All posts by Francesca Blood

Media Coverage in Baltimore

I found this post that I thought was incredibly relevant to some of the conversations we’ve been having in class. It relates to the Baltimore riots and media’s portrayal as the people rioting as thugs, giving them an overall very negative image.

Basically, a Baltimore resident is confronting Geraldo Rivera, a reporter “covering the story” in Baltimore. The resident is trying to explain to Rivera that what the media is doing is not right. Representing the protestors as purely negative and destructive is completely wrong. The resident is highlighting the main issues with news coverage of everything that is going on in Baltimore currently, and also media coverage in general. The post ends with a gif where he says “I want the white media out of Baltimore city until y’all are here to report the real story”. I think that really spoke to the nature of media coverage and to what is and isn’t covered .

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

I thought that, from what we have seen, this film is very well done. It was actually kind of alarming to see just how prevalent advertising is everywhere. Something that stuck with me was when Morgan said that people are an advertisement, then went on to talk about people’s brands and what that meant. There really is no escape from advertising, at least in the United States. It was very enlightening to see Sao Paulo. There were absolutely no advertisements on buildings, cabs, street signs, or anywhere. Compared to what it is like in Manhattan, Sao Paulo looks empty.

Also, this isn’t really relevant, but in the film when Morgan was talking to his lawyer, in the background behind the lawyer, there was a film poster for the film The Celluloid Closet. I only mention that because we had seen that in class. It doesn’t really relate to anything, I just thought it was an interesting observation.

The Hunting Ground

Overall, I think that this documentary was disturbing, unsettling, and incredibly effective. So many times, I think I view myself as somewhat invincible, in that nothing truly bad could happen, that’s only stuff you unfortunately hear about in the news, or about people you sort of know, or a friend of a friend. This movie served as a type of wake-up call for me. Truly no one is immune to such serious experiences. This film was so relatable because, like so many people already said, the film deals with college students; people my age, people with whom I interact every single day. This topic is much more relatable to me than I had previously thought. It definitely raised my awareness of how prevalent rape is across college campuses.

I was also appalled by how nearly all of the colleges handled the victims coming forward asking for help, justice, and safety. A college should be a place of safety for all students, not one where a victim is blamed, doubted, and not supported or helped at all.

Life, Animated

I was particularly intrigued by Owen’s story. I was actually going through my Facebook newsfeed when I saw a video clip of Ron Suskind talking about his breakthrough with Owen when he discovered he could communicate with Owen through the voice of Iago. This was about a week or so before we attended the talk with Roger Williams. I think that this documentary will be a really great portrayal and representation of Owen’s personal story. I believe Mr. Williams mentioned that it would be shot from Owen’s point of view. That will be very effective in getting an accurate point of view about what it is really like for Owen. It will also provide an interesting window into Owen’s progress.

The House I Live In

One topic that I find particularly interesting about The House I Live In (Jarecki, 2012) is recidivism. Being convicted of a crime and having that on a permanent record forever makes it incredibly difficult for previously incarcerated people to move on from their crimes. So many rights and privileges are revoked from ex-convicts. Getting hired as an ex-con is much more difficult. If it is so hard to get a job, it becomes increasingly difficult to support yourself and make a living. Due to such circumstances, it is very easy to resort to previous ways of life, which could potentially put them back in jail. It seems as though it is sometimes a vicious unending cycle of being in jail, getting out, trying to find work, but not having proper support or opportunities to get a job, and going back to jail.

Another thing I found particularly interesting was that some of the men that had been in prison said that in some situations, jail is a better situation for them because it provides them with a place to live, sleep, and eat. This is sad because it is indicative of their living situations, or lack thereof, outside of jail.

Mr. Sandman

I really liked this short film. It had a very eerie and frightening feel to it with a little bit of dark humor, in my opinion. The film starts by showing us a mother sitting in a chair doing embroidery work while her son is walking around in circles beating a drum hanging around his neck and a cuckoo clock was audibly ticking as the son’s bedtime was approaching. It seemed as if all three motions were acting at the same exact time. The mother’s sewing was in time with the boy’s drumming and those were both time with the ticking of the clock. His bedtime is announced by the cuckoo clock chiming ten (?) times. To add to the eeriness, the “cuckoo” of the clock is actually a skeleton, possible foreshadowing what is to come. The boy then reluctantly goes up a series of stairs to his room. On his way up, he encounters a creaky stair, at which he pauses and takes a noticeably longer time to pass the stair. We don’t know it yet, but the ominous figure that is the Sandman will pause at this same step later on in the film.

Speeding ahead, the boy is in his room, thinks someone is coming in, the audience thinks it is the Sandman because we see the Sandman coming up the stairs, and we are surprised by the fact that the person that enters the room is the boy’s mother. She tucks him in, kisses his head, and closes his eyes, providing him and us with a sense of false hope, comfort, and serenity. Moments later, the Sandman bursts through the door of the boy’s room and tries to frighten him. In my opinion, the film has bits of humor dispersed throughout. For instance, the Sandman tries to wake the child and frighten him but is unable to because he is sound asleep. It is almost like they are playing tag or something. Every time the Sandman is in the boy’s field of vision, the boy has his eyes closed. This goes on for about a minute or two. The boy is tossing and turning and the Sandman keeps on moving around to be in front of the boy. I think the humor makes the film even more frightening. We are presented with a form of humor only to then be disgusted and terrified when we see that the Sandman eventually extracts the boy’s eyes, brings them with him back to the moon, and feeds his children. What’s more, this isn’t even the first time. There is a collection of eyeless boys shown after the credits begin to roll at the end of the film.

Neanderthal Sound

When I first started reading the Sound article that details the history of sound and sound effects, I was fascinated by what was written about the drawings of the cave walls of the Neanderthals some 30,000 years ago. Most interesting to me was the theory that in these caves and underground passages, you were meant to focus more on the sounds rather than the images. Ethnographer Iegor Reznikoff studied the caves and analyzed their echoes and reverberations. He determined that all of the cave drawings were all at the “most acoustically interesting parts of the caves” (Steven Johnson, 88). Although very interesting, and heavily supported by scientific evidence, I am still quite dubious that the Neanderthals put these paintings there on purpose. I find it very hard to believe that they went around to different parts of the caves, made noises, kept track of which spots were the most “acoustically interesting” and painted in only those areas. I think that these caves were “acoustically interesting” in almost every part, and it just so happened that these drawings were placed in the most acoustically interesting parts. I think it is an interesting coincidence, but I find it hard to accept as a theory.

The American Film Music

This article shows us the importance of truly understanding and being able to properly analyze the media we consume. It stresses the importance of knowledgeable viewing. Scenes in a musical, for instance, should be viewed balanced against one another, rather than as independent scenes. “Each segment must be understood not in terms of the segments to which it is causally related but by comparison to the segment which it parallels” (Altman, 20).

It also demonstrates the importance of considering different scenes along side on another, rather than as independent scenes. The theme of scene duality also arises a lot. The musical Gigi is the example used in the article to demonstrate duality. Both characters, Gigi and Gaston, have very different experiences with others around them. However, through duality, the two seem very similar and seem to be going through extremely close experiences. This principle of duality shows the “less linear configuration” of the musical. There are many parallels held between Gigi and Gaston not only by their shared experiences but also by the songs they sing in the musical. This demonstrates a way in which music can greatly impact the narrative of the story. The music brings two characters together in ways that might not have been able to accomplished with words alone.

Ben Burtt

I am extremely fascinated by the concept of Foley artists. Being able to completely recreate genuine sounding effects using something completely different than the sound being imitated is incredible to me. I really enjoyed clip we watched today in class about Ben Burtt and his work with WALL-E and others.  The clip gave me a new appreciation for the art of sound making and editing. There are so many intricate details that go into making the effects for movies. For instance, Ben Burtt discussed how heavy the impact was of sound. Sound effects, especially in a film like WALL-E where these effects are the main component of the movie since dialogue is limited, can change the whole emotional vibes of the scene. You have to be careful because if an effect sounds too sad, then the audience will interpret that as intentional and potentially get a skewed view of the scene when, in reality, there are no sad parts of the particular scene. It was interesting to see how major of a role such small and seemingly minor effects had on the whole film.

Biblical References in Children of Men

This might be a little far-fetched, but maybe the infertility could be somewhat, if at all, similar to the 10 plagues inflicted upon the Egyptians due to the Pharoah’s mistreatment of the Israelites. Maybe there is a higher power telling the people of the world that if we cannot treat each other in a certain manner, whether that be with respect, decency, kindness, or something else altogether, then we do not deserve to have more children. The plagues inflicted on the Israelites were the Pharaoh’s punishment. I might be forcing connections here, but I viewed several similarities between the 10 plagues and some of the events in Children of Men. The 10 biblical plagues are: water turning into blood, hordes of frogs, a lice epidemic, wild animals destroying livestock and crops, diseased livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and finally the death of the firstborn. Clearly, not all of these happened in Children of Men, but I do however see some similarities. Although there was no blood in the water, in the few shots of the water we did see, for example when the pipes were letting out the liquid or fluid on the side of the road, the “water” was clearly not potable. It might have actually been contaminated with blood (from the piles of dead cows in the nearby area). Which brings me to my next comparison. Diseased livestock was the fifth plague. Periodically throughout the film, I noticed various piles of burning livestock animals. This could be symbolic of the diseased livestock mentioned in the plague. The plague exterminated the Egyptian livestock. It seemed like the majority, if not all of the livestock, of the U.K. had been exterminated as well. The ninth plague was three days of total darkness. Clearly, there was night and day throughout the movie, but the overarching theme of the movie, or the main color scheme seemed to be dark or gloomy. I related this to the plague of darkness. I would also go so far as to equate depression with darkness. There were definitely feelings of depression, melancholy, and hopelessness. There is even a drug in the film that helps people commit suicide due to the dire situation that is their world. It seemed as if darkness and gloominess are both literal and metaphorical themes throughout the movie. And finally, the tenth plague was the death of the firstborn. This does not happen in Children of Men. In the beginning of the movie, Diego Ricardo, the world’s youngest person, died. His death was very significant because he was the last born of the entire world. So it is a bit backwards, but I think the sentiment is still there. Also, in Children of Men, there is no opportunity for a firstborn to actually be born. “All-borns” are killed before even having the opportunity to exist.