Rahil Patel

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23 October 2014 by Rahil

It seems I’ve transformed into a house and computer person who can consume films now. Some people think if one doesn’t have the attention to read a large book that the person is dumb. I contend, one who experiences media and reflects on it, as opposed to reality, has no life. Currently, I have no life.

On to the film.

I will first go over my thoughts [in square brackets], and afterwards some afterthoughts.

My thoughts:
The camcorder in the beginning will look like my cheap camcorder. :(

The neighborhood reminds me of the neighborhood of the hostel in Seoul.

The couple spends a lot of time inside the house. They cook at home with an expensive kitchen. They have a huge library of books, and perhaps film.

They drink red wine. Do they think about what it took to make it?

The family reminds me of that one in Like Father Like Son. Their house like a hotel. The kid must be schooled in geometry and swimming. What use? Habit?

Hah there’s a TV show. Why take the time to create such a superficial room? Quite similar to the couple’s living room.

The interaction between neighbors is missing. Perhaps they don’t even know their neighbors.

A magnificent scene with a dark skinned guy with ambiguous fault. [Equally ambiguous is Georges reaction, whether he reacted that way because the other guy was dark or not]

This kind of paranoia occurs in the western, isolated world.

Perhaps France still has these kinds of problems, of hate, racism or whatever else, but after it developed, they still occur, so these problems seem a bit more odd, and scary [Whoa, I think I nailed it here. Clearly a post-colonial stigma.]. The neighborhood is normally empty, the opposite of villages.

Such a simple action, a tape, letters, provokes so much emotion [I was thinking compared to happier countries or denser cities where one may just disregard it and trash it. It's just material, not a person, sort of thought.]

Fear broods in spaces without people and light.

Such small details in this film and Certified Copy and A Seaparation count, and become exacerbated.

All of these lives, in houses, so odd. They experience so little, except perhaps through books.

Overworking in a developed country, seems to be the trend.

“Isn’t it lonely if you can’t go out? Is it less if you can sit in a garden?”

“Do you feel less lonely at the metro than at home?”

Oh man, such ethical inquiry. My parents live in a rich neighborhood in the suburbs where they don’t know the neighbors. Though not an estate, to me it’s a prison compared to a city. Ive asked these same questions to my mom. She didn’t retort as successfully as this. I personally feel less lonely in the public.]

“Anyway, I have my family friend. With a remote control. When it annoys me, I shut it down.”

Television replaces human interaction. Or any interaction, TV is still a one way communication.

His father played piano. His son prefers to hang out.

A criticism of modern times, and the lack of attention, and rigorous practice.

“Getting old… Lights off? No.”
Hallucinatory visions?

Even the mother lives in a lonely place. Such craziness only exists without much people.

Hah the use of camcorder video intertwining with the real film is so good. Perhaps horror has done this before, but not this well.

Hmm only VHS tapes, and no GPS to check the street name. Perhaps the film can only exist 10 years ago, like No Country for Old Men. Making a film now is too complex [to get around technology].

What makes these films so great is that the characters are smart, complex. They know justice. [They know human values.]

Revenge? And on the other side, guilt. Such a simple concept that harks the mind even at such late ages. [At the time of thinking this, I also thought about New Guineans exacting revenge in tribal warfare because I was reading a book about it.]

Only a guilty person would have gone to the room.

Hmm, another film that deals with the Algerian War, the other being Of Gods and Men I saw within the past week, though, this is only referenced as something done in the past. Perhaps French filmmakers have experienced this themselves and feel strongly about it. [Haneke is indeed quite old and lived during the time. From the Wikipedia article of the mentioned incident in the film, The Paris Massacre of 1961: "After 37 years of denial, in 1998 the French government acknowledged 40 deaths, although there are estimates of over 200." The theme of denial is alluded to.]

Oh man, such good comparison to invasion [colonization?] of Iraq. [Mmm, another colonization thought. Well, this one was an obvious allusion via televised news. As an American-born watching this, it did make it feel more relatable, modern.]

“We will ensure greater homogeneity.”
This is frightening. Not just this line, but the film. [Was that news report real? Homogeneity in Iraq?]

Only in Western countries does so much paranoia occur. Though part of he film is to build horror, knowing where the child is at all times is probably their [the couple's] normal routine.

So much work (bills) for the father, and junk (media, toys, posters) in the child’s room.

“If you’re alone you’ll imagine the worst.”
That’s a good friend. She did immediately think of her son getting hit by a car.

Whoa, this film…

It’s so good that the film takes place while the characters maintain a normal life, or try to. Work is shown. Raising a child. So much going on.

An allusion I’m unaware of, but like Watchmen, every frame of this film matters.

Rimbaud was a poet in his teens, then stopped [making poems], considered a libertine. A Libertine is one devoid of most moral restraints, especially one who ignores or even spurns accepted morals. [Now that's a frightening concept!] Libertines put value on physical pleasures, those through senses. [hmm, that's fascinating, to see where senses and rational must be balanced]. It grew adherents in 17th, 18th, and 19th century France and Great Britian. France sure was a fucked up place. In French novel Dangerous Lessons, the term a dish served best cold was coined, and is considered an early example of Libertine literature. The genre ended with the French Revolution. [what a frightening time, need to Wikipedia Napoleon]. Back to Rimbaud: “Rimbaud was known to have been a libertine and a restless soul. He traveled extensively on three continents before his death from cancer just after his thirty-seventh birthday.” Ooof, reading Rimbaud’s biography on Wikipedia, there are some comparisons of a strict childhood. “I’m now making myself as scummy as I can. Why? I want to be a poet, and I’m working at turning myself into a seer. You won’t understand any of this, and I’m almost incapable of explaining it to you.”…”The idea is to reach the unknown by the derangement of all the senses. It involves enormous suffering, but one must be strong and be a born poet. It’s really not my fault.” Whoa, what a fascinating life. Lots to learn in his actions.

Orphanages breed hatred? Explains revenge.

Those early scenes of guilt and conscience were brilliant.

His mother sleeps with the lights on, but he doesn’t.

Meh, these films are too serious. I’d rather chill in Taiwan, without a worry in the world. Except finance and my Chinese. [lol, I was quite scared by the end of it.]

I don’t think it’s healthy for any life to be solely based on media. It really could damage a formative mind. Good thing I rode my bike all day and still do.

Oh man. The screenplay. Christ it’s brilliant.

The father sleeps, a scene plays in which his parents send Majid to the orphanage, for which most of the time I had mistaken it for the protagonist and his wife.

The end, also brilliant, not in a cheesy way in which films revolve, though it does. Masjid’s sons tells the protagonists son something, perhaps placing a conscience on him about his father.

After the film:
I was just amazed at how tight the screenplay was, reminding me of A Separation.

Even more, I was amazed by the allusions all over the place. Allusions not just from the television news or even the dialogue about Rimaud, and all the other allusions I missed — I didn’t quite fit in the dog story in my head at the time — but also the allusions of standard dialog from characters. Every piece of dialog in the film had reason to be there, held weight, symbolism, constantly richening the experience.

The deep, slow shots allow the mind to take in more content, allowing the eyes to wander, whilst reflecting.

Just in my last blog post, I mentioned the criteria for what makes a classic classic, and this not just meets those, but exceeds them.

I’ve mentioned before a comparison to Watchmen. Watchmen was a powerful piece of media for me, with its abundance of allusions in every frame, on the frames nearby, symbolism in the chapter, and in the entire novel, constantly interacting with other parts, the details form complex ideas over time. This film similarly accomplishes that, with its allusions, aphorism-filled dialogs, symbolism, interacting and fitting any part of the film, ignoring time, transcending.


I instinctively read Roger Ebert’s review, which lead to his in-depth answer to the film.

Upon reading his review, he mentioned Tuberculosis being a disease in which people cough up blood. I did not know that, but fits. And I wondered, what if the person coughing blood was Georges, making him have TB. I read Wikipedia, and one has “fevers, chills, night sweats, fatigue.” All of which Michael had during the film. Well, that’s ambiguous, he could have just been in a poor mood. Anyway, it just made me think, Georges had TB, and through guilt, his hallucinatory visions put Majid in his place. Furthermore, his mother is dying too, perhaps of latent TB? A fun thought.

Upon looking at a scene around where Ebert mentioned, after the coughing blood scene, when Georges and his son go to the car, the son waves some plants out of the way, or, does he place a camera? Hah, then I’ve become paranoid, over-scrutinizing.

After reading the more in-depth review, it makes a lot of sense that the two sons knew each other. At first, I thought Majid’s son intentionally met afterward, now I’m going toward the former.

In the comments of the reviews, others have formed their own great ideas:

an example:

Did anyone notice the movie posters/ads at around 01:26 into the movie? Ma Mere (My mother)& Deux Freres (Two Brothers)? Was Majid G’s half brother? Were M’s “parents” sent away at a convenient time in France’s history so his real mother could adopt him without raising questions.

When G visits his mother she pretends to not remember M. She is visibly upset. M knew G’s mother was ill. M had contact with her.
M says later “WHAT WOULDN’T WE DO NOT TO LOSE WHATS OURS”. G to go from single child to have to share. W to be an outsider and to do anything to please. G exploited M’s need to belong to be rid of him. How much did G hear when he was a child? Enough to know M was more than adopted?

Majid is forgiving Georges.

M just wants his family. G can’t let go of the lies and may believe them. Is G racist? A snob?

Majid’s son must have contacted P. They both planned to reunite their fathers. Their grandmother is dying? Majid’s son and P tried to bring some peace to both brothers. G refused to see. W would never have his family. So much denial and sadness. No peace for G without the sleeping pills. No family for M ever.

A more encompassing example:

Okay, I think I have figured out Ebert’s “Shooting Gun” based on POV, as well as an ALL ENCOMPASSING solution to the mystery (until you all put a dozen holes through it).

The POV in the shot at about the 20 minute mark before the ‘boy with blood’ memory has two characteristics: 1) It is a still shot, implying that is is the objective perspective from someone filming, and 2) It is from a second story level at the street leading right up to George’s front door.

Therefore, Ebert is implying that the person making the tapes was taping from the second floor of George’s house (i.e. Pierrot).

Additionally, even if it a Subjective POV shot, it is still coming from a member of George’s household and aimed directly at the spot from which the opening frames of the movie are being filmed. In other words, Pierrot is looking from his bedroom window at the spot from where they are being filmed and knows where the camera is before his parents tell him of the tapes.

(However, unlike Ebert I am not convinced that POV is the solution, because anyone could have been looking from out of that window, out of pure fear, not neccessarily knowledge. They know they are being filmed from that general direction. And if Ebert means the POV of the person seeing the bleeding boy, it seems to be the POV of someone the height of age six, so it had to be George’s POV from memory and no one else.)

One issue not discussed anywhere of vital imprtance to solving the mystery is that George is a dedicated liar and never reveals what actually happened between him and Majid, although there are two hints: 1) After killing the rooster Majid appears to approach George with violent intent holding up the axe when the scene suddenly ends, and 2) George tells Majid something to the effect of “You were older and stronger than me, I had no choice”. Therefore, what did George do? Was it much more violent than what George finally admits to his wife at the end of the movie? It had to be when he says he was older and stonger and had no choice. George probably beat the living crap out of him and caused him to bleed for days on end, which he has suppressed in his memory as “spontaneous bleeding”. George doesn’t appear to admit to much and is obviously hiding a lot more as implied from the two scenes just mentioned, which is why it is such a painful memory for the Grandmother. It must have been a lot more violent and the family had to send Majid away for his own safety after brushing the family violence under the carpet, and bringing a doctor in to check the boy after waiting for exterior wounds to heal. Kid’s skin wounds heal fast, it could have been a wait of only one or two weeks.

One other issue not mentioned by bloggers which is part of the solution is that Majid may actually be George’s brother conceived through an affair between the Grandmother and the Algerian farmhand. This would explain the desire to adopt him and the guilt caused by exiling him at a young age and the mysterious dissappearance of both parents. This theory is based on the fact that Waleed (Majid’s son) appears to be in touch with the Grandmother and knows about her health. Why if he is he in touch with her does the Grandmother claim to have no memory of him? Something stinks there to high heaven. The only reason they would be in touch is due to a blood or a continuing adoptive relationship.

In any case the story George tells is very very innocent and could not be the cause of so much trauma on Majid’s part and so much guilt on George’s part. His only admission is that he said “I saw him bleeding” and “I told him to kill a rooster”. Hell, on a farm there is a lot of chicken killing going on.

Majid would only kill himself in that gruesome fashion due to very serious childhood trauma, not just being sent away to boarding school.

I don’t think we can say who sent the films, but we can determine who made the films for one good reason: No one had access to Majid’s house to film the confrontation between George and Majid except Majid’s family. Therefore, Either Majid made the tapes, or his son did (independently or in cohoots with Pierrot, it doesn’t matter)

Finally, the second generation seems to know each other based on the closing shot. Majid’s son and Pierrot have some kind of positive relationship. Perhaps Majid’s son approached him at school and made friends with him. Whether they are in league with one another or not is not important…

For a film to form interpretations of what happened in its entirety is a feat, even more so than Certified Copy, in which one turns into the other.

At the end of the same comment:

…The point of the movie is that there is a silver lining on the history of violence betwen France and Algeria, led by a new generation that is able to look past racial differences. Pierrot’s hero is none other than Algerian Zinedine Zidane who led France to its last World Cup and has his poster hanging on his bedroom wall. This generation can look past racial differences; Pierrot can have a good relationship with Majid’s son, although we cannot imagine that George’s generation can have an honest relationship with their colonized neighbours.

And for a film to simultaneously hold these symbolisms with strength is an unimaginable feat.

Leave a comment | Categories: Film Reviews, Films

What makes a classic, classic?

22 October 2014 by Rahil

In answering this question, one comes closer to what one should focus on creating.

Though for each medium (or new media) there are steps in aesthetics that accumulate to what makes a modern example of that medium, the steps are often forgotten.

What makes a classic are those things that offer a perspective of life, and allows time to reflect on it.

As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite films are the slow, contemplative ones by Asians: Still Walking, Like Father Like Son, Yi Yi, Tokyo Story. These films capture families realistically, allowing the viewer to observe human condition.

Those aren’t just my favorites, there are more that I consider classics. My favorites happen to have nuclear families as their subject, but it isn’t limited to such. Other films I’d still consider classics: Tree of Life, Apu trilogy, Chop Shop, 400 Blows, La Haine, Vive L’Amour, 4 Months 3 Weeks 2 Days, Nobody Knows, Grave of Fireflies, Bicycle Thieves, Ikiru, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Certified Copy, A Separation. All of these films contain people. They too portray life realistically and explore the human condition.

It seems to me that’s it. A classic is an art object that realistically portrays life and deeply explores the human condition. To have good aesthetics (design, pacing, style) are icing.

I have not read classic fiction books, but I imagine the following novels of realism do similar justice: Anne Karrenina, War and Peace, Madame Bovary, Middlemarch, The Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment.

Video games vary, and I have not experienced one that offers nearly as much insight into human life as the other mediums, but it’s possible. Jason Rohrer’s early games come very close. Jonathan Blow’s Braid had a good character. Anna Anthropy’s Dys4ia is the greatest example I can currently think of. All are linear experiences. Still, none compare. But there are many other directions for games. When art is an interaction, it can’t be duplicated, which is kind of a requirement of a classic, that it can be re-experienced.

New media, performance art, public art, interactive art, etc. are different beasts They usually serve as steps by pushing aesthetics forward (Duchamp), from object to experience (Fluxus), from experience to interaction (Fluxus again?), and so on. Once they become interactive, they follow the same fate as interactive games: unable to become a classic. Ai Wei Wei’s work and Banksy just don’t quite fit or compare to those classic films or books. [I may be missing some classic performance arts, such as plays and dance]

I may argue for Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York photograph and text series, and Vincent Moon’s music and performance video series, as they provide insight into humans too. Both are archived on the internet, so it is possible to see it all in one viewing, as one normally does classics.

Of recent note, I found the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury within the Cannes film festival with this stated goal: “honour works of artistic quality which witnesses to the power of film to reveal the mysterious depths of human beings through what concerns them, their hurts and failings as well as their hopes.” Their goal is great, but their films tend to be more philosophical.

Leave a comment | Categories: Art, Essays, Film Philosophy, Films, Game Philosophy, Games, Literature

Information, Media, and Education

22 October 2014 by Rahil

A random thought.

Not really in the beginning, there was man. Man took in the world of information as any other animal would, responding instinctively. If the man was lucky, he had parents, or a social group to follow and learn how to deal with the world. Man was the first thing to organize knowledge.

Later, he was able to able to turn objects into words. If the man was lucky, he had older people to give him more words. Man with words may have been able to organize more knowledge, because one can’t always point at objects.

Later, he was able put words into objects. Objects became knowledgeable! Whoa.

The first of which was writing. Until modern times, people used written material as their secondary source of organized knowledge. The first being oral language, unless one lived a cruel childhood.

The second was picture. Pictures perhaps illustrated complex ideas and machinations during ancient times; an example: maths. More recently, it’s possible kids grew up reading comic books (or manga), during their knowledge-formative years.

The third, moving pictures. Soon after comic books blew up, television and films pervaded to provide a constant view of reality, or a poorly acted one, through streams of video. Most kids do experience a lot of this during their formative years.

The fourth, games. Games resemble less of a medium and more back to the original way knowledge was transmitted: through human interaction. Teaching through play.

The last is an ultimate mix of mediums: the internet. It includes all of the above mediums, and perhaps more.

As information becomes more organized, people learn faster. This renders older forms of media less useful. The medium that most closely resembles reality will usually be more efficient in transmitting knowledge.

That is, given an equal amount of time and relatively equal content, the child who reads books will understand less than that of one that watches film, and even less than that who learns everything with a kind tutor.

Each time a new medium is found, people put their knowledge into it. Bless them. For I do not believe that people would have as much knowledge as they do now without those kind, caring people.

Leave a comment | Categories: Essays, Literature, Thoughts

Learning in the Information Age

17 October 2014 by Rahil

This is just a short thought from today, which rambled into meaningless gibberish because I am sleepy.

If a person’s goal is to gain a lot of knowledge, then an efficient way of quickly gaining it is worth considering.

In the past I made a personal post about a way of living, progressive education [todo: books are dead], but I this post covers learning fundamentally, the transfer of knowledge.

Let’s start with two methods: boring and fun.

The boring method:
Either one’s genes evolved to tolerate this or one was raised in the same environment as the academia of ancient greeks.

The stereotype academic life, steeped in Wikipedia, and perhaps, books. Higher education. Sometimes talks with peers at school, but mostly habitually robotically consuming information from printed material. The life of Kant, Einstein, Chomsky, and what I imagine of most intellectuals. Routine to a desk full of open books and computer screens.

Life and learning:
Though the goal is to learn, it misses the other part: living life; “to live and learn”. The complete goal is to maximize learning while living (having new experiences).

My life:
My History of Learning. [todo: need to write a short blog about my personal history of learning. How grow in an entirely artificial world grasping concepts without knowledge that they're learning, and it's not limited to books. Not knowing what philosophy was while constantly thinking about it. Watching a lot of films when Netflix was created. Reading Wikipedia for everything I didn't know.]

An ideal future:
As the world adds ever more content in ever more an organized manner, people learn more than ever before. Perhaps people aren’t smarter, instead, the materials of learning is better.

Two improvements: The media is aesthetically pleasing, and most of the media is interactive, meant to be played with others.

Life is generally fun and educational. One is living and learning what they wish. People are constantly interacting in ways to gain or explore knowledge. It is not connected to an institution of any sort. All media is available for everyone. Naturally, people will gather in public spaces to play the media. People will meet others. Perhaps they will become friends and meet regularly. Perhaps some of the people who play will go play somewhere else with other people to gain knowledge (There is no external social force to play in one place or time). Some people play at night, some during the day. Some find it’s better to play with a different group of people every day to mixing media and people. Some people like to replay past media on one day, and new media on the others. Some play alone.

The media people play sometimes correlate with their current work, so if a workplace exists, that kind of media can often be played with those people, providing a gestalts effect.

… hmmm more to explore here, lol.

Leave a comment | Categories: Education, Life

Des hommes et des dieux

14 October 2014 by Rahil

After watching a recent film by my favorite film director, I found on Wikipedia it was commended by the jury that awards the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury. It is one of the juries of the Cannes Film festival with an objective to “honour works of artistic quality which witnesses to the power of film to reveal the mysterious depths of human beings through what concerns them, their hurts and failings as well as their hopes.”. From my experience of the few films I’ve seen in the list, and of the many directors of films who’ve I’ve seen, it seems this is a great source of philosophy in film. After finding that, I decided to print it out and plaster it next to a few other syllabi I have for my temporary self-education.

I hope to continue to watch the rest of the films in the list, thinking deeply of the actions people take, how they came to decide it, the effects of external forces, and whatever other questions may arise.

Continuing the trend starting from the last film I had watched of posting my thoughts, as opposed to reviewing a film, and forcing me to review my thoughts, edits appear in square brackets “[]“, what follows are my thoughts during the viewing of Des hommes et des dieux (Of Gods and Men).

My Thoughts:
How do people form convents? Need a source: evangelists. Is just finding the bible enough for people to teach it? [Reminds me of a short story by Borjes in Ficciones]. This surely must have died in developed countries where internet is prevalent.

The priests read religious texts (Quran, St. Francis de Assisi, etc.), absolutely naive to dogmatic material.

The framing the in this and Like Father Like Son are varied. Sometimes faces takes a fourth of the screen. Sometimes the camera moves with transit or people walking. [Zoom is necessary. Stabilization not so, but nice to have.]

Life would have been quite different without the internet, and Wikipedia.

Religion and culture is always weird to me because they are dogmas. They don’t make practical sense. Senseless traditions. It’s amazing how much time people have to spend on these things. Neither have monetary value. Neither is real work: the movement of objects or knowledge [science].

These things (religion, culture, government) form because people are social [Aristotle], which later leads to the formation of laws.

The priests do their work, ignoring the world, like the father in the last film did his — without play, following dogma. [Priests are like strict parents]

Film could be a great way to make an argument!

The priest choses not to take action (via reaction). A passive life?

So much time wasted while working [in the field or praying]. They could be listening to audiobooks!

If a religious armed person shares your own religion, you might be okay [safe], it seems.

This is another very good film of ethical decisions.

Both films do often use depth of field.

A progressive character in a convent? Interesting. I guess it’s because he’s the youngest. [It takes a habitual life over time to lose sight of progressivism]. Also interesting people sometimes desire to live outside of the convent, or at least the thought comes about during a dangerous time; During an earlier time in life, they decided to leave their homes to live a life “for Christ”.

If one lives in such a style for 60 years, would one change to another? Only if one is forced to, or comes across some serious event to change one’s mind.

Technology won’t arrive there any time soon, neither would have many books.

The priests are very familial, caring for each other like mothers.

As a kid the youngest priest wanted to be a missionary. He must have been exposed to missionaries really early.

I read that these kinds of priests rarely idly talk. I think that adds to their conduciveness to dogmatic beliefs. Dialogue, is the social way of gaining intelligence, with peers, not ancient authorities.

Getting sleepy here…

It seems the main priest entails a bias in his speeches. Saying their actions [to stay at the convent] now matter, because their incarnations [does Christianity even have incarnation?] depend on it. Even another priest says it’s okay to die — “who ever saves their life shall die, whoever shall lose it preserves it”. Well, I guess people use prayers to justify their actions?

They only give into pleasure when nearing death: wine and music. Such an awful life — the disciplined one. [Perhaps it is only possible to live such a dull life with abstinence. And, perhaps, the abstinence of pleasure leads to a passive life, a lack of reaction, and therefore, action.] There are no bad effects to several kinds of pleasure. They react profoundly. So much emotional response from the music, an artificial stimulus.

The film gives good insight to the lives of these kinds of lifestyles though. [Buddhists may be compared to them.]

Remote communities give opportunity to remote [guerilla-style] crimes. Guerrilla warfare almost requires far flung groups of people: easy targets.

Why don’t people travel to cities? Some travel there for goods [one priest brought wine and cheese from what I believe is a place of higher population]. The priests wouldn’t be needed if the village just transported to the city. Does this village provide goods for the city? Farming? Yeah, I guess that’s the reason.

With the internet, farms must be an okay place to live now, maybe even nice for people who enjoy a quiet life. Still, a dangerous choice in life, and narrow in knowledge. Even with the internet, people are social animals, and if one limits their social life with people in their village, it limits their knowledge — such an absurd phenomena. [todo: explore reasons for differences in amount of knowledge, if any, between cities and villages (I consider suburbs a contemporary form of a village)***]

The film is horrendously slow. Though, some ideas do require a lengthy experience to really digest. I could have read the synopsis of the film, but would I have similarly digested it? Perhaps I can try afterward. Perhaps it’s similar to reading a book and it’s synopsis: one doesn’t have much material and time (pacing), to formulate why things happened.

The subject of the film is why each priest made the decision (if any) to stay. What’s not shown is the other side of decision-making: the insurgents. Did each of the insurgents decide to follow people who making unethical killings? Perhaps there was even less brain activity on their side.

Though not much communication exists between the priests, they are intelligent, especially found in the testament by Christian given at the end of the film. He knows how discrimination lead to conflicts; He loves the country and it’s people, even if they kill him. Perhaps an exemplar of non-violence. [the first communication between the insurgents was a very good example of non-violent communication, and it was successful]

Hah, Amadee lived for another 12 years, indeed outliving them all.

Further watching: Battle of Algiers.

Leave a comment | Categories: Art, Film Reviews, Films

Like Father Like Son

12 October 2014 by Rahil

My favorite film director, Hirokazu Koreeda, film from 2013, Like Father Like Son, continues his consistent master-craft.

I personally have not seen a film in many months because I was living a very social life, and it had become quite difficult to become engaged with a video from a screen.

I’ve been in my parent’s house for more than a month, slowly transforming from a manic to a sloth, from peak creativity to hibernation. Finally, I gave in to watching a film, allowing some one else to direct my thoughts.

Instead of giving a review, I’ve decided to just post my thoughts during the film. I watched it in two sessions, the first, actively philosophical, and the second, more similar to my college days — absolutely mesmerized. And so, my thoughts are divided as such, unequal in length.

My Thoughts:
session one:
It’s been a very long time since I’ve been able to watch a film, and even when I did, the content of the film matched the lifestyle I was living in, for example, Tsai-Ming Liang films while living on the streets of Taiwan.

I can’t help to philosophize while watching, not of art aesthetic, but of knowledge.

Japan, school and work is so artificial: both appear like offices.

It is always more interesting to watch films of places one is unfamiliar with. If one watches films that take place in corporate America, one doesn’t realize it’s even there.

An old thought: to choose media is uncreative. Why consume it in the first place? Does it really substitute an experience?

The family lives in a house, and schedules life by time, and forcing a schedule on their child. No external stimulus is at play. No time to play games.

Watching the life of house people is odd. What are they really doing? Following something they practiced, that society taught, or parents taught? How did they choose their current daily actions? Japanese people are so robotic. I wonder, did they always live in sepearate housing? Whereas South Asians lived together in large families? [I googled a good article to read]

Japanese people sure do have giant libraries. Perhaps the reason why their culture is so insular is because their consumption is so [harks negative affects of suburbs thought]. If one lives in a suburban house, one consumed what’s in the house, not outside. What’s inside is media: manga, cute books, Japanese movies, etc.

My view of life has quite changed. As I watch the film, I notice more. I see that the house exists. It’s artificial. Their lives are determined by social interaction. Like watching people as I travel, I watch this film, the people at the wedding, my family. It is interesting to see what actions people take, rather than take action myself.

The family has an expensive DSLR, and the kid knows how to use it, without thinking of its affects or it’s existence.

This film is fucking great, in pacing, tracking shots to provide thinking time, gestalts, setting.

The wife’s mother highly regards people with money.

An idea from another person affected an individual, greatly.

It’s quite similar to A Separation, in that an ethical argument is given, and portrayed realistically and masterfully.

Education, knowledge, social determinism, it’s all here.

Which education is better? Planned or playful. Clearly playful environment. But the father shouldn’t always act so childish to the kids, should he?

The grandmother feels the home is like a hotel, as do the other couple’s kid. The amount of knowledge that pours from this film is more vast and succinct than that of most writers of the Western Canon.

“Don’t you think that, for kids, giving them time is everything.”

The father only realizes this now, after being raised in such a competitive society, he forgot the value of spending time. So isolated from life, so robotic.

Classic nature vs nurture debate.

The father is taking more part in the decision, although he spent far less time. A problem of gender inequality.

session two:
I just watched it as I did films in college, without philosophical analysis, profoundly.

“Spending time” is experience. Is it because I had little experience with my family, neither parent, I do not feel my parent’s house is my home? My parent’s first house was home because my friends lived on the same street. My parent’s second house is not.

after the film [at a suburban home, alone]:
After watching the film I had a long dream of treating mom and documenting it. “Taking Mom to Taiwan”. I would just record times I spend with her, showing a slow recovery from the negative symptoms of schizophrenia, and later piece then together with some transition scenes for time to contemplate between, like Koreeda’s films. I was quite successful in the treatment, as she then lived a healthy life in Taiwan, with her own Indian food shop. We both went to some film festival and won. I hadn’t told her about the film, and we just had fun and talked over the mic. I asked her a few serious questions for the audience, and she answered them. After that, I thanked a few Asian directors for their contemplative films, and Koreeda for being the impetus for the film, and Taiwan, for showing me life.

It seems, in the suburbs, I constantly substitute action with daydreaming.

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