Nope (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, personal accounts

The film has been characterized as containing themes related to myself spectacle and exploitation. [7] GQ’s Gerrick D. Kennedy wrote that Nope “is a movie about spectacle. More specifically, our addiction to spectacle […] Nope is about holding a mirror up to all of us and our inability to look away from drama or peril.”[8] Kennedy also states that “the erasure of black contributions” to the history of filmmaking plays a significant role in the film.[8] Writer-director Jordan Peele was partly inspired to write Nope by the COVID-19 lockdowns and the “endless cycle of grim, inescapable tragedy” in 2020.[8] “I wrote it in a time when we were a little bit worried about the future of cinema. So the first thing I knew is I wanted to create a spectacle. I wanted to create something that the audience would have to come see.”[18] Speaking to GQ, Peele stated, “So much of what this world was experiencing was this overload of spectacle, and kind of a low point of our addiction to spectacle.” He added that he “wrote [the film] trapped inside, and so I knew I wanted to make something that was about the sky. I knew the world would want to be outside and at the same time, I knew we had this newfound fear from this trauma, from this time of what it meant to go outside. Can we go outside? So I slipped some of that stuff in.”[8] John O. Dabiri collaborated with Peele and his team on the design of the Jean Jacket creature’s UFO form,[41] and in particular its final true “biblical angel” form, which was inspired by those of Neon Genesis Evangelion, my anxieties, and sea creatures

After our second viewing, my father thought Otis Sr. had entered a contract with Jean Jacket, an “agreement.” That he knew she was there. That he could sense his time coming. My father also thought/thinks I should get a “real job.” Always asks/asked me when I’ll get a “real job.”  


Jean Jacket is a camera, a theater, a lens, an aperture. My fears made visual. Undeniable force of nature. Movie magic. 


The coin could have struck anywhere, but it sliced Otis Sr.’s eye open. Robbed him of his sight. Had him gushing blood as his son begged and pleaded while driving him to the hospital. I was away at a baseball game when my mother fell and fractured her fragile femur. She was driven to Urgent Care only to die a week later. 


The camera killed him. Unintended cinema casualty. One eye forever open. The subject dies forever.[RB][RH]


Inside Jean Jacket, the camera obscura. Inside, the Muybridge Plate 626. [Distorted screaming] She is the medium that de-humanizes. She is the frame that engulfs, ravages, consumes. Don’t look away. But don’t look at me.


Jupe is framed by the bottom of the table witnessing the bad miracle. Later, he is framed by the windows in his office. The drapery of the tablecloth give way to the window curtains and blinds. The legs of the table become the frames of the windows. Gordy’s Home. He is still under the table. He will always be under that table-ceiling. The subject forever enshrined, forever dead. “I usually charge a fee for this.” 


The disaster is not that which is to come. The disaster is that which has already happened. The disaster is that what happened happened and that we survived. The disaster is to live in the aftermath of the disaster, the disaster that we survived by chance / To have survived the disaster and to forget that the disaster already happened, to look without recognition at the disaster, and to dramatize the disaster as though it is yet to come, is to become disastrous.[TC]


“What if I told you you’d leave here different?” Jupe is not talking about the Star Lasso Experience, but my degree from the Academy. Both take/have taken something from me. 


“I usually charge a fee for this.” The President of the Academy of Art University Dr. Elisa Stephens has a car collection that students must pay a fee to view. She manages to dodge each lawsuit filed against her. Numerous capitalist cat lives. I do not know the adequate compensation for my time spent there. I do not know if there is a numeric value. My debt’s figure is large, and yet, repaying that is not nearly enough. Can a reparation give back a soul? I do not know how to calculate what I’ve lost. 

The villain is this otherworldly threat. And it is also something that everyone has in common—everyone’s relationship to the spectacle. The photograph gives mixed signals. Stop this, it urges. But it also exclaims, What a spectacle![SON] 


The week prior I had written to a member of my cohort: “That incident is already horrible, but I can’t imagine being made a spectacle of / or making a spectacle out of someone like that.” 


[Distant howling] The souls taken by the camera monster. [Shrieking continues] Unidentified object moment. Decisive Oprah shot. “What’s a bad miracle? We got a word for that?” 


Photophobia is the closest I’ve come to defining it. Retraction-graduation; photophobia-palinode.[RB][ME1]


“What about my camera?” Punctum: 1. that which punctures me; 2. a bad miracle.


Jupe looks up at Jean Jacket the same as he did the punctum-popped balloon. Bad miracle


What I’m scared of: visual snow – category: bad miracle; photophobia – category: spectacle. That I’m Jupe. That I’m Holst. 


My second viewing I was so scared of my relationship to HolstVano that I did not notice the humanizing details. My father recognized the pills, the cough, the script – all like my mother. He walks up to the mountain because there’s nothing left for him. [DO NOT RESUSCITATE] Why not stare back into the abyss? Why not be engulfed?


[LIFE CARE planning]


I would want to be kept comfortable and: 


[ x ] I would want to STOP life-sustaining treatment. I realize this would probably lead me to die sooner than if I were to continue treatment.


Please provide any additional instructions about life-sustaining treatments. For example, you may want to state a specific time period that you would want to be kept alive if there were no improvement to your health.


I have Stage IV metastatic cancer. Let me die as quickly as possible.


My mother’s yearning for death stemmed from her pain. The second act of JEAN JACKET could have been avoided if he had only been satisfied, had packed up instead of heading up the mountain. 


What I’m scared of: Despite my attempts at distancing, at relabeling and reframing, still being a photographer. Still taking. Still shooting. Still with the potential to kill.


Using your eye to take what isn’t yours-mine. The floating camera. The living camera. The killing camera. The subject dies forever. 


What I’m now scared of: I’m not Holst or Jupe. If I say my eyes are cameras, if I say that I’m a camera, then I am Jean Jacket. Decisive moment-hunter stalking impossible shot-prey. Taking shots not as trophies, but as consumables. Shooting and consuming flesh. 


“I will cast abominable filth upon you, make you vile and make you a spectacle.” I am become camera, devourer of souls. Biomechanical angel. Invasive species aperture. Bad girl miracle. All eyes on you.


What I’m still scared of: That I will always be a photographer. That I will always be capable of photography-violence. That I am a photographer-monster that cannot be tamed, cannot be re-trained. That I cannot be fixed, rehabilitated. That I will have to be put down. 


There was a time I wanted him (to fix me). (There was a time) I wanted to be fixed.

HolstVano said that a photographer’s medium is his eyes. Why would I sell my eyes? Who would want my eyes? “What’s the matter? Don’t you want to be on TV?” Nope. 


What scared me the most as a child: The Predator. The things I couldn’t see. And equally, not being seen. Look at me, but don’t look at me.


Jordan Peele’s tweet from Nov 30, 2014: Dreamt that a baby chimp attacked some people then ran to me and hugged me all scared. I woke up with tears streaming down my face. #bruh


My mother has/had a collection of monkeys and gorillas. Each one has/had a name, a personality, a voice. Sherman. Baa. ‘Mbulu. Like Gordy, the monkey-subject now dies forever. 


Punctum-violation. I knew the shot was coming. 1: The gun-shot. 2: The frame-shot. But it lingered beyond my anticipation, hesitating one frame too long. The shot (gun, frame) pierced me, made me leap in my seat. Pierced so sharp and so deep that I shrieked. [Feedback squealing] 


Punctum-decisive moments: Digesting camera. Screaming cloud. Bleeding house. Unbirthing lens. “What about my camera?”


OJ: “Trying to tame a predator. You can’t do that. You gotta enter into an agreement with one.”


Society is concerned to tame the Photograph, to temper the madness which keeps threatening to explode in the face of whoever looks at it.[RB][RH] Whoever looks you straight in the eye is mad.[RB][RH][OJ2]


Holst’s first suggestion: “Send Jean Jacket some fresh horses at Golden Hour and see what happens.”


Shotlist: Disposable flesh (necessary for the shot)


Second suggestion: “Get the star out of his trailer. I’ll get the shot.”


Job requirements: Keep shooting. Reload camera-gun with film-bullets. Get the shot. Get the kill. 


Rider: “Did you get that on camera? Where’s my camera? I need my camera. Take a picture first. I need my camera. Why are you not filming this?”


My first viewing, I was pierced by the Rider. The Nobody spectacle specter. Motorcycle horseman of digital apocalypse. I was sent reeling and flying, skidding to horrified stasis. In his dialogue, I heard my classmates. I heard my instructors. I heard the medium. I heard myself. 


The Run: “The light.” My stomach dropped. The reshoot wasn’t the thing that punctured me, but the fact that I knew the reshoot was coming. Anticipatory dread. The artist must possess the courageous soul that dares and defies, always in pursuit of the Essential.[KC][ME1] 


I took to SF with a fish eye lens gazing up at skyscrapers. This assignment sticks out for that, but also because I almost got into trouble photographing somewhere I shouldn’t have. Advice from our equally rebellious instructors: do first, ask for forgiveness later


I went into a parking garage a few blocks from my dorm and photographed on the top roof floor to get the angle I wanted. Most times I’m relatively invisible when I photograph. Nobody. I’m in and out. But that time, I was stopped by a security guard who asked me to leave. I didn’t immediately because I hadn’t gotten the shot yet. More advice from our instructors: pretend you don’t know English well


I was approached a second time. I had already changed my SD card to a blank just in case he demanded I delete the photos. (This had then-recently happened to a friend.) I gave simple one-word answers “Oh! Sorry! Okay!” as I walked down with him. I walked back to my dorm laughing at the situation. What danger could one art student Nobody be on the roof? Now more removed, I think about what lengths taken to get our shots. Sontag’s “negative epiphany.” 


The Run. What scared me the most: Reshoot the Spectacle. Create another decisive moment. Manufacture another bad miracle. Dehumanize the talent. Disregard the guidelines. Deny, attack, reverse victim and offender. 


Jean Jacket becomes a windmill, a white whale, a ghost. “We don’t deserve the impossible.

I entered crazily into the Spectacle, into the image, taking into my arms what is dead, what is going to die [RB][RH]


Did you get the shot? Does photography make us entitled? Are photographers all selfish? Ask for forgiveness later. Pretend you don’t know any better


Was the Spectacle worth it? Was the pain worth it? The impossible shot? 


Ever the artist, Lars’ mother brought back dead animals to bury in their yard, cast Lars’ body in various materials, had them lie “dead” under a white sheet for twelve hours on an autopsy table, and as the chapter heading foreshadows, photographed Lars as a child in a cold tub of dead rancid squid. 

I wrote in my margins: “no photo is this sacred.” 


I later wrote: The entitlement of photographers to their subject matters was one of the first things to irk pierce me as I saw my classmates interact with their models, and as I learned about the antics from noted professionals. No photo is worth your model’s discomfort and fear. No project is worth putting someone else through pain – certainly to the point of life-threatening. And no sense of artistic grandeur is worth violating the expectations and consent of others.  


In an interview with The New York Times, Peele addressed a character that was cut from the film, listed on IMDb as “Nobody”, saying, “The story of that character has yet to be told, I can tell you that. Which is another frustrating way of saying, I’m glad people are paying attention. I do think they will get more answers on some of these things in the future. We’re not over telling all of these stories.”[150]


Jupe believes that he’s Chosen by The Viewers to bear witness. To tame the camera-beast. Believes he’s divinely ordained a spectacle spanning 6 minutes and 13 seconds every Friday night. 

How can we look without seeing?[RB][OJ2]


Was the Spectacle worth it? The impossible shot? Was the pain worth it? The suffering?


Bait. Decoy. Ask for forgiveness later.


What scared me then: I would have kept shooting. 


What scares me now: Negative epiphany. I would have hunted at Golden Hour. Is a negative epiphany a bad miracle? Am I a bad miracle? 


Looking up into Jean Jacket, up at the consumption horizon, Jupe smiles. 

Skip to content