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Shorna Pal

It is particularly wonderful to me that Abbas Kiarostami’s legacy to learn from sharing is being upheld by these contributions on In Media Res,specially in the current social climate of twitter, facebook and instagram. The word ‘share’ means something today, that filmmakers like Kiarostami were articulating through their work for many decades.

Arzu Karaduman

Thank you for your response and question, Pamella. I was thinking among similar lines when the film made me think about queerness and blackness. I felt there was something about blue: the power to appeal, mesmerize, and also queer. Blue appearing in moonlight or its power of appeal in directing our vision (“when blue light is scattered into your eye no matter which direction you look”, as cited in another research/publication by NASA) or other interesting points raised (as also outlined in Daren Fowler’s thesis) such as how it is usually the last color to appear in languages, how it is rarely found in nature, and how most people in the world say it’s their favorite color, all these qualities of blue make me think of the politics of its magical powers. If it is a favorite color for most people, can it also be effective in making them more open, hospitable, and accepting towards queerness? Blue plays a key role in Moonlight conjuring blaqueer magic, showing that we all understand and love Little, Chiron, Black.

Pamella Colvin

Moonlight symbolizes the systematic journey in examining what we consider normal. The correlation between blue as a color and queer cinema strikes a sudden crescendo as I contemplated more examples of your comparison. Moonlight envelops anyone who wants acceptance through introspection.

The variation of Moonlight in blue is Chiron’s interaction with his disconnected love that he has for his biological mom. As a result, Chiron evaluates the safety he has when he is in Teresa’s home. The haven that she presents offers dialogue for blue to be examined more fluidly. When Chiron has inquiries about if he is a “faggot” or not, Teresa and Juan provide comforting answers that help Chiron become more reassured that the feelings he has are valid. The jealousy Chiron’s mother has for his relationship with Juan and Teresa, illuminate in blue because she is unable to avoid her drug addiction and parent effectively.

As Chiron matures, he comes to the realization that the color blue in the moonlight can be explored to its full potential. Through his encounter on the beach, Chiron’s feelings were approved by his friend, Kevin. Chiron finally is enveloped with love from within. The conversation between Juan and Chiron at the beach assist in your examination of queer cinema satisfying our need for acceptance. How can we examine the process of internalizing queer cinema as individuals avoiding labels?

Eric Hahn
Eric Hahn

Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Steen! I hadn’t made that connection between the PA films and It Follows but since you’ve brought it up I am now planning a PA binge (full disclosure, I’ve only seen the first one). I especially like the way you’re opening up this idea of reading a closed-off future potentiality across a series of films which is, admittedly, something I had not considered!

Eric Hahn

Great post, this is really fascinating! I’m always a bit hesitant to fully embrace the marketing of “slowness” as a counter to “speed-up” culture particularly because I would argue that both terms create a false sense of an embedded and ubiquitous social time that, to me, seems a bit problematic. I think what really interests me here is the possibility of reading this mediated “slow time” as a sort of biopolitical mechanism, essentially a virtual slow vacation that still allows one to stay firmly positioned within his or her particular economically and politically determined temporal space. I can imagine someone working a 12-hour shift, coming home and watching this as a nice refresher to boost his or her spirits for the next grueling shift! Not to mention the massive labor infrastructure that must be undergirding this whole production. How many production technicians and vehicle operators were pulling all-nighters (I might be getting a bit carried away here) to allow for a select audience, who have “expendable” time, to engage in this slow power tourism? Sorry if this comes off as rambling, it’s been a long day ;) Really wonderful post!

Eric Hahn

Really cool argument, I appreciate it a lot. The “dragging formal time” that you argue for is, I think, also present in the Paranormal Activity movies, where there is a similar dread of durée. Because so little happens, we project fear into the empty frame.

Interestingly, in connection to your argument about being cut off from future potentiality, the many sequels to Paranormal Activity are mostly prequels, thus going further into the past, rather than develop “more future.”

Also, although not presented through derelict buildings and urban blight, the PA movies also confront economic decay and collapse. So, despite these movies being very different from each other (It Follows and Paranormal Activity), it seems to me that there is both a formal and thematic overlap.

Andrew Kemp

Very interesting piece. Sports seem to both embrace and argue against the primacy of statistics and numbers, with the opposite position being “you have to play the game.” Numbers are being used to turn athletes into tradeable and salable commodities, and perhaps not coincidentally, this rose to prominence in front offices (at least in baseball) around the time that player free agency, and particularly salary arbitration, became more common. Numbers give people a way to point to the math, as if it can’t lie. But who builds the metrics?

This also reminds me of a conversation I heard the other day. I’ve been looking at wrestling video games, and I found an interview where Bret Hart, a long-retired pro wrestler, was complaining that Triple H had a much higher set of logistical numbers in a recent wrestling game release. Hart couldn’t believe he had been judged lower than Triple H—“he can’t lace my boots.” Nobody brought up, of course, that he was complaining about a fake set of numbers for a staged performance sport.

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Andrew Kemp

This fascinates me as well, particularly in complex sports where realism is in direct competition with intuitive playability. I remember playing some of these older baseball games, and being wowed at the then-stunning graphics of, say, “One on One: Dr. J vs. Larry Bird,” which was remarkable for its time. Would it fair to say that sports games were an early driver of video game realism? I can’t think of another genre that was so interested so quickly in getting it “correct.”

Andrew Kemp

I’m curious about this notion of “monuments,” which sort of suggests a kind of stasis or preservation of the past athlete, which is certainly part of the appeal and also a bit uncanny. But I’m wondering about games that integrate these classic players in with the modern day equivalents, especially as most games use canned animations for particular situations. For example, is there a game where Ted Williams is playable, but when he hits a towering home run, he’s puppeted by a cocky, bat-flipping animation that he never would have performed in his time. Or, on the other side, what does it mean to include Ty Cobb in your baseball game and not pair him with the kinds of animations that depict his dirty play?

Andrew Kemp

It seems as if embracing the Tiny Titan, especially after it was found to be popular with fans, is an interesting example of how fan cultivation and audience retention methods have shifted. Surely the preferred method for the studio would be to ignore the mistake, or try to pretend it never happened, but that’s a losing strategy in the era of ubiquitous fan conversation in subreddits and so forth. It’s a comical goof, but it speaks to a larger industry strategy of allowing off-brand “warts” to become part of their ongoing relationship with their consumers. IE, sometimes the fans dictate what’s “in-brand” now, and the companies have to make the smart play and go with it.