Mirror Magic



 

Is not the mirror the real wizard of the times?

When all I can see are others

Whose otherness suggests that them I can’t define

Cannot comprehend

Or cannot tame but with words and poems and artworks

Which, as cold symbols, are always cast aside

As failures to tell definite things.

Only things both pregnant and dense

Like the density of clay’s particles

Rendering its form munificent and easy to play with

And that pregnance – the copious forms

That can be made from it

 

.is not the mirror the real wizard of the times?

When I cannot see myself, t the lowest level,

Even at the literal level, but through

A mirror.

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The politics of stories at bakit hindi sila dapat maging lullaby


Salamat sa dating Kultura editor ng Outcrop, and no thanks to the fact na wala kaming TV sa bahay, napanood ko ang bagong commercial ng Philex mines. At na-agit akong mag-critique.

At hayaan niyo ako sa gagawin kong shift of language:

Much has been said about the power of media in the everyday discourses in the society, in shaping and influencing the thoughts and behaviors of individuals. Also, much has been said about the mainstream media mostly being used as a tool of capitalism, the immense system where money is venerated and where the people have to be constantly disillusioned. To mainstreamize something though the media is to subtly market that something, whatever that is, a facial detergent, a new flavor of pizza, an idea, a face, a body. Disillusion, profit and money, they are the flavor of everyday. So, we need to maintain some distance with this everyday, some distance to this tend subtly conditioned on us everyday, through everyday.

Last October 03, a group of the NPA conducted a raid of three mining companies in Claver, Surigao del Norte. This created a fuss in the mainstream, only telling something about the impact of the NPA’s act to perhaps on the country’s situation in general but more definitely on the sense of security of the Philippine government. News about this broke out and as always, these are good venues for story-telling. Precisely because to deliver a news is to tell a story, not to tell things as they happened, as they “are.” They are stories not in the sense that they are made up, they are stories in the sense that they are already impurified with someone else’s interpretation, someone else’s viewpoint, unavoidably distorting what really happened, of how things really are. Just like this:

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/71115/rights-group-slams-npa-for-%E2%80%98cold-blooded%E2%80%99-killings

Of course, it’s the NPA-the-evil once again, they would say, and the news would imply. It’s a violent attack, a terrorist attack, an anti-people action, a true manifestation of their evil intentions. They would say the mining industry is a thriving industry in the country, and what the NPA did will jeopardize first the mining industry in the company, as potential investors will likely be reluctant to invest after what happened, and next and more vitally, the Philippine economy in general. Again, these are the stories the government tells; the media, with subtletly, and with respect to the convolutions of what they call “media ethics” which pays respect to objectivity, can only imply. These are all part of a larger, older, and more systematic propagandistic attack of the government against the armed group which has been leading more than 40 years of insurgency against it.

And interestingly, (and in a way I expected this, but not in this heavenly-parang-Santino-at-May-Bukas-Pa inspired commercial of Philiex Mines ) this came out. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iw9RN40E_mw)

Here’s the transcription of the commercial’s texts:

Dumating sila upang amghukay ng tanso, pilak at ginto. Dumating sila para tipunin ang likas na kayamanan at nanatili sila upang ingatan ang yaman ng kalikasan dahil ang kanilang kinabubuhay ay may buhay rin. At sa bawat kabutihang natatanggap, kabutihan din ang kapalit.

Hahaha. Can I just stop from laughing?

Seriously now, what operates here is the careful angelizing of the mining companies, in contrast obviously of demonizing the NPAs, and for this context, the Surigao del Sur-mining attack last Monday. This evidently rides on the issue, and one that clearly, albeit very carefully, takes the side against the NPA and what they did. Dumating sila upang maghukay, para tipunin, upang ingatan ang yaman ng kalikasan. At sa bawat kabutihan, kabutihan din ang kapalit. Lastly, a text displays itself, “There’s life in mining.” Which is all to say, what the NPAs raided were life; that they paralyzed a good source of livelihood for the Surigao del Norte people, that in that sense, they also seemed to kill the people.

Back to the video, what a very beautiful one with a very beautiful message! This is sarcasm, but I do not know, perhaps most of the people who will see, and have already seen this video will have that remark, and not sarcastically, like their hearts were tugged by the benefits of mining. The miners working in the face of the nearly setting sun, or sunrise yata yun, but whichever is the case, it only depicts the miners as hard workers, working as early as the sun rises or as late as it sets. And trees grow again, and what a nice sight is that, resembling Jesus’ resurrection. Growths are always positive, especially when what grows is something that is supposed to have died already. Text appears in the video simultaneously, indicating the number of trees reforested, and then the seedlings planted. The last picture scene was that of the family, which from the way they look, is a happy one, holding together, very close to one another, what a fitting ending! Mining is life! Mining is a happy thing! Mining means progress!

Again, we are confronting another story propagated through the media, propagated by a mining company, Philex, perhaps with the silent and hideous complicity of the government who also has interests in this enterprise. This is yet another story in the scores of stories pervading in our everyday, forming the vast clouds of discourses that always claim for a piece of validity, of truthfulness. For us, who are the main target of these discourses, of these stories, the point is to think, to be critical.

Because for all we know, stories are dangerous to our health. And stories are either partly true, partly false, and always political.

Films not as escapes, but confrontations with our ghosts and why “Jay” is eunuch


In the book “Huwaran/Hulmahan atbp: the film writings of Johven Velasco” which he edited, Joel David touched on the advent of independent films in Philippine cinema. From his discussion, it can be inferred that the main factor which triggered this advent is characteristically economical. The “increasing cost of film stock” (David 2009, 167) made filmmaking a seemingly expensive venture. This prompted the young, innovative filmmakers to search for and tap alternative technology (David 2009, 167) which costs cheaper and can keep their propulsion of film practice in the country.

The turn to digital tapes from celluloid lowered the cost of production as the latter may be “transferred to or blown up into film” (David 2009, 167). Either because of the repercussions of a large production cost in one’s profits, or simply because of the scarcity in resources in spite of the genuine ardency to make films, practicing independent film-making has indeed become lucrative and productive.

Filmmaking is largely, though not initially a commercial enterprise. The very word “industry” in the phrase “film industry” apparently connotes that this venture is being sustained chiefly because of its potential to make money. Coming from this prevalent idea about filmmaking, mostly young film practitioners, perhaps mainly because of their exposure to more unconventional perspectives, have come to introduce independent filmmaking. In a rough approximation, it was stated that Kidlat Tahimik’s “Perfumed nightmare” (Mababangaon Bangungot” was the first-ever indie film made in the country. Done in 1977, this was followed four years later by “Turumba,” also by Tahimik (Oller 2010, 3).” An obvious product of the dark days of Martial Law, the inception of indie films in the country is contextualized through the new filmmakers search for “new ways of defining Philippine cinema (Oller 2010, 15).”

Sylvia Havey sees independent films as

“forms of cinema that exist outside of a popular or commercial mainstream film industry. Independent films are usually characterized by a rejection of the aesthetic or ideological norms of the dominant industry and independent cinema is generally thought of as marginalized, alternative, or oppositional cinema within capitalist societies fighting for a voice relation to more economically and socially powerful forms of communication (Oller 2010, 2).”

Havey’s conception of independent films in general, as cited here in the thesis of Mikhail Oller has two main, underlying suppositions. First, the setting where cinemas are placed is a capitalist one; that is, a society primarily driven and governed by the goal of accumulating profit through the use of a capital. This goal is furthered by sustaining and expanding the accumulation through investing the profits as a new capital in a new industry. Second, this society is rife with social norms which relate to filmmaking in terms of aesthetics and ideology.  These social norms serve as the starting point of films, whether mainstream or indie. These norms are part and parcel of the larger social situation where the films reside and which they definitely pass commentaries on. As an active discursive tool, films can propagate, question, modify, reinforce or revolt against these norms, and by extension, in the social situation where they are founded and sustained. It is in this situation that indie films erupt from and it is in relation to the social norms that indie films gain the sense of “being outside” — marginalized, alternative or oppositional. As a form of communication, these films may be considered as challenging the messages being conveyed and perpetuated in the films on the center.

It must be established that in terms of resources, indie films are not in an advantageous position compared to their counterparts in the mainstream. For one, they rely on a technology that is not as sophisticated as those which are used in the mainstream. They operate on a lower budget, partly accounting for the non-professionals or “non-celebrities” which are casted in their films. Aside from its effects in production, a lower budget will definitely affect the distribution and promotion of the film as well. It is therefore not illogical to claim that “indies” have lesser chance of being a commercial success (Eidsvik 1978, 283). As Eidsvik has observed and which is ostensible in the Philippine context, “(independent) filmmakers have come to rely on film festival as a way of publicizing their work (Eidsvik 1978, 284).”

The commercial aspect, though usually looked upon and considered when talking about films, must not exactly be seen as their most important function or motivation. In trying to understand where do indie films come from and what are their motivations, this aspect does not actually play much role. Their inattention to the commercial upshots may be the primary reason for their being “unique.” By not being directly held by large, mainstream film-producing and distributing companies, indie films gain that being “independent” which ultimately lead to the formation of their designation. As independent films, they have a greater freedom in terms of the content of their material and the way by which they can deliver this content. More often than not, the case with mainstream films is that the content of the films and their presentation must be amenable to the executive producer. This approval is definitely influenced by the commercial intention which is at the fore of their enterprise. The being “independent” of indie films can also be seen as a precedent case in delving at their motivations and intentions. Dodging the imminent task of defining these motivations, one significant thing must be reiterated: commercial interest, at least as of now, is not a primary consideration in the realm of independent filmmaking in the Philippines.

 

“Jay” as indie, a dangerously deceptive term

I will take “Jay” as an example in touching the possible motivations of indie films. It must not come as a surprise that “Jay” has received much acclaim, as stated in the test instructions. It is a masterful travesty of the dominant theory and practice of filmmaking, at least in the Philippines – films as generally cultural “commodities” (instead of artifacts)  that are meant for public consumption (whatever its theme or messages is). As long as they are being watched, consumed by people, the films that are being made in the present will do. More observable in “Jay” is the mockery of the practice of mainstream films (specifically those which cloth themselves with the name “documentaries,” perhaps in order to separate themselves from the mainstream and the popular notions of “fantasy,” “escapism” and thus, “triviality” associated with the latter).

“Jay” is a movie that comprises in itself a “documentary” of the death of Jay. It is in this deceptive and crafty overlapping of the “movie” and the “documentary” that the film viewing experience is most disturbed and eventually, where the mockery of mainstream films most pronounced. It started with “Action” and then the “Ang susunod na palabas ay Rated PG” spiel. Suddenly, the female narrator, with her matter-of-factly and very firm naun kay Jay, lahat yan sa aming pagbabalik.” What happened there? It came under full light that everything that the film viewer has seen in all the preceding shots is part of a documentary, which is although part of the movie, is not similar to it.

And so from there begins the presentation of what works behind the scenes of films, of documentaries; the presentation of how things are presented in this medium, how they present the reality (talking about documentaries) which they claim to present.

We see the all that went with process which lead to the creation of the documentary, deceiving us at the onset of the film. Summed up in one word, the documentary which we have seen as a result of the process is, staged. Jay asked for permission from Nanay Luz in
“documenting” their struggle after Jay’s death. This “asking-for-permission” already foreshadows a “stagedness.” Definitely, the presence of the camera alters one’s “real” or natural behaviors of people. This may have motivated the “make-up” tendencies of most of the characters in the documentary produced and directed by Jay (Baron Geisler). Moreover, Jay is forever present in altering the natural behaviors of the people. He would usually give instructions to the people who “act” in or his interviewees in the documentary. Usually, these instructions refer to the lines which the characters are supposed to say in front of the camera. These instructions can be interpreted as being in line with what Jay wants his documentary to be in the end. This is further in line with the fact that the documentary will be televised or aired in the future and its producers want many people to watch this documentary. In one scene, while talking through the phone with his network boss perhaps, Jay shared apt his discovery of Nanay Luz’s “grudge” towards Edward, Jay’s ex-boyfriend and its potential to be tapped as a conflict of the “show.”

To the film viewer, this scene acts to remind them again that Jay’s data-gathering and documenting are all for a show, a literal reality show entitled “Silang mga naiwan.”. And this show has its own objectives and these certainly affect the angle which the documenting process will select. Apparently, no single representation, whatever medium it may take, can entirely capture “reality.” In that sense, every representation selects only a part of that reality, and this selection speaks of a slant, a bias.

Operating above the realm where this filmmaking bias is laid down, the movie “Jay” in a way challenges further our notions of mainstream films. We barely see artificial lights, most of the scenes were shot in actual locales and there were no notable exaggeration or romanticizing of human life. What I see is the representation of the common, everyday events, without all the glamour and the fanciful. In “reenacting” the polcemen’s ambush of the arrested suspect of Jay’s (the school teacher) murder, Jay (the producer) notices the panties hanging outside the door of the house. The “seizing-the-suspect” scene in the Divisoria-like area also depicts the everyday, the ordinary. The profusion of swear words is also in the opposite side of mainstream films. While the mainstream is teeming with dream come trues and surpassed family trials, the alternative magnifies the putang-ina or the nakasampay na panty. The characters’ dialogues within the film but outside the documentary were very much like our daily conversations. In terms of techniques and their effects, noticeable is the choppiness of the camera for some parts of the film, most notably in the “seize-the-suspect” scene. Again, the film viewers’ experience is disturbed. Hey, this is not how they do it in the mainstream? In the final scene of the film, Jay transformed into Baron Geisler, no longer the character but already the actor, muffing in his acting of a scene, and the director’s voice heard from the screen. As the film officially ends, we are left all at disturbance and perhaps, the accompanying insights of such disturbance. Why is there such disturbance? Because in viewing he film, we are bringing into that experience expectations which we have formed out of viewing mainstream films. The last scene precisely disturbs these expectations which we brought with ourselves as we begun viewing “Jay.” “Jay,” just like all of the movies we have encountered in our lifetime is not a close-ended material representing our lives and experiences as human beings.  It just a movie, just a re-presentation of what is already there, of what we really experience out here, in the world where the movie theater is a part of. The film we just saw is different from our own realities; it poses a different level of reality.

 

The destructive, psychoanalytic reading

 

 

However, a much interesting, although self-distracting reading of this last scene is given light by Slavoj Zizek. More than being “returns to the real (Zizek 2006, 58), scenes like this are its opposite, “escapes from the real” (Zizek 2006, 59).

 

The underlying idea here of course is that films, as “fictions” are the exact vehicles of our deepest realities, the “fundamental fantasy” that enables us to come across with our  deepest, most genuine desires (Zizek 2006, 59). In general, films are nothing but the real we are desperately avoiding or denying in the guise of an illusory spectacle, a fiction. Just like our dreams that expose us and sort of enable us to confront this real, films do as well, but through this exact form that makes it more bearable for us to deal with the flood of desires offered to us by films. Hence, the last scene in “Jay,” by admitting its fictitiousness and seemingly sending us back to our realities (our previous, common realities, i.e that I am sitting in this movie theater with a friend or something and that the storm goes on outside or something, depending on the viewing situation), also balks in daring us to confront the real veiled in the guise of the film. Nawalan ng bayag ang “Jay,” enabling us to engage with the troubling realities we disturbingly keep in our hearts, enabling us to confront them, even only subconsciously in the entire span of the movie, only to designate these realities as mere shots in a “fictitious” film, not worthy of deep contemplation after the credits roll.  “It’s just a film” is probably our retort and this only finalizes our yet another fall and failure in enacting our desires, even only with the aid of a phantasmatic screen that is the film.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REFERENCES:

Daniel, Joel, ed. Huwaran/hulmahan atbp: the film writings of Johven Velasco. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press.

Eidsvik, Charles. 1978. Cineliteracy. New York; Random House.

Oller, Mikhail Paolo. 2010. Independent films and the Philippine society. Undergraduate thesis, University of the Philippines Baguio.

Zizek, Slavoj. 2006. How to read Lacan. New York and London: W. W. Norton & Company.

 

 

Approaching Pulp Fiction: destructing rules, creating meanings



 

Interpreting Pulp Fiction as a complex visual image while focusing only on one site and one modality sounded not good to me at first. In trying to unravel and explore the rich meaning residing in a particular visual image, I believe that one must exhaustively consider all the aspects that govern the work – production, image and audience and the technological, compositional and social considerations for each aspect. One must recognize that all of these aspects and considerations are constantly interplaying with one another in shedding light to and even associating greater meaning to the visual image at hand.

 

However, for the purposes of this paper, I shall select one site of meaning-formation and within it, one modality which I deem is the most important. That should not mean though, that in doing this selection, I will be totally ignoring the other sites and modalities. That would only confuse with the uneasiness I expressed above.

 

At first, it was tempting for me to focus on the site of the image itself. Since the image to be interpreted is a movie, full of characters in motion, character conversations, sequences of events and material details, I deemed it most suitable to focus on these multiple elements that compose the movie and where meaning is most likely to lay snug. In other words, if this is a literary work, I am highly tempted to do a formalistic reading of the text. The same with literary texts, I believe that in approaching and trying to understand a movie, one should begin by looking at its formal elements – the formal elements of the image. However, where one begins does not necessarily mean that it is also where one ends (Quite interestingly, this nearly happened in the movie Pulp Fiction). And I believe the reason why I am selecting the site of the audience and the social modality in interpreting Pulp Fiction lies on my perception of meaning-formation. It is a process that does not start and ends with the image and it alone. Meaning-formation for me is not a task that can be completed, not like a jar that can be completely closed or sealed, with all its contents protected inside and never meant to be touch again. For me, it ought to be an unending process of reading and interpreting, rereading and reinterpreting. This will only direct us to greater productivity. And for me, this can be achieved best only by focusing neither on the production of nor the image itself but on the audience –the real meaning-makers — and how do they engage themselves with the image.

 

 

Towards a critical methodology in approaching Pulp Fiction

 

What follows here is my own interpretation of Pulp Fiction – an interpretation that I am claiming as coming not exactly solely from the movie (the image) itself but more of from me as its interpreter (after engaging with the movie and its elements). The modality I chose is the social one because I agree with what Rose has said in the reading Researching visual materials: “there are, then, two aspects of the social modality of audiencing: social practices of spectating and the social identities of the spectator” (Rose 2001, 27). (This part still seems to be a spillover of the preceding discussion: a reflexive explanation and justification of where the interpretations have come from). The general trend of popular movies nowadays, the general attitude and responses of people towards movie-watching, and the ongoing analyzing of the movies as a historical and cultural product can be considered as part of the social practices of spectating. Meanwhile, my gender, nationality, educational background and social and political orientation can be dubbed as being part of my social identity as the spectator.  These factors definitely influenced my interpretation of Pulp Fiction which at last, is here to follow.

 

Meaning in Pulp Fiction

Coming from the framework laid down and justified above, here is my “reading” of Pulp fiction as a visual image, specifically, a movie.

It is clearly an unconventional movie, with its deviations from many patterns established in conventional movies. This idea of convention rests within a social context operating with its own rules. These rules are precisely where the convention is basing itself from and relying for sustenance. In this social context, there is a certain, dominant way of understanding movies and the functions they serve. Movies are generally perceived as containing narratives that are complete and can be a source of several things like entertainment, profound morals and insights. The completeness of these narratives are exemplified by ultimately arriving at an “ending” where previous conflicts are resolved and usually, happiness is attained by the protagonists while retribution falls to the antagonists. The existence of an “ending” implies that the narrative is consisting of other elements. It also has a setting, a plot, a conflict, a climax among others, all of which has a role in leading the movie to its ending. The interrelation of these elements paves the way for the recognition and understanding of a uniform structure of movies (i.e. beginning, rising action, conflict, and so on until the resolution and ending) – which  can also be tagged as its conventions.  Then, this perceived uniform structure of movies gives rise to certain expectations from the viewing public.

This structure, created and continually maintained in a current social context, is precisely where the “unconventionality” of Pulp Fiction is being based from. We can judge or claim it to be unconventional by looking at its relation to the existing film conventions in the present social order.

One of the traits of Pulp Fiction that makes it unconventional is its sequencing of the events in its plot. Clearly, it defies the chronological pattern that is common to many movies of today. The order of events does not follow a defined order, i.e. from earliest to latest or vice versa. Rather, it interfuses scenes culled from varying time, as if jumping from point b to point e then jumping back to point c only to end up at point a. The movie begins with the restaurant scene where Honey Bunny and Pumpkin announced a robbery before jumping to the scene where Vincent and Jules killed a man who was told to have business transactions with their boss, Marsellus Wallace.  When the movie is nearing its end, we were suddenly led back to the continuation of these earlier scenes. In the former, we saw Jules and Vincent also eating in the same restaurant where Pumpkin and Honey Bunny planned to rob, and ending up thwarting the plan. In the latter, we saw a young man listen from outside of the door how Jules and Vincent killed Roger and Brett, the persons whom Wallace has some deals with. The man could have avenged the two by killing Jules and Vincent, if only he was more accurate in gun shooting and his gun had a bit more bullets. He ended up being killed as well.

 

Another trait of Pulp Fiction that makes it unconventional, although somewhat related to the first one, is its intertwining of several story lines in a single narrative. This is quite different from the common case of a single storyline or the less common yet more familiar (in relation to several stories intertwined) case of separate storylines altogether (the only example I can think as of now is the local film Shake, Rattle and Role which sometimes comes up with two or three “stories” in a single movie. The “mini-movies” within the movie are not related or hardly allude or relate to any of the scenes or characters in the other movies).

 

In Pulp Fiction, we saw the small stories of Pumpkin and Honey Bunny attempting to rob a restaurant, Mia Wallace nearly succumbing to severe drug influence, Bruce’s struggle after accidentally doing the opposite of what Marsellus has paid for him to do and his act of saving Marsellus to sort of make up for the glitch he has done, and the two hitmen — Vincent and Jules’ – divergence from the path of violence and merciless killings. As we have seen, these small storylines are related to one another, the occurrences in one storyline having impact on some others.

These two digressions from film conventions are clearly not a random choice made by the director.

First, the chronological blur that is present in the movie can be interpreted as the movie’s way of demanding a different kind of approach from its viewers, an approach dissimilar to the way they get in terms with “normal” movies. Perhaps the movie wants its viewers to be more engaged in their film viewing, be keener at observing details and character behaviors, and be more cautious and careful in drawing inferences. Also, it can be read as its way of undermining the idea of the movie as a “complete” medium, of it being completed after the ending. Pulp Fiction ends with Vincent and Jules walking out of the restaurant just after foiling Honey Bunny and Pumpkin’s attempt to ransack the place. However, in the actual sequence of events, this scene is not the last among everything that has been shown in the movie. Earlier, we saw Vincent being killed by Bruce, implying that that scene came much later than the “final” scene of the movie. With that, the movie’s actual ending (Vincent and Jules walking out of the restaurant) prevents the viewers from making that sigh of “Good thing, it’s over” (enemies killed, problems solved etc.) as the credits begin to appear. They rethink, recall the earlier scenes and connect the dots to conclude that Vincent will be killed later, making the “ending” not precisely the last thing to happen in the movie’s story. By doing that, I believe that the movie wants to jolt its readers from the convenient way by which they make something out of film viewing. The movie implicitly asks the viewers to unconsciously change their manner of reflecting about the movies they see. Simultaneously, they offer an alternative way of seeing and perceiving.

On a more general tone, these disgressive acts in film-making techniques can also be seen as an act of implicitly criticizing and exposing the weaknesses of established norms and pioneers novelties in film-making and film-viewing.

The title itself and the way it was made to call attention to itself in the movie squares with the previous point. Before the start of the film, an American Heritage Dictionary definition of “pulp” was flashed on the screen. The two definitions read: (1) a shapeless mass of matter and (2) a magazine or book containing lurid subject matter and being characteristically printed on rough, unfinished paper.

 

The first definition connotes ambiguity, being amorphous, having no clear definition or form. This is relevant to the movie because it appears to be like that, a hodge-podge, messy, and thus, hazy. In a way, this already prepared the viewers of what is to come while only at the start of the movie. It is hinting to them that the movie they are about to watch will be unlike most movies which are too generous and lenient when it comes to expressing their message or point. With that, the movie can be also said as implicitly demanding closer observation from its readers if they want to make sense of the movie.

The second definition, meanwhile, seems to me as a foregrounding of the idea of shock and crudeness. It silently shouts: this movie is pulp. It will shock you, or surprise, or befuddle you. It is lurid; it will not be like your usual fancy and predictable movie where lovers kiss at the end, where wounds are mended and evil spirits vanquished. In other words, that is announcing the unorthodox content of the movie — unorthodox because it does not merely tell stories of love, friendship or virtue. It reeks with violence and surface-value foulness and unabashed display of vice only to speak of redemption and salvation in the end. Next, the idea of crudeness, carried by the phrase “printed on rough, unfinished paper,” seems to call attention to the form of the movie. It is not printed out of special paper or whatever grand type of paper so one may infer that it is of subpar quality. It is not polished in the sense that it does not conform to the conventions. It is a rebel of film norms, and hence, can be easily judged as crude, or bad.

However, the film, by calling attention to these “lack of definite form” and “unpolishedness” and “luridity,” is not taking shame or being anxious about being dismissed right away by movie viewers. It is calling attention to itself, trumpeting its given characteristics. Why so? I believe that the movie actually sees this “unconventionality” as its strength and more basically,  its real essence and so it must not be mute about it. That is precisely its point. Announce the possibility beyond conventions and on a much larger scale, exclaim the possibility of alternative perspectives in understanding and creating the world.

Finale: an analysis of the analysis

 

Finally, in constructing this analysis of Pulp Fiction, I chose to put my emphasis on the site of audiencing and the social modality. This stems from my conviction that ultimately, the meanings of things (not just movies) do not lie on the things themselves but on the outsider who appraises, observes and reads it. The audience decides on the meaning, not locate or identify the meaning of a thing.  Still, this act of deciding on the meaning must still be tied to the formal elements of the thing being analyzed and other relevant details surrounding it and the whole situation. This is also why I focused on the social modality. I deem it very important to assess and consider the entire context of the situation in trying to make something out of particular things existing in that situation. Looking only at the technological and compositional factors is not enough, although both are needed. The point is that after all, these two factors are also subsumed under the greater social context where the image to be analyzed and the spectator/analyst both reside.