Underrated Dramas: Brazil

Introduction

Recently I decided to partake in another great theme going on at Rupert Pupkin Speaks. The last list I did there was for the Underrated Comedies series. As I anticipated there, was far more competition among movies I like to make the dramas list than the comedies list. So much so that I decided to post ancillary lists here before the big list debuts there. I wasn’t able to get all the contenders onto these lists but I was able to feature the most competitive regions (foreign films were one of my main foci). This is the last of the lists, you can find the first such list here and the second here.

Underrated Dramas: Brazil

Brazil immediately came to mind as another region that could have its own list for me. As opposed to the Benelux region, where I’m seeing much of the zeitgeist and that’s getting me more interested in the region in general as well as their history in film, with Brazil the intrigue is life long owing to my dual citizen status. A few other criteria I tried to hit were to have disparate decades represented, and even though there are two 1986 titles, one is period and one is “present day.” I also tried to find films whose availability is limited. So while these are all great and highly recommended they may be hard to track down.

On to the list…

Malandro (A Opera do Malandro) (1986)

A Opera do Malandro (1986, The Samuel Goldwyn Company)

I have likely written about all these films before, so rather than quote myself I will link and then discuss the film briefly from a new vantage point.

When playing national word-association most will mention football (soccer) when it comes to Brazil. I would hope they would also mention music at some point if pressed for more words. Chico Buarque is among Brazilian music’s legendary names. Here you have a film that’s a dramatization of songs he wrote, but also quite a telling and compelling drama. The images I always associated with these songs in my mind here are given form and context in a great way, incorporating period and obfuscated commentary.

All Nudity Shall Be Punished (Toda Nudez Sera Castigada) (1974)

Toda Nudez Sera Castigada (1974)

Once when looking to get into the works of one of Brazil’s most famed writers, Machado de Assis, I was surprised to learn that some of his works had been translated into English. When seeking to discuss this Rodrigues-based film I decided to search anew. Apparently there was once a translation of his collected works that’s gone out of print. I’m not surprised by that fact. However, why I think films based on his works could translate better is the very nature of the medium itself. Especially now, you can get films to you. Theatre has, and always will be, either in text or as a spectator, something you have to actively seek out; it’s about live performance. All you can have at the push of a button is something recorded. Therefore, a visual interpretation of his plays, which would fill in blanks a reader may not know or think to fill in, could very well connect. This film is particularly effective, shocking and rather emblematic of his style and would work brilliantly as an introduction.

Love Me Forever or Never (Eu Sei Que eu Vou te Amar) (1986)

Eu Sei Que Eu Vou Te Amar (1986)

Whenever a film has garnered a major international award and then falls into relative obscurity, it always makes me wonder why. That question becomes even more relevant when the award was an acting award, but the film itself is also very strong. Fernanda Torres, daughter of Brazil’s most acclaimed actress, Fernanda Montenegro; has in this film her breakout role that won her Best Actress at Cannes. However, for as cloistered and chamber-bound this film is, it really is a tour-de-force and doesn’t feel overly-stagey due to the edit, and is well worth watching should you be able to find it.

Elite Squad 2: The Enemy Within (Tropa de Elite 2: O Enimigo Agora É Outro) (2010)

Tropa de Elite 2: O Inimigo Agora e Outro (2010, New Video)

It sounds trite to start with: A sequel better than the original, but it really is. Granted, I’d never recommend you start with part two, but if you’re looking for an impressive double-feature with well-directed and choreographed action and sociopolitical intrigue it’s hard to top these films. These are also the films you should be watching when asking yourself: “Where did Spider in Elysium come from?” These are the kinds of, usually superior films, crossover international actors make their names in. Director José Padilha has also been rumored or linked to English-language titles and may get one yet.

Blue Eyes (Olhos Azuis) (2009)

Olhos Azuis (2009)

Kind of as antidote to the issues I discuss in the globalization of casting piece this film is a tremendously taut drama that puts an American character actor, David Rasche, in a starring role and maximizes his underutilized talents. This is a mightily overlooked piece of work that addresses the immigration question head on. It takes things to extremes and does engage in literal debate, but it’s about its characters too so that makes the piece inherently human for as politically charged as it is. It’s worth looking for as it features Irandhir Santos of the above title in another great role.

Advertisements

Film Thought: Why I Balk at the Megaticket Experiment

Not too sound too much like a get-off-my-lawn-type but I did have a few thoughts on the recent Megaticket trial for World War Z.

Now, as much as possible, I will separate these thoughts from my thoughts on the film itself.

As many have pointed out, it’s fairly ironic that this trial occurred about a month after Steven Spielberg and George Lucas spent quite a bit of time speculating on the future of films, and Spielberg made the observation that moviegoing in a theatrical setting was heading the way of the Broadway musical becoming cost-prohibitive for the average consumer. This ticket hit half the $100 bogey he set.

And this is what the $50 got you:

included a ticket to a 3D screening of the movie on June 19, two days before the film’s release; one HD digital copy of the movie when it becomes available; one pair of “World War Z” custom RealD 3D glasses; a full-size limited-edition movie poster and a small popcorn

World War Z (2013, Paramount)

My first issue is that if you look at the cost per item, you’re about breaking even but reserving the right to own everything right away (They claim $75 in value. If that’s true they’re overvaluing the glasses and digital copy to me). However, you get no soda and you get no physical version of the film.

I’m not going to say I’d never parttake in a megaticket experience (the early screening is likely the most enticing in this now/future film culture that exists). However, if I were to do it I would more likely shell out the money for a DVD/Blu-ray combo and a title that was pre-sold to me.

I honestly still have issues believing World War Z was pre-sold to anyone. Yes, the novel had quite a following, but it was widely reported that this was an adaptation in name only. So for something say like Star Wars: Episode VII, I might consider it. Otherwise it’s going to take me a while to get on board.

The inclination is already for the studios to forgo risk-taking, if we, the movie-crazed minority, will jump at the opportunity to give up even more cash per head than we already do we’re further ensuring the studios’ business plan and endangering theatrical attendance.

Not too be overly-alarmist but it’s not hard to foresee the slippery slope this could lead us down. Make sure we don’t redefine what an event film is. Some releases may be worth this treatment but not most, and certainly not all.

Silent Feature Sunday- Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927)

While I do watch many new films, and have annual awards and will discuss current cinematic topics. Part of my desire to create my own site was to not have an agenda forced upon me that was not my own. This allows me to discuss films from all periods of history whenever I see fit. Recently my Short Film Saturday posts have been running toward silents more often. I questioned this tactic for a second until I realized that if I really do hope to encompass all of film history then the silent era most definitely should not be ignored. If you mark the silent era from the birth of film (1895) to the first talkie (1927), and I realize it could be argued that the silent era stretched a few years beyond that, and also that there were experiments with sound very early; that’s still 27% of film history at current which was entirely silent. Therefore a weekly post (or, however often I put it up) is not out of line at all mathematically or otherwise.

The good news is that many silent films are available to watch online, and are in the public domain. So I will feature some here.

When writing of this film as one of my favorite older films first seen in 2011, I wrote:

One of the most accurate titles you’re likely to see. It is the day in the life of a major metropolitan area but the way it’s cut and shot really is symphonic.

While I was economical to not blurb that post into being completely over-bloated, it did also remind me of another film, about another city that blew my mind. That’s as much as I’ll say now as I hope to feature it next week.

Enjoy!

Short Film Saturday: Oh Father

This Madonna video also features a cribbed image from a well-known film but it is not as renowned as her borrowing liberally from Metropolis for “Express Yourself.” This video for “Oh Father” borrows images from Citizen Kane. Kudos to the Comet Over Hollywood for spotting it and inspiring this month-long focus on Madonna’s videos.

Citizen Kane (1941) was named the greatest film of all time by the American Film Institute in 1998.

But prior to this, Madonna used themes from the Orson Welles film in her 1989 music video “Oh Father,” according to writer E. Ann Kaplan.

A scene similar to Citizen Kane in Madonna’s video “Oh Father”

The whole video is shot in black and white. At the beginning of the music video, a priest is looking out the window, watching a little girl spin and play in the snow. Inside, the little girl’s father is lying over her mother as she dies.

Madonna’s video was modeled after his scene of Agnes Morehead as Mary Kane watching young Charles Foster Kane playing outside.

The scene is similar to young Charles Foster Kane playing in the snow as his parents are inside, preparing to send him away with guardian to be raised in luxury. When Kane is taken away from his parents, he acts rebellious and is expelled from several universities.

The song and video were Madonna’s attempt to accept her mother’s death and her father remarrying.

“I had to deal with the loss of my mother and then had to deal with the guilt of her being gone and then I had to deal with the loss of my father when he married my stepmother. So I was just one angry abandoned girl. I’m still angry,” she is quoted as saying in a 2002 biography “Madonna: An Intimate Biography” by Randy Taraborelli.

Citizen Kane (1941, RKO.)

Oh Father (1990, Sire/Maverick, Warner Bros.)

Kane allusions aside it’s a fairly haunting video that I could scarcely watch when I was younger. On a musical note, there are perhaps no two more disparate back-tp-back tracks in her discography than this followed by “Dear Jessie” on Like a Prayer.

Enjoy!

Underrated Dramas: Benelux

Introduction

Recently I decided to partake in another great theme going on at Rupert Pupkin Speaks. The last list I did there was for the Underrated Comedies series. As I anticipated, there was far more competition among movies I like to make the dramas list than the comedies list. So much so that I decided to post ancillary lists here before the big list debuts there. I wasn’t able to get all the contenders onto these lists but I was able to feature the most competitive regions (foreign films were one of my main foci). This is the second list, here is the first.

Underrated Dramas: Benelux

Benelux is the collective name for the region of Europe comprised of the Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg. I’ve yet to see a film made and set in Luxembourg, but I hope that changes soon.

In the past few years it seems that all the movies I’ve seen from the region are outstanding films, and I have not yet seen some more well-known ones (Such as Bullhead). Regardless the point needs to be made as only only two of the eight would not be considered recent.

In many cases, I’ve already written about these films before so the blurbs will be brief and there will be links included. This is as much a declaration of an emerging and vibrant region, that many seem to be overlooking; as it is a list.

Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)

Jeanne Dielman (1975, Janus Films)

I only ever heard of this film thanks to something I read in a booklet that accompanied a Bela Tarr film on DVD. The fact that it took that, to me, makes it an underrated film. It’s one that admittedly I had to give a second chance, but I’m glad I did.

Winter in Wartime (2008)

Winter in Wartime (2008, Sony Pictures Classics)

This is a film I viewed by myself, and it made quite a big dent in that year’s BAM Awards. This was an official selection for the Netherlands to the Academy Awards but took a while to get picked up and didn’t make a lot of noise when it did; it ought to have.

Ciske the Rat (1984)

Ciske the Rat (1984, Concorde Film)

This is a film that fits one of the criteria I set out of being out-of-print. To tell you of some of the levels in which it excels would be to give away too much, but it is a film both sensitive and shocking, that has endearing and infuriating moments that are all completely by design.

The Misfortunates (2009)

The Misfortunates (2009, NeoClassics Films)

The upbringing of an artist is a narrative that always intrigues me. More often than not these tales tell of less-than-pristine circumstances wherein the protagonist overcomes misunderstanding or even lack of support to excel against the odds. The Misfortunates doesn’t break that mold necessarily but it tells its tale well within it, as I tweeted:

“The Misfortunates” a well-acted, interestingly constructed, creatively told family drama about an author’s upbringing in Flanders.

Considering I saw this well ahead of the other films it could benefit greatly from a revisit as I’ve grown more accustomed to the sensibilities and aesthetics that seem to be the zeitgeist in the region at current.

North Sea Texas (2011)

North Sea Texas (2011, Strand Releasing)

While nominated at the most recent GLAAD Awards, it sadly didn’t walk away a winner there. I still assert that the test of time will treat this film very well. I included it in many ways in the 2012 BAM Awards, with significant wins and submitted it to OMIEs and LAMBs and will continue to champion it.

The remaining three could make some serious hay in the upcoming BAM Awards:

The Giants (2012)

The Giants (Kino Lorber, 2011)

In any year, there are those films that stand out, and continue to, long after they’ve been seen. This is one of them. This film recently came to not again for me after reading Mike Scott’s take. It’s a strong film, that treats adolescence in less-than-ideal-circumstances a very real way that doesn’t have sensationalized “grit” and doesn’t forsake soul. Highly, highly recommended.

Allez, Eddy! (2012)

Allez, Eddy! (2012, Benelux Film Distributors)

Creativity and quirkiness abound in this tale that transcends the usual trappings of underdog-sports-tales and children’s films to be rather artistic, humorous, moving and heartwarming.

Time of My life (2012)

Time of My Life (2012, Strand Releasing)

The most wondrous thing about this film is that from the outset you know how it’s going to end, but that doesn’t make it any less effective as a statement or as a piece of raw, human drama.

Tarzan Thursday: Tarzan and the Huntress (1947)

Introduction

Last year the character of Tarzan celebrated his 100th year in print. A serialized version of the story first appeared in 1912. A hardcover collection of Tarzan of the Apes first appeared in 1914. Being in the middle of the Tarzan centennial period it’s an opportune time to (re)visit many of the screen renditions of the character.

Tarzan and the Huntress (1947)

Probably the most unfortunate thing about Tarzan and the Huntress is that there are good things in the script, but there’s just not enough material. At times it seems like they only started with half-a-feature-length screenplay, elongated everything, shot cutaways and time-fillers to bolster the running time.

One of the switches that works really well here is that the impending threat is introduced prior to the stasis, therefore, at the outset of the film there is greater promise than there are in many of the films. The stasis is thus leant and undercurrent of tension none of the prior ones have.

What interferes with the success of this installment most is the fact that, here perhaps more so than any other film, it seems Tarzan is the only one with a memory of past interactions with white men in the jungle. Again Boy, whose youth and naivite are harder to sell the bigger and broader he gets; and Jane’s willing acquiescence to the desires of the civilized world are what causes a majority of the issues and strife.

Conflict is necessary but considering how flip the trappers are it’s hardly necessary for them to be tricked so. Tarzan attempts diplomacy bowing to the King and they cross him many times. Now, part of the issues is the concept and the writing there’s a line of the “war taking its toll on zoos.” How? Air raids, I would assume, but it that really a justifiable reason to over-poach? The greed is now underscored furthermore the animals are usually respected greatly by Tarzan and his family so Boy giving away two cubs for a flashlight is the hardest turn of events to take in the series.

The reason it feels like have a script elongated is that there is a stasis section in the middle of the film. Much like my sudden, un-segued shift to discussing it, such is that section to the flow of the film.

The conclusion of the film is not unusual and similar to others, including the fact that it’s not really earned. The next film, and the last time Weissmuller played Tarzan, would break the mold slightly but not for the better.

Updates: August 13th, 2013

As those of you who follow my Twitter or the sites Facebook once every two weeks I update all the posts that I consider to be what I call “Running Posts.” Those being lists I update throughout the year or month for various year-end considerations. This is also why I like to say I (try) to post new or updated content daily, as usually update days allow for little else. However, I thought it time to formalize this process. The next update will be on September 1st, 2013.

Films Viewed in 2013
My Radar
Contenders for Favorite Older Films First Viewed in 2013
2013 BAM Award Considerations – August
Series Tracker
Considerations for the 2013 Ingmar Bergman Lifetime Achievement Award
The Movie Rat Schedule
Mini-Review Round-Up

Review- Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

Pre-Amble

If you read this blog consistently while I have tried, and I hope succeeded, to keep content fresh and diverse. However, as I intimated in this post particularly, I’ve been far less interested in reviewing theatrical releases lately (mini-reviews don’t fall under that category). There’s a certain bit of “FIRST” to it that can be tiresome and doesn’t allow one to reflect. Moreover the more interesting hooks to me to write about lately have been pieces about the films, that aren’t reviews like I did for The Dictator, The Sitter and most recently The Lone Ranger, to name three. It’s easier to write a review at polar extremes. However, this one came about through discussing the films and found me pretty firmly split on and that compelled me to write this. I say only to this to close this introduction: I do not write from a perspective of consumer advocacy but of vocalizing my thoughts and why they are so. If you read between the lines, you can usually decipher if the film may be your cup of tea.

Without further ado, the review…

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013, 20th Century Fox)

Perhaps the best way to encapsulate my thoughts on this film would be to echo the sentiments I tweeted about it the next day and expand upon that. “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters has highlights that are higher than the first (film) & lowlights that are lower than the first (film); a mixed bag.” I admit that I’m a fairly positive person, or I try to be. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it, I just didn’t as much as I could have. A higher degree of satisfaction was within reach but there were frustrations and eye-rolling moments to be had.

Due to viewing commitments with different groups of friends I saw the first installment quite a few times and after just one viewing this one already felt more memorable than the initial foray. I don’t recall any really bad failings in the film prior like this one had; yet there were some things that really worked much better than before. Having said that, it’s an uphill struggle to get past all the encumbrances.

Many of the issues stem from the writing: the dialogue is frequently where there are misses. Many attempted jokes are lame but don’t land. There are some good ones. Delivery plays a role. Stanley Tucci has impeccable timing and makes most of his material work, Nathan Fillion’s brief appearance is one of the highlights, Lerman has one great line, which was given the benefitted of my anticipating.

However, these writing concerns are not just limited to the attempts at levity, but also with building character. A lot of the scripting problems lie in characterization of Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) and Clarisse (Leven Rambin), each has a character flaw we know they’ll work through but each spends half the film repetitiously re-enforcing their one-dimensional attitude regarding their prejudice to the point of cartoonishness.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013, 20th Century Fox)

Another odd aspect of the series made itself evident first in the beginning and crystallized as the film moved on: There is a mystical cab that takes the characters part of the way on their journey. The three “drivers” have one eye among them them and drive recklessly and the cab can split; a clear homage to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, both the book and the film pre-date this book/film pair. What it underscores is that: while both this and the Potter series deal with subcultures of superhuman beings with the fate of the world in their hands, unbeknownst to mere mortals, there’s an intangible lack of epicness that permeates this world. It’s smart and creative how the mundane hides these things, but it never gets awe-inspiring when the curtain is pulled back. The divested way this series is approaching its subject matter, fronting action first, forsaking character depth and internalized; conflict is undermining it no matter how high the stakes get.

Which brings me to the The CG, which is again hit-or-miss. Overall, it’s likely better than before but while some of the designs are great, but the work isn’t the best, which is unfortunate because that being improved would go some of the way to creating the kind of impact that is being sought here.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013, 20th Century Fox)

Logan Lerman is someone who I’ve twice nominated as Best Actor at the BAMs, in 2009 and 2012. Yet, this series gives him hardly anything to sink his teeth into. He has the one-liner moment and the compulsory scene where he can be emotional but not much in between. The stuntwork in terms of choreography and execution is Grade-A stuff and he had a small part in that, but most of those kudos go to that unit.

I’m not a staunchly anti-voice-over person. However, another misstep was the voice-over at the very end which explained the implications of what just happened and blew the doors wide open for the next installment. Had there not been that voice over and the film left off at the last line of dialogue the ending would’ve been awesome. Yes, awesome. As it stands, it wasn’t.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013, 20th Century Fox)

There are surprises to be had and when things stop needing set-up the film really clicks, pacing is never an issue. The introduction of Tyson (Douglas Smith) is a great addition in terms of character and the performance by Smith. While Freudenthal does fine here anew as he did with Hotel for Dogs and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the series is sitting in a good place at the end that makes you hope that story and forthcoming director can really ratchet up the franchise to a newer, higher level.

Owing to that fact, I marginally give it a…

6/10

Silent Feature Sunday: Battleship Potemkin (1925)

While I do watch many new films, and have annual awards and will discuss current cinematic topics. Part of my desire to create my own site was to not have an agenda forced upon me that was not my own. This allows me to discuss films from all periods of history whenever I see fit. Recently my Short Film Saturday posts have been running toward silents more often. I questioned this tactic for a second until I realized that if I really do hope to encompass all of film history then the silent era most definitely should not be ignored. If you mark the silent era from the birth of film (1895) to the first talkie (1927), and I realize it could be argued that the silent era stretched a few years beyond that, and also that there were experiments with sound very early; that’s still 27% of film history at current which was entirely silent. Therefore a weekly post (or, however often I put it up) is not out of line at all mathematically or otherwise.

The good news is that many silent films are available to watch online, and are in the public domain. So I will feature some here.

When I was studying film, from one source or another, I heard it said that Eisenstein’s work was more interesting in an academic sense than any other. Having sought out and seen this film on my own after having seen the famous “Odessa Steps” sequence, I could not have disagreed with this statement more. Surely, in a historical context one cannot explain the art of editing without discussing Eisenstein. For it was both in practice and theory that he pushed it forward as the essential component in the art. Yet I found the film tremendously gripping. In his book Film Form he explains himself that its structuring has much to do with it both here:

Potemkin looks like a chronicle or a newsreel of an event, but it functions like a drama.

The secret of this lies in the fact that the chronicle pace of is fitted to a severely tragic composition. And furthermore, to tragic composition in its most canonic form – the five-act tragedy.

And here:

The utility in the choice of a five-act structure in particular, for this tragedy was, of course, by no means accidental, but was the result of prolonged natural selection…

The impact of this structural decision is redoubled in my estimation by the film’s slender running time (75 minutes, officially speaking). It’s not a wonder then that some may not connect, seeing as a five-act structure can be seen as archaic, and some films who can be argued to employ one (such as A.I.) can disengage people.

That temporally truncated approach to a classical epic structure is only a small part of why it works for me. Regardless of whether or not it does for you this is one you should scratch of your list, which is another reason I’ve chosen to take on this theme, both to introduce essentials and to see more myself.

Enjoy!

Short Film Saturday: Cherish

Continuing the Madonna theme this month, which began last week, we come to a video that is not only in black and white but has a bit of a story to it also “Cherish.”

Here’s some interesting info about the video gleaned from Wikipedia. Some of it pertains to the production and release and the last paragraph gets into interpretations of the motifs, which you are always advised to take with a grain of salt. If you want to look into what the sources are, you can visit the original article here.

“Cherish” was accompanied by a black-and-white music video that was directed by Herb Ritts and was filmed on July 22, 1989 at Paradise Cove Beach in Malibu, California. Its world-premiere took place on MTV on August 28, 1989.[47] Ritts was one of Madonna’s preferred photographers at that time and so she asked him to direct the “Cherish” video. Ritts reportedly tried to talk her out of it saying, “But I’m a still photographer. I don’t know anything about film.” Undaunted, Madonna replied simply, “Well you have a few weeks to learn.”[47] The video was conceptualized by Ritts, who wanted to portray Mermen in their natural habitat, but Madonna baulked at the idea since she wanted to be portrayed as herself, but keep the Mermen also.[47] Four male performers were signed for this, one of them being Tony Ward, who would become Madonna’s boyfriend later, with the other three being water polo players from nearby Pepperdine University.[47] There were four Merman tails created by Global Effects in North Hollywood, California, for the video.[47] Three full size tails for the mermen were cast in a solid highly flexible rubber, each weighing around 40 lbs. This was necessary to make them neutrally buoyant in water as lighter tails would have floated, causing the swimmers to be head down in the sea.[47] Once in these tails, the polo players needed to be carried to and from the water and once inside, they had tremendous swimming power and agility. This was partly due to a plastic spring like armature cast into the flipper of each tail.[47] One of the reasons that this video was shot in black and white was because the water was very cold, causing Madonna’s already pale complexion to look even whiter.[48]

Fouz deduced a relationship between the music and the images in the video for “Cherish”, saying that they complement each other; the author felt that this in turn encouraged the viewer to watch the video repeatedly.[49] Fouz talked about the balancing of height and depth occurring in the video. The visual depictions of the Mermen and the lighting used in the video was influenced by Ritts’ still photography known as “The Male Nude Bubble”, which showed nude male models inside a giant water tank, with a white cloth entwined around them. Many of the qualities in the photos, including the floating nature of the models, were used in the swimming and the posing of the Mermen.[49] Carol Vernallis, author of Experiencing Music Video, found homoerotic connotations between Madonna and the Mermen. The Mermen in the video exist in a self-contained world of their own, where they procreate with their own kind, both biologically and socially. The fact that the Mermen did not seem to possess genitalia led Vernallis to believe that it associated them with Ritts’ other works, homoerotic sculptural images without penis.[50] Their tails drew different meanings, including sexual ones and Christian symbolism. Since in contemporary art, the images of Mermen are rare and Mermaids are prominent, they are sometimes called fairies partly because it is not known how they came to be.[50] Vernallis believed that the mysteriousness and the elusiveness of the mermen in the video played a crucial role. They never address the camera directly and are often shown disappearing from view.[50] Vernallis believed that since invisibility is a central theme in the homosexual community, this actually portrayed oppression and also the desire to watch but never be seen.[50]