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Connections and Disconnections among the Urban Nomads in Postmodern Cities. Eldorado and 愛情萬歲. Outline. Postmodern City and Urban Nomads Eldorado : Loneliness & Dis/connections among youngsters Vive l ’ amour: Love and Desire on Cities ‘ Margins Common Themes . Postmodern City.

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Connections and disconnections among the urban nomads in postmodern cities l.jpg

Connections and Disconnections among the Urban Nomads in Postmodern Cities

Eldorado

and

愛情萬歲


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Outline

  • Postmodern City and Urban Nomads

  • Eldorado: Loneliness & Dis/connections among youngsters

  • Vive l’amour: Love and Desire on Cities‘ Margins

  • Common Themes


Postmodern city l.jpg
Postmodern City

  • Rapid and excessive technologization;

  • Anti – modernization/rationalization; boundary-breaking; green city, etc.

  • Image society –camera + TV screen;

  • Information society

  • metropolis on the move; urban nomads


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Urban Nomads as a ”de-territorializing” force

  • Wandering:Different from the strolling flâneur, nomads wanders – along unraveled routes.

  • Deterritorializing and defensive: Different from migrants, who flee from one place to another where there might be hope for new settlement (=reterritorialisation), nomads are in a line is “a line of flight which, passing through the points, leads the movements of deterritorialisation into a current, a torrential motion which has nothing to do with flight in the traditional sense. Fleeing, yes, but seeking a weapon while fleeing.” (source)

  • Not moving, nor settled: “The nomad is not necessarily one who moves: some voyages take place in situ, are trips in intensity. … nomads, they nevertheless stay in the same place and continually evade the codes of settled people.” Gilles Deleuze, “Nomad Thought”


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General Questions

  • Are the characters in these two films urban nomads— deterritorializing, wandering, and sometimes in ‘intensive’ trips?

  • How do they connect and find meanings?


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Edorado (1995)

  • Director: Charles Binamé began his film career as an assistant director at the National Film Board in 1971, and later moved on to direct documentaries for television.

  • Direct Cinema style: natural lighting, improvisational dialogue, shouldered camera.

  • On Eldorado’s style: "A film a chaotic, just like life and that's what is stimulating. In the midst of this chaos, there is a raw truth which emerges and captures our attention.”


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The Younger Generations in Postmodern Cities

  • ". . . we do have this perception of a generation that's lost, frightened, with no future. I asked myself, how do they live, are they much different from what I was like at their age, what are their options?”

    Biname, director of Eldorado

  • Question: What are the youngsters’s problems? What is the “raw truth” in Eldorado? (clip 14)


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Roxan – a rich girl, active in helping others; with traumatic past, harmed by the ones she helps

Lloyd – shock-jock, but can only talk; does not know how to commit himself.

Rita--traumatic past, drug-dealing, stealing, cannot touch others or be touched; Loulou--discontented; bored (1:9:06)

Marc – a musician who works in a liquor store, hurt by Lou Lou, find help/refuge in sex shop or video games

Henriette -- want to know how to connect, sexually or otherwise.

The apparently strong and weak

Example: 29:40 -


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Music – Expressed of the lostness and Struggle

  • from the head-banging dance beats of techno-dread – opening

  • cello solos of Claude Lamothe 11:00, 25:10; 2: beginning


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Questions:

  • How are the characters connected with or disconnected from each other?

  • Is the ending trite or weak?


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Disconnections:

Caused by

  • Betrayal – Rita  Roxan, LouLou  Marc

    (The two scenes are juxtaposed )

  • trauma in the past – Rita and Roxan

  • personal differences – Henriette  Gespal

  • miscommunication – Rita  Gespal; missing the chance – Rita  Roxan and Henriette


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Disconnections: indivual problems and solutions

  • Marc and Lou Lou -- M cannot understand Lou Lou, is not willing to be "mothered" by Lou Lou.

  • Henriette --

    • sexual fantasies about Lloyd, ( 20, 2: 1: 06)

    • silence from the shrink, rejecting him at the end, moving away. (32)

    • connect with Rita, but misses her –the tape, at the pool, at the graveyard and calling her (1: end; 2:20 )

  • Rita – from her boyfriend, and everybody else. (1: 28)  searching for help

  • Roxan – hurt: 2- 2:13 get the puppet back herself?

    a sign that she might have opened the window.


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Connections

Rita and Lloyd --

  • Rita's reckless moments: on the car, shooting L with a water gun;

  • miss the chance to comfort Rita once.

  • Ending: kiss on the neck, “Want a lift?”

Image source


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Raw truth

  • Solitude, as conveyed by the cello. (ending)


Lived city 2 love and desire on cities margins vive l amour l.jpg

Lived City (2): Love and Desire on Cities‘ Margins愛情萬歲 Vive L’amour

蔡明亮


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Starting Questions

  • What kinds of city-dwellers are the three protagonists? What do they have in common? Are they in the state of what Louis Wirth calls “anomie” (with impersonal, transitory, segmental, and mostly utilitarian contacts’)?

  • What does the title of the film mean? Do the characters ‘love’ or learn to love each other?

  • Or maybe they are just drifters (nomads) in the city as a Waste Land? How do they meet each other? Are there meanings in their chance encounters and hide-and-seek?


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Outline

  • Anonymous people on the margins of a city

    • Their lack;

    • Their work;

    • Their desire and daily routine

  • Their chance encounters and meetings

  • The title: ironical? Do they know how to love?

  • 蔡明亮 and Taipei


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People on the Margins of SocietyLack and Work

  • Anonymous, not having a home or family; their past not known;

  • Menial jobs -- always on the move,

  • real-estate agent (Yang)– efforts in posting ads, cleaning the houses and killing mosquitoes; waiting all the time in boredom; 20:00

  • sales person for columbarium (靈骨塔 小康): sending junk mails; wandering around, (with Chen) having no place to go but to his work places. (36)

  • illegal trader and vendor (Chen)– escaping from the police.


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People on the Margins of SocietyWhat they have in common

Hunger and desire – their frequent actions:

Eating (from food stands or lunch boxes), drinking, smoking and making phone calls.


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People on the Margins of SocietyHow do they meet each other?

  • Chance encounters Not having a home or family or fixed places to eat and sleep  Choice

  • The man and the woman  McDonalds’playing hide-and-seek afterwards. (14:00)

  • The man and 小康  live in an empty apartment for sale.develop comradeship when escaping from it together. (The three’s encounter 1:00 --; dinner together 1:18)


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The man and the woman

  • Pretending ignorance, while chasing after and waiting for each other.

  • A contrast between the affluent background (store fronts) and their emptiness.

  • Hunger, mutual needs –


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The man and 小康

  • Chance encounter – showing their interest in each other

  • In the same boat –from antagonism to comradeship


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Is the title ironic? Do they know how to love?

  • The title is ironic in the sense that love is important but what the characters lack, so the implied cheerfulness of the sentence is not in the film.

  • Maybe the characters do not know how to love, but they are searching for it.

  • The ending shows a bit of hope in the two characters: the woman (Yang) and salesman (小康).


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The man and 小康

  • 小康 expresses his desire 1:35:00; 1:43:00


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The woman

  • Living in a void or Waste Land?


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Living in a void?

anomie = lack of moral or social principles in a person or in society

They are uprooted from social fabric, but not without basic human needs for living and love.

The woman and 小康

  • have expressed their desires

  • show their desire to live (fear of death)

    • one thought of (in the bathroom scene) and the other attempted suicide.

  • are self-reflexive

    • e.g. 小康 and watermelon, his cross-dressing and performance; --he has the ingenuity in the use of signs to express his desires and even cross gender-boundaries, not limited by their traditional meanings. (46:00; 1:22:00)

    • e.g. the woman’s crying and self-checking.


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蔡明亮 and Taipei

  • From Malaysia, but he shows very strong concern with and understanding of Taipei and some of its residents.

  • minimalist style– tends to use long-take (長鏡頭), reduces the artificial coloring of music and dramatic plot; uses the same actors and actresses, sometimes even the same settings;

  • Dominant symbols: water, old and derelict apartment buildings

  • Characters: drifting people in Taipei (and away from Taipei); never having a good family meals, and drinking a lot as if very hunger.


And taipei28 l.jpg
蔡明亮 and Taipei

  • The domestic spaces in Tsai's films are

    • small, bare, gloomy, confined by the walls, doors and ceiling that take up a large part of the screen.

    • sense of confinement -- achieved through the camera's long-take from a fixed position.

      Instead of following the characters into their room, the camera frequently stays at a fixed spot, allowing the walls to block our view of the interior space of that room and to frame the characters' action in that space. (source)


And taipei images of spatial constraints eating l.jpg
蔡明亮 and Taipei:Images of Spatial Constraints & Eating

  • The domestic spaces e.g. 青少年哪吒

Elevator scene.

The father eats alone.


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蔡明亮 and Taipei:Images of Spatial Constraints & Eating (2)

  • The domestic spaces e.g. 河流

The mother takes leftover from the restaurants she works for.

. . . To feed her lover, her husband and son.


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蔡明亮 and Taipei: Images

  • The domestic spaces e.g. 洞

Spaces of fantasies in an infested apartment. Beautiful makeup and costume, cheerful singing in contrast with railings and bare and dirty walls.


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The Two Films: Common Themes

1. The characters’

  • Disaffection; Lack of commitment

  • Instabilities (no family, menial jobs, low/no income, emotional trauma, etc.)

  • Eldorado: Immersion in media and camera world. Vive L’amour: empty house and on the street.

    2. Fragmentary plots with chance encounters (also in "When the Day Breaks“, In the Skin of a Lion, "En Passant,”“Desperanto.“)  more later


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The Two Films: Common Themes

3. Human Connections made possible by urban systems:

  • Transportation: bus, car, gas, people walking, (vs. roller-blading)

  • Telephones;

  • TV and radio;

  • Cables and wires of all sorts

  • Public spaces: house for rent/sale, grocery stores, supermarket, park and cemeteries.


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Reference

  • “Families in the Postmodern Non-Places in the Films by Atom Egoyan and Tsai Ming-Liang.”http://www.eng.fju.edu.tw/canada/paper/egoyan_tsai/


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