Archive for October, 2008

Adaptation and the art world

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

The constant referencing and inter-referencing of texts within Adaptation reminded me of a Calvin and Hobbs commit I recently revisited.  I could not find the actual strip but the jist of the comic is as a commentary on our interpretations and associations of what exactly “high” and “low” art are..

Calvin: A painting. Moving. Spiritually enriching. Sublime. “High” art!

The comic strip. Vapid. Juvenile. Commercial hack work. “Low” art.

A painting of a comic strip panel. Sophisticated irony. Philosophically challenging. “High” art.

Hobbes: Suppose I draw a cartoon of a painting of a comic strip?

Calvin: Sophomoric, intellectually sterile. “Low” art.

This is not the first time I have seen Adaptation, and in the context of this seminar I found myself engaged on a whole different level- involved far more in the relations between texts rather than as one whole text. The reason I thought, and brought up this Calvin and Hobbs piece is for two reasons.  First, I think it is relevant to the film as Spike Jonze tackles what adaptation from literature to film entails both artistically and emotionally… The film begs the audience to not only question the reasons behind wanting and adaption but also what an adaption actually is.  On that note, the second reason for bringing up the Calvin and Hobbs strip becomes relevant as we the viewer watch and later discuss what makes a good book worth reading and a good film worth watching.  They are two very different art forms, with very separate audiences and ideas of the world.  Which is more important to use culturally… the film artist or the writer? Which is a higher art? Is there any sense in debating this?

narrative unreliability

Monday, October 20th, 2008

This post is centered completely around the ideas expressed in Gregory Currie’s article “Unreliability Refigure: Narrative in Literature and Film”.  While I believe most casual viewers understand and acknowledge the perspective of an internal narrator as sometimes unreliable, I struggle to understand how a viewer could question the perspective of an external perspective of a so called “implied author”.  I understand an internal narrator to be a character or voice from within the text, commenting on the world of the text.  Alternatively, an implied narrator seems less a character or direct voice relaying events and more an overarching perspective of the world granted to us by the artist behind the work. As such, one can see the narrator’s telling of the implied author’s story as subjective and open to interpretation.  What I struggle to understand is how this concept changes anything concerning the way in which we the academic community or we the general public view movie narration?  Is the director’s voice not the implied author of every film in which their is a director?  If so than the narrator, reliable or not represents a figment of the implied author and his very unreliability must be seen as part and parcel of the greater implied authorial voice?

The process of building narrative as art

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

The narrative construction of a film has more to say artistically than the simple construction of meaning in the story world.  The contemporary filmmaker stands at an extremely important vantage point as film can and does implicate huge quantities of information about modern ideas of agency, emotion and ethics.  The narrative tools of a filmmaker are his trade mark as they, more than any other device embody both the filmmakers perspective as well as how the viewing public will comprehend what is shown on screen.  As such, I would support the perspective that a filmmakers “art” is more present in the narrative construction of film rather than any other component.  How an artist sees the world has been a source of both delight and dismay since artists existed.  Painters construct and deconstruct the world playing out their visions of the world on paper.  Today, the filmmaker uses his camera lens and more importantly his perception of the world to construct a series of moving images that describe the world we live in.  How a painter perceive and constructs a tree is vastly different seen through the various artistic movements from traditional landscapes to cubism and other modernist ideas of the world. These movements said things about the world we live in as people observed color and shape in different and alternative ways.  I am interested in investigating what contemporary narrative construction says about both the artist who creates it as well as the society at large.