Sunday, March 20, 2011

Should We Should Stop Making Movies About The End Of The World? (The New Republic)

Apparently, when a house floats like that, it follows the iceberg principle, with only the tops showing. But perhaps the houses are drowning. It might be...well, it might be from Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter, with its spectacular CGI tsunami scenes. Actually, the tsunami in Hereafter is a great deal more impressive, or dramatic, better framed and photographed, than the material I have been describing. It’s more to the point. But Hereafter now has been withdrawn in Japan, while the kind of footage we have seen in the last week was not planned or designed. It was an improv that is now inescapable, unforgettable, unendurable. Here is film to alter your life and let you know how swift its end might be. ...

Photography and film proposed a relationship with the world—yes, you can see this, but only if you accept that it is a part of your world and your life, only if you realize that, as you see it, so it is happening to you, and to us. And I wonder if we haven’t broken that faith and its bond in surpassing “mere” photography and assuring ourselves that we can fabricate these things, as if they are somehow in our power.
This is a toughy for me, because I am a SUCKER for natural disaster flicks. They might actually be my favorite genre (and yes, I can feel you judging me.) The right answer to this quandary isn't made any easier by David Thompson's meandering article. Is he saying the slickness of Hollywood makes the real footage more "inescapable, unforgettable, unendurable," or if the movies make the real thing less powerful, as we "[assure] ourselves that we can fabricate these things, as if they are somehow in our power."

But at the end of the day, I'm 100% for continuing to make disaster flicks. I think - for the most part, anyway - audiences can figure out what's manufactured entertainment and what's true tragedy. One doesn't take away from the other.

Read the full article here and then weigh in with your thoughts.

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