All posts tagged: cinema

In-flight viewing

“My hypothesis (and as I state it, I’m trying to see if it holds up) is that a reversal has occurred. At the risk of reducing things to caricature, I’d tend to say that we’ve become very mobile in relation to images which have become more and more immobile.” -Serge Daney1 Another transpacific journey, and it seems the airline has discontinued serving complimentary alcoholic beverages. I swear the passenger across an empty seat at the aisle was on the same flight last fall. A pro, she had cocooned herself in the provided blanket, ordered a beer, and watched films on the small monitor installed in the back of the seat in front of her. I followed suit, as daytime drinking shifted to a permanent midnight of the sky. The only signal she was awake was the dull light from her LCD screen or hands atop the folding tray table holding a small book with removable cover. Could it be the same pale cloth cover now? The same woman on an annual journey corresponding to my own …

Drift compatibility: “Pacific Rim” and the international blockbuster

Downplaying lackluster stateside box office earnings, Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim (2013) has been touted for its international popularity, currently representing over seventy-five percent of the film’s worldwide gross. While its number one debut in China at the end of July registered as the sixth biggest ever for a Hollywood title, subsequent foreign openings were predicted as a measure of the likelihood (read “financial viability”) of a sequel. Surprisingly, however, box office returns from Japan’s August 13 release saw the giant monster/giant robot action film come in a disappointing sixth below international flop The Lone Ranger (2013), a Disney adaptation of the American radio drama widely regarded as promoting racist stereotypes of Native Americans. One of the year’s few aspiring summer blockbusters not directly linked to a remade or adapted studio property, Pacific Rim unabashedly embraces two distinct youth-oriented science fiction entertainment genres from Japan: the “kaiju” film genre of fighting monsters begun by Ishiro Honda’s Gojira (1954), as well as the “mecha” anime genre featuring human-piloted mechanical giants typified by Hideaki Anno’s sprawling Evangelion …

Panda: of Desire and Abjection

Short film production has become more popular in the Arabian Gulf region recently, when compared to the predecessors in other regions of the Arab World. Aspiring young directors are finally beginning to receive the support they need for their creations. What matters to me more as a postcolonial feminist scholar is not the availability of funding — however important that is — but the issues presented within the short films themselves. I will take for example Panda (2012), an Omani/Kuwaiti short film directed by Jassim Al-Nofally to discuss from my point of view the transformative concepts these films are adapting and bringing into the picture. Panda is an 8 minute film about Ziad, a young man about to get married and facing the emotional dilemma of having to get rid of his beloved stuffed panda bear. Ziad eventually murders his Panda friend and buries him in the desert, leaving him behind and heading towards married life. While this film may carry different impressions to Arabic and international viewers, I believe that the basics can be …