Sunday, May 06, 2007

Fragments 2

One that I think I had aspirations of making into something much longer and more elaborate, entitled Martial Arts Movies:

"I was watching Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon today; a film I saw at the cinema when it came out, loved it, then promptly forgot it. It's a subtitled film, which isn't something I usually have any problem with, but in the case of this film reading the subtitles gets annoying because the film is so damn pretty. The fact that the subtitles make a substantial amount of this amazing spectacle only half seen means that when there is no dialogue you jump at the chance to just sit and watch the pretty pictures.

In the case of Crouching Tiger this meant that I was paying a good deal of attention to the fight scenes, which, on the whole, didn't contain any dialogue worth subtitling (breathless grunts being much the same in every langauge). The thing I noticed is something that is most pronounced in films like this one but is true of most, if not all, films of the fighty variety ever since Bruce Lee first started doing his own enormously popular brand of homicidal gurning. I was watching the fight scenes and thinking about how far distanced from any kind of real fighting, it's all flowing movements and graceful poise, like erm, like... dance.

Obviously it can't be expected to look like a real fight, they are ugly: people grab clothes, swing clumsily at each other and most of the time it's all for show anyway, nobody actually gets that badly hurt beyond a few bruises and a bit of blood. Screen martial arts has, however, gone from merely very pretty fighting to a kind of abstract representation of violence, a kind of dance that men can watch comfortably because it maintains a veneer of machismo through its association with fighting."

-14th April 2006

And a little one that demonstrates what happens when I get really bored, titled Oscilloscopes are Puurty:

"I'm sitting around listening to music and staring at the oscilloscope built into windows media player, if I was stoned I could lose whole days to this thing. As I'm only on mild painkillers at the moment, however, I am able to pull myself away from it for a moment. Oooh, it dances to the music, jigglejiggle. I've found myself listening to music I've not listened to in ages purely because it looks good, Rage Against the Machine especially - a band that I've not really been much into since my first teenage forays into music and politics - looks damn fine through the oscilloscope and I've also remembered that they are really quite good in a shouty, led zepplin-plagiarising sort of way."

-13th May 2006