Bryan: February 2008 Archives

This is the second Scorsese film we've shown to our class this semester. The first was Gangs of New York, also starring recent Oscar-winner Daniel Day-Lewis, though in a very different role -- or is it?

In a way, as different as these films seem, they share a fascination not only with old New York but with a sort of tribal violence bred by class stratification in American culture -- as played out in the nineteenth-century city, itself a product and symptom of modern capitalism.

And as Cyrus pointed out in his last entry, about the connections between this film and William Wyler's adaptation of James's Washington Square, Scorsese also sets out, in this film, to examine "the emotional violence that lies at the heart of a tradition that readers tend to associate with genteel behavior: the novel of manners."

In other words, watch for all the red at the end of the trailer, and pay attention to the relationship between color -- especially the color red -- and the codes of polite society in the rest of the film.

The simmering sexuality in Age if Innocence is ultimately repressed; all Scorsese's unfolding flowers, then, may have more to do with (figurative) bloodstains.



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BORN IN FLAMES (dir. Lizzie Borden, 1983), 80 minutes

WHEN: Tuesday 5 February 2008, 6pm
WHERE: 53 Washington Square South, Room 428
All Welcome. Refreshments provided.

"The right to violence is like the right to pee: you've gotta have the right
place and the right time." One of the headiest, most fiercely out-there
independent films of the 1980s, BORN IN FLAMES is an unclassifiable mash-up
of science fiction, post-No Wave docudrama and exercise in radical
dialectics. Set ten years after the Social Democratic War of Liberation, it
depicts a tumbledown, self-proclaimedly Socialist New York in which
competing groups of women, when they're not pedaling across the city on
their bicycles in order to attack macho idiots and discontented hard-hats
hitting on their sisters, fight for a braver, more combatively feminist new

BORN IN FLAMES is a seething, combustible and strangely joyous time capsule
of a film, populated by black separatists, vigilante groups and brusque FBI
agents, that was inspired in part by the Italian free-radio movement of the
1970s and 1980. It features a range of downtown luminaries - Adele Bertei
(The Contortions, The Bloods), Kathryn Bigelow and, in his first screen
appearance, Eric Bogosian - and is accompanied by a terrific soundtrack of
post punk, art rock and hip hop. A feminist classic, a piercing critique of
the media structures that pervert and betray social reality, as well as a
bulletin from the frontline of a still-raging set of ideological conflicts,
its scene of the World Trade Center being bombed alone makes it an absolute
must see.

The screening will be introduced by Asad Raza, writer and PhD candidate in
the English department at NYU.

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