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Watch: 2014: Year of the Iconoclast: A Video Essay

Watch: 2014: Year of the Iconoclast: A Video Essay

If
nothing else, 2014 will be the year in which we were reminded that a
film from Hollywood is more powerful a medium than any politician in
Washington–even before Sony’s The Interview threatened the shaky
international protocol between the US and North Korea. The fallout of
2013’s wild decadence of the upper class as a parody of the American
Dream landed into the more thoughtful, darker universe that commands the
recipients of those same trickle-down economics. Foxcatcher’s
slow-motion Greek tragedy and Snowpiercer’s literal-minded metaphor of
class division as a train engine could never have appropriately occupied
the same year that gifted us Leonardo Di Caprio blowing money, women,
cocaine and just about everything else in The Wolf of Wall Street and The Great Gatsby (though in all fairness, Nightcrawler‘s Lou Bloom wouldn’t
have been out of place shooting Gatsby’s dead body floating in the
pool). Last year’s actions of society brought upon the consequences of
the individual this year, and the results were fascinating, not to
mention impeccably scheduled: Obvious Child‘s low-key depiction of
abortion as a woman’s choice that doesn’t define her life directly stood
against the very recent Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case
which put corporations’ religious rights above female birth control. Selma‘s reminder of a more shameful chapter of our American history will
no doubt be tinted by the very raw distrust of police brutality,
proving that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Nightcrawler reminded us, with cynicism, of the vicious cycle of
manipulation between the wants of the consumer and the supply of the
media–or is it the other way around?
The
debate can be endless as to whether films hold a mirror to our society
or if society merely copies from media; I like to be reminded of Roger
Ebert
‘s quote that movies are proof our our humanity,  for better or
worse. From the vantage point of a later future, it will be easier to
look back upon this year and see if the collective voices from our films
turned any tides or if one rogue wave didn’t make a cultural tsunami.
In the meantime, it’s clear that the microphone is finally coming down
to the people, whether it’s the African-American Millennials navigating
racism and identity in Obama’s America of Dear White People or the
radical notion that women have recreational sex in the main players of Wild, Obvious Child, and most famously Nymphomaniac. And in its own way,
that’s Goddamn revolutionary.

Serena Bramble is a film editor whose
montage skills are an end result of accumulated years of movie-watching
and loving. Serena is a graduate from the Teledramatic Arts and
Technology department at Cal State Monterey Bay. In addition to editing,
she also writes on her blog Brief Encounters of the Cinematic Kind.

This Article is related to: News