Tag Archives: Love

Frontier(s)

This is one of those films that I have a love/hate relationship with.  I absolutely love the new wave of underground French Horror films.  I would argue that the wave actually started with the Spanish film Them (2001), though it really started to take shape with the grossly overrated Inside (2004).  By that time you start to see many of the new tropes start to take shape, with homages to the home invasion films of the 70’s and creating a genre around them with the kind of gristly anticipation of Rami’s original Evil Dead.  One of the kind of weird tropes has been that of a pregnant female protagonist.  This film is not original in any of the devices that it uses, but it is one of the more prominent and popular films to come out of this film movement, probably because it is a hodgepodge of so many other famous and better films, and often tries to say so much that any meaning often gets lost to the audience.  One of the biggest reasons for this has to be the frantic editing pace that seems to be taken from a bad Michael Bay rip off.

One of the first things to note is just how much this film looks up to and tries to be The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1973).  Unlike many other home invasion movies, this film is not about people breaking into the victims home, but more about trespassers in a strange world.  Unlike TCSM, or the much lesser House of Wax remake, these victims have been invited to the property under the guise of it being an inn so that they can be exploited.  To fully understand that this inn acts as a new state, as the victims are literally fleeing the city and the state, which has become a fascist police state that has come down hard on muslims/those of Middle Eastern decent.  While I do kind of shutter at that stereotype, the film is rarely if ever subtle and painting in the widest strokes imaginable.  The allusion here is to refugees that have been invited to a new host country only to be further exploited.  Since they are already refugees in France, the real message is that France, and as the obtuse Nazi references strongly imply, all of Europe has exploited immigrants.

The normal trope of chastity and sinful behavior causing death have a new place here, with the Muslim characters refusing vice at the hands of the Nazi inn keepers, as this now references to cultural assimilation and giving up more traditional values, though it is hardly only the inn keepers that are assimilating them, as the female protagonist is already pregnant.  Also interesting here is that the female is French and it is the traditional male that has succumbed.  I can only speculate that the reason for this has to do with avoiding controversy if the roles were reversed and a traditional Muslim girl were impregnated by a sympathetic French man.  This is an attempt to show that there is some solidarity with citizens against the state that resides with minorities, thought the film’s ending rather roughly contradicts this message.  The woman, after having killed all of the Nazi’s that have conversely killed all of the Arabs that she was running with, she then quite solemnly turns herself back into French authorities, maybe to protect the child that she was contemplating aborting at the beginning of the film.  To me this could only mean that at some level she is both accepting her place in the fascist regime, though I can appreciate the argument that because she is going to be in prison that she is actually sacrificing her own freedom in order to honor her friends that have fallen.

As with many of these types of films, there is a heavy emphasis on what one has to do to survive, and that violence is actually the lowest common denominator of what makes society and civilization tick.  Non violence, while preferable to violence, is always going to not withstand those that choose to enact violence on the nonviolent, and that as much as we may try to remove ourselves from that message, we always have to harden ourselves for the potential of defending ourselves.  She literally escapes death through a puddle of pig shit and blood, arising free yet changed from the experience.  Her turning herself in is in a way admitting to herself that even though she survived, that there are more out there like the Nazi family and that she is incapable of protecting herself and her child indefinitely, and that she does in fact need the state’s violence to protect her, though submitting to those terms is also submitting to their selection of suppressing the immigrants, to which her child has a heritage.

Ultimately the film suffers from being too literal and confused, much like the editing style that does keep the audience from emersion in the film, though with some many contradicting ideas and possible meanings, you can say that you will not have a hard time at least getting in the mindset the film wants you to get in, even if you can’t agree on a concussion.  Then again, that sounds very French to me.

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Network Dating

A friend of mine brought this up to me, as she is really trying to find the man of her dreams.  She really wants this, but is also, and rightfully so, not willing to settle.  She rights her own dating blog, and is very successful with it.  I might mention it later, but don’t want to try and run this on her coat tails.  She has become an actress that I work with, but we started out dating.  The dating thing didn’t go very far, but we had a lot in common and it has been great working together when she has time for my projects.  She is my muse in a lot of ways.  I have made some connections this way.  You go out on a date, and before you know it, you feel close enough that you are willing to do each other professional favors.  You need a lot of those in the entertainment media business.  You help work and build each other’s portfolios.

The flip side of that, which my friend pointed out, is that you never really know if you are dating or networking.  Networking is a huge part of what we do.  Sometimes it is not about having the best ideas, as everyone in the field has ideas, some brilliant, most not, but about getting those ideas to the people who are going to promote your projects and get them out there.  I go to bars now, not to drink, because you don’t want to come off as too much of a party person, but to just meet people and tell them about my story.  I kind of hate it and resent that I have to do it, but it is part of the job.  Along those lines, I talk to a lot of people.  We conference to more greatly go over ideas.  By the nature of two people having drinks or a meal together, sometimes one or both gets the wrong idea.  I’ve had men who assumed that I’m gay, I’m not, who thought me being a film maker was just a ploy.  Some women who I have no interest in tend to think I’m flirting when I’m not, to assume that I’m a creep.  I’ve had girls that I have worked with, who I respected very much, that I would have done anything to be in a relationship with them.  It has come up after we stopped working together and they were with someone else, and they had no idea.

Another big issue is that I am not going to go after someone completely as long as there is a chance that we are going to work together.  There are things about myself that I enjoy, that I would never just share to a crew of people, because it is none of their business, and I’m going to be more reserved.  I went on a date once with an actress, and she told me at the end of the date that she preferred aggressive men, and I seemed rather laid back and timid.   Generally, I am the opposite, but I didn’t want to scare of her wanting to work with me later.  A similar thing happened not too long ago when I went on a date with a girl I met online.  We had talked for a while, and she worked at a company that I really wanted to work at in the same field as me, and she said she could get me a job, hours before our first date.  Now, for the date, I’m again on my best behavior.  Despite that we had been talking for months, this is a job that pays a lot of money.  By the end, she lost that connection with me, and receded her offer to help me get the job.

I have dated actresses and photographers that worked with me before.  I had an ex girlfriend that I have stayed close to over the years tell me how unprofessional that appeared from the outside.  And while I completely see her point, there are two points that I completely think that you have to consider.   The first is that I would love to have a long term relationship that I worked with in this field.  i love to talk about my work and my stories, and would love to have a muse that I could come to at home, and work with.  The second is that so much of my life revolves around work, that it would be nice to have that person in that work.  If my partner is not, they often feel completely left out by my schedule, especially at night.  But there is the risk of offending the cast/crew with favoritism and people in this industry are often rather flaky.

In terms of me giving advice or telling you how to do this, I don’t feel that I am in a position to tell anyone else how to live their life.  I can give you my experience and warn you of the dangers that I have seen or encountered, but I am not where I want to be.  I am sure that there are other better ways to get the job done.  I would love to have advice myself, but like anything else, you learn from doing, so my only advice is to get out there and work at it.