Tuesday, September 09, 2003

It's a shame to me that Leni Riefenstahl will be forever known as "Hitler's filmmaker," as, regardless of your politics, Triumph of the Will and especially Olympia are jaw-droppingly stunning films. Ms. Riefenstahl died last night at the age of 101. Her political views are not important to my appreciation of her art, which was quite superb. We screened part of Olympia in my Film History course in college, and it's a breathtaker, full of vision and clarity like few other films of its era. Her cinematography and direction were amazing. Yes, Riefenstahl's work was used by the Nazi government as propaganda, and yes, she was a fan (if you want to call it that) of Adolf. But to allow those facts to diminish her achievements as an artist is a mistake, I think. [I feel the same way about Eminem, or Richard Wagner (another known Nazi sympathizer).]

While composing this entry, Chrisafer and I discussed samesaid subject:

therealsubmeat: [I'm writing an entry] in praise of Leni Riefenstahl.
therealsubmeat: she died this morning, aged 101.
Crisafer: ahh
Crisafer: well, oscar wilde would be proud
therealsubmeat: huh?
Crisafer: you know
Crisafer: how oscar wilde talks about art not being bound by good or bad
Crisafer: in terms of politics
therealsubmeat: oh, ok - yeah
therealsubmeat: same thing with Eminem.
Crisafer: right
therealsubmeat: or Wagner.
Crisafer: see, i think there is something to that
Crisafer: but i also think to divorce that from the effects is false
Crisafer: yes, the battleship potemkin is a wonderful piece of cinema
Crisafer: but to say its politics are irrelevant misses the mark
therealsubmeat: not irrelevent, per sé, but shouldn't upset one's appreciation of the art.
Crisafer: but it often does
Crisafer: like eminem
Crisafer: with me
therealsubmeat: which is a shame, I think.
Crisafer: i can't listen to kim
therealsubmeat: I know - and I find it one of the most stunning recorded songs of the last decade.
Crisafer: sometimes i think that if it weren't so personal it would be easier for me to digest
Crisafer: and that's wrong
Crisafer: but it's true
Crisafer: i remember when "cop killer" came out and all the conservatives were flipping out--meanwhile Ahnuld's character brutally murders like 15 cops in The Terminator, but he's running the president's council on phys. fitness.
therealsubmeat: exactly... and censorship, I ardently believe (as you know), never has a in a democratic, free-thinking society.
Crisafer: i think that's the danger with rap (like poetry) is that the speaker, narrator, rapper, or whatever you want to call it is always assumed to be the artist
Crisafer: which is why Kim troubled me
therealsubmeat: and so very often, they're playing a role, a character - we never hear Cash singing "I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die" and think that Cash himself did that.
Crisafer: but Kim was so autobiographical, violent, and played on all the issues I have with spousal abuse
Crisafer: it's one thing for NWA to say "Fuck the Police" and another for Em to say "I'm going to kill my wife named Kim"
Crisafer: again, I don't believe in censorship, as you well know, but it troubled me to the point where I couldn't even care about its artistic merit
therealsubmeat: and knowing what we do about Marshall's complicated history with her in real life makes it even more difficult for many to draw that line of demarcation.
Crisafer: right
Crisafer: strangely, though, burroughs shooting his wife
Crisafer: less troublesome
therealsubmeat: and the funny thing is, I almost went the reverse direction with "Kim" - its artistic merit is so strong, so truly awesome (in the awe-inspiring sense of the word) that it practically overruled any questions/concerns I might've had
Crisafer: i'm all sorts of contradictory
therealsubmeat: we all are - just like Eminem.
Crisafer: yes
Crisafer: but you know what
therealsubmeat: that's part of what makes him such a great artist, I think.
therealsubmeat: what's that?
Crisafer: if he's so in your face and daring and fuck the world in his use of faggot and bitch
Crisafer: how come he doesn't use the infamous "n" word
Crisafer: is it because he knows he'd get his ass kicked?
Crisafer: fast and hard
therealsubmeat: because he's a businessman, too.
Crisafer: repeatedly?
Crisafer: but see, that's why his defense of using the word faggot
Crisafer: just doesn't cut it
therealsubmeat: and he knows that it's still culturally accepted to use "faggot" and "bitch," but "nigger" is a no-no.
Crisafer: right
therealsubmeat: that's very true.
Crisafer: if he came out swinging and dropped some n bombs, so to speak, i wonder what would happen
Crisafer: picture that
therealsubmeat: the bottom line for me is, I think he's a phenomenal rapper, truly gifted. I won't buy his albums, but I'll praise his art (and his right to say whatever he wants) to the ends of the earth.
therealsubmeat: he'd be banned, completely.
Crisafer: yes
therealsubmeat: but even if he did use the "n"-word, that wouldn't change his talent - but it would impact how we receive it.
Crisafer: right
Crisafer: but isn't that just politics?
therealsubmeat: it is - and living in DC, you should know that better than most.
Crisafer: everything's politics
Crisafer: the personal is political
therealsubmeat: and the political is personal.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?