on political cinema

thurs. 4/13/2017 11:45am

In our past class, I witnessed exactly how liberating the medium of film can be. More often than not, it allows for full autonomy by the filmmakers themselves, and also gives a platform for statements to be made. It was particularly eye-opening to see that political cinema can come in so many different modes, whichever the artist deems is the most fit form to get the message across. The first piece we watched, Moments of Silence (2016), read kind of like a video essay to me, a compilation of sorts that revealed one glaringly obvious fact (that was later made more clear by her statement itself). Contrastingly, Freedom Riders (2011) read more like a documentary, as the majority of the film consisted of talking head interviews of former Freedom Riders and b-roll/archival footage. For me, these two films were striking in and of themselves purely because of this “real” factor; nearly every component was a direct source from the real world (non-fiction).

On the other hand, Hunger accomplished the same thing (perhaps to a greater degree) but with a fictional narrative. What caught my eye was the ability – since each shot was, though maybe of a true history, fabricated by the minds of the filmmakers – of the camera to make every single shot as beautiful and meaningful as possible. Because this format allows for experimentation of light, sound, camerawork, and dialogue, it enables the spectator to really be immersed in the story and characters (albeit a little dramatic at times).

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