6 Oct 2009 09:15
Be Kind Rewind: October movie night!
FreeCulture.org - Students for Free Culture <webleader+rss-bot <at> freeculture.org>
2009-10-06 07:15:02 GMT
2009-10-06 07:15:02 GMT
Writes Kevin Driscoll on our blog: The first [Year One] movie of the semester is _[Be Kind Rewind]_ by [Michel Gondry], a sweet film that tells the story of a group of friends trying to save their neighborhood video store. Below, I've offered some of my reflections on the film along with questions it raised for me. I hope this can be a useful guide to get conversations started in your chapters. Definitely leave a comment and let me know what came up for you! _Caution: spoilers ahead._ ["Listen, kids. We need to simplify…"] After accidentally erasing all of the store's cassettes, the friends start taking requests and producing bespoke versions of their customers' favorite movies. Challenged to recreate everything from _[Ghostbusters]_ to _[Boyz N Da Hood]_ to _[Driving Miss Daisy]_, they cast their neighbors in supporting roles and craft fantastical costumes and special effects from materials found in a nearby junkyard. Business picks up quickly for the fictional filmmakers and soon they've drawn the attention of everyone from awetruck film buffs to stuffy MPAA representatives (portrayed in brutal parody.) ["Stockholders in their own happiness."] _Be Kind_ depicts one image of free culture in action. It raises many of the same questions that challenge real creators working outside of the conventional media industries. Who owns popular culture? What makes a film "good"? Where are the boundaries among inspiration, adaptation, tribute, and infringement? ["Taste has nothing to do with it."] Outside the content of the film itself, the circumstances of its production, release, [marketing], and distribution raise many issues of interest to free culture activists. First and foremost, _Be Kind Rewind_ was produced by [New Line Cinema] which has been owned since 1996 by closed culture zealots, [Time Warner]. How do we read a film that seems to encourage remix culture when it is structurally supported by the same corporation that effected the [YouTube massacre of January 2009]? [![MIT Free Culture responds to Gondry screening] Bootlegging device] When _Be Kind_ was screen at MIT, the invitation included the following instructions: > This screening will be monitored for unauthorized recording. By attending, you agree not to bring any audio or video recording device into the theater and consent to a physical search of your belongings and person. A video cell phone is classified as a recording device and cannot be taken into the screening. Any attempted use of recording devices will result in immediate removal from the theater, forfeiture of the device, and may subject you to criminal and civil liability. Please allow additional time for heightened security.You can assist us by leaving all non-essential bags and cell phones at home or in your vehicle. In response, MIT Free Culture brought a large pinhole camera to point at the screen (which drew a laugh from Gondry) and handed out ironic stickers to attendees with slogans like, "I am a recording device" and "I will recount this movie to my friends." After the screening, [Ana Domb wrote more about the contradictions] in a "a movie about the fringe [...] that has chosen to play by the conventional rules." Is it possible to play both sides? ["Maybe I am in Ghostbusters!"] In addition to its curious position relative to the film industry, _Be Kind_ points to the inextricable relationship between free and pop culture. The characters' familiarity and appreciation for Hollywood cinema is central to the development of their unusual films. When one character proclaims, "Maybe I am in Ghostbusters!" He calls into question the authority of a movie that is as much a beloved popular myth as it is an industrial commodity. How far outside of _Ghostbusters_ is any fan? When someone maintains a [Ghostbusters fan page] on which he [explain the physics of ectoplasm], isn't there a measure by which he is more "in" Ghostbusters than actor Bill Murray, who merely played Dr. Peter Venkman for a paycheck back in '84? ["We were supposed to remake Back to the Future instead of Ghostbusters."] Both the characters in the fiction and the filmmakers themselves faced questions of copyright infringement in their productions. According to [ a promotional interview with Melonie Diaz], Gondry had to get permission for each movie that is remade within _Be Kind Rewind_ and that _Back to the Future_ had to be written out of the script because of legal constraints. In real fan production, the law rarely intervenes until after release. [Back to the Future (Sweded)] As Gondry hoped, _Be Kind Rewind_ inspired [numerous fans] to create their own low-budget remakes of big-budget films. [Jurassic Park], [The Neverending Story], and - yes, even [Back to the Future], got the _Be Kind_ treatment. [Shot-by-shot remake of Journey's "Separate Ways" music video with original inset] Of course, fan remakes long precede _Be Kind Rewind_. Lovingly crafted [shot-by-shot productions abound on the web] in parody and tribute to an enormous variety of music videos, TV shows, and films. [Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation] Perhaps the most well-known shot-by-shot remake is [Raiders of the Lost Ark: the Adaptaion]. Undertaken by three friends after seeing the film's 1982 theatrical release, they used a bootleg audio cassette recording and as much reference material as they could gather from storybooks and magazines to construct their finely detailed recreation. The trio worked on _the Adaptation_ for their entire adolesence, finally completing the remake seven years after they began. Despite the project's [considerable press attention], the legal tangle of copyright has [restrained its widespread distribution] and it is seldom screened. [Nollywood Babylon] _Be Kind Rewind_ encourages viewers to reflect on our assumptions about Hollywood, authorship, ownership, and the creative possibilities in an age of accessible media technology. What other film industry paradigms might be possible? Nigeria's "Nollywood" scene, a [favorite documentary subject] since its inclusion in 2007's [Good Copy, Bad Copy], reveals radically different models for financing, producing, distributing, and viewering films. If the Hollywood system is really falling apart, as we are lead to believe, how might the North American system be similarly re-imagined? [Gondry remakes his own trailer] How might _Be Kind Rewind_ have proceeded differently? Are you satisfied by its conclusion? Could a culture of "sweded" remakes co-exist alongside conventional Hollywood cinema? Which _Ghostbusters_ do you prefer? Who's going to be the first remix or remake _Be Kind Rewind_ itself? : http://wiki.freeculture.org/Year_one : http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0799934/ : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Gondry : http://blip.tv/file/2650047 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJLXjlsKCVc : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTqNgJn-M4s : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSU_u6Rfxgw : http://blip.tv/file/2650059 : http://blip.tv/file/2650125 : http://www.convergenceculture.org/weblog/2008/02/be_kind_rewind _between_partici.php : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Line_Cinema : http://www.snopes.com/music/songs/birthday.asp : http://youtomb.mit.edu/blog/?p=32 : http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2405/2243078420_a8dfd7758c.jpg : http://www.flickr.com/photos/believekevin/2243078420/ : http://blip.tv/file/2650173 : http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Boulevard/7399/ : http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Boulevard/7399/basic.html : http://blip.tv/file/2650177 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6GjJTUxR3c : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1B2GRz09hg : http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=sweded : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFZBz3ZiQbk : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJZ1i0L7QlI : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbiYMlQUM8A : http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=shot-by-shot+remake : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upqiq6MUAh0 : http://www.theraider.net/films/raiders_adaptation/screenings.php : http://www.theraider.net/films/raiders_adaptation/articles.php : http://www.convergenceculture.org/weblog/2008/04/the_appropriat ion_of_indiana_j.php : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRVUNYV7Mto : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpPXgStqjfs : http://goodcopybadcopy.net/ : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-B0dJQ35rDs URL: http://freeculture.org/blog/2009/10/06/be-kind-rewind-october-movie-night/ _______________________________________________ Discuss mailing list Discuss <at> freeculture.org http://freeculture.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/discuss