The world of Silent Film

It isn’t until you have no sound that your eyes become much more fixated on the visual, you are unable to turn away, because without sound you have no idea what you have missed. Last week’s screening of Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera was my first viewing of a silent film. I thought watching a silent film would bore me without the presents of auto cues and dialogue to keep me engaged, but I found it quite the opposite. I was fixated to the screen, unable to turn away. Over the past week I have become so interested in the world of silent film, although this is slightly off topic I came across this very recent beautiful short silent film, Magic, I want to share. It has won 1st Prize at IIT Saarang Fest, Chennai and nominated at various festivals, watch and you will see why :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLOMdSt5qCk

A Jumping Off Point

An article that I found published by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) entitled, The Video Revolution in Policing, does an effective job of touching on the main themes that I hope to address in my project. The piece written by Jay Stanley, which can be found here, grapples with the question of why our society has allowed the authorities to systematically mistreat large swaths of the population, seemingly unchecked. Stanley puts forth the idea of a “torturable class of people”, that is, a section of the population that has just come to accept discrimination and abuse, whom, “recognize that any protest would be futile”. These individuals are helpless, entirely at the mercy of police powers. He writes that this police authority complex stems from knowing that, “should victims (of wrongdoing) complain, they will experience the nightmare of not being believed“. The author subsequently argues, however, that the smartphone era is ushering in a period police reform, where errant police officers will be forced to be held accountable for their actions. Stanley cites a news story about an ongoing situation taking place in Minnesota regarding a discriminatory interaction with local police captured on an iPhone (find story here). He says that going forward, the actions of police will be increasingly photographed and videotaped, “abuse…will no longer be hidden, and the victims will be believed”. I am curious to see if statistics support this claim. Has the number of convictions of police wrongdoers increased? Are there less reported incidents of police brutality?

Going forward, I hope to gain greater historical perspective on the issue of police brutality in the United States, devoting considerable time to reading up on the infamous Rodney King beating, perhaps the most well know intersection between police brutality and citizen video recording.

My topic in the headlines

I just heard about a member of the media, a television reporter in Alaska, quitting her job on air to join the cause to legalize marijuana in her state. I will follow this more because it is relevant to Apryl and I’s project.

Here is a link to the article and video:   http://www.independent.co.uk/news/weird-news/lists/fck-it-i-quit-tv-reporter-charlo-greene-quits-live-on-air-in-spectacular-fashion-9748394.html

I wonder if shock-value inducing acts like this are helpful or detrimental to the cause. Based on the laughter in the background of the video, this news anchor rallied the spirits of a fan base at least.

Dziga, movie camera, and work

Dziga Vertov’s Man With a Movie Camera was an assessment of Soviet culture after The Great War. One important takeaway I had from the film was the way it portrayed work and industry of the time. This was manifested through the comparison of work produced by machinery and work done by hand. I found it very interesting how the film would switch from showing the labor of individuals who were packaging cigarettes or cutting hair to a machine operation at the time. To me, the flawless, machine-like depiction of the workers who did mindless tasks was an impressive way to comment on the tasks of the time. Counteractive to this was the more-creative style of the barbers, but the transition from cigarette packer to barber was very smooth and I thought it was an interesting comparison of how the roles were done.

Another takeaway that I found interesting from the film was the comparison of marriage certificates and divorce certificates, and the seemingly indifference that couples had when performing both. Although the couple getting divorced were obviously distressed, the process for both actions seemed to be pretty similar and I found that to be a funny way to depict the culture and time.

Research: global warming

“Kyoto protocol” this has been sounding quite familiar to me since I first hear of it but I actually didn’t know what this was exactly till I got interested in environmental issue recently.

If everyone in every country tries hard not to emit Co2, I thought it was easy to stop global warming, however the things do not go that well in reality. To develop their own countries, cutting Co2 is bothering it and they hand off the problems to other countries. And they mostly hide the information that they are doing it so that people don’t know that their countries resist to corporate to stop global warming which is horrible. I thought media has to be liaison between the truth and people so I want to stick with this topic for the presentation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B11kASPfYxY

Research

To start off my research about women in the media, I found a couple of interesting articles that highlight some scary statistics about the representation of women in the media.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/19/women-media-center-study_n_4814636.html

In this Huffington post article, the author states, “the percentage of women on newsroom staffs has remained “largely unchanged” at 36 percent since 1999.” From reading different sources on the subject, I have noticed, interestingly enough, that many sources cite no change in representation from 1999 to our current year.

I am curious as to why progress seems to be stagnant, and I wonder if the reason is due to a specific cause, or due to an overarching trend. Either way, I am going to keep doing research and find out more information. I am also curious about what different organizations do work in media representation, and how other woman are getting involved.

Human vs. Machine

Machines are a way of perfecting humans. Cameras, in Vertov’s view, was the new technology that can perfect the human eye. He believed that a camera was a better extension of the human eye. Vertov pointed out that a camera could be perfected more and more while a human eye cannot. There are limitations with war human eyes can capture and Vertov was eliminated those limitations with technology, specifically the camera. Vertov embraced the new technology through his many angle shots.

Not often do I think about the limitations of the human eye because the technology is available everywhere now. An iPhone, a Canon, or other camera devices can capture any moment at any distance today. They help perfect the human eyes (and eye glasses, I guess…).

Some websites about Women in Media

I found the website of a non-profit progressive women’s media organization called The Women’s Media Center(http://www.womensmediacenter.com/). They carry out campaigns and do various things in an attempt to make women visible and powerful in the media. They also published reports on the status of women in the US.

Another website of The Alliance for Women in Media  a non-profit and professional organization of both men and women who work in the media (http://www.allwomeninmedia.org/).

This is interesting too:) (http://time.com/8788/9-depressing-facts-from-the-latest-women-in-media-report/)

the man with a movie camera—time to relax our mind

the movie we seen on monday night was really interested me, though it would be consider as a nonsense and boring movie by most of my friends. The movie did not have a main character, a clear story line or even some scene that could fulfill nowadays people’s taste. Watching this movie, we seemed lead by a random people and just view the 1920s world through his eyes. There were nothing special : people waked up, went to their workplace and repeated the same moves during their work. The street became crowded and crowded with the sun rise higher and higher. we can see all kind of emotion through the eyes. As people had limited knowledge about the camera and the durable of photos and video, they showed their sincere emotion to the camera, just like the horse, showing his arrogant to us. After i watched this film, i actually didn’t have much deep thought or inspire by it. However, i think in our modern society, we need more movies like this, which allowed us to think  and relax . Everyday we are forced to absorb numerous information and leaded by different media.We had less and less time to think by ourselves, which we also seem too tired to think by ourselves. The fast living pace also keep us from doing so. Therefore, we will easily mislead by the social media and believe what seem to be true. Giving our mind sometime to relax and to think, we will better to stand in the stream of countless information. Man with a movie camera is a really good movie, and i did think a lot when i was watching it, but i had forgotten what i thought after several day.

Don’t Shoot to Kill

Today, I read a shocking statistic. According to a new report from the Los Angeles Youth Justice Coalition, almost 600 people have been killed by Los Angeles law enforcement officers since 2000. The youth advocacy organization looks into the use of lethal force among police in its report titled “Don’t Shoot to Kill.” Between January 1, 2000 and August 31, 2014, law enforcement officers in Los Angeles County contributed to the about one death a week. Apparently, police shootings aren’t new in the area.

Did police brutality just become an issue or has the media not focused on it until now? Those are the questions that I will try to answer as I continue following the issue of police brutality.