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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Thu, 15 Aug 96 10:02:43 -0700
Forwarded-by: Keith Bostic <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Forwarded-by: Keith Sullivan <KSullivan@worldnet.att.net>
MORE ON FILM...
Copyright (c) Simon Travaglia <email@example.com>
Having almost completed my second film course, people are increasingly
coming up to me in the street and asking, "Simon, if a tree falls in a
forest, how long will it take 3 men to dig half a hole?" to which I
respond (with some thought) "I don't know, I'm a trainee film-geek."
Do you get my point?
I think not. This is what film is like. Experienced film-going persons
such as myself are constantly on the look-out for the true (Often hidden)
meaning of film. For instance, very few people know that Gone With The
Wind was in fact a very long movie. I do, because I've watched a lot of
movies. Anyway, the point that I'm trying to make is that unless you are
constantly aware, you can waste good "rolling-lollies-down-the-isle" time
by trying to find the real meaning behind movies. So by far the easiest
option is to stop looking for hidden meanings and get back to the real
reason behind movies; i.e. looking for people to tap on the shoulders
during the scary bits.
The only hassle is, when you leave the movies, sooner or later someone
will ask you exactly what the film was like. This leads to the worry
"Just how much does this person know about film, and if they know a lot,
How am I going to explain this movie to them and not look like I dribble
if I think for more than continous 10 seconds" (Basically, how do you pass
yourself off as a FILM-TYPE PERSON when you've got no idea what the movie
Here's a few tips for the absolute beginner:
1. Develop the AURA
Good filmish people have an AURA about them which is used to inform other
filmish people that they're cooking with intelligence -- that they've seen
almost everything. This AURA is sometimes mistaken by the layman as the
smell of stale sweat and pine scented toilet cleaner; but in fact, that
is simply a by-product. The AURA is much, much more than that. The
easiest way to imagine it is the same kind of thing you feel around loud
people in expensive real-fur coats in art museums. It's that smug feeling
that "everything is here for my benefit," as they reach past the "DO NOT
TOUCH" signs to tear off a souvineer for "the den back home." Filmish
Aura, however is not that offensive (except for the sweat and disinfectant
that is): like a Siren's song, it's used to lure the ordinary film
watcher to their death. Poor Joe Public, exiting the theatre and trying
to remember where his/her car is, accidentally bumps into Filmish Person
A (as a result of "the AURA"); To cover up his/her embarrasement, they
say "Sorry about that -- Good Movie, AY."
From this point on, poor Joe may as well brick themselves in the face,
they're as good as dead on their feet -- As soon as they hear the words
"Well, it depends what you mean, I've always found xxxxx's work to be a
fairly average affair" they realise their mistake. Before they can utter
the saving words "Piss off film-geek!!!" they're surrounded by other
Filmish persons (who mill around theatres at closing time looking for a
good monotone arguement) armed with phrases "You think so? I feel that
xxxxx is very underrated" and "Ah, but I think you overlooked the
characteristic elements of...." and so forth. Poor Joe slumps to the
floor two hours later gibbering "Mise en scene, Mise en scene" -- a
drooling vegetable and borderline gifted Filmish person. Avoid this sort
of person. All you want to do is FAKE an aura.
How to fake an aura:
i. Wash every 3 days and brush your hair with velco strips.
ii. Eat messily, the more you drop on your clothes, the better.
iii. When someone asks you a question; sigh, gaze smugly into the middle
distance for 2 or 3 seconds and say, "Mmmm", then answer in Film-Talk.
2. Speak Film-Talk
Film-Talk is a special brand of speaking, most commonly observed in
Politicians and Computer Science Lecturers whereby the Speaker pays little
or no attention to what other people say, rambling on blindly about their
favourite subject, dribbling profusely and chuckling inanely at their
jokes (most of which should have been eligible for Superannuation in the
late 1970's (ditto for the lecturers)), not realising that most of their
audience is comatose. Add to this a habit of being deliberatley obscure
and pompous, and you have Film-Talk.
For instance, I will compare a peice of filmish talk with not filmish talk.
1. Shit did you see the head go off into the motormower and come out in
2. Yeah, I reckoned the bit where all the blood splatters over the lens was
3. Nah, I reckon Bambi doing the "chainsaw dance of death" was the best!
1. Pleceau outdid himself in the graphic content of that peice. I feel it
captures the innocence, and, at the same time the heartrending qualities of
2. Yes, I'd concur with you there, the use of subject in close proximity to
lens lent credence to it's visual elements and verisimilitude.
3. I'm afraid I would tend towards the manic non-human interaction, pointing
at Pleceau's feelings of Man as a homogenous sequence of apostrophes.
You will of course notice that in the Filmish example, number 3 had begun
to lose it and was beginning to crack under the strain of talking "mostly
crap," and was sliding into "utter crap." This is one of the dangers of
Film-Talk, but what the hey, you'll be a celebrity by then anyway!
© 1996 Peter Langston