#moseys back onto tumblr and stares at follower count in shock

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

bonehandledknife:

…hi.

Most of you newbies seem to have found yourselves here via the Film Theory posts, which I’d left off some when Mountains happened. Ahhhhhah oops?

Someone mentioned analyzing Game Of Thrones which might be interesting because I don’t know the source material and it’s gorgeous and the people are gorgeous. Also? It’s a TV series. 

So I have a question to followers who might know: are there any directors or editors or cinematographers that are female? Which episodes did they direct/edit/block if so? Which episodes ‘feel’ particularly benign versus a bit sketchy? Note: I have no interest in watching/analyzing the rape episodes. I plan to watch with the sound off anyway but for one, it’s too obvious, for two, I don’t want that in my brain right now.

Per wikipedia’s List of Game of Thrones directors page:

Michelle MacLaren (season 3, 4; 4 episodes)

An interesting meta-commentary (that would require dealing with some of the squickier gender attitudes of the show, so maybe not) could be made about the S6E5 episode The Door (written by Benioff and Weiss; directed by Jack Bender). When I watched it I was struck by the play-within-a-play depiction of the group of traveling players in Braavos. As Arya watches the players retelling the scene in King’s Landing that was the climax of that story arc in season 1, the relationship between narrative entertainment and truth is central to the drama. In light of the (many and justified) criticisms of how the show has used elements like female nudity and sexual violence, I thought it was interesting that when play!Tyrion strips play!Sansa’s torso to expose her breasts, the audience gasps, and in particular an older woman behind Arya is shown raising her hand to her mouth and being visibly upset.

Later, backstage, there’s a very desexualized closeup of a male actor’s penis as he talks about his concern that he has contracted an STD.

You could say that this is just GoT being GoT in terms of the differential way it handles nudity and sexual violence. Or you could view it as the show trying to excuse the use of exploitative female nudity a few minutes earlier by throwing out some gratuitous male nudity. But you could also view it as the show being self-aware about the criticism it has received, and representing and commenting on how they have used sexual violence and nudity to shock and titillate the audience, while showing the players being more grimly matter-of-fact in their attitude toward such things when the audience isn’t watching. That doesn’t excuse the things they’ve done, but it opens the door to a more complex understanding of how the show’s creators think about it.

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Why Fury Road’s Heroes Are Better Than Ur Fav

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

lierdumoa:

lierdumoa:

The thing about Fury Road is there are a lot of movies okay, a lot of movies where the main villain is some preposterously evil psychopath rapist zealot.

And in most of these movies, the main (male) hero is a toolbag. Just an utter toolbag. But we’re supposed to think he’s a stand-up guy because he’s not actively exploiting women 24/7 like that preposterously evil psychopath rapist zealot over on the other side of the film’s incredibly dubious moral line.

Firefly comes to mind, and its hero: Malcolm “It’s okay for me to call you a whore over and over because I haven’t actually physically punched, slapped or raped you” Reynolds

Guardians of the Galaxy comes to mind, and its hero: Peter “I can’t even remember the name of the woman I slept with last night and I forgot to get her home before leaving the planet in my space ship and stranding her but it’s okay because I’m not actively trying to destroy the universe” Quill

James Bond comes to mind.

Indiana Jones comes to mind.

Toolbags. 

All of them.

Fury Road is so refreshing because it doesn’t use Immortan Joe’s villainy as an excuse to brush off the milder sexism of the film’s male heroes.

Max Rockatansky is ZERO PERCENT sexist toolbag. He doesn’t leer at the half naked bathing wives when he first encounters them, not even for a millisecond, and not an any point later in the movie either. He never dismisses them as lesser. He never talks over them.  He never presumes that he knows better.

Nux has one single line in which he refers to the wives as “shiny” to one of his douchebag warboy pals back at the start of the film, when he still views them, and himself, as offerings that exist only to please Immortan Joe. But the moment he comes into actual direct communication with them he does a complete 180 and proceeds to behave in a completely respectful manner towards them. He is wholly respectful in how he looks at them, talks to them, and has physical contact with them.

I’ve already written posts about how Furiosa’s characterization avoids the more common (and sexist) female action hero tropes [X, X]. Plenty of blog posts and pro articles have explained at length the awesomeness of the various other female heroes in the film, so I won’t go into that here.

Point being:

In another film, Immortan Joe would have been presented as a freakish outlier, who mainly exists to make a male hero’s toolbaggery seem acceptable in comparison. After all – who’s going to notice a few sexist smudges on the hero’s shirt or the thin crust of misogyny caked to his shoes when he’s standing next to 80 metric tons of anthropomorphized rape sewage?

In Fury Road, Immortan Joe is presented as patient 0 of a toxic masculinity epidemic. He’s infected an entire culture with his misogynist, dehumanizing spores. The male heroes are either immune to his influence, or (in Nux’s case) are cured of it through the aid of strong feminist medicine. Either way, by the time we get 1/3 of the way through the film there’s not a single trace of his sexism in either of their systems. 

They’re clean.

I’m reblogging myself because I feel like this post didn’t get enough attention the last time around. 

Tiny corrections re: Nux. 1) he refers to the wives/sisters as shiny not to a douchebag warboy pal but to Max (though you could say he’s relating to Max as a peer at that point, which is pretty much true), and 2) he doesn’t transform the moment he comes into direct communication with them; they brawl by the rig (granted; could be argued not to be communication), but also later have the (admittedly brief) argument before they throw him off the rig, after which he’s still game for incapacitating/killing Furiosa to return them to Joe. He only joins Team Equality later, after he’s hit rock bottom.

Pedantic impulse satisfied. Please continue with the excellent commentary. Thanks.

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Water Your Eyes Doing

Saturday, July 18th, 2015

bonehandledknife:

This is part of an ongoing discussion about film theory and its execution Mad Max Fury Road. I’ve talked, at length, about how composition how it can objectify a body, how it doesn’t matter if the body is in motion, how Mad Max mostly avoids the objectification by use of center frame, how Golden Rule framing isn’t necessarily objectifying.

Additionally, here is post breaking down how composition, lighting, and blocking (actor position) systemically deemphasized the female body in the My Name Is Max scene.

But lets get to the most controversial scene in Mad Max in terms of feminist theory, the infamous Water scene. I’ve been frankly putting this off because if you get into the larger visual, narrative, and thematic context of this scene, this post will never end. This is even before delving into the the meta-context of genre and tropes. So I’ve decided to narrow the scope of this post down as far as I can in terms of pure composition and practical concerns. However, if you have meta on these topics, please let me know by ask or via reblog and I will add as a footnote below the cut-tag.

Let me first point out though that we have spent the few minutes prior to this scene with Max waking up from the sandstorm (having flashbacks), getting freaked out by the needle in his skin, and about to shoot a man’s wrist off to get free.

He then has another flashback, notice the sound effect, but the flashback is triggered by a very specific thing:

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Girl’s voices. Like Glory. Like, say, voices he finds when he turns around the corner, of the Wives:

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A note on why I use both Golden Rule and Rule of Thirds: The Golden Rule, while is more effective/precise is ridiculously hard to eyeball on-the-go and while filming moving images. Rule of Thirds is often ‘good enough.’ Film as a medium is not photography or painting, it’s a medium intent on capturing moving objects, and sometimes the demands of the shoot means that you end up with the ‘best try,’ especially if it’s an action shot containing either internal or external movement (ie. either in-camera objects moving or the view itself moving). What is more likely to be specifically composed are still shots, wide shots, or the beginning/ends of shots/pans.

Which you can see here. Look at how BOTH the Rule of Thirds and Golden Rule lines up with the landforms at the horizon. Look at how precisely the War Rig lands on the major diagonal.

Now look at what happens when the camera lands in it’s final position and the Wives come into focus:

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Nothing lands on any of the 8 major sweetspots (the crosshairs of the Golden or the Third. The Dag’s back bent over the boltcutters is centerframed. And check out what falls on the horitzonal Golden:

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The water. Angharad is bent over and covering her face, Toast’s head is blocking Capable’s chest. Look at that space between the vertical Third. It’s the chastity belt.

I am telling you right now that it would be easy as pie to take that belt and put it past the lower third where it wouldn’t be seen or to the far left. If they really hated it they could have told the people who erase wires in visual fx to erase the belts or to move them. It’s position is not an accident.

For some comparison here is some concept art of the scene (found in The Art of Mad Max Fury Road):

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Even if they were more clothed, look at how more objectifying their poses are, how the butts are subtly (or not subtly) turned towards the viewer instead of slightly away from our gaze (compare Toast and Angharad to the two wives on the right in the art) and how Furiosa was supposed to have been freeing them, instead of the wives freeing themselves.

Here’s the full picture:

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Notice the absence of the belts and the placement of the hose. Look at how Furiosa and the gun are on the Golden.

Let’s go further into the movie itself however. (warning, lots of pictures)

Keep reading

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bookishandi: How to: break my heart. A tutorial by Mad Max:…

Sunday, July 12th, 2015

bookishandi:

How to: break my heart. A tutorial by Mad Max: Fury Road

Let’s talk about this scene a little, because I noticed a particular detail in my last viewing that’s had me buzzing and buzzing crying a lot.

Let’s start with the obvious: the whole film Nux has wanted to establish his life has some meaning by dying “historic on the Fury Road.” Of course, all his previous efforts were attempts to continue things the way they were–in Immortal Joe’s terms. Thus, those deaths would not have really been historic. They would have been forgotten, just another blip in the status quo. In crashing the rig and allowing the wives to return to the Citadel, Nux does in fact fulfill his wish to die historic–without his actions, the wives likely would not have been able to return to the city and enact the changes they inevitably do. His death matters in a way none of the other deaths in the film do–it matters to changing the future, and thus becomes an important part of the future Citadel’s history.

Nux only knows how to do that in his own terms, though–the terms of the War Boys. Thus, his death only gains significance if it is witnessed. For Nux, the action itself is not as important as it being seen and acknowledged. This makes a lot of sense in terms of Immortal Joe’s world and its patriarchal structure. Individuals are not important, actions don’t matter unless they are showy and seen–all life boils down not to meaningful actions but to showing off.

But here’s why this film is a feminist masterpiece, and why this scene in particular cements that: Capable’s reaction.

Capable does witness him. She locks eyes and acknowledges the significance of his action, of his inevitable death. But she doesn’t respond like one of the War Boys–when the War Boys die asking to be witnessed, the others respond yelling “Witnessed!” This answer does say, “I have seen your action, it matters,” but hollered with usual the War Boy bravado, it also acts as an attempt for the witnessing War Boys to build up their own importance by making themselves part of the action.

Capable does not yell “Witnessed.” She responds with a gesture–holding her hand out and pulling it toward her heart. This is the Vuvalini’s gesture of mourning–a beautiful gesture that essentially mimics pulling the lost soul into one’s own heart. Capable has only just learned this gesture, but she seems to innately understand its significance. Thus, while she witnesses Nux’s death, she refuses to “witness” him in the sense of the War Boys and instead mourns him in the manner of the Vuvalini. Nux likely sees this–the editing implies he doesn’t turn the rig until after he’s seen the gesture. Thus, he knows he is witnessed, but more importantly, he knows that he will be mourned and remembered. With that knowledge, he finally has the strength and the worthy reason to sacrifice his life for a cause that matters.

This moment is also the moment Immortal Joe’s power is officially broken. Yes, Joe is dead, but Rictus and a whole gang of War Boys and their ilk are photon their wheels, ready to re-establish the status quo. In many ways it is a transfer of power–the last call to witness leads to the first time the Wives truly embrace the culture and ideology of the Vuvalini as their guiding principle. Joe’s power is broken not so much by the explosion–though that is certainly the blunt force that finishes the deal. Joe’s power is broken by self sacrifice–a self-sacrifice born not of bravado or the hope of becoming a legend, but one born of community, of love, of hope. Capable’s response guarantees that Nux’s sacrifice will be honored and remembered, but in a new way in their new world.

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schwarmerei1: myartisdangerous: Mad Max: Fury Road got me…

Saturday, July 4th, 2015

schwarmerei1:

myartisdangerous:

Mad Max: Fury Road got me thinking about female action heroes – and in many ways I see Furiosa as a direct descendant of Ripley from the Alien Franchise. 

Additionally, the relationship between Max and Furiosa has parallels with that of Ripley and Corporal Hicks in Aliens. Both are refreshingly platonic pairings between a man and a woman that still carry a ton of emotional weight. While MM:FR pushes the relationship more into the forefront of the narrative, it’s an interesting comparison to make and I enjoyed that element of both films.

If you loved Max Max, I highly recommend checking out Aliens (the second in the franchise); I bet you like it too. 

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Oooh! Oooh! I’ve been mentioning Aliens a lot, but you went and put it all on the page with shiny chrome gifs and caps and all…

Another thing I think makes such a good parallel between these relationships is how in both cases the man cedes authority to the woman without there being some bullshit about how it emasculates him. In Aliens it’s more explicit in the narrative because it’s a military mission and Ripley is a civilian observer (after being stripped of her rank because the company doesn’t believe her.). But Ripley is so incredibly quick to seize the chance to put Hicks in charge. She’s just seized the moral authority in the film by being the one to take action and rescue the surviving marines. Then when she realizes that Gorman (the inexperienced Lieutenant in command) is incapacitated and that company man Bourke expects to keep steering things, she points out that Hicks is the ranking officer left.

The look they exchange…where they recognise their kinship is so Furiosa and Max. Ripley was an engineer who rose to Warrant Officer, Hicks was a grunt who rose to Corporal. Just like Furiosa and Max almost immediately see how alike they are. And while Hicks is technically in charge, he’s taking all of Ripley’s suggestions because she’s clearly the one who will stop them all from getting killed.

So yes, watch Aliens – it’s a bloody good movie. My rec? Watch the theatrical release, it’s a much tighter and more suspenseful film without the additional material from the Special Edition.

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flamethrowing-hurdy-gurdy: sickmonkey1027: mugsandpugs: sickmo…

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

flamethrowing-hurdy-gurdy:

sickmonkey1027:

mugsandpugs:

sickmonkey1027:

So…are they like looking into each others souls or…

I like to think that Nux is forced to acknowledge that Max is a person here. He’s probably never looked into a bloodbags eyes before.

Well maybe that’s why he was so willing to be best buddies with Max as soon as they took down Furiosa ;). Max went from Blood Bag to bff hell Nux actually asked him what he wanted as a reward ;). Like, hey it’s not like I just forced you into a blood transfusion on the front of my car, we got the same goals, we gotta be buds.

This shot always made me go ??? :D He looks so curious, but, you know, you’re riding into a storm and your lancer just fell off the back of the car this is NOT THE TIME TO STOP AND EXAMINE YOUR BLOODBAG, NUX.

I wonder what it’s for. In the script, in the edit, what it’s supposed to tell us. I know what questions it raises, but what was it for?

I’m not sure it was the intended purpose, but I think it’s funny, and I’ve heard people laughing at it in the theater. It’s Nux’s expression. There’s so much tension and chaos, and then there’s just this momentary pause and Nux going “huh. look at that.”

I guess on a character level it’s establishing a little more of Nux’s evolving relationship with Max, with the quizzical expression meaning that, like the commenter said earlier, he’s considering him as an actual individual for the first time. In that sense it helps set up the “witness me, blood bag!” line we’re going to get in a few minutes. And just generally there’s a recurring theme in the movie of meaningful glances between characters, like when Furiosa looks at Max for the first time, or the “Something in the eyes…” scene, or those looks Nux and Capable exchange in the canyon.

Hm. I feel a “characters making eye contact” gifset coming on.

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bonehandledknife: bonehandledknife: endlessimpossibility: requ…

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

bonehandledknife:

bonehandledknife:

endlessimpossibility:

requested by nevaehs

Okay but can I just give some of my love to HOW he’s holding her up, at her elbow where she can brace herself, instead of an arm around her waist. She just has so much heft in this scene, and she almost slips out of his grip at one point. This is in no way a bridal carry, a romance novel, or anything about Max. This moment is hers.

It’s Furiosa’s, utterly.

I want to know what discussions the actors went through to come up with this or just if there was a complete agreement between miller and crew that, nope, this is how it will be.

weareunderthesameskies said:about that gifset u just reblogged- also look at max hoisting her in the belt. there’s a sense of practicality in that, that’s actually where he keeps er balanced. and it is by far a more practical grip than if he had ‘potentially’ held her around the waist. it still looks so hard and a person’s full body weight is quite heavy and it gives off that feeling that they are truly bruised and battered and on the brink of survival

Reblogging because I got this wonderful ask, and it needs to go here

Given her recent stabbings (in her right side by the gear-shift dagger, and in her left side when Max depressurized her), holding her up with an arm around her waist would have been both painful and dangerous. I bet ER-doctor-turned-director Miller would have said something if they’d tried to do that.

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6th time thoughts: don’t be the people who missed seeing Star Wars in the theater. you’ll regret it.

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

redshoesnblueskies:

1. I was lucky enough to see Star Wars in the theater when it came out.  I cannot TELL you how many scifi & film fans I’ve talked to since who deeply regret never having seen it on the big screen, let alone having had the chance to see it before anyone really understood what it was, what it would do to genre film, how that effect would ripple out to mainstream cinema.  To see Star Wars before you were prepared for anything remotely like it…it wasn’t an experience that could be duplicated by watching it at home, or by watching an indie theater big screen showing years later.

Fury Road is that experience.  

Don’t miss seeing it on the big screen.  Don’t be all those people who say, ‘Damn, I can’t believe I didn’t see this game changer action art-house rock opera (say it with me now) FUCKING MOVIE…in the theater.’

2. By this point I sit in strung anticipation silencing my phone and tucking away my purse…and when the first soundtrack cues hit the speakers I slide down in my seat so that all I can see is the screen.  It feels like a friend, like a presence.  I am transported.

This is ridiculous.  No other piece of visual media has ever done this to me. A few rare and precious fics and books, but nothing on a screen.  Nothing through speakers.  

But I have surrendered.  I don’t care that it seems ridiculous.  I just don’t care.  Because it makes me so deeply deeply happy.

3. I had to get my phone fixed before I went to the theater today.  I ended up striding around the store with out flung arms describing the practical effects to the phone guys.  I think I alarmed them.  (one decided to go on that recommendation.  the other dismissed the movie as whatevs)

4. More and more I see this complete polarization in reactions to the movie, and I find myself wondering how much of it stems from visual processing differences and how much of it arises from..hmm..for want of a better term I’ll have to say film literacy (no intent to sound snobbish – some people do not gain any enjoyment for movies by saturating themselves in commentary tracks and comparisons of cinematography and such. either you’re obsessed or you’re not. those who are not probably have more peace in their souls.).

I can completely see how people who process visuals in a different way than I do, could look at the movie and see ‘motion, sand, more motion, visually full of sameness. also? sand.’

i can also see how people who haven’t spent endless fascinated hours pouring over the language of film, the intricacies of building a visual story, the subtleties of character development in acting rather than scripting, could look at this movie and say, ‘Plot? what plot?  Character differentiation?  There was none!’  They respond to a different kind of story telling, and Fury Road doesn’t hit the beats they need.

reaction A: ‘all I saw was sand’ 

reaction B: ‘UNBELIEVABLE. WORK OF ART. [say it with me now] THIS FUCKING MOVIE’

…not many reactions in between.

5. Similarly, I keep reading reviews that dismiss the ongoing obsession so many of us have with Fury Road under the heading ‘it’s all about the women for them – that’s cool, whatever.’

This is one area where I feel pretty heated – because its NOT about the presence of fully developed women in this film, or the lack of gender slurs in this film, or the absence of microagressions of any kind in this film, or the lack of male-gaze camera work in this film, or even that it passes the Bechdel test, the Mako Mori test or any other test one could care to drum up that denotes excellent representation of women in film.

I don’t love this movie because of those things – the cultural course correction of those things allow me to be completely undefended before this movie.  I don’t have to have my genre-savvy-female filter turned on.  Because the movie isn’t hurting me, I am free to see the phenomenal piece of work that it is.

I love the movie for the movie itself – for everything it is as a visual masterpiece; stripped of all distracting character inconsequentials to reveal the people themselves; a story so fundamental to accumulated millennia of human myth that it resonates for absolutely anyone – the journey, the struggle, and the return home with new wisdom.

This movie welcomes me with complete integrity, with George Miller’s delighted child-like smile, ecstatic to share the experience.  

‘Come and play!’ it says; and I do.

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icarus-suraki: flamethrowing-hurdy-gurdy: This was a theme that was evident to me from the start…

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

icarus-suraki:

flamethrowing-hurdy-gurdy:

This was a theme that was evident to me from the start (meaning, the movie made it VERY clear), that the escape is not an escape at all costs, but that there are rules which make it worthwile. “No unnecessary killing.” What kind of dumbass rule is that in a world with so much violence, why would you impose the chore of having to evaluate every attacker as someone you have to or don’t have to kill when you’re escaping from enslavement?

Well, probably because if you accept the rules of the game, there’s no point in trying to escape it.

Or a bit more poignantly: if you decide that you are not a thing, you must also defend other people’s autonomy. Otherwise it’s just you walking over corpses until you find respite, and THEN start living life better than your abusers…which, you know, okay, sometimes that’s necessary. No one would have blamed the wives for it, I think, no one blames Furiosa for being just a tad less discerning with her deadly force. But it’s so important that the wives still decided they want to be ‘above all that’, to quote the Dag. Their escape wasn’t worth jack shit to them unless they tried to fix things as they went along.

The other thing, and this is most clear when Angharad and Capable are yelling philosophy back and forth with Nux (while he hangs out of the cab of the rig, whatever) is that the “wives” seem to believe that the Warboys are also victims of Joe’s regime

“He’s just a kid at the end of his half-life” and “You’re an old man’s battle-fodder!” they yell. Angry as they are, they still seem to view the Warboys at least as victims–both like and unlike themselves of course, but still victims of the regime and its systems. They have come to the conclusion that they’re all being used in one way or another–in this case, used physically.

In that case, no wonder they’d be hesitant to kill or will make a promise not to kill if they’ve begun to view these other people, the Warboys and Warpups and so on, in a sympathetic or at least compassionate way. Especially one like Nux who really does seem to be totally taken in (listen to him repeating what amounts to chapter and verse with “He’s the one who grabbed the sun” and “By his hand we’ll be lifted up” &c). Hence, throwing him out rather than killing him.

The problem is that it becomes necessary (and has been necessary from the start) for someone to act in overt defense of them (that would be Furiosa and, eventually, Max–and eventually Nux) as the attacks against them mount. That defense has to respond in kind to what’s being dished out. Killing becomes the only way to stay alive. It does, unfortunately, become necessary to kill. One has to answer force with equal force in this imagined world. (As an aside, it seems like Toast knows this already–Toast is the Knowing, after all. She’ll reload the gun. She gets it. Philosophy is nice, but sometimes reality is more complex.)

In this same vein, I feel like the Keeper of the Seeds and her reaction, her silence, when The Dag says she “thought you girls were above all that” means more than just surprise. I feel like that silence, then the immediate turn to show The Dag all her seeds speaks to the need that the Vuvalini have found to simultaneously be “above all that” needless killing but still perfectly aware of what it takes to survive, what it takes for a woman to survive, in this violent and ruined world.

The Vuvalini are “above all that” but in a complicated way. They won’t seek out bloodshed for fun–that’s a game for Joe and his cohorts. But they’ll stand against force with equal force and strength and method. They will even take the initiative–they’re not purely defensive. It’s a very delicate balance to maintain. And I think it’s important in terms of character development that the “wives” with their promise that “it’s not necessary to kill” and Furoisa with her readiness to attack (not just defend) encounter this “third way.”

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icarus-suraki: fygeneralzod: Max+Warboys taking his…

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

icarus-suraki:

fygeneralzod:

Max+Warboys taking his shit.

THIS BRINGS ME TO ANOTHER THING that I think is interesting: how often the masculine characters in Fury Road refer to possession and ownership. A short sample:

  • My war-rig (Joe)
  • My Imperator Furiosa (Joe)
  • My half-life warboys (Joe)
  • My friends (Joe–I’d say this was just idiomatic except for how Toast says that because Joe owns the water, “he owns all of us”)
  • My wheel (Nux)
  • My lancer (Nux)
  • My bloodbag (Nux)
  • They took my blood, now my car (Max)
  • My child, my property (Joe)
  • That’s my jacket (Max)
  • That’s mine! [the Interceptor] (Max)

And this is just the obvious stuff off the top of my head. And it is to say nothing of the calculations  of loss that the People-Eater is carrying out. “Protect the assets!” indeed. And need we even mention the implications of possession inherent in the chastity belts? Nnnnnnnope.

Furiosa, though, refers to the war rig as “the rig”–no possessive language. And what’s the chorus among the female characters? “We are not things.”

There’s a much greater sense of shared ownership or collectivism among the female characters–especially the Vuvalini. They literally give Max a motorcycle, even though he’s said he’s not coming with them. Just give it to him. They share their food and clothing with the newcomers. It’s much less centered on ownership and control and more on what benefits the whole group, not just the individual members.

This is probably just identifying the toxic masculinity elements in action, but it really starts to get interesting and weird when you keep hearing the words “my” and “mine” over and over and over. (Got some other thoughts on symbols of control too, for later.)

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“Miller’s purpose was to tell an honest story, and he let nothing else get in the way of that. Not…”

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Miller’s purpose was to tell an honest story, and he let nothing else get in the way of that. Not even the male gaze.

I’m just going to drop this quote from him in, because it relates to the same thing, “it couldn’t be a man taking five wives from another man. That’s an entirely different story.”

There’s words and there’s action; Miller may not label himself a feminist, may not have set out to make a feminist movie, but he put his ideas and dreams and heart and soul into this impossible movie. And that heart and soul says he respects women deeply; he respects them enough to understand that a man taking wives away makes it a different story. The movie is so consistently insistently precise that even if he says he didn’t mean to, I can see it.

If someone says they respect me as a person but cannot stop staring at my ass, I can see it. Does it matter if they “deliberately” look at my ass?

Actions matter.

bonehandledknife, from Filmmaking Intent v. Film Theory

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Is “Big Boy” missing a round?

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

schwarmerei1:

OK, I’ve watched MMFR a *few* times and I am wondering if the “count” is wrong.

After escaping the canyon, the War Rig breaks down and needs repairs. That’s when Cheedo breaks away and attempts to run back to Immortan Joe. As she’s doing this Furiosa takes the SKS rifle and and shoots the two War Boys approaching on a motorbike and Cheedo is persuaded to return.

After this is the scene when Furiosa says they need “inventory” and Toast does the count of guns and ammo, then declares that Big Boy is “all but useless” due to only having 4 rounds left.

We don’t see the SKS rifle fired again until Max tries to take out the Bullet Farmer later that night in the bog. Toast says after the first shot “You’ve got two left.” He then takes another shot and misses, then hands it over to Furiosa for the last shot.

So what happened to bullet no. 4?

Was there a change of scene order and Cheedo’s flight/Furiosa shooting the bikers was supposed to be after the “inventory” scene? (It doesn’t look like it since inventory is clearly at sunset, and the bikers are earlier in the day – but who knows what Eric Whipp could magic up in terms of lighting?)

Is there a deleted scene? Is a straight up continuity error? Or did I completely miss something? (Entirely possible – I live in a state of permanent sleep-deprivation.)

I don’t think you missed anything. I’d noticed it when Toast made her “two left” comment, but I always thought for a second and said to myself, oh, right; when Furiosa shot the bikers was the other one. But I didn’t remember that that came before, rather than after, the inventory.

George Miller said there’s a deleted scene of Miss Giddy being killed that was removed for pacing. Since Miss Giddy is alive with Angharad when she dies, the deleted scene would have been after that, possibly putting it somewhere around the events discussed here. So maybe the removal of that scene had a cascade effect, and now it worked better to swap the order of the shooting-the-bikers and taking-inventory scenes, so shooting-the-bikers became more of a coda to the action of the escape through the canyon and the death of Angharad, and taking-inventory became a relatively quiet breathing space after that. Whereas before, taking-inventory might have been a breather after the escape, with a separate rising action through the torture and death of Miss Giddy and the sniping of the bikers. It would raise the stakes of the sniping if we knew that there were only four shots left at that point, making Furiosa’s killing two people with one shot more meaningful.

Since the deletion of Miss Giddy’s death happened late in editing it would make sense that it was too late to reshoot Toast’s comment about “only got four for Big Boy here”, and unfortunately you see her mouth when she says it, making it hard to dub “three” for “four”.

On whether or not it counts as a continuity error, one could make an argument that just because we don’t see another shot being fired doesn’t mean one wasn’t fired in-world, or that Toast didn’t give an off-by-one count either on purpose or accidentally. Those explanations would be awkward in terms of story but at least would be logically possible.

It’s kind of shocking to me that this far into the process of obsessively analyzing the movie people haven’t found more glaring continuity errors. I just checked the “goofs” page at IMDB, and it is really sparse (and some of the listed errors are questionable, I think).

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redshoesnblueskies: sparxwrites: having gone to watch mad max for the second time last night, i…

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

redshoesnblueskies:

sparxwrites:

having gone to watch mad max for the second time last night, i can’t help but think about max and his unusual speech patterns. the popular idea of him “relearning to speak” seemed a bit… off to me, on the basis that if you listen closely, he actually says several sentences while he’s being used as a hood ornament, which are significantly longer and more complex than anything he says again until the conversations with the vulvalini. he’s evidently perfectly capable of speaking then, especially since he’s talking to himself largely.

it got me thinking about speech disorders (on the basis i’ve recently done a bunch of research on it for an essay), and wondering whether max had one – and it seems to me the most likely candidate is conduction aphasia.

Keep reading

I love break-downs like this!  Considering George Miller’s medical background, one imagines that he and Tom Hardy worked out some basic rules for how Max returns to/uses speech (whether or not Miller went so far as to be specific about exact clinical info).  An actor needs something to go on, yk?  

As someone with an episodic drug-induced aphasia, I always get really excited to see actors pull off realistic portrayals of any species of aphasia – which Tom Hardy totally did.  My whole family has gotten used to me suddenly getting stuck in the middle of a sentence, standing really still, going ‘hhhnnnnnnggggg’ and either making it to the next word, or restarting with an entirely different syntax to get around the block.  Man, Tom Hardy just nailed what that FEELS LIKE in his portrayal.  I didn’t BREATHE when he was trying to give those longer speeches, and each word that he did put together sounds like poetry under that kind of stress.

[this also leads to some pretty hilarious descriptions – if you can’t say garbage disposal, ‘sink monster’ works pretty well, doesn’t it?  I mean, you know what it is right away!]  

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Fury Road for the Fifth Time

Friday, June 19th, 2015

redshoesnblueskies:

I don’t even know what to say here.  I’ll listen to the soundtrack and dig up some fanart and see if anything comes to me.

[two hours later]  Okay, here’s what I’ve got:

-Pacing and editing in the service of character
-Coherent Action Cinematography
-Artistic Cinematography
-Use of Color
and  [this one is raaather long]
-An Actor’s Director – Character work without Dialog doesn’t happen on Accident; or, HOLY HELL VISUAL STORY TELLING


Pacing and editing in the service of character

How is it that in a movie so balls-to-the-wall action, like seriously the most actiony action movie I’ve ever seen, we get so many moments where the complexity of each character is apparent on screen?  There is nothing wasted in Fury Road – everything moves the story forward, both cinematographically and in character beats.  The pacing gives every character beat both enough room to breathe and enough momentum to contribute to the relentless forward motion.  If a movie this driven can feel like it has stillness, space, time, and also character reveals in almost every direct-intent action of each character…then what the fuck have I been watching in all previous experiences of media, exactly?  okay, I’ll rein that kind of question in…but srsly.  It’s that overall question that makes me say over and over that Fury Road will redefine film, once everyone gets the chance to freakin’ catch up :)

Coherent Action Cinematography

Is there anything I could possibly add to the many articles we’ve all read or bonehandledknife​‘s ongoing film-theory break downs?  I can only thing of one – that the center framing was used for in-motion elements that crossed static elements – where one would usually put one’s focus in the edit.  I think I’m looking at the characters, but the center point is yanking my eye to the side even from some out-of-focus zone, pulling me into the framing for the next beat.  So the center framing wasn’t just a way to guide us from cut to cut – it was a way to guide us from static elements to moving ones, or from one depth-of-field zone to a new one.  Way cool and not something I’d have noticed before all of these great discussions!  [bonehandledknife, I welcome any of your awesome analysis here!]

Artistic Cinematography

As I was just discussing in a back and forth with bonehandledknife​, the Plains of Silence scenes were lit and composed in a voluptuously artistic way.  bonehandledknife pointed out that they are composed as paintings (or as still photography) – to lead your eye around the frame, rather than letting movement serve that function.  Rather than center framed, this is more classic golden ratio framing.  

It creates even more of that sense of stillness that the story beat calls for, and adds a depth-of-field the movie cannot usually afford to have, with distinct foreground, middle ground and oof background objects.  The camera is still, or pans slowly.  The zoom level takes in most of our character’s bodies a lot of the time – framing for beauty and a sense of space rather than tight shots as we’re used to in conversational or concentrated emotion scenes – I’m thinking here of the conversation about the satellite among the wives & vuvalini, and the conversation between Max and Furiosa.  Space, depth of field, almost full body shots – such calm composition for poignant and painful moments among the characters.  It gives these emotional scenes room to breathe, and that gives them even more impact.

Use of Color

Continuing with the above thoughts on the night scenes – color added immensely there as well.  The day-for-night section ranges from almost-black purples back-lit with aquamarine swaths for the sky, with every shade of cyan where delicate grayscale would be in a monochrome of the scene.  Lighting for highlights gave the color extra depth and definition.  Whatever Miller did (in post? in camera?) to give the actor’s eyelights their magenta/purple-fringing effect was simultaneously otherworldly, spooky and gave a very subliminal ‘the light may be arty, but the lens was real’ feel.  I loved it.

The decision to overexpose for later detail in the shadows was brilliant – the texture on the war rig and on everyone’s clothing is gorgeous, unlike anything I’ve ever seen in dark shots like this.  

I could go on and on about the day-for-night work – it absolutely captivated my eye and my imagination.

Daytime colors:  If you’ve seen the BTS footage, you know the sands of Namibia have a lot more gray in them and that our actors were liberally dusted in that slightly brownish gray dust.  The skies are striking, but they aren’t a hyper-real teal.  The choice to color grade the movie to bring up the land to an ochre that leaves your lips dry with dust and a sky that stands above the ground like a swath of surreal paint, takes a geography with almost mythic classical lines and hits you over the head with it.  aaaugh – color in the service of form, I was overwhelmed from my first viewing.

An Actor’s Director – Character work without Dialog doesn’t happen on Accident; or, HOLY HELL VISUAL STORY TELLING

I’ll take a guess here and say I bet George Miller is a marvelous actor’s director.  Obviously the casting is spot-on – but you don’t get performances where every flick of the eyes or slight cringe of the shoulders or freeze-in-the-headlights tell the story in the way that other movies rely almost solely on dialog to do…without fantastic direction.  Furiosa’s handling of Max is a massive relationship interaction almost sans dialog that could have been pages of dialog in most other movies.  Forgive an extended break-down of an example – I’m just having a great time here :D

She starts at ‘this guy is an absolute wild card we cannot afford – executing him is the only option.’  When he had the out-and-out chance to kill her though…he didn’t do it.  This gives her a totally new set of options to reframe the situation, and she goes through them one by one.  

When she has to adapt to the reality of ‘he’s got the rig, we’ll die without it,’ she looks for possible handles on this guy, and ends up hitting on the critical one ‘he’s an animal in a trap (the muzzle being the most horrible, visceral element to him). I’ll offer him a way out.’  Once they’re all back in the rig, she makes good on her promise and with non-threatening body language hands him a file.  It’s hard to resist an inkling of trust at that kind of integrity. 

When she reaches for the start-up switches, he assumes she’s going for a weapon – and sure enough there’s one under the dash.  Considering her actions in this scene, I doubt she was going to pull it on him just now though – it would have put them in a stand-off and destroyed any chance of deescalating him (increasing their danger).  She lets him take it.

She then puts up with his panicked sequester of all weapons (played for humor, but really structured like ‘a stray on the verge of fear biting’ as someone insightfully pointed out).  ‘I’ll wait him out for a while, see if he calms down when allowed some element of control.’  Her approach sets the tone for the choices of the wives – they put up with his panicked attempts to cover every angle.  They, too, wait him out (with an air increasingly disbelieving nonchalance, all things considered).  Max gets visibly calmer throughout this scene as he’s given space to sort himself out.  

When Nux screws up the fuel pod, her strategy pays off – Max has stopped panicking enough to assess strategic options.  He’s still holding a weapon on her, and he actually goes through the fuss of reflexively taking the bag of guns with him (which is kind of hilarious), but it’s clearly a better idea for her to drive and him to fix – a better deployment of skillsets – so he acts on that.  And she lets him.  In this instance it’s about staying in control of the rig, I’m sure.  But letting Max feel competent is the right move here psychologically as well.  It’s one more way to give him agency and get him further calmed down.  So Max has a job – now he’s part of the group.  

In the same scene he finally gets the muzzle off, and boy does that transform him.  He walks back up the rig like he owns the thing – his terror is almost completely dissipated.  He arrives back at the cab, gun back in hand, only to come in on this scene of chaos.  What to do?  By the time they’ve shoved Nux out the door, Max is no longer holding a gun on anyone.  He could have taken advantage of the chaos to take over completely…but emotionally he no longer needs to in order to feel safe.  Again, her plan of solving for “terrorized” rather than “terrorist” was shown to be the right call.

Furiosa’s next move in handling him is undoubtedly born of necessity (her plan is kind of fucked – she’s trailing 3 war parties and knows she’ll end up making a run for it) – but it also follows from deescalating Max, giving him her trust in small ways (file, not waving guns in his face though he surely didn’t find them all), engineering the interactions with him to calm him down etc.  The next step would have to be giving him critical work and trusting him to do it.  Giving him complete control of the rig is going pretty far, but what choice does she have.  She gives him the start-up sequence – and though he starts the scene with one last attempt to feel safe by holding a gun on someone (Angharad), by the time she’s back in the rig she arrives to find him loading her rifle and handing it to her without hesitation.  Her fleeting smile to herself as she sees he’s fully engaged with her rather than alienating himself from her is a work of fucking masterful acting on Charlize Theron’s part.  Goddamn that woman’s acting is nuanced.

How much direct dialog is used to bring Max around?  It starts and ends with, ‘You want that thing off your face?’

Visual story telling in this movie extends all the way to the acting taking place almost without dialog pertinent to a crushing pace of character/relationship development.

Someone in one of the excellent film-theory threads said they wanted to slap down the script for Fury Road on the desk of every screenwriter in the biz with ‘what is your excuse now??’ wrt writing women as people.  I feel the same way about, well, everything else.  

This movie is a master class in visual story telling – a masterwork of the genre. 

This is how visual story telling is done.

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Male Gaze, composition choices, and Mad Max’s ‘locker room’ eye

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

bonehandledknife:

So there was this one reblog on that post where I discussed Center framing, Composition, and Male Gaze with this comment:

image

The comment continues in typical mansplaining manner but I want to address this first bit specifically. Because the assumption that the women are framed that way because it’s an action shot is wrong from a technical standpoint.

There is a difference between Wanda gesturing with her hands almost having no space for her head in a composition that highlighted her breasts …

image

…and the way Tony is given ‘headroom’ while gesturing with his hands (see: any Iron Man Trailer). He still has his face prominent at the sweet spot of the Golden Ratio (for more discussion on what/where this is scroll down to the diagrams), his hands are on the other sweet spot, and it’s a very dynamic pose with great use of diagonals both foreground and background.

image

There is also a difference between Natasha almost having to bend her head so that her face stays on the screen while her chest and hips land in the sweet spots…

image

And the headspace that is given Thor. Thor’s face lands on upper Third (Rule of Thirds). They are both holding/threatening with weapons. 

image

But wait! you say, what if we want to emphasize the weapons?

Yeah there’s a way to do that too, without sexualizing your character and smashing their head almost off the frame…

Keep reading

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Fury Road – Physics & Feminism

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

Fury Road – Physics & Feminism:

redshoesnblueskies:

Warning – philosophizing ahead.

In a previous post conversation with malibujojo we were talking about Max & Furiosa’s fight, which led me to thinking about the broader context for the fight. And once I get started, I kinda just keep writing. Better to start a new post rather than clutter the…

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val-eris: Thank you, Mad Max, for a romantic subplot that…

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

val-eris:

Thank you, Mad Max, for a romantic subplot that actually ADDED depth to the movie, instead of ruining it for me forever. *I’m looking at you, Age of Ultron*

No, this was so important though.  This whole movie was all about objectification.  All of our heros are people who have had their agency taken from them, who have value to society only so long as they have something worth consuming, from the wives, to the mothers, to the blood bags and the war boys.  Their sexuality, their fertility, their milk, their flesh and blood and their very lives, all of these things are taken from them by those ‘stronger’ than themselves.  Nux’s whole struggle is that he may not be strong enough to distinguish himself in the only way his society deems worthwhile (through feats of violence)– that he will never be historic, never be remembered as an individual.  It’s only when he is shown compassion that Nux is able to connect with others and experience life as a full person, and be recognized as something other than a cog in the war machine.  He becomes more than just a thing.

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Why MM:FR Was the Most Tasteful Action Movie I’ve Seen

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

netherworlde:

Things that the film handled with restraint:

Rape: As countless people have said – Half of the movie’s main cast consists of sex slaves. And there’s not a single rape scene. 

Gore: The film looks exactly the type to be ultra-violent a la Quentin Tarantino. But it’s not. The one gory moment is one that you can see coming from miles away and lasts only for a second. And even then, it’s not terrible. Considering this, the movie probably could have had a PG-13 rating with minor alteration.

Sexualization: Five women wearing nothing but gauze sounds like a recipe for anything but what we got; no lingering, awkward, bodily shots. There was even a scene with a completely naked young woman with the camera focused directly on her. Guess what. The camera treated her exactly as if she were wearing flannel pajamas.

Degradation of women: Bad people get upset. We get that. Sometimes they like to swear at our heroines. And yet no one felt the need to say “bitch,” “cunt,” or “whore.” How a film managed to present about the least female-friendly society you can imagine but treated its female characters with more respect than 99% of action movies is beyond me.

Things that the film did not handle with restraint:

FLAMETHROWER GUITAR.

Gender equality: No one once says “Women are ___,” or “Men are ___.” It almost seems like outside of Immortan Joe’s freakishly utilitarian society, men and women get along just fine. Huh. Weird.

Death: Good and bad people die alike on the Fury Road; very quickly. It’s your typical action movie body count. But in a move that’s both odd and brilliant, the film spends a good amount of it’s scarce dialogue detailing what death means to the characters. For some, it’s a suicidal call to honor. For others, it’s a necessary risk to bring about more life. People die in droves. And it’s sad. Death matters.

Criticism: This is about the most critical movie of gender inequality, capitalism, and fascism I’ve ever seen without anyone ever mentioning gender inequality, capitalism or fascism.

COMPASSION: I can’t state this enough. This is a post-apocalyptic genre movie where people kill each other over sex slaves, border disputes, and cars and its message is hope and compassion. The biggest, most heroic moment of the movie is an act of healing, not an act of violence. WHOA.

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