Guest Post – ‘Real Artists’ Review by Achariya Rezak

27 Feb

real_artists_art

Hi all! Today I’ve got something really special – my dear friend Achariya Rezak, writer for hockey site SB Nation and master of Jungian archetypes, wrote a review for sci-fi short ‘Real Artists.’ Please enjoy! She’s included a link to the original Ken Liu story, too! 

Title: Cameo Wood’s Real Artists is a Jungian romp through the politics of creation

When I read Ken Liu’s short story, I was immediately struck by his ability to translate our modern discomfort with the uncanny valley into terms of movie making. His short story is about the meta-process of filmmaking, told through the eyes of a “real artist” (“Real Artists” is the title of the film and the short story) Sophia, who has spent her whole life loving — and wanting to work for — a certain film company. Cameo Wood’s twelve-minute short based on this story adds yet another twist, layering on an additional intensity to this parable about creation.

Without giving away many details, the film tells the story of a young woman who is interviewing for a job with her favorite film company, Semaphore Studios, the company that inspired her to make her own supercut edits of their films and go to film school. The story follows her on a job interview, through her initial meeting with the creative director, Anne, to her gradual realization that not all at Semaphore is as it seemed.

I was immediately struck by a few important differences between the film and the short story, differences that highlight the filmmaker’s firm grounding in social issues. Aside from an initial few moments of footage containing a man, the only speaking characters in the film are women, from the receptionist, to creative director Anne Palladon (rather than Len Palladon, who is a man in the short story), to the main character and company interviewee, Sophia. The two main characters are also women of color — Sophia is black, and Anne is Asian. In the short story, the races of Sophia and Len are not explicitly described.

This choice of casting works beautifully. Sophia, played by Tiffany Hines, has a face expressive enough to carry the emotional weight of the film, especially in each scene’s long close-ups. I wondered how all of the short story’s exposition would translate to the medium of the film short, a medium that would not be able to carry so much dialogue. Wood managed to pare Sophia’s history down to a few important exchanges conveyed through the dialogue rather than voiceover, and images rather than exposition.

The second difference between the story and film centered around the name of Sophia’s favorite movie by Semaphore. The short story calls it The Triassic; the film calls it Mythos. The choice of the “mythos” was an astute one. It brought to my mind the idea of the Jungian collective unconscious, the underwater iceberg stories of the mind that Jung believed we all shared — and this myth-making, storytelling unconscious plays a pivotal role in the film.

One of the central conceits of the film is a certain piece of software. I wondered how it would be rendered, and found it perfectly done. The software, named Big Semiotics, or Big Semi for short, is part of Semaphore’s filmmaking process. It looked just as Apple-bland, harmless, and user-friendly as I thought it should look. Big Semi is an enormously scary metaphor for data mining, and Wood turned it into an intuitive-looking ap that generates gentle curves in heroic, Baymax blue.

The cinematography worked well for the subject. The lines were all clean and spare, the better to focus on the interaction of the characters. The rooms full of “creators” watching movies were also effectively shot, allowing a glaring contrast between the white world outside of filmmaking, and the dark and murky world of the collective unconscious of the watchers. The final twist in the story was shot in an entirely different way, and was effective enough to haunt me still.

The film is framed by an interesting conceit — the first scene moves from a man filming a commercial, to the commercial on display behind a receptionist, to Sophia. The end of the film does almost the same thing in reverse, leaving the viewer to ponder Chinese philosophers and butterflies. The title of the film, Real Artists, is called into question by Anne at the very end. She takes Sophia’s initial quotation about real artists, and changes the word “real” to “great.” The difference is very telling, and subtly done.

The short story comes to no easy resolution; the film concludes in an interesting endless loop. Both are excellent ways to complete the tale, and both are well worth the minimal time it will take to enjoy them.

Real Artists will be screening shortly on March 2 at the Cinequest Film Festival, and March 5 at the Manchester Film Festival. Hopefully it will also be available more widely.

Advertisements

... but what do YOU think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

indiescifi451.wordpress.com/

îndependent science fiction movies, reviewed and dissected ruthlessly.

One Working Mommy

I am one person, one wife, one Mommy working through it all.

J. A. Allen

Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins

AfroSapiophile

Intelligent Black Thought.

Writing Is Hard Work

Musings of a hard working writer.

Janet Carr @

This Bug's Life

I create worlds. John E. Brito's Blog

Behind the scenes of John E. Brito's animated and live action (short) films & comics

Josep Goded

Seeking Truth

Stuff White People Like

This blog is devoted to stuff that white people like

Dark Matters

For Well-Rounded Blerds and POC Nerds

Examining the Odd

literature, visual art, music and film

My Year Cooking with Chris Kimball

Recipes from Cook's Illustated, Cook's Country and America's Test Kitchen

The Entertainment Patrol (and general musings)

My musings about everything from entertainment to life!

Writer's Haven

Words from heart

Lovecraft eZine

Weird Fiction, Cosmic horror, and the Cthulhu Mythos

breaktimestories

Musings, Short stories, Inspiration.

BROTHA WOLF

Howling For Justice!

MyCreativeRamblings.org

“I used to want to be an astronaut, but astronauts don't even go to the moon anymore.”

BecomeBetty.com

Food, drinks, style, and humor

BaileyBee

The Hive

Carmilita's Handmade Jewelry

handmade bead jewelry

Mark My World

Hacking life while enjoying everything in between

Really Awful Movies

Horror Movies, Science Fiction, Exploitation, Action, Genre Films.

yaskhan

Poetry, free verse, haiku, senryu, photography, books, art, philosophy , nature.

TheWarner

Your Source for Honest Commentary and Reviews

Rob Powell Writes

Let's see where this goes, starting with some short stories and flash fiction.

Opinionated Woman

Opinionated women of the world, unite!

BayArt

New Perspective on Life

What's Your Chic?

Your Chic. Your Style.

SparkleWithUc

Leave a little sparkle wherever you go!

word and silence

poetry & prose by Tim Miller

Blog of the Dragon

Game of Thrones/Song of Ice and Fire news, theories, and other nerdy goodness

LOWLIFE MAGAZINE

"Find what you love and let it kill you." – Charles Bukowski

tekehdddddddddddddddddddddddddddd.wordpress.com/

About life, the universe and everything

Londongrad

Erotica City of London Russia Confessions

The Gymternet

The ultimate gymnastics news. For the ultimate gym nerd.

witchlike

Exploring wise-craft and weirdness

CHILANGOGEEK

Hobbies, Comics, Customs & Peliculas

Forged From Reverie

A compendium of Fantasy, Fiction & Thoughts. Will you revel in Reverie?

%d bloggers like this: