Hannibal: This is my sound design

This is a translation of an article that I wrote in 2014. If you speak Spanish, you can find the original article at Makimono.

Nowadays, there is a television series that stands out in terms of sound design: Hannibal. Its special attention to sound is glaringly obvious from the first scene, in which for almost two minutes without dialogue we listen to a disturbing mix of field recordings, electronic music, pulses, glitches, static, etc. that introduces us to the mind of the main character: Will Graham.

During these first minutes, the soundtrack oscillates between the real and the hallucinatory, echoing the ghostly influence of John Cage and Morton Feldman, of whom Brian Reitzell, composer and musical supervisor of Hannibal, says: “I’m a big fan of John Cage and Morton Feldman. I love when you have big washes of sound that come out of nowhere and leave tons of space behind them.” [Film Music Magazine].

Hannibal makes it clear from the first scene that here you are not going to find a classical orchestral soundtrack. The soundtrack knowingly confuses diegetic and non-diegetic sound using drones, dark ambient, and industrial music. “Reitzell’s work unmoors the viewer subliminally, forgoing the classical bombast of Shore or Zimmer’s Lecter scores for ambient clashes of sustained tones.” [A.V. Club].

This attention extends also to images. From the beginning, the directors decided that they wanted the audience to be “totally immersed in the world of the show: sound and vision.” [Minnesota Public Radio]. The Guardian said a few months ago that “it’s unlike anything else on TV. The camerawork is stunning … Colours are muted or oversaturated, characters appear shrouded in shadow, or even in silhouette. It’s also a treat for the ear, with Brian Reitzell’s score blurring the line between music and sound effects. The sound design here is better than most movies.”

However, the most interesting thing is that this treat for the ear is not just about aesthetics. The first personal trait that we know about Will Graham—a somewhat asocial professor who collaborates as an analyst with the FBI—comes from a conversation about the power of listening. When Jack Crawford—an FBI agent—points out that it is funny that someone as asocial as him works as a teacher, Will answers, “Well, I’m just talking at them. I’m not listening to them. It’s not social.”

When, minutes later, we meet Hannibal Lecter, we hear classical music for the first time, a piano that takes us to a more structured, elegant, and clean world than the criminal madness of the FBI and Will’s mental instability. The music is not any piano piece, it is the “Aria” from the Goldberg Variations. I don’t know if what we hear is Glenn Gould, but he is Hannibal’s favourite pianist, and also an obsessive-compulsive maniac as perfectionist as he is.

The two main characters are presented through sound, contrasting intricated sound textures with the impeccable control of the Goldberg Variations. Although the sound surrounding Will is complex, dark, and closer to noise than music, it is never chaotic. Will himself says a few episodes later that spaces speak to him “with noise and clarity”. This apparently contradictory description defines well the soundtrack of the series, a structured noise that relates to the idea that chaos does not imply disorder, but an order that we do not understand.

When Hannibal enters Will’s house for the first time without him being present, he plays the piano, as if he was trying to take over Will with his own music. What he plays are the first notes of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, a piece related to the form and content of the series. On one hand, it is a work that received adverse criticism for its games of tonality and dissonance. On the other hand, it focuses on primitive rituals that include the choice of a sacrificial victim.

Will’s dissonance… Hannibal’s sacrificial victims… Stravinsky himself said that his piece was about “the mystery and great surge of the creative power of Spring” [Wikipedia]. As we will see later, the relationship between Will and Hannibal will lead to a great tension that involves the creative power of Hannibal and the ‘blooming’ of Will.

Will and Hannibal come closer when they share a secret related to an FBI case. This introduction of Will to something ‘fishy’ is underlined using the soundtrack. The scene opens with Hannibal listening to opera in his office, when Will enters the room accusing him of withholding information, the opera mixes with the abstract sounds that always accompany Will. As Will’s anger increases, the opera disappears, we only hear ‘sound’. When Hannibal begins to convince him that it is better to keep the secret, the opera reappears, eventually triumphing over the ‘noise’.

Reitzell states that “There are many layers in the soundscape and very little sound design in the show.” [Film Music Magazine]. He means that, despite the complexity of the sound, they did not want to be dramatic, but to add meaning. “I’m interested in music psychology and applying that to the score as much as possible.” [Minnesota Public Radio]. Bryan Fuller, the creator of the series, says that “so much of what Brian Reitzell does isn’t scoring; it is sound design. It is psychological sound design” [A.V. Club].

The opening credits are the first element that plays with the viewer’s subconscious, using a short piece that musicologist Tim Storhoff describes as a mixture of “dissonance, distortion, and non-Western percussion instruments.” [T-Stor]. The richness of the atmosphere of this and other sound pieces has levels of complexity and low-pitched audio frequencies impossible to hear using standard television speakers. The series’ soundtrack is as elusive as Will and Hannibal.

In the seventh episode, there is a series of shots that take us from the vibration of the vocal cords of an opera singer to Hannibal’s inner ear. Hanibal is almost crying. Sensitivity, what moves us, enters through the ear. But not only what moves us, but also what sustains our reality and our life. When Will begins to confuse imagination and reality, he says “I can see and hear better afraid. I just can’t speak as concisely.” He is opening up, the problem is that the more he opens up, the more difficult it is for him to express with words what he feels.

In Hannibal, mind and life always pass through the ear. Will says to a disturbed woman, “If you can hear me, you’re alive.” This sentence is later related to the ear of Abigail Hobbs, an ambiguous character—victim and executioner—with whom Will and Hannibal develop a parental relationship. When Hannibal supposedly sacrifices Abigail, all that is found of her is an ear—Lynchian overtones. If Abigail has no ear, she cannot hear. If she cannot hear, she must be dead.

Abigail’s ear also represents an epiphany, it is linked to Will’s awakening, to the awareness of what is really inside Hannibal. The awakening/ear relationship is evident. Hannibal inserts Abigail’s ear into Will’s throat while he is unconscious. When Will comes to his senses, he throws up the ear, an ear that then appears again and again in his hallucinations.

When the ear motif reappears in the second season, it does so as a link to life. Will, accused of crimes he did not commit, sees an opportunity to save himself from the death penalty when someone sends the court an ear that indicates that the real killer is still free. “This ear you were sent is an opportunity,” says Hannibal. In the same episode, the tabloid journalist Freddie Lounds claims at the trial that Abigail died because she did not listen to her, “I should’ve listened to her”.

Non-listening kills, but also amplified or misdirected listening. When Will feels guilty about the death of one of the characters, he says, “Beverly died because of me. Because she listened to me”. Also, when psychopath Abel Gideon tells Dr. Alana Bloom that Will is not a murderer, but that he could soon be one, she is not concerned because it is impossible for him to kill anyone while locked up. Gideon replies, “Not with his own hands, but if he only had a little birdie to whisper ‘murder’ into a sympathetic ear…” The adjective sympathetic is used in the musical field to speak of ‘sympathetic vibrations’, resonance, an issue to which I will return later.

When Will whispers to a little birdie to murder Hannibal, Hannibal’s reaction after being saved is to compose a piece for harpsichord. “I’m metabolizing the experience by composing a new piece of music.” The harpsichord means control over his space and circumstances, he is recovering his structure. Hannibal is not able to finish his composition until he regains control over his life and his game.

And then, they both eat the little birdie. The bird is not Will accomplice, it is an ortolan that he and Hannibal eat after drowning it alive in Armagnac. This is another scene that uses the Goldberg Variations, this time mixed with the crunching of the bird bones. Now both are in control.

The amount of dialogues that refer in one way or another to sound is fascinating, perhaps because sound is formless and ethereal, two conditions related to the enigmas of the human mind. Will usually explains his feelings using terms related to sound, “I can feel my nerves clicking” or “All I heard was my heart, dim but fast, like footsteps fleeing into silence.”

Sound references are even used as a humorous resource. In one of the first episodes, when Alana shows up at Will’s isolated house by surprise, Will says that he has not heard her car. She answers, “Hybrid. Great car for stalking.” Noise reveals, silence observes.

This metaphorical discourse on sound reaches another level in the eighth episode. The murderer of the week is a musician and the whole episode is full of sound references. It is an episode that talks about music and its relation to control, death, and the mind. Play means to perform music on a musical instrument, but also to be involved in a game. Hannibal reflects: “Every life is a piece of music. Like music, we are finite events, unique arrangements. Sometimes harmonious, sometimes dissonant. Sometimes events not worth hearing again.” The victim as an instrument, life as a score.

In this episode, we discover that Hannibal is a theremin virtuoso. If the harpsichord has to do with control over oneself, the theremin has to do with control over others, functioning as a simile of how Hannibal handles everyone who comes into his range. Hannibal states that with the theremin one does not compose, but discovers, because you “can’t impose traditional composition on an instrument that is inherently free form”.

In this same episode, we see an unexpected fight to the death between Hannibal and the killer musician. When Hannibal kills his rival, he plays a few notes of “Aria” on the harpsichord, a sound detail that represents his extreme dependence on refinement and control. Hannibal is a killer, but his modus operandi is never improvised or dirty, all his movements are calculated, he cannot stand improvised, rough or sloppy things.

When the theremin reappears in episode 10 of the second season, a much clearer relationship is established between sound, vibration, and control. Hannibal and Alana speak, “A theremin is an instrument that can create exquisite music without ever needing to be touch, but it requires the rare gift of perfect pitch to play properly … Feel the vibration moving through you. … It’s like composing in thin air. Thin air is the musician’s canvas. … It’s a very psychological instrument … We work with people the same way. Never touching … but guiding them from dissonance toward composition.”

Alana stresses to Hannibal that people are not instruments: “Whatever it is you’re playing (playing, with the double meaning of playing music and playing a game), Hannibal, you have to listen very carefully to what you are creating.” Hannibal’s response is a direct reference to the haptic and vibratory power of sound: “You and I went so long in our friendship without ever touching, yet I always felt attuned to you. ‘Attuned’, a term that means ‘in resonance’ or ‘on the same wavelength’.

‘Attuned’ refers to the notion of ‘sympathetic’, already mentioned, and relates to two Eastern concepts, the Japanese ki ga au and the Chinese ganying, which have much to do with the interaction between Will and Hannibal.

Ganying (‘resonance’) means stimulus and response, in the sense of an interaction that transcends the limits of time, space, and ordinary linear causality. Resonance implies a stimulus that generates a simultaneous effect on another element without direct contact. According to The Huainanzi, this connection is related to qi, energy, and is never arbitrary, because elements are more sensitive to the resonance of other elements that share the same form of qi. It is exactly the same phenomenon of musical resonance, which causes one guitar string to vibrate when another is played, for example.

Ki ga au is a Japanese expression that means to get along, but its literal translation would be more similar to ‘our qi match’, that is, ‘we resonate’, or ‘we vibrate on the same wavelength’. Hannibal and Will share a common wavelength, but while one allows himself to vibrate and resonate, creating perfect music, the other tries to conform to the score written by society, morals, and laws, living in constant dissonance.

The second season of the series opens with an episode in which Will is already fully aware of this resonance: “I used to hear my thoughts inside my skull with the same tone, timbre, accent, as if the words were coming out of my mouth … Now my inner voice sounds like you [Hannibal].

This resonance is not only evident through words, Will and Hannibal’s soundtracks are beginning to blur. When they have a first dinner more or less frank about what they are playing at, Will’s dissonance drifts into the “Adagietto” of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor, a love song that ends on a disturbing shot, again with dissonances, in which their identities are confused using a simple audiovisual trick that points in more than one sense to Ingmar Bergman’s Persona.

In this second season, not only does the resonance between Will and Hannibal become more evident, but also the identification of silence with death and noise with life. In the same episode in which Jack’s wife, who is sick with cancer, describes death as an inevitable silence, one of the FBI’s forensic scientists mentions that drone—the bee—ejaculations are so explosive that they are audible to the human ear. Here we find the idea suggested by Jacques Attali in Noise: The Political Economy of Music, “life is full of noise … death alone is silent … Nothing essential happens in the absence of noise”.

If in life nothing happens in the absence of noise, neither does in Hannibal. The soundtrack is there even when you’re not hearing it, with low frequencies lurking in the darkness beyond the frequency range of your speakers. Hannibal is a feast for the ears, a morbid fascination, a feeling that dances on the sublime… and, I insist again, on the ear.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, the boy who speaks through sound effects

Gerald McBoing-Boing (1950) is an animated short film about a boy, Gerald McCloy, who speaks through sound effects. The film is based on an audio story by Dr. Seuss originally published as a record for children.

The film was created for cinemas, moving away from the realistic animation style popularised by Walt Disney. The main concept was that cartoons don’t have to obey the rules of the real world. This, besides being original, reduced costs, because they didn’t need realistic drawings, but something more creative and expressive.

The animation studio behind Gerald McBoing-Boing was United Productions of America (UPA). The UPA had been founded after a strike by Disney workers in 1941. During its years of existence, which spanned the 1940s to the 1970s, its biggest success was Mr. Magoo.

As I said before, Gerald McBoing-Boing’s plot focuses on Gerald McCloy, a 2-year-old boy that, when he begins to speak, uses sound effects rather than words. The first thing that comes out of his mouth is “boing boing”, the sound of a spring bouncing.

Doctors can’t find a solution, and the other children make fun of him, leading his family to despair. Then a radio talent scout discovers Gerald and hires him as a foley artist—the person who creates sound effects for film and radio.

The short was so successful, even winning an Oscar, that the UPA produced three sequels. Years later, in 2005, Cartoon Network launched a cartoon TV show based on the same characters. In this show, Gerald still speaks through sound effects, but he has two friends that use standard words.

Some notes about the production

Gerald McBoing-Boing’s creator, Bobe Cannon, and its designer, Bill Hurtz, wanted to create a minimalist cartoon with little dialogue. For the original film, first, they sketched the actions. Then, they composed the soundtrack and they animated all the actions using the sound as a guide. Finally, they added flat and flashy colours.

The style is far from the realism of other cartoons of the time. The backgrounds have only a few lines, some of them are almost abstract. These drawings are influenced by modern painters like Picasso and Matisse. The composition uses forced perspectives and extreme angles, achieving striking shots reminiscent of German expressionist cinema.

Cannon had started his career working with well-known characters, such as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. He was one of the founders of the UPA and vice president of the studio from 1949 to 1957, a job that he combined with collaborations with Disney and Tex Avery.

Cannon loved ballet and he saw cartoons as a form of dance. When he designed his films, he thought of animation as if it were choreography. Maybe that’s where the idea of creating a character who expresses himself through sounds, rather than words, came from.

I love flashing lights warnings from films and TV shows

Warning: This film contains flashing images and stroboscopic sequences

This one is from A Field in England by Ben Wheatley. I remade the original intertitle that I had because it was a bit small for a HD video.

Due to Violent Content, and Flashing Lights with Strobe Effects, Viewer Discretion Advised

This one is from Hannibal, my favourite TV series ever (it’s from “Takiawase”, season 2 episode 4). The DVD doesn’t include this warning at the beginning of the episode, but it was there when it was broadcasted on TV.

Seventeen nukes and a microphone

Hace unos días vi un episodio de Last Resort (una serie estadounidense sobre un submarino nuclear que se niega a cumplir con la orden de bombardear Pakistán) en el que en un momento dado alguien dice: «You’re your own country. Seventeen nukes and a microphone, what more do you need?».

Ah, es que 17 torpedos nucleares no son nada sin el poder de un micrófono. Como decía Ivan Illich en El silencio es un bien comunal, «al menos que tengamos acceso a un altavoz, estamos silenciados».

Last Resort, temporada 1 episodio 9.

How I Met Your Mother

De las telecomedias americanas de los últimos años, no hay ninguna que haya visto tantas veces como How I Met Your Mother. Cuando menciono mi amor por esta serie, me suelo encontrar con dos tipos de respuestas opuestas: quienes la han seguido y saben de qué estoy hablando, y quienes no la han visto jamás (o han visto algún episodio suelto en castellano) y la tienen por una especie de subproducto a la estela de Friends. He de decir que, hasta hace tres o cuatro años, yo me encontraba en esa segunda categoría, craso error.

Personalmente, había visto uno o dos episodios sueltos de How I Met Your Mother —o mejor dicho Cómo conocí a vuestra madre, ya que los vi doblados— pillados de casualidad haciendo zapping en casa de mis padres. De entrada, era una telecomedia de tantas, sin mucha gracia ni demasiada enjundia. El caso es que tengo la costumbre de comer viendo series y no tengo televisión desde hace tiempo, así que en algún momento que no tenía gran cosa que ver se me ocurrió darle una oportunidad y empecé a verla desde el principio, en versión original.

Aunque los primeros episodios no son especialmente brillantes y el planteamiento inicial es el típico de cientos de telecomedias: chico conoce chica y hay algo que los ‘separa’, hay ya de entrada algo que la aleja del producto medio televisivo, y es una inversión de papeles. La mujer romántica soltera al borde de los 30 obsesionada por encontrar marido es él (Ted), mientras que el hombre desenfadado que se niega a comprometerse es ella (Robin). No obstante, esto de por sí no es especialmente interesante, ya que, a pesar de invertir los papeles genéricos, sigue jugando con la misma historia de siempre. Sin embargo, tras ver los cuatro episodios siguientes más por inercia que por verdadero interés, llegó Ok Awesome, el episodio que para mí marcó un antes y un después.

En Ok Awesome, Robin conoce de casualidad al dueño de Ok, el club de moda en Nueva York, y la pone en lista para entrar esa noche. Robin invita a sus amigos, los otros cuatro protagonistas de la serie: Ted, Barney, Lily y Marshall. Ted y Barney aceptan la invitación, pero Lily y Marshall tienen otros planes.

Aquí debo hacer un inciso para explicar que Lily y Marshall son una pareja más cerca de los 30 que de los 20 que acaba de decidir casarse, por lo que Lily está preocupada con el tema de pasar de la postadolescencia a la edad adulta. Al principio del episodio, Lily tiene una conversación con una compañera de trabajo de su edad que le explica el fantástico fin de semana que ha pasado con su marido en un hotelito romántico, mientras ella lo único que ha hecho es salir y beber hasta prácticamente caer redonda. Lily se siente avergonzada, cree que ya es hora de dejar de hacer ciertas cosas, por lo que convence a Marshall de dejar de salir, beber, etc. y optar por un estilo de vida más maduro.

Robin, Ted y Barney se van al club y Lily y Marshall se quedan en casa cenando con dos parejas de lo más aburrido que solo hablan de vinos, quesos, niños, hipotecas y Norah Jones. Por un lado, tenemos lo que ‘estás haciendo y se supone que no deberías hacer’: el techno, el ligoteo, el alcohol… y por otro ‘esto es lo que deberías ser/hacer’. En un momento dado, Marshall no soporta más la cena, la vida ‘adulta’, y se escapa al club sin que lo vea nadie saltando por la ventana del cuarto de baño.

Tras una serie de escenas que muestran de manera bastante sencilla y clara lo que es una noche en un club (tanto lo bueno como lo malo), Marshall termina tomando éxtasis (no se dice explícitamente, no olvidemos que esto es una telecomedia americana para todos los públicos). Mientras, Lily descubre que Marshall se ha escapado y se va furiosa a buscarlo a la discoteca. Cuando finalmente lo encuentra, Marshall está bailando como un loco en el medio de la pista, y aquí llega el punto de inflexión. En lugar de suceder lo de siempre, lo que todos prevemos en una serie de este tipo (bronca con tres chistes malos y moraleja de tres al cuarto), Lily y Marshall se miran, se sonríen y sin mediar palabra se dan el lote en medio de la pista de baile.

He ahí mi What the fuck? (me encanta esta expresión, y aquí la digo como sorpresa positiva) personal con How I Met Your Mother. Resulta que no solo hay un personaje que se droga sin ningún tipo de consecuencia negativa, algo ya de por sí bastante inaudito en una serie de televisión, sino que la conclusión, dicha incluso en un momento en boca de Robin con otras palabras, es que ser adulto no es ‘madurar’ para hacer lo que se espera de ti, es ser libre de hacer lo que te venga en gana.

Después de este episodio, me tragué las cuatro o cinco temporadas que había en aquel momento compulsivamente y descubrí todo lo que hace que How I Met Your Mother no sea un subproducto de Friends, sino algo que la supera con creces en todos los frentes, desde su estructura fragmentaria y sus juegos con la memoria (toda la serie es un flashback) hasta su falta de prejuicios y moralejas al enfrentarse a ciertos temas.

Evidentemente, es una serie para todos los públicos que no se puede permitir ser explícita, pero ser explícito no es ninguna garantía de que lo que estás haciendo sea mejor o peor, se me ocurren muchos ejemplos de series americanas con dosis de violencia y sexo bastante altas que transmiten ideas más propias de la edad de piedra que del siglo XXI.

La primera temporada de How I Met Your Mother está lejos del nivel de algunas de las siguientes. Por otro lado, es una serie irregular, hay episodios soberbios y otros que simplemente se dejan ver, pero no creo que haya ninguna serie que haya durado ocho temporadas que pueda presumir de ser perfecta, al fin y al cabo, nadie es guapo y listo los siete días de la semana… Quizás es una serie que en ciertos aspectos, aunque solo sea por su nivel de audiencia, entraría dentro del mainstream, pero en cualquier caso sería la serie mainstream donde el house mola más que Norah Jones, donde la mujer perfecta toca el bajo como Kim Gordon y donde Moby es un mero hipster calvo bajito de quien nadie se acordará dentro de 15 años.

Y otro día hablaremos de la lluvia, del tiempo, de la fragmentación, de la deconstrucción, de la percepción, de la memoria, de las slap bets, de Star Wars, de Indiana Jones, del sargento Murtaugh, de Robin Sparkles, de Sven… Y de los bocadillos, especialmente del de bistec marinado que resultó estar mezclado con alguna dr… digo, carne dura. Tic tic tic.

Is this what love feels like?

“Chemistry deals with the reactions between elementary forms of matter. Separate the elements, and you negate the reaction. (…) when some chemicals mix, they combust, and explode. (…) When some elements come together, they create a reaction that can’t be reversed. They transcend chemistry.”

Dexter, Chemistry (episode 7, season 7)

Cosas que veo

Un día de estos estaba pensando que no escribo jamás sobre lo que más hago, que es ver películas y series a cascoporro. No es algo que haga ahora, es algo que he hecho siempre. De pequeña, un año se me ocurrió ir apuntando todas las películas que veía, y a final de año la lista pasaba de 365. Ha habido épocas en las que si tenía dinero iba al cine todos los días, salía de una sesión y entraba en otra. Luego llegó Internet y ya os podéis imaginar…

Lo que me fascina no es la imagen en sí, lo tengo claro porque jamás me han interesado demasiado ni la fotografía ni el diseño gráfico, por nombrar otras dos disciplinas visuales. Tampoco es algo que tenga que ver con la imagen al servicio de la narración, nunca me han llamado mucho los cómics, por ejemplo, y me engancha tanto el cine narrativo convencional como el cine abstracto y experimental. También tengo claro que no está relacionado con el registro, la documentación de lo ‘real’ o ‘ficticio’, porque nunca me ha atraído el cine documental. En cualquier caso, está claro que hay algo ahí que me captura poderosamente.

Me enamoro de géneros, estéticas, actores, directores, personajes, épocas, temas… Este año empezó enamorándome de Sherlock, Steven Moffat, Irene Adler y Benedict Cumberbatch; luego me enamoré de Drive, de Ryan Gosling por tercera o cuarta vez, de Nicolas Winding Refn; de las persecuciones de coches; de Bronson y Tom Hardy; de Norman McLaren, como todos los años; de Robin Hood, Errol Flynn y las películas de piratas; de películas que he visto docenas de veces, como Dracula, My Own Private Idaho, Singin’ in the Rain, Thanatopsis, The Pillow Book o Forgetting Sarah Marshall; de Jason Segel; de How I Met Your Mother otro año más; de Komposition in blau; de las comedias americanas de instituto/universidad; de Hitchcock otra vez; de Ub Iwerks; de Indiana Jones otra vez; de Kick-Ass; de Don Ritter; de mis queridos Aki Kaurismäki, Guy Sherwin y Guy Maddin; de The Day of the Locust; de Chuck Jones; de The Driver; de Game of Thrones; de To Live and Die in L.A.; de Scott Fitzpatrick; de An American Werewolf in London; de Black Mirror; de Oona Chaplin; de Mila Kunis; de Tipping the Velvet; de las series de la de la BBC, Channel 4 y Sky; del vídeoclip de Oliver Brand para el tema de Senking V8; de…

Hoy me he enamorado de Hit & Miss, de su creador, de su guionista, de sus directoras, de su director de fotografía; de los campos de Manchester, de esos cuatro niños, de los asesinos a sueldo transexuales, de… y de… y sobre todo de Chloë Sevigny una vez más y de Jonas Armstrong por primera vez.

Hoy me prometo a mí misma ver con más tranquilidad y escribir más sobre lo que veo, o sobre lo que amo.

Watchings

Half Nelson (2006)
Ryan Fleck

Lars and the Real Girl (2007)
Craig Gillespie

Sound of Noise (2010)
Ola Simonsson, Johannes Stjärne Nilsson

The Shock Doctrine (2009)
Mat Whitecross, Michael Winterbottom

How I Met Your Mother, Seasons 1-6 (2005-2011)
Carter Bays, Craig Thomas

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)
Nicholas Stoller

True Blood, Season 4 (2011)
Allan Ball

The IT Crowd, Seasons 1-4 (2006-2010)
Graham Linehan

Drive (2011)
Nicolas Winding Refn

Watchings

• Arduino The Documentary (2010) [watch]

Dead Set (2008)
Charlie Brooker

Misfits, Season 2 (2010)
Howard Overman

Sherlock, Season 1 (2010)
Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat

Dexter, Season 5 (2010)

Breaking Bad, Seasons 1-3 (2008-2010)
Vince Gilligan

Sons of Anarchy, Season 3 (2010)
Kurt Sutter

How I Met Your Mother, Seasons 1-5 (2005-2010)
Carter Bays and Craig Thomas

The Big Bang Theory, Seasons 1-3 (2007-2010)
Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady

Inmorality

I’ve always been a TV addict, at least in certain sense. Once T. W. Adorno said “I love to go to the movies. What I hate are the images on the screen”, and I could say something similar. I love to watch tv. What I hate are the images on the screen… and the shows… and the stories… and… and… and… In fact, the last time that my TV was switched on was on July, and it wasn’t even me who turned it on.

Anyway, the truth is that I watch a lot of TV, but just TV series. I’ve never been really interested in reality shows, sports, the news, documentaries, etc. I only like TV ‘fiction’ —everything is fiction, of course, but that’s another story.

In the last years, TV series have change a lot, now they are much more explicit, and even daring, but there are some TV series that most people see as quite extreme or ambiguous that in fact are really moralist and reactionary. Take Dexter, for example, in which the hero is a serial killer. This may sound radical for a mainstream TV show, but the truth is that Dexter is an avenger who takes the law into his own hands (a typical topic in American TV series and films). This idea is anything but new, it’s pretty lame and right-winger.

Some friends have discussed with me about Dexter because they don’t agree with me, but in one of the last episodes one of the main characters of the season (a girl who has been brutally raped) make this statement:

“I had imagined a totally different life for myself too. I always did everything by the book, you know? Go, go, go. Never stopped to think. There was high school and college and graduate school… Owen. We were gonna get married at the house that I grew up in. On my wedding day, I tried on the dress, and I looked out the window at the backyard where the aisle was, and I saw everything that that aisle was leading to, babies and matching dinnerware. Sunday barbecues. And I couldn’t breathe. I had to get out of there and find something more. Then everything happened, and I actually thought, this is what I get for trying to live my own life.”

And the moral of the story is… O_O I can’t believe what she is saying! When I watched that episode I remembered another statement from Misfits, a British TV series:

“We’re young. We’re supposed to drink too much. We’re supposed to have bad attitudes and shag each other’s brains out. We are designed to party. This is it. Yeah, so a few of us will overdose or go mental, but Charles Darwin said you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. And that’s what it’s all about, breaking eggs! And by eggs, I do mean, getting twatted on a cocktail of class As. If you could just see yourselves! It breaks my heart. You’re wearing cardigans! We had it all. We fucked up bigger and better than any generation that came before us. We were so beautiful! We’re screw-ups. I’m a screw-up and I plan to be a screw-up until my late 20s, maybe even my early 30s. And I will shag my own mother before I let her or anyone else take that away from me!”

And the moral of the story is… Misfits is funny, cheeky and politically incorrect, Dexter NO!

Watchings

Fringe, Seasons 1-2 (2008-2010)
J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci

• Человек с киноаппаратом / Man with a Movie Camera (1929) [watch]
Dziga Vertov

• Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly

• The Ghost Writer (2010)
Roman Polanski

• El Abecedario de Gilles Deleuze. A de Animal (1988) [watch]

• Some Like It Hot (1959)
Billy Wilder

• Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Sidney Lumet

Silent but deadly [or why I can’t think clearly]

—So you think that music killed these people?
—Not music per se. Could you help me with this please, my dear?
—What about this? Would that work?
—Figaro? Perfect!
—We’ve known for some time that different sounds affect the brain in different ways.
—Look at my brain waves on the monitor.
—They’re smoothing out.
—Harmonic music reduces neural activity.
—Which is why we think more clearly when we listen to it, as opposed to this… Dissonance. Look… Look at my neurons.
—We get it, Walter. Can I turn this off now?
—Oh, sorry. You see, the point is this, that with this type of auditory phenomenon, taken to its ultrasonic extreme, can be fatal, and the way it affects the brain, it could well have induced some type of vegetative trance before death.
—Which would also explain the trauma to the inner ear.
—So we’re looking for some kind of deadly music box?
—No, it’s ultrasonic, so you wouldn’t be able to hear it, the frequency’s too high.
—Silent but deadly.

Fringe, episode 2 season 3.