Sunday, November 08, 2009

Analysister




Ok, after making that last post I still feel the need to go deeper into the subject. That post somehow turned into a general primer about film analysis. All well and good, but I never even got to what I originally wanted to say!!! Oh, and about the name for this post.... it's based on a great album title- Nemesister by Babes in Toyland. Thought it was appropriate since this is a sister post to my last one...

Ok class... last time we covered hidden narratives buried in films by Kubrick and Lynch. One thing I'd like to point out that they both have in common - besides liking to hide secret narratives in their films - is they both make very dreamlike films. Actually that's related to the fact that they like the hidden narratives.... see, a film that reveals secret messages when analyzed is quite a bit like a dream. One major difference though.... to understand the meaning of a dream you need to know the dreamer's personal meanings for all the symbols... a very deeply individual matter fit only for a psychoanalyst (the dreamer himself probably doesn't WANT to know what all his dreams mean!)

I think it's time for me to talk a bit about dreams. I've always loved dreams (try to have them every night). I've also always loved stories and movies that are LIKE dreams... but there are definitely things that work in dreams that WON'T work in movies, and vice verse. Probably the most important difference is that dreams don't need to make sense... you're ASLEEP, so your conscious mind isn't trying to make sense of things. But a movie does need to make sense, at least to some extent. The plot can be all mixed up... as long as the movie makes sense on some level... possibly there's an EMOTIONAL throughline the viewer can follow.

Once you've established that throughline (whatever it might be) you can work in underlying hidden narratives like Kubrick or Lynch do. But unlike the completely personal language of symbols in a real dream, they use universal symbols that will be understood by everyone (everyone who notices them that is... most won't see it if it's beneath the surface). And here's what I love about this.... let's say you notice something fishy in a Kubrick film and start to research a little... or maybe you've read an analysis and decided to look deeper on your own. His messages lead you to mysteries that exist in the real world!! That's not to say that I believe all his conspiracy theories are valid... but the threads he weaves into the tapestry of his films does lead you on to theories that can be found all over the internet... googling names from his films will point out all kinds of weird things... most of which he probably intended. That fascinates me, that a mystery embedded in a fictional movie can lead to a mystery in the real world. It's as if the movie opens up a whole vista...

Also on the subject of the dreamlike nature of their films... my longtime readers (those who manage to wade all the way through these lengthy and text-dense Cinemastudies posts) might recall an article I posted some time ago about Josef Von Sternberg (click his name in Labels below if you're interested). There are several posts on my blog about him actually... I'm referring to one I didn't write but just blatantly ripped off and posted here. Sorry, too lazy at the moment to look up who did write it! But the gist of the article was that while Sternberg was working in Talkies (he did start off in silents) the dialogue was merely a smokescreen to deflect viewers from the REAL story, which was always told VISUALLY. Unlike the vast majority of modern movies, where the story is told almost exclusively through dialogue with visuals just serving as moving illustrations, Sternberg, Kubrick and Lynch tell their stories visually. They of course use dialogue and sound, but as artistic counterpoint to the visuals, to enhance them and provide subtext rather than to illustrate them. There are many people (myself among them, though I wasn't there at the time) who feel that something beautiful was lost when sound came to the movies - or rather I should say when the human voice came to the movies (When MOVIES became TALKIES).

Think of it this way... visuals are processed by the right brain - the intuitive brain, while verbal language is processed in the logical and detail-oriented left brain. The right brain is the realm of dream imagery... free association and metaphor. Spoken language doesn't enter into this realm. Music does (instrumental music). Well ok, to be more accurate, some kinds of singing and spoken poetry DO access the right brain, but not general dialogue the way its spoken in movies these days. In a film by the likes of Kubrick or David Lynch, we watch the STORYLINE with the left brain while the right brain silently absorbs the symbols and metaphors underlying the surface. This means their films ARE structured like dreams... there's a Manifest content (surface story) and a Latent content (subtext). This thought really boggles my mind... I think it explains how the subliminal messages can leak through into the right brain (dreaming mind... the ancient, animal mind... the artist mind) while the left brain (logical, modern) remains unaware of them. The left brain is detail-oriented and can only concentrate on one thing at a time (works "in serial") while the right brain sees patterns and works holistically (works "in parallel). But we usually don't notice what the right brain is doing... it's very quiet while the left brian talks constantly and loud. I've heard them compared like this... think of the left brain as the sun and the right brain as the stars.... there are still stars in the sky in the daytime, but you cant see them because the sun is too bright. If you could filter it out then you could see them.

Very interesting to think of making movies that really affect us like dreams...

23 comments:

Jessica Koppe said...

Do you know that feeling if somebody says something what you'd try to put in words for months? Your last paragraph is such a thing, I had this idea for months now but couldn't really grab it. So, thank you! ;)

But besides this, I think you made some important observations about dreams and cinematic realitiy. And I totally agree.

I'm sure you know Madame Tutli-Putli? It's one of my all time facourite animated shorts, and its makers mixed reality and dream in a plausible but yet right-sided brainy way of storytelling.

nineob said...

Conceivably similar.

Rambles'N'Shambles said...

I love interpreting various dreams, I always like to think that they mean more than just imagery, they are a window into our subconsciousness, our hidden desires and dreams.

Amazing post, there is a little present for you on my blog ;D

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Dan Metalmadcat said...

m_) Very deep topic. Intense. Enjoyed it.

Dan Metalmadcat said...

m_) I hate to be short in words.

Lyn said...

What caught my eye was the Dali not the post (which I will read when I am not so tired.)

If I am supposed to say something like it was thought provoking then..Ummm. "Quite interesting."

bRYEnd_of_the_schtick said...

(^ fare is fair. this one's for "analysis.
(^ I was out on youtube searching for the movie "Don't drink The Water" with Jackie Gleason in it.

(^ the camera angles work in it is yummy. farther out than it's a mad mad mad mad world.
(^ sadly, couldn't find to opening title song and credits.
(^ BUT!.. i found.. THIS.

Skidoo - Jackie Gleason's Trip - (1968)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiAZtb8XGso

(^ enjoy any lies it sez (analysis? hee hee) tries to visually imply.

Cah Donorejo™ said...

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Toto tu este nebolo! said...

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Gina said...

Hi Mike,

Your blog is fantastic! I would like to invite you to visit SoundOffToAmerica and post some of your ideas. Yours is the kind of voice that readers on our site would love to read , and comment on on. You can also include a link back to darkmatters.com, which as you know will help promote SEO for your site.

Thanks for your time. I look forward to reading your comments on soundofftoamerica.com.

Gina Greer
SoundOffToAmerica.com

masterymistery said...

Love the Dali --- persistence of memory, I think?

I've been making movies using an ordinary slideshow player --- just make the transition between slides very fast, with each slide almost identical to the next, except for a small change which gradually gets bigger and bigger with every slide.

masterymistery at cosmic rapture

zuse said...

I've always loved dreams (try to have them every night)

How can you induce yourself to have dreams?

Great post, by the way.

M.J.Y said...

Have to agree with Dan Metalmadcat about your blog being very intense and enjoyable.
I stumbled across your blog through the "blog of note" and orignally read it due to the picture you've used for this post - I'm glad I stayed now!

DNAcinema said...

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unidentified-sheet-film said...

NICE..one of the works of salvador dali..:D

lyoid said...

you've got a very cool blog...

black rabbit said...

hi there!

actually I'm looking for some some blogs to follow and I'm glad I foend yours! :D

mindder said...

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curbside prophet said...

err...well yeah..the right brain does control the emotional and aesthetic senses but its connected to the left brain through the corpus callosum..and err...dreams may originate in right but its interpretation is done from left...broca's area...there is really no competition between the halves of your brain...lol

robert d said...

You have committed a non sequitur. Fish and all references thereof, “something fishy in a Kubrick”, are the exclusive domain of Fresh Fish.

Opens up a whole vista,

d

Thomas said...

Firstly I thought your blog seems a bit different than others. But the more I follow, the more it becomes extraordinary.

YouZombies said...

Very interesting post. I think this idea of having a 'dream-like' effect through subliminal narratives is true for all forms (music, literature) of story telling. What we initially see on the page, on the screen, or hear in a song is only the beginning.

Great narratives employ a story within a story, which exist within yet another story and so on. And at that point, as you mentioned, we end up googling names and symbols and reaching out to the real world to solve mysteries about a fictional one.

I'm happy to find there are other people who embark on these types of journeys. Good luck on incorporating this idea into your own art!