Friday, December 14, 2007

Modern Sell- Ebb- Bratty

The era of Modern celebrity agueably began with T.E. Lawrence, the Geezer known as Lawrence of Arabia.
WW1 was an ugly unglamourous and unheroic war. It largely involved thousands of men charging over mud and barbed wire into the brutal maul of machine guns. It was faceless and horrific and unwinnable.
Enter our Lawrence famously played by Peter O'Toole in the movie.( A man so good looking Noel Coward quipped it should be called Florence of Arabia).
Lawrence was a man of substance, an archaeologist already fluent in Arabic language and customs. His story was appealing, heroic and he was extensively filmed and photographed.
He got close ups.
It is impossible for us to imagine the effect of seeing someones face 4 metres high on the big screen for the first time.
Imagine a genuine hero, a man who led the Bedouin across the uncrossable desert into Akabar, imagine studying his face, a tactical genius, who achieved the unthinkable ,looking up and staring into his 1000 yard stare.
Coz in real life the only people you are legally allowed to stare at close up are lovers or maybe your children and even then it's not often advisable.
If photography captures our soul then film magnifies and distills it.
Andy Warhol used this to some effect in his film portraits.
He filmed a close up portrait for 15 mins.
Warhol explored modern celebrity and mass production of images.
He coined the term superstar and first applied it to Edie Sedgwick, the first modern celebrity. Edie, as beautiful as she was, was famous for nothing really.
Couldnt really act or sing, wasn't even really a model.
She crashed and burned in true celebrity style.
Check out her story in Factory Girl.
Guy Pierce is awesome as Warhol too.
So in the 20th century we went from a people of substance to a people of no substance.
We celebrate their lack of substance, fame achieved by sunglasses, porno romps or turkeyslaps.
Their only achievement the random recognition of their face at the supermarket.
We bask in their vainglorious nothingness.
Hey everyone-Hooray for nothing!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Big Night

You may or may not remember I've been making a film with my beautiful and clever wife.
As well as working 2 jobs and all the political stuff.
Any way we had the premiere the other night.
Opened by thee Mayor who made a big speech and then racked off.
I gave a speech too in a packed theater.
It actually made sense and seemed funny and humble.
I couldnt look at my wife coz she was crying.
Anyway I sat through the film which was hard as i was so nervous.
There was something in the theater before us so I didn't get a chance to test the disk etc.
It played all the way through thank God!!!
So there was a bout a hundred people and they cheered and clapped at the end.
Big time.
Outside at the drinkies after party I was a bit like the anointed one.
Women were hugging and kissing me.
Men were crying and shaking my hand -it was all overwhelming.
I was grateful they liked it and we hadn't done the wrong thing.
We had told our story and their story too.
My boss was there and she loved and seemed to understand why I was so stressed out.
My professional filmmaker friend was there too.
He said it was great but was cagey about helping us polish it up to get it on TV.
He is trying to do a project on the same subject which is perhaps the source of his reluctance?
Dont get me wrong.
He's a good man but his business is to find other peoples stories.
I'm a happy amateur.
The word comes from the French amore: To love.
I did this film for love.
For the love of my son who was so cruelly bullied at school and for all the other Asperger kids through out the ages.
That is the point of the film .
That we need human diversity to survive.
Political, religious,philosophical, sexual and neurological.
We need different views and skills and ideas.
Look through out history.
The most vibrant places are the most diverse.
Ancient Rome, Renaissance Venice, Victorian London, Modern New York.
All melting pots.
Fascism and communism sell the same idea.
Strength through unity.
Nature proves this to be untrue.
The monoculture is weak and is swept away by a single infection or tiny bug.
The web of Natures God is vast,complex and intertwined.
Remember this always Grasshopper!