Links We Like: Scorsese, ALIENS and the DOWNFALL of a YouTube meme

Taxi Driver (dir. Martin Scorsese)

‘Taxi Driver’ (dir. Martin Scorsese)

1) The Style of Scorsese.

Few directors think so carefully about how a film looks and sounds. Sensitive to technique in the work of classic filmmakers, Martin Scorsese has always tried to give each picture a vivid visual and auditory profile. Although he’s often praised for his realism (usually prefaced by the adjective “gritty”), Scorsese is often a subjectively oriented director. This quality goes beyond the justly celebrated performances of his actors. He is unafraid to use unusual cinematic techniques to thrust us boldly into the characters’ minds and emotions. In this effort he joins some great cinematic traditions. No surprise there: He has an immediate sense that film history hovers over every choice a director makes.

Likewise, few people think so carefully about the technique of filmmakers as David Bordwell. Case in point is his dissection of Scorsese’s unique vision that blends classic psychological expressionism with street realism. Finally, he develops this argument to make a critical point about the over-the-top style-for-style’s sake that he sees in movies today. A must-read.


2. 87 reasons why Alien is the ultimate horror movie. The Kindertrauma blog unleashes a massive pictorial argument for Ridley Scott’s Alien as “one of the purest examples of a horror film in existence.” The entry identifies, by my count, no less than 87 horror memes with images illustrating each one, as well as accompanying meme-related images from other horror films. For example, it links “The Pit” to the 60s Japanese horror flick Onibaba, and “The Billowing Drapes” to the 40s Val Lewton B-classic The Curse of the Cat People. Other memes include “The False Scare,” “The Demon Purge,” and “The Symbolic Forced Fellatio” (!!!). The page makes for a vivid walk down horror film history, and the richness of tropes found within the genre – as well as in just one film!

3. Downfall of a meme. Speaking of memes, it seems that one of the all-time most popular YouTube memes, the Hitler Downfall parody videos, is possibly meeting its demise. For those who don’t know, the videos (and there are hundreds of them) take scenes of Hitler (played by Bruno Ganz) going ballistic in the original German-language film Downfall, and add fake subtitles that redirect Der Fuhrer’s rage towards everything from soccer teams losing their star players to Obama’s popularity to the lack of parking spaces in Tel Aviv. For an example, check out this recent video where Hitler gives his take on the iPad:

But in the past few days, many of these videos have been removed from YouTube with the message that Constantin Films, the German production company that owns the rights to the original film, has filed a copyright claim against these videos. You’d think that they’d be grateful for the free publicity generated by these fan vids; how many people would have rented, bought or even heard of the film had they never seen these fan videos? Hitler himself seems to share this view, judging from this rather ingenious fan vid reaction to the YouTube takedowns:

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