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Notes on The Popular Arts

Like Why Man Creates almost a decade earlier, the Oscar-nominated Notes on the Popular Arts grew out of a corporate commission. Warner Communications’ CEO Steve Ross wanted a film that would convey his firm’s capabilities to the financial community. “They originally viewed it as a kind of annual report,” Saul said, “But as we did with Kaiser Aluminium, we converted it into a commentary. I looked at the company and said, ‘Well, what is it that they’re really up to?’ And looking at their activity, I realized everything could fall under the umbrella of the popular arts. So the idea emerged of having the film define the popular arts as a vehicle for fantasy and self-projection, and treat it in a somewhat ironic style.”

Irony, parody and satire all play a part in the five “windows,” each based on the notion that we create fantasy worlds through television, music, comics, books and movies to compensate for the difficulties of real life.

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