Thursday, 26 February 2009

London College of Fashion MA in Fashion & Film

The opportunity to study the combined delights of fashion and film are the core components of the wonderful and exciting MA in Fashion and Film at the London College of Fashion.
This will be the second year of this MA and already the current students have nothing but praise for the depth and breadth of the course content. To give you a flavour if you read some of my blogs posts you'll understand how the course inspires and what subject matter is covered.
The next deadline for application is the 19th of May to begin studies in Autumn/Fall 09. Course fees are £3,995 for UK students and £11,900 for International Students (this is a good time with the pound being weak against the dollar!).
Any questions please leave them in the comment box and I will reply.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Slumdog Millionaire leaves a sour taste...

Don't read this post if you want to still see Slumdog Millionaire (2008) or enjoyed it!
I listend to Danny Boyle being interviewed on Radio 5 Live before the release of Slumdog Millionaire and mainly wanted to go to see the filming techniques they used on the feature film. Starting with a positive the filming is fantastic. Beautifully crafted ariel shots of the slums in Mumbai and intense filming in crowded and small spaces do convey a spectacle of slum life that is vibrant and fascinating. It makes for rich cinematic viewing.

Then there is the narrative...whilst I don't wish to compare the work with Hindu cinema - either the populist Bollywood or more art house type independent films, it is unavoidable. What we have with Slumdog is a fascinating Western perspective on a complex culturally diverse emerging nation. India is moving forward as a world economy and this emergence now make it available for filmmakers to pastiche. Read, India isn't as economically poor as it used to be so now we can use it to make films. Mumbai is the new backdrop city like Paris or Rome... Except when the Italian neo realists used Rome as a location is wasn't exploitative of the setting as the films undertook to convey complete social commentary feature films e.g De Sica's Ladri di Biciclette/The Bicycle Thief. Indian cinema is what you need to go and see if you want to see Indian films tackling poverty or for pure entertainment.

What Boyle does is throw in lots of unreconciled moralistic views and turns essentially a tragedy into a dance off at a train station. Issue of racial thuggery, poverty and abuse of young children are wiped out and resolved by a TV franchise programme. Let's be clear here Boyle tells the viewer that if you choose to work in a call centre rather than be a criminal due to poverty then you are good. If this wins an Oscar then expect a new genre of Hollywood films - 'poverty porn'.

What is 'poverty porn' well if Slumdog is anything to go by it will be all tales of overcoming hardship and adversity with not only a happy ending but a neo Bush perspective, one where Western globalisation gives you capitalism as the means to a better life. Forget issues of democracy or rights and society, money will solve all your troubles. Hard earned capitalist money. In fact you will jump through shit to behold celebrity and sell your mother/brother/sister/whomever at the right price but don't worry somehow redemption will be found via a gun (for the baddy) or paying your taxes on time (for the goody).

So, sorry Slumdog, your success worries me more than I can celebrate the crafting of the film.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Leni Riefenstahl

Last night I watched the Ray Muller documentary on Leni Riefenstahl, She is probably the most famous and influential female film director ever. However, one slight problem she made Triumph of Will a complete showcase and glorification of the Nazi party during their rise to power. One the one hand it is a glorious execution of film and the other a seriously glossy and glamorous vision of Hitler and National Socialism.

She also pioneered amazing film techniques during the filming of Olympia again in 1938 in Nazi Germany.
The documentary tries without prejudice to evaluate and discuss with her guilt or innocence in respect of her friendship with Hitler etc. It makes for interesting and uncomfortable viewing but is a must for anyone interested in film, film technique and developments.

It also in a few clips shows the abject horror of Dachau - it is not sanitised in anyway. Recently there have been some bizarre holocaust doubters utters and all I can say is just watch Muller's documentary to see the reality of original footage that we don't ever get to see, disturbing and horrific doesn't even describe it.

Riefenstahl was investigate but never eventually tried by the international war crimes tribunal in Nuremberg after the war. She was acquitted at the preliminary investigation stage because she was never a member of the Nazi Party.

Undoubtedly Riefenstahl was an extremely talented and opportunistic woman - one can't but help but admire her and this sits uncomfortably with the reality of her work and life.

Friday, 6 February 2009

New Sex and the City Movie announced

I've not got much to say other than to alert you to the official confirmation of a SATC the Movie part deux. Make of it what you will!