the cia was never known for its superb human rights) and finally, quvenzhané wallis (who was SIX YEARS OLD when beasts of the southern wilds was filmed, and considering the material she was working with and my own experience working with tiny kid actors, HER PERFORMANCE IS ASTOUNDING AND NOTHING CAN CONTRADICT THAT)
it’s also worth noting that of the 2013 leading actress nominees, lawrence was the only young white woman who shook her ass in spandex when the voting party is 94% white and 77% male
in american hustle, lawrence was a 70’s “crazy” pretty housewife; she won over lupita nyong’o, who played a slave in the 1800’s, raped and abused by her captors, nyong’o was cast in 12 years a slave directly out of yale, and how deep she went into the role of patsy iswell-documented
which role requires more work, more background research, which is more emotionally draining? i’m not even going to detail the other nominees, talented as they are, because nyong’o undoubtedly gave the best performance. and lawrence is talented, but to win over these women? to win over lupita nyong’o?
lawrence is good. she’s not that good. anyone who pretends otherwise needs to look closer.
This reminds me that “White people will only listen to other white people” because I said the exact same thing, but either way, bless you for writing this.
ugh. i can’t believe it’s 2014 and hollywood is still using the dragon lady trope.
47 ronin has a female villain who basically embodies every negative asian stereotype you can imagine….then she turns into an actual…
so upset by the fact that they took an epic japanese story and made it a big budget hollywood piece of shit with the ronin being led by a fucking white guy. i am so glad the movie bombed so badly because it makes me so so fucking mad.
thomassobien replied to your post: thomassobien replied to your link “holy shit d. w….Unfortunately that 1915 film is also probably one of the most racist movies ever made, and had a negative real-world impact (namely the re-emergence of the KKK)…really…
J’Accuse is on my list of movies to watch actually.
Seeing racism in film is so intriguing and horrifying at the same time. I love Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers films and my favorite of them is Swing Time. Of course in that movie the Bojangles of Harlem number is performed by Astaire in blackface to “pay tribute” to Bill Robinson (and by extension black tap dancers that inspired Astaire to begin with). It’s just - you know Astaire wanted to perform based on the work of black performers but then he was such a huge star at the time that it really ends up being cultural appropriation of the worst kind, because it teaches audiences that it is ok to appropriate different cultures if you are “paying tribute” officially.
And then Gone with the Wind! Portraying black slaves as happy with their lot and the northerners as evil (Sherman’s razing of the Georgia land was aggressive as hell during the Civil War, and then in the movie it is shown as a symbol of northern aggression when it was really an extreme case, imho). I mean I LOVE the film but the racism is there of course.
Propaganda of the best/worst kind (best because it is well made propaganda, and worst because it is evil of course) is Leni Riefenstahl’s work, particularly Triumph of the Will. When I saw it I had a giant surge of emotion at one particular point. It was a powerful moment in the film, with the Nazi flag and Hitler’s words and the hundreds of people in formation before him. It was terrifying and beautiful and such an amazing combination of editing and shot composition. It’s such an amazing film and so complex because of its praise of Nazism. Basically, it is the model of cinematic propaganda and a milestone in the field of documentary filmmaking.
I think the film industry needs to understand and realize the inherent racism that has existed in the medium since the early years, and understand that the only way to fix this is to have more people of color/LGBTQ individuals/women not only acting in the movies but active in the creative stages, most importantly in directing/producing/writing of the film. The visuals of the film are one aspect, and then there is how the visuals highlight the ideology of the film. We need a more diverse group in the film industry as a whole, but most especially in the development of film ideology and direction.
whew. i just have a lot of feelings about film and the inherent supremacy of the patriarchy in what i consider to be the most diverse artistic medium.
he directed 100 films in 1910 ALONE. and he had the same level of work in every other year from 1908-1913. JESUS
this is amazingggggggg
reminds me why i NEED to succeed in becoming a filmmaker. all the filmmakers i idolize are men, because just about 99 percent of directors ARE men. it isn’t just representation in media i am worried about, it is the perspective of women in media, the lens through which a story is told, that matters too. more women making media = more women IN media AND more presentation of female issues/life the way women see it and experience it.
the same goes for POC/LGBTQ representation as well.