from Nomadland (Chloe Zhao / USA / 2020)
Resurrecting the Old As New. I saw an old post in my old film blog Auditoire (RIP?). And I was wondering if I can replicate it again this new year. The things is, the feat was only possible in 2013 because I had so much free time. I think I was jobless at that time and I was looking for work. Fast forward to today, with so much on my plate: a full time job as a writer, a part time job as a researcher, with a master’s thesis waiting to be written, and large, large, large debts to pay (yes, I’m that desperate) from last year’s mishaps, I’m curious if I can sustain it.
Looking at the old post, it is amazing how I maintained a different line of thinking, a kind of erudite pondering on the images of films I had watched those times. Now, I just don’t know. I’m a bit disillusioned by cinema altogether, but finding new purpose on other things, more important than maybe watching the greatest film ever made as of 2020.
Now, with the second year of the pandemic in front of us, it is even more difficult for me to watch a film than to read a book. The times got crazier and valuing one’s cultural capital or one’s investment to cultural life is out of the question. Frankly, I find it easier to finish a book than to watch a whole film. Is it cinephilia burnout plus the pandemic rolled into one? Maybe. Maybe I’m just too tired physically and emotionally.
What kept me my desire for cinema afloat is Netflix. And lately, torrent. But mostly, I browse the Amazon Website and Libgen to look for the best ebook deals for my Kindle Paperwhite. To convert from Epub to Mobi using calibre: it’s my stress reliever these days. It works all the time, promise. It’s the most satisfactory digital conversion I have made these days, more than the mp4 to mp3 circa 2013-2015. Reading .mobi file on Kindle takes away all the bitterness, as if talking to a long lost friend. That is new normal, at least for me. Literature is a quieter field than cinema. I think perhaps because people have developed patience in reading books. Time is not essential.
Aside from reading, I also play PC games (follow me on Steam: MrLessegers) and MTG Arena. I also watch vlogs and live online selling when I have extra time.
I’m also currently involved in a COVID-19 archiving project as a head researcher.
So that’ll be that most of the content of this notes and scribbles for 2021.
I hope I won’t disappoint you, my dearest reader, or my future me in 2031 reading this again and sulking perhaps…
February 5 (Friday)
PHOTO OF THE DAY
A Vietnamese police gunning down a Vietcong fighter last February 1, 1968. From here.
February 6 (Saturday)
Currently Reading Pile
- Snow (Orhan Pamuk) – 22%
- The Future of the Image (Jacques Ranciere) – 22%
- Science of Logic (George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel) – 13%
- Bad Behavior (Mary Gaitskill) – 15%
- First Person, Plural (Edel Garcellano) – 0%
MEME OF THE DAY
Kris Aquino Because… Meme (Source)
BOOK OF THE DAY
Reexamining Engels’s Legacy in the 21st Century (ed. Kohei Saito)
Table of Contents
- Engels’s Condition of the Working Class in England in the Context of Its Time (1845–1892), by Regina Roth
- The Theory of Class Struggle in the Peasant War in Germany by Ryuji Sasaki
- Engels, Thinking and Being by Tom Rockmore
- Engels’s Conception of Dialectics in the Plan 1878 of Dialectics of Nature by Kaan Kangal
- Engels’s Theory of Economic Crisis by Timm Graßmann
- Metabolism, Crisis, and Elasticity by Kohei Saito
- Engels’s Concept of Alternatives to Capitalism by Seongjin Jeong
- Engels as an Ecologist by Camilla Royle
- Engels and Gender by Heather Brown
- Engels and the Irish Question: Rethinking the Relationship between the Peasants and Socialism by Soichiro Sumida
- Engels’s Legacy to Anthropology by Thomas C. Patterson
February 7 (Sunday)
RIP Christopher Plummer (1929-2021)
Sweet Home – Season 1 (Dir. Lee Eung-bok, Jang Young-woo, Park So-hyun / South Korea / 2020) – 4/5 – Via Netflix – Sweet Home, a new Netflix TV Series, based on a webtoon of the same title, is about monsterization of the human as apocalypse or the end of the world, the kind of apocalyptic narratives you can find Western B-movies and Japanese body horror films. In an ever-increasing cosmopolitan aesthetic economy of South Korean filmic commodities, Sweet Home fits right in the middle of its cultural constellation alongside a handful of TV dramas that explored narrative arcs outside of melodrama. What makes the TV drama more Asian is the supernatural origin of the transformation of humans to monsters: the apocalyptic curse that turns humans into monsters whoever surrenders to their desires.
The theme of monsterization and the Apocalypse has been extensively explored in the Zombie, Alien, and Vampire subgenres. The theme is also explored in Shingeki No Kyojin (Attack on Titan), which explores the fate of humanity in relation to titans or humans with monstrous heights. Like most of these examples, Sweet Home hints, on the outset, a possible deus-ex-machina solution: a remedy of some sort that can reverse or control the curse of monsterization and restore humanity’s lost image. With this major arc present, issues of morality explored in the film are mainly focused on the antagonistic opposition between the monstrous and the human, and the dilemma on the co-existence of both in the same realm. ###
February 12 (Friday)
An Expanded Reading List. Coming soon.