Naughty Dog's upcoming "Last of Us," inset Riegele's 1923 copy of Winterhalter's Kaiserin Elisabeth (1864), a Weimar era redo of an earlier era's lost grandeur. Notice fill-light is employed for both females while the male is allowed heavy contrast to hide his 'emotion' and appear menacing.
The last three Star Wars films may not be everyone's cup of tea. But under the surface, the tea is not what it seems to be. If you're in cognitive-science, neuroscience, or study future forms of media, George Lucas is the only living director pushing film into the fully symbolic.
We can talk about the opening shot. He begins with the first iteration of the Death Star, here an element of this Star Destroyer sized object. Look carefully, it even has the equatorial trench and a radar dish that evolves into its death beam. The sphere is sourced loosely in earlier drafts of the Death Star's design in 1975, before the perfect sphere was chosen. Now it's a part of the Trade Federation Droid Control Ship, the lead ship among this blockade but visually indistinguishable from the other ships that ring this planet. The Trade Federation ships, by surrounding the planet and creating an impenetrable shield, prevent ships from approaching, achieving the last chess stroke of war before the Death Star's arrival one-ups this act, planetary immolation. We won't embargo you, we'll threaten the end. And the design of the ship metaphorically shows a sphere ringed, like the planet below. Though this resembles the setting of Return of the Jedi, it behaves like the opening of A New Hope, reversed. There a Blockade Runner attempts escape, here a similar looking ship (also the first design of the same ship) approaches a blockade. Enters it. The precise opposite.This fragmentation of meaning and direction continues deeper. And it becomes much stranger, and it's in PG.
Lucas's initial sketches to show Ralph McQuarrie, his early conceptual painter, what the vehicles looks like, right early Death Star.
An excerpt from the New York Review of Books's We're more unequal than you think:
Using US Census reports, I estimate that since 1985, the lower 60 percent of households have lost $4 trillion, most of which has ascended to the top 5 percent, including a growing tier now taking in $1 million or more each year.1 Some of our founders foresaw this happening. “Society naturally divides itself,” Alexander Hamilton wrote in The Federalist, “into the very few and the many.” His coauthor, James Madison, identified the cause. “Unequal faculties of acquiring property,” he said, inhere in every human grouping. If affluence results from inner aptitudes, it might seem futile to try reining in the rich.
Prosecutors hit Calabrese with an extortion charge for allegedly participating in a heated sit-down to discuss a financial settlement over a secret pizza sauce recipe that a Bonanno-associated Staten Island pizza joint allegedly stole from Brooklyn’s L&B Spumoni Gardens, which has ties to the Colombo crime family. Calabrese was caught on a secret FBI tape saying, “I went there and argued . . . I f--king had a screaming match with the f--king Colombo guys for three hours.”
Malick's dunderheaded dinosaur moment of Tree of Life had everyone guessing, but the big mystery is how did everyone miss the obvious?
Answer: humans are not trained in visual literacy; analogous visual metaphors are invisble to the general public. Reptillian 'mercy' vs. mammalian/proto-human 'cruelty.' Malick tries to outmanouvere Kubrick's ownership of consciousness by predating it, but his later gestures in ToL do not advance like Kubrick's, they fall flat. His visual slang is just that. The sun adorns vistas in human time and in geologic. In human time, the Christian mythology tries to outwit nature's but the joke is it shows up in the reptillian age. Ponderous thud or rank creationism, either way Malick comes off as a heavy handed rainmaker. He's out there whispering about the terror of urban sprawl, but he's also building Saturday Night Live sets on the verge of a desert. And to keep the mayhem paced, he's got midas-touch cutter Hank Corwin, trained first in music video. Every transition has been matched. Soothing, choral muzak slices ham when necessary (often). Even the actors try their hands at the instruments. When Pitt has to look moved by the Tocatta Bach he's peddling, he juts his jaw out, as if he knows how forced the idea is. And despite all that whispered voice over underlining the action, the gestures start fizzling. They move internally. Into spokenness. And they fall literally (elevators, elevators...). Kubrick moves externally in Space Odyssey, at an escalating speed, into unspokeness. Malick wants to be Kubrick but he's really more a National Geographic-apologist pushing Freud's agenda: Hoses, feet, candles, and that upstairs nightmare, the attic that extrudes a house-form. Does it get anymore obvious?
An unusual article from the Washington Post.
This scant black and white masterpiece photo book, like another black and white photobook Wisconsin Death Trip, is composed of entirely found negatives, culled from historical, industrial and governmental archives (the defense industry is well in evidence). Evidence, made of some of the greatest late 20th century images of American photography, is precisely how future anthropologists will assess our near past. Specifically it will act as an introductory map to our various archives of visual data which will acompany very complex factual data, from a time/era without very much filming/taping ability. Each image the tip of an iceberg of thousands upon thousands of negatives. Services might even rebuild motion events from a series or even a single still of an experiment, and discover what really went wrong. Documentary movies will probably be made from stills in the future, tracking algorithms can spot each speed of a street in motion's objects, render them for seven seconds. The blur has micro blurs in the negative. Evidence will come to life. First published in 1977 (the equally great Wisconsin Death Trip was published 1974). Reprinted recently.