||[Feb. 12th, 2017|09:26 pm]
I made three or four vids for Festivids this year depending on how you count.
My assignment was for skygiants, who requested a Blazing Saddles vid. She requested "a really wacky vid that embraces the genre satire; I also think you could do some really neat stuff going in the exact opposite direction and digging into sharp edges of what the film is actually about. " I didn't do either of those things, exactly. Rather, I think what I did is take the film's narrative beats nearly totally seriously. Blazing Saddles is a scathing satire of the Western genre which rigorously hits every single narrative trope of the genre it can find and rigorously checks off every required plot point of the standard Western plot. And each time it hits a required point, it informs you that it is doing it. The result is that even though it often doesn't feel like it because you're too busy laughing, Blazing Saddles is sketching out the epic saga of Sheriff Bart and his victory over the forces of evil. I tried to bring that into focus without forsaking the important themes that arise from the satire, of the erasure of minorities from the 19th century West, of white supremacy and the importance of alliances and teamwork to defeat it.
Two Against One
The song I chose to vid "Two Against One" by Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi, is incredibly apt for this balancing act. It's the work of a biracial musician reinterpreting the classic Western soundtracks of Ennio Morricone, a complicated marriage of blues and folk and spaghetti Western. I think the lyrics are actually about self-sabotage- read closely enough the 'two' opponents Jack White is faced up against are his own tendency to betray himself- and himself in a mirror! The lyrics, though, are vague enough that you need to listen closely to understand this, so I read nearly all the lyrics against their actual meanings. The 'two' is usually used for the good guys, against the one being the bad guy, as I was emphasizing the teamwork theme. The thrust of the vid is: Bart shows up in town alone, the classic Western loner, hated by everyone both for Western trope reasons of the feared outsider and because of basic racism. He forms an alliance with Jim, becoming for the first time Two against One, then enlists the the poor townfolk, women and children too, in the fight against the evil white males with institutional power.
Then I saw yinetime was out for pinchhit and they requested the Darren Aronofsky Noah movie. Some of you may know I've been working on a vid for this film for the past two years. It's a six minute long vid and I've laid a good timeline for about three and a half minutes of it. So I wasn't about to finish that in two weeks for Festivids, but I knew the source really damned well, so I asked myself "Do you think you can make a vid for this in two weeks?" I decided, before claiming the pinch hit, to spend a few minutes testing out ideas to make sure I could pull it off. I usually do this when claiming pinch hits for fic. In this case, I sat down and an hour later I had a full timeline for a two and a half minute long vid. And I mostly really liked the timeline! So I claimed the pinch hit.
Brings the Flood
"Brings the Flood" is set to Neko Case's ambiguous fairy tale of faith "Fox Confessor Brings the Flood". My vid centers Naamah, Noah's wife, and the ways in which Noah betrays her. He is the 'fox' of Case's song: handsome, spiritual, dangerously cunning, and for all that he loves her, not always acting in her best interests. But Naamah is cunning, too. In the end, Noah stands over Ila, preparing to kill Shem's daughters in order to annihilate the human race, and he looks at Ila and he sees his wife in her, and he overcomes the snake for her sake. And all through it, Naamah endures, endures the pains and betrayals that come of trying to live a moral and fulfilled life in a world that doesn't explain what moral means. And then the rainbow comes and tells both Noah and Naamah that forgiveness has come, even though it cannot quite wipe away the flood of tears.
And then I recalled another song I'd noticed when scanning my music library for songs about floods and oceans and water: "Theme from Flood" by They Might Be Giants, the goofy radio-jingle of a theme song for the TMBG album of the same time. And I said two things. First "Wouldn't a Noah vid to this be hilarious?" and Second: "I told sanguinity that I just made a treat in an hour, to try to throw her off the scent of guessing I made the Noah pinch hit. But she's still going to know that I made the Noah vid, because of course I made the Noah vid. But if I made a TMBG Noah vidlet that will clearly only take a few minutes of work, she might think this is the Noah vid I was talking about, and somebody else made "Brings the Flood". Except she's still going to know I made "Brings the Flood", because of course I made the Noah vid." So I made "They Might Be Nephilim", this overly obvious Ferretvid, because it made me laugh and because it might decoy sanguinity, though probably not. And then thirdblindmouse made "Chess: The Musical", which is basically the exact same joke. I'm awed by how similar they are.
They Might Be Nephilim
That's three vids. What's the fourth? I made a third Noah vid, but I didn't post it because it's a little messy and also because if I'd posted three Noah vids, there wouldn't have been any question in the world that I made all three, especially since I reuse a lot of clips in complementary ways from vid to vid. The third vid is a Tubal-Cain POV vid about his relationship with Noah. It's set to Arcade Fire's "Ocean of Noise", off an album dismissively but for these purposes appropriately titled "Neon Bible". "Noah" is very much a film, I know I've written, about the way that it can feel that if the Creator has a plan, it's never communicated very well to the actors carrying it out. Noah is prophetically warned of the flood, but that doesn't tell him how to respond to it, doesn't give him certainty about what redemption may or may not come. And Tubal-Cain is given even less than Noah. All he can see is that the power to rule has been placed in front of him by the Creator and he sees that as his own sort of prophecy, an obligation to act in the Creator's image by creating a civilization of great strength and achievement. Genius.com's annotator sees "Ocean of Noise" as a struggle for primacy between absent father and rebellious son, but I don't find that perfectly obvious. More clearly, it's a song about an opposition that may appear rational, but if examined decays into an ocean of noise. In the end, Noah and Tubal Cain are both just fighting for the survival of themselves and the people that matter to them.
Ocean of Noise
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