The Art of Nuance

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The Art of Nuance

Postby Pandora » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:27 am

How far can you extend a nuance before it turns into total bullshit and a trickery? In an art world, how far could you meta-phorize a theme before an art piece turns into a self-referential soliloquy instigated by semi-random stimuli? Where should one draw a line, or how far should one be allowed to be drawn into it?

I must admit, the movie "Killing of a Sacred Deer" left me a bit perplexed, so I decided to see what other people had to say about it and whether I missed something (and apparently I missed a lot! lol!). I came across this discussion on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kPvLV1fj1U
The key to understanding this movie, according to many, is paying attention to unrelated and random details that act as symbols (the use of different straps of a watch of the main characters, the act of taking off bloody gloves, the act of eating french fries with ketchup, or particular way of eating spaghetti, repeated references to hair and puberty, etc. ), as if to say that every detail of the movie is somewhat relevant to the overall understanding of the movie, but in symbolic sense. The reviews are basically divided into haters and lovers (mostly lovers). It's either garbage or it's brilliant. Maybe like the Duchamp's urinal. In the end, I tend to lean toward the opinion of the commentator "Fried Pancake" (who's not me, just so you know) who basically pointed out that the movie amounts to nothing more than a mindfu*kery/mockery over the audience who, left to their own devices, (which they basically are), simply keep trying to make sense of the movie in any way that they can.

For me, the big red flag is that the movie draws the attention of the potential viewer with a shiny lure (famous actors such as Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell - look, famous actors, the movie can't be that bad, right?) and then plops a puzzle: "Looks what's here!", "What is it?", "Ha, I'm not telling you, you guess yourself!" This kind of ambiguity really does kind of piss me off; and maybe I've actually fell into a trap, like so many other viewers, in that I was willing to give it more credit than it actually deserves. I am still talking about this movie when I should not even be. It seems like a win-win situation for the artist no matter how you approach it: so you know you were fooled, but whose fault was it? Ha! You're welcome! (It's like a vicious circle!)

There is really even no need to watch this movie to understand the underlying dilemma. How far can ambiguity or symbolism be drawn out from the subject matter (like in modern art, or art films) before it turns into a mind trick and an implied compliment is really an insult to one's intelligence, (or rather awareness), and in which the artist still comes out on top?
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Re: The Art of Nuance

Postby unknowing » Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:28 am

As a writer of fiction, I know it all to be a mind trick, whether it's sophisticated or not, whether it includes symbolism or not. As a viewer, it's up to you own style or taste. If you're a creator, I'd say follow your intuition. Letting go of it is where you draw the line.
"When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him."
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Re: The Art of Nuance

Postby Jakob » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:37 am

Look at old Italian expressionist films, it's the same sort of thing. Fellini and Antonioni especially. Very exciting for an aesthetic eye, the plot is just human angst and some strange instances of release, neurosis undisguised.

In the skeptic mind, nuance is all that saves from insanity, and on a sociological level what keeps us animal, prevents us from being purely savage in grasp of the generalizing capacities that the mind represents in its lethargic modus. Mind is a force of erosion when not tended to. Most people have worn their character down at 30 by inadequate discipline before the brain. Ruled out all nuance, all subtle paths along which they might develop their character rather than compromise it.
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Re: The Art of Nuance

Postby Pandora » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:15 am

Jakob wrote:Look at old Italian expressionist films, it's the same sort of thing. Fellini and Antonioni especially. Very exciting for an aesthetic eye, the plot is just human angst and some strange instances of release, neurosis undisguised.

I happened to watch Medea recently, by Pasolini (1969). It also was not exactly what I expected. That film was another head trip. Very symbolic and visceral. Oh those art house movies that play with your mind...
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Re: The Art of Nuance

Postby Jakob » Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:09 pm

Tell me about it.
If you want to raise the challenge, try Antonioni and Tarkovsky.

Murdered Dutch provocateur-director Theo Van Gogh also made a series Medea, a modern rendering so to speak, a rare instance of decent Dutch filmmaking.
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Re: The Art of Nuance

Postby Jakob » Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:13 pm

Another type of nuance

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Re: The Art of Nuance

Postby Pandora » Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:27 am

Jakob wrote:Tell me about it.
There’ve been many interpretations of it. One of them is a possible representation of a primordial, animalistic subconscious element which stayed rooted in the deep past, but that has been usurped by logic and ambition, and eventually cast down to a lower status/importance. One interesting question that is put forward is who is more cruel here, the primitive barbarian (Medea), or a civilized man (Jason)? Was killing her own children a way for Medea to say that Jason’s way has no future? Or was she just one crazy foreign woman that realized she made a big mistake, and went bezerk? Who knows.

The relationship between the rational and the irrational (the civilized and the uncivilized) could have been the deeper meaning of the movie. I don’t really know, but if that’s the case then Jason (that could have been representing logic and civilization) is portrayed as rather young, ambitious, and careless/immature. Could this movie be about civilization forgetting its own past roots? There is not a lot of dialogue in the movie, it’s mostly interpreted through symbolism and actions alone but Medea’s actions, in contrast to Jason’s, do come across as more deliberate and meaningful-to-her (her character is also older than Jason’s in the movie). A lot could have been read into this theme. I don’t know what the Ancient Greek playwrights had in mind exactly, but I think the nuance, or symbolic room for interpretation existed back then as well. It could have been a moral play, with a warning.
I just find it hard to believe that people took and understood the plays as simply actual literal events that took place. That is especially true in a politicized environment, and I believe there was enough of it back then to warrant the use of nuance and symbolism.
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Re: The Art of Nuance

Postby Pandora » Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:12 am

Pandora wrote:
Jakob wrote:Tell me about it.
There’ve been many interpretations of it. One of them is a possible representation of a primordial, animalistic subconscious element which stayed rooted in the deep past, but that has been usurped by logic and ambition, and eventually cast down to a lower status/importance. One interesting question that is put forward is who is more cruel here, the primitive barbarian (Medea), or a civilized man (Jason)? Was killing her own children a way for Medea to say that Jason’s way has no future? Or was she just one crazy foreign woman that realized she made a big mistake, and went bezerk? Who knows.

The relationship between the rational and the irrational (the civilized and the uncivilized) could have been the deeper meaning of the movie. I don’t really know, but if that’s the case then Jason (that could have been representing logic and civilization) is portrayed as rather young, ambitious, and careless/immature. Could this movie be about civilization forgetting its own past roots? There is not a lot of dialogue in the movie, it’s mostly interpreted through symbolism and actions alone but Medea’s actions, in contrast to Jason’s, do come across as more deliberate and meaningful-to-her (her character is also older than Jason’s in the movie). A lot could have been read into this theme. I don’t know what the Ancient Greek playwrights had in mind exactly, but I think the nuance, or symbolic room for interpretation existed back then as well. It could have been a moral play, with a warning.
I just find it hard to believe that people took and understood the plays as simply actual literal events that took place. That is especially true in a politicized environment, and I believe there was enough of it back then to warrant the use of nuance and symbolism.

I think you’d really have to know the author, in this case Euripides, his life and his environment in order to understand his characters. I was just reading about Euripides biography, and apparently Euripides himself had two unsuccessful marriages, so who’s to say that the play was not simply inspired by his own personal tragic life experiences? If Pasolini (or Lanthinos) have their own understanding of the myths, or original story, then their versions would have a completely different interpretations, and the purpose of using the name of the original myth is only to draw attention. If most people can’t even agree on the original meaning and message, then it’s just stealing and using someone else’s material for own benefit. Using an old story to convey a new/different message is also stealing. You’d have to have an extensive historical background in the subject matter even to attempt to replicate the original message (although given the time span difference it might not even be possible).
Even with the original symbolic art work- you have to know the artist in order to understand his art; otherwise you’d be adding extra stuff that may not belong there.

And so what is the purpose of the nuance if it ends up being arbitrary? There’re really no clear message. No communication between the artist and the audience whatsoever. To whom does the art piece even belong? It’s certainly no longer to the so called “artist”. To all these modern directors I’d like to ask why did they even choose to use ancient myths in their work? What if they are not “eternal” and are time, location, and audience specific? If the subject matter or message is no longer applicable why try to revive it as if it were? Wouldn’t that just be a misappropriation done for selfish reasons?
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Re: The Art of Nuance

Postby Pandora » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:33 am

From the horse's mouth (Lanthimos):

Question: "Could you tell us how your ideas are born?"

Answer: "You cannot tell exactly when and how something came to our minds or what was the absolute initial thought but I work very closely with Efthymis Filippou, that I've written most of my films with, and usually we just start with a small things, either a situation or part of a story that we're inserted in, and we talk to each other, and we fill in the gaps as we discuss and create this things, and it's a process, and its like one moment when you go a-ha!, I've found it kind of thing...

Q: "Could you tell us about your use of Greek mythology in film?"

A: "Yes, a Greek tragedy...Well, what happened as we started to write a scrips we had an idea and as we started to write the script we realized that there were similarities with Iphigenia, in Aulis specifically, and we never set out to adapt the tragedy or anything like that, but we just thought that it was interesting to reference it in the film and create this playful dialogue with the tragedy. So that we can have this sense of something similar that has been explored in ancient times and still something very strong and something that still requires answers but we don't necessarily have. So we just felt that it was important for us to reference it in the film. "
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rp4917k9Dvc


"I definitely don't strive for realism because I don't believe it exists in cinema. All of it is a construction so there are just different approaches. I just encourage the actors to not overthink about things and not put too many things in their heads about their motives and why they're doing certain things and how they are saying certain lines because i just find it makes them that much more self-conscious and their intention becomes very obvious and I think that's not true in real life. " 4:55-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C29iACkyfYY

Very ambiguous this guy is. He seems to be unsure of his own intentions.
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