Lost in the Movies: Alan Clarke's Elephant (LOST IN THE MOVIES podcast #34)

Alan Clarke's Elephant (LOST IN THE MOVIES podcast #34)

When I looked through my archive for something to share this month, I was struck by my episode on Elephant recorded for patrons in early 2018, coincidentally around the time of the Parkland massacre. Since I may be covering Gus Van Sant's work on my Patreon this month, I was struck that Alan Clarke's British TV film is, like Van Sant's Drugstore Cowboy, a moody, lo-fi, offbeat urban portrait from 1989 - and most notably, of course, it shares a title, aesthetic, and undoubted influential lineage with Van Sant's 2003 school shooting film which also uses long behind-the-character tracking/handheld shots of people walking (which I compare to a video game perspective in my discussion). There are notable differences between those two Elephants, however, which I dig into. While both take inspiration from violent current events (Columbine vs. the Troubles in Northern Ireland), Clarke's film is grounded in a more inherently political context which he defiantly refuses to engage with. Is that lack of engagement subversive, simplifying, or - as one of my listeners argues in a compelling piece of feedback which I share at the end of the podcast - just the recognition of redundancy? After all, Irish and British TV audiences of the late eighties were already bombarded with the details of sectarian conflict, and this presented them with an opportunity to engage on another level. In addition to that feedback, the coda to this podcast includes excerpts from a fascinating back-and-forth involving the critic Ignatiy Vishnevetsky and a commentator regarding Elephant as television vs. cinema (and the nature of audience engagement with both forms of media).

Subscribe, rate, and review on Apple Podcasts
You can also listen on Pinecast and Spotify
(and most places podcasts are found)


"The other Elephant and the art of context-free TV violence" by Ignatiy Vishnevetsky (A.V. Club) - I can't link directly to a comment but look for the one by "The Angry Internet" about halfway through the replies

No comments:

Search This Blog