Thursday, September 2, 2010

blow up, a history of bombing and all that heaven allows



"nothing like a little disaster to sort things out"

The film posed a question of perception, of what "really" happened, and who has the authority and the facts to prove it.
photography's literal role-to become a sort of proof of reality. He discovers the murder by blowing up the picture.
the "explosion" in the film happens when he meets the woman in the park, when she attacks him for the film.
The role of women in this film was very problematic for me. They are portrayed always as objects for a photograph, even when they are not being photographed. Could this be Antonioni's critical commentary on a trend in society? or is he also subscribing to that dehumanizing trend? Women are completely at the mercy of the photographer, he does whatever he wants with them.
The tennis match at the end became sort of a metaphor for the entire film. A group of mimes are miming a game of tennis, while the photographer stands and watches. Maybe this symbolizes the question of how "real" our perceptions are, and how photography mimes this perceived reality.

The structure of the book seemed to aim to mirror the content. While the different sections appear to fragmented, they are connected in a linear sense by the dates, and in a conceptual sense by following the section map along a common string of stories. The book goes between factual history and personal narratives, giving the structure a much more "people's history" approach, rather than a textbook history approach.

The book focuses heavily on the "morale effect" or "terror effect" of bombing, and how this was (and is) a frequently used military tactic. The book also emphasises the two-faced war "rules" of bombing, that if followed at all, were only applicable to "civilized" countries, "savage" or "barbaric" populations did not fall under this protection, and therefore were frequently bombed without a second thought in order to further the European economic agenda.

"We blow it to bits. We civilize with explosions.
Here lie the civilized, in long, quiet rows."

Civilians, especially the working class, were the most common targets for bombs. If one could destroy the moral of a country, one could control the country.

"For the colonial powers the idea was to capture the prey alive and exploit him as labor, but the American strategy lacked all colonial ambition and therefore ought to be aimed at a war of elimination, a task for which bombing from the air was especially suitable."

"People got used to the unthinkable"


Sirk subtly explores the savagely power and money hungry structures of bougeious society through a romance between a gardener and a wealthy widow. The "explosion" in this film happens when Carrie accidentaly breaks a teapot that Ron had recently fixed. From this point, the film spirals into conflicts, eventually becoming paritially resolved when Carrie reunites herself with Ron, despite the unapproval of her children and her friends. Sirk makes use of the cutaway from the melodrama with shots to a deer, to the snow, to the window, etc. Also, the lighting is insane. Completely oversaturated, and in scenes of conflict, one character is darkly lit, and the other is only lit through bands of light. Red and blue seem to be the dominating color scheme. There is an extreme contrast between natural scenes-Ron and Carrie at Ron's house, in Carrie's front yard-and "unnatural" scenes-Ron and Carrie at the cocktail party, Carrie at the club.

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