Fish Tank could fall in to this category, with an explanation being offered for what can seem like ‘yob culture’. On first impression Mia might seem like a blight on society, as a violent and confrontational young-person, however, the film seeks to reveal the root of her behaviour. The behaviour of her Mother, the impact of her Mother’s partner Connor and the run-down estate are all offered as explanations for Mia’s wayward ways. The ideology of the film is therefore seeking to counteract the demonisation of young people, not least within the popular press. The film’s moral is perhaps that people like Mia are not essentially bad, and their behaviour is a product of the difficult situations that shape them.
No drugs, no drinking, no sex and most importantly: no blonde hair dye. The final girl, a horror trope that’s found itself particularly driven into the ground in recent years thanks to gleeful meta horror like Cabin in the Woods and (of course) Scream, has been a part and parcel of the genre for nearly as long as the horror itself has been around. And despite the fact that the girls all must check the boxes of virtuosity and an unassuming presence, they are all variations on a theme – the naive and bookish Laurie Strode in Halloween, the hip Sidney Prescott in Scream and the “absolutely-over-this-shit” Ellen Ripley. Inevitably, the horror genre has become slowly aware of the tropes it perpetuates over the last decade or so, allowing the traditions to erode in favor of slightly more progressive takes on characters, but it’s the year’s most recent glut of horror that seems to have finally progressed beyond the narrative crutch, instead diversifying the female narratives it keeps within its house of terrors.
Kerry Bishé has a problem. More to the point, she has a problem with a line. “Can we change this? Can I say narcissist instead of diva?” she asks Halt and Catch Fire showrunner Chris Rogers and the director of the episode, Reed Morano. It’s not a surprising exchange for a series that has developed a reputation for putting forth some of the most well-rounded female characters on TV. Bishé’s character, Donna Clark, is in the process of disparaging her partner, Cameron Howe, played by Mackenzie Davis, in the tech start-up Mutiny. Their complex friendship and tumultuous business relationship are the heart and soul of a critical darling that is hoping to broaden its audience after a surprising and welcome season three renewal.
From its beginnings in the documentary movement of the thirties, to its more stylistically eclectic and generically hybrid contemporary forms, socialrealism in British cinema remains a rich and diverse tradition. Samantha Lay examines the movements, moments, and cycles of British social realist texts through a detailed consideration of practice, politics, form, style, and content. It also includes case studies of key texts including Listen To Britain, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Letter To Brezhnev, and Nil By Mouth. The book considers the challenges for social realist film practice and production in Britain, now and in the future.
“Toxic masculinity”: if any one term has graduated, through the tumult of 2016, from specialized social-justice parlance to mainstream media ubiquity, it’s this one. Misuse has inevitably come with popularity – it denotes the social normalization of misogyny and sexual aggression that can poison masculine identity, not an intrinsic male evil – but in the year of Brock Turner, Nate Parker and President-elect Donald Trump, cultural critics haven’t had to reach too far for illustrative examples.
A specter has long been haunting Western culture, namely the mind-body dualism succinctly articulated in the phrase "cogito ergo sum," and the powers of this now global culture have conspired to promote that specter in order to maximize profit at the expense of those who are both its subjects and objects. While such crises as AIDS, the environment, cancer, nuclear annihilation and overpopulation have been identified as the attraction of artificial intelligence, [open endnotes in new window] it is surely no coincidence that this cultural preoccupation with such intelligence facilitates global control by the few—through the collection of vast amounts of data, the relative ease with which commodities, such as movies, are produced, marketed, distributed and sold, and the availability of instantaneous communications to billions of individuals through networked media—even as it renders less human and more commodified its subjects.
René Descartes in his Discourse on the Method (1637) famously expressed the supposedly logical source of this specter:
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