Posts tagged ‘Film’

Broken People


Control, A Film By Anton Corbijn, 2007
Photo: Google
Joy Division – Love will tear us apart

Control by Anton Corbijn. Ian Curtis. Joy Division.
I feel “irretrievably” broken after seeing the excellent Anton Corbijn´s film on Ian Curtis. I was one year old when Ian committed suicide. What a lost… And yet aren´t we also to blame for? The pressure and expectations we put on others everyday, putting them on a pedestal… Ian was diagnosed epilepsy, according to his daughter he was mentally instable and showed violent humor swings. For the rest of us, who will always admire his music he will keep on disturbing our peace of mind…
He was only 23 years old when he died but he gave us so much…. and so does the film. Thank you Anton! I cannot even talk about it…

More:
Anton Corbijn talking about Joy Division´s influence on his own life, his love for technique and the adventure of becoming a filmmaker >>>>>>

Declarations on occasion of the Premiere at the Toronto Film Festival 2007 >>>>>>

July 14, 2008 at 1:17 pm Leave a comment

MEDEA from Pasolini

Medea, Pasolini, Google images

I´ve just recently saw Pasolini´s film (1969) based on Euripides´ Medea (431 BC), in which Maria Callas remarkably performs the leading role.

Pasolini takes some liberties regarding Euripides´plot – which was itself based on an already popular myth at the time -, showing for instance two different versions within the film for the death of the corynthian princess who is about to become Jason´s wife.

Specially interesting, is the tribal african music the director uses, introducing a dionysiac effect in relation to certain actions on the verge of madness and loss of control, leaving a lasting impression on the viewer. In a very poetical and at the same time realistic way, Pasolini introduces documentary images within the classical narrative, such as children eating water melons or old aged faces.

S. made me notice that Medea is not merely the story of a woman who incomprehensively kills her children to take reveange on her husband for leaving her and the family to marry another woman. Many complex aspects come together and the story could be said to be about many different things.

I was specially interested in my friend´s point that Medea is a woman who apparently has no choice but to accept the given conditions and collaborate. She seems domed to accept her role as a disillusioned and abandoned wife, condemned to live in exile in a foreign land and culture, to which she is nothing but a barbarian. And there she stands, without any choice, powerless, after having cut with her former life as a priestess, abandoned her father´s house, her land, killed her brother in the most horrific way – and all for the sake of escaping with Jason and love him. And not only has he deserted her but she cannot go back, nor stay, nor undo her life´s choices. She finds herself at the loneliest of places, a non-place in fact.

And so, Medea finds the most unbelievable solution to break out of the desolate situation she has been condemn to – to kill her own children thus irreparably hurt their father and furthermore deprive him of his children´s dead bodies. She completely turns the game around, from a helpless victim to an aggressor in possession of total control. It could be said she is the selfishest of creatures but it could also be said that she is too human and fighting for survival on its most raw dimension…

March 19, 2008 at 3:27 pm Leave a comment

Secret worlds!

I admit. I do have a crush for flanêurs in the Baudelairian sense, enfants terribles and all kinds of troublemakers! Right now, I am very happy to be discovering the world of Miranda July – a filmmaker, performing artist and writer, whose site is worth a visit.

In 2005 she directed “Me, You and Everyone We Know”, winner of four major film awards that year includind the Cannes Film Festival, which I plan to see real soon.
In 2007, and together with Harrell Fletcher, she edited “Learning to Love You More”, a book where several poetical, playfull and often purposeless assignments are suggested to the reader, in order to find beauty in life and learn to love oneself more. In the 11th assignment for example, you are asked to photograph a scar and write about it. Many people have joined in and the experiences of some can be followed in the official blog.

I had heard of this book but didn´t payed much attention, for this sort of thing always makes me very suspicious and sounds very cheesie. Except, last weekend an article in Der Zeit about Miranda and her work made me change my mind and run into the nearest bookshop to buy her short stories book “No One Belongs Here More Than You”, recently published in Germany under the title “Zehn Wahrheiten” (Diogenes Publishing House). Usually I do try to read books in their original language, but this time I couldn´t wait that long! By the way, I proudly admitt my little enthusiasms for other people´s creative worlds!! as this blog testefies. In fact if this would be a perfect world and we all did what we love I could make a living out of it and live happily ever after! The good news is that I just might pull it off!
Anyway, what attracted me was what I consider to be a very simple and yet so urgent motto these days: “Think Less, Feel More” – which by the way, has inspired me to add a new category to my blog.

March 5, 2008 at 2:20 pm Leave a comment

OPENING NIGHT, a film by John Casavettes and TARNATION, a documentary by Jonathan Caouette

Opening NightTarnation
(Google Bilder)

When I was seventeen I could do anything.
It was so easy… My emotions were so close to the surface.
I am finding harder and harder to stay in touch…

(Gena Rowlands in Opening Night by John Casavetes)

Your greatest creation
is the life you lead

(Tarnation, a film by Jonathan Caouette)

Both Casavettes film and Caouette´s documentary deal with performance as a way to handle one´s own feelings and life experience. Jonathan Caouette says that film saved his life, since it was the way he found to reorganize his toughts and experiences and make some sense out of his childhood and teenage years. He started to document his own life at the age of 11. Film has helped him to deal with traumatic events, such as witnessing his mother being raped as a yound boy. His complete self-exposure through the medium film is for him something of a necessity, a survival strategy. He plays with facts from his biography, addressing his mother´s mental clinic history and his own sexuality at the same time.

This exposure finds a parallel in Myrtle´s process to understand and deal with her character in John Casavettes´ film. Myrtle Gordon (Gena Rowlands) is a talented middle aged stage actress, playing Virginia, a middle aged woman. As an actor surrounded by other actors, the difference between real emotion and performance becomes blurred for Myrtle. She starts to dillusion under the pressure of playing a role on stage that forces her to come in terms with her own age. She is also off balance due to the death of a fan that had come to see her on opening night and ends up run over by a car in front of the theater. Myrtle builds a phantasy around this second seventeen-year-old woman, who becomes her double throughout the entire film.

Myrtle´s struggle is about finding a creative way to play her character Virginia, dettaching herself from the age constraint. And so she subjects herself to a process of research which is also a process of self agression and destruction, which goes from alcohol consumption, to allucinations and self-injure. Myrtle will finally be able to coupe with the role at the end of the film. On the opening night in New York, though she arrives at the theater falling-down drunk, she proceeds to work her way through the opening-night performance. Gradually sobering up, she gains control of herself by the final scene of the play and finds a creative solution, by forcing her stage partner to improvise and discuss openly former emotional problems between the two, in face of an audience.

Both film and documentary deal with theatricality, with playing a role, with the fluidity of identity as a performative process. This concern with performing, strongly relates to an on-going blurring between reality and fiction, and how we crescently make use of the medium film in order to both objectify our lives and dettach ourselves from it, and build fictions around ourselves and the world around us. And this is why, Jonathan Caouette says: „Your greatest creation is the life you lead“. And because reality and truth are no longer nowhere to be found Myrtle states that she finds it harder and harder to stay in touch with her own emotions, probably because they are trapped inside mediality – a topic that has been extensively explored, also by Lynch´s last film, „Inland Empire“.

February 5, 2008 at 1:28 pm Leave a comment

THE CONSUME OF LOVE – Love as a commodity

In Patrice Cherau´s „Intimacy“ a man and a woman casually meet once a week to have sex in the floor of his dirty apartment, without words. As time goes by, the man starts to anxiously wait for the woman every week, up to a point that all his thoughts and week agenda are dominated by the encounters between the two. He starts both missing and following her, for there is an habit that becomes now difficult to break or change. He is confused by his own feelings and gets obsessed in getting closer to her, to the people who know her, to tell her how he feels. Not only does he want to reveal to her what these encounters mean for him but also to find out what meaning do they have for her.
This film always made me wonder about the apparently strange exchange of roles..

In “Intimacy” the man is the one who has the need to talk about what he feels, to declare his love and demand a reaction. And, I would say, cinema has taught us this to be a women´s role, for they are usually the ones to lose their heads, sacrificing everything in the name of love, making fools of themselves without thinking twice. Cinema is full of women driven by their passions – of course in the end, one has to reflect if this translates reality or is merely a consequence that cinema conveys – almost up to the present and with few exceptions – a male´s gaze? (But this is not the time nor place to answer such question).

To whom does the speech of love, the need to express one´s own feelings and demand a reaction from the other, usually belongs to?
K.G. (a male friend) has the argument that the character reflects the fact that both the director as the screenwriter are French, so he would obviously have a „literary“ urge to talk about his own emotions, for he cannot help himself. For K.G. this is a direct consequence of one´s nationality! I happen to find the cultural argument a very interesting one! From here it could be understood that latino men would never admit or discuss their feelings, because that wouldn´t be very manly of them, and German or English men would be obliged by the impact Romanticism had on their cultures to cry their eyes out and drag on about their own feelings!

D. (a girl friend) for instance, agrees that there is definitely something a bit odd with the film. For her, women are the ones always discussing feelings, taking exquisite pleasure in unforeseen theoretical details and demanding for reactions that somehow always seem to go in the same direction – a romantic one. Therefore, for D., this was a genetic consequence as in a woman´s brain the speech part is 90% more developed, she tells me.

K. (a girl friend) said she would agree that women talk about their own feelings more than men, if only I had asked her a few months sooner!!! It seems that lately she is totally done with listening to men´s love confessions (which have so far included different nationalities by the way). And this was the solid proof that nor gender, nor culture, play any role when it comes to reveal one´s feelings and demand a response to it.

So much for the cultural and genetic explanations! Still, it´s not possible to explain everything through pure individualism.

K.G., for instance, is of the opinion that women haven´t lived their emancipation to the fullest, and this would be the reason why they would still need to ask such things as: do you love me? How much do you love me? Do you really really love me? to exhaustion. For him, women who do that are totally phony as, in his perspective, it would only reveal that they still are not comfortable with enjoying their own physical pleasure pure and simply, and need to attach such words to it in order not to be “misinterpreted” by men (or what men expect of them).

All this gave me a lot to think of… could this be the reason why Claire, in Cherau´s film, doesn´t feel the need to share a single word with her occasional lover? Would her silence be the result that she’s being true to what she wants and she doesn’t need to disguise it as something else because deep down she made her choices?
For in fact, in the end of the film, she chooses to remain married, refusing to leave her husband or abandon her domestic life style, though she is totally bored with her marriage and she feels that her husband doesn´t have clue about who she really is.

(in progress)

December 28, 2007 at 6:00 pm Leave a comment

VINCENT GALLO – The Brown Bunny

Vincent Gallo

Vincent Gallo writes, produces, directs and interprets his own films, aside working as an artist and touring America with his band. His multitalents know no disciplinary borders nor limits, nor does his tongue! Provocative by nature, he was born in New York and has been a part of it´s underground scene for long.
Bufallo 66” and “The Brown Bunny” have given him notorious public attention, specially in Europe, against what some closed mind critics have stated – that “no one in America would see a single frame of his film” while refering to “The Brown Bunny“.
The fellatio depicted on the film arose much controversy. Though memorable without doubt, this scene remains, unfortunately, the only aspect people remember the film for. Instead of being disturbed by narrow coments, Gallo has turned this particular scene, with humour, as a teaser for his escort services as announced on his official website. Under merchandise, he publicizes himself as evening or weekend escort and sells his sperm for 1, 000, 000. 00 to all naturally born female, who can afford it! reporting to the fellatio scene as exactly the proof for his physical qualities and warranty of a good performance!
The “Brown Bunny” is a road movie, in which a low budget is a synonym for quality and creativity. A man – played by Gallo himself – consummed with guilt for a lost love tries to live his life further, couping with his own feelings of disorientation and impotency.
The miles he drives are a way to order his own memories of the past. Meanwhile driving, he cries and mourns, the road is like a therapy and a sort of way to survive, to keep on going.
Successive landscapes, weather conditions, interwined with american road songs, and beautifull shots, from the composition, colour and rythmic point of view, occasionate an amazing cinematographic moment.
I would say, that though people would think that in the first one and a half hours of the film nothing happens, this is exactly the best part of it, right before the story unravels. The narrative is only unfold in the very end, when one finally grasps the character, his motivations, why he is sad and cannot connect with women. Driving for miles is a way to deal with his hurt and impotency, and a way to go back to the key locations of his love story trying to make sense of it. The film is literally about a voyage, also into his past and himself, in order to coup with the guilt, hurt, sadness and impotency. And it speaks, without words and through images, about one man´s feelings. For me, it is a key film on how men handle their emotions, and deal with the language of love – in a visual way that is always engaged with action and functioning rather than, words or gestures.

December 19, 2007 at 4:34 pm Leave a comment

VENUS NACH GIORGIONE – a film by Juergen Boettcher (1981) and Giorgione´s painting (c.1510)

Venus Asleep, Giorgione
Juergen Boettcher´s experimental film “Venus nach Giorgione” made me realize how blind we are concerning images! Because they assault us from all sides, we´ve came to grow indifferent and sometimes even misread them, probably as a survival strategy. Throughout 22 minutes and 20 seconds Boettcher subjects a postcard with Giorgione´s “Venus Asleep” to multiple backgrounds, colors, filters and so we are forced to rediscover it surpassing cultural prejudice as it keeps changing before your own very eyes.
It is true that while looking at images our subjectivity and cultural background comes into play, inducing us in a certain direction. As such, the speech produced around Giorgioni´s Venus, our awareness of other famous classical depictions of this Goddess, impede us of seeing it for what it really is.

Revolutionary for the time (c.1510), we are before a totally naked woman laying down in an outdoor environment. And as many authors have stressed, she is indeed a starting point for modern art. Its composition had great influence, from Tizian´s depictions of Venus to Manet´s “Olympia“. And as Plenert rightly understood, Giorgione´s “Venus Asleep” did change the state of things; she is the first large-size representation of a Venus in complete nakedness, consciously breaking tradition. One must only compare it to Botticelli´s “Birth of Venus” (1485) to realize just that. Against what many say, her hand is not covering her lap, nor hiding her sex, and so I have my doubts whereas to see her within the Venus Pudica tradition. One should stress thought, that this painting has been subjected to changes. Not only was it finished by Tizian but, it has also seen severe restauration work throughout time. Despite this fact, it seems that Venus´ body itself and the positioning of the hand suffered little change.

I believe Giorgione, though making use of iconographic codes accepted at the time (composition, landscape background, etc) is giving us an insight to female sexuality disguising it along the way as a Venus-type-of-painting. Reading it within cultural tradition shouldn´t keep us from looking at it in new ways. This is a painting about the pleasure of looking. The same way the “Naked Maja” (c.1800- 1803) will depict a naked woman for the male gaze, except the Maja is proudly laying her arms behind her head, her eyes challenging us directly. Both paintings are about – among other things – the male gaze over female sexuality but, we will leave politics of gender aside for the time being.

With this I am only stressing the fact that our cultural filter has prevent us from seeing it in different ways. By filming it, Juergen Boettcher is not only talking about the very essence of film – gaze – but also, about giving a new perspective to the original painting.
Giorgione´s merit is exactly making us look at a painting that keeps facing us back in challenging new ways. Whereas, Boettcher´s film shows an icon under transformation thus also favoring unexpected meanings to appear before our own very eyes. In a sense, he is deconstructing an image that we all take for granted, thus admitting that a true work of art will always keep challenging us right in the eye.

August 26, 2007 at 11:42 pm Leave a comment

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