October 3rd, 2010

breaking bad

No Pressure

Richard Curtis' short film No Pressure, supporting action on climate change, has caused a lot of controversy. It has been withdrawn by the 10:10 campaign, because it has been so widely misinterpreted.

Here's a quick BBC online article about the controversy.

You can watch the video itself (that link's to Youtube, but it's all over the place).

My question is - is this film so ambiguous in meaning that it plays into the hands of anti-environmentalists? Or are those who misinterpret it being deliberately stupid? Or is this some kind of difference between the European and American (or left/right) sense of humour?
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What I think? The film appeals to a sense of humour which not everyone shares, and more generally it requires a tolerance of ambiguity. The message is hidden (but very easy to find) within the overt events. It is well known that more right wing and authoritarian people are less tolerant of ambiguity of meaning, more likely to take works of fiction as advocating the events they depict (cf Harry Potter). On top of that there's a deliberate affectation of misunderstanding, for propaganda reasons.

The meaning of this video is obviously not 'Yay let's kill people'. I mean, however impervious you are to nuance, I flat don't believe one person in the world thinks that Richard Curtis, the director of Love Actually, is saying OMG let's all go on a death rampage.

To my mind the meaning of the film ('if you refuse to reduce your carbon footprint, you are risking your very physical existence, for real') is pretty obvious? But do people making advocacy films have to appeal to the least brainy amongst us? Did Richard Curtis do wrong? Was this controversy deliberate? (I don't think it was)
breaking bad

Wittering on about telly

I've just been talking to kalypso_v about Sherlock. There's a nice sexy video using the True Blood theme here - a bit too much talky-face but as k says, there isn't that much footage available yet.

I will be interested to see whether the next season of Sherlock shows any Breaking Bad influence. I'm not predicting it certainly will, but I'll be looking out for it. A key sign will be if John gets beaten up and Sherlock goes nuts to revenge him. However John's a lot less vulnerable than Jesse, so even if they borrow some ideas, it won't be the same dynamic between the two leads (good but different is what I'm saying).

The next season of Breaking Bad doesn't start until July 2011, which is ages. They aren't going to risk repeating the make-it-up-as-we-go-along strategy of Season 3, so the whole thing is being plotted out right now. (ETA - sending psychic commands over to Albuquerque right now).

Viewing the last season again, I think the first six episodes are wasted, and then when they got the pieces in place in Episode 7 it just went bam through the ceiling. I know from interviews with Vince Gilligan that he noticed this. So he obviously wants to avoid any slack this time. Though I wonder whether part of the excitement of the last season was generated by that gonzo approach, where it did partly go wrong, and forced them into the make-or-break of the last few episodes.

The three seasons have been developed in three different ways. The first was planned in advance to end with Jesse's death and then plans were changed on the fly. Season 2 was delivered to plan, and as I say in S3 they kind of winged it.

An issue is that they know now that the Walt/Jesse dynamic mustn't be messed up, but that pushes them into a difficult corner about how to develop it any further. Aaron and Bryan are obviously playing it up, just like John Simm and Philip G did around Life on Mars. This is a very similar emmy publicity shot to this bafta photo. It will be very interesting so see what happens next.

As far as Mad Men goes, I am interested to see how episode 11 of 13 goes tonight. I am concerned that the current season is almost delivering final verdicts on people's life stories, and the dreaminess and uncertainty that everyone felt in the early sixties is resolving into much sharper lines and articulated moral issues of the Vietnam era. There hasn't been much exploration of what creativity is this season, and there's been too much teasing about who Draper will settle down with (yawn). I hope they - true to form - anticipate and reply to this thought.