It is Not the Same Thing – A Film by Kathy Choi

The Echo Park Film Center in Los Angeles is posting films made in its youth film class structured around the concept of work. The students made films about how they view jobs and work. It’s a great idea for a film class and throws the students into a very mature thought process. I really like this very fine film by Kathy Choi, Ce N’est Pas La Meme Chose (It Is Not The Same Thing).  She lets a woman from France compare the working life there to the life in America.  There are fascinating and sharp observations made about how the French worker simply wants to be efficient and get the job done within the regular day contrasted with how the American worker is expected to show a willingness to stay longer and ‘look’ more busy or dedicated.

Having closely observed American corporate office life I can attest to the phenomenon that is the actual ruling principal behind the entire American economy: at all costs one must always look busy.

The sad fact of our current jobless recovery is that an enormous percentage – probably in the 50% range – of all corporate American jobs are totally and completely unnecessary and should not exist.  In other words, those jobs should not come back because they are fake.  They are occupied by people spending the vast majority of their time looking busy, talking busy, pretending, and doing next to nothing.

The French view which holds a job to be something limited and something to do efficiently and well, while not allowing it to overwhelm one’s life strikes me as a very mature and reasonable view.

This little film is exceedingly good and reminds me of Godard.

The Fabulous World of Jules Verne: 1958 Film by Karel Zeman

Czechoslovakian animator Karel Zeman made The Fabulous World of Jules Verne in 1958 and it is, without exception, the finest example of Verne on film that I have ever seen.  It is an adaptation of Verne’s novel, Facing the Flag.   The combination of live action and Mysti-Mation (sets and animation painted to look like illustrations) not only evokes the atmosphere of old book illustrations, but it evokes the visual act of imagination that happens when I read a Jules Verne book. This film is perfection. I’m somewhat distrustful of the ‘steampunk’ movement but I would certainly imagine that this film must be one of its holy grail objects of worship.  It should be for sure.  Disney could never come close to this, then or now, because they are focused solely upon happiness.

Parts 2 through 8 after the jump!

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R. Crumb and the Corporate Mono-Culture

Cartoonist Robert Crumb gets interviewed by a Los Angeles Times writer and talks about his living in France and his hatred for the pervasive corporate mono-culture that Americans seem unaware of.  He can’t stand it and chooses to live outside of it.

Really good perspective.

In a culture where you’ve got a Supreme Court actually giving corporate entities the rights of individual human beings, you’ve got total corporate control of every single living man, woman and child.  You can see this complete robotic control on very prominent and horrific display in the current president of the United States.  He a corporate hologram who moves only when commanded to by his boardroom overseers.  The entire country is oriented around cop/lawyer shows on television which are specifically designed to make you feel close and personal with the state/corporate stooges who work for police departments and gleefully lay disadvantaged people out on their faces on subway platforms and slaughter them with bullets fired straight into their backs from six inches away.  ‘The Mentalist’ is probably the supreme example of this attempt to make the corporate/police control mechanism seem odd and quirky and just a little cutely but intelligently eccentric.  ‘Medium’ is another.  The individual with oddball abilities or perceptions is entirely consumed and controlled by the state apparatus.  All cop shows are meant to make as many viewers as possible feel completely comfortable being visited by and talking to the police.  That is the entire truth of American television.  It’s message is simply this: when we come knocking, open the door.

That is the true subtext of every single show ever produced by American broadcasting companies.

R. Crumb is totally right.

Film: The 1910 Challenge

As the 2010 Tour de France bike race winds its way through the French Pyrenees mountains, cyclists and fans everywhere are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first time a stage of the race went up the Pyrenees. The range is rugged and steep, presenting the riders with a greater challenge than the more gradual ascents of the Alps. In 1910, riders first hazarded the devastating climbs. Now, bike clothing manufacturer Rapha has produced this beautiful film about four riders celebrating the Tour’s Pyrenees anniversary by riding up a mountain called the Col du Tourmalet. That’s the mountain that the current Tour de France race is on at the moment. These four riders pay their respects to the 1910 racers and their equipment by enjoying every hardship presented to them by the mountain and the wet weather.

I do a lot of mountain road riding in California and I can appreciate the difficulty of this incredible Col du Tourmalet climb.  I’d love to do it myself.  Equipping yourself with water, food and repair items to set out over remote slopes is a very focused and exciting thing to do.  I recommend it to anyone.