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Jack Graham

Jack Graham wrote about Doctor Who and Marxism, often at the same time. These days he co-hosts the I Don't Speak German podcast with Daniel Harper.Support Jack on Patreon.

11 Comments

  1. homunculette
    July 22, 2017 @ 3:08 am

    This is a really remarkable post and I went slightly over my lunch break to finish reading it. I have a lot of thoughts and not even close enough to the knowledge and ability to respond to this post adequately.

    I’d be curious to know where you draw the line of Hollywood and non-Hollywood movies (understanding Hollywood to be a shortcut for movies produced within a particular structure). Is David Lynch a Hollywood filmmaker? Is Jonathan Glazer? Is someone geographically and in many ways culturally distant like Apichatpong Weerasethakul? Does even someone like Stan Brakhage fall into this category?

    I personally can’t stand Freud, either in his writing or his reductionist ideas (I feel similarly about Lacan, who is often dismissed as a charlatan – he is, but no more than Freud was). I am, however, a massive fan of Deleuze, and I think his and Guattari’s work might potentially offer a better and less reductive way to think about the unconscious.

    Reply

  2. Christopher Brown
    July 22, 2017 @ 5:13 am

    This is a simply amazing post. And as someone a) pursuing a career in film, and b) hoping to change the world, it presents a lot to chew on. Not all of it pleasant. But issues like this can’t – or shouldn’t – really be chewed up and digested quickly, anyway. As you’ve alluded to in other posts, a certain discomfort is healthy in these situations.

    The question for me, really, is what to do with that discomfort. I’m determined not to sell out, and blind myself to the impact of whatever I end up producing…but then, how does one move forward, knowing what you’ve outlined above?

    Even if I were ever to end up making a film/television series as good and revolutionary as Fury Road (I can only hope…)…in the end, what difference does it make?

    Also, penny for your thoughts on “Alien: Covenant”…

    Reply

    • Homunculette
      July 22, 2017 @ 5:43 am

      Hey, another prospective filmmaker who reads Jack Graham! I’m one of those too.

      Reply

      • James V
        July 22, 2017 @ 4:25 pm

        There are dozens of us!
        Maybe

        Reply

        • Christopher Brown
          July 23, 2017 @ 8:27 pm

          We are legion!!!

          …or can be…

          …is there a political meaning behind that phrase?

          (goes to look it up)

          Reply

  3. Homunculette
    July 22, 2017 @ 5:53 am

    My personal answer to your question – the more I think about it the less interest I have in working inside the Hollywood/mainstream film production system. I don’t have it fully worked out yet, but I watched the movie Paterson recently, and it’s a beautiful testament to the value of making art as an amateur without making any attempt to commodify it. Of course, there’s the question of whether you can actually separate yourself from the system entirely when it controls so much about how we think about films, their distribution, etc.

    Admittedly I’m only 20 and have made only about 3 short films, but to me the real satisfaction is in the making of the thing than anything that comes afterwards. I just need to figure out how to do that sustainably.

    Reply

  4. Roderick T. Long
    July 23, 2017 @ 9:59 pm

    I assume most folks here have seen the new trailer for the Christmas special, but just in case you haven’t:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNx9bzq1p4g

    Reply

  5. Christopher Brown
    July 24, 2017 @ 5:16 am

    I’ll have to add that one to my list! (Of about 200+ films already on there, but you know…;-) ) My problem is that I’m pursuing film in order to make some incredibly ambitious projects that would rather need studio support (seeing as how the independently financed mega-blockbuster Valerian isn’t doing well, an independent-blockbuster formula isn’t likely to take hold soon). Not to mention I’d love to make projects featuring established characters as well as my own – directing a Godzilla film has been a dream since childhood, and working in animation and doing stuff with Looney Tunes and Scooby-Doo or Lupin the Third would be super-cool as well. But what I’d want to do with them is more in terms of my own artistic interests than in making further product…

    Not to mention Doctor Who, of course, though that would be mainly in terms of writing (I submitted an entry to this year’s Big Finish short story opportunity. Fingers crossed…). Either way, though, I’m doomed to try and work in the mainstream in order to pursue my dreams.

    I’m 22 myself. I almost feel like we have the advantage in terms of youth…sooner or later, the current studio system is going to have to undergo an overhaul to avoid stagnating…much like the largely more radical films of the ’70s followed the collapse of the old system in the 1960 Maybe there would be a narrow window where our generation can get some truly avant-garde stuff out there and establish ourselves that way (though such a transition will probably be slower and ungainlier due to just how much of a grip the corporate model has on films currently. The superhero film trend is gonna limp on for years after it passes its moment of cultural spotlight with Justice League/Infinity War). Either way, from our inexperienced vantage points the possibilities seem much greater now, no?

    Incidentally, I’d love to check out your stuff! And share mine, if you’d be interested 🙂 drop me a line at christopher.brown@mymail.champlain.edu if you feel like it!

    We filmmakers should petition Phil Sandifer to start up an Eruditorum Press film division someday, huh…?

    Reply

    • Christopher Brown
      July 24, 2017 @ 5:18 am

      Replying to homunculette, in case that wasn’t clear. Also, these image captchas are a nightmare as they don’t actually submit the comment if you take too long to write it…

      Reply

  6. mx_mond
    July 24, 2017 @ 7:36 am

    One way that I’ve noticed that the popular culture establishment co-opts and weaponises diversity is by introducing members of oppressed groups as representatives of structures of oppression. Much has been written (here on EP as well) about the racial politics of Luke Cage, and for me one of the best examples of the trend I’m talking about comes from that series: when it tries delving into questions of police brutality, it first has a white cop (apparently super nice and well-liked in the black community) attacked by the villain, which serves to justify other policemen letting their emotions run wild. Then, when a black boy is beaten in custody, it’s at the hands of a black officer – thus, while supposedly being a diverse narrative focused on black experience, it muddles any critique of the power structures so that it’s either meaningless or, worse, blames the oppressed groups for their oppression. At the same time, in many other aspects, it does some good as well.

    This post (http://abigailnussbaum.tumblr.com/post/162701905265/redkrypto-imagine-being-murdered-this-hard-ok) details the pinkwashing of Supergirl, where we have queer, generally-morally-sympathetic characters torturing prisoners to get information.

    And there is the trailer for Bright, a fantasy cop show, where Will Smith’s character (a policeman) beats a pixie with a broom saying “Fairy lives don’t matter” (just… ugh).

    I don’t really have a larger point here, but I think this is a good example of how Hollywood (in the broad sense of the term) can use progressive elements in order to camouflage its establishment propaganda.

    Reply

  7. 5tephe
    July 25, 2017 @ 5:01 am

    Phenomenal post, Jack.

    I get what you’re doing with the “pomposity as a style, as an aesthetic”, but for poor tired brains like mine, I’d appreciate a clear language version distillation of these thoughts. I think they’re important enough to warrant it.

    Maybe I’ll try writing one out for myself, to better understand it.

    Thanks anyway – for framing several incoherent connections that I’ve been perceiving lately.

    Reply

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