Rahil

Category Archives for: Films

Film Lists, Watching Life, and Letting Beauty Emerge

10 October 2016

talk talk talk

One of my earliest posts on this blog, circa 2010, was about saving Netflix ratings. I still have that file. I found it in my Dropbox. And now, 6 years later, I used it.

Netflix previously failed by narrowing their film selection to a small selection of popular films around the time that they created the digital streaming service. Netflix seems to have failed yet again by not giving a simple interface / display of user ratings, allowing the internet free-market to fill in the gap.

Upon searching the internet for anime films to watch after being quite life-affirmed by Colorful [todo: add link later], I stumbled upon Letterboxd. I’m unsure why it took so long for such a simple website to form. Perhaps there was that generic list-making website before it?

Anyway, here’s a list of favorite films that I created How bored / habituated to sedentary life I must currently be.

Further, I *liked* a few lists. I *liked* too many. Not good. I over-browsed, over-consumed, over-organized.

But, if your aesthetic judgement finds bits of beauty in the infinitude of audio-video output, then, through the linking of those bits one eventually finds a beauty bit collector! ScorpioRising might be one, as his list As I Was Browsing The Auteurs, Occasionally I Saw Glimpses Of Beauty (also copied to letterboxd by another user) seems to be a collection of beautiful bits. Undoubtedly, beauty (including love) naturally unfolds in those films. And surely, there are more lists out there like it, such as assasf’s list (((.

I think that’s all I need now as far as film selection goes for the next few years. Gone are those early college days of perusing Metacritic, Roger Ebert’s website, BFI’s Sight & Sound, big three festival-winners and their specific awards, and other critic-oriented lists which result in similar film canons (though Kenji’s canon is probably darn good), sloppily adding them to a 500 capacity ordered queue on Netflix, or post-Netflix, a text file. Finding Letterboxd reminds me of my experience with 8tracks, where people discover music and create music playlists as opposed to machines or in film lists: critics, and I was able to freely enter countries and listen to the sounds of that country, without a need to really select what to listen to, spending more time experiencing, less time searching. Now I feel I can continue living life, watching reality at the pace of reality, as I did when I rode my bike when I was a child, and still now, when I ride my scooter. Just watching, nothing in particular, allowing one’s attention to see the natural beauty of the world.

So, if my habits become more sedentary, focusing on information (digital or not; mediated communication) rather than reality, as many modern jobs force one to do for several hours per day, and as desired information is easy to obtain, then these films can save me, alter my habits and attention from the mirror of the world that is information to the real world, remind me what life is like in different areas on earth, inspire me, to go out, and live, again.

Further talking

Kenji’s austere film list is on three websites: Listal, MUBI, and Letterboxd, and in that order in Google popularity. Hmmmmm.

It also seems Letterboxd has a database of films, so many films are missing. Can’t just write the title in?

More lists

While searching for slow-spaced, contemplative goodness, I stumbled upon An Austere List by Kenji. I’m a bit frightened to watch that right now, as only having watched The White Ribbon from that list. But, luckily, I found Slow Cinema Filmography (1975-2013), which derive’s its list from a thesis. Awesome!

Kenji has a list for Indian films! So, maybe, there’s more than Satyajit Ray.

Anthropology and empathy reminds me that one can just search for research topics, such as human condition, urban planning, cultural theory, or hatred of capitalism.

Leave a comment | Categories: Art, Film Reviews, Films, Humanities, Life, Personal, Philosophy of Film

A Japanese Ideal

09 September 2016

Perhaps thought of after watching Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light.

There is an ideal of an idyllic, rustic lifestyle shared in many of my favorite animated films from Japan (Wolf Children Ame and Yuki, Memories Drip-drop, and My Neighbor Totoro [todo: want to re-watch and review]. Perhaps resembling an actual arable area in Japan.

[todo: haven’t even started to write about this!]

from thoughts

9/9/2016
To todo: pay bills!

Continued thought for blog posts about the ideal lifestyle:

Into the Forest of Firefly Lights harks memories, of childhood and the ideal of romance. It’s simple, short, and sweet, much like the experience of watching many great short films (La Maison un Petites), but at 45 minutes, a bit more impact than those instant Pixar character development sequences through memory (Up).

One thought provoked was whether this is based on an actual relationship. Of having problems in relationships due to time, loss, or even age difference. It seems in Japan (and much of Asia), there isn’t much free-time, except during those childhood summers, when there’s no school and the family takes a trip into the countryside. It’s here freedom, love, imagination, sparks. And perhaps, there was a relationship during those summers. People do tend to work and forget about those important things: love and family. It’s only when we have a break that we focus on it. All of my relationships have been during the summer too, because I focus on work (personal or wage labour) during the other seasons. I am normally focused on work. So, for me, it brings about some good romantic memories, time spent after summer school, time spent in the park. Innocent, romance.

The second thought it provoked is of the ideal Japanese lifestyle as glorified by many of my favorite animated films.

Though the film didn’t depict it as the other films have (moving to the countryside [from an urban area], building a home, farming), somewhere in that childhood freedom in nature, there it still exists.

During my time in Lanyu (蘭嶼), I wanted to experience and live in that culture: free-diving, fishing, spear-gun fishing, cooking, farming, vending, making things (commodities) from materials. It’s primitive, especially when compared to my philosophic or new-media making past. It’s natural science, as opposed to the infinitely more complex social philosophy. It’s a material-oriented life, as opposed to an idea, information-oriented one (link to material vs information).

It’s what we experience as children: learning what materials do, making things out of them. Less care for social development. **Just taking everything in and acting upon it.

Isn’t that culture? To simply act within a time and space?**

There, whilst experiencing 蘭嶼, memories of JRPGs such as Harvest Moon, MMORPGs such as Ragnarok Online, one mysterious one I can’t remember the name of (link to forums of most recent RO game), World of Warcraft, and the infinite other RPGs I played when I was young came. I acted the same way as I did in those games: I went out alone, learned the environment, researched the best methods, and did things: practice swimming by snorkeling, catch crabs and cook and eat them (a rather haunting experience as they are so cute), catch fish via fishing and cook and eat them, research local flora and animals and make commodities out of them, sell things through vending on the street market.

It’s all quite the dream. It’s all a game. **Each culture can be seen as a game.** People act according to their institutionalized cultured and habits: capitalism, passed-down behaviors, love, desire for social development, desire for wisdom. In the game of Lanyu, during the summer people capitalize through tourism (tour guides, snorkel and diving guides, accommodation, food vending), stocking money for the winter, or continue working by finding a job on Formosa (the main island of Taiwan). Catching and eating sea creatures is in their culture, from their past. The knowledge of the environment only known to those living there, and slowly disappearing due to social development of the children, and the lack of passing down of traditional ways of living from the elderly.

It’s all seemingly primitive compared to the Information Age, which involves tech-related occupations, computer programming; even the Industrial Age is very modern compared Lanyu. Sure there’s manufactured rice now that is imported, and some tools from supermarkets from the town closest to the port, but not much is to be seen from the developed world.

[continue later, getting off track]

Quote from post-film thoughts of Into the Firefly Forest:
> The film is slow, dreamy, like Totoro. It has its magic. It’s predictable, yet I was happy to watch it, and it made me happy, optimistic.

> For the simple things. Memories. Good times. Summers. Natural joy. Picnics. Talking. Sharing. Time.

> I think of all those memories I created in Taiwan, and elsewhere. A happier place. Instead of my cultural theory, I take in the youthful joy. Of the Chinese class, of her, of my trip in Asia, of New York, of the fatkids, of College Park, of my youth. So many memories. It’s beautiful to think about.

> I’ve been so focused lately that I’ve recently stopped thinking. This free-thinking is what makes me happy. Ignore reality, and be happy.

The literal name of the film of Only Yesterday is Omiede Poro Poro, (todo: check name) roughly memories trickling down, with poro poro being a sound-action of something dripping. Poro Poro! With the cute partially rolled r phonetic. And that’s a core argument for living in Taiwan as opposed to New York (todo: link to post): that living in Taiwan creates more experiences, more memories. I’ve only lived in Taiwan for a small fraction of my life, yet as I think of my life, much of the memories were formed there. So many adventures, friendly people, thoughts. When I watch the memories of these films, my own memories of Taiwan, an island not dissimilar to Japan, are invoked. All those people, places, things I’ve done. When I stop, perhaps on a transportation, just as in the film (and many other films from Ghibli), the those memories rush back, or rather, they kind of trickle down, and I desire them.

I want to go back, live them again. I contact the people. I tell them I am really cherished those times. It’s s childish thing to do, yet, so human. During my recent heartbreak I took a ride a scooter from 宜蘭 through 台東 to 台南 and back toward 蘭嶼. Those memories came. I wrote to everyone I thought I may have loved during past time. I wrote it during the phase of break-up whee one seeks comfort. It was pathetic, yet affirming.

I love Taiwan. I love the experiences I’ve had here. I love the people here.

And so I desire to be here. I desire to join another hostel, be a part of the experiences that go in to living in one. I desire to live in Lanyu, farm and fish and vend. I desire to move to a farming area and build a home as was done in Wolf Children. But none can be done alone.

And all of this contradicts my Western mind. My Western part desires to organize people on Lanyu to increase safety, health, and engineering. It desires a better education. Yet, it desires freedom, and enjoys the freedom the kids on Lanyu have. One feels a connection there. Those children are free, unlike Taiwan. They run around town, swim, hang out with strangers.

Can both be had? Can one be rational and free? West and East?

This contradiction is an everlasting conflict.

Why catch a single fish with rudimentary methods when there are huge high-tech boats with nets that catch hundreds? Why farm when there are huge farm fields looked over with industrial tractors and large machines? Why not just eat cheap cereals and skip to the information and ideas? One doesn’t have to fight for survival in the Information Age. Cereals are cheap, air conditioning or even simple fans exist. Why go backward in social development? We should be designing and philosophizing.

Why? Experience and memories. Nothing more.

The West focuses on the material reality. Design. The East focuses on experiences. In the West, the portfolio matters most. In the East, you must provide a biography. It’s not about what you make, it’s what you have experienced. The experience of making is just a small part.

So what stops me from experiencing? My Western past. I often think in terms of social development. Increases the development of wisdom. Figuring out cities. Figuring out cultures. Social philosophy, urban planning, all of it.

What’s the point of creating yet another hostel? I should be pushing art with games for education, films with documentary and philosophical content, putting new knowledge into ever more accessible mediums. I should be in India de-slumming. I should be in an emergency care platoon. I should be doing a lot.

Yet, I feel so stable, so normal, when I am on my own, doing my own things: fishing, making games, making things on my own. Not caring for the world’s problems. It’s taken me many years to get this feeling again. To forget about [ignore] politics is so difficult, when it affects everything.

Leave a comment | Categories: Anthropology, Area, Art, Essays, Film Reviews, Films, Humanities, Literature, Philosophy, Social Philosophy

言の葉の庭 (The Garden of Words)

08 September 2016

romanization: Kotonoha no Niwa
literal translation: garden of leaf of word [?]
meaningful translation: word garden [?]
English title: The Garden of Words

notes / thoughts

desire to do own thing / path, as opposed to what society wants in the form of school and work

goes to nature, drinks beer :). Ahhh, this is natural! Nature and a drink. And chocolate!

romantic scenes reminds me of Three Times

paths of a 15 year old in Tokyo is limited to two ways, “childish desires” or save money and make shoes. A recurring theme in these Japanese animations: limited to paths laid out by society. Such a joyless society, where drinking beer in the park is one’s joy. Only relations, no other form of joy. No consumerism, I guess?
– perhaps the lack of communication is the problem. No creativity, no talking.
– at least, that’s my current problem and reason for depression

woman holding on to relationship and job, far overdue, barely able to get up and “walk” on one’s own
– unable to walk! That’s me currently, or after heartbreak, or after leaving a community, or basically my life in Taiwan. I’ve become so relationship-oriented that I’ve lost my childhood desires (not teacher fantasies).

desire to do personal design / work / art, motivated working for capital at restaurant

Surely I missed her, but…
I think it’s clinging to those feelings that’s keeping me a little kid.

27 years old, yet but [feels as if she] didn’t do anything during the past 12 years [(27–12=15)]
I’ve always been here, stuck in the same place
– hmmm, very possible. Those poor Tokyo souls; Minds trapped by the strength of culture, and relationships. How awful, being a slave to culture, unable to make decisions autonomously. I really shouldn’t hitch through Japan, should I?

Didn’t do anything wrong (when another person falls in love)
– Reminds me of some Koreeda film. Hmmmm, I think? Can’t think of it [now]…

mmm, actually a good conversation of school / culture problem (referring to the teacher-student situation)
– again, east Asian school culture have such close relationships that even teachers are able to get hurt.
– A huge problem pointed out is that the police is useless. Saving face. Just earlier today, I was thinking about how a women would be unable to live my life as I’ve been sleeping outside next to a hot spring lately, because she risks getting raped. How fucking frightening is that? I checked the internet, noticed that the statistics were near 20% for America (WTF, my mind still hasn’t been able to digest this), and 1% in Japan. The problem is that Japanese people rarely report it, to save face, patriarchal society, etc. cultural problems of Japan. Wild. These far east societies really do retain some ancient cultural problems, and they take so long to change. Maybe another generation? It’s so strange to me for it to progress so slow in these social aspects. But if Japan is anything like Taiwan, perhaps it isn’t, as much of Taiwan is old, rural, backward-thinking in oh so many ways (education, healthcare, police, general etiquette, everyday work-life at companies).

no beer sign. Also no playing sign?

classic literature still seems to be taught in Japanese society, if I were to take these animated films as truth. Wolf Children had a philosophy class, Only Yesterday had a Basho poem, and this one includes a tanka, and the woman is a classic literature teacher. This is quite a contrast to American education of science. Of course, I prefer philosophy, as it creates good conversation and relates to life.

ahhh, the joy of nature :) (as typhoon or heavy rain and wind comes in)
– so many memories of this in Taiwan

you saved me.
– ahhh the classic post break-up need for human physical support to move on

a post-thought:

Aesthetically, I didn’t care much. It was even distracting at first, to see the camera zoom out and track, or take shots of random spots as if it were a real one, and having focus like expensive cameras, taking those cheesy transition shots that focus out. Poor souls who animated the thing, wasting time mimicking standard live films.

I probably missed out on some classic Japanese ideas (symbolism) in all of those nature shots. Zen? Them being in a garden. Fengshui? Weather patterns? Anyway, I don’t feel it mattered too much.

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

歸途列車 (Last Train Home)

07 September 2016

Just a few minutes into Last Train Home and my my wakes up from the sloth-paced recent days of healing and waiting for my money to come in.

It’s starkly different from watching a film by Koreeda, which is so familial, revolving about love. This film already incorporates space, governance, politics, culture, and so on. It has the bigger picture in mind. Koreeda focuses on house, this film focuses on the rest of the day, including work.

Perhaps it’s the hectic pace, of cities, of work. Once the scene of the countryside comes, I feel at ease again.

Watching them get on the train is normal to me now. All of it is. I don’t feel terrible about it? Become complacent? Lost my ideals?

They travel 2100 kilometers, but don’t experience any of it in between.

You should avoid anything that should harm your study.

The huge panaromas and distant views of the countryside and city really do contrast. Why go to such an ugly city? Why not live in that beautiful rural area? As long as one has access to a library, a computer, it’s okay! Fuck the city. Especially a Chinese one.

Part 2:
Work is work. The factory looks like my first job’s office. Not so bad. At least it has more people, and kids!

Oh, but this times its a child worker. Damn.

自由是快樂。

Oh shit. That is her!

Hmm, school or work, it’s a prison, enclosed by culture. Cultures don’t understand idleness.

That’s the Asian mentality: I’d rather work harder than for my child to work.

Buying freedom, independence through work (in capitalism). Using time to buy time.

Let’s just roam around the world.

Money vs being there. Being there, absolutely.

Just watching the film now. Not much philosophizing, thinking. The daughter goes home for New Years with a spunky teenage attitude. Loves her grandparents more then her parents. Her little brother places a seemingly mere #5 in whatever school that is. The educators are probably very outdated, but it’s not shown. Freedom through work, the American dream, is looked down upon.

Watching the film, I don’t feel much. I don’t feel my need to change the world as I normally desire, when I am active. Acceptance? Lazy.

Though, I don’t feel so bad for the people either. Culture is the problem, largely. It’s culture that forces people to smoosh into trains for New Years. It’s culture that the parents want their kids to be educated through the traditional educational system. The daughter is the light. Yet, working that many hours doesn’t get anyone anywhere, does it? Maybe the daughter will try a different job. It’s just trial, part-time. Then move on just as she said the farm was a sad place, so too will the factor be. That’s education. She’s moving from the farm, to factory, to some place better. A hostel, hopefully!

[continued on the next day 7/9/2016]
Back to 7-11 where there’s air conditioner! Wow, what a difference! I can think. In not constantly in need of hydration. No mosquitos! The developed world in one room!

Skipping straight in to the climax. Classic. Parent cares for money to raise child and support for education, child cares for none of it, and in a way, is right: she cares for the people near to her: her grandparents. What’s money got to do with anything, including and especially education? That single decision is already smarter than her parents toiling away at non-sense. Perhaps it’s up to her to save her parents from habituated misery. The father’s seemingly rational view fails completely amidst the daughter’s feelings

The daughter working at a bar is not a bad first job. It’s money. She’s doing it right, experiencing slowly, reality. School doesn’t teach it.

The father desires; he must let it go.

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

蛍火の杜へ (~Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light)

07 September 2016

Japanese: 蛍火の杜へ
romanization: Hotarubi no Mori e
literal: Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light
English: [none]

during-film thoughts

Suburban house, missing the in-between in life
Noisy insects!

…ended up just watching the entire thing as I did as when I was young.

post-film thoughts

A similar story to Spirited Away. Perhaps they root from some ancient Japanese source story.

The film is slow, dreamy, like Totoro. It has its magic. It’s predictable, yet I was happy to watch it, and it made me happy, optimistic.

For the simple things. Memories. Good times. Summers. Natural joy. Picnics. Talking. Sharing. Time.

I think of all those memories I created in Taiwan, and elsewhere. A happier place. Instead of my cultural theory, I take in the youthful joy. Of the Chinese class, of her, of my trip in Asia, of New York, of the fatkids, of College Park, of my youth. So many memories. It’s beautiful to think about.

I’ve been so focused lately that I’ve recently stopped thinking. This free-thinking is what makes me happy. Ignore reality, and be happy.
– Perhaps not ignore reality, rather, stop organizational behaviors and live!

Leave a comment | Categories: Art, Film Reviews, Films, Humanities, Life, Personal

幻の光 (~Will-o’-wisp )

08 August 2016

Japanese title: 幻の光
romanization: Maboroshi no Hikari
literal translation: phantasmic light
meaningful translation: a trick of light, will-o’-the-wisp
English title: Maborosi

Well, that’s quite confusing, ain’t it?

From Yahoo Answers:

幻 is more often used as a metaphor for things that are troubling you, ie. spectres from the past, things that are hard to grasp, etc. (ex. 幻の名物 – phantom souvenir – people say it is available, but you cannot find it) This is also often used when describing thinking about those who have died, especially those close to us, but less as a ghostbusters ghost and more as a ghost of the mind.

notes from second viewing:

Written the day after watching it, skimming through the video, like my old film-watching days:

some thoughts while skimming, and re-occurred ones:

There’s so few items in the household. Because the setting is in a past time, and because of Japanese culture.

Her mind is stuck on the past. It’s too difficult to think about raising a child, …[stopped thought?]

She’s beautiful. A bit alien, but stunning. Mongolian? Some Japanese aboriginal? Eyebrows and eyes are almost exaggerated.

After the news of her husbands suicide, she bikes, ruminating. I do the same.

At a later time, she dwells on past photos. I do the same.

Strange match-making service. Quite similar to Indians. Is having a partner that important? Or is it merely cultural? I can imagine an American getting on fine without a partner, but I’d guess an Asian would rather *want* to share the experience.

Japan’s geography is much like Taiwan. The coast is similar to the coast I’m currently near, on the southern tip of Taiwan, with a coral coast; quiet, small towns.

Every detail and action matters in the film. It’s dense in content without action.

The new husband’s house also frightens me of Japanese culture. An isolated room with a television. There’s just not enough noise, fun, action, social life. Everything is organized, thought and then decided upon. Very little consumption. Creating a very insular culture.

She’s still able to smile and laugh. Amazing.

The nature is stunning, like Taiwan.

Super traditional formal wedding. Looks as if it could have happened in Taiwan too. The house, especially kitchen, feels warm, when there are people in it.

The kids run around in nature. Lovely. Kids need it. Strange, but beautiful green tunnel door frame with the kids.

Kids are picked up by a neighbor. Small town love.

Traditional cutting and crafting. So slow, the life there is. People fish. Mothers cut their kid’s hair. All of this exists in Taiwan too. It’s strange, compared to modern societies. Does she have to adapt from Osaka? Was her job busy?

Ah right, the tradition of leaving the house and coming in, as the daughter leaves for school. So much emphasis on the household.

Hahaha the son is great, sleeping with the grandfather on the boat. The childhood love for nature is awesome.

Such a slow life.

She’s stunning without clothes too, even with an old-fashioned huge panty.

The kids get along well. Like the Asian emphasis of having a partner to share an experience, it’s probably equally important to let the kids have a partner, a brother or sister, too.

Hah Osaka looks terrible compared to the more natural coast, but as long as one spends much of the time in a house, it doesn’t matter where one lives.

A bit of thrill: he comes all the way to the cafe near home, cheerfully, then intends to go home.

Another strange slow, close-up frame, this time on her. Perhaps a cinematic cue, as it was with the boyfriend: a change in direction for the person.

Man, learning radishes at the outdoor sink is a beautiful thing. So it putting up a bamboo fence. Only get this kind of life in the rural areas of Taiwan, like preparing for a typhoon and cleaning potato leaves.

Is it possible to move on, after losing a long-loved one, such that of a childhood sweetheart? The new husband was able, but she isn’t. How can one replace 20 years of knowing someone? That’s non-sense. She’s right. It’s impossible.

An alien cultural funeral procession? How the heck did Koreeda capture the beginning of snow with that frame?

She continues to ruminate.

His answer is great, about chasing an alluring light in the distance. There’s no real answer.

The new husband is great, spending time with the kid, helping the son ride his bike.

It’s during the winter humans ruminate, and during the spring and summer that humans take action. She decided to leave.

obvious screenplay bits:
new husband as a shadow
she says “you nut” to her new husband, which was something her husband said to her
her grandmother disappear into the cold and dies, the new grandmother figure disappears but comes back
like her, the new husband senses something wrong, but perhaps feels it’s small
son wants to buy a green bicycle with a bell like his father had
Ozu ending
– season change
– position of her a little behind
[probably missed a bunch, such as cleaning the floors, empty rooms, and more]

When I saw this during my film-consuming younger years, I thought it was great. Maybe it was the lack of words, emphasis on visuals, human gesture, and ideas.

During this second view, after recovering from a personal recent heart-break, I just watch it without much feeling, in wonder, thinking of my own problems, or nothing, passing time. Perhaps it’s my favored contemplative pacing that made me love it.

It is strange when the camera sits on her husband, in the factory, then again, when he leaves without looking back. His reaction is strange: he doesn’t react. She says she’s been acting a bit weird and he gives a strange story of an older retired sumo-wrestler co-worker making him depressed. Did he not react out of depression? She tries to cheer him up, with such pure-hearted cheerfulness, but to no avail.

In a realistic analysis now: I know East Asian cultures tend to put blame on themselves, thus resulting in suicide, as opposed to Americans, who may find optimism in other motives (art, work, media), move on more easily (more shallow relationships), blame it on others, or some other method of coping.

Indeed, Japan’s culture seems to be on the extreme end of the family-community spectrum. There is so much emphasis on family. So much so that memories, mementos, time, seem to create a whole different mindset [todo: perhaps add Our Little Sister thoughts here too]. Every object in a house has a reason or meaning. Any change in the family relationship is considered a paradigm shift. Every family decision is thought about deeply, decided formally. This is what frightens me about Japanese culture, because I’m on other extreme end — community and playing / exploration.
— (end of first writing session)

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

Philosophy of Music

09 June 2016

[this is a drafty mess transcribed from paper. Really need some kind of bluetooth flexible keyboard to use with a smartphone…]

page 0

[todo: Taiwan culture and streets, clingy relationships, social world of locality]

page 1

I finally got some cheap, yet amazingly good, headphones. Listening to them reminds me of a past time of my life — programming for capital in VA [Virginia, USA], commuting to college, doing chore-like work at home (repetitive organizing on the computer); Now I’m able to see that the way I survived the suburbs is because I abused music.

Using technology is not normal. It is much slower to communicate through technology than it is to simply talk — within one’s head, out loud, or through writing. Technology distracts thinking and communicating.
.
Music interrupts, blocks thinking and communicating. To blog, for instance, I may need to connect to the internet, charge my digital device. Looking at my blog may distract further, directing thought toward design — trying to make it more readable, increasing interaction. It [technology] distracts from the content, from the act of writing, the act of thought expression.
.
Music blocks thinking. It’s the only way to act, it seems. To take an action that is not communication nor survival, one must drug onelsef with more ot push one’s body to act.

With more, people organize, over-organize, over-work, over-accumulate capital. They forget to talk. Asia talks; America works. In Taiwan, reading is common (though likely passively), a common way to communicate. In America, new arts are created to communicate which all require more work (game-making!) to communicate the message compared to human language. Why not just communicate via human language? (Maybe music blocks people from expressing through human language.)
.
It also may block thought of the environment. It helps people focus on something — media, art, material, “work”, but rarely does it lead to talking to people nearby, to thinking about how the environemnt came to be, history, others, social problems, etc. It is a mind-altering drug, one that inhibits verbal expression.

page 2?

I believe I was at a point of only acting to communicate. I didn’t do anything else. I’d talk to the people around me, then, to books, then run out of energy and collapse, partly because my body had become fail, partly because capitalism doesn’t allow that kind of life of mind. It prefers a life of bodily action, of movement of commodity. The movement of commodity is the opposite of the movement of meanings (communication). It is detestable, a chore, it provokes humans to abuse music; whereas communication is enjoyable, not requiring music.

If joy comes from the creation of communication, then the creation of commoidity requires a kind of drug to make-up for the lack of enjoyment. It is ideal to creat ecommodity whilst creating communicationl but that isn’t always possible (though, technology helps immensely here, with eBook listening, audio-recording, telephones, etc.). Eventually, either from habit of work, habit of listening to music, one nearly forgets to communicate. That’s frightening, because that’s the difference between a person who expresses and one that doesn’t, the difference between a free mind and a restricted mind. [A free person and restricted person {slave}?] America is full of restricted minds. Asia is full of free minds.

The West prioritizes media, the communication through mediums. The East prioritizes [direct] communication, even in it’s simply a conversation with a friend. There is much widsom in the people as opposed to media. It doesn’t distribute well, but it’s a healthy lifestyle. The West begins with (Plato and) Aristotle. The East relies on the oral world which retains the culture. Culture is not distributed through media; It is through human interaction, direct communication. That is opposite of the culture industry of America. [todo: should continue*****].

[todo: epistemology of music]

[todo: action and music]

Without music I only act toward survival and communication — the socio-political expressions. Music allows me to live unsocially. It gives energy without people. I needed people during my time in Asia. I was dependent on people. I strived to do everything with people [todo: need anchor to Taiwan section]. I tried to socio-politically cooperate to strive toward ideals (civic, social, design). I didn’t work, I just communicated.

page 3?

America has been running on music at least since slaves worked to their own creative folk tunes; Now, white brokers on Wall street work while listening to hip-hop. Maybe the creation of music is skewed toward the working class because they need it to get by, influenced and inspired by it, mimic the creation of it, listening to raps about wage-labor whilst laboring for wage. I sure did — through game, film, and fine arts / new media. That expression, anti-capitalism in America is perhaps the strongest emotion in American culture, perhaps even more-so than love (all forms of it). And it [the creation capitalism-influenced art] probably has not been broken since capitalism has existed.

last page?

That is why the East lacks art through mediums — most is expression through oral communication, then to written communication, then lastly to other mediums. The history of the complex part of Eastern art is perhaps solely literature. It is because America listens to music that they [tend to] communicate through mediums.

digression: How is communication prioritized? I guess that’s left to attention. Communication is just information.

empty page with title

[todo: American culture and music -> media]

an older page

Music is awful. It blocks thinking. Gives energy, for physical exercise, but actions are not thought of, just taken. It blocks thinking before taking an action. The decision-making phase is skipped. Is this action? Is this life? How can such mindlessness be? How wild the affects of music are.

Leave a comment | Categories: Action, Applied Philosophy, Communication, Drafts, Experience, Filmmaking, Health, Humanities, Media, Metaphysics, Music, Personal, Philosophy, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Music, Philosophy of Technology, Semiotics, Social Philosophy, temp, Thoughts

バケモノの子 (The Boy and the Beast)

03 May 2016

After The Boy and The Beast (Japanese: バケモノの子, Hepburn: Bakemono no Ko, literal: monster and child, English: The Boy and the Best), second half:

This film is much simpler and less thought-provoking than the director’s previous film Wolf Children, of which I wrote a lot about, and Takohata’s thematically similar last film The Tale of the Princess Kaguya because a lot of time spent on tropes: all of the characters are tropes, the first half is a huge training montage trope. All of Hosoda’s films contain many tropes, especially when compared to Miyazaki or Takahata, but this film may have spent the most time with plot tropes.

Though, there were good bits: learn by doing first, then learn to teach, then learn from media; Be raised in the wild first, then naturally go toward organized knowledge, intrinsically motivated; gaining wisdom socially is more motivating; the time spent together learning will always be remembered (in both cases: with the beast and with the girl).

[other thoughts: surveillance state or feeling of Tokyo, the closeness between the two worlds, Moby Dick?, live frames from Tokyo’s subway]

[todo: after reading wiki:

Torn by his double life, he is unable to reconcile the resentment he had as Ren and the lack of connections he has as Kyûta. When he rejects both his father and Kumatetsu, he discovers a powerful void within himself that nearly overwhelms him until Kaede calms him down and gives him a bracelet that has helped her when she becomes anxious.

Ichirôhiko wakes up surrounded by his adoptive family, understanding that he is, like Ren, a human raised by beasts, and accepts it as well.
Wikipedia, The Boy and the Beast

]

Leave a comment | Categories: Art, Film Reviews, Films, Humanities, Philosophy of Education

Media and Action

15 April 2016

From a thought today:

“…The second essay is about whether ‘personal essays’ ever cause action: has anyone acted upon an Essai by Montaigne[?], as people acted when Blow made Braid, or when Vertov made Man with a Movie Camera? Did the games and films made in response [to them] merely create more communication, as opposed to action? No [and Yes?]. It’s the accessibility of the medium that increases the chance of acting in response. ‘I read the news today’ is a different experience from watching Night and Fog, and that itself different from what I imagine and hope the experience of playing This War of Mine. The closer the experience of a medium is to real experience, the greater the chance of acting in response.”

Leave a comment | Categories: Action, Art, Communication, Critical Theory, Films, Games, Humanities, Linguistics, Media, Metaphysics, Philosophy, Philosophy of Film, Philosophy of Game, Social Philosophy

An Interview with Chris Marker

30 December 2015

interviewer: Does the democratization of the means of filmmaking (DV, digital editing, distribution via the Internet) seduce the socially engaged filmmaker that you are?

Chris Marker: Here’s a good opportunity to get rid of a label that’s been stuck on me. For many people, “engaged” means “political,” and politics, the art of compromise (which is as it should be—if there is no compromise there is only brute force, of which we’re seeing an example right now) bores me deeply. [1] What interests me is history, and politics interests me only to the degree that it represents the mark history makes on the present. [2] With an obsessive curiosity (if I identify with any of Kipling’s characters, it’s the Elephant Boy of the Just-So Stories, because of his “insatiable curiosity”) I keep asking: How do people manage to live in such a world? And that’s where my mania comes from, to see “how things are going” in this place or that. [3] For a long time, those who were best placed to see “how it’s going” didn’t have access to the tools to give form to their perceptions—and perception without form is tiring. And now, suddenly, these tools exist. It’s true that for people like me it’s a dream come true. I wrote about it, in a small text in the booklet of the DVD.

1. Marker is not interested in politics (seemingly not of political philosophy / theory), he’s only interested in how history shapes contemporary culture; Politics just happens to be a part of history [which often shapes contemporary culture]. [todo: may have to reread a few times more]

2. The nomadic manic.

3.1. There was something I wanted to talk about here, about perception into form, especially the urban film-essay style of Chris Marker. Of putting together one’s perception of reality into a film; That is, one’s awareness of reality, the history and culture behind each image [and sound?]. [todo: should continue elaborating on the process from perception to film and perception of film as knowledge]

Marker’s form of film, the essay film, enables the director to bring out awareness of reality, to decipher reality. Through a standard realistic film one’s mind accepts some unrealistic structures which form the film, despite the strong desire of the director to recreate social reality. When watching a direct cinema film (and to a great extent, cinema verite and documentaries), it is up to the viewer to extract knowledge from the film, to deconstruct it. Marker serves as the philosopher of his images, in addition to the selector of images. Anyone can deconstruct an image, but it requires a bit more skill to put philosophy-provoking images together in a beautiful manner.

When one creates a documentary, wherein the camera-holder is the subject and the view of the camera is the object, reacting to reality, especially apparent in cities, one creates content which is closest in form to human perception.

That kind of content could be quite useful to environmental psychology. If people simply had camcorders close to their eyes, one could gather a great amount of data useful for environmental design (urban design, etc.). Though, there may be a problem with treating humans like lab rats; Then again, aren’t cities just a rat race?

Still, even with the eye-level camcorder footage, it may not be as useful as Marker’s films, because it lacks a smart subject who has intent to be aware of certain things, and make aware of more things from those things, which brings some order out of the information, [which though not required for an education, saves time,] and creates some direction. Though, at times, not much.

3.2. Camcorder as a tool to give form to one’s perception. Perhaps the greatest artistic tool because it produces a form closest to reality.

3.3. Those who are best placed — place in society, health, education, good perception, and mean of transport — now have access to the camcorder.

source:
an interview with Chris Marker, “Originally published in Libération, March 5, 2003. With thanks to Antoine de Baecque.”

Leave a comment | Categories: Art, Environmental Psychology, Filmmaking, Films, Humanities, Philosophy, Philosophy of Film, Urban Philosophy

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