Saturday, November 27, 2004

"Not Getting It", Macrocosm Edition

Disregarding the now sadly expected refusal of SA to engage in loud diplomacy in Zimbabwe, anybody out there willing or able to explain to me how our thinking here isn't totally misguided, especially considering the (2 years-in-the-running) urgency of what's happening in Darfur? Good fucking grief.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

 Posted by Hello

Instances of red. (I'm just waiting for someone to tell me to stop.) Posted by Hello

Friday, November 12, 2004

Ersatz Jordans

Why the sudden influx of 'guerilla marketing' round these parts? Sprite has those pretend-defaced billboards (since history denied us suburban lemonade stands, maybe fake-grassroots is the best we can hope for), Yfm's trying out a new poster campaign that makes stark, capital-letter promises NOT TO RUIN YOUR SUMMER WITH AGGRESSIVE BRANDING, and now there's this leaflet littering campus grounds masquerading as a fake security warning (but really advertising some Playstation thing, what with the slyly embedded PS2 logo). Did "No Logo" just get its own "Dummiess" primer (as unecessary as that might seem ), or what?

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Where Do We Go From Here

The state of the world still has me feeling kinda sick. Well, it's either the state of the world or waking up every day at 1pm, eating a bag of chutney potato chips for "breakfast", working in a cold, flourescent-lit, white-walled computer lab the rest of the day, and going to bed just before sunrise.

What we have now though, if you look to your right, are LINKS! With more to come, hopefully.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

The Vote: Get Out!

This is the post where I drop my cynical armour and risk some uncharacteristic optimism:

He's gonna lose.

P.S. Happy birthday (yesterday) to Kaiser, whose essay-fuelled rise to graduation is responsible for his Hectic haitus. The lack has not gone unfelt, even amongst our "less than five second" readership. I just hope he does a better job filling the void here than my sorry ass did, after a post-Thursday exam schedule consumes my spare time and the little bit that remains of my human soul. Help is on the way!

Monday, November 01, 2004

Fade to Blechh

*WARNING: at least 2 spoilers ahead*

What is it with South African films and conclusions? Remember "Promised Land"? Had a nice visual style: plenty bleak, stingy with the saturation, evocative landscapes. Acting wasn't awful. There were hints that this was going to be a nuanced exploration of local cultural tensions. Slow? Nah, it was carefully pacing itself to allow the intricacied observations their necessary time to unfold. Then, right at the end, things needed wrapping up: the bad guys and their bad wives and bad children (Afrikaaners desperately clinging onto their 'traditional values' of hatred and abuse and inbreeding and other frowned-upon activities) are gunned down by the cops in slow motion. With every polarizing shot, we watched a good hour and a half of character development turn into a Bruckheimeresque, bullet-casing-hitting-the-floor-in-5-channel-surround morality tale. With less morality than plain ol' bloodthirst. The dinner table showdown is reminiscent of nothing so much as the Matrix's infamous lobby scene. So, yeah, kinda puts a damper on the whole affair.

Then last week I watched "Gums and Noses", the story of a mediocre adman's cocaine-fuelled rise to award-winning glory (and then slow fall down into... something else). It too had flashes of potential: the visual storyboarding of the ads, the very occasionally amusing script. Plus, if SA film sometimes seems overly eager to proudly ape internationally-tested stylistic 'edginess', a movie about the creative process behind advertisement generation was possibly an opportunity to match form with function and deliver some sharp, funny satire. Until...

To be 'fair', a lot goes wrong before the end, but that's when things really turn ugly. The movie had a decision to make about what was actually going to follow the protracted narrative of decline that it had been pursuing for the last hour (Did things turn bad with the nosebleeds? Or was it when he started taking the coke rectally? Maybe it was the car accident... after watching the protagonist walk away unscathed again and again, we start to wonder if we're being taught ANY kind of lesson here). So what's the call? As if suddenly realizing its acute lack of finality, the film makes a bizarre and uneasy shift into bloodstained realism, where the flickers of comedy are so pathetic and poorly timed that we don't know if things are just darkly unfunny or if the film has half-bloomed into self-parody. And the awfulness of Gums's punch line is such that the arguments about intentionality are rendered somewhat moot.

Any examples to the contrary here? To be fair, I've seen only a fraction of the local cinematic output.