review

Just a comedy? Production review on an ’80s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

“Stereotypical high-school-like styling may fit the ’80s TV and pop cultural tradition, yet to some extent turns out to devalue the essence of Shakespearean plays, which is, mercy.”

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dance at the wedding, credit: Turek

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review, visuals

Revisiting Titicut Follies

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The authenticity of Wiseman’s depictions of the Bridgewater prison is out of the question. Inevitably the minor influence of the camera on Wiseman’s subjects is in fact in this case insignificant, because no matter how the subjects dramatize their behavior, they behave in a way that they want to be perceived under social expectations. Wiseman gives no intervention in his silent shooting of the scenes, strong and eye-opening evidence of the interaction among the guards, inmates, interrogators, psychiatrists, nurses, and social workers, which would otherwise not be seen by the public. Wiseman distinguishes his approach from other documentarians of his time by using a mosaic structure beyond objective chronological accounts of events (Grant, 2006). Named after the inmates’ talent show (meaning Taunton River in the Wampanoag language), this documentary is a valuable record of prison culture in its presentation of a valid microcosm of the state institution in its treatment of the mentally insane criminals in the 1960s.
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review

Floating Population in Chinese Independent Cinema: Last Train Home and 24 City

Addressing the problem of China’s floating population, two documentaries: Fan Lixin’s Last Train Home (2009) and Jia Zhangke’s 24 City (2009), which were made independently from the state-controlled production system, are important records of individual struggles in the process of contemporary Chinese economic reform. The characters in the two films belong to different historical periods of “floating population” in China, where the people embody repressed individuality driven by a geographic mobility that does not guarantee a good life despite the state promise of better opportunities and social harmony. Different stories and techniques are used in the two films: Last Train Home is an observational documentary tracing the train journeys of one family; 24 City is a semi-fictionalized documentary constituting real and staged interviews regarding the breakdown of the military enterprise 420 Factory. Both films are examples of how independent cinema goes beyond the limitation of mainstream representations to shed light on the underrepresented history of marginal Chinese working class.
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review

An Invitation to Social Activism: A Brief History of the Earth and Everything in it (ABHOTE)

“Facing the issue of community uprising, the directors choose the cast to fit the roles of third-graders, making them appear child-like while giving them abilities to think maturely. The cast is subtly designed to grip younger audiences’ attention to a politically conscious play, as intended by the original playwright. In addition to the conflict of the children’s possible decisions, the macro-level conflict of ideological divides also drives the metatheatrical performance.”

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ideas, review, visuals

First Pinterest Attempt for FNMS231: Slow Cinema and Graduate Programs

Having Fun with Pinterest

The purpose of this Pinterest assignment in FNMS231 (Fall 2016, Wheaton College, MA) is to subvert the most popularly practiced function of this social media platform: sharing life tactics, food, beauty, and crafts based on image thumbnails linked to outside sources, a large majority of users being women. So instead of reposting most commonly seen Pinterest posts for leisure as mentioned above, here, I curated two boards: Digitized Senses: Jia Zhangke and Tsai Ming-liang’s Slow Cinema and Film and Media Studies Graduate Programs.

Pinterest has several major advantages:
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review

Communication, Perception, and Power and Influence: Misuse of Organizational Behavior in Titicut Follies

            Titicut Follies (Wiseman, 1967) is an observational documentary which shows the mundane scenes of the interaction among the psychiatrists, guards, inmates, nurses, and social workers at Bridgewater State Hospital in the 1960s. The Bridgewater State Hospital functions as a prison for the mentally insane criminals whose activities are all under surveillance. The system normalizes their behavior to torture the inmates mentally and physically. Moreover, they find pleasure in being expected and encouraged to perform harmful tasks which mark their achievements in the professional career. In the prison culture shown at Bridgewater, scenes selected in this essay are examples of issues regarding communication, perception, and power and influence discussed in MGMT 320 Organizational Behavior. The interactions in Titicut Follies contain misuse of organizational behavior intended to build a healthy environment. In this case it only benefits those in power.
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