I think, therefore I am. I remember, therefore I have been. But if I forget, did I really exist? The movies love amnesia. Start with a character who has lost his memory and you immediately intrigue the audience with a mystery that puts them on the same page as the protagonist. Every time we go to the movies it should be like we’ve got a bout of amnesia ourselves, our brains rebooted for a whole new experience, a venture into the unknown. Not every movie provides a completely fresh encounter, but there’s usually enough there that’s distinct as far as the movie filling our mind with a visual story we haven’t exactly encountered before. Amnesiac movies are therefore a great reflexive exercise for the viewer, giving us a character to identify with on a fundamental level. Pig, an indie sci-fi flick that was recently released on DVD and streaming outlets (namely Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu and YouTube), is one of those amnesiac movies. They all tend to seem alike from the get-go, so lazy comparisons to Memento have been made, but aside from the superficial premise being that there’s a guy investigating who he is, there’s not a lot of similarity. After all, as I noted, Pig is science fiction. To go into detail regarding its qualification for this genre, though, is to spoil where the investigation leads us. What I can say is that the movie deals with memory in a way inspired by Ray Kurzweil and relative […]



Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Inside Llewyn Davis It’s NYC in the early ’60s, and Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) is trying to make his mark on the folk music scene. His efforts seem to be continually in vain though as pretty much nothing works out they way he wants. Is it fate? Or is it simply because he’s a bastard who fouls every relationship he has with his attitude. It’s probably too early to say, but screw it, it’s my column… Joel and Ethan Coen‘s latest is quite possibly their best and most mature work. From Isaac’s brilliantly nuanced performance to those of the supporting cast (including John Goodman, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, F. Murray Abraham, and others), from the fantastic score to the gorgeous cinematography, this is a tremendously affecting look at one man’s struggles against the world and himself. The Coens’ script is a work of art from which more beauty is born, and I really can’t recommend the film highly enough. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Making of]


Sunrise Drunk Pig

Warning: Some of the links included in this article depict disturbing real-life violence against animals. When we talk about movies, we often talk about representation. And when we talk about representation, we’re most likely talking about people. How does this character’s personality fit in with my understanding of people in my daily life? What are the roles that men and women of different races, sexualities, and ethnic backgrounds play in a given narrative? What does an old film tell me about people during a different era? Who are the people that made a given film possible, and how did they contribute creatively? Simply put, cinema is a medium made by people, about people, and for people. But we often represent and depict other living beings through our narratives as well. We may be human, but we often identify with things that aren’t. This weekend I co-hosted a repertory screening of F. W. Murnau’s silent American classic Sunrise (1927). One of the film’s most memorable scenes features George O’Brien chasing after a precocious circus pig. The pig stumbles into a quiet kitchen and, through a series of screwball antics, causes a cook to drop a glass of wine onto the ground. It shatters, and the pig drinks the wine. What follows is a brilliant close-up of the pig, its eyes slowly drooping and its snout out-of-focus, which rather effectively conveys the animal’s state of inebriation. Through an intuitive implementation of form, the human audience is permitted to identify with the subjectivity […]

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published: 02.01.2015
published: 01.31.2015
published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.30.2015

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