Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Scripture Reading

My third film came in the mail yesterday, but we couldn't find our mail key in order to get it. In the end it didn't make a lot of difference because Julia and I spent the entire night trying to apply for a scholarship for our field study. The deadline was 11pm, but the website was terribly overloaded and running very slow and we didn't get them actually submitted until around 12. I felt really stupid for letting myself put this off for so long when it is extremely important for us to obtain more funding in order to pay for our field study. I don't know yet if our applications will be rejected or not. It sounds like they may give us some leeway because of the slowness of the website.

Either way, after that whole ordeal, there wasn't time to watch a movie, so I went down to the end of the viewing list to see what else was an option. At the bottom I saw Brad's list of scriptures to read, and I felt that I could do with a good scripture read.

The scriptures I read included the story of the sons of Mosiah, teaching and converting the Lamanites to the gospel, as well as a scripture from Jacob and one from D&C about teaching with the spirit and with truth.

Applying these to documentary, when making a documentary film, we are usually trying to find, or show "truth." This is how it really is. The story of the sons of Mosiah I felt would make a great documentary film. In a way it is very much like a documentary, only that it is the written account of these missionaries and what they did in the land of the Lamanites. You have to wonder also, however, what the story would be like if it had been written by the Lamanites as opposed to the Nephites. What would they say differently? There is a lot of value that can be taken from seeing things from more than one angle. Yet I feel like Mormon must have done a pretty good job at writing this story because of the amount of spirit that is contained within it. The other scriptures teach that the spirit will manifest the truth, and that when good and true things are taught, they will edify the learner. I feel very edified by the story of the sons of Mosiah and I feel the spirit very strongly in certain parts, which testifies to me that this story is good and probably as close to the truth as Mormon could possibly get it.

These scriptures have also motivated me to strive for goodness and truth in my own work, and not to settle for something less. I feel like the scriptures give me a challenge not to call a piece of work finished until I feel that it teaches something good, that it uses the spirit, and edifies the viewer.

No End In Sight

Me and Julia watched this film last night. It talks about the war in Iraq from its beginning until now, and suggests that things are only getting worse and worse.

I think that it was good for me to see this because I feel like I knew very little about the war prior to watching this film. I didn't know the history, or what America was doing to try and help the country. Well, according to this film, we haven't really helped the country at all. What America advertised as "a war on terrorism" really turned out to be more of a war on Saddam Hussain according to this film. However, Iraqis did welcome this help and were glad to be rid of this man. The real problem came afterward when America stood by and let, and even helped the country destroy itself. From what this film said, it seemed like a few American individuals were given way too much power and then they used it to make terrible mistakes, not listening to the experts or heeding their advice. Now, in interviews with Iraqis they will tell you that things are much worse than when Hussain was in power.

The film is definitely very one sided and the filmmaker's goal is obvious. I felt a little bad for one of the men the director interviewed who he constantly attacked again and again without giving the man a lot of chance to defend himself. He would get dirt about the guy from another interviewee and then use it to go back and attack the guy again. He makes other people look bad also by saying they refused to be interviewed for the film, but it I was one of those people, and I knew I'd made even the smallest mistake, and I knew anything about what the filmmaker was trying to do, I wouldn't have agreed to an interview either.

Stylistically, I felt it was very well edited and organized. I could follow the story and the issues pretty well and even keep track of who was who for the most part. I also took note of the lighting in interviews and saw their use of three or four point lighting.

As I said, I think this was a good film for me to watch, because before I knew very little about the subject, but now I feel like I need to watch or read more about the war so that this film is not the only thing instructing me. It definitely has its angle, and it would be good to see it through a few more angles.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Who Killed the Electric Car

My wife and I watched "Who Killed the Electric Car" last night. The basic premise is that in the 90s and early 2000s, these really great electric cars started to appear in California. They were environmentally friendly, fast, quiet, affordable, easy to take car of, and people who drove them loved them, but all of a sudden car companies stopped making them, took back the models they had already built, and destroyed them. This film looked at all the different factors that influenced this death of the electric car. They were very thorough in looking at all the different factors, and in the end didn't single out one culprit, but instead named many that all influenced this car's downfall.

The style leaned towards being a talking head film, but there was also a lot of really great footage they layed over the talking. Obviously there was a lot of footage of electric cars driving around and being operated, but there was also some really great acquired footage such as film of the very first electric cars (made way-back-when around the Model-T days), a Late Night interview with Tom Hanks talking about his electric car, and protesters having a funeral for their cars and then trying to stop GM motors from towing away the last of the electric cars. By far one of the coolest things they did though, was when they were initially trying to figure out what car companies were doing with the cars they were taking back, the filmmaker rented a helicopter and they flew over GM's vast property and found the cars all crushed and in piles.

The film did a great job of speaking to me and my wife, because as soon as it was over, we started looking up what electric cars were available now. We only found two, and were only excited about one, but at least that's a start. We also found a news article about Obama saying he wanted to have a million people driving electric cars by 2012, but that it probably wouldn't happen because car companies said there wasn't demand for them (the exact same thing they said in the film). But I had never heard of these cars. They're not really advertising them or even trying to sell them because they don't want to make them. It was crazy to have just finished the film and then see what they were talking about in action.

One last thing, even though this is probably over a page by now, something I did not like was that the film was extremely one sided. Pretty much everyone who was interviewed in the film was an electric car lover. There were just a few opposing arguments made, but they were mostly made out to be dumb or ignorant. It would have been interesting to interview someone from GM and see what they said was their reasoning for getting rid of the cars.

Overall though, I really liked the film and I think this is a very important subject that needs to be addressed. America keeps looking for an alternative to gas to decrease our dependence on foreign oil. We're trying to invent new cars that will solve this problem when we've already invented a solution. The only problem is it keeps getting killed off.