THE OBENSON REPORT

Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

Tuesday Link City

Hurray for summers!


- A Few Tremors in Oprah-land - An article on Oprah's supposed dwindling audience.

- Dumb instinct - Sharon Stone says maybe the earthquake in China that's killed 60,000+ people is just "karma" for China's treatment of the Tibetans, which she is "not happy about."

- Former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro sort of endorses Barack Obama, calling him "the most progressive candidate to the U.S. presidency."

- "How Black Actors Are Written Out Of The Script" - One man wonders whether Spike Lee should be so concerned about Clint Eastwood's World War II films not having any black characters in them.

- A few words for independent filmmakers about the rapidly evolving distribution system: don't follow established patterns... don't play by studio rules.

- "If we are going to have a national cinema we have got to make stories which arise from our islands. What we do most of the time is make sub-American nonsense. The American template is very often lousy – why do we want to imitate it?" One UK filmmaker laments... although I'm sure these words could be spoken by mouths from other nations as well... imagine if every country adopted China's stance and limited the number of Hollywood films that landed on their shores, and instead strongly encouraged a local film industry.

- So what’s the truth behind those “Sex and the City” posters banned in Jerusalem? - I suddenly feel like yawning... but while we're on the subject...

- SCAMMED: A mega "Sex and the City" fan paid $19,000 on eBay for passes to the "Sex and the City" premiere and party in New York City tonight - but the tickets apparently never existed. Somehow, I don't feel sorry for her :o)

And that's news to me...

7 comments:

  1. UK Black Chick aka Wendy said...
     

    I think the rumours of Oprah's death have been greatly exaggerated - a case of media schadenfraude if I ever saw one, except there's not much misfortune to laugh at. How many media moguls or shows would be made up by the dwindling figures she still commands? Seems there's a few out there trying to make something of the fact that the poor little black girl made superlatively good is STILL making good. Why, the uppity...!

    Re. the advice to Independent filmmakers not to follow established patterns/studio rules: Well, d'uh!

    I'd have to agree with Mr Davies' general sentiment. The British film industry's (sorry, while I giggle) stock in trade seems to be really bad comedies or 'typically British' (read embarrassingly caricatured) themed tales (usually period pieces and very often, of late, starring one Ms Knightley) that Americans might like. The odd gem here and there, but not anywhere near enough to get excited about.

    Yay!! Sex And The City!!! Sorry, couldn't resist.

    :P

    For us ladies, partcularly for those of us of a certain age, the TV series was a breath of fresh air (well, as fresh as Manhattan air can get). I'll be going to see the movie this weekend, with girlfriends, and then going for cocktails afterwards!

    :)

  2. The Obenson Report said...
     

    "I'll be going to see the movie this weekend, with girlfriends, and then going for cocktails afterwards!"

    Scary... :o)

    But, ok, knock yourselves out. You might need those cocktails afterwards.

    Funny thing is that I've heard those same words spoken from the mouths of a couple of other young ladies like yourself.

    So, how about a guest review afterwards? Seriously! I'm curious as to how a black woman interprets a film that seems so unabashedly Caucasian... although I've never watched a single episode of it.

  3. UK Black Chick aka Wendy said...
     

    LOL! It's not about colour, it's about... I don't know... the glamour, the honesty (sometimes too much...?), femininity (and not the quaint, old fashined kind), the absurd, hilarious, sad truth of it all!

    It wasn't until one episode where Samantha dates a black dude that I realised just how 'white' it was...! I remember actually writing about it on my website (now defunct) afterwards. But I also remember visiting NY once in the mid 90s (second visit to NYC but my first as an adult) and being amazed at just how few black people I saw in Manhattan - not many I could identify with, anyway (they all seemed to be selling something sleazy, fake, undesirable, illegal or all of the above). Thankfully, the NYC colourscape is a lot better these days.

    But after Samantha's 'coloured' episode, I stayed on the SATC wagon because (a) I was too far in by then and (b) there wasn't anything else half as amusing or as brutally honest on TV at the time... nor since, to be honest, not aimed at women, anyway. And besides, some of your favourite films are 'white' so what's your point?

    :P

    But yeah, once I've shaken off my bellini-head (the official SATC drink is a cosmopolitan but I'm a champagne cocktail kinda gal) I may just give you a black-british-nigerian-gal north of 35 review.

    :)

  4. The Obenson Report said...
     

    "And besides, some of your favourite films are 'white' so what's your point?"

    I thought about that as well actually, before posting my initial comment. I don't know... for some reason SATC, or even once popular shows like "Friends" and "Frasier" seem to have this indescribable, unapologetic "whiteness" to them compared to certain films I like. Or maybe it's more of a class thing than a race thing... or some combination of both. But, oddly, I don't feel as detached from the content when watching a very British Greenaway film as I do watching something like Friends, which I never quite "got." Or maybe it's also an art versus commerce thing - I'm placing a higher artistic value on Greenaway's films than I am on "Friends" or SATC, etc, so I am willing to instinctively willing to overlook its "whiteness."

    So, maybe it's a race/class/art/commerce thing :o)

    Worthy of research though. I'll think about it and post something on this later.

  5. UK Black Chick aka Wendy said...
     

    Re. art versus commerce, you're coming at SATC from the angle of it being some major show that was a huge success.

    For those of us who came to it early, it was a breath of fresh air - a gritty, urban (and I mean "urban" as in densely populated conurbation, not as euphemism for black culture) show aimed at modern, independent, ambitiuous, free-spirited women, and was very much in the spirit of a bold, unconventional, independent film screening at a small indie film festival - and it soon had its cult following. And, like all things cool, that following became less fringe and soon become THE de rigeur water-cooler topic for girls in offices all over the urbanscape.

    Don't forget, most programming for women before then had been pretty tame, lame and mundane, adhering to the traditional fairytale model of how women should be socialised - husband, babies, old age, coffin. Even the most popular women's magazines seemed to adhere to this model.

    Also, at the time SATC started, most people didn't even subscribe to HBO. It was a niche cable company with a rather small market share as far as TV viewing went, which is probably why it could, and would, show riskier shows that pushed the envelope.

    SATC was't the kind of show that NBC, CBS, or ABC were about to broadcast. It was raw, quirky, edgy... and yet managed to inject some glamour in there too!

    For those of us who were single, lived in bustling cities where you still, somehow, couldn't meet people... And for those of us women who were around the same age as the characters, ages at which our mothers had been married, had babies and been divorced, separated, or stayed married for the kids...

    In western cities, and even in some cities of non-western countries, we were the first generation of women who, almost universally, were not betrothed at a really young age, or who didn't marry their high-school sweetheart, who didn't have an arranged marriage to look forward to (or dread). So we have all this indepdence and yet... we're still looking for love, emotional fulfilmment and attachemnt.

    But there are no traditional fairytales that tell us how to behave in such an atmosphere of freedom! So we're all buzzing with the euphoria and frustration of being free - a double edged sword nobody had put into folklore and so we had no precept to follow.

    And then along came SATC and we realised we weren't going nuts and that, if we were, we weren't alone, or it wasn't just us and our small cluster of friends...!

    And that's why it's not a 'white' thing - because if white chicks have got it difficult, spare a thought for us black chicks!!

    :0

    Interestingly enough though, they have Jennifer Hudson in the movie, so they must have realised that the TV show's fanbase crosses the boundries of age and race.

    Bloody hell, seems like I could write a dissertation on SATC and it's impact on modern feminist culture!

    :D

  6. UK Black Chick aka Wendy said...
      This comment has been removed by the author.
  7. UK Black Chick aka Wendy said...
     

    Incidently, over here, SATC was picked up by Channel 4, one of only five terrestrial TV channels in the UK and the one whose remit was 'alternative' culture and lifestyles, hence shows like SATC and Queer As Folk (the original, UK version).

    It's not living up to it's original remit too much these days though. Mostly reality TV crap and American imports... Blaah!

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