I recently got a book about Inglorious Basterds. It has an essay by Chris Fujiwara, about excess in the film. He says that the opening title, Once Upon a Time, in Nazi Occupied Europe (or whatever it exactly is) is excessive.
Yet, in all his discussions of excess here and elsewhere in the film, he never refers to Classical Hollywood Cinema as an excessively obvious cinema, as with its norm of doing something three times or conveying the same narrative point through multiple devices.
Nor does Fujiwara refer to Roland Barthes' notion of excess, in terms of a third meaning.
Nor does he mention how this specific once upon a time (myth) / in Nazi occupied Europe (concrete) relates to the models supplied by Sergio Leone with Once Upon a Time / in the West and Once Upon a Time / in America.
Nor does Fujiwara refer to how this intertitle might have translated in Italian, as Once Upon A Time: Nazi Europe.
Yes, Tarantino's direction is certainly excessive by the standards of classical Hollywood, but classical Hollywood is also excessive by the standards of the transcendental style of Ozu or Bresson, just as it is restrained by the standards of Bollywood.
All in all, I feel Fujiwara fundamentally fails to define his terms adequately and to situate them historically, given that contemporary Hollywood is largely excessive in relation to classical Hollywood.
A question, then: are the multiple angles on the explosion in Zabriskie Point excessive/redundant, in that they give us no new information, as only different but commensurable perspectives, and that there is no camera positioned, say, inside the building, or below it, or above it, or at a microscopic or macroscopic level.
This is not the first time I have read something by Fujiwara and felt his discussion was inadequate. There is another essay by him on boredom and the Umberto Lenzi film Spasmo in a collection on cult cinema, where he invokes some continental philosophy, but I suspect he has seen very little of Lenzi's work as a whole, so I feel his discussion is basically pointless intellectual wankery that is about imposing theory upon a convenient text. I may only have only seen 50% or so of Lenzi's films -- i.e. ~30 out of ~60 -- but the one thing I would say them, on balance, is that they are rarely boring. Rather they are very much driven by action. I would respect Fujiwara's discussion much more if he had, say, previously written an essay on images of masculinity presented by Tomas Milian and Maurizio Merli in Lenzi's crime films.
How does one get into a position of being able to get away with this sort of thing? Or at least being able to make money/a career from it? Are there only certain areas of cinema that are worth bothering about? Is it best to read up on theory (not necessarily film theory) and take some choice quotes from Bataille/Levinas/Heidegger or who/what-ever and then go to the films?
Or, a quote: "I ain't no white trash piece of shit. [...] I can
out-learn you. I can out-read you. I can out-think you. And I can
out-philosophize you. And I'm gonna outlast you. You think a couple
whacks to my guts is gonna get me down? It's gonna take a hell of a lot
more than that [...] to prove you're better than me!”