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Artificialism: Anything but Realism
unpublished article, 1986


Part I : Contemporary Visions

What do these films have in common - Pennies From Heaven, One From The Heart, Querelle, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, Twilight Zone: The Movie, Bladerunner, Creepshow, The Outsiders, Rumblefish, Big Meat Eater, Never Ending Story, Blood Simple, Rustlers' Rhapsody, Supergirl, Crimewave, The Company Of Wolves, Brazil, Godzilla 85, Return To Oz, Lust In The Dust, Dream Child, The Purple Rose Of Cairo, Legend, Pee Wee's Big Adventure, The New Morning Of Billy The Kid and The Three Commancheros ? The answer is artificialism.

As much as fantasy is the opposite of reality, artificialism is the opposite of realism. In the context of film it can be summed up quite simply : whereas realism fulfils a prescribed desire for a particular appearance of reality, artificialism fulfils a prescribed desire for a particular non-appearance of that same realism. And just as realism is a voluminous catalogue of semantic and cinematic codes of narrative logic and photographic depiction, artificialism is a reclassification of those codes. In short, realism and artificialism are polarities of representation ; of the act of representing a cinematic reality - and all that concept implies.

A precise qualification of artificialism entails many things - all of which this article cannot provide. However this article can serve as an introduction to ways of perceiving this artificialism by marking its active and dormant existence throughout the cinema - revealing it to be a way of conceptualizing, experiencing and producing film ; voicing itself through a commentary on realism and working into and through varied cinematic practices . The fulfilment of desire, the act of representation, and their juncture in the cinematic text are thus as important to a qualification of artificialism as they have been in propositions of realism.

So far, it might seem that we are staring at the monolith of 'cinema' with neither plans nor tools for either discovering this artificialism or distinguishing it from the fundamental principles of realism and its own nature as artifice. Fortunately, we have a starting point : 1982, Coppola's One From The Heart. While history can only be written from its future, it can only be illuminated by our present, and One From The Heart - through its acknowledgment of film history and its affect on many subsequent films - serves as a film that makes apparent the cinematic origins of its textuality, contemporaneously (and superficially) percieved as a trend in high-stylization. It can thus be used as an epicentrum, nestled as it is among a rush of films (listed above and consecutively dated between 1981 and 1986) which took delight in exposing their artifice as part of their cinematic construction. From One From The Heart, connections can be made with other developments in the morphology of the cinema, and it is within and across those connections that artificialism can be qualified.

"....the wail of guitar-feedback...."

If there is any cultural realm to be acknowledged as an antecedent to this particular surge of stylization in the early to mid eighties, it must be music - in particular, Rock & Pop. To qualify this we must digress slightly. After the birth of Punk over 76/77 in the UK (and it is important to note punk as a 'birth' due to its violent attack on Rock as an historical body) the critical concept of a 'post-Punk' ethos had already started to take hold toward the end of 1978. If Punk was the tool for constructing the next phase in the history of Rock, then the possibilities and problematics of post-Punk formed the machine upon which that construction would so heavily depend.

The essential problematic of that construction was the image for a 'new' Rock. Punk declared its polemic primarily through image (its 'sound' was readily historicized into a meld of sixties garage and adolescent glam) and while musical options where up for grabs into the eighties (effected by Punk's desire to reclaim, re-examine and restyle the history of Rock) image options did not suggest themselves so simply - especially as they were required to connote a 'newness' which could be traced to the post-Punk ethos in preference to the more reactionary (read: not hip) threads of seventies' Hard Rock and its deliberate absence of image. It is not suprising, then, that video clips started to boom through this meddlesome period, for just as Punk affected the economics of record industries in most Western countries (reinstating the single as the primary sales unit ; converting Collecting into a more widespread consumer exchange level ; etc.) the video clip was the advertising saviour to an industry desperate to find a new cattle prod to boost sales. And (finishing up this hyper-elliptic account of Punk!) it is in the spread of the video clip phenomenon (as a cross-fertilization between Rock and the cinema) that we find the germs for the trend in artificialism in film.

The start of the eighties marked a new desire for a new 'newness' - that is, the fields of art and entertainment were visibly incorporating this desire into their manifold modes and methods of production. Whereas Punk was (in the theoretical sense) a social revolution that issued a mandate for something new in Rock & Pop music, film (an industry beleaguring under a 'dinosaur syndrome' not unlike that of the recording industry) found a similar desire manifesting itself as an aggregate effect of the saturation levels being reached by genre production. In this sense, for an obvious example, the hybrid of Mad Max is closely linked to the bricollage of Adam & The Ants 1. Both film and Rock were thus culturally intimidated, as it were, into a state of heightened awareness of their production modes. It was an intimidation, though, which was more inspirational than oppressive, as it nurtured an approach that creatively capitalized on the problematic. In short, the problem of being 'new' itself was made apparent and theatricalized. In terms of the visual, the result was artificialism - perceivible in films, video clips and all the space between.

An ambiguous prophecy of how artificialism would become an important feature of the cinema is to found in Scorcese's Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (75) with its opening scene of a young Alice dreaming of her future stardom as a singer. The setting is not merely a recreation of or hommage to the glorious set design and art direction of films like Gone With The Wind - it actually looks and feels like an MGM technicolour film from the forties. It is therefore not simply a referential scene : it is a cinematic effect, historically acknowledged. The effect is then ruptured by young Alice swearing in a decidedly seventies' flavour, after which we are confronted with the diegetic reality of the grown-up Alice's nostalgic daydream. As much as the film's thematic is one of coping with the nonfulfilment of one's dreams, the film textually supplants the production appearance of Hollywood's "dream factory" with the appearance of what Hollywood had become. Operating within then-current tenets of realism, Alice was viewed more as a rebuilding of a new Hollywood than a longing for the old one. What was surmised as 'nostalgia' in Alice's opening scene is today not as easily dismissed, as the notion of a "New Hollywood" of the past ten years can now be located in opposition to the notion of an "Anti Hollywood" of the preceding ten years. Whereas this dichotomy is ambiguous in Alice, it is fundamental to One From The Heart's cinematic experiment.

Considering this dichotomy further, one can note that the cinema's shift from attacking and rejecting the studio system and its related effects to a reappraisal of that same history under a contemporary light has correlations with the Punk/post-Punk transformation and its reworking of the history of Rock. This correlation is sharpened by the likes of Scorcese and Coppola, who have fostered many connections with Rock culture and production by experimenting with, respectively, musical narration and soundtrack manipulation. While this covers technical aspects from the intricate multi-tracking of The Conversation to the quadrophonic mix of Apocalypse Now to the aural montage in Rumblefish to the stereo rerecordings for The Cotton Club, it also includes transcultural ties with Rock subculture vis-a-vis The Band, Tom Waites, The Doors, George Duke, Ian Underwood, Stewart Copeland, Stan Ridgeway, Robbie Robertson, etc. 2 .

The Rock/film connections can be made clearer by localizing One From The Heart. MTV started broadcasting in 1981. One From The Heart is dated 1982. MTV globally exploded in 1983. These incidents themselves are perhaps only obtusely related, however this 'framing' of Coppola's film within MTV's growth indicates how fortuitously the film was timed. Whilst Coppola professed an interest in having the Tom Waites/Crystal Gayle soundtrack work like an operatic narrative (providing both mood and commentary), the foregrounding of the film's production design in the cinematic narrative is perhaps the strongest 'musical' aspect of the film. This can be viewed as such if one takes into account the extreme modes of theatricality which had been operating in video clips for the previous three years (remembering that Russell Mulchay, David Mallet and Julien Temple by this stage were recognized specialists in mega-budget pseudo-Hollywood neo-golden hyper-stylized video clips).

Still, it is not specifically within these relationships between video clips and films like One From The Heart that we can perceive artificialism, because what is of more importance is what both the so-called New Hollywood (including both industry brats and critical auteurs) and the so-called Video Barons (themselves forever on the edge of abdication) took as fuel for their construction of new imagery : theatre.

"....the smell of grease-paint...."

I intend 'theatre' in the broadest sense of all its possible presences and absences : its suggestion, its modification, its transformation, its negation. Its connotation as 'the theatrical' generally has worked as a dual contention in Rock and the cinema, working against strongly defined notions of realism : in film, the theatrical is marked negatively against the dramatic, while in Rock it is marked against the real. Inversely, film attempts to present drama without being theatrical, while Rock strives to depict and capture reality without being theatrical. In both fields the theatrical is often viewed as dangerous to the ideological status of their respective recognized forms.

The threat theatre posed to conventional and conditional notions of what film or Rock 'should' be was thus subsumed in both fields' tactic of (as mentioned before) theatricalizing their shared problematic of how to depict the new, how to appear new. (Note the tactical duality of 'theatre' here.) The initial scenes of estrangement between Terri Garr and Frederic Forrest in One From The Heart where the scenes themselves literally materialize into one another are breathtaking in their fusion of narrative seduction and textual clarity. The device of alternating lighting between two separate spaces bordered with scrims is basic stagecraft technique, clearly conveying the narrative effect of simultaneity much like a comparable method of editing in film, but its use in One From The Heart undercuts our expection of ontological rupture (trying to put the stage on the screen) by totally documenting its material effect on film.

This 'filmic event' is an instance of artificialism. What makes One From The Heart crucial in the trend of artificialism is how clearly it incorporates theatre into film. This particular mode of artificialism - one tied primarily to stagecraft - is also found in The Company Of Wolves (84), where the camera tracks from the young girl's bedroom out her window into the dreamworld of the dark woods. The tracking shot is used as a recurring figure throughout the movie to convey the phases of her dreaming, but more importantly, it is a figure not just of real time, but real space : a space that evidences the material world of its construction through stagecraft (i.e. art direction and set design). Filmic dissolves and narrative montage are deliberately foresaken for this type of theatrical effect. Fassbinder's Querelle has been the most often cited example of a similar theatricality, however its effect is more artificial in a photographic sense then anything else, being closer to the photo-tableaux of Cindy Sherman than either a hyper-erotic, semi-operatic reworking of Hollywood mise-en-scene or a textual fusion of theatre and film 3 .

Acclaimed 'visual'director Ridley Scott provides two offshoots from this stagecraft mode of artificialism. Legend (85) is a superlative - yet simultaneously empty - construction of a fantasy world, going one step further than the consciously childrens'-picture-book approach in Never Ending Story (84), Dream Child (85) and a film with a very telling title, Return To Oz (85). Indeed the implicit desire of Return To Oz - wishing for a return to the magic of the dream factory - coexists in Legend where the title 'legend' describes what the film-object attempts to transform itself into. As opposed to Story, Oz and Child, Legend's concern is in creating spaces and enviroments rather than images and scenes.The attention to detail in cinematographic panoramas of flakes, droplets and glints is fascinating in how it draws attention to its actual crafting - indicating that the time has gone whereby attention to detail (in generic reworkings) signified hyper-realism (eg. Heaven's Gate, etc.). Bladerunner's (83) form as science-fiction replaces an imagined world with a projected one. Its vision of a futuristic L.A. functions as the art director's complement to the script's mix of detective and sci-fi genres. The tone is 'realistic' but the visual bricollage of a future multiculturalism gone wild still conveys an extra-diegetic effect of artificialism.

An interesting correlation can be made between Bladerunner and One From The Heart, in that both realistically recreate (reconstruct) places which in reality are outwardly artificial : respectively, Tokyo and Las Vegas. Both cities engulf you in their artificalism, from the unbelievable fusion of the high-tech with the rural/folk in Tokyo to the incredible theatricality of the neon facades and interiors of Las Vegas. The films, though, astound you with their construction, disorienting one's sense of the inside with the outside and vice versa - itself a physical effect of both cities. The cliche of art imitating life rings strangely ironic in this case, as the cities themselves convey a stage presence.

While sci-fi form helps impregnate Bladrunner's production design with a plausible realism, the Cohen brothers' Blood Simple (85) features an artificialism which is dramatically realistic yet violently self-conscious. The ideal of craft is here transferred from the theatrical to the cinematic, showcasing accute rhythmic sense in cinematography, editing and soundtrack production. Its Texan-noir hybrid is on par with the equally improbable generic graftings of Mad Max III (85) and Bladerunner, but Blood Simple's tight and seamless cinematic construction (where an edit or angle can upstage an actor or actress) is integral to our seduction. In fact, the constructive process itself is heightened by a deliberately artificial and meticulous arrangement of elements : the synthetic booms of Ray pounding a spade on top of a freshly filled-in grave, Marty coughing up blood and the office roof-fan spinning ; the deft masking of two scenes through a single edit when Abby falls back down onto her bed ; the exact placement of a dissolve when Ray dips his finger into the blood stained car seat and the barman lowers his finger to use the phone ; the scintillating sound-mix when Marty first confronts Ray outside on the back steps ; etc.. The effect of such seemingly impossible precision (always tied to the mystery plot) is initially set up in the credit sequence, where realism and artificialism blur in what is either a rear-projection set-up of a couple travelling in a car on a rainy night restyled realistically, or an actual drive at night so heavily stylized it appears artificial. Blood Simple knows very well these textual mirages of film and theatre, and perversely plays tricks on our perception of their separation.

Other modes of artificialism are effected by playing with the translation of narrative forms. The Romero/King/Savini collaboration Creepshow (82) in itself is a small catalogue of artificialisms. In the form of an anthology (which has generally been a form where textuality can be pushed further than narrativity) it experiments with retaining a comic-book textuality within cinematic language. Without recourse to graphically depicting comic icons (as done in video clips ineffectively by The Alan Parsons Project and Jason & The Scorchers and more effectively by The Motels and George Clinton) or adopting a corny, hammed-up tone in the narration (as in Superman I, II, III and Supergirl - a body of films which owe more to sixties' camp a la the Bond films than they do comics) Creepshow accents crazy camera angles, askew picture cropping, dizzy camera movement and garish coloured lighting to literally make the vertiginous graphic spectacle of the comic page move and change on film.

Key influences here apart from EC and DC comics are some of Hitchcock's perverse cinematographic illusions like James Stewart's vertigo in Vertigo (58), where the camera work is a figure operating as a gesture with an effect which showcases figure and gesture simultaneously. Joe Dante's hommage to Chuck Jones' funky cubist style in his section of Twlight Zone : The Movie (83) looks similar to Creepshow, although its source is more cartoons than comics. Dante used a similar artificialism in the transformation scenes of The Howling (81) and the spaceship interiors of Explorers (85), as did Tobe Hooper with his spaceship interiors in Invaders From Mars (85) 4 .

Cartoons are definitely the main inspiration for Raimi's Crimewave (85), whose Cohen bothers' script is a conglomerative pastiche of Pop Eye comics, Warner Brothers cartoons and 3 Stooges shorts. Its rapid intercutting of fast moving action (most of it humanly impossible) combined with a hectic, multi-layering of sound effects recalls the most manic battles between Porky Pig and Daffy Duck. Whereas the artificialism of Raimi's The Evil Dead (82) is contained within the spectacle of gore to produce horror, in Crimewave it is contained within the spectacle of violence to produce comedy. Both spectacles are equally artificial as they are utilized to actually construct cinematic form in a generic guise, in that the outrageous violence of Crimewave is the substance of its comedy, and it is its nature as artificialism that allows it to work in that way.

While Crimewave deliberately looks fake in order to visualize its absudity, other films have simply pretended to appear fake - from the 'bad' mock realism of Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes (80) to the 'bad' mock artificialism of Big Meat Eater (84). Much more problematic - and therefore more interesting - than those post-Turkey films is Godzilla:85 (85). Consider the intitial problem of this film - the depleted Toho studios who once reigned supreme in the sixties had been planning since at least 1980 to remake the original Godzilla:King Of The Monsters (54/56). To simplify things (and Tokyo culture is far from simple to a Westerner) the Japanese were rediscovering their own American-influenced kitsch because America herself was rediscovering the tactile pleasures of a fifties revival, indicating that such a consumer-oriented nostalgia is really an American phenomenon which the Japanese were copying for their own social use 5 . The central problem was how to resurrect a monster whose very tackiness constituted his nostalgic appeal and transplant him into the contemporary sci-fi/monster genre. The solution - a visibly expensive production which deliberately looks cheap. Boasted as a Japan-America co-production to rival Dino DeLaurentis' King Kong (77), it failed considerably, although it has left us with an interesting twist on how to construct artificialism 6 .

Other forms of artificialism can be more easily rationalized within conventional frameworks of translation. This is usually so in modern fantasy-musicals (especially those of Ken Russell) however Herbert Ross' Pennies From Heaven (81) suffered a similar fate of reduction to One From The Heart, because the nature of their artificialism within their contemporary reworkings of the musical genre was presumed to be no more than an evitable signification of modernity. Pennies From Heaven is often dismissed as a basic cinematic translation of Dennis Potter's TV mini-series, centering on the script's themes and their 'unconventional' handling. But the film version is brimful of an artificialsim as rich as that of One From The Heart. If translation be the case, it is a full transformation of thematic premise into cinematic effect, where the materiality of the film text conveys the rupture-effects rather than simply representing them as jolts in the narrative, diegetically held together by the musical's inherent fantastic form.

Amidst the wonderful confusion of allusions to Busby Berkeley and Edward Hopper and the amiguity of Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters, two scenes are of note : when the tramp performs the title song in the diner, and when Martin materializes into Top Hat on the screen. Perhaps even more than One From The Heart, Pennies From Heaven theatricalizes the technical production of film language, with characters lip-synching pre-recordings, camera pans and tracks physically defining (and magically expanding) the characters' space, and set designs collapsing in and breaking apart to move the narrative along. In fact, the film probably theatricalized its mechanisms too much, turning such scenes into glib self-reflexivity which audiences digested much better within the sardonic framework of Woody Allen's The Purple Rose Of Cairo (85) (a film whose theatricality works more as an absudist revision of Robbe Grillet's self-enveloping scenarios) 7 . Fortunately, Pennies From Heaven is much more than a camp hommage (like Lust In The Dust, 85) or a self-reflexive comedy (like Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, 82): its knowing mix of materiality with texuality in some ways perhaps defined the region for experiments in artificialism undertaken by Coppola one year later.

Of course One From The Heart should be seen in tandem with Rumblefish and The Outsiders (both 83) as they form the triumvirate which declared Zoetrope's venture in discovering a cinematic 'newness'. As a group of films, then, many relations become apparent. One can subdivide their artificialism along visual lines, positing Heart's expressionism against Rumblefish's impressionism against Outsiders' social realism. (These qualifications refer to the films' combination of tone and style rather than their visual surface.) Materially, the experiment is centered on production design (Heart), cinematography (Rumblefish) and art direction (Outsiders), and accordingly their artificialism can be found in those areas.

Rumblefish is a dense body of quotation of fine art photography and innumerable strands of B&W cinematography, and it is the distillation of such a pluralist and eclectic range of photographic influences that accounts for the film's hyper-stylization. While Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore pinpoints its references, Rumblefish foregrounds the role of cinematography by invoking its whole history for referential consideration - another peculiar twist on 'theatricalizing the problematic of looking new'. The Outsiders is even more complex because it centres on art direction - the area in film which most readily offers itself up to semiological interpretation due to its role in providing the visual and visceral substance of a film's symbolism. The Outsiders is a struggle between realistic visualization and artificial visualization. As such, it is not unlike a weird fusion of Tim Hunter's Tex (82) (the first S.E.Hinton screen adaptation, produced by Disney) and Charles Laughton's Night Of The Hunter (55) (itself a thick blend of painting styles from Germanic expressionist nightmares to Americana frontier landscapes) when one compares the domestic fights in the kids' homes to their haunting flight along the river 8 . While this kind of artificialism is effectively played for laughs in The Three Commancheros (86) in the campfire scene with its unbelievable dusk, The Outsiders just as successfully presents it as a serious, rich experiment in art direction.

Touted as a brave experiment of artistic endeavour against the ignorance of studio executives, Terry Gillam's Brazil (85) is so blunt, bland and blatant in its artificialism one wonders what all the fuss was about. If anything it proved yet again how only the most obvious strategy has a voice within the film industry. Its production design was and is about as inventive as the thousand-and-one clubs around the world decked out in Corinthian columns - obviously 'looking new' in the right manner but with little awareness of their own design. Its fusion of 'old with new' (retro-chic computers, etc.) had already been handled in more original terms in Bladerunner (83) where neon and steam symbolized the vapourous nature of cultural transmission, and Videodrome (83) where flesh and metal symbolized the ideological conflict between both technological modes and sexual mores. The fact that Brazil constructs its theatrical fantasy around dreams (the most overworked scenic motif in video clips) without any real sense of perversity (as in Craven's Nightmare On Elm Street, 85) surely leaves it to exemplify only the shallow end of artificialism.

If Brazil is shallow, Pee Wee's Big Adventure (85) is suprisingly deep. Like Brazil, Pee Wee opens with a dream sequence, but whereas Brazil flattens the vision of the veiled goddess with the living nightmare of a futuristic mega-beurocracy, Pee Wee's reality is more sumptuous, more marvellous and more exuberant then his dream of winning the tour de France on his beautiful bicycle. Just as Pee Wee Herman - the character - appears inseparable from his real-life actor Paul Reubens, Pee Wee's house in the film is like a hyper-artificial world (yes, hyper-artificial!) realistically depicted as, fantastically, clustered among 'normal' suburban houses on the block. The scene of Pee Wee waking up in the morning/washing/fixing breakfast defies description, immersed as he is in a fantastic yet materially present world of fifties' utopian trash and kitsch (featuring the most amazing array of fifties' domestic hardware and kiddie toys you'll ever gulp down in ten minutes).The house's design is arguably hip, but somehow the film incorporates Pee Wee into the text as an obsessive collector of fifties' paraphernalia, a lunatic living in his own dream world, and a child who is - and this is pure fantasy - able to demand, construct and live out his every desire.

Recalling the 'alien effect' of comedians like Groucho Marx and Robin Williams' "Mork" (where their jokes work on a plane totally disconnected from their diegetic realms), nobody in Pee Wee reacts to him how the audience does - that is, in bewilderment. It is a relationship echoed by Pee Wee's material world and its relation to the real world of the film : he knows his toys and trinkets inside and out, but cares little for the real world and its inhabitants, and thus spends most of the film tracking down his stolen bicycle (and what a bike!) because he believes what a fake fortune-teller told him - it's in the basement of the Alamo. There is no basement in the Alamo.

The actual character of Pee Wee Herman is artificialism personified - a weird, organic vision of the post-war American Dream. In fact, this film is a tranlation of the American Dream in the fullest sense. Beyond preppie, beyond nerd, beyond geek, Pee Wee embodies artificialism as a presence shifting through the film's narrative, which itself is intricately constructed out of Americana's quintessential cliches (the escaped convict with a heart of gold, the ghost truck-driver, the waitress longing to go to Paris, the fat spoilt rich kid down the road, the beautiful girl whose affection toward pee Wee go unnoticed , etc.). His interactions and encounters provide an incredibly wide range of artificial modalities, making this film the end result of Coppola's early experiments in theatricalizing set design into the film narrative. This film has it all : characters straight out of comics ; actual locations of 'artficial' architecture ; a playful symbiosis of film and theatre ; a foregrounding of stagecraft ; self-rupturing references to film and television history ; beautiful postcard sunsets ; a visual polarization of the new with the old ; highly stylized figures of camerawork and lighting ; retro-chic suits and shoes ; and an incisive slant on self-reflexivity. (This film is also very hard to describe.)

1985 so far appears to have been the peak year for artificialism, and Pee Wee's Big Adventure is the best - if virtally saturated - example of artificialism. One can start with it and work backwards to Heart and Pennies, or work from those two films up to Pee Wee, but which ever direction chosen one cannot ignore this trend in playing fake, looking new, seeming real - this desire to create and propegate artificialism. Anything but realism.

NOTES

1 I am here not concerned with the theoretical concept of the overcoding of modernist strategies ; rather I am pointing to the social and cultural origins of what we could then perhaps call a postmodern condition.

2 Coppola went futher, though, in many respects : he has used Waites fairly regularly as a transmogrified Everyman ; he directed Waites' clip for "Downtown Trains" ; and by filming S.E.Hinton's Rumblefish and The Outsiders he dealt with themes and topics close to many American teenagers' hearts - a tactic made even more succesful by showcasing the talents of the Brat Pack.

3 Interestingly enough, Fassbinder acts in the first 'movement' of Straub's The Bridegroom, The Comedienne And The Pimp (68) which reconstructs the acts of the Bruckner play as morphological phases of cinematic language, the first one being a straight documentation of a proscenium arch theatrical presentation. This scene - despite its didactic gesticulation - serves as an important comment on the textual symbiosis of film and theatre.

4 Perhaps a major influence in the latter two examples is the colourful production design of films like War Of The Worlds (53), This Island Earth (54) and Forbidden Planet (56).

5 Around 1982, Godzilla dolls were equivalent to Mr. Potato Heads.

6 Tokyo's bent on artificialism in its everyday culture is evident in its so-called new wave of films - the best example as far as their international spread goes is The New Morning Of Billy The Kid (86) - and the so-called new wave of illustrators - best represented in this light by Hibino's cardboard constructions. The Japanese connection, though, would be diserviced by anything but an article specifically devoted to its highly difficult yet unique appropriation and simulation of Western mass media.

7 Rustlers Rhapsody is probably the most intriguing though most overlooked example of a strange genric hybid of New Novel cinema and New Wave comedy of which The Purple Rose Of Cairo is the best recognized example. However the artificialism of this mutant genre is less a projection from within its textual construction and more the outward result of its given mutative process.

8 A more in-depth comparison between The Outsiders and The Night Of The Hunter will have to be undertaken at a later stage, because these two films in particular provide a bridge from the contemporary visions to the historical versions of artificialism in the cinema.


Complete contents of this page Philip Brophy