Finally settled on a name for my thesis:
Update 6.20.14- I’ve been getting some critique from family and friends over the title decision and I wanna document my thought process while it’s still fresh in my head.
In films that leave room for interpretation, the title is a huge opportunity to inform the piece. That’s pretty obvious. It’s a couple of words that can completely re-contextualize the way a viewer experiences a movie and become part of the piece. The more room that’s left for interpretation the larger the effect a title can have. That’s true for any medium.
If Mea Culpa had been called something else, it would change your read of the film entirely:
The imagery is informed by the title and so the title becomes essential.
Predator, on the other hand, is a straight-forward (and amazing) narrative film, and it would be experienced pretty much the same under almost any other title.
One of my goals when making my thesis was to tip-toe the line between an abstract and narrative driven film. There are a lot of concrete sequential events and there is also lot of surreal, disconnected imagery.
There’s room for interpretation in my thesis, so I was struggling hard to come up with a title that would inform the piece in a way that was exciting and felt essential, but also felt tonally-correct and sounded great.
So I labored over what I was going to call the damn thing- with free word association and word webs and shit:
Nothing was really coming to me. Everything we came up with either pointed to the narrative (Specimen 117, Run-Off, Toxic Tide, Toxic Phototaxis, Rocket Palm), or felt tonally accurate (Sun-Stroke, Palm Rot), but never both.
(I really wanted to use the word ‘Tide’ because I think it alludes to the moon in just subtle enough a way, but I could never make it work.)
In the end I decided that I preferred the titles that had the right tone over the ones that pointed towards the story. I feel like the film is a more atmospheric experience than an intellectual narrative one. I was never as concerned with making sure the viewer understood every aspect of the story as I was with creating something that the viewer found compelling enough to engage in.
So after sitting on it for a few weeks, Palm Rot just felt like the name. It may not be a new layer of information that enriches the whole film like I wanted, but the film does open and close on a shot of the palm farm, a rot can also refer to a blight or scourge of beetles, but most importantly- it has the attitude I want.
I’m worried by the fact that a lot of people I respect don’t really seem to like it- so I haven’t closed the books. But as of right now it feels more right than any other titles I’ve come up with.
Gotta figure something out soon because the is FILM to be FINISHED by MID-JULY.