The Devastating Stereotype of the Artless Scientist

February 25, 2015 § Leave a comment

Copyright StudioCanal and The Weinstein Company.

Copyright StudioCanal and The Weinstein Company.

Written by Dylan Nugent; posted on Medium on February 22nd, 2015

This article contains minor spoilers for the plots of The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, The Social Network, and A Beautiful Mind. Also containing these spoilers: history.

Tonight, two remarkably similar films compete to be crowned as the best film of 2014. Both The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything cover a young, middle class, white, British, Cambridge-educated mathematician as they make groundbreaking claims and discoveries while trying to overcome an obstacle put in their path.

A few weeks ago Graham Moore, the Oscar-nominated (update: Oscar-winning, congratulations to Mr. Moore!) screenwriter for The Imitation Game, wrote a rather excellent article on Medium about the difficulty of portraying brilliant characters fairly. In his article, Mr. Moore talks about the historical importance of Alan Turing’s accomplishments and the stereotypical lense through which genius often gets portrayed. It surprised me when reading his article that until I reached the part about how he hadwritten the film in question, I actually assumed it was a criticism of the film’s treatment of Alan Turing. « Read the rest of this entry »

The Camera’s Cusp: Alfonso Cuarón Takes Filmmaking to a New Extreme With Gravity

January 22, 2014 § Leave a comment

By , originally published in the September 30, 2013 issue of New York Magazine.

Against a black screen, these words appear first.

“At 600 km above planet Earth, the temperature fluctuates between +258 and -148 degrees Fahrenheit. There is nothing to carry sound. No air pressure. No oxygen. Life in space is impossible.”

The screen disappears.

The planet—this planet, in three dimensions—appears.

Its arc engulfs you, outstretching in front, beside, and, somehow, below you. It is massive. Silently, majestically, cloud-covered and multicolored, it spins. There is the immediate sensation of everything—Earth, you—floating.

A spot appears along an orbital plane of the planet, off to the right, very far away, tiny, slowly moving closer. It is impossible to make out what it is. Telecommunication sparks: muffled, hollow, as if inside your ears, bits of a conversation between here and Houston. There are so many stars all around you. The planet continues spinning, the spot moves closer, drifting on its orbit until finally it arrives—the American space shuttle and a team of astronauts floating outside—and begins orbiting in the same space with you.

« Read the rest of this entry »

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