Barry Lyndon

I just arrived home after seeing Kubrick’s period masterpiece, Barry Lyndon. It was my second time viewing the film and I enjoyed it even more re-watching it on the silver screen. The presentation of the film, the audience (there were Barry Lyndon cosplayers), and the interesting discussion after the film are the reasons why the Midtown Art Cinema is my favorite theater.

Barry Lyndon is the story of the misadventures of Redmond Barry. It is a tale of adventure, fortune, fate, and tragedy based on the novel The Luck of Barry Lyndon by William Makepeace Thackeray 1)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Luck_of_Barry_Lyndon . The film was praised technically upon release, receiving an Academy Award for Cinematography, Costume Design, and Art Direction 2)http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072684/awards, but was a commercial failure and dismissed by many critics.

Time has been very kind to Barry Lyndon, with many people considering it to be Kubrick’s best film. While it is not my personal favorite, I really appreciate and enjoy the film. The visuals are awe inspiring, the story is darkly enchanting, and it has everything you would want in an historical epic.

This was the first Kubrick film I have seen in a theater and it was absolutely magnificent! If you can see this film on the big screen, do not hesitate to buy a ticket! They played a digitally remastered version of the film and it looked wonderful. An audience member who had been to the film’s original release in 1975 remarked that, “Barry Lyndon has never looked better!”

I would recommend this film to anyone that wants to learn about shot composition. Visually this film is perfect. Kubrick’s vision for the film was heavily inspired by the paintings of William Hogarth 3)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Hogarth, a contemporary of Thackeray. Not only is the cinematography in Barry Lyndon beautiful, but it tells the story well. Each frame tells its own story.

Go see Barry Lyndon!

barry lyndon

References   [ + ]

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Luck_of_Barry_Lyndon 
2. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072684/awards
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Hogarth

Avoiding Sophistry

The Sophists were the intellectual class in Ancient Athens who educated wealthy young men. 1)http://www.iep.utm.edu/sophists/ Socrates heavily criticized the Sophists ( like everyone else) for there false wisdom.

“There is Gorgias of Leontium, and Prodicus of Ceos, and Hippias of Elis, who go the round of the cities, and are able to persuade the young men to leave their own citizens, by whom they might be taught for nothing, and come to them, whom they not only pay, but are thankful if they may be allowed to pay them. There is actually a Parian philosopher residing in Athens, of whom I have heard; and I came to hear of him in this way: – I met a man who has spent a world of money on the Sophists, Callias the son of Hipponicus, and knowing thathe had sons, I asked him: “Callias,” I said, “if your two sons were foals or calves, there would be no difficulty in finding someone to put over them; we should hire a trainer of horses or a farmer probably who would improve and perfect them in their own proper virtue and excellence; but as they are human beings, whom are you thinking of placing over them? Is there anyone who understands human and political virtue? You must have thought about this as you have sons; is there anyone?” “There is,” he said. “Who is he?” said I, “and of what country? and what does he charge?” “Evenus the Parian,” he replied; “he is the man, and his charge is five minae.” Happy is Evenus, I said to myself, if he really has this wisdom, and teaches at such a modest charge. Had I the same, I should have been very proud and conceited; but the truth is that I have no knowledge of the kind. ”

The Apology by Plato 2) http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/apology.html

I believe this is the central battle of philosophy and it constantly echoes throughout history.

“Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.”

-Matthew 23:1-4 NKJV 3)https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+23&version=NKJV

The modern day sophists are the people who hold their paltry knowledge above all else. They look no further than the end of their nose for the truth. They are quick to call other men hypocrites and have a million excuses for their every misdeed. They despise anything that contradicts their worldview even if it would ultimately help them be better people.

However, we are not here today to belittle a group of people, we are here to learn how to avoid that path. We all walk down the path of sophistry at times. If we can recognize the signs of this behavior in ourselves we can start to be virtuous.

Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.”

“Evil is the force that believes its knowledge is complete.”

-Dr. Jordan B. Peterson

“I don’t know,” is a magical key that unlocks a door full of possible knowledge. Sophists keep that door firmly shut because they don’t want to appear foolish. Do not place your love of dignity over your love of truth. People will view you as they want to regardless of how it makes you feel, so you might as well gain some knowledge. Not knowing is a forgivable ignorance, but not asking is not one.

Admit when you are wrong.

“Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error.”

-Marcus Tullius Cicero

Always admit when you are wrong. By designating that action as “wrong”, you quarantine it away from your being and are less likely to repeat it. In my experience, I have found pride to be a stumbling block rather than any sort of  defense. When you make a mistake you are given a bittersweet gift. You are given the opportunity to improve. Take the opportunity rather than stubbornly clinging to what makes you fail.

Do not dismiss sources of truth you don’t like.

I’m for truth, no matter who tells it.”

-Malcolm X

The truth springs often from unlikely places. Do not dismiss the truth because you do not like the source. The idea may be sound even if the person is not. Attacking a person and not their ideas is not a good argument.

References   [ + ]

1. http://www.iep.utm.edu/sophists/
2.  http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/apology.html
3. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+23&version=NKJV

Edge of Adolescence

As of Friday, I will no longer be a teenager. I’m not really a sentimental person, but I see an opportunity to re-access and reflect.

There is a pervasive idea that circumstances force you to become an “adult” (culturally speaking) and to become an “adult” is a pitiful thing. I have always found those ideas to be very strange. I believe that you become an “adult” when you decide to take on the responsibility. I didn’t especially like being a child and I wouldn’t want to return to that state again.

When I was growing up, an adult was the most admirable thing you could be in my mind. My parents had interesting careers and interesting life experiences. Adulthood seemed more of an adventure than the monotony of schoolwork. I realize this might not be the case in everyone’s experience, but my parents made carrying responsibility look noble.

Adults have options. Children do not. You can change careers when you are 35, but if you are tired of 5th Grade, it sucks to be you.

In my 19 years I have come to conclusion that childhood is no risk and no reward, while adulthood is all risk and all reward.

 

 

 

The New Blacklist

“The blacklist was a time of evil…no one on either side who survived it came through untouched by evil…[Looking] back on this time…it will do no good to search for villains or heroes or saints or devils because there were none; there were only victims.”

-Dalton Trumbo

The Academy Awards have been viewed for many years as a sham by many people, but this year I feel insulted as a lover of cinema. I love Film, I hope by now that has been made clear, but I think Hollywood has out lived its usefulness.

I don’t think you should make a film to win awards. You should make a film because you have a story to tell. If you do win an award, it should be because you earned it. It shouldn’t matter who you are, what you look like, or what set of genitals you have.

Art is about appealing to the human soul. It transcends the flesh., crosses barriers, and brings us together. Art does not pander. 

Out of the 20+ films I saw in 2017,  it irritates me that Get Out is nominated for Best Picture, a genre film with forced social commentary over something like A Ghost Story, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, or even Blade Runner 2049 (though I didn’t care for it). Those films were something slightly different than the exciting, annual racism-is-bad romp that we are accustomed to seeing.

It is pretty obvious that Get Out was put there to meet some sort of of quota and that’s really sad. It shouldn’t matter who you are, it should matter what film you made. Enforcing this distorted “diversity” will turn the Academy Awards into the Not White Male Awards.

Isn’t this forced inclusion of “diverse” films simply shifting the prejudice to another group of people rather than giving more people exposure?

I find the idea of the censorship and maligning of the art of any artist based solely on what group they belong to alarming and disgusting. I firmly believe that everyone deserves a voice in art, even if popular opinion is that they have too much privilege. It has only been  50(ish) years since the infamous days of the Blacklist. Are we really going to repeat this petty political game this quickly?