Last Tuesday, I attended Dr. Connor’s talk on Snowpiercer, which I found both very interesting and quite inaccessible. He described how Snowpiercer was a kind of self-referential metaphor – a movie about itself. The compartmentalization of the train mirrored the creation of the film itself, which was an amalgamation of French writing, Korean special effects, New Zealand sound engineering, and Czech production. This new system is a byproduct of a digital age where scripts, video, and sound can be sent across the world to the most talented, efficient, or cost-effective creator. This system also privileges the “auteur,” who can cherry-pick diverse artists who share their vision. While the old studio system was very linear and highly centralized, the new system is very decentralized, but led by a single visionary auteur. I loved the section of the talk that detailed the translation of a French book into a bootlegged Korean book, that was then officialized and adapted into a film. It spoke to the extremely rapid spread of content online, frequently without any regard towards copyright law.
As a Media Studies major that has shied away from film-centric courses, much of the rest of the talk flew over my head. I have little familiarity with the production process of big-budget films, and I was very confused as to whether Connor was using these films as metaphors for themselves, reading into the meanings of the films based on his knowledge of their director, or simply conveying an evidenced, intended meaning.