Friday, January 25, 2008

Taking a Look at "In This World"

When the topic of transparency came up this week in class I thought instantly of the film In This World I had recently seen to help with my understanding of the concept. Although discussed in class, I thought it was an interesting point raised and one that I shared similar feelings for. By merging fact and fiction, director, Michael Winterbottom’s television docudrama caused me to lose recognition of the medium at hand. In This World, which follows the journey of two refugees traveling to the United Kingdom in search of a better life, forces viewers to contemplate whether the story is indeed fact or fiction. Winterbottom’s dynamic stylistic approach and unconventional techniques such as location shooting, employment of non-professional actors, symbolic use of environmental space and incorporation of limitations of reality all make viewers question the authenticity of the film (Salmon 15 Jan. 2008). In using such techniques he creates a feeling of immediacy for the audience. Not until being told after seeing the film was I aware that actors appeared on screen.

After observing both the trailer for In This World and the film, I found Winterbottom’s methods of audience engagement to be conflicting. Winterbottom remained conventional in that his trailer created an emotional suspense using tactics of hypermediacy leaving audience members wanting to learn more. His trailer features gripping music, attention-grabbing phrases and magnified font to captivate viewers, yet re-enforcing the film experience. Contrarily, a different reaction is fostered when watching the film. A more immediate approach is seen, whereby viewers feel as though they are actually involved in the scene on screen. Such a sense of immediacy is achieved by actors failing to look at the camera, frequent close-up shots and the race against time perceived in the film. I question Winterbottom’s motives in departing from the immediate style of the film when putting together the trailer. I believe that by pursuing a more mainstream method of advertisement, in which Winterbottom neglected to portray the level of immediacy of In This World, he aimed to target a wider audience. This instance demonstrates the significance of advertising and the affect that it can have on the success of a film.

Salmon, W. Paul. Lecture Notes. THST*2500 Contemporary Cinema. University of Guelph. 15 Jan. 2008.

Click here for "In This World" trailer and clip:,2981310-100-wmv-s.5094199-114368,2981310-300-wmv-s.5094201-114368,2981310-56-rnv-s.5094155-114368,2981310-100-rnv-s.5094156-114368,2981310-300-rnv-s.5094157-114368

Click here for a profile on Michael Winterbottom:

Monday, January 21, 2008

Remediation in Everyday Life

As I passed the local McDonald’s on my way home this weekend, the concept of remediation came to mind. Bolter and Grusin characterize remediation as, “…the representation of one medium in another…” (45). Examples include the written word into print and film into television. Although by definition remediation consists of an evolving technological transformation, I wondered if the term also rings true when one medium – such as a McDonald’s restaurant – is torn down and then another superior medium of a similar nature is rebuilt in the same spot. The new medium is a McDonald’s in which large screen televisions, gas fireplaces and upscale paintings are present. To be honest, I don’t know why.

Although remediation consists of a technological growth in which two mediums are involved, I believe that this transformation is evidence of remediation from an atypical perspective. As both elements of hypermediacy and immediacy from the initial restaurant continue to be in effect through the menus displayed, Happy Meal toys served and the accessibility of the drive-thru, I believe that remediation exists under such circumstances.

Boulter, Jay David, and Richard Grusin. Remediation: Understanding New Media. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2000.