Packaged Goods and Fall / Winter TIFF Bell Lightbox Highlights!
The latest installment of Packaged Goods screened this past Wednesday at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, spotlighting The Evolution of the Music Video, or rather, how social media has transformed the format from videos exclusive to weekly shows and specialty channels to works that feed off ideas from fans.
It’s a tighter interaction between musicians and their admirers, but it’s still a daunting mass of people with ideas and comments that need to be winnowed down to something digestible. Perhaps the ultimate result of being surrounded by too much information – factual, anecdotal, solely opinion-based – is that we’ve become better personal editors. Instead of sifting through a mass of material, we take glances, strategic peeks, and look for something subjectively interesting instead of going through everything that’s out there.
Then comes the sorting process of what’s relevant before grouping things so there’s a point of reference for bands to figure out what ideas can be spun into new material – either the reinterpretation of a song, or crafting a new video based on the most interesting fan creations – namely the stitching together of fan videos to remake Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” into “Somebodies.”
That’s part of what was sampled this week, alongside ideas stemming from technical innovations, like crafting a video based on 37,000 still images of fans mimicking the rehearsed motions of band members for C-Mon & Kypski’s “More is Less.”
Satirical videos bookended the entire programme with Psy’s “Gangnam Style” playing to the trapped audience at the beginning, and The Response’s “Klingon Style” closing things out (and uplifting the tone after Spiritualized’s brutal “Hey Jane” video). [Note: I was trapped in the cinema and had no choice, but I’m giving you the choice to access the videos of your own accord.]
Interactivity was evoked in Chairlift’s “Met Before” via a Choose Your Own Adventure setup in which a character goes through a pair of options; and more loosely as characters partaking in an interactive event in Young Empire’s “White Doves” (a hero-couple flee from a stream of fire across a barren urban landscape), and Linkin Park’s “Lost in the Echo” (strangers converging in a ruined – and fascinating – Detroit theatre where they eventually become the photos of dead relatives they just revisited). The latter video was reportedly released in an interactive version where Facebook users could appear in the video as one of the characters who meet the Death-like manipulator.
Other videos included samplings of music apps, videos sponsored by corporations via contests (Clement Picon’s beautifully animated version of Radiohead’s “Reconker”), ‘live’ performances (the one-take “You Are a Tourist” by Death Cab for Cutie with retro visuals), and videos with more dramatic storylines told in non-narrative format (Sigur Ros’ “Fjogur Piano,” co-starring a sometimes nude Shia LaBeouf) and hard narrative for Spiritualized’s “Hey Jane.”
Each group was preceded by an intro from curator Rae Ann Fera, and the installment was capped with a brief Q&A with director Miles Jay, regarding his work on several interactive projects (some of which perhaps ought to have been sampled to contextualize key references). Only qualms: Jay’s interminable use of “like.” [Head's up: Vistek sells a notch filter – The Quantum “No-Like” Q-VI - for $250 that places a silent footprint over the word using a logic-precision chip by Farfellion that’ll fix the issue, should the overuse if "like" arise with future guests.]
Getting 007 out of the way, there’s the exhibit, Friday marathon of Bond vs. Blofeld films from dusk to dawn, and several Bond repeats on Sunday and weekdays (though some are only repeated on weekdays). Director John Glen, one of the franchise’s top editors and later directors, will partake in a Q&A Dec. 10th after which he’ll introduce Octopussy, one of Roger Moore’s worst efforts.
Keeping in line with the spy theme, there will be single screenings of Three Days of the Condor, OSS 117: Lost in Rio, The Ipcress File (perpetually in & out of print on video everywhere), From Bejing with Love, Modesty Blaise, Deadlier Than the Male, The Lookinglass War, The Silencers, and for Cancon fans (well, okay, I’m stretching things), Alastair MacLean’s Puppet on a Chain (!), featuring a bouncy score by Piero Piccioni. (The film is available on a special edition DVD from Scorpion, but it’s really worth catching it on the big screen.)
Non-Bond programmes include Indian Expressionism, Werner Schroeter and Opera, Dickens and Film & Dickens and Crime Cinema, a Gordon Smith exhibit with the veteran effects whiz (Near Dark) appearing in person, and In Conversation with… George Romero on Halloween (which will be followed by screenings of Creepshow, Martin (+ a Romero appearance), The Crazies (1973), Monkey Shines, Night of the Living Dead (1968), Dawn of the Dead (1978), and Day of the Dead.
Horror icons also get respective nods with screenings of Peeping Tom, A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Halloween (1978), Child’s Play, Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Hellraiser, Phantasm, The Howling, and Friday the 13th (1980). Note that the films with bracketed dates also indicate how many classics have been remade with variable results to ignite and establish a new franchise.
Next-to-last in this selective tally are apocalyptic tales: Dr. Strangelove or: How I blah-blah-blah, Logan’s Run, Melancholia, Children of Men, Zardoz, The Quiet Earth, Armageddon, Reign of Fire, Last Night, and The Road Warrior.
Of course I’m working these nights, so I’ll see none of them. Sigh.
Lastly, as part of Indian Expressionism, among the mix of Indian and Indian-themed films directed by white folks is Fritz Lang’s Tiger of Eschnapur and The Indian Tomb with Debra Paget teasing a happy rubber snake (see top picture). Great B-movie diptych by Lang, though those wanting to see the silent version he was supposed to direct before Joe May took the project away can see the lengthy Indian Tomb (1921). Hopefully the TBL’s print doesn’t include the horribly monotonous synth score that accompanied Image’s DVD.
One final point: a friend tried to catch Dial M for Murder in 3D late this week, and a half hour before the show it was sold out. This is a 58 year old movie that’s been out for a week, and it’s still doing well. Somewhere in Heaven, Hitchcock is smiling while an ice cool blonde in high heels is massaging is feet. Wait – bad imagery. Scratch that.