Michael Mann - some questions....

Discussion in 'Movie Forum' started by PoochJD, Jun 26, 2001.

  1. PoochJD

    PoochJD
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    Aftenoon All,

    I know I should be outside, enjoying the excessively HOT weather, but bar sunburn, it doesn't do anything for me. Anyway, onto the matter at hand.

    I am due to take my 3rd and final year from September 2001, and need to do a dissertation of about 12,000 words. My chosen topic at the moment, will be on Michael Mann, the director of hits like "Heat", "The Insider", and "Last Of The Mohicans" et al.

    However, whilst I own every one of his films, I am struggling to locate any worthwhile information on the guy.

    With the exception of the ever reliable Internet Movie Database, there appears to be almost zero information that I can look at, out there on the Net, which seems odd for a man who has made so few, and yet so impressive a collection of movies.

    Can any of you film fans out there, help me locate some decent websites please?! Any help, would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks, in advance,

    Pooch
     
  2. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    No offense pooch but you are writing a dissertation of 12000 words on one director?

    Are you going to tie him in with other influential 80's adland originated directors/auteurs and all that socio-political early 80's consumerism as art type thingy?

    Wouldn't want to write 12K words on any one director unless it was a bio to be honest.
     
  3. george1138

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    :D Dont forget he did "miami vice" you could write 12000 words on that alone! Comment on his over-use of pink (clothes, furniture and nightclubs) dodgy Phil Collins music, every single 80's haircut in each episode! see how easy it is ;)

    Sorry, cant offer any constructive help, couldnt resist the Miami vice thing :D

    Good luck with it anyway!
     
  4. Mr.D

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    There you go!
     
  5. Juzminator

    Juzminator
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    I know this ain't helping Pooch - but I thought that Michael Mann had an obsession with the colour blue (and not pink, like George1138 stated...sorry George, not having a pop mate ;)) - at least, in his lighting preferences.

    Anyway - "useless bit of information" bulletin over :)
     
  6. European

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    ...uhh... lessee...

    ...start here:

    www.goto.com

    ...type in the name michael mann

    ...and you will find The Michael Mann Fan Page and The Michael Mann Home Page... plus two or three other useful sites...

    ...also take a look at


    http://www.mrqe.com/lookup?

    ...where you will find selected reviews for (probably) all his films...

    ...and good luck!


    . . . :cool: . . .

    [ 26-06-2001: Message edited by: European ]
     
  7. PoochJD

    PoochJD
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    Mr D (and everyone else),

    Firstly, thanks to all of you for your kind help. It means a lot! (I knew you'd be the people to help me out! :) )

    In response, to Mr D's question about writing 12,000 words on one director, I thought that I would do something along the lines of the following:

    - Introduction to Michael Mann (the person)
    - A short chapter on each of his TV works ("Miami Vice", "Crime Story" and "Cop Rock")
    - A short chapter on each of his Film works, upto and including "The Insider" (but not the up-and-coming biopic "Ali" - about Muhammed Ali - as that isn't completed or out yet.)
    - His regular cast and crew, e.g. Dante Spinotti, Mel Bourne, Dennis Farina, Stephen Lang, etc, etc. (There are loads of people he uses regularly!)
    - Mann's use of style over content e.g. the music, the clothes, the MTV-style quick editing (in some of his works, at least), and why he chooses mainly crime as a subject to film.

    What do you think? Too big a topic? Too complex? Too dull, even?

    All responses will be read with pleasure, even if I disagree with them. :)

    Pooch
     
  8. Juzminator

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    Hey Pooch,

    By the sounds of it, just listing all the casts and crews he's ever worked with could nearly make up the 12,000 words :)

    Now that wouldn't be too boring would it? ;)

    I think you're onto a winner with this dissertation, cos if you feel like it's getting a little boring, you can always compare him to some contempories and talk about their relevant works for a bit, then come back to MM.
     
  9. george1138

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    You could be right about the blue. Lets just say pastel colours in general then! They all go well with white shoes
    :D
     
  10. Mr.D

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    I'd say avoid just trotting out facts and make observations ie: forget everything apart from the last analysis of his style over content theme ( or not as the case may be).

    Anyone marking a dissertation wants to see you engage with the material and show some response to it not just reitterate the factual circumstance of its creation.

    I also think its fairly worthless to analyse a given artists work without comparing it to other artists take on the same or similar subjects and highlighting the supposed reasons for differences in representation: and also build in a socio/political/historical frame of reference to rationalise certain differences in style or thematic resonance.

    Also assume that anyone reading a dissertation will have specialised knowledge and will be aware of who Michael Mann is and what he has done.
     
  11. PoochJD

    PoochJD
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    Hi,

    Thanks again to all respondees. Alas, I think I am not going to do this topic now, simply because I don't think I've got enough information to trot it out to 12,000 words!

    Therefore, can I ask you lot for some ideas. I wouldn't mind doing a dissertation of 12,000 words, on one of the following topics or subjects. Does anyone have any ideas of what I might write about?

    The subjects I am interested in, are:-
    1) Japanese animation (or Anime)
    2) Film and video censorship
    3) Horror films, 1970 onwards.

    I know the subjects are extremely broad, but in my dissertation notebook, it says that to think of what you want to write about, try thinking of a question, and then answer that question via your dissertation. An example might be: "Is there any jutification for the Anime movie-series UROTSUKIDOJI, to depict explicitly degrading imagery of women?"

    Anyone who can help me out, would be friends for life, and I'll even give you a Dairylea slice, if you wish. Alternatively, once the dissertation is complete, I could always e-mail you all a copy, if any of you desire.

    Thanks again,

    Pooch
     
  12. Juzminator

    Juzminator
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    It's gotta be censorship - and how different things for different time periods were offensive.

    Hmmmmnn - 12,000 words might be a bit tricky though :(

    Although, you certainly wouldn't be short of films to list: www.bbfc.co.uk :)

    I'd be quite interested to read 12k words on anime though :D

    On second thoughts - I reckon censorship could easily run to the length required cos you certainly wouldn't be struggling to find many, many people's reactions to various films and their "detrimental" affect upon society. eg Natural Born Killers, Child's Play, Exorcist....my God, the list is endless!!!!!!

    I like the way I contradicted myself halfway through this post:

    Roses are Red,
    Violets are Blue,
    I'm Schizophrenic
    And so am I


    *ahem*
     
  13. PoochJD

    PoochJD
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    Juz,

    As much as I, too, like the topic of censorship and all the corruption (ahem!) it causes, I am leaning a little more in favour of the Anime side of things, only because I have the entire "Urotsukidoji" saga on DVD now. Plus, the added bonus of doing a dissertation on Anime, means I can cover censorship as well. Kind of like killing two birds with one stone, except no birds are involved, and nothing gets bludgeoned to death...! :D

    What do the rest of you think?

    Pooch
     
  14. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    And how opinions differ in various cultures ie: Japan but you wouldn't want to restrict yourself to just Anime look at the broader range of representations. However censorship and its attached issues are well trodden ground and you might want to attack it from another angle...

    Try not to limit yourself to one specific genre ( most feed off each other anyway and you cannot really meaningfully discuss film or other created works in isolation from culture at large)

    Wrote my degree dissertation on the depiction of the "scientist" in popular culture. Went from discussing Copernican Heliocentrism ( look it up) all the way from Metropolis , Frankenstien , The Man in the White Suit etc up to things like Jurassic Park.

    Conclusion was that you never see a scientist depicted as anything other than socially abnormal (Jurassic Park was the icing on the cake as it had just come out) and then try to suggest why this is so: natural man representations/ mythologies etc. Social responses to certain ideals. Technology and nature blah de blah.

    Maybe pick an area you are interested by and see what jumps out at you and question it then decide what you want to write and from which direction you are going to attack it from. Don't be too quick to nail your topic down so quickly roll it around in your head and try to question the reasons and ultimate validity of why certain things have certain ideas attached to them.(very rarely were things always thus so!)
     
  15. PoochJD

    PoochJD
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    Mr D, (and everyone else),

    Muchos Gracias, for all the comments.

    Mr D, you said: "Maybe pick an area you are interested by and see what jumps out at you and question it then decide what you want to write and from which direction you are going to attack it from."

    Well, I really enjoy Anime, which was why I suggested this topic, and I also like censorship a great deal, and the two topics do combine a lot, albeit in differing ways. I also quite fancy writing something on the UROTSUKIDJI saga, as it is so controversial, and has so much stigma attached to it, that I wouldn't mind trying to destroy some of the myths surrounding it, or at least attempt to explain what Toshio Maeda (the director) was tryign to say, when he created the saga. For example, is UROTSUKIDOJI truly a misogynistic piece of work? Is it really just a showcase for shockingly offensive imagery, that debases women down to nothing more than objects to be destroyed and treated like crap? Does it contain scenes that could be considered child porn, as the BBFC have stated?

    There's so much that could be asked, and maybe my dissertation could show that Anime is not all "tits and tentacles", and also, that even the "tits and tentacle" anime has some valid reason for existing.

    What do you all think?

    Pooch
     
  16. Juzminator

    Juzminator
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    At least you got the title for you dissertation, dude :) :D
     
  17. Lawrence

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    I'd suggest you steer away from the far too over-discussed subject of censorship as your audience will have heard most of the arguments ad nauseam. Also choosing a specific Anime film or series is a little too restricting and may betray a transparent affection for the subject matter rather than the analysis and argument required of such a lengthy dissertation. So to contradict myself on both counts I think you're right to consider combining both areas. You could try analysing the impact upon (British) censorship by the acceptance and adoption of the Anime genre by the art/fashion sector of the media.
     
  18. PoochJD

    PoochJD
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    Lawrence,

    You wrote: "Choosing a specific Anime film or series is a little too restricting and may betray a transparent affection for the subject matter rather than the analysis and argument required of such a lengthy dissertation."

    I agree with you, but I've got to like the topic to consider even doing it! To a certain degree, whatever subject I choose, it will show some affection towards it.

    You also said: "You could try analysing the impact upon (British) censorship by the acceptance and adoption of the Anime genre by the art/fashion sector of the media."

    It's not my interest however. I know nothing about art and I hate fashion, so it probably wouldn't interest me enough to even consider doing 12,000 words on it.

    Finally, you said: "Also choosing a specific Anime film or series is a little too restricting."

    That may be the case, but the "Urotsukidoji" Saga runs for more than 9.5 hours, so I doubt if I will actually discuss all of it!

    The more I think about it, the more I am interested in doing the dissertation of the "Urotsukidoji" saga. With the whole series being so long, it means I will have lots of areas to discuss; plenty of differences between the (sanitised) British and (uncensored) American editions, as well as discussing some of the things I mentioned in a previous post, e.g. is it really just a misogynistic piece of animation; does it get too close to child porn for comfort; does it really affect the viewer, et al.

    As for the title choice, (Cheers, Juz), I think I'm going to have to come up with something a little less abrupt, only because journalists tend to class all anime as being "tits and tentacles" and that is a little bit misleading for what my dissertation is actually about. Maybe something along the likes of: "Urotsukidoji: The Auteur Theory in Adult Anime" or perhaps "Bete Noir: Pornography and The Wandering Kid". ("The Wandering Kid" thing comes from the fact that "Urotsukidoji" is sometimes translated as "The Wandering Kid" from Japanese.)

    What do you lot think? Is my idea shaping up a little more now?!

    Pooch
     
  19. General Skanky

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    It may be worth a look at the Melon Farmers website.
    Can't remember the address, but it's got to be something like www.melonfarmers.co.uk.
    They have very good views/opnions etc on things from different angles.
    All topics are covered there from censorship, government, the public and so on. Worth a look.
    Sorry I can't contribute more to it, sounds like quite a slog.
    :)
     
  20. Mr.D

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    Well Pooch I think you've pretty much made up your mind to look at anime for your dissertation but don't be in too much of a rush to pre-empt your arguments and observations before you've really looked into the genre and specific issues you've mentioned : such as censorship.

    Look at the material on its own terms and history before you go looking for a banner for your dissertation. Remember the point is to try and say something valid not just to write 12000 words and crowbar the "evidence" to try and fit what you "want" it to mean.


    You might want to look at Japanese popular culture in general with regard to different cultural standpoints on censorship morales ie: films (Tetsuo:the Iron Man) The Ring, Battle Royale , dodgy photographers: Araki ( I think) TV programming. Always think its interesting that a culture that suffered historically from a lot of catastrophic events: earthquakes , the H bomb , fires , industrial pollution , managed to come up with something like Godzilla films!

    I wouldn't necessarily see censorship as being the most interesting aspect of anime.
     
  21. Guest

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    For what it is worth, my advice is this.
    1. If you are dealing with an old subject (eg censorship) you will need to deal with it in a fresh way by making points that are fairly new and innovative(almost impossible). I think it is far easier to write about a new topic/figure who has not (in your opinion) been given due credit/blame.
    2. Much of your writing should set the context within which your figure/topic operates. Context (ie culture/art/politics/money/fashion etc) is now everything. Now as indicated above, anyone can write 12K words about the horrors of the 70s.
    3. Be specific rather than general, or get specific very quickly. With general topics it is difficult to include everything in the right proportion.
    I hope this helps.

    [ 29-06-2001: Message edited by: Firstagent01 ]
     
  22. h0l1yw0od

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    I know it sounds like your not doing it now but if you decided to go back to the Michael Mann thing you could do a section discussing the comparisons between LA Takedown and Heat and maybe even Manhunter and the new proposed ideas for the remake.

    I had to do something like this for college and chose Michael Bay (stop laughing). I got a good mark and my arty tutor said that i'd shed a new light on action movies. So as you can imagine i was quite chuffed :D

    Well i don't have much experience with Manga/Anime, other than The Guyver so i can't offer anything with that. But i agree that censorship has been done many times and if you do it than you'll need some sort of fresh angle on the whole thing. And being such a huge talking/discussion point you may end up with more than you needed.

    Well, i don't know if any of that helped but g'luck.
     

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