826 – Birdman (2014)

timespace coordinates: 2013 NYCMV5BODAzNDMxMzAxOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDMxMjA4MjE@._V1_Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), commonly known simply as Birdman, is a 2014 American black comedy (a short list of the diverse forms of film genre associated with the film has included it being referred to alternatively as a black-humor film, a mental health film, a realism/surrealism/magical realism film, a dark-humor parody film, a film of psychological realism, a failed domestic reconciliation drama, or a film concerning theatrical realism and naturalism.) film directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu. It was written by Iñárritu, Nicolás GiacoboneAlexander Dinelaris Jr., and Armando Bo. The film stars Michael Keaton with a supporting cast of Zach GalifianakisEdward NortonAndrea RiseboroughAmy RyanEmma Stone, and Naomi Watts. The story follows Riggan Thomson (Keaton), a faded Hollywood actor best known for playing the superhero “Birdman”, as he struggles to mount a Broadway adaptation of a short story by Raymond Carver.

The film covers the period of previews leading to the play’s opening, and with a brief exception appears as if filmed in a single shot, (wiki)

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by Diego Riselli

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824 – Dark City (1998)

dark_city_by_nuke_vizard-d309igfDark City is a 1998 neo-noir science fiction film directed by Alex Proyas. The screenplay was written by Proyas, Lem Dobbs and David S. Goyer. The film stars Rufus SewellKiefer SutherlandJennifer Connelly, and William Hurt. Sewell plays John Murdoch, an amnesiac man who finds himself suspected of murder. Murdoch attempts to discover his true identity and clear his name while on the run from the police and a mysterious group known only as the “Strangers”.

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(themes) Theologian Gerard Loughlin interprets Dark City as a retelling of Plato‘s Allegory of the Cave. For Loughlin, the city dwellers are prisoners who do not realize they are in a prison. John Murdoch’s escape from the prison parallels the escape from the cave in the allegory. He is assisted by Dr. Schreber, who explains the city’s mechanism as Socrates explains to Glaucon how the shadows in the cave are cast. Murdoch however becomes more than Glaucon; Loughlin writes, “He is a Glaucon who comes to realize that Socrates’ tale of an upper, more real world, is itself a shadow, a forgery.”

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Murdoch defeats the Strangers who control the inhabitants and remakes the world based on childhood memories, which were themselves illusions arranged by the Strangers. Loughlin writes of the lack of background, “The origin of the city is off–stage, unknown and unknowable.” Murdoch now casts new shadows for the city inhabitants, who must trust his judgment. Unlike Plato, Murdoch “is disabused of any hope of an outside” and becomes the demiurge for the cave, the only environment he knows. dark_city_quad_movie_posterThe city in Dark City is described by Higley as a “murky, nightmarish German expressionist film noir depiction of urban repression and mechanism”. The city has a World War II dreariness reminiscent of Edward Hopper‘s (049) works and has details from different eras and architectures that are changed by the Strangers; “buildings collapse as others emerge and battle with one another at the end”. The round window in Dark City is concave like a fishbowl and is a frequently seen element throughout the city. The inhabitants do not live at the top of the city; the main characters’ homes are dwarfed by the bricolage of buildings.  (wiki)


Mr. Hand: We’re very lucky when you think about it. / Emma Murdoch: I’m sorry? / Mr. Hand: To be able to revisit those places which have meant so very much to us. / Emma Murdoch: I thought it was more that we were haunted by them. / Mr. Hand: Perhaps. But imagine a life Alien to yours. In which your memories were not your own, but those shared by every other of you kind. Imagine the torment of such an existence….no experiences to call your own. / Emma Murdoch: If it was all you knew, maybe it would be a comfort. / Mr. Hand: But if you were to discover something different…Something….better.

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818 – Push (2009)

timespace coordinates: 2000’s  Hong KongpushposterPush is a 2009 American superhero film directed by Paul McGuigan and written by David Bourla. Starring Chris EvansDakota FanningCamilla Belle, and Djimon Hounsou, the film centers on a group of people born with various superhuman abilities who band together in order to take down a government agency that is using a dangerous drug to enhance their powers in hopes of creating an army of super soldiers.

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596 – Jupiter’s Moon / Jupiter holdja (2017)

spacetime coordinates: 2010’s Hungary / Budapest169The juxtaposition of supernatural thriller tropes and urgent socio-political issues in Kornél Mundruczó’s latest movie — an original take on the superhero origin story set to the backdrop of the refugee crisis — might prove a delicate one for some viewers to take. Those unperturbed, however, should find much to relish in Jupiter’s Moon, a film that somewhat lightly plays with themes of religion and immigration as it rumbles, crashes, and ultimately soars through the streets of the Hungarian capitol. It’s a tricky balance and Mundruczó (who had a break-out with his canine revolt film White God in 2014) strikes it with style and confidence (even going so far as to signpost it in an opening prologue that reminds the audience that the titular gas giant’s largest orbiting body is called Europa, and that many believe that large oceans rest beneath its icy surface where a “cradle of life” might exist). The hero of Jupiter’s Moon, a young Syrian refugee with the connotation heavy name of Aryan (played by Majd Asmi), does not find a cradle of life in his Europa. To the contrary, in fact, he’s gunned down in the opening minutes… (read more)

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