VIDEO ESSAYS: The Seventh Art on GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO and SON FRERE
This month the online video film magazine The Seventh Art has published two video essays on films: one on David Fincher's remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and one on Son Frere and depictions of death and dying in cinema. The videos are part of The Seventh Art Issue 4.
"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as a Meta-Remake". Written by Christopher Heron, edited by Simone Smith, sound recording by Brian Robertson, narrated by John Cohen. Excerpt:
The two most common types of film remakes at the moment are remakes of older films and remakes of recent foreign language films. The remakes of these foreign films aim to port the domestic success of a film to a North American market that has not seen the original. David Fincher’s remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is somewhat of an aberration because the original film had grossed a very healthy $10 million in the United States based, in part, on the success of the source novel. Compare that with the recent remake of Let the Right One In, another Swedish domestic success, which only accumulated $2.1 million in the U.S. ahead of its own American remake. It’s fair to say that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a unique remake where a fair amount of the prospective audience is aware that it’s a remake.
"'The Color & the Texture of Blood': Visible Mortification of the Body in Son frere." Written by Elysse Leonard, edited by Christopher Heron, sound recording by Brian Robertson, narrated by John Cohen. Excerpt:
Classical cinema’s approach to non-‐violent, or “natural,” death can be differentiated from that of post-‐classical cinema in several ways. Death in classical cinema is meaningful, narratively functional, and, perhaps most significantly, invisible. Post-‐classical death, however, is irrational, contemplated, and highly visible as a material process. This is represented in Son frère through a nonlinear story, close-‐up shots of the body and the use of camera to identify with the dying character.
VIDEO ESSAY: MONEYBALL and Ways of Seeing, Presented by The Seventh Art
EDITOR'S NOTE: Press Play is proud to co-present a new series of video essays produced by The Seventh Art, an independently produced video magazine on cinema. Our initial co-presentation is a lengthy critical video essay on Moneyball, coinciding with the opening week of Major League Baseball. The video is written and edited by Christopher Heron, and narrated by John Boylan. It originally appeared in Issue Two of The Seventh Art published last month.
This excerpt from the video's narration summarizes its main thesis:
"It’s tempting to think of the film as potentially operating in the same way as the tenets of player valuation championed by this new perspective on reading baseball – that it, too, champions looking at things differently. I believe the formal level of the film does gesture towards this and there is one unmistakable moment that illustrates how the film pushes the baseball film in a new direction through the film’s form and story. However… the film misses in its summary of the new philosophy and this misunderstanding of the importance of logic results in moments where the film is operating in a way antithetical to the subject matter. The result is a transitory film, which at once makes interesting strides in how it differentiates itself formally and narratively from the traditional baseball film, while still beholden to some of the unfortunate formal conventions associated with conveying information in an overly didactic way that includes rote documentary bells and whistles."
The Seventh Art describes its work in the online video magazine format on its website:
"The Seventh Art is an independently produced video magazine about cinema with profiles on interesting aspects of the film industry, video essays and in-depth interviews with filmmakers set in casual environments.
The magazine is based equally on the rich history of writing on cinema and French television shows about cinema, such as Cinéastes de notre temps. The video format allows us to seek ways to differentiate The Seventh Art from the former, while building on the latter through the lack of time or content limitations afforded by the internet. Conventional wisdom tells that internet users are looking for extremely short content, but we believe the value of this medium exists in the abolishment of assumptions of how users engage with content. Our sections err on the longer side because they are like a magazine, which you can pick up and put down at your leisure – never requiring that you consume all sections, or even each section in its entirety in one sitting.
With this video magazine format we strive to explore cinema in a manner that is at once accessible and in-depth as we pursue questions of film form/aesthetic that link back with the initial theorization of cinema as the seventh art – regardless of how unfortunately self-justifying this initial discourse had to be. We ask not only what is cinema, but when is cinema, where is cinema, how is cinema and why cinema, especially as media converges on new distribution models that are hopefully reflected in the cross-platform nature of our 'magazine'."