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The Sky Is Not Falling: Liberating Independent Film And Video From A Prehistoric Value System // submit a post -- nelson@nelsoncarvajal.com

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015


In an interview discussing his freewheeling and challenging film Goodbye to Language, Jean-Luc Godard made some comments on our current dependency to smartphones and, more specifically, text messaging. He questioned if anyone actually knew what the "SMS" in the phrase 'SMS text messaging' actually stood for. Godard insisted it meant "Save My Soul."

It's that very idea, that notion of being alone in the universe, that drives the dramatic weight of Ridley Scott's latest film The Martian. Much of the film involves the protagonist Mark Watney (Matt Damon) sending video selfies to NASA--and in parallel fashion to the audience in the movie auditorium. While watching the film (which is fairly conventional in regards to its plot) I was provoked by its accidental (or maybe intentional) role as a "selfie space opera."

Stimulated by this idea, I went ahead and created this video that re-imagines the film (which runs around two and a half hours) as a nearly minute-long "My Story" entry from the highly popular Snapchat app. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

BLACK MASS-feratu: A Symphony of Gangster Horror

Matt Zoller Seitz on Black Mass:

"With his dead eyes, ashy skin, slicked-back grey hair, dingy track suits and sagging slacks, Bulger might be a gangster ghoul. The film treats him as a literal monster, often silhouetting him or veiling him in darkness or partial shadow. One shot pictures Bulger from overhead, lying on a couch and staring unblinkingly up at the ceiling while the camera zooms out slowly: it's the way you'd photograph Dracula chilling in his coffin [...] Touches like these make "Black Mass" feel less realistic than expressionistic—like Scorsese's remake of Cape Fear which envisioned ordinary people being terrorized by a diabolical ex-convict who seemed as unstoppable as Michael Myers in Halloween or the Terminator, or the original silent-film bloodsucker Nosferatu, who could paralyze mortals by looking into their eyes."

The allusions to Dracula and F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu in Seitz's review inspired me to create this video mashup.



Tuesday, August 25, 2015

VIDEO ESSAY: Pathways and Pathos: The Internalization of TRUE DETECTIVE Season 2

Coming on the heels of its majestic, Gothic and subtly supernatural debut season, the sophomore year of HBO's True Detective was met with eager disdain by many TV critics and quick-to-finger-point viewers. Which is a shame, because this second season, when looked at as a whole, eclipses the first season with its raw power, carnality and searing depiction of inner turmoil. Where the first season miraculously finds its two protagonists surviving horrific hatchet and stab wounds (and only to have them to gaze up at the stars outside of a hospital), this new season follows its lead characters down their individual doomed highways; the passages to their fate.

The inspiration behind my latest VIDEO ESSAY Pathways and Pathos: The Internalization of TRUE DETECTIVE Season 2 comes from the second season's successful depiction of the physical streets and highways (i.e. pathways) of the fictional city of Vinci as being living, breathing, pulsating veins of some grand metropolis organ--one that is juxtaposed against the inability of each of its (anti)heroes' internal quest to find some sort of meaning, purpose, forgiveness, power or redemption in their continually dismal plights. It's unusual for such a simple foil of imagery--the macro of the aerial highway shots vs. the micro of the close-ups of anguish on the actors' faces--to not lose power over the course of a season of television and yet True Detective: Season 2 did just that. And it didn't end with a whimper either.

This series will find its true appreciation in the years to come, as viewers revisit it and soak in its vitality.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The 25 Best Films of 2014

  1. Under The Skin - Directed by Jonathan Glazer
  2. Whiplash - Directed by Damien Chazelle
  3. Selma - Directed by Ava DuVernay
  4. Joe - Directed by David Gordon Green
  5. A Most Violent Year - Directed by J.C. Chandor
  6. The Immigrant - Directed by James Gray
  7. Goodbye To Language - Directed by Jean-Luc Godard
  8. Interstellar - Directed by Christopher Nolan
  9. Inherent Vice - Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
  10. Nightcrawler - Directed by Dan Gilroy
  11. Birdman - Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu
  12. Foxcatcher - Directed by Bennett Miller
  13. Gone Girl - Directed by David Fincher
  14. Life Itself - Directed by Steve James
  15. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - Directed by Matt Reeves
  16. Boyhood - Directed by Richard Linklater
  17. Snowpiercer - Directed by Bong Joon-ho
  18. Ida - Directed by Peter Pawlikowsi
  19. American Sniper - Directed by Clint Eastwood
  20. The Drop - Directed by Michaël R. Roskam
  21. Wild - Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée
  22. Enemy - Directed by Denis Villeneuve
  23. The Trip To Italy - Directed by Michael Winterbottom
  24. The Imitation Game - Directed by Morten Tyldum
  25. The Rover - Directed by David Michôd