Arts and Identity
Should ‘the arts’ be used as a way of constructing - or reconstructing - a sense of who we are as individuals, as society, or as a nation? To what extent does this sort of thinking undermine any notion of universalism in the arts, or does the shift mean we must reconstitute an idea of what universalism means?
The arts have long been used as a way of exploring self-understanding, but as the idea of making clear critical judgments about artworks comes under fire, does the current focus on respecting cultural differences reflect a deeper lack of critical authority? And to what extent does it ‘dumb down’ people’s ability to appreciate and enjoy culture more generally?
Modern Britons have, for the most part, done a good job of cutting family ties. Sabrina is a prime example of a modern, single woman for whom her close friends are her family. What Shades offers is a rare insight into the lives of those living in Britain for whom family is more important than love.
Bean centres much of the action around a pub with a kind of eternal landlady (Sophie Stanton – whose cries of ‘Facking Frogs!’, ‘Facking Micks!’, ‘Facking Yids!’ herald the arrival of each new group) and her perky daughter (Michelle Terry), who at each point in history falls into bed with one of the immigrants.
It’s the first time I’ve seen Marwan Rechmaoui’s work liberated from the company of Deleuzian texts and yet another grainy video of someone’s aunt, and it is like seeing the artworks for the first time.
Maybe femmes will not only lead a leather-booted charge against the parochial stone walls of the LGBT ghetto but - by doing so - also give an example of stiflingly conformist constraints being shattered, so giving encouragement to people who wish to rip-up taboos in other, wider, public debates
The problem is that the Wheelers are an empty shell, remnants of a meaningful past of which they have no recollection. Their fight then is useless from the very outset, for it lacks any foundation.
With the benefit of hindsight and study in a post-Hitchcock world, this tale of an everyday man thrust into a world of espionage, assumed identities and rom-com banter can be referred to and considered as part of a canon, rather than a stand-alone film.
Muntean’s second film has featured in a few festivals throughout the last few years, but without much luck of finding distribution. His third found its way much quicker to the cinema screens. The question to ask is why a film about an ordinary couple having an ordinary holiday is deemed more appealing for foreign audiences than one about the social consequences of the 1989 revolution?
Psychology was a way to make sense of the madness of war and God’s silence at the violence and carnage of the Nazis. Hitchcock was using the plot to provide the sort of assurance his audience needed at the war’s end - the massive sacrifice had been for a meaningful purpose.
Paronnaud’s rendering of Satrapi’s graphic novel is such a joy to behold. This is a film that simply had to be animated, not only because it is maintaining the style and mood of the source material, but mainly for the fact that it enables the entire story to be imbued with Marjane’s vibrant personality.
The scale may be localised at times, but the presence of the border and the resulting bureaucracy reminds the viewer of the splintering divisions that run through all lives in post-independent and partitioned India.
As a beautiful young woman, Roseanne is surrounded and shaped by men. Not to labour the comparison, but as the country of Ireland, or Eíre, is often represented as a woman, it is not difficult to see parallels.