JUMP CUT
A REVIEW OF CONTEMPORARY MEDIA

 

 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Many thanks to John McClure for thought-provoking conversation on Even the Rain, to the Jump Cut editors for excellent feedback, and to Kate Eggleston for valuable help with the visuals.

1. Bechtel is a politically influential engineering firm from San Francisco that, as Jim Shultz explains,

“has been responsible for some of the biggest infrastructure projects of the last hundred years, including the Hoover Dam, Northern California’s BART transit system, and the troubled Boston “Big Dig” project…. In 2004, Bechtel’s political clout was made even clearer when it was one of two U.S. companies selected by the Bush administration, with no competitive bidding, to receive contracts for rebuilding in Iraq, a deal worth nearly $1 billion” (15).
[return to page 1]

2. Jagoda’s historically-informed analysis of network form draws on the work of sociologists, military strategists, as well as post-9/11 cultural texts like the film Syriana.

3. In The Condition of Postmodernity Harvey describes late twentieth-century capitalism as marked by a shift from fixed, Fordist methods of production to more flexible modes of capital accumulation, involving financial speculation and increased mobility of capital across geographical boundaries.

4. Harvey defines neoliberalism as

“a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterized by strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade. The role of the state is to create and preserve an institutional framework appropriate to such practices….But beyond these tasks the state should not venture” (Neoliberalism 2).

Harvey adds that while neoliberal theory began to gain traction in the 1970s,

“The capitalist world stumbled towards neoliberalization as the answer through a series of gyrations and chaotic experiments that really only converged as a new orthodoxy with the articulation of what became known as the ‘Washington Consensus’ in the 1990s” (Neoliberalism 13).

5. Jim Shultz describes how,

“In February 1996, Cochabamba’s mayor announced to the press that the World Bank was making privatization… a condition of an urgent $14 million loan to expand water service…. Left with little choice, in 1999 the government of Bolivia put Cochabamba’s public water system up for private bid” (15).

Bechtel’s eventual ownership of Cochabamba’s water system had disastrous consequences for residents’ water bills. Shultz adds that, “rate increases…averaged more than 50 percent, and in some cases much higher” (18).

6. Networks, as a form of social organization, are also not new. A key theorist of networks within the contemporary capitalist world system is sociologist Manuel Castells, who introduced the term “network society.” In The Rise of the Network Society, Castells defines a network as “a set of interconnected nodes” (501) and argues,

“While the networking form of social organization has existed in other times and spaces, the new information technology paradigm provides the material basis for its pervasive expansion throughout the entire social structure” (500).

7. In another essay, “From Genre to Form,” Levine argues that the networked form of Bleak House resembles that of the long-form television series, The Wire:

“In both narratives, almost every character acts as a node in at least one network, whether that is the city, the family, economics, philanthropy, or the law; and the vast majority of characters in these texts act as nodes in two or more different networks…. [B]oth texts go to some trouble to stress that characters are less important because they are exemplary or synecdochal than because they play crucial roles in institutional networks.”

8. Jagoda attributes the term “hyperlink cinema” to Roger Ebert; however, in an online review of the film, Syriana, Ebert suggests that he borrowed the term from a “recent blog item.”

9. Immanuel Wallerstein differentiates between “core” and “peripheral” zones of the modern world-system, with “core” referring to the advanced capitalist economies and “peripheral” referring to the less developed economies that core nations exploit or plunder for the furthering of capitalist accumulation.

10. See Rachael K Bosley’s article, “Forging Connections,” for American Cinematographer magazine.

11. Paul Laverty has written the scripts for several Ken Loach films including Carla’s Song (1996), Bread and Roses (2000), Sweet Sixteen (2002), The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006), Route Irish (2010), and The Angels’ Share (2012). [return to page 2]

12. Icíar Bollaín mentions in an interview with DP/30 that Iñárritu left because he began production on another film, Biutiful.

13. Here Laverty draws on Zinn’s description of the Conquistadors chasing down Native Americans with dogs. In A People’s History of the United States Zinn writes,

“The Indians had been given an impossible task. The only gold around was bits of dust garnered from the streams. So they fled, were hunted down with dogs and were killed” (4).

Laverty also draws on Zinn’s account when constructing a disturbing scene within Sebastian’s film where the Spaniards use dogs to chase down Hatuey and his people.

14. Even the Rain pays homage here to Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (1960), a film that opens with shots of a helicopter carrying a Christ statue over the city of Rome.

15. Laverty’s imagination of Sebastian’s film relies on minor details from Zinn’s historical account. For instance, Zinn describes the Arawak Indians as wearing “tiny gold ornaments in their ears” (3). Here Anton improvises on stage directions for Sebastian’s film when he decides to pull at the waitress’s gold earring and inquire about where the gold is.

16. Even the Rain’s representation of the protests and curfew draws on events that took place in Cochabamba between January and April of 2000. Jim Shultz describes how up to 10,000 people gathered in the city square: “Many of the people were from the city, but thousands of others had marched long distances from the countryside and had been there for days” (23). In response, “The government declared an emergency and brought in military forces to quell the protests: “Constitutional rights were suspended; a curfew and a ban on meetings were imposed; and soldiers shut off radio broadcasts in midsentence” (25). [return to page 3]

17. See Thomas Dawson’s interview with Paul Laverty in “On the Side of the Angels.”

18. This is also one of the most self-referential moments in the film, raising questions about the ethics of Even the Rain’s production team. In an interview with DP/30, Bollaín mentions that her crew was self-conscious when making the film about whether they were exploiting the Bolivians. She adds that, “At least it was in our aim to listen to the people we were going to work with.” To this end, her team asked the local communities what they wanted by way of compensation. On a couple of occasions, the communities urged the filmmakers to not only pay the extras but also contribute toward the community as a whole. Bollaín claims that this experience taught her to depart from a narrowly individualistic mode of thinking.

19. “[O]n the afternoon of Monday, April 10, the government made an announcement. Officials of Bechtel’s company, who sat out days of violence watching it on television in a five-star hotel and insisting they wouldn’t leave, had fled to the airport and left the country. The Bolivian government declared the contract canceled, saying in a letter to Bechtel’s people, “Given that the directors of your enterprise have left the city of Cochabamba and were not to be found . . . said contract is rescinded” (Shultz 26).

20. David Harvey points out,

“Consent for neoliberalization was achieved through force as well as by producing “a fatalistic, even abject acceptance of the idea that there was and is, as Margaret Thatcher kept insisting, ‘no alternative’” (Neoliberalism 40).

Works cited

Babel. Dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu. Paramount, 2006.

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Bollaín, Icíar. “Interview with DP/30.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oliHeIto8PM Accessed Nov 8, 2014.

Bordwell, David. The Way Hollywood Tells it. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006.

---. Poetics of Cinema. New York: Routledge, 2008.

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Bosley, Rachael K. “Forging Connections,” American Cinematographer 87.11 (Nov. 2006). n. pag. Web.
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Castells, Manuel, The Rise of the Network Society. 2nd edition. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

Davidson, John E. “As Others Put Plays upon the Stage: Aguirre, Neocolonialism, and the New German Cinema.” New German Critique 60 (Autumn 1993): 101-130.

Dawson, Thomas. “On the Side of the Angels.” Sight and Sound 22.6 (Jun 2012): 44-45.

Ebert, Roger. “Syriana,” RogerEbert.com,Dec. 8, 2005.
http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/syriana-2005 Accessed Nov 8, 2014.

Even the Rain (También la lluvia). Dir. Icíar Bollaín. Vitagraph Films, 2010.

Harvey, David. The Condition of Postmodernity. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1990.

---. A Brief History of Neoliberalism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Jagoda, Patrick. “Terror Networks and the Aesthetics of Interconnection.” Social Text 105 28.4 (Winter 2010): 65-89.

Levine, Caroline. “Narrative Networks: Bleak House and the Affordances of Form.” Novel: A Forum on Fiction 42.3: 517-523.

---. “From Genre to Form: A Response to Jason Mittell on The Wire.” Electronic Book Review, May 1, 2011. n. pag. Web.
http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/firstperson/serialrip. Nov 8, 2014.

Magnolia. Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson. New Line Cinema, 1999.

Martin-Márquez, Susan. “A World of Difference in Home-Making: The Films of Icíar Bollaín” in Women’s Narrative and Film in Twentieth-Century Spain: A World of Difference(s). Eds. Ofelia Ferran and Kathleen M. Glenn. New York: Routledge, 2002.

R.E.M. “Everybody Hurts.” Automatic for the People, 1992.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kb3YdofwOm0 Accessed Nov 8, 2014.

Shultz, Jim. “The Cochabamba Water Revolt and its Aftermath” in Dignity and Defiance: Stories from Bolivia’s Challenge to Globalization. Eds. Jim Shultz and Melissa Crane Draper. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009.

Syriana. Dir. Stephen Gaghan. Warner Brothers, 2005.

Traffic. Dir. Steven Soderbergh. USA Films, 2000.

Wallerstein, Immanuel. World Systems Analysis: An Introduction. Duke University Press, 2004.

Wings of Desire. Dir. Wim Wenders. Orion Classics, 1988.

Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present. New York: HarperCollins, 2005.


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