When discussing blockbuster entertainments and their representations it’s important to understand genre formulas and expectations as recent trends in Hollywood productions are in direct relation to these models.

The subversion of expectation is often the selling point of the new summer blockbuster: The trolling anti-hero (Deadpool), the misunderstood villain (Maleficent, Cruella, Shrek), Female action hero (The Hunger Games, Snow White and the Huntsman, Wonder Woman, X-Men: Dark Phoenix), and Black representation (Black Panther, Green Book, Ma). Inverting the genre expectation in casting is the new hallmark of the Hollywood blockbuster and it’s been well received with many films cashing in…

The American film industry developed under a market economy and a mixed economic aesthetic of State-Capitalism and laissez-faire Capitalism which now dominates the global consensus. Structural and stylistic achievements of the Hollywood Studio System are well documented. From early 20th century technological leaps in sound, leading to “talkies”, to the transition from black-and-white to color that ushered in the age of dreamscape productions like Gone with the Wind and The Ten Commandments. …

The motivating interest in Chloe Zhao’s new film is that the audience will be swept away to the rural and mythological landscape of the American West. A place that doesn’t exist because it has been bleached to a level of fantasy on par with Spielberg’s Kinder films with the high moral clarity of The Lord of the Rings. It is an escapist world for washed-up white liberals who still think it’s August of ’69.

The central character is Fern. Just Fern. No last name is required in the mythologically self-aware dreamscape engineered before our eyes in pretty (yet blandly self-aware)…

Guy Longstreet

Filmmaker and Theorist

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