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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

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    1. Connections and Disconnections among the Urban Nomads in Postmodern Cities Eldorado and 愛情萬歲

    2. Outline • Postmodern City and Urban Nomads • Eldorado: Loneliness & Dis/connections among youngsters • Vive l’amour: Love and Desire on Cities‘ Margins • Common Themes

    3. 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

    4. 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”

    5. 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?

    6. 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.”

    7. 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)

    8. 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 -

    9. 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

    10. Questions: • How are the characters connected with or disconnected from each other? • Is the ending trite or weak?

    11. 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

    12. 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.

    13. 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

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

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

    16. 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?

    17. 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

    18. 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.

    19. 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.

    20. 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)

    21. 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 –

    22. The man and 小康 • Chance encounter – showing their interest in each other • In the same boat –from antagonism to comradeship

    23. 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).

    24. The man and 小康 • 小康 expresses his desire 1:35:00; 1:43:00

    25. The woman • Living in a void or Waste Land?

    26. 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.

    27. 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.

    28. 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)

    29. 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.

    30. 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.

    31. 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.

    32. 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

    33. 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.

    34. Reference • “Families in the Postmodern Non-Places in the Films by Atom Egoyan and Tsai Ming-Liang.”