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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Review: Reading Divergent Through Foucault's Panopticon

Jeanine's speech to Tris

The brilliance of the faction system is its conformity to the faction that removes the threat of anyone exercising their independent will. Divergents threaten that system.
Don't get me wrong. There is a certain beauty to your resistance, its defiance of any categorization. 
It's a beauty we can't afford.


Power and Knowledge are a relation. They form a grid that intersects with history. As capitalism grows the demand for workers/consumers grows and "normality" is demanded. The vagrants, the mad, criminals, derelicts, et al are rounded up and confined all over Europe.

Divergent's Faction System illustrates the Foucauldian Grid. Each faction demands explicit and implicit conformity. Beatrice smothers herself to display the correct behavior demanded of her in the faction of Abnegation. Caleb is able to pass by displaying all the outward behavior of Abnegation as "floating signs" masking the emptiness of his commitment. He passes.

Foucault has taught us that power does not come from above. It seeps from below, through the interstices. Caleb controls Beatrice, inhibiting any spontaneous gesture she begins to make. This is where power is. Right there with Caleb overseeing her every move when he is with her. Pecking at her like a crow, keeping her from growing as a person.
What is important is that Beatrice be obedient. That she display the "floating signs" at least of selflessness.And this is the meaning of the Grid of power/knowledge/normality.

The other aspect here is 24/7 surveillance.
This movie which has so much respect for its fan base signals surveillance without explaining it.

1. Beatrice has been told by Tori to go home, say the test made her sick so she can think over what to do without being in a room with others to distract her. Caleb asks her over dinner prep where she was and she tells him she was sick and came home. He asks her if she finished her test and she says yes. Then he asks her her result. Instead of her usual avoidance or lying, she inverts his question to address his intent by saying, "What were your results?" His questions are interrogative, for the purpose of domination and she turns the tables on him.

2. At the dinner table her father admonishes her for just coming home like that and she says, "I was sick." And still he reprimands her as they are being watched carefully, being scrutinized. 

3. When her mother appears as they are loading the truck, right after embracing her Tris says, "Mom, you can't be here." Natalie says, "I know but you're in danger."

So with these few sentences we know people are not only in factions, but they are confined as to where they can and cannot go.So, as in Hunger Games, we get confinement, although not as harsh, but still confinement it is.

Discipline and Punish

And here's Taylor Swift
But that's exactly what Foucault meant Swiftie
Smart woman

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Rover REVIEW:If You Have Never Totally Loved a Dog, You Won't Get/Love This Film

If you have ever loved a dog with all your heart, 
then you will love and understand this film.

Guy Pearce Threatening Pattinson's Rey
I have read many reviews on this movie and none of them made we really want to see it. I really wanted to see it because:
1.  Michod wrote, directed and produced it
2. Guy Pearce has always turned in an intense performance and always, with no exceptions, chooses his material with great intelligence.
3. I wanted to see Pattinson's Rey

Here's a review by the Guardian, usually sort of decent main stream reviews, that does not disappoint my expectation. Just like the rest of them misreading this film. LINK

As I said in my title, if you have never loved a dog with all your heart you probably won't love this film nor will you get it.

I have only seen Animal Kingdom and The Rover. But both of these have a secret surprise key.
A Teaser for the Key to Animal Kingdom
When it comes for just those few seconds it is so shocking you almost don't think you are seeing it.
The mother kisses one son so erotically you can't believe you saw it.
One wonders what she did with all their bodies/minds when they were infants, toddlers, adolescents, young men. And we wonder what they do with each other sometimes or did when younger perhaps. It's a return to that time Freud describes as the account of the sons killing the father to have the mother and sisters. In Animal Kingdom the father is absent, and the sons have the mother. 
Or does the mother have the sons?

Animal Kingdom is set in the dissolution of society. This mother has her sons forming a criminal gang that kills and steals and gives her lots of goodies. Her family is incestuous and as Freud points out, kinship breakdowns undermine a civilization.
So this is the story of a breakdown on its way.

In The Rover I wondered if Rey came from such a family constellation, the resonance was so strong. 
Understand Rey - not as a low IQ, mentally deficient, retarded young man - but as a frightened stray searching for a Master to serve.

Rey is a dog. A dog wants a Master. Rey has found a new one in Guy Pearce to replace his bad Master brother. But yet he cannot kill his old Master. He's a dog. But he is  not indifferent. 

Rey's brother asks Guy, "What did you do to my brother?"
Pearce answers, "I didn't do anything to him." 
The unspoken sub text is, "But you did. You left him wounded and bleeding in the road like a roadkill. Like you would have left a dog you hit. And now you just shot him dead." 

This must have been a very difficult role for Rob Pattinson. 
There is a picture of his mother taking him to the playground, on the slide with a fucking halter and leash on him, inhibiting his movements.
It is cringe worthy but for obvious reasons I won't post it here.
His sisters used to dress him as a girl, gave him a girl's name (Claudia?I forget now), and take him out with them and introduce him as a girl to their friends. Can anyone imagine Kristen Stewart doing such a thing to a younger brother?

The Rover is a story of the breakdown that has occurred. 
The secret of this movie is as astonishing and compelling as in Animal Kingdom and in that light bulb of intuition the movie becomes organized into a different perception than the one you thought you were seeing.

Not one reviewer - and they are paid professionals - got this sudden twist which I won't reveal 
as it is a spoiler.
The entire movie spins and coalesces in a completely singular way from a dystopian sort of western into something else. 
Reading through 
John Caputo's The Insistence of God: A Theology of Perhaps,

spiritually explains Guy Pearce's complete focus on getting his car back. Only the Granma asks, "What is it about that car that is so important?" (something like that)
And I will leave you with that to understand Pearce's rage, fury, violence from a man who had been a farmer, a man who cared about how things grew, and how you took care of them.

Reviewers discuss Pearce's violence on just getting his car back. The same way Eric Packer in Cosmopolis is discussed as going across town to get a haircut.
No one seems concerned with the violence that has devastated the world we are looking at in this movie. Oh well, that happened a long time ago. Let's move on.

If you carefully watched who he killed and who he spared you will have the key that comes from knowing the secret that you won't get until the end.

It's a "post modern" movie. The end is the EFFECT. You have been watching one thing after another happen, seeming causes leading to an effect. The end is the EFFECT that changes the entire movie jolting you to read it backwards. To infer causes. The Effect comes first. Then Causes are understood retroactively. This is Nietzsche.

Every person he killed was INDIFFERENT!
Every person he spared reflected humanity back at him as he had them in his sights.

The indifference of humanity has ruined the planet.
The planet is indifferent to what we are doing to it. 
The planet will change and survive no matter what.
Michod is indifferent as to whether this movie amuses or entertains you. 
He doesn't care. He is as indifferent to us as we are to the ruination to come. 
Michod is mirroring us in this movie.

What the gods and all reasonable humans fought in vain wasn't stupidity at all. It was sheer, wanton, bloody indifference to anybody's interests but their own.
(Toby in LeCarre's A Delicate Truth)

Michod has given us a world where humans and the indifferent have both survived.
"Humanity is the scarcest resource." - The Rover

This scene occurs early in the movie, almost at the beginning. It left me wondering about him. Why would he get out of the car in the face of those criminals without a weapon knowing they had them. I didn't get it until the last frame in the movie.