Never fade away

It’s just a surprise that you could find a fim you have longed to see in Netflix. I saw the <Bill Cunningham New York> poster last year in Claremont cinema center, and that time I was eager to see it, however, due to various reasons, I was able to see it today. Anyway, it was a fantastic documentary film, which could be added to my favourite list.

Though I am kind of addicted to fashion, love seeing those street snaps all day, I didn’t know Bill Cunningham at all. Or to say, I just didn’t believe such an old man could do fashion stuff before. Nevertheless, after seeing his photographs in the film, I was shocked to see great street snaps photographed by traditional camera rather than digital one. He could always trap every one’s dressing spotlight in a second, with his own criterion, and because he is an kind old man, compared to those fashion young people, he was capable of getting more chances to shoot those celebrities and passengers. Most importantly, he treats all the people the same, regardless of gender,race,profession,fame. What he concentrates on is only fashion, such dedication to the profession makes me feel moved and inspired.

In the second edition of <Visual Culture Reader>, where the definition of visual culture is mentioned, Visual culture is a tactic for those who don’t control such dominant means of visual production to negotiate the hypervisuality of everyday life in a digitized global culture, describing the works of Bill accurately. His persistence of working everyday helps him gain attentions, even he doesn’t control dominant means of visual production, he just used his camera, recording fashion through his eyes, visual culture to him is just a habit rather than a tactic, through which he could feel sense of satisfication and achievement.(There could be my misunderstanding for the dominant means of visual production..he works for NYTimes, so he is kind of dominating themeans of visual production)

However,His works enabled me to link the theory of  the theory of sign. The snap shots Bill took are surely the signiers, while the signs could change since I have seen the movie, getting knowledge of Bill’s figure and life, before I probably just treated them as nice fashion snaps, but after the movie I appreciated them with admiration, thus the signs changes, so do the sigified.

The documentary inevitably interviewed several people who had been frequently shooted by Bill, including Patrick, a dandy style lover, Anna, Vogue Chief Editor…From their words I got to understand more of Bill, which is kind of related to double consciousness. It is true that he just describes himself in a happy and modest tone, explaining he is just doing what he likes, while ther people could find his preciousness in today’s world. In this perspective, double conciousness contributes to my completeness of knowing.

In the end of the film, I just burst out teas. The ending music reminds me of many scenarios, when Bill said” Money is the most cheap, freedom is the most expensive”, where he lived was a tiny space surrounded with all his file folders and a bed, when he rides his bicycle without taking photographs of people, when he feel satisfied when eating a small humburger and a coffee…He works for his whole life, without getting married even dating, but that’s the way every one should be aware of : What’s my dedicated work? and what kind of life I really want? In China, too many people just put their dreams on the next generation, never realizing that they need to strive until their death, which results in a pathetic cycle, their kids just put their dreams again on their kids.What a horrible phenomena lasting many years. So in a level, I admire people in the United States could pursue their dreams without caring other’s perceptions too much, living for true self. Hopes that Chinese parents could learn more and try to understand their situation, so as to fulfil themselves as well as liberating their kids.

Again, a fantastic movie worth watching, highly recommend!Bill’s influences will never fade away.


A door

This is my first post on my first academic blog, to be honest, internet to me is usually a place for fun rather than study, which is kind of wasting resources. However, with this new place, I am forced to study, keep updated with other academic blogs.

Visual culture is strange to me, though I am surrounded with it, I never try to learn it as a theory. If I was given a chance to list my favourite films, I could easily name some:<Awaydays>,<The wackness>,<Berlin Calling>,<Yesterday>…but how about exploring them in a deeper level? I begin to thrill…

After reading some chapters of <Film Production Theory>, I begin to understand what confused me before, as the topics listed below:

1. Why Hollywood type of flims persist popular among the audience, while independent movie makers still struggle for life?

As personal taste, I never prefer Hollywood films: typical, commercial, sensational stimulation more than inner artistic value. What appeal to me are those films describing my ideal life or work situation, or the subculture I have been interested in. However, in the chaper 1, “Richard Hofstadter once emphasied the continuing importance of anti-intellectualism in American life”,”the feeling that ideas should above all be made to work, the disdain for doctrine and for refinement in ideas”,”The culture was no longer concerned with how to work and achieve, but with how to spend and enjoy”, such cultural perspective help me to understand that audiences nowadays just want to consume films as pure entertainment more than mental activities, therefore, the motion pictures of Hollywood films save them from thinking deeply.”All in all, the deintellectualiation of art and the primacy given to sensual response by the body–the guiding principles of the counterculture movement in the sixties–have led to a filmmaking style today that is entirely driven by stimuli which mesmerize and keep audience coming back for more”.

2. The advent of independent movie makers

This questions never came to me with the thought of post-modernism, however, <Film Production Theory>reminds me of the influence that post-modernism have in the film industry. “Its spirit made it possible to dismantle the boundaries that carefully contained and defined fields of investigation in theory as well as in practice”,”Their very opposition to the social system had in fact infused them with enough confidence to create vital works”, with the encouragemenr of post-modernism, also with the development of the technology, we are happy to see that there are more and more independent movie makers engaged in making films not just considering commercial value and effects, they would rather concentrate on intellect level, and the artistic value of the film, which will in essence show the diversity of society, though maybe”The joy of thinking ,creating, and assembling images and sounds that mean something is your entire reward.”

3. The definition of entertainment

“In other words,entertainment is counted on to provide the “human” environment that is missing 8 hours a day,5 days a week.”,”In that sense, even when a commerical product fails at its primary task, it is still successful in that it has kept other works from being created,disseminated, and enjoyed by audience.” In a way, entertainment provides space for those commercialized products to survive and prosper, since there are always people who want to enjoy the appearance of entertainment, not the serious meaning behind it. Only by this could people find balance them of their life, so as to balance the whole society.Here, art is opposite to entertainment, because”the work of art, itself a legacy of the resistence of the world’s innermost being to the artist’s techne, ends up reminding viewers that their own  will to power”

4.screen writer and writer

As for me,before I read this book, I thought that screen writer has nothing different from writer, and in China, most famous writers have the experience of remolding their works to a screen play, therefore, I think they play the same role. However,”the screen writer is much more a film maker than a writer”Unlike writing solely, a screen play is prepared to make a entire film, more behaviors, and unexpected situations should be considered aside from texts, so there has to be the type of Hollywood  screen play to help screen play become more efficient and completed,”as soon as genre announces itself, one must respect a norm, one must not cross a line of demarcation, one must not risk impurity,anomaly or monstrosity.”

It’s magical that reading theory opens a door for me to see deeper into those things I have already met,hopes that I could make more progress!