Cinebanter

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

CInebanter #124 - FRUITVALE STATION and BLACKFISH


The mp3 of this show is here.

In this episode, Michael and Tassoula provide a double header of reviews: FRUITVALE STATION and BLACKFISH. In the Last Five®, Michael gets to a few new indies, while Tassoula continues her bender of HBO documentaries. The breakdown is as follows:

• 00:00 Intro
• 00:32 Review of FRUITVALE STATION
• Break
• 19:38 To Sum It Up
• Break
• 20:16 Review of BLACKFISH
• Break
• 44:33 To Sum It Up
• Break
• 45:00 The Last Five®
• 1:01:47 Credits

Michael's Last Five in this episode were: BEHIND THE CANDLEABRA; THE CRASH REEL;  GASLAND; SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE and CLEAR HISTORY. Tassoula's Last Five were: THE CHESHIRE MURDERS; MISS YOU CAN DO IT; THE DREAMERS; BLUE JASMINE and FORREST GUMP.

Want to contribute to the show and help with production costs and server fees? Click on the "Make a Donation" button to the left of this blog.

Special thanks to Brad Daane and Mark Cummins for providing the original music in this episode.

Tassoula has reviews, musings and movie-related product links at Tassoula's Movie Review Blog.

Reviews and/or notes of movies Michael sees can be found at his MichaelVox website.

Feedback is always welcome - you may leave comments here or e-mail the hosts at cinebanter@gmail.com.

We hope you enjoy the show!

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2 Comments:

Blogger Ellen said...

I just saw Fruitvale Station, which I really liked, and I wanted to try and take a stab at what Michael was getting at with the hoodie question.

The term I think you were looking for is "code-switching," which is a word for how people speak differently when addressing different audiences. (for example, how you talk to your students vs. how you talk with your friends) Often it's used in racial/ cultural cases to show how minorities try to fit in (or don't) outside of their home cultures. Here's a really good blog post on it that is better than my explanation. We see it in "Fruitvale Station" where Oscar speaks to his brother at the supermarket, then the white girl, then his grandmother, then the store manager -- all using different inflections, words and phrases to communicate with them. What I took from that is that Oscar, living in diverse Oakland, has learned to move among people of different races and classes and address them in particular ways.

If we apply it to dress, like with Oscar and his hoodie, there are plenty of examples and justifications for it. To take an innocuous example in my own life, I went to a high school with a uniform, but would always bring clothes to change into before hanging out with friends from other schools because I felt self-conscious in it. It wasn't "cool" and I didn't want to be singled out for it.

The question for me was whether the filmmaker used that technique in a realistic way or in a way that highlights how Oscar moves between worlds and how he could seem like a criminal or someone menacing to the outside world. Truthfully, I don't know and I think there's no way to know -- but I found it believable, the way he wore it (especially his unwilling lending of it to Melonie Diaz's character). Of course after Trayvon Martin the hoodie has taken on (even more?) inescapable symbolism as how young African-American men are perceived, but I think with regard to "Fruitvale Station" that was largely a coincidence as the film was probably finished before that happened.

3:47 PM  
Blogger MichaelVox said...

Thank you, Ellen.

I always use the almighty Oprah as evidence of code-switching. She speaks to President Clinton differently than Lil Wayne.

I continue to wonder if the director of FRUITVALE knew what he was doing to a liberal whitey from the suburbs as he had the characters change their clothing styles, music, and demeanor depending on who they were with.

I'm sure the "problem" is mostly in my head.

Michael.

10:16 AM  

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