An Ocean of Tears

Recently released on DVD, Lana and Andy Wachowski’s collaboration with Tom Twyker ‘Cloud Atlas’ spans 6 (and a half) different time zones. Such a combination sounds ambitious, but hardly new. That is before you see how they intersect. Inter-spliced and overlapping continuously, each story helps to build an incredible, touching, scrapbook narrative.

But beyond the simple (or complex in this case) aesthetic effect here, this is of far greater importance than a mere stylistic choice. By interweaving the plots of various time-zones to make a spectacular timeline narrative, the film contests a number of troubling norms perpetuated within mainstream cinema. By doing so it rather brilliantly highlights the ideology under the skin of most films ‘common sense’ accounts of the role of the individual in history. Continue reading

In (Partial) Defence of Žižek

“In order to understand today’s world, we need cinema, literally. It’s only in cinema that we get that crucial dimension which we are not ready to confront in our reality. If you are looking for what is in reality, more real than reality itself, look into the cinematic fiction.” – Slavoj Žižek


Slavoj didn’t actually say this about Robin Thicke… but we all wish he had.

It’s safe to say Slavoj Žižek’s reputation is anything but consistent. At times, his analysis can be spot on – even for films he openly admits he hasn’t actually watched (his review of Avatar, “Return of the Natives” was based on a viewing of the trailer I’m told), but this is also one of his most notable downfalls. He has a hard-earned notoriety for playing fast and loose with facts in his often-polarising essays, and is notably at the centre of an ongoing academic cat-fight with Noam Chomsky – having accused him of supporting the Khmer Rouge in Chomsky’s “Manufacturing Consent” (which having read, I can categorically state, Chomsky did not do). Combine this with the fact he has allegedly said some rather horrible things about the Roma, women and Tibetans, and you can see why the left might often flirt with abandoning him all together. With such a reputation, it is all too easy to reduce all his work to the ravings of a mad king – drunk on his own influence – but this in my opinion would be a tragic mistake.  Continue reading

No One Is Born Hating

As the great man’s life draws inevitably to a close, the war for Mandela’s legacy looks set to be an ugly one. Amongst his countrymen, his party and even his family a war seems set to be waged over burial rights, not to mention his ideological heir-ship  Likewise, there seems to be something of a struggle going on over Mandela’s meaning in Hollywood – and with a new adaptation of his 1994 autobiography due for release in January, interpreting the former South African President’s life narrative will undoubtedly continue beyond his final days. As some of you might be aware, the teaser trailer for Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom was released this week – if you haven’t had chance, have a look now. 

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