Colonials I

film 4 of 6

The Living Desert

Draft Review by Dean Duncan Jun 3, 2015

Imposition of European perceptions on indigenous culture (animals and nature), just like the Johnsons’ intertitles in their African movies, score reinforces same (tarantula waltz, “hot time in the old town tonight” as rats celebrate their victory over snake, scorpion square dance, with repeats and reversals to further manipulate), this is just as disrespectful to realities as those docs, if you’re environmentally inclined anyway; use to illustrate, even introduce conceptual mickey mousing with music (music montage vs. music reinforcement); facetious commentary is primary, visuals, and the life they’re ostensibly portraying, altered to conform to that commentary (burping mud cut for score); again, like the Johnsons, as opposed to Arne Sucksdorff’s (Flaherty’s) more enlightened, truer representations, and quite different from Robert Gardner’s (?) later, narrationless maintainings of other cultures’ essential mystery; narration like music, which in narrative film subsumes and contains life’s imponderable complexity in a neat and conventionalized interpretive form