Moonlight; Showing a community in an honest light in order to address social adversities

I’ve chosen a scene from Academy award-winning Moonlight (2016) because I think this particular scene does an excellent job at physically obscuring and challenging the audience’s expectations of how characters are meant to ‘behave.’ Don Levy (2012) identifies this process as presumption, one of the three key principles of illusion that play a critical role in establishing a cinematic journey for viewers.

The scene is visually reflective of the relationship between a mother and son. No words are exchanged while delicately eerie music plays dramatically in the background. While the child stands expressionless, the woman’s worn face is stained with this sinister and almost ‘unmotherly’ expression. Warm pink lighting is shone on the mother, juxtaposing the aggressive look in her eyes as she proceeds to scream at her son. The filmmakers challenge this traditional nurturing role, presenting it as something that isn’t expressed in the way we usually see. Throughout the film we are shown that while the mother loves her son, she expresses it in an unconventional way.

In this scene the boy, Chiron, simply stands there staring at his mother.

Often times we as a society assume that ALL children’s knowledge of the world is limited and that all children are granted the right to be young and blissfully ignorant. The film makers explore Levy’s key principle of illusion, context in reality, by challenging the audience to assess the level of children’s naivety and this idea of ignorance and youth equating to some sort of insusceptibility to emotional adversity.  A pivotal moment in the scene is when the mother shouts the word “fa**ot.” While Chiron doesn’t know what this word means (noted earlier in the film), he looks down for the first time in the entire scene. This display of deflated body language challenges the audience’s preconceived ideas pertaining to youth, perhaps arguing that such blissful ignorance is more so a luxury that not everyone can afford.

This brings me to Brian Bailey’s (2011, p. 65) qualitative study exploring emotional expression through film. When speaking with 16-year-old student Julisa regarding her short film made in response to a fatal neighbourhood shooting, Bailey observes her film as the expression of a problem within the community. She produced material for people to relate to in hopes it would bring about change.

Much the same, Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight explores challenges within a community such as drug abuse and fractured relationships due to such abuse. He calls upon the audience to question whether ignorance is natural for children or simply a luxury afforded to those with fewer adversities.

Bailey, B. (2011). “When I make a film, it’s out of my head”: Expressing emotion and healing through digital filmmaking in the classroom. Digital Culture & Education, 3(2), pp. 76-97.

Levy, D. (2013). A cinematic journey through visual effects [Video file]. Retrieved from http://ed.ted.com/on/jrwmwajj

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Ouch Charlie!

If you’re yet to watch this, I’m honoured to share with you one of the most watched videos of 2007.

The big question is what is it about this video that has made it so attractive to more that 852 MILLION sets of eyes?

In my belief, it’s the all-too-relatable narrative of sibling play fighting going that one step too far, leaving somebody in tears.

The innocence in this video is endearing and the facial expressions are priceless.

 

Contributor unknown (2007, May 22). Retrieved August 21, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OBlgSz8sSM

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Meme Madness

As defined by Merriam Webster dictionary, the term meme describes an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.

The term grew from Richard Dawkins’ 1976 book The Selfish Gene.

A slew of Trump memes hit wires when the TV personality won the big seat in the White House.

Given some questionable comments and unsuccessful policy proposals, there has been a wave of questions regarding his competence.

The below meme takes what was supposed to be a noble and historical photo and totally flips it to make it out as though the US President sits at the oval office contemplating what belongs on a pizza as opposed to actually taking care of presidential duties.

Image result for trump book meme

Note: Among many other things, I also disagree with Trump in regards to pizza toppings. Tropical fruit does not belong on pizza!

 

Xmith/Reddit, (2017), Donald Trump holding executive orders is the meme that keeps giving [ONLINE]. Available at: http://mashable.com/2017/01/31/presdient-trump-executive-order-memes/#TUM_ftm1Mmqy [Accessed 28 August 2017].

 

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Sampling; The Album About Nothing

In this instance, Washington hip-hop artist Wale creates an entire album inspired by the nineties comedy sitcom Seinfeld.

Each song begins with a scene from Seinfeld which goes on to set the tone of the entire track, with constant references to the themes explored in that particular episode.

On The White Shoes, it begins with a quote from Jerry;

I had a lady once stop me on the street. I was wearing white shoes. And she says, “I’m glad you’re sticking with the white shoes.” She says, “It makes me feel good.”

Wale goes on to rap about what white shoes mean to him, and more broadly how the chase for lavishness in the hood can be misguiding and a false indication of status.

By incorporating elements of a classic sitcom Wale is able to capture an older audience in addition to today’s hip hop fans; form a bridge between a global icon and pressing identity issues people face today.

Below is a video of Jerry Seinfeld and Wale discussing what shoes mean to them individually.

 

 

 

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