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Mob mentality in central character's thoughts

by Robin Killian

This footage is shot from the inside of a car in first person inside POV. The car is being attacked by an angry mob. Through the windshield we can see chaos outside as people crawl all over the vehicle, beating it and shaking it. The handheld footage reinforces the tumultuous atmosphere set up in the beginning of the piece for the central character to resist and eventually come to peace with. The footage represents the ways that our thoughts assault us and come in massive “attacks” or waves that can be daunting to face. As the viewer tries to meditate, the mob (thoughts) violently and abruptly interject themselves into the viewer’s headspace.

The mob is now experienced from an objective point of view, separating the viewer from the personal attacks we have been subjecting them to. This footage of the mob is utilized to create distance from the chaos. Instead of seeing the situation unfold from a first person inside view where the viewer is personally “attacked,” we are able to take an objective stance to the chaos as an audience. Although the footage is as frightening as that which precedes it, the first step in letting thoughts flow away from the brain in meditation is explored by the orientation of the camera.

The angry mob smashes in the windows of the car we first “sat inside” at the beginning of the film. When the mob smashes the car windshield, it indicates that the worst has happened, that destruction is at play, and that the stakes are higher than they have ever been. The assault the central character is experiencing in her thoughts becomes increasingly aggressive as she tries to make peace with it. Flashes of nature (a sense of place) work to orient her in the midst of the chaos of the edit.

The angry mob begins to fight outside of the car, now abandoning the car itself and fighting one another. The mob has finally quit the assault of the central character (the mob, again, representing the emotional chaos that the protagonist is undergoing and seeking liberation from). Instead, they fight with one another outside the car. This signifies the conflict of thoughts with one another, which often becomes another layer of confusion internally when undergoing hardships. Emotional lack of continuity is also put on display through quick cuts from the glacier to the mob, and from equipment to nature.

Some of the mob members begin to attack the car again, while others still fight one another. Chaos is at its peak. The central character is feeling attacked by internal conflict on all fronts. Her resolve to maintain focus and not be automatic in thought appears weak. If the character were to be shown on screen now, she would be hysterically crying and/or panicked. This footage replaces that.

Having realized their mistake, members of the mob begin to run away from the chaos they have created. When the protagonist begins to fight her automatic thought patterns, the mob begins to flee from her and abandon their relentless attack on her mind. The central character is gaining insight into her plight, coming to terms with the chaos of thought she is experiencing. While the circumstances aren’t changing, her perspective is.

Mob and Riot Control Commentary, MATTER

by Robin Killian

This footage represents the interaction of humans with nature, the idea that humans emit gas, the nature of humanity as a solid, yet the juxtaposition that we are primarily composed of liquid. Allowing humanity to intersect with the science of matter is a symbiosis of science and art, of which the two are not mutually exclusive. Yet at times humanity is revealed to be working against nature, while taking advantage of the transitional phases that nature has to offer. This is explored with the illustration of the atomic bomb.

Mob and Riot Control

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Informational video on how to control mobs and rioters.

from Mob and Riot Control (1964)
Creator: Federal Laboratories, Inc. and Charles Cahill and Associates, Inc.; with the cooperation of Downey Police Department, Downey, Calif.
Posted by Robin Killian