Hazardous Hospitals: An Interactive Call to Action

Hazardous Hospitals: An Interactive Call to Action

Hazardous Hospitals, created by ProPublica reporters Marshall Allen and Olga for PBS frontline, is an Interactive Documentary that exposes the under-treated world of hospital-born infections and complications. The documentary progresses from the presumption that we take certain assumptions about hospitals for granted: that hospitals are safe, that hospitals employ error-checking procedures, that some surgeries are simple, that hospitals will be accountable for their mistakes and that one can sue for malpractice. The documentary uses a talking-head in front of a white board to present and negate these assumptions (occasionally, he draws on a glass surface in front of him or animations appear to elucidate his point) punctuating each section with an interactive component, usually involving a bit of reading or hovering over elements for more information.

(Left: animations help illustrate the talking-head’s point. Right: a punctuative interaction component is introduced to us.)

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Remixed History

Perhaps this should be called “Remixed Historical Fiction,” but Hitler’s iPad rant is the first of many videos that proliferated in which English subtitles pervert the meaning of scenes from Downfall (2004), a german film about Adolph Hitler’s final days.

Certainly not a remix that disseminates an activist message, the irreverent “Hitler is informed and rants about the Apple iPad” has mostly comical impulses. First, it makes fun of the shortcomings of the then just-released Apple iPad. It saps the seriousness out of the conversation in the source material, replacing the sobering content with a trivial tantrum. It brings an anachronistic object into the period-world of the film. Most importantly, by rewriting the scene to suggest that Hitler’s rant–which in the film, actually responds to news that Germany is losing the war–is based on something as trivial as a new piece of technology, the video offers a portrayal of Hitler that suggests he is not only a dangerous tyrant, but a spoiled brat.

Interestingly, the remix relies on the pretense that the audience is English-speaking. For a German speaker, the original dialogue of the clip is not diminished by the presence of the inaccurate English subtitles.

REVIEW The Hateful Eight: Quentin Tarantino’s Third Bad Film

REVIEW The Hateful Eight: Quentin Tarantino’s Third Bad Film

CW: Racism.

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It should be stated that I am a Quentin Tarantino fan. Not an unrepentant one, an ambivalent one, but a fan nonetheless. I have seen every film in which he earned a credit, I have a Pulp Fiction poster in my room, and the Reservoir Dogs DVD with limited edition packaging so the case LOOKS LIKE A KEROSENE CAN. “How can it be true?” You ask. “Has film school taught you nothing?”

It’s true: Quentin Tarantino’s films seem like an MFA student’s thesis film, with its transparent homages to other films, at best, and are downright racist at worst. Rightfully, he’s become as condemned in academic circles as he is lauded by audiences. I won’t use his aesthetics or meticulous planning to attempt to elevate him; my fave is problematic.

But there are moments, early on in The Hateful Eight, Tarantino’s eighth film, in which rivaling bounty hunters are trapped in a cabin during a snow storm, it seems as if Tarantino will, for once, generate a productive film. Posturing itself as a neo-Western, which assuredly secures Tarantino’s position as the “remix artist” or “post modern filmmaker,” The Hateful Eight evokes everything from John Ford (the first chapter is structured around a stagecoach ride), to McCabe and Mrs. Miller (in large part due simply to the wintry setting, but also because of the insertion of religious icons ritualistically throughout the film and the contemporary folk music choices in the soundtrack, a la The White Stripes’ “Apple Blossom”), to Tarantino’s previous films themselves (the confined who-done-it structure undoubtedly reminds us of Reservoir Dogs, and has just a slight From Dusk ’til Dawn aftertaste. This posturing allows for a wealth of productive commentary–amidst the sentimentalizing of the genre itself–to the extent that it invites a comparison between the modern day and the days of the frontier, or between the modern day and days of Classical Westerns.

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