Below Peter Bowen blogs about the crossover between film production and criticism, namely the emergence of internet-distributed mash-ups and “web cinematic essays” as a new form of dialogue about the movies.
So far, most of these pieces have been about films that have already been released. Now, though, the artist Chris Moukarbel has gone the mash-up editors one better by pre-empting Oliver Stone’s forthcoming World Trade Center with an twelve-minute web-distributed art project based on a bootlegged copy of Stone’s screenplay.
Moukarbel makes site-specific video and installations, often using found media or objects as his sources. His projects explore the idea of memorial, and are concerned with the way in which political events are edified. World Trade Center is an adaptation of an extract of the screenplay of Oliver Stone’s forthcoming film. The video was made entirely in the artist’s studio using student actors and then released on the internet, intentionally pre-empting Stone’s film release in August 2006. It describes the relationship between two firemen caught in an inescapable situation, stuck in the rubble of the World Trade Center. The dialogue between them reveals their admiration and professional respect for one another, and is completely out of synch with their present circumstances. Moukarbel offers a glimpse into human behaviour at a time when death is imminent, making it seem perversely futile.