This week in cinema a guest director Deborah Stratman, came in to speak about her films. I found that staying for the question and answer session after the film really helped me gain new insight into the world of the film and what goals the director was trying to achieve.
These Blazing Starrs (2011)
The contrast of silence and sound made an impact in this film. For the most part, the silence accompanied the images that came from the still images from books and paintings. It gave the viewer more room to think about the images and follow along with the words on the screen. The noise from the electromagnetic spectrum is paired with the images from NASA of actual comets. This created more of a connection because it was possible to hear the diegetic sounds of atmosphere of the planet. These two seemingly separate parts of the film blended well together to create a cohesive film about our fear and wonder over these spacial bodies.
O'er the Land (2008)
I found the discussion about O'er the Land fascinating. Hearing the director speak firsthand about how she viewed the film helped to inform my own opinions and shape them in new ways. I saw the film as a representation of violence created because of the amount of freedom in the country. The overt displays of power with the flamethrowers and men shooting guns seemed to show American freedom as destructive and irresponsible. However, Stratman discussed how to her the film is a representation of "ritualized warfare" and "war as theater." Having taken a class entitled "Cinema at War," I understand all about the glorification of war and its representation throughout our culture. At the same time, the film did represent the more subtle side of freedom with the long shots of nature and Niagara Falls. I think it was the juxtaposition of the two elements that says a lot about America as a nation.
Another interesting point brought up by Stratman is how freedom has become inextricably tied with boarders. There are many images that define boarders in her film whether it is the Mexico/US border or the air as protected by planes. Seeing these images while watching the film made me confused. I was not really sure what birds or bombers had to do with freedom. After hearing her speak about her reasoning for these images, I understood the film and her goals much clearer.