Wednesday, May 4, 2011

El Final

So, 22 posts later, and here I am. My days of blogging will be coming to a close for a while because I need a break from the familiarity of this routine. I am going to be applying defamiliarization to my life and stepping away from the mundane consistency found in trying to make a post all the time. Hopefully, then, when I return, the joy of blogging will be joyous again. Like everything that we do, over time, things become routine, and this is why art is so vital to our sanity in life. It is able to defamiliarize us to the normality of everyday life. According to Shklovsky, this was the whole reason art existed. In some cases, it makes things that we see new again by making us freshly aware of their presence. Or, as in the case of the film 300, art can defamiliarize our ideas and perceptions of certain things like warfare or being a soldier. All in all, art is necessary for our lives if we desire to remember that we are alive (according to Vik). Honestly, if art fails at doing this, it ultimately fails at fulfilling its purpose. Art exists to remind us that things are beautiful and wonderful, that there are things that we have been given that can bring a vibrant joy to life once again. Or maybe not even joy, maybe, in our cases; we just need something to remind us that we are still actually alive. You know, it is kind of like a cut or physical pain. Without the sensation that we feel when we bleed or experience pain, would we forget that we are actually living? I don't know, but I do know that pain reminds us that we are, in fact, still alive. It shocks us back into reality in one sense. Art ultimately exists to do the same thing. This effect of art is the reason that it is so important that art defamiliarize us and our senses again and again. It is important that art remind us that we are alive and that things can be seen again and again as though for the first and each time with a different perception. Peace. Enjoyed it and enjoy life.

Jeff Bolger

Wrapping it Up

Throughout this blog, I have tried to present you with various examples from our culture that should be considered art because of the defamiliarizing effect that they have on us. Trying to be faithful to the founder of this theory, I have attempted to expound on ways in which these objects are able to defamiliarize us. At the outset of my blog, I was not sure what direction I wanted to head in, but as time progessed and the blog evolved, I finally landed on film. In doing this, I was looking to do something new. Therefore, the evidence and research that I have obtained for the posts ultimately is rooted in Viktor Shklovsky's work, "Art as Technique." However, once I moved into focusing specifically on film, I used the footage from the various films as the evidence to back up the claims and the arguments that I was making in my posts. As the blog has developed, I have learned a lot about Shklovsky's theory and have been persuaded that the ultimate purpose of art is to defamiliarize us to life so that things are constantly made new, keeping us from becoming habitualized to anything. The final component of my argument was ultimately discussed through the film 300 where I set out to show how that film should be considered a piece of art due its defamiliarizing effects on us as viewers. It is my hope that this blog will serve as a catalyst for you to do more research concerning Shklovsky's ideas and learn how to enjoy art for what it is. For me, Shklovsky's theory impacted me because I need to be shocked out of my routine everyday and art, according to Shklovsky, is able to do this. Therefore, I have been led to appreciate art once again. Thanks Vik! Hope you have enjoyed!

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Field of Glory

I am only going to make two more posts before I take a good long break from this blog for a while. In order to wrap up my analysis of 300 and the way in which it defamiliarizes us by causing us to see the glory of being a soldier and going to war, I want to post one last video that shows the conclusion of this depiction from the film. It is the final stand by the 300 Spartan soldiers. They all get slaughtered; however, the film makes their death seem glorious! Perhaps the most obvious aspect of this portayal occurs at the very end of the scene when Leonidus is about to be murked by a ton of arrows. In particular, watch the way in which the film depicts Leonidus going down and ultimately dying; however, as you watch this part, watch the way in which the film shows the sun reflecting its glorious light. This is a blatant metaphor of the theme this film presents throughout its duration. It is ultimately a film about restoring glory to the ideas that we associate with being a soldier and going to war. It makes me want to fight and die for something bigger than me. In addition, it caused me as the viewer to want to watch the film again and agin and enjoy it as a piece of art that communicates directly to my soul. The film has an aesthetic beauty that can make any viewer stop and contemplate the way ideas are communicated as well as enjoy the special effects from the various scenes. For me, this final scene really encapsulates the essence of the reality that this film defamiliarizes us by creating a newness in the way in which we view being a soldier and being in war.

Fight to the Death

Glory of War

So, over the past several posts I have commented on how the film 300 defamiliarizes us to our normal ideas about war and the horrors and tragedies of war. 300 is quite a different depiction of the battlefield. In fact, it is as though the entire movie is a glorification of war or at least an attempt to make the glory that can be found in war glorious again. I feel that the way in which this particular battle scene is portrayed shows this ideology. It defamiliarizes us in many ways and there are various ways in which Zach Snyder, the director, purposely created the scene to do just this very thing. First off, the transitioning from slow motion to fast action filming defamiliarizes our perception of warfare by causing us to become focused on the relentless passion Leonidus has for killing his enemies. The clinging and clanging of the weapons providing the background music almost makes us think about war as being melodic, a form of art. The clinging weapons create the music that guides King Leonidus in this scene as he dances through the bodies of the Persians. The way the blood of the Persians he is killing is shown distorts the reality of war as being glorious rather than gruesome and horrid (compare it with the beach scene from Saving Private Ryan). I mean, I would say that the way that Snyder portrays the actual blood, killing, and fighting that takes place between the Spartans and the Persians ultimately defamiliarizes us further to this ideology. Rather than feeling a sense of sorrow or repulsivness over men killing other men, the film ignites a sense of passion and excitement in my heart as I see how AWESOME war can be (I say that based solely in light of the film) and the glory that can come from killing your enemy on the battlefield. I mean the film's portrayal of battle really is unfamiliar to us as viewers because it makes war seem so freakin' cool!!!

Leonidus goes ham! the portrayal of the 300 scene to this scene from Saving Private Ryan. Watch from about 4:30 to 7:00 on the clip to see what I am really talking about!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Living to fight

Once again, the film 300 is a great example of a film that defamiliarizes us to the ingrained ideas we have about things. In particular, I am expounding on the way that the film defamiliarizes us to the idea of war and our idea of soldiers. This scene where Leonidus asks his men about their profession is a perfect example. For the most part, we think as soldiers as being soldiers on the side in many ways. I mean, yes, today we have people who are full time soldiers in the military, and it is their profession; however, how many of those men lived their entire lives training to do nothing except fight and kill and go to war? I would argue that very few, if any, were brought up this way. In fact, I suppose that the way in which we usually think about being a soldier is similar to the way the Arcadians( the soldiers Leonidus questions) were portrayed in this specific scene. However, the film's portrayal of the Spartans, once again, defamiliarizes us to our normal ideas about being a soldier and restores the idea of glory to being a soldier and going to war. Go hit up this link!

Check it Out!!!