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March 1996, Week 1


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Tony Williams <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 5 Mar 1996 16:15:01 CST
text/plain (35 lines)
 Since I'm leaving for SCS tomorrow I'm shutting off my e-mail for a week.
I added the comment on Welles and Ed Wood as a means of provoking discussion
on the recent fascination with the Welles image which seems to be working.
  Yes, both are in their way trapped by the dream-like nature of the success
ideology inherent within the Hollywood system itself. Perhaps some further
comments on this subject may be welcome.
  Tim Burton's "Ed Wood" may be a "fond pastiche" but it is also highly
uncritical about the deeper aspects of the Wood phenomenom both in its time
and now. Although Susan Sontag's essay on the death of cinephilia has its
a-historical aspects as one correspondent correctly asserted, there is a
world of difference between a time when both the "auteurs" (note inverted
comments, please!) and Wood received recognition in regard to the very
different levels of talent and industrial operation both functioned within.
The problem with Ed Wood lies in its problematic blurring of the relevant
boundaries between Wood and Welles. Ironically, during the time the film
was released in Britain, virtually all of Wood's movies gained huge publicity
in terms of 35mm and video release. O.K. But this is at the cost of denying
audiences access to the huge diversity cinema is capable off, fuelling the
tendencies within certain sectors to regard cinema as merely being a trivial,
harmless, inessential quality as insubstantial and camp as Wood and his films
  I don't think the appearance of Welles in Burton's films necessarily has
that problematic "sign from God" one correspondent denotes. It involves a
problematic blurring of boundaries only acceptable to those following
certain nihilistic aspects of postmodernism and other theories asserting
that "everything is relative" and difference does not matter at all.
  I'll be back on March 11th, have difficulty in getting the "past postings"
right on e-mail (help appreciated), and welcome any further comments sent to
me personally.
   Tony Williams
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