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Reply to Alex_C25's excellent blog!

On 08/15/2014 at 04:09 PM by BrokenH

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Alexanjdro wrote an awesome blog on the dark and light sides of entertainment. Believe it or not, I actually agree! One of my favorite films was Grave Of The Fireflies and as animated films go it is a very somber affair. As a teen I somehow was able to get into “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Dead Poet‘s Society” despite the tragic moments showcased in both movies. Furthermore I concur Attack On Titan is a very good anime. Other macabre favorites of mine include Repo: The Genetic Opera, Devil’s Carnival, Wolf Reign, A Game Of Thrones, Rain-Man, Alice: Madness Returns (game),Silent Hill 2/3,Pan’s Labyrinth, Fisher-King, and Edward Scissor-hands.

I cannot tell you why these particular works resonate with me. Maybe it’s because despite not ending or beginning on an entirely happy note they still came off as sincere and genuine.

But I do think there’s a distinct contrast between the works I referenced in the first paragraph and something like Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac volume 1 & 2.

I’m still under the impression Von Trier wants to throw sex and human indecency in my face to shock me. I find it juvenile on account that all I have to do for that is turn on the news to see the real thing up close and personal. Appalling real life stories? They’re a dime a dozen, take your pick!

There’s a distinct difference when a creator builds something out of sentimentality and sincerity and when a creator builds something out of anger, angst, and the need to get an immediate reaction from the audience. (You could say the second person “tries too hard” and comes off as that much more immature because of it.) Metaphorically the first example is the quiet kid in the back who makes good grades whereas the later is the punk upstart constantly upping his depraved circus act to get the most attention albeit even if it is negative attention. (To the upstart a trip to the principal’s office is a badge of honor)

I realize in the art world there’s that beatnik-ish tendency to shower the upstarts with praise and to go into long ranting soliloquies about their “underappreciated genius”. But I’ve never been able to embrace that seemingly negative “kill the cat on stage” approach .

Can I appreciate darkness? Yes, but only because darkness is much more refined and eloquent than depraved shock value done just for the sake of pissing off the masses.

I’m not trying to imply someone like Von Trier does not have talent but I feel as if he wears his works on his sleeve and acts out in the worst possible way merely to convince us he’s some sort of avant-garde artist who is misunderstood by society. I could be wrong but that’s how the guy comes off to me. Yet at the end of the day it's just an opinion! Maybe there's something spectacular about Lars I cannot perceive with my limited comprehension!



Matt Snee Staff Writer

08/15/2014 at 04:22 PM

I agree.  sometimes, art needs to be tragic and sad.  But it can still be beautiful.  Von Trier's work is just ugly and hateful, and while I appreciate that is still art, it's not art that I am interested in.  The world is bad enough, we don't need people throwing shit in our faces.  Great art can reaffirm what's wonderful despite the terrors of the world.  



08/15/2014 at 04:26 PM

You echoe my thoughts exactly,Matt. Lars maybe a good film-maker but I cannot appreciate his style or how he portrays the world. That doesn't mean the man is wrong but I feel as if I have the right to disagree with him and dislike him. (Though maybe irl he is very nice. Who knows?)


08/15/2014 at 05:55 PM

Senpai Ben noticed me!!!!

Okay, joking aside, thanks for the mention and I didn't expect a blog response of you based on a simple Tumblr opinion.

I very much agree here, darkness and shock for the sake of it isn't good, though I can't put something else because you've said it better.

As for Lars, I can't say much about him because I'd never seen any of his films. Though who knows, Nymphomaniac is probably a sore thumb and maybe some of the other films do it much better. That said, he's very much known as a troll (he's was banned from attending Cannes after an inflamatory comment) and as far as I know, he has a big depression. 


08/15/2014 at 06:50 PM

The Cannes fiasco was over a nazi joke I think. Either Lars claimed to be one or made some off colored remark about Hitler. I looked up a bit more about him and that incident is still fresh in the media.

Regardless,thanks for the good read,sir! It made me think more about this topic and where I stand on it.

Cary Woodham

08/15/2014 at 07:26 PM

Yeah even though I've seen every other Miyazaki film ever made, I can't bring myself to watch Grave of the Fireflies.

Have you watched The Wind Rises?  That was really good.  i wish they'd bring it to DVD in the US.  It was way better than Frozen and should've won the Oscar for Best Animated Picture.

I don't really 'do' dark and depressing.  The most 'dark and serious' game series I play is Soul Calibur and that's it.  Everything else I do is bright and happy.  Someone told me once I'm the opposite of Goth.


08/15/2014 at 08:45 PM

It's odd. I've always been infactuated by goth things but I do not know if I am goth myself. I certainly do not dress goth (though I enjoy Goth Metal) yet I can also enjoy genres outside of goth. The problem with being in a clique is it seems like you're suddenly not allowed to have fun with other stuff outside your chosen label. Where's the fun in that,Cary? Just continue to be yourself. lol.  

Super Step Contributing Writer

08/15/2014 at 07:47 PM

I like both, I just can't stomach too much of the same. I need things switched up every once in a while. I've always loved "dark," but Hollywood and film critics are making me start to resent it the same way you really like a song, but start hating it when the radio plays it too often. 

Variety, man. It's a magazine.


08/15/2014 at 08:36 PM

I see what you mean,Joe. However,I cannot always like something just because it's new or does something unexpected. Sure,maybe sometimes but not every time.

If I could enjoy everything that came my way that would be great but perhaps I'm simply not that open minded. If so it is my own detriment but I cannot help but to be who I am.

Super Step Contributing Writer

08/15/2014 at 08:44 PM

Not just because it's outside the norm, but because it does something to break up the monotony and does it well.


08/15/2014 at 08:50 PM

The problem is with pessimism though is it is already monotonous. Turn on the news or look up youtube and you'll find real life accounts about neglectful parents,cheating husbands,cheating spouses,out of control teenagers,people killing other people over the dumbest of reasons,and an assortment of other topics that can easily make you lose faith in humanity. As such what Lars does only adds to that monotony,at least from my point of view. Perhaps if the news media was sickeningly sweet,optimistic, and upbeat "then" he'd be breaking up the monotony... (I also understand movies and the news are not exactly on the same block but one of the reasons I like the former is that it is a way to escape from the later. Lars also isn't the only guy who does dark pessimism.)

Super Step Contributing Writer

08/15/2014 at 09:53 PM

Umm ... I was saying that dark movies get monotonous to me, cause that's so much of what's in theaters these days, and I like movies to be cheery every once in a while. I've never seen a Lars von Trier film. I think we're misunderstanding each other here somehow. lol 


08/15/2014 at 10:09 PM

Sorry,bro. I re-read your post and realize that is what you meant. Regardless, I wouldn't be mad at you either way. I think I'm just really used to many people defending whatever passes for "edgy" in the film world these days. 


08/16/2014 at 01:06 AM

The book on which the Grave of the Fireflies film is based has many autobiographical elements. Akiyuki Nosaka, the author, lived through the firebombing of Kobe that was depicted in the film. His adoptive father was killed during the bombing, his two sisters died of illness and malnutrition during the final stages of the war.


08/16/2014 at 02:15 AM

Yeah,I believe I read that biography at one point. Akiyuki wrote from personal experience and that's probably why GOTF is as poignant,warm,human,and yet tragically sad as it is. I literally cried watching it.  


08/17/2014 at 11:37 PM

I have never seen The Fisher King, but I remember my mom once mentioning it when I was still pretty young.  Does it have anything to do with the holy grail or a grail quest?


08/18/2014 at 01:49 PM

I haven't seen the film, but i've seen the info and nope, not at all. It's not even a medieval film :P


08/18/2014 at 07:21 PM

this surprises me, being as the Fisher King is closely tied to grail lore.


08/19/2014 at 08:35 AM

Super late comment, but you know me :P I loved Grave of the Fireflies too... and yes on AoT ^_^   um. just wanted to say hi in general as well, it's been a while, and glad to see you're still blogging ^_^  


08/21/2014 at 12:12 PM

I need to get on tumblr more often!

So you like Grave of the fireflies you say.....

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