Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Everybody Hurts

Reel One: In class, it was the second showing of District 9. You catch so much on the second showing that slipped by on the first. That's true of most films and this one has so much going on, especially with the documentary style. The pseudo-impromptu dialogue that the microphones just barely pick up and the jittery hand-held camera shots make a second viewing (at least) imperative. Papers are due in by midnight Friday and I'm looking forward to reading where my students decided to go with this one.

Reel Two: Over at the Re-Watch - oh, boy. One of the prevalent themes in District 9 is the idea that Others matter and that the pain of those unlike us has an effect - in short, that it matters. This is an idea that Buffy explores quite frequently and perhaps nowhere as poignantly as "Enemies" and "Earshot." In "Enemies," we see "the exterior become interior" as Faith's dark past surfaces. (The quote is Tanya Cochran's, who wrote the commentary for this part of the Re-Watch.) She had a lousy childhood and now she's got strength and power and she's definitely not feeling warm and fuzzy. More like furious and vengeful.

Back over at District 9, the Atticus Finch's proverb of never really understanding a person "until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it" gets a rather literal take as the protagonist is forcibly made to see the world the way a "Prawn" does. (A fate caused largely by his own arrogance and stupidity, but still.) Buffy works with this concept in "Earshot" as feelings that we strive mightily to keep buried are exposed by the suddenly telepathic Buffy. Sounds cool, right? Hearing what other people think? Well, (to use a Whedonism), not so much. It's not a gift. This episode has an interesting history, as its original airdate was delayed due to the horrific Columbine shootings a mere week prior - I understand the delay (a planned mass murder at a school is central to the plot), but the episode is about as far from exploitative as it's possible to get. Read the post, watch the episode and learn, please. We're all in pain. All of us, no matter how together we may appear to be. And that's especially true in high school. (It gets better, at least for most of us, after we get a few more years under our belts. Promise.) Plus, this week gives us the return of Evil Willow! Seriously - it's a good week to re-watch!

Coming Next Week: Wrap up of the film class. I'm considering a few shorts - maybe a little Firefly and Bebop, maybe a little 1950s silliness with wisecracking robots. And at the Re-Watch, we continue to rocket toward the Season 3 finale - will the gang graduate high school? Or will the ceremony be delayed by an apocalypse? And what color will the robes be?

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