In the series of entries I plan to post on this blog, I am going to try and attempt to reflect on both what Lord Puttnam has spoken about – about the machinations of the industry, the art and practicalities of filmmaking, the importance of being strong and resilient and enduring in the face of rejection, the ways in which we channel ego and childhood and obsession and the most formative influences of our lives into the films and media we create – and tie this together with my own opinions on film, my own experiences, through the prism of my engagement with media.
Of particular interest to me is the area of identity. Identity is both deeply subjective and malleable and relational and personal, and also shaped and moulded by forces outside of ourselves. Identity in film – how we relate, how we come to care, how we see others, how we see ourselves – is a vital area to explore.
The issue of identity is constantly written about: from the spectre of identity politics and standpoint theory and ‘new’ identities, and the fear of a depoliticised and ineffective individualism over collective identity, to the poststructuralist and postmodern abandonment of categories of identity that can be thought of as essentialist and reductive, to the handwringing about the continued prevalence of identity as a great divider, as indulgent and structurally/theoretically incoherent and a sign of (generational/millenial/liberal/scary modern) self-absorption, to the question of how we see our identity (ourselves), to how it is tied to our positionality, our politics, our beliefs about the very idea of self – can we know ourselves? How do we come to be? How are we shaped by (cultural, media-driven) narratives around us? How do we as filmmakers and writers and media creators address issues of identity – from ontological inquiries as to who and how and why we exist, to questions of racial/gender/queer/class/cultural identity, to our own personal histories. Do we see only ourselves, and do we see others/Others, in what we create and consume? Is identity important? Why is film a medium that speaks of and through identity? Can there be an exploration of identity in film that serves as a great universalist experience, in which we all relate to generalisable themes, where we all can identify with some tangible idea of what it is to be human, a definable and concrete thing?
These issues, along with the use of music, sound and the process of writing, are what I will mostly post about on this blog.