Harry Potter Defense Against the Dark Arts

Growing up personally with Harry Potter and being surrounded by it’s fans is the best. Everyone is so dedicated to the work and the Wizard world. I haven’t seen a fan base so dedicated to something in my entire life. I remember when I was in fourth grade, 2000-2001 we read Harry Potter and The Sorcerer Stone. Our teacher read it to us every single day and everyone would cry because she had to stop. We couldn’t wait until she kept reading, some, such as me, went home and had our Mom’s buy it for us and read it with our parents. You were sucked into a realm that you wish you could be a part of. Sometimes you believed that it was possible that there was a world like this. J.K. Rowling will always be remembered as one of the best authors. She deserves it with everything she has been thru. She worked so hard as a single mom and now she can live comfortable and spend many enjoyable days with her daughter. I mean, what can be better then to know after everything that you fell in love with that you made someone else’s life a better life. 

Harry Potter Defense Against the Dark Arts

Growing up personally with Harry Potter and being surrounded by it’s fans is the best. Everyone is so dedicated to the work and the Wizard world. I haven’t seen a fan base so dedicated to something in my entire life. I remember when I was in fourth grade, 2000-2001 we read Harry Potter and The Sorcerer Stone. Our teacher read it to us every single day and everyone would cry because she had to stop. We couldn’t wait until she kept reading, some, such as me, went home and had our Mom’s buy it for us and read it with our parents. You were sucked into a realm that you wish you could be a part of. Sometimes you believed that it was possible that there was a world like this. J.K. Rowling will always be remembered as one of the best authors. She deserves it with everything she has been thru. She worked so hard as a single mom and now she can live comfortable and spend many enjoyable days with her daughter. I mean, what can be better then to know after everything that you fell in love with that you made someone else’s life a better life. 

Player one was really interesting. It was a believeable story when it comes to the end of thr world. There wasn’t much not to believe. I loved how the entire story is about a bunch of mischief people who are taking their lives the wrong way. Without cell phones, without internet, oil, gas, nothing. You notice that you really can’t occupy yourself with useless time productivity. They sit down and they analyze their lives. Realizing that maybe it was ridiculous that she bought a dress over 3k to meet a man. That maybe she should’ve know better then to meet a man online when she works at a psychiatric clinic. They start realizing that they are contributing to the world and it’s humanity slowly going away. We soon will be animals. We’re buying items because we had a bad day. We’re making drastic decisions just so we can get by. We don’t know how to have a normal family time. Kids never play outside all day anymore. All these things relate to the novel Player One. It’s a very intriguing to read. It’s a novel where I couldn’t put it down.

Player one was really interesting. It was a believeable story when it comes to the end of thr world. There wasn’t much not to believe. I loved how the entire story is about a bunch of mischief people who are taking their lives the wrong way. Without cell phones, without internet, oil, gas, nothing. You notice that you really can’t occupy yourself with useless time productivity. They sit down and they analyze their lives. Realizing that maybe it was ridiculous that she bought a dress over 3k to meet a man. That maybe she should’ve know better then to meet a man online when she works at a psychiatric clinic. They start realizing that they are contributing to the world and it’s humanity slowly going away. We soon will be animals. We’re buying items because we had a bad day. We’re making drastic decisions just so we can get by. We don’t know how to have a normal family time. Kids never play outside all day anymore. All these things relate to the novel Player One. It’s a very intriguing to read. It’s a novel where I couldn’t put it down.

Body as Media
Multiple theories attempt to explain the origin of foot binding, from the desire to emulate the naturally tiny feet of a favored concubine of a prince, to a story of an empress who had club-like feet, which became viewed as a desirable fashion. However, there is little strong textual evidence for the custom prior to the court of the Southern Tang kingdom in Nanjing, which celebrated the fame of its dancing girls, renowned for their tiny feet and beautiful bow shoes. What is clear is that foot binding was first practiced among the elite and only in the wealthiest parts of China, which suggests that binding the feet of well-born girls represented their freedom from manual labor and, at the same time, the ability of their husbands to afford wives who did not need to work, who existed solely to serve their men and direct household servants while performing no labor themselves.

Body as Media

Multiple theories attempt to explain the origin of foot binding, from the desire to emulate the naturally tiny feet of a favored concubine of a prince, to a story of an empress who had club-like feet, which became viewed as a desirable fashion. However, there is little strong textual evidence for the custom prior to the court of the Southern Tang kingdom in Nanjing, which celebrated the fame of its dancing girls, renowned for their tiny feet and beautiful bow shoes. What is clear is that foot binding was first practiced among the elite and only in the wealthiest parts of China, which suggests that binding the feet of well-born girls represented their freedom from manual labor and, at the same time, the ability of their husbands to afford wives who did not need to work, who existed solely to serve their men and direct household servants while performing no labor themselves.

For this week I chose Dead Space for the assignment. If you haven’t played the game it’s single person. You’re located in space with a broken down ship with creatures who are trying to attack you. The question this week is to argue if it’s a literature or not. I can say it is. I believe that you can say it’s literature by the fact you cannot complete this game without the knowledge of what they say. The creators of this game designed it to be completed by the literary moments that are spread throughout the game. You won’t understand where to find the keys, the weapons, or where to go without the clues given to you from the literary aspect of the game. Sometimes you can understand the game without it or you can find physical clues around the area you’re in. This is not the case when it comes to this terrifying game. It’s dark, creepy, and all you have is your other “team mates” signaling you via webcam. When it comes to literature it’s either telling you a story or clues to what is really going on without you completely knowing. Literature has many different aspects. It’s not just story-telling, it’s not just short stories, and it’s not just expressing a world wide issue. Literature can be anything in my mind. From authors like Virginia Woolf, Tim O’Brien, etc. Each game designer brings something new to the table. Every game has a different point of interest. Just like each novel. You can’t sit there and not see the similarities between the two. I could also understand the counter argument also. Although that is not what I want to discuss with this topic.

For this week I chose Dead Space for the assignment. If you haven’t played the game it’s single person. You’re located in space with a broken down ship with creatures who are trying to attack you. The question this week is to argue if it’s a literature or not. I can say it is. I believe that you can say it’s literature by the fact you cannot complete this game without the knowledge of what they say. The creators of this game designed it to be completed by the literary moments that are spread throughout the game. You won’t understand where to find the keys, the weapons, or where to go without the clues given to you from the literary aspect of the game. Sometimes you can understand the game without it or you can find physical clues around the area you’re in. This is not the case when it comes to this terrifying game. It’s dark, creepy, and all you have is your other “team mates” signaling you via webcam. When it comes to literature it’s either telling you a story or clues to what is really going on without you completely knowing. Literature has many different aspects. It’s not just story-telling, it’s not just short stories, and it’s not just expressing a world wide issue. Literature can be anything in my mind. From authors like Virginia Woolf, Tim O’Brien, etc. Each game designer brings something new to the table. Every game has a different point of interest. Just like each novel. You can’t sit there and not see the similarities between the two. I could also understand the counter argument also. Although that is not what I want to discuss with this topic.


Dead Space: Tea Party by forte-girl7Artist: deviantART // tumblr

Dead Space: Tea Party by forte-girl7

Artist: deviantART // tumblr

Review:
Truth-to-Material
Great use of the three “printer’s primaries”: Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow. As symbols of “separation,” as time period markers, as state of mind indicators. Watching them come together late in the book had a transcendent quality for me, and I’ve heard from others that felt the same way.
Mazzucchelli also has a long-standing interest in the process of printing and likes the raw edges of printing itself to show through. His earlier self-published anthology (with painter/partner Richmond Lewis) Rubber Blanket had a similar hand-separated, process-obsessed feel (right down to the name).
There’s an undercurrent of honesty in the presentation. As if the book is saying “I’m not going to lie to you about what I am or where I came from.” This is true about a lot of aspects of the book in fact.
Isolation
The “different styles –> different character” thing is pretty loaded for a ton of reasons, but I especially liked how it reinforces the idea of how each character is in their own universe to a degree. The book is filled with mismatched objects of all kinds thrown into a box that not only have their own appearance but almost their own physics.
Mazzucchelli is a master of western perspecitve when he wants to be, and he demonstrates that during the book. But in a lot of passages, he seems less interested here in creating a sense of continuous space that binds everything and everyone together. Instead, we get flat, isometric, or even childlike views of this landscape of barely compatible things that make up this world.
White Space!
Check out the last 100 years of comics (in the West at least) and you’ll find a lot of variation in the size and shape of comics panels, but almost no variation in the space between panels. Mazzucchelli is a leader in considering that negative space for its role in the story and its role on the picture plane.
Dynamic Balance
Every time the story seems to be stacking the deck in one direction, leading us to think some “lesson” is being taught, or that we can file a character as either worthy or useless, Mazzuccelli introduces a nice counter-weight.
I especially liked how Asterios’ three possessions (the lighter, the watch, the knife) play out. They work so well as markers of maturity, of unburdening, of selflessness, of acceptance of mortality, of putting the past behind him, of learning to value what works over theory, etc.; so harmonious and right that you could almost believe that the universe was ready to reward him. And then the lighter comes back alongside a bottle smashed over his head. Because that’s not the way the universe we live in works.
Hitting Close to Home
A couple of readers have already mentioned that Asterios at his most pedantic looks like he stepped out of the pages of one of my books (right down to the “‘splainin’ hand”). Whether the similarity is intentional or not, it’s a funny deconstruction of the kind of mind that thinks he/she (usually he) can somehow put the whole universe into a series of diagrams, and I’d have to cop to being a poster boy for that mindset.
Fortunately for fools like me, Mazzucchelli is a humanist first, and I think he loves all the fools that populate his story, and has no interest in passing divine judgement. He’s just chronicling the dizzying dance of futility we all participate in, each of us to our own steps and our own tune, as we try to make sense of the unfathomable.

Personal Response:
This week’s reading was Asterios Polyp. I’m not a big fan of cartoons or comics. The last time I read something that was a comic or a cartoon was Calvin and Hobbs. That’s a good series. Anyways, Asterios Polyp isn’t my thing but what I really did like about it was how it was published. Being a printmaking major here at Ringling I can relate to how it was made which I find awesome. THe whole cyan technique is amazing. Used in a silkscreen method you break up the image to create a three dimensional image on paper. You can manipulate the cyan colors to create a different tone palette but you mainly used processed colors of Blue, Yellow, Magenta, & Black. We read different reviews on the comic and I agreed more to the negative side of this comic. It didn’t thrill me and the only aspect I appreciate is the structure of the book. Sorry.

Review:

Truth-to-Material

Great use of the three “printer’s primaries”: Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow. As symbols of “separation,” as time period markers, as state of mind indicators. Watching them come together late in the book had a transcendent quality for me, and I’ve heard from others that felt the same way.

Mazzucchelli also has a long-standing interest in the process of printing and likes the raw edges of printing itself to show through. His earlier self-published anthology (with painter/partner Richmond Lewis) Rubber Blanket had a similar hand-separated, process-obsessed feel (right down to the name).

There’s an undercurrent of honesty in the presentation. As if the book is saying “I’m not going to lie to you about what I am or where I came from.” This is true about a lot of aspects of the book in fact.

Isolation

The “different styles –> different character” thing is pretty loaded for a ton of reasons, but I especially liked how it reinforces the idea of how each character is in their own universe to a degree. The book is filled with mismatched objects of all kinds thrown into a box that not only have their own appearance but almost their own physics.

Mazzucchelli is a master of western perspecitve when he wants to be, and he demonstrates that during the book. But in a lot of passages, he seems less interested here in creating a sense of continuous space that binds everything and everyone together. Instead, we get flat, isometric, or even childlike views of this landscape of barely compatible things that make up this world.

White Space!

Check out the last 100 years of comics (in the West at least) and you’ll find a lot of variation in the size and shape of comics panels, but almost no variation in the space between panels. Mazzucchelli is a leader in considering that negative space for its role in the story and its role on the picture plane.

Dynamic Balance

Every time the story seems to be stacking the deck in one direction, leading us to think some “lesson” is being taught, or that we can file a character as either worthy or useless, Mazzuccelli introduces a nice counter-weight.

I especially liked how Asterios’ three possessions (the lighter, the watch, the knife) play out. They work so well as markers of maturity, of unburdening, of selflessness, of acceptance of mortality, of putting the past behind him, of learning to value what works over theory, etc.; so harmonious and right that you could almost believe that the universe was ready to reward him. And then the lighter comes back alongside a bottle smashed over his head. Because that’s not the way the universe we live in works.

Hitting Close to Home

A couple of readers have already mentioned that Asterios at his most pedantic looks like he stepped out of the pages of one of my books (right down to the “‘splainin’ hand”). Whether the similarity is intentional or not, it’s a funny deconstruction of the kind of mind that thinks he/she (usually he) can somehow put the whole universe into a series of diagrams, and I’d have to cop to being a poster boy for that mindset.

Fortunately for fools like me, Mazzucchelli is a humanist first, and I think he loves all the fools that populate his story, and has no interest in passing divine judgement. He’s just chronicling the dizzying dance of futility we all participate in, each of us to our own steps and our own tune, as we try to make sense of the unfathomable.

Personal Response:

This week’s reading was Asterios Polyp. I’m not a big fan of cartoons or comics. The last time I read something that was a comic or a cartoon was Calvin and Hobbs. That’s a good series. Anyways, Asterios Polyp isn’t my thing but what I really did like about it was how it was published. Being a printmaking major here at Ringling I can relate to how it was made which I find awesome. THe whole cyan technique is amazing. Used in a silkscreen method you break up the image to create a three dimensional image on paper. You can manipulate the cyan colors to create a different tone palette but you mainly used processed colors of Blue, Yellow, Magenta, & Black. We read different reviews on the comic and I agreed more to the negative side of this comic. It didn’t thrill me and the only aspect I appreciate is the structure of the book. Sorry.

Review:
"….None of the characters in Oryx and Crake are overtly evil. Margaret Atwood suggests that humanity may be doomed by our own vanity, lust, greed, and arrogance. While this novel is not one of hope, it is a story that grabbed me at the beginning and didn’t let go until it shook me off at the end, and even then I was unwilling to go. This is a novel to be devoured, to let the ideas charge through your body and mind. It packs a wallop at times on both a visceral and mental level. While stranded alone in the new world, Jimmy often hears Oryx’s voice talking to him. Whether this is a touch of madness or Oryx transcending reality (the Crakers already worship her), she’s the mother goddess reaching out in love to a tortured soul and world. It’s her voice that sticks with me as I leave this novel.
Oh Jimmy, you were so funny. Don’t let me down.
In Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood has delivered a cautionary tale. It’s not a new warning; religious leaders have preached for millennia that the seven deadly sins can lead to man’s undoing. What she has provided for us is a vehicle to see that path of self-destruction and delivered it in a novel both chilling and entertaining. Read it and weep.”

My Writing:
While reading this I found it really odd. I couldn’t follow along. I had to be dreaming of a place that someone else made up for me. It was like looking into a little kids brain and it’s so hard to follow because it just doesn’t make sense unless you’re the little kid who made up the world. I found it interesting how Snowman took care of the creatures. How he named the creatures because of Crake. I found it pretty scary that they found the little girl who scared them since they were little boys and then they fell in love with her. I don’t know how that could be a good love story. It is twisted and terribly sad. The whole humanity aspect of the novel is brilliant. How we will lose our humanity for being such a lousy generation. How we’re disgusting and it’s true sooner or later we will lose all our humanity. Margaret has a point. You can tell by each generation they are further and further away from humanity and classic manners they was taught to all of us. Chivalry is dead.

Review:

"….None of the characters in Oryx and Crake are overtly evil. Margaret Atwood suggests that humanity may be doomed by our own vanity, lust, greed, and arrogance. While this novel is not one of hope, it is a story that grabbed me at the beginning and didn’t let go until it shook me off at the end, and even then I was unwilling to go. This is a novel to be devoured, to let the ideas charge through your body and mind. It packs a wallop at times on both a visceral and mental level. While stranded alone in the new world, Jimmy often hears Oryx’s voice talking to him. Whether this is a touch of madness or Oryx transcending reality (the Crakers already worship her), she’s the mother goddess reaching out in love to a tortured soul and world. It’s her voice that sticks with me as I leave this novel.

Oh Jimmy, you were so funny. 
Don’t let me down.

In Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood has delivered a cautionary tale. It’s not a new warning; religious leaders have preached for millennia that the seven deadly sins can lead to man’s undoing. What she has provided for us is a vehicle to see that path of self-destruction and delivered it in a novel both chilling and entertaining. Read it and weep.”

My Writing:

While reading this I found it really odd. I couldn’t follow along. I had to be dreaming of a place that someone else made up for me. It was like looking into a little kids brain and it’s so hard to follow because it just doesn’t make sense unless you’re the little kid who made up the world. I found it interesting how Snowman took care of the creatures. How he named the creatures because of Crake. I found it pretty scary that they found the little girl who scared them since they were little boys and then they fell in love with her. I don’t know how that could be a good love story. It is twisted and terribly sad. The whole humanity aspect of the novel is brilliant. How we will lose our humanity for being such a lousy generation. How we’re disgusting and it’s true sooner or later we will lose all our humanity. Margaret has a point. You can tell by each generation they are further and further away from humanity and classic manners they was taught to all of us. Chivalry is dead.

To be honest about this week’s reading I thought it was complete bullshit. I don’t like the idea of how there is secret messaging in every thing. Even when there is physical evidence and scientific reasoning behind it all i still don’t believe it. Currently I have a friend obsessing over something called the illuminati which is based on an image hidden in other images, videos, and words. Saying that you should give your soul to the devil which is crazy. I will never believe in any of that crazy stuff. The media in the message describes factual information about topics such as those. I don’t understand why people are so fascinated about the media and secret messages. Even today when you make a logo for something to familiarize something else that is a hot topic or a addictive personality they will register in their head to go because unknowingly they are drawn to the design of it. For example if you were advertising something and made the poster look like a Marlboro ciggarette pack someone who smokes Marlboro will probably be drawn to the poster more then someone who doesn’t smoke. It’s a fascinating idea to believe but I’m not sure if I come close to saying that I believe some crazy thing like that. I’m sure if I was a graphic designer and thought about design more like they would my point of view would change. As a designer you need something catchy but I’m not sure if I even believe I am a victim of something like this.

To be honest about this week’s reading I thought it was complete bullshit. I don’t like the idea of how there is secret messaging in every thing. Even when there is physical evidence and scientific reasoning behind it all i still don’t believe it. Currently I have a friend obsessing over something called the illuminati which is based on an image hidden in other images, videos, and words. Saying that you should give your soul to the devil which is crazy. I will never believe in any of that crazy stuff. The media in the message describes factual information about topics such as those. I don’t understand why people are so fascinated about the media and secret messages. Even today when you make a logo for something to familiarize something else that is a hot topic or a addictive personality they will register in their head to go because unknowingly they are drawn to the design of it. For example if you were advertising something and made the poster look like a Marlboro ciggarette pack someone who smokes Marlboro will probably be drawn to the poster more then someone who doesn’t smoke. It’s a fascinating idea to believe but I’m not sure if I come close to saying that I believe some crazy thing like that. I’m sure if I was a graphic designer and thought about design more like they would my point of view would change. As a designer you need something catchy but I’m not sure if I even believe I am a victim of something like this.

The Auteur Theory and the death of the Author
My Author is Robert Altman. The first film I watched by him was called The Gingerbread man. It intrigued me by the name and after I read the description and saw it was labeled as a thriller I had to watch it. What I found interesting was the fact that I thought it was just a film about a guy thinking not with his head but his other head. Which then turned out that it was about the government, courtrooms, lawyers, police officers, detectives, etc. It was saying how our system can be flawed right before our eyes and no one would pay attention if one was conflicted with being accused of mentally insane. It was rather fascinating watching everyone being manipulated by one person who was mentally unstable and plot her entire revenge out by killing her father who had over 12 million worth on his property in South Carolina. To this day we still put innocent people in jail and the guilty on the streets. When there is nothing better then the system we have chosen. In today’s society is still a huge issue among most people especially the death penalty. We have grown more as a society then we had in the last 60 years but we still have instances where people are falsely accused of a crime they never committed. While this film describes a perfect scenario you question the judicial system more then ever.
The second film I watched was called Gosford Park. Its basically like the game clue. It was taken place around the Great Depression. You have a house full of rich, wealthy, people with their servants and maids in the cellar. They all gathered for a hunting trip. While someone murders the owner, the richest man out of all of them. The story teaches you about conservative people around the world. The biggest conflict besides the murder was the three americans at the hunting parties. There was one actor, one artists, and one director. They were frowned upon and suggested that they were the murderers because of their “hollywood skill”. It shows how people thought about the new upcoming world when some just wanted to keep it traditional and conservative. 
Review:
The Modernist Art Cinema of Robert Altman
Robert Altman is 80 years old in February 2005. He is the director of 33 feature films since his first major Hollywood film in 1967. He is a notorious renegade from the standard operating procedures and finished products of the motion picture industry, and he has been critically acclaimed as one of the most pre-eminent directors in American cinema during the last quarter of the twentieth century. His two most recent films reflect the independent director continuing to make independent films: The Company (2003) is at once a fictional meditation on ballet and a documentary on the work of the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago. Tanner on Tanner (2004) reprises Tanner ’88‘s (1988) fictional cast, real presidential politics, and creative collaboration between Altman and Doonesbury‘s Gerry Trudeau to cast a caustic and mockumentary eye on the American presidential campaign of 2004. The unusual diversity of his work, as well as its prestige, is represented by William Bolcom’s opera adaptation of A Wedding (1978), currently performing at the Chicago Lyric Opera, under Altman’s direction.
In 2001, at age 76, Altman mounted his most recent big scale movie production. Gosford Parkemploys a huge cast, including practically the entire first echelon of contemporary British actors; location shooting at an elegant old English manor house; the lavish set designs and costumes of the heritage film; and an intricately crafted (Academy Award winning) screenplay. Gosford Park will stand as one of Altman’s best films. Moreover, it simultaneously represents the most salient features of his films and reasserts the parameters of the American art cinema.
Gosford Park reconstructs classical narrative form in many ways: It ironically interweaves numerous genres – the Agatha Christie murder mystery, the upstairs/downstairs social drama, and the country house comedy of manners. Forty-four speaking parts in the film provide glimpses into the tangled implications of over 25 separate plots and constitute one of the largest cast of characters of all his multifaceted narratives from MASH (1970) to Prêt-à-Porter (1994). In Gosford Park logical causality disappears under the pressure of traumatic engagements that are not only unspoken by the narrative but are repressed by the characters themselves. The classically requisite discovery of the culprit at the end is contravened by the geometric progression of alternative clues and Altman’s insistence that the murder is never resolved. The confusing multiplication of plot lines and the hybrid mixing of murder, manners, maids, and man servants critiques a singular and stereotypical view of crime, justice, and social class by subverting the classic detective story. The film breaks the ideological illusion of harmony between masters and servants valorised in cultural representations like the 1970s British television series Upstairs/Downstairs. It reveals hypocrisy and meanness in the class system where social crimes and misdemeanors multiply and expand beyond the ability or the interests of the mystery story to say ask “who dunnit?”.
Like other works of modernist discourse, the film also reflects upon itself as an act of aesthetic production. In the midst of all its narrative indirection Altman reflexively introduces two representatives of the entertainment industry. The Hollywood movie executive is a producer of Charlie Chan films who is in England to research a new movie, a murder mystery set in a country house full of guests for the weekend, “not unlike this one.” The role of the producer both critiques the pretentiousness of the English social order and represents the vulgarity of American popular culture. His Jewish ethnicity and his bourgeois American manners offend the other guests who assure him that he can tell them the end of his planned film because as one says at dinner, “none of us will see it!” The mutual interchangeability of the effete world of British high society and mass culture entertainment is marked more specifically, however, by the role of Ivor Novello. Novello in real life was a small time actor and a big time success as a popular songwriter and matinee idol in 1930s England. The performance of his sentimental and escapist songs about other worlds, other times, and other loves motivate two dramatically different effects. His fellow guests are mildly amused by this divertissement from the popular culture, but the servants – who have been abuzz about the presence of this star since his arrival – are entranced. At one point Altman’s cameras catch the enthralled servants behind doors, on the stairs, in the hallways in small groups mesmerised by his singing. Aristocracy and popular entertainment alike create worlds of magic and illusion and escape. Like its representation inNashville (1975), Buffalo Bill and the Indians (1976), The Player (1992) and Prêt-à-Porter, the world of entertainment is both treasured and condemned for its fascinating and coercive images.

Gosford Park sums up the characteristics of all the films Altman has made since 1967 when he began to make movies in Hollywood. Born in 1925 in Kansas City, he spent the post-war decades developing a thorough competency in cinematography by making business and industrial films. In the late 1950s and early 1960s he became one of the most prolific television directors among a large group of new directors that included Arthur Penn, Sidney Lumet, Sam Peckinpah and Sidney Pollack. He worked regularly as director for numerous series, including most notably Bus Stop, The Millionaire,Whirlybirds, Combat, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and Bonanza. He earned a reputation in those years as a cantankerous and rebellious filmmaker who liked to shoot stories “sideways”. One producer from the Kraft Suspense Theater in the early 1960s described what Altman “hated most in television, and that is the very commercial, highly plotted story, and he hated commercial storytelling with a vengeance.” (1) In 1967 he left television production for the feature-film world of Hollywood, makingCountdown (1968), a science fiction film in the classical style, and That Cold Day in the Park (1969), a psychological thriller that first demonstrates the art-cinema style that would become his signature. His third film in 1970 was the highly acclaimed MASH, the most successful box-office film of his career, and his first of the five films across the reach of his career to earn Academy Award nominations for Best Director (along with Nashville, The Player, Short Cuts [1993] and Gosford Park).

The Auteur Theory and the death of the Author

My Author is Robert Altman. The first film I watched by him was called The Gingerbread man. It intrigued me by the name and after I read the description and saw it was labeled as a thriller I had to watch it. What I found interesting was the fact that I thought it was just a film about a guy thinking not with his head but his other head. Which then turned out that it was about the government, courtrooms, lawyers, police officers, detectives, etc. It was saying how our system can be flawed right before our eyes and no one would pay attention if one was conflicted with being accused of mentally insane. It was rather fascinating watching everyone being manipulated by one person who was mentally unstable and plot her entire revenge out by killing her father who had over 12 million worth on his property in South Carolina. To this day we still put innocent people in jail and the guilty on the streets. When there is nothing better then the system we have chosen. In today’s society is still a huge issue among most people especially the death penalty. We have grown more as a society then we had in the last 60 years but we still have instances where people are falsely accused of a crime they never committed. While this film describes a perfect scenario you question the judicial system more then ever.

The second film I watched was called Gosford Park. Its basically like the game clue. It was taken place around the Great Depression. You have a house full of rich, wealthy, people with their servants and maids in the cellar. They all gathered for a hunting trip. While someone murders the owner, the richest man out of all of them. The story teaches you about conservative people around the world. The biggest conflict besides the murder was the three americans at the hunting parties. There was one actor, one artists, and one director. They were frowned upon and suggested that they were the murderers because of their “hollywood skill”. It shows how people thought about the new upcoming world when some just wanted to keep it traditional and conservative. 

Review:

The Modernist Art Cinema of Robert Altman

Robert Altman is 80 years old in February 2005. He is the director of 33 feature films since his first major Hollywood film in 1967. He is a notorious renegade from the standard operating procedures and finished products of the motion picture industry, and he has been critically acclaimed as one of the most pre-eminent directors in American cinema during the last quarter of the twentieth century. His two most recent films reflect the independent director continuing to make independent films: The Company (2003) is at once a fictional meditation on ballet and a documentary on the work of the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago. Tanner on Tanner (2004) reprises Tanner ’88‘s (1988) fictional cast, real presidential politics, and creative collaboration between Altman and Doonesbury‘s Gerry Trudeau to cast a caustic and mockumentary eye on the American presidential campaign of 2004. The unusual diversity of his work, as well as its prestige, is represented by William Bolcom’s opera adaptation of A Wedding (1978), currently performing at the Chicago Lyric Opera, under Altman’s direction.

In 2001, at age 76, Altman mounted his most recent big scale movie production. Gosford Parkemploys a huge cast, including practically the entire first echelon of contemporary British actors; location shooting at an elegant old English manor house; the lavish set designs and costumes of the heritage film; and an intricately crafted (Academy Award winning) screenplay. Gosford Park will stand as one of Altman’s best films. Moreover, it simultaneously represents the most salient features of his films and reasserts the parameters of the American art cinema.

Gosford Park reconstructs classical narrative form in many ways: It ironically interweaves numerous genres – the Agatha Christie murder mystery, the upstairs/downstairs social drama, and the country house comedy of manners. Forty-four speaking parts in the film provide glimpses into the tangled implications of over 25 separate plots and constitute one of the largest cast of characters of all his multifaceted narratives from MASH (1970) to Prêt-à-Porter (1994). In Gosford Park logical causality disappears under the pressure of traumatic engagements that are not only unspoken by the narrative but are repressed by the characters themselves. The classically requisite discovery of the culprit at the end is contravened by the geometric progression of alternative clues and Altman’s insistence that the murder is never resolved. The confusing multiplication of plot lines and the hybrid mixing of murder, manners, maids, and man servants critiques a singular and stereotypical view of crime, justice, and social class by subverting the classic detective story. The film breaks the ideological illusion of harmony between masters and servants valorised in cultural representations like the 1970s British television series Upstairs/Downstairs. It reveals hypocrisy and meanness in the class system where social crimes and misdemeanors multiply and expand beyond the ability or the interests of the mystery story to say ask “who dunnit?”.

Like other works of modernist discourse, the film also reflects upon itself as an act of aesthetic production. In the midst of all its narrative indirection Altman reflexively introduces two representatives of the entertainment industry. The Hollywood movie executive is a producer of Charlie Chan films who is in England to research a new movie, a murder mystery set in a country house full of guests for the weekend, “not unlike this one.” The role of the producer both critiques the pretentiousness of the English social order and represents the vulgarity of American popular culture. His Jewish ethnicity and his bourgeois American manners offend the other guests who assure him that he can tell them the end of his planned film because as one says at dinner, “none of us will see it!” The mutual interchangeability of the effete world of British high society and mass culture entertainment is marked more specifically, however, by the role of Ivor Novello. Novello in real life was a small time actor and a big time success as a popular songwriter and matinee idol in 1930s England. The performance of his sentimental and escapist songs about other worlds, other times, and other loves motivate two dramatically different effects. His fellow guests are mildly amused by this divertissement from the popular culture, but the servants – who have been abuzz about the presence of this star since his arrival – are entranced. At one point Altman’s cameras catch the enthralled servants behind doors, on the stairs, in the hallways in small groups mesmerised by his singing. Aristocracy and popular entertainment alike create worlds of magic and illusion and escape. Like its representation inNashville (1975), Buffalo Bill and the Indians (1976), The Player (1992) and Prêt-à-Porter, the world of entertainment is both treasured and condemned for its fascinating and coercive images.

Gosford Park

Gosford Park sums up the characteristics of all the films Altman has made since 1967 when he began to make movies in Hollywood. Born in 1925 in Kansas City, he spent the post-war decades developing a thorough competency in cinematography by making business and industrial films. In the late 1950s and early 1960s he became one of the most prolific television directors among a large group of new directors that included Arthur Penn, Sidney Lumet, Sam Peckinpah and Sidney Pollack. He worked regularly as director for numerous series, including most notably Bus StopThe Millionaire,WhirlybirdsCombatAlfred Hitchcock Presents, and Bonanza. He earned a reputation in those years as a cantankerous and rebellious filmmaker who liked to shoot stories “sideways”. One producer from the Kraft Suspense Theater in the early 1960s described what Altman “hated most in television, and that is the very commercial, highly plotted story, and he hated commercial storytelling with a vengeance.” (1) In 1967 he left television production for the feature-film world of Hollywood, makingCountdown (1968), a science fiction film in the classical style, and That Cold Day in the Park (1969), a psychological thriller that first demonstrates the art-cinema style that would become his signature. His third film in 1970 was the highly acclaimed MASH, the most successful box-office film of his career, and his first of the five films across the reach of his career to earn Academy Award nominations for Best Director (along with NashvilleThe PlayerShort Cuts [1993] and Gosford Park).