SHORT TERM 12 (2013), Directed by Destin Cretton
Developing a flow of seamless empathy that spans the entire film is a feat in itself, but doing it with style and ease is even more rewarding. Cretton`s full length adaptation of his 2009 short is wonderful, full of doubts, insecurities, that is to say-very human. In its wanting to portray a situation In which the filmmaker has been himself (Cretton has worked at a group home for at-risk teens), the movie feel right, the scenes ring true and the dialog is in place. At this point in 2013 we can easily say that it represents the best of American independent cinema, no gimmicks, conversation and mood centered, engaging camera work and cinema verité kind of acting. The opening and closing dialogs in the movie are indicative of a cultural frame, youthful but centered around experiences that deal with the kids, with no excess baggage it curls a smile on our faces. The need to portray life as it is looms over this style of expression and there is nothing wrong with that sort of realism. The youthful idealism and the realism of broken lives comes expected, but that is why we love this so much, it comes expected in an industry of crowd pleasers as a refuge from shiny plastic people and becomes a movie of great emotional resonance to which someone can actually relate.
The main character, Grace played by Larson Brie is an emotional wreck herself, holding it all together when at work only to fall apart any other chance she gets. Striking a balance between her own issues and the kids at short term 12 she is always marked by her caring and involvement. That is the soul food that drives her work, and also the baggage that stains her relationship with her 3 year boyfriend and co-worker Mason. The movie takes us into their lives to reveal the backbone of Grace`s involvement and care that goes into her work with the kids. The kids themselves are a great bunch, with Keith Stanfield as Marcus standing out as the oldest and most troubled alongside Kaitlyn Dever as Jayden. Much of the plot is situated in the group home, portraying situations like group meetings, individual relationships and transferring the aura of the home for us to feel.
Short term 12 is an easily watchable film, its narrative doesn`t give way to experimentation or long meditative shots, it`s theme and feeling come out of the situation the film depicts. The pacing is just right, and it doesn`t drop throughout the 96 minutes. Considering the neurotic outbursts that arise in many of the characters, it has no ups and downs in attention span, it just flows.
But while we were having fun, we happily and willingly helped to create the greatest surveillance system ever imagined, a web whose strings give governments and businesses countless threads to pull, which makes us…puppets. The free flow of information over the Internet (except in places where that flow is blocked), which serves us well, may serve others better. Whether this distinction turns out to matter may be the one piece of information the Internet cannot deliver. via NYBooks.com
Gattaca, a movie whose name is a faulty construct of the first letters of guanine, adenine, thymine, and cytosine, the four nitrogenous bases of DNA is the inspiration behind Connecticut band Jeromes Dream. Music of extreme intensity and emotional resonance, a cd which in “Hide Your Smiling Faces” the boys listen to alone in their rooms. Being human in an “inhuman” (capitalism as a way of life opposed to the values of humanism) world does not let you move forward in life, your difference is a factor weighing you down, for better or worse. This message is in the (fatalistic) vision of screamo giants and many other emotionally perceptive entities such as Daniel Patrick Carborne in his “Hide Your Smiling Faces”. In Gattaca, An imperfect man has given his dreams in exchange for a chance at fulfilling those dreams to a socially perceived perfect person whose inability to be content with 2nd best had made him an accidental invalid, in his own perspective-once perfect, now no one. One who has decided to end himself but had not succeeded the first time around, in the end successful in leaving this world prematurely, just like the imperfect man from the beginning of the sentence. Both are given to stars in the movies beautiful end quote reminiscent of Carl Sagan which goes: “For someone who was never meant for this world, I must confess I’m suddenly having a hard time leaving it. Of course, they say every atom in our bodies was once part of a star. Maybe I’m not leaving… maybe I’m going home”. Both gone from this earth, both poised for greatness through the sheer luck of their DNA structures, perfect or imperfect, human after all. Do neurological pathways hide hidden corridors of sense, do some of us feel the weight of the world on our shoulders as the Yiddish Lamedvavniks do pointed out by Timothy speed Levitch in the 1998 documentary “Cruise” (the story goes that there exist 36 righteous people whose role in life is to justify the purpose of humankind in the eyes of God. Since the 36 are each exemplars of anavah (humility), having such a virtue would preclude against one’s self-proclamation of being among the special righteous. The 36 are simply too humble to believe that they are one of the 36)? Does our lifetime hide a meaning besides the social construct of a well spent life and how do we begin to address such a monolithic question or are we just random atoms swerving in the cosmos? These questions are addressed in Carborne’s “…Smiling Faces” in the form of existential adolescent angst, in the mysterious act of death and the terrestrial, pedestrian view of it. This was the defining summer of these boys lives. It’s addressed in the broken flow of a seemingly good life, it’s the tragedy that happens in New Jersey and disrupts lives forever, just as atom structures are changed just by being, in constant relationship with everything, DNA structures are formed, reformed, and formed again. Our relationships to other people are formed, broken, and reformed, as social beings, the anxiety of our existance weighs heavy on us, thrown into the world and expected to follow the rules of our current civilization, adolescence is the period when our brain chemistry is at its weirdest, wildest, maybe purest form, it’s the time when we need to begin conforming to the rules of “normal” life, but how do we lead normal lives when some of us so early on learn that there are no guarantees of the promised normality through the norms of society. Tragedy is alienating, and that is life at its core. Death is a part of life in the animal kingdom, predators loom over prey, perpetuating the ecosystem-but not in humankind. At our most romantic, we were made for wonder, but devised ways to deceive ourselves and DNA structures of all kinds were free to rage rampant in our form of life. Consciousness is no longer a blessing, but a curse for some. The two young boys coping with external events in the form of tragedy recede inward for lack of ways of articulation and processing grief. After all, their little time on this earth has made them aware enough that they feel the pain and futility of existence in the face of loss of life. The brief moments of the boys listening to Jeromes Dream, Orchid and Saetia on the discman in their rooms reveals the filmmakers homage to his own coming of age, a sensibility that has I can only assume as many others exposed to that underground music scene shaped world views, outlooks and capacities for empathy. From that place in real life, in real tragedy, in real pain, Carborne transcends the narrative form and shoots a feeling more than a film. That’s why we love and relate to such ambition, it reminds us we’re not alone, our problems, anxieties and fears are not only our own, but for everyone to feel. There lays that something we never did figure out, is growing up giving up, is it giving in, or is it just a precious and unforgettable swerving of atoms that happens in all of us ?
Why the Star Trek Franchise Is Great -
Utopia requires moments of peace and quiet. Random episodes about an Android bonding with his cat, say, or a bartender’s schemes to increase his profits. You can’t make a lucrative sci-fi flick about people sitting around in a conference room debating options for resolving the situation peacefully—but something that can be accurately teased as primarily consisting of thrilling space battles is not the real Star Trek. A bunch of friendly folks using advanced technology to help people? That can only be profitable, I suspect, on the small screen.
The Science of Loneliness: How Isolation Can Kill You | New Republic -
James Heckman, a Nobel Prize–winning economist at the University of Chicago who tabulates the costs of early childhood deprivation, speaks bitterly of “silos” in health policy, meaning that we see crime and low educational achievement as distinct from medical problems like obesity or heart disease. As far as he’s concerned, these are, in too many cases, symptoms of the same social disorder: the failure to help families raise their children.
Armored Diving Suit, France c. 1878 (via Xerposa)
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You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire. — Lucius Annaeus Seneca - On the Shortness of Life (via fuckyeahexistentialism)