Every Incredible Scene is Real!
I think the general thesis of MONDO MIAMI struck me in the shower today.
I'm exploring many guttural things, many dreamy aesthetic things. But a central thesis has been loose. I'm just creating to create.
But I think the thing that ties all of the elements together is a conglomeration of ideas.
This notion of truth in cinema, and what does that mean - and does it even matter?
Linking the mid-century MONDO movie (an obscure & mostly forgotten genre) with contemporary "fake news" ... and, consequently, with the entirety of cinema, dating to its origins: with documentary feature film roadshows, with how the first documentary was itself a fictitious re-staging of life, etc.
And then what does this all mean?
This seems to be the PowerPoint waiting to happen underneath the surface.
An Untold History of Miami*
A Rant about Shockumentary Films
A Fresh Interpretation of Truth in Cinema
*The Miami history should have an agenda, ala Livy in his "History of Rome." He wasn't simply writing a long chronology of Rome, but wanted his readers to reflect on the character & morals of the early communities, of the strategic lessons (good & bad) discovered in the course of war, as well as journey into the decline of Rome's moral fabric leading to Livy's very day.
Because the truth is: I don't give a flying fuck about Miami.
But Livy used his definitive history as a weapon, with an agenda. MONDO MIAMI needs similar: something about Kurt Anderson's FANTASYLAND thesis tied with my observations of Ponce de Leon-ism... a little bit of regional Howard Zinn, with a dash of Adam Curtis obscurity wit, and bada-bing. Looks like I'll be skimming quite a few books between now & then.
THERE JUST ISN'T ENOUGH TIME IN THE DAY TO DO ALL THESE THINGS AAHHHHHH!!!
What is this new thesis?
Ultimately, that cinema began in America as a reflection of its ideal that everybody has a right to believe in any fantasy they want. Because of this right, the market for fantasies opens up in a way never before scene in the world & Hollywood is created. In Hollywood's first attempts to dish up & sell reality - the documentary film - it was always caught by the machinations of commerce & fictionality.
The commerce was an aspect of its material objectivity, and the fictionality was a consequence of the technical requirements to capture an effective image.
As the technology evolved, and the market evolved, so did the artform - and its representation of reality, which was always rooted in the same fiction as the origins of America.
Documentaries have never been real.
Every documentary has been a shockumentary, because America.
The Mondo Movie was the embodiment (literally) of the shockumentary condition of documentary cinema. It also represents the explosion away from reality that Kurt Anderson talks about in his book FANTASYLAND - due, primarily, to post-modernist philosophical movements.
In the 1960's, objectivity breaks apart & we get the sanctity of everybody's opinion & feelings over objective reality. At the same time, shockumentaries begin to explode in popularity.
One of the recognizable components of a shockumentary film is the fake-ness of its footage. Many of its most tantalizing & advertised segments are crudely made-up for craving audiences. They deliver the idea, but not the substance.
So many of the murder scenes in FACES OF DEATH, for example, are staged - or segments in MALAMONDO are staged just the way you would a fictional film, but it is presented as reality.
It doesn't matter, however. So long as we get our money's worth. That's the crux of the mondo metaphor. It reflects the bullshit of America: our grift, our scam.
We don't care if it's fake so long as it feeds something we desire, and we get our money's worth.
What can be done about this?
Probably nothing. Or an institutional effort (clandestine or not) to subvert existing streams of media. Or a new totalitarian media infrastructure which delivers cutting-edge content with a bias toward PSYOPS. (Of course, this probably exists already but we just don't know it).
For individual artists, the only route seemingly available to persuade the masses is via the subversion method of distribution. This means creating a work of entertaining media which hides among similar looking media, which is getting a lot of press & attention already, but skews one's attention in a slightly different direction.
Do this enough, and with vivid force, and magick begins to happen. But what do I know?