THE MATRIX and Spectacle

The band’s back together…After last week’s interlude, franchise season continues with the Wachowskis’ 1999 movie THE MATRIX. Both Rob and Sam have a different take on this film than their teenaged selves; we talk technical experiences, cinematic turning-points, and dystopian worlds.

THIS WEEK’S VIEWING
ROLLERBALL (1975): Norman Jewison, James Caan, John Houseman
MEMENTO (2000): Christopher Nolan, Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss
MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013–): Joss Whedon, Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen
HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE (2001): Chris Columbus, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint

RECOMMENDATIONS
AVATAR (2009): James Cameron, Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana
BOUND (1996): the Wachowskis, Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon
GHOST IN THE SHELL (1995): Mamoru Oshii, Atsuko Tanaka, Akio Ōtsuka
FIGHT CLUB (1999): David Fincher, Brad Pitt, Edward Norton

FOOTNOTES
First of all, Sam would like to make it clear that any mention of the Wachowskis as ‘brothers’ on his part was a reference to the pre-transition state in which they lived while the first film was being shot. For more on their status as Hollywood’s first openly transgender directors, see here (number 2): http://time.com/130734/transgender-celebrities-actors-athletes-in-america and here: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/gossip/la-et-mg-lilly-wachowski-transgender-siblings-lana-wachowski-20160308-story.html.

Sam starts the episode by mentioning a stunning comic about film history and technology (it’s a whole lot better than that makes it sound), Edward Ross’s _Filmish_ (2015): http://filmish.co.uk. The Wachowski brothers have stated their indebtedness to Jean Baudrillard’s _Simulacres et simulation_ (1981) — this isn’t just Sam drawing unfounded academic conclusions; Neo actually uses a copy of the book as a hiding-place at the beginning of the film, and you can read about the directors insistence that all the actors familiarised themselves with the work, here: https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2007/03/14/remember-baudrillard.

If it really tickles your fancy, here’s the original: https://epk.home.xs4all.nl/spectacles/Simulation/Baudrillard_Simulacra%20and%20Simulations.pdf. This article has an explanation of the ‘bullet time’ effect we discuss: https://www.theguardian.com/film/1999/jun/05/features2. And finally, this is a thorough analysis, including references to many interesting aspects of the film: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=XPY–YwYmMgC&printsec=frontcover&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false.