Screen Time is here and it is rated M. Can we expect some intimate countdown like they had in episode 1? Let’s find out.
Chris Taylor tells us that we’re discussing Detroit directed by Kathryn Bigalow and written by Mark Boal (they also teamed up on The Hurt Locker), Channel 7s Instant Hotel(but I don’t wanna talk about Instant Hotel), and a new form of reality television hailing from Norway called Slow TV (and I am here for this). His panelists tonight are Benjamin Law, Judith Lucy, Zan Rowe and of course Sami Shah (because they have trapped him there and will never let him leave).
They jump straight into discussing Detroit. Chris is pumped. He is using terms such as powerful and visceral. It’s set in 1967 and based around the uncontainable events that happened at the Algiers Hotel during the 12 Street Riot in Detroit. Read about the events here. White cops killing innocent black people is the summary. Chris says that it makes you angry because so little has changed. Zan adds that it doesn’t just make you angry but it also does a great job of making you scared.
Judith says that the stuff in the hotel was brilliant. She also says visceral. If you want a visceral film then go watch Detroit. She talks about how you could really feel for these innocent people, just wanting to be safe, and even having some fun, and then three of them end up dead because of police brutality. (Is it brutality or straight up murder? Do we need to sugar coat it?) BUT she felt that the end lagged. She’d be happy to cut the last 30 minutes. Says the court scene was unnecessary. Chris says it was necessary because people need to know that the white cops got away with murder. Judith says that there are other ways to show this without a full court scene.
Benjamin speakeths. He says he is ambivalent. Take that visceral, here’s some ambivalence. Benjamin indicates that it was traumatizing and fear inducing but he kind of got the point ten minutes in and then had emotional burnout and couldn’t be as emotionally present for the rest of the 90 minutes. He also didn’t like the way black people were reduced to victims and not full characters. Chris says that he feels that Benjamin is punishing Kathryn Bigalow for being too good at her craft. In case you have missed it, Chris really likes this film.
Sami says that Detroit is made for white people and not people ofcolour. He says that black people know this. Black people live this. This provides no new information for them. It provides no new rallying point. It provides no new understanding. Sami adds that he feels that it actually diminishes what people of colour experience because it almost makes it seem as if the racism is from a few bad individuals and that if you defeat them then it is over, whereas racism is deeply entrenched and systemic. He feels that it is almost portrayed as if the murders are horrific, and that Krauss is a terrible person, but the white people were just doing their job and that the ‘crazy’ black people were being ‘bad’ and overreacting and starting riots, when that reality is far from that. It allows white people to feel angry and scared of bad racists, but because they’re so individualised that white people get to see the racists as others when in fact racism is pervasive and part of white culture and something that needs tonbe dismantled not simply put in the box of ‘others’. Systematic abuse of power is the problem and that this belittles the experience of black people. Chris says that Sami saying that Bigalow is belittling the experience is belittling what Bigalow has done, and ‘even if’ Sami is right and that this film is just for white people, it is still valuable and important as it gives white people an experience to show them that they’ve been wrong. (Cringe.) Sami responds that if they don’t already know that racism is wrong then this film isn’t going to teach them that. (Sami is doing an amazing job of keeping his cool.)
Benjamin says that Bigalow is making us bear witness. And what she does in the hotel is amazing but then it flounders a bit. Sami says that the scope of the film being calledDetroit was too wide. He agrees, and the entire panel agrees, that the stuff in Algiers Hotel was incredible and that the focus should have been narrowed to that. Benjamin points out that this was a time and a city of radical protest and huge groundswell and this is not captured in the movie, for it to hold the title Detroit then it should capture this vibrant element.
Chris points out that Kathryn Bigalow is the only female to have won an Oscar for directing. Look, just in case you missed it, Chris fucking lovedDetroit.
Time for Not on My Watch, a little segment where Chris Taylor tells us about a shithouse show. This week’s show… Instant Hotel. I’ve seen an ad, which was enough to get a no from me. Some clips are shown, Chris calls it an Airbnb version of MKR. Lots of white people and crying over cars…. Sounds good? No. But it got greenlit by someone. What is going on at Channel 7? Not on Chris Taylor’s watch.
And now the moment I have been waiting for since the intro, SLOW TV!!!! I don’t really know how to explain this to you except to say you get to watch train tracks or a fire burning and it is very soothing. Chris is showing a clip of a train’s eye view of going along train tracks. It is the best. I could sit here for another 7 hours. But apparently it is not for everybody. Judith Lucy says that the ABC is not paying her enough money to watch this shit. She says that she is too close to death to waste her time. Zan defends Slow TV, says that it is a meditative experience. It so is.
Sami doesn’t watch train track Slow TV, he has something even better. Icebreaker Slow TV. A little something you can find for yourself on YouTube. Just ten hours of watching an Icebreaker stuck in ice somewhere in the Arctic. Not my thing, I prefer to have the vehicle’s view, not a view of the vehicle, but I suggest you give it a look.
Chris says that SBS is producing Slow TV of the Ghan railway trip. I think I just did an excited wee!
And now it is time for some recommendations.
Sami: Binging With Babish
Zan: Joan Didion: The Centre Will Not Hold
Ben: Bad Genius (Squeeeeeeee, I have seen this movie it is fantastic!)
And that’s a wrap. I have no idea what they’re discussing next week. Oooo the mystery. Go off and watch more TV, or YouTube, or a movie. Whatever floats your goat.
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