Written by Byron Dean (17/03/20)
So, despite everyone in a mass hysteria about corona. Which is totally understandable. So much so, feeling almost ambiguous, malevolent, and threatening as the vibes of Venice. Elongated, and manipulatively manifested through the eyes of Nicolas Roeg’s 1973 chiller ‘Don’t Look Now’.
Nevertheless, a staggering piece of cinema exploring grief and loss. Visually expressed through repetitions of the colour red, and elements unknown to both the characters within the narrative, and the spectating audience. Confused and rather left unturned, chilled straight down to the bone. Whereby, both the audience and characters are left chasing after shadows. Shadows of uncertainty, yet a vague familiarity. Only to be brutally stumbling into a trap of, ironically, a red herring. Where only death, and bloodshed leads to Donald Sutherland’s protagonist’s demise. Becoming victim to his own rationale, and vulnerable human gullible curiosity. In the hope of exploring optimism, believing the tragic ghost of his drowned daughter in a red coat (at the start of the film) is still alive.
This thought, curious gullible vulnerability reflects well in which information is transferred to us through the tabloid journalism of the media. Where the big print on the front page of the newspaper, or big titled font on your online article translates big words with very little meaning or understanding.
You only have to look no further than the divide between the left and the right wing papers. Where corona virus for example, ‘The Sun’ would explode with one big power word, ‘OFFICIAL: IT’S AN.. OUTBREAK’. Compared to that of ‘The Guardian’, ‘Number of confirmed virus cases in UK jumps to 206 – as it happened’. Taking more technological routes, illustrated through their online blog, updating readers where the cases of the virus were coming from all over the globe.
Yet both sides seem to explore different elements of fear, the right, panic. The left, statistics on why you should be scared. Ironically, both share the same motive of distribution information. Yet, neither informs of any valuable information.
Philosophers such as, Kant, suggest ’empirical knowledge (is a desire) one feels the need for’ (Kant and Weigelt, (2007:207-11). In other words, the necessity of a consistent flow of information. Whereby, the world acknowledges progression, a sense of movement or driving force in information. Much like the way, a child is told a story. That there is a linear, a beginning, middle, and end.
Returning to the matter, recently, Fen Tiger took part in the Cambridge ‘Watersprite Film Festival’, competing in the ‘Arri 10 second short’ film competition. A great opportunity to participate in the overall competition, yet the main prize was the opportunity to work with an arri alex mini camera. The creme-de-la-creme of cinema cameras, shooting a vast amount of films and television programs. From ‘Doctor Who’, all the way to the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’.
However, there was a catch. Each team had to endure throwing in 3 items within their films, water, a book, and a lens.
The team’s 10 second short project, ‘Trivialised’. Synopsis, the modern world is in stagnation of authentic honesty. Where does the truth start, and permission to express and limit all end?
A lot of information to swallow in 10 seconds, I know. But really, back to the previous point of Kant’s quote. Information is pouring out fear, like a hose with a continuos spray. So the aim was simple, newspapers, books, and a camera. All throwing about this theme of information, that really means nothing.
From water being poured over big-booming-belting newspaper headlines, perspectively-perplexing-philosophy books ensnaring subtle numbering of ‘1984’, to a cold-canted-camera lens staring down the barrel of the recording camera. All overlaid in monochrome colouring, with sinister whispering. Jumping in-between the ears, ‘Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil’. Accompanied by the trickling sound of poured water. A drastic metaphor for the headlines inundating our daily lives.
However, the result I leave to you the viewer to conclude. As the film, the shots, and audio speak louder than just a visual spectacle. More a vision of the truth, what does it all mean. That, I cannot say.
Kant, I. and Weigelt, M., 2007. Critique Of Pure Reason. London: Penguin Books.