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Stevi Costa

And then he disappears from the narrative completely! In rewatching this film recently, I’ve been thinking about how it leverages H.W. as a narrative prop at times to bolster Plainview’s horridness. But my larger question is why: why is it necessary to signpost how terrible Plainview is via his treatment of H.W.? Isn’t the greed enough? Isn’t the blatant murder enough? This is why I’m interested in thinking about the film from H.W.’s perspective, and reading in sympathy with the character that sits both inside and outside of the forces of capital. It’s important to recognize H.W.’s agency in his own life in this regard, so that he becomes more than just a prop in his father’s story: more than a bastard from a basket.

Cyril and Reynolds Woodcock at breakfast
Stevi Costa

One thing I found so striking about There Will Be Blood which did not find its way into my post yesterday is the films dichotomy between volubility and silence. As I mentioned, it’s a film that doesn’t contain a large amount of dialogue, so we do pay extra attention as viewers to the use of monologue when it occurs. The first 14 minutes of the film feature no human speech at all. It is a world of silent labor, punctuated by the strike of a mining tool or the atonal score by Greenwood.

Your comments on how Anderson turns up the volume to show us Woodcock’s comedic distress at the Alma’s volubility seem to resonate with the interplay of silence and sound in There Will Be Blood. Anderson has quite a keen ear for piercing through silence with sound in strategic and purposeful ways. I think it’s arguable that the lack of speech in most of TWBB invites us to read the film through H.W.’s perspective (as I do these days, but only because I work in disability studies), where it seems completely apparent that the outlandish volume of Alma’s toast-buttering is deliberately a way of reinforcing Woodcock’s perspective for the viewer.

Ana Cabral Martins

A very interesting point, haven’t seen the movie in some time and hadn’t taken the time to really think about H.W. disability beyond how heartbreakingly he is treated by his father. I think’s it’s really interesting how Anderson depicts how he strives for success and yet his father’s lack of support is a constant sign of “not belonging”.

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Monika Mehta

Fan and Lisa,

You might find this article on the recent success of the film, Hindi Medium, in the Chinese market interesting. The film has broken records of all previous Hindi films released in China. The film narrates the story of a couple trying to get their child into an English medium school. https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/hindi-medium-records-higher-box-office-opening-than-dangal-bajrangi-bhaijaan-in-china-irrfans-highest-grosser-worldwide-4420391.html

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Monika Mehta

Thanks for your questions. Jasmine, Hotstar’s CEO’s are right now quite explicit in interviews that in the US and Canada they are targeting a diverse South Asian diasporic communities. Hotstar’s programming in television and film easily surpasses what is provided by Netflix and Amazon. Moreover, Netflix tends to club all Indian content together while mostly providing content in Hindi. Hotstar pays attention to the linguistic diversity so you have commercial content in 8 languages. It also provides sports content. This is a major attraction for cricket fans. For example, currently, it is screening the Indian Premiere matches live. It’s current promotion is also happening at this time. So, its content shows a more nuanced understanding of South Asian diasporic communities. That said, I would be curious to see how this plays out generationally. So, for example, are most of the viewers recent or first generation migrants? Does it have the same appeal for second or third generations?

Fan, the ‘Hinglish’ question is complicated. I can’t offer a sociological account, but an account of its presentation in film. Here, there are many types of ‘Hinglish’. First, spoken by middle class urban Indians, these define the film as “realistic” since it’s a ‘colloquial language’ and many times, it is also makes the characters comical. Second Hinglish, when spoken by lower class and marginal characters is also comical, and at times, aligned with their life-experiences in cities. Hinglish is not cast as foreign on screen like English. In post-independence Hindi cinema, English was often spoken by upper-class, snooty characters or by villains. The only time it was redeemed was when a Christian priest or nun spoke it. However, if you look at the credits of these films, they are in English to cultivate an upper-class and (middle-class) pan-Indian audiences. That said, I think there have been some shifts in post-economic liberalization representations of English. To answer your question directly, “Hinglish” is home-grown whereas the call centers seek to discipline Indian tongues to speak American English.

PuhuTV
Jülide Etem

Thank you so much for these wonderful questions, Fan!

The length of a Turkish TV episode is often between 120 and 150 minutes. Since Turkish viewers are mostly used to watching these long episodes, producing 120-150-minute-long episodes has become a norm in the industry. Since this situation has dramatically extended the working hours of the creative workers, there has been several protests to criticize, and change the television production culture in Turkey.

For the last couple of years industry workers have been protesting the length of their working hours to complete an episode per week. Some of the screenwriters complained about how writing long episodes hurts their creativity and damages the quality of storytelling. In fact, the requirement to produce long episodes causes repetitive story lines and extensive use of flashbacks. 

According to an article in a Turkish platform, repetitiveness in episode making is necessary because producers take into account surveys about the understanding capacity of the average viewer in a Turkish household. However, many viewers who are aware of the repetitiveness and the quality problem in story lines, now prefer original shows in digital streaming services. 

When we take into account the TV commercials, the 120-150-minute-long episodes actually end up taking up to four hours. On contrary to this lengthy TV watching activity, digital platforms have introduced new viewing practices for Turkish audiences at least in two ways. First, the episodes of originals in the digital platforms are often not longer than 60 minutes. If the episode is on BluTV, there are no commercials. On the other hand, if the episode is viewed on PuhuTV, the advertisements take just a couple of minutes. So, the new viewing practice in digital platforms takes less time than it does in television. Second, if viewers desire to watch multiple episodes for an extensive amount of time, it is possible to do binge-watching via digital platforms.  Binge-watching culture offers viewers prolonged entertainment to satisfy their urge for episodes. To a certain extent, this culture has the potential to solve the problem of producing weekly and lengthy episodes. 

The new production culture introduced by the digital streaming services can transform the situation of the overworked media workers. If the shorter episodes in digital platforms continue to succeed, it is possible that television industry can adopt new methods to address industry workers’ concerns.   

Jasmine Mitchell

Great questions. The most dominant tv genre in Brazil is the telenovela. For export, Brazil usually sells its telenovelas to foreign channels (i.e. Univision, etc). However, with more streaming viewership practices, especially for younger audiences, Globo has now developed Globo Play to consume these telenovelas online. However, a subscription is still needed and it is not very accessible outside of Brazil as you usually need a Brazilian identification number. On another note, this series 3% was first transmitted via Youtube. The series caught on and then was picked up by Netflix. Another example of streaming services changing the traditional media industry parameters! By far and large, the majority of Globo telenovelas are white dominated. However, as a result of growing Afro-Brazilian activism and the growth of the middle and lower middle classes, these practices have started to change especially around 2010 onwards. I do think that Globo does see Netflix as a competitor. Globo executives have spoken about the competition from Netflix. Incidentally, I also know of a few Afro-Brazilian directors who have been contacted by Globo to develop programming. These directors and writers implied to me that Globo would have never wanted to converse with them if it was not for Netflix. As the Brazilian media landscape is very white dominated, it is quite possible that Netflix competition will force casting and production changes to remain marketable. Since TV Globo exports its telenovelas, the dominant Brazilian tv images transmitted globally are white dominated. 3% and other tv programming can potentially disrupt these domestic and transnational notions of race. Yet, there are national casting patterns to consider as well. For 3%, the national castings calls cited the difficulty of finding handsome black actors and therefore states that any handsome actors would be considers. This is a very pervasive form of antiblackess in which good looks are associated solely with whiteness. Yet, the global reach of the series and its success can potentially break open pervasive parameters of white normativity. With the current Brazilian political controversies and the Twitter campaign to unsubscribe from Netflix based on its new series O Mecanismo depicting a doctored version of recent political corruption, Netflix will continue to have to balance the specificities of its Brazilian audience and maintaining global appeal.

PuhuTV
Jasmine Mitchell

Thank you for this post. Like Monika, I was surprised that the Turkish government did not regulate these streaming platforms early on. I am curious as to how the shows were branded and marketed to capture audiences in this interim period. Like Lisa, I would also love to know more about where the viewership has been concentrated. Turkish tv programs are becoming increasingly popular in Brazil for the telenovela-like themes and formats. What kind of genres do these streaming platforms offer? Can you also say more about digital inequality in Turkey? What is the infrastructure like for viewers and does this influence the type of content that is produced?

PuhuTV
Fan Yang

Thanks so much for providing this great opportunity to learn about the recent shifts in Turkey’s new media culture!

I’m really interested in the new viewing practices that you mentioned, i.e. “shorter running times” that “promote worker-friendly practices” and “binge-watching culture.” What are “some of the concerns raised during media industry protests” that the former addresses? As for the latter, how has “the desire for extended entertainment” been cultivated by Netflix, Amazon Prime, and/or other entities? And last but not least, how are these new viewing practices shaping/shaped by broader societal changes in work and leisure?

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Fan Yang

Thanks so much for this informative thread, from which I learned a great deal!

I was particularly intrigued by the question of language. Would you say that the adoption of Hinglish privileges a transnational/urban middle class subject position in such as way as to reinforce a linguistic hierarchy – part of the legacy of colonialism that is also reflected in such practices as accent training at call centers?