May, 2003

Industrial Fire, Spiritual Light

May 12th, 2003 May 12th, 2003
Posted in Fire and Light
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Light pollution is one of those things that’s a mixed curse. On the one hand, there’s all the material benefits (and a few cultural ones) which come from industralisation and living in cities. On the other, I’m sure there’s a loss of spiritual connection through not being able to see the stars.

While I was in New Zealand a few years ago, I made trip out to One Tree Hill Observatory in Auckland so that I could see The Southern Cross, something not visible from northern hemisphere. Although it was a bit cloudy, there were still billions of stars shining and I also got to see Andromeda, our nearest galaxy. It was a chance to marvel at many other beautiful celestial objects too and it put many things into perspective.

Living near the city, I can still see stars when I look up at night. Cold winter evenings are usually a fine time to look straight up and pause for a moment before quickly getting inside to warm up. Looking straight up, however, is the only option where I live. All around the horizon is pink for the whole night and I remember a friend driving me across north Yorkshire some time in the past. The stars seemed to literally press down on us through his sun roof. Very cool. Cosmic, even.

I think being able to see the night stars is actually really important for giving us a sense of wonder about the universe and for reminding us of our place in it. Seeing the stars symbolises our hopes and dreams. Seeing burning skies every night and never having true darkness–notwithstanding what that does to our circadian rhythms–isn’t the best way to live.

I wonder what impact this is having on children who’ve never known any different from the orange-red night skies? Do they hope and dream in the same way? Or are they more disconnected in a way they can’t understand? So many people live in the opening of Fight Club–chasing material gratification and lose sight of the magic of being alive. I wonder to what extent a lack of experiencing true night to contrast with the day plays a part in that disconnected feeling.

Blog On

May 10th, 2003 May 10th, 2003
Posted in Film making
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Just in case I pass this way again, just for the record, I’d like to blog that:

1. The Car is no further and no nearer audio post-production.

2. But it should be next week when Simon is due to get in touch.
3. Yes, we’ve heard that before.
4. The Ascalon Films website may soon get an overhaul
5. I’ve been learning Dreamweaver, After Effects and a smattering of Photoshop this week. Among other things, I can now make stuff fly around the screen, add snazzy rollover buttons to a website and create animated gifs.
6. The jeans I bought about six months ago and have worn perhaps twice are now three inches too large around the waist (inconceivable!) since for this past month I stopped eating chocolate (no, really), started drinking diet sodas (yes, I know) and… And, well, that’s about it.
7. I’ve also learned more about the Mac and can now backup important files (whoop) and use iCal better [You’re reaching here, aren’t you? Quit blogging already! – Ed]
8. X-Men 2 didn’t do it for me because I am becoming old and cynical (instead of merely young and cynical).

Oh, what a mad crazy merry-go-round existence I lead.

Fight Club

May 3rd, 2003 May 3rd, 2003
Posted in Film making
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I really enjoyed Fight Club. It was original and not what I was expecting at all. I like the fact that it had things to say about modern society as well as having a story–a quirky, off-beat story–to tell. And there were lots of great lines too.

From a film-making perspective, I think it shows how you can take a simple three-act structure and take the audience on a journey that’s both entertaining and thought-provoking. I’m not sure it has any real answers. It definitely leaves a few questions hanging, but that’s okay.

Overall, a fascinating study of a lunacy and a split personality at work. Two great lead actors and Helena Bonham-Carter’s best role/performance. I also appreciate the way the locations matched the central character’s inner psyche. Soul hollow hi-tech to start. Bleak community support groups. The crumbling house as he fell apart.

Actually, I remember the first time I saw this was on DVD and I’d just set up my living room with a large widescreen TV plus surround sound. The soundtrack blew me away. In the first few minutes… No, in the opening seconds, the second was awesome.

Can’t think what else at the moment. It’s a film that’s worth discussing, though, partly because it doesn’t resolve absolutely everything, only the central plot. And even that’s left a bit open–did he kill himself or did he kill Tyler? Did he just leave a hole in his cheek or is there one in his head?