“Humans are weak animals” Autoethnography and Gojira

As a sociology student autoethnography was a term I’d heard before, but hadn’t really learnt much about and definitely hadn’t ever participated in. Even now after re-reading the Ellis (2011) reading a number of times I feel I’m only just starting to grasp it. Self-analyzing and self-observation at the same time as consuming new media for the first time sounded like a very foreign concept, but I found that reflecting on experiences of the texts wasn’t too hard a task.
Self-observation of how I experience texts feels like just the tip of the iceberg. To fully understand a text or experience, I have to try to interpret the text at the same time understanding how and why I’ve interpreted said text the way I have. This feedback loop of interpreting ‘how’ and ‘why’ I’m understanding media a certain way could go on forever. I’m also only just beginning to grasp the idea of being encouraged to tweet in class and blogging as part of assessments. Digital communications feels like a different world to my arts degree. *Cue awkward segue*

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(see what I did there?)

Watching the film Gojira (1954) was an entirely new experience for me and felt like a whole new world of film. I actually really enjoyed the film, once I got over the slow pacing and awkward silences that had no dialogue or music. I felt it actually had a similar structure to modern day disaster movie, but just moved far more slowly. Here’s some thoughts I had during the film:

• There are a lot of extras in this movie. I don’t know why this feels so significant to me but there are just a lot of people on screen, films don’t really show crowds in that way anymore.

• Usually in Japanese shows/films I’m irked by how much the characters speak and over-explain everything that’s happening. In this film I’m completely frustrated by how little is being said about what’s going on.

• The lack of dialogue and music made it difficult to immerse myself in the world and I definitely felt more like I was watching a movie than experiencing it. I haven’t watched many films from this decade before, and I think I know why now.

• For some reason I’m very surprised at how critical the film is of weapons of mass destruction. First blaming Godzilla’s existence on hydrogen bomb testing, and then Professor Seriwaza’s moral debate on sharing his technology.

• The miniatures were amazing! Having nothing from the time to compare it to I’m insanely impressed by them. I’m equally devastated too that they were all destroyed during the movie.

• Can Emiko please stop screaming, and if she must continue can she at least not have such a dead-pan expression on her face.

• Affection as well as violence in the movie was only alluded to and not directly seen (even the fights scene pans over to the fish tank before we get to see any good stuff happen) which says something of the time and place it was set and filmed in.

 

Gojira (1954) was definitely laced with a lot of critique of nuclear power. Seriwaza was a really interesting character, and I think he said some much about himself and the films overall theme when he said “humans are weak animals”.

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One comment

  1. To myself, ‘Autoethnography’ is a little hard to understand however with your post you have defined it in a short sentence. It is about the ‘why’ and ‘how’ with the use of observation and interpretation of the piece.

    How you used, ‘Gojira’ as your piece I believe you have done quite well. I agree with your points upon dialogue, music and extras used in the film. The extras just really extended the film rather than in modern day when they take out more to just push for further action. Great work on this piece.

    Like

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