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Fifty People, One Question
September 16, 2008 4:04 AM   Subscribe

New Orleans filmmaker Benjamin Reece asks fifty New Orlean's residents a single question: "If you could wish for one thing to happen by the end of the day, what would it be?".
posted by Happy Dave (31 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 


Nice! I'd imagine that this is worth some type of filmography award.
posted by winks007 at 4:53 AM on September 16, 2008


This film makes me home sick for new orleans.
posted by Merik at 4:59 AM on September 16, 2008


I would wish I could watch internet video at work.
posted by localroger at 5:29 AM on September 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why does this look so danged good? The camera they use doesn't appear to be particularly special. Can anyone tell me specifically what makes this video so beautiful? (The equipment list is graciously listed on the page with the video.) I was really struck by the look of this, particularly the contrast between what's out of focus and what's in.

Any video folks care to enlighten me? My band is going to shoot a video soon, and we have an AI instructor and an entire class full of his students to do it, so we're on the lookout for looks.
posted by nosila at 6:40 AM on September 16, 2008


nosila: It's the 35mm adapter.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:45 AM on September 16, 2008


Where in New Orleans was this filmed? I asked because the vast majority of the people in the video are white, but I was under the impression that New Orleans, at least pre-Katrina, was mostly black. Has that changed so dramatically?
posted by schroedinger at 6:48 AM on September 16, 2008


Filmed on Magazine Street.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:51 AM on September 16, 2008


nosila: It's the 35mm adapter.

Also, HV20s and HV30s have really crisp images for consumer cameras as seen in this random raw footage.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:58 AM on September 16, 2008


Am I the only one that almost turned it off before they got to answering the questions? It could use about 2 and a half minutes chopped off the beginning.

Once it *did* get started though, it was pretty excellent. Every once in a while I'm reminded why I like living here.
posted by bookwo3107 at 7:01 AM on September 16, 2008


As a New Orleanian who cannot view the video, my answer is, "To be able to move somewhere else." Does that match with everyone else's answer?

/cynicism
posted by mitzyjalapeno at 7:14 AM on September 16, 2008


"Why does this look so danged good?" I was wondering that too. Was the light especially good that day?

My only wish is that the background music were quieter - it's very hard to hear the words spoken over it.
posted by ceri richard at 7:15 AM on September 16, 2008


bookwo3107: agreed

However, it had me smiling all through the answers. And I just fell into a brief love with that red-haired girl. Yum-yow!
posted by papercake at 7:16 AM on September 16, 2008


"If you could wish for one thing to happen by the end of the day, what would it be?"

To fall in love.
posted by plexi at 7:47 AM on September 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I thought it was pretty spectacular. But then, sometimes I just like seeing other people. What they're like, where they're at, and especially the characteristics they take on when in front of a camera which may just as well be their everyday selves. Sometimes I guess I just like people, even when they're doing nothing spectacular.

I liked the woman who was 7 months pregnant and wanted ice cream. At the end, two kids run up and join another woman with ice cream cups in their hands, and I couldn't help but feel a little bad that the two groups didn't meet. Fate could've fixed that scenario. Woulda been cool if they like ran into each other down the street somehow. (I couldn't find what the ice-cream-holding-lady wanted, I don't think her wish got stated in the video.)

Also the guy who said he was 'going to be selfish', his reasoning seemed a little ironic to me. I don't know what kind of work he was doing, but saying you're 'being selfish' by wishing to get all of your work done seems kind of... altruistic? I dunno.

Anyway. People are awesome sometimes.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 8:14 AM on September 16, 2008


Was anybody else expecting Ira Glass to pop out at the end to introduce the next story? But seriously, good stuff.
posted by ALongDecember at 8:21 AM on September 16, 2008


schroedinger: That part of Magazine Street is a hip shopping district (some would say gentrifying). The majority of the shoppers are upper-middle-class and white.

But, also, whites make up a third of the City of New Orleans, and about two-thirds of the New Orleans metro area.
posted by The Giant Squid at 8:44 AM on September 16, 2008


I enjoyed that very much.
posted by kenchie at 9:08 AM on September 16, 2008


I like this, although I agree it does take far too long to get started. It's also interesting how mundane most of the wishes presented are. Ice cream. Money. More money. It's a long way from Imagine. Interesting that the roughest-looking interviewee wished for an end to violence in New Orleans.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:32 AM on September 16, 2008


I enjoyed it, but the representation among the 50 people gives me the feeling that the filmmaker(s) are torn between "I am doing this because it is Art" and "I am doing this because it is a great way to meet women."
posted by Shepherd at 9:56 AM on September 16, 2008


It's an area filled with boutiques, beauty salons and coffee shops, costume and second-hand shops, bistros and breakfast joints, etc. It also serves students at Tulane and Loyola New Orleans. Of course you're going to see nice-looking women around.
posted by raysmj at 10:02 AM on September 16, 2008


In case anyone is reading the thread before watching, the first answer is at 3:10. In case you want to skip ahead.
posted by Bonzai at 10:03 AM on September 16, 2008


I agree it looked beautiful, but what was with the constant shifting in and out of focus? Was it the nature of the equipment? Or the inexperience of the operator? Or god forbid, did the director figure that somehow made it more artistic?
posted by Meatbomb at 10:11 AM on September 16, 2008


The video was done beautifully and the music was a good addition but I agree that it was too loud. Is it just me or do the responses seem a little disappointing? Not in the sense that the video was done wrong, or the question phrased incorrectly, just that I was expecting, something more interesting. And not necessarily altruistic answers, just more depth to them. The answer I liked the most was the man with the hat and sunglasses who said "My son back." Maybe it turns out people generally just want pretty simple things.
posted by NationalWreck at 10:28 AM on September 16, 2008


I enjoyed it, but the representation among the 50 people gives me the feeling that the filmmaker(s) are torn between "I am doing this because it is Art" and "I am doing this because it is a great way to meet women."

I don't think we were watching the same video.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 10:32 AM on September 16, 2008


The video was done beautifully and the music was a good addition but I agree that it was too loud

I think all the music used was 4Tet. At least they didn't use stuff he did with Steve Reid (I love it but it gets really loud and glitchy in places).
posted by mannequito at 10:56 AM on September 16, 2008


NationalWreck writes: Is it just me or do the responses seem a little disappointing? Not in the sense that the video was done wrong, or the question phrased incorrectly, just that I was expecting, something more interesting...Maybe it turns out people generally just want pretty simple things.

For me, that's what made the video so effective. I think it would have seemed a little forced for the answers to have any more substance than they did.
That's just the nature of wishing; there's not a lot of thought put into the how and why, just a general longing for the outcome.
posted by anifinder at 11:57 AM on September 16, 2008


I was having a serve misanthrope attack today and this cheered me right up. People are so neat sometimes!

"I am doing this because it is Art" and "I am doing this because it is a great way to meet women."

These are not mutually exclusive.
posted by The Whelk at 11:59 AM on September 16, 2008


I watched it with sound off but I could see that that smirky guy @ 4:20 wants "more sex". heh.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:06 PM on September 16, 2008


what was with the constant shifting in and out of focus? Was it the nature of the equipment? Or the inexperience of the operator? Or god forbid, did the director figure that somehow made it more artistic?

It's Art, I fear. The behind the lens version of "Hey everybody, look at me." Almost put me off watching the thing but the good people of New Orleans prevailed.
posted by philip-random at 4:02 PM on September 16, 2008


I want the Kardashians to go back and make another self-serving video about helping out one New Orleans family and acting like they were outdoing Brangelina by throwing a gambling fund-raiser with Kim's boyfriend Reggie.

It's obvious I am at home on a sick day watching crappy TV and reading tabloids, sorry about that.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 5:14 PM on September 17, 2008


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