It's no surprise that I'm not a fan of Hollywood Culture. From the basic plotlines to the melodramatic conclusions, everything about the industry seems Artifical. It almost seems like a group of Executives watched television commercials and made films that try to tug at our heart-strings. Some people like this sort of Plot-Induced Manipulation, I certainly don't.
That is why the Experimental Film Scene is so refreshing. In the Pile of Fake Magazine Covers & Manipulative Poster Boards lies an an Imaginative Painting. And while it's no guarantee that you'll enjoy or even understand this Painting, at least you garner a new perspective.
But how many times do we see Experimental Filmmaking tackle the issue of Media Manipulation? All right, it's a common theme in Art. But as much as it might be played out, it's still scary to think that regular human beings rely on the media to create their personalities & thought-process. It honestly makes the world a more frightening place than it needs to be.
Luckily for us, we can start to notice the truth once we sense the patterns. And nobody does a better job at this than David King, an Experimental Filmmaker from Austraila. He has created newest short titled Exit. The way the Film is explored can be represented as a perfect allegory for the Thesis Statement I just presented (Improper Thesis, I know). After all, doesn't the media make it seem like the end is always near?
Now if you watch the Film, you will notice that the main theme isn't the manipulation of media on our minds. In fact, the themes have to deal with the Mental Paranoia of an Old Man living in a Paradise-Like Existence. That last statement sounds contradictory, but if we go down the beats, you can see what can happen.
The Main Character (named Y) in Exit lives in a world where everything is peaceful & calm. Yet he remembers (or at least imagines) a world that is as crazy and unhinged as the world the viewing audience lives in currently (2017). It is clear that he might be bored, but there is more to this mystery than meets the eye. And throughout the Journey we see the Main Characters foray into Madness, Confusion, Doubt & by the end of it all, Death.
Let us look at the Critical Aspect of this Film before we even begin to dissect the values. One of the best parts about EXIT is how the Narrative Structure (or the impactful lack of one) mixes with the thoughts of the main characters. For example, in most Hollywood Films we would introduce the Main Character before we Introduce the problems he/she will have. An excuse I tend to hear is that the Audience must like the Main Character before they Relate to them. Or in other words, put a blanket expression of Joy & Fun before you introduce any emotional weight.
But as a Screenwriter, I find this tactic to be very Contradictory. For one, it's best to make sure the Audience knows what they are getting as soon as they start the film. You don't want to lead them into unexpected territory unless the topic of the film is about Exploring New Ideas. But the more significant problem is how most of these films use Vague Actions to specify reliability rather than showcase any sort of Visual Depth.
Luckily for us, David's Film does the complete opposite. It starts off by showcasing different News Stories in Sequence. It's a brilliant way of showcasing both Paranoia and the underlying themes of Media Manipulation. It's after this where we are introduced to the Mind of Y (you can see why he is named this). It's also good to mention that two other characters are named R & U (I'll let you figure this out). Rather than using Actions, David showcases the main
But the themes go beyond what the main character is going through. In previous articles, I mentioned how Experimental Films play with the Flow of the Film. It's a Tragedy that Experimental Films are the only Film Type that really thinks about Flow. But never-the-less, waves are a typical metaphor we use when discussing how a film moves. Unlike something like Asparagus, which could use a river as a metaphor, the wavelike flow in EXIT can be attributed to the brain waves our Main Character is going through. And because we are seeing Paranoia, the Flow of the entire Film is Jagged & Perplexing (in the best possible way).
One of the best editing tricks is the use of multiple filters. By doing this, we get a great glimpse into the uncertainty that the main character is going through. If we had an awful line of dialogue explaining this, the impact would barely exist. And even if all we saw was pure acting, the effect wouldn't showcase the uncertainty our main character is going through.
Now that I was able to explain why this Film stands above the rest, allow me to talk about the depth of the film's message. The First comes from sounds we hear during the FAST-Editing Segments. For every Cut, we hear a Technologic Beep Play In The Background. The Obvious Statement David is trying to make is how Technology can transfer chaos into our minds. But Why is this?
Well, let's deeply examine the cause of what Technology represents to the Human Race. For starters, we are always streamed with constant information. Now there is nothing wrong with this principal, and the internet has made the world a better place. But you'd be lying if you think the Internet has led to more peaceful minds. If you look around, Technology has caused more confusion. And the Internet has allowed people to lie to themselves about what the world is really about. Rather these lies are Distractions, Manipulation or sticking with your taught biases; Technology has led to a sort of comfort that is sickeningly causing the lack of personal growth. This, in turn, causes Paranoia (in some of us) as we don't feel like the world is growing in a significant way. In fact, you would notice that the world seems to be falling apart if you even glance at any Social Website (the truth is that the world has always been semi-chaotic, we just notice it now). This causes Paranoia and therefore a lack of self-worth. This is the Main Problem that Y is going through in EXIT.
The World that Y lives in could be an Allegory for Purgatory. And our Main Hero is obviously trying to get to the Heaven-State of his life. Now I don't believe in the Bible (and massively disagree with most American Christians), but I must admit that the Purgatory complex is an interesting one. You see, nothing about Purgatory is terrible in itself. In fact, one could say that it is very much like Heaven as in it is Peaceful. But Peace itself isn't what makes the Human-Experience a better one. And it's why we continuously strive for other-worldly assurance for our pride and belonging. Rather this is Religion, Political Ideologies, Sports Team or Worship in General; we feel better when we look towards something bigger than ourselves, regardless of the situation we are living in. This is part of the Confusion Y is going through in the beginning of the film.
The Flashbacks in the Film showcase that he once lived in a world that was more chaotic. But it also had moments that were far more impactful as well. For every act of violence, there was love. For every unfortunate death, there were wonderful memories. For every moment that made us scared, there were moments that made us feel like we conquered the world. Now that there is Peace, we have nothing. The Human Species isn't Satisfied with Nothing, nor should we. But we can use this opportunity to either fall into a state of Self-Improvement or Uncontrollable Chaos. And that is the Dilemma Y is going through.
Now, this is all great, but what does all of this have to do with my original thesis. How does Technology, Purgatory and the Human Races False Lust of Peace have to do with the Media? Well, let's examine what the Media Represents in a Modern World Setting.
A lot of unfortunate souls would think that the Media is just here to inform us & give us a different perspective. And in a better world, that is the only thing they would do. But unfortunately, the Media is used to make us feel more comfortable about whatever worldview we might have. It shows that our side is correct and that any opposing view is evil to the core. It makes the Viewer feel Proud while giving their opponents fuel to go against your viewpoints. It's a never-ending cycle that feeds into the Human-Condition of a US versus THEM mentality. And the quest for the abundance of peace is the end goal for both sides regarding what their goals are. Let us fight now so that our futures will become pure. Although it isn't shown in the film, Y clearly fell into that trap as a Younger Person. He chose a Side; he worked really hard to achieve the future he is currently living in. His entire life was spent listening to the Somebody Else's Message & never exploring outside of that bubble. And now that he has that Peace that we worked so hards towards, and finally recognizes the truth.
And these are some of the most significant messages you can get out of Exit. What is really true? What does it mean to live in a peaceful world that might be false? What is life all about? And most importantly, am I falling into the same traps as Y?
One aspect of the Film that I have yet to mention is the use of Y's Wife (named U). The Paranoid Messages he continuously thinks of comes from the voices of his deceased wife. Why is this? Well, most people would say because he loved her. But love can be manipulated, just like everything else. But one small detail that I really appreciate in Exit is how Y showcases U. You see, David (the director) could have just casted a Token Commercial Model. Instead, we see a Pleasantly Realistic Depiction of an Average Woman. She keeps everything grounded in the real world, and she might have been the only Person who was True in Y's Life up to this point. This is why he misses her. She wasn't just a love companion; she was his answers to what it meant to be honest to yourself. And now that she is gone, he has no-one to talk to when these problems come into his mind. She was the only thing that kept Y grounded, and now his mind is completely lost.
The last thing I want to mention is how the film ends. I won't spoil how, but Y finally discovers something bigger than himself. Something real that can give him hope in an otherwise dark existence. He found his version of Heaven, and all it took was a bit of self-discovery. You see the point of this film is about Growth. Y might be old, but that doesn't mean he still has more to learn. The Confusion and Paranoid thoughts helped him discover what he found in the end. And it teaches all of us that we must go down the Rabbit Hole in order to find the Answers to our never-ending questions. Safety is a Deception. Peace is nothing more than an innocent goal. We get better when we grow into the best person we can be. And honestly, this is one of the best messages you can have from watching a Film.
So do yourself a favor, watch Exit and tell me what you think. I purposefully left out a ton of details since this film isn't out yet (at the time of this Article Publishing). But once it does Release, I want all of you to comment down below. Discussions like these are what makes the film medium a great equalizer. Now that Y has done what he needed to, what will you do after you read this?
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