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R.I.P René Burri -Swiss Magnum Photographer

October 20th, 2014
  • Photos by René Burri

    1Burri-Magnum-Photos-02
    Click to focus.

  • 1burri-Klein-1961-3
    Yves Klein

    Che Guevara 1BurriChe
    Havana, 1963

  • 1BurriMCBrecht
    Performance of Berthold BRECHT’s play “Mother Courage”.1959

  • Russell Means 1BurriRussellMeans

  • Rene Burri Magnum Photos

    The guardian

    Foto Post Blog

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    Martine Franck and Cartier Bresson

  • 24h Paris

    René Burri (9 April 1933 – 20 October 2014) was a Swiss photographer known for his photos of major political, historical and cultural events and key figures of the second half of the 20th century. Burri worked for Magnum Photos and has been photographing political, military and artistic figures and scenes since 1946. He made portraits of Che Guevara and Pablo Picasso as well as iconic pictures of São Paulo and Brasília.

    Matisse & the Nun, Model & a Collaborator

    October 20th, 2014
  • 1Matisse

    photo via

    A Model for Matisse available on netflix. (see nice photos)

    Monique Bourgeois 1MatisseMonique-Bourgeois-2 later Sister Jacques-Marie

    NY times on Sister Jacques-Marie

    As a painter he loved the splendid mass of her dark hair and the way her neck rose from her shoulders like a white tower,” Hilary Spurling, his biographer, wrote.

    Click to see large 1Matisse_The Idol

    Monique Bourgeois, as Sister Jacques-Marie was known before she took orders, was the 21-year-old daughter of a soldier. Her upbringing had been painfully strict: she had never worn make-up or read a book without asking her mother’s permission. Her parents told her she was ugly and would never amount to anything.
    When Matisse took her on, she was astonished. She certainly didn’t fit the description of the girl he had advertised for. ‘Young I certainly was,’ she later said. ‘But pretty? Hmmm.’
    Matisse, however, was charmed.
    ‘Who said you were ugly?’ he asked her. ‘Your parents?’

  • 1MatisseChapel

  • According to Ms. Spurling’s book, “Matisse the Master,” the lonely Matisse “found warmth and comfort in the uncomplicated affection” of the nun. Accounts of the chapel’s genesis vary, but according to Ms. Freed, the filmmaker, Sister Jacques-Marie sketched an Assumption for Matisse and he urged her to turn it into a stained-glass window. It happened that the rest home, Foyer Lacordaire, was hoping to convert a ramshackle garage used for prayer into a full-fledged chapel, and Matisse wondered if displaying the window could help raise money.

    With the aid of a monk convalescing at the rest home, Matisse roughed out a sketch for a chapel, and Sister Jacques-Marie made the working model. Soon Matisse immersed himself in every aspect of the chapel, from the brushstroke sketches of a Stations of the Cross mural to the vestments and the slender Crucifixion altarpiece. The stained-glass windows, with one pair, “Tree of Life,” suggestive of a flowering cactus, are regarded as particular triumphs; they allow lemon-yellow, bottle-green and blue light to play capriciously against white-tiled walls and the marble floor.

    Sister Jacques-Marie did preliminary design work and offered candid evaluations. As important, she ran interference with her local superior, who disapproved of a chapel designed by an artist known for his nudes. In the end, Matisse described the chapel as “their shared project.” When Sister Jacques-Marie told Matisse that she believed he was inspired by God Almighty, he replied gently, “Yes, but that god is me.”

    Matisse by Robert Capa Photo of Matisse
    by Robert Capa (Previous post War and Ingrid Bergman)

  • Caterpiller – Koji Wakamatsu

    October 17th, 2014
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  • Caterpiller trailer
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  • Caterpiller wiki

    Caterpillar is a 2010 Japanese drama film directed by Kōji Wakamatsu, partially drawn from Edogawa Rampo’s banned short-story “The Caterpillar” (芋虫 Imomushi?)
    The film is a critique of the right-wing militarist nationalism that guided Japan’s conduct in Asia during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. The film deals with various issues, such as war crimes, handicapped veterans, and spousal abuse. The film also deals with themes of sexual perversion and features graphic sex scenes.

    It was nominated for the Golden Bear at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival.[4] Shinobu Terajima received the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival for her portrayal of Kurokawa’s wife.

  • Koji Wakamatsu 1koji-wakamatsu

    (1 April 1936 – 17 October 2012)

    MUBI page

    The Essential Films of Koji Wakamatsu

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    Patrick Modiano Scripted Lacombe Lucian & Genealogies of a Crime

    October 11th, 2014
  • Nobel Prize in Literature- New Yorker

    Today, the prize went to the French novelist Patrick Modiano, “for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation.”

    The first thing this blogger learned about Patrick Modiano was that Raymond Queneau was his mother’s friend.. Queneau and Andre Malraux were at his wedding .. they argued about artist Dubuffet..(via wiki).

  • 1Modiano

    Françoise Hardy and Patick Modiano Photo via

    Modiano has confessed his love for all things mysterious. “The more things remain obscure and mysterious, the more they interest me. I even try to find mystery in things that have none,” he wrote in the autobiographical work “Pedigree” (2005).

    In a nod to that penchant for mystery, the French term “modianesque” has come to refer to a particularly ambiguous person or situation.

    Published at just 22

  • Lacomb Lucian trailer

  • Ten things to know about Patrick Modiano

    He co-wrote the screenplay for Lacombe Lucien, a movie directed by Louis Malle, which focussed on French collaboration with the Nazis.

  • Modiano is not only a screenwriter for both film and TV, but an actor, who appeared with famous French actress Catherine Deneuve in the 1997 Raoul Ruiz film Genealogies of a Crime, playing a character called Bob.

  • La Perfum d”Yvonne” (see a trailer here) directed by Patrice Leconte (Men on the train, Ridicule etc) based on Villa Triste by Patrick Modiano.

  • Modiano has produced around 30 works in all, most of which are shortish novels. He had first work published when he was just 22, when most people his age are still struggling to write essays at university. He owed his big break to a friendship with a friend of his mother, French writer Raymond Queneau, who was first introduced him to the Gallimard publishing house. The book “La place de l’etoile” (The Star’s Place), was a direct reference to that mark of shame inflicted on the Jews.

    Missing Person/ Rue des boutiques obscures – Patrick Modiano wins Nobel Prize – these are his three best books.

    In French, this book has the far better title Rue des Boutiques Obscures (1978). It is Modiano’s sixth novel and possibly his best. The premise is dismaying, I admit: An amnesiac detective named Guy Roland sets out to find … himself. But Missing Person is anything but hackneyed in its treatment of the way the past lives on both in the world outside and in our minds. Roland tries to reconstruct his old self using unreliable, fragmentary, evidence—photographs, scraps of paper, old newspapers—creating strange poetry as he goes: “An ash-blonde. And who perhaps had played an important part in my life. I would have to study her photograph carefully. And, gradually, everything would come back.”

  • Related links:

    Aurore AuroreClement Clement
    Update: happy birthday Aurore Clement (Oct 12, 1945)..

    To see better films by Raul Ruiz (previous post)

    Toru Takemitsu – How His Film Scores Shaped Post War Japanese Cinema

    October 8th, 2014
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    Toru Takemitsu (武満 徹 Takemitsu Tōru, October 8, 1930 – February 20, 1996) photo by Kinoshita Akira

    Composer and writer on aesthetics and music theory. Takemitsu’s contribution to film music was considerable; in under 40 years he composed music for over 100 films. via wiki

    Follow his works.. you’ll get the best of post war Japanese cinema.

  • Double suicide Double Suicide Trailer (youtube)

  • See Woman in the Dunes full film (Abe Kobo, Teshigahara, Toru Takemitsu)

    Hiroshi Teshigahara Two films based on novels by Abe Kobo, The Face of Another, Woman in the Dunes, Rikyu about the zen/artist/tea master. and Pitfall –
    Click to see large – Rikyu 1rikyuMikuni

  • The Burmese Harp 1Toruburmeseharp

    The Burmese Harp full film (youtube) directed by Kon Ichikawa

  • Harakiri – trailer (youtube) (With Masaki Kobayashi – Takemitsu also did the film scores for Kwaidan and Samurai Rebellion)

  • Takemitsu also composed for Black Rain (Imamura Shohei), Ran, Dodeskaden (Akira Kurosawa), Empire of Passion (Nagisa Oshima) and Rising Sun (Philip Kaufman).

  • Toru T and Iannis Xenakis 1toruXennakis click to see large

    Iannis Xenakis (previous post)

    R.I.P Geoffrey Holder (1 August 1930 – 5 October 2014)

    October 6th, 2014
  • Geoffrey Holder 1Geoffrey Holder

    Multitalented Artist, Dies at 84

    Mr. Holder directed a dance troupe from his native Trinidad and Tobago, danced on Broadway and at the Metropolitan Opera and won Tony Awards in 1975 for direction of a musical and costume design for “The Wiz,” a rollicking, all-black version of “The Wizard of Oz.” His choreography was in the repertory of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Dance Theater of Harlem. He acted onstage and in films and was an accomplished painter, photographer and sculptor whose works have been shown in galleries and museums. He published a cookbook.

    Geoffrey Holder and 1Geoholder2Carmen de Lavallade

    Photo via

  • This lavish ballet choreographed, composed and designed by Geoffrey Holder depicts real and imagined events in the life of the renowned Haitian painter, Hector Hyppolite. The goddess Erzulie and St. John the Baptist appear to the central character in a vision, inspiring his vivid, exotic illustrations of the African gods and goddesses that populate Holder’s mystical theater and dance drama.

    Orlando Gibbons was Glenn Gould’s Favorite Composer

    October 3rd, 2014
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    photo via

    Glenn Gould died of a stroke on October 4, 1982, and was laid to rest in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

  • Interview (youtube)

  • Orlando Gibbons

  • Lord of Salisbury (youtube) (One more piece by Orlando Gibbons)

  • He refused to play Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Debussy and much of the other core piano repertoire, deriding their masterpieces as empty theatrical gestures. He especially disliked Mozart, and named the obscure 17th century English composer Orlando Gibbons as his all-time favorite. (via)

    On Orlando Gibbons

    …”ever since my teen-age years this music … has moved me more deeply than any other sound experience I can think of.”
    * The Glenn Gould Reader. p. 438. New York: Knopf.

    (Thanks Richard Bohn for the above quote)

    William Boyd

  • Hong Kong Democracy Movement- 2014

    September 28th, 2014
  • Oct 6 update : Legacy of Tienanman Square looms

  • Oct 5 update: news from Hong Kong..

  • Click to see large 1hongkong

    IN PICTURES: On the front lines of the Hong Kong democracy movement

  • The first tear gas fired..

  • Message from Taiwan President

  • Exciting time.. second night (see more photos).

  • In the Mood for Smiles.

    Click to see large 1antonioniChina
    Michelangelo Antonioni : Born: September 29, 1912, Ferrara, Italy

    Previous post – here

    High Hopes of Eleanor, FDR’s Cape & Fala

    September 22nd, 2014
  • 1cEleanorFrankS
    High Hopes

  • Cape Fear-FDR 1CapeFDR

    A defining element of his image, the cape projected an aura of power and strength to the public at large—a subliminal invocation of the emergent superhero and nod to the kings of old—allowing Roosevelt, afflicted with polio-induced paralysis from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair, to command the respect of the nation and world as it faced its greatest challenges of the century.

  • I don’t want to see a single war millionaire created in the United States as a result of this world disaster.

    Presidential press conference (May 21, 1940), when America entered WWII

  • Excellent Bio 1cFDRbio
    Book report from Agog -FDR-Depression Shock

    FDR served as undersecretary of the Navy during the Wilson presidency and WWI, giving FDR a unique insight into the workings of government in Washington and of the workings of the military and armaments industry. This experience was invaluable in his subsequent political career and his preparation to act as Commander in Chief during WWII. Unlike Lincoln in the civil war, FDR made hardly a misstep in selecting his military commanders in WWII.

    Confirming the TV movie Warm Springs , FDR’s struggle with polio, discovery of Warm Springs Georgia, and meeting for the first time, the poor of America and particularly rural southern America resulted in a dramatic change in his perceptions and empathy with the struggling poor. Without his polio and Warm Springs, it is doubtful FDR would have conceived and implemented the far reaching changes underlying the New Deal. (Excerpt)

  • The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.

    First Inaugural Address (4 March 1933).

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    photo via

    Churchill and Roosevelt met and it was here that they agreed upon only accepting “unconditional surrender” from the Axis powers. At the end of the conference, Roosevelt was anxious to get home, but Churchill begged and convinced him to take some time off to go visit Marrakech. Churchill said “You cannot come all this way to North Africa without seeing Marrakech. Let us spend two days there. I must be with you when you see the sun set on the Atlas Mountains.”

    They made the 150-mile journey with the road lined with American soldiers cheering them on. Staying at the Villa Taylor, which was owned by the wealthy American socialite Mrs. Moses Taylor, Churchill convinced Roosevelt to view the sunset from the top of the famed Berber tower. The President’s personal assistants, making a chair with their crossed arms, carried him to the top. Roosevelt was so taken with the scene from the tower; he exclaimed to the Prime Minister “I feel like a sultan, you may kiss my hand my dear.”

    (See Churchill’s Painting, his gift to FDR ” )

    1cfala-news

    No presidential pet was ever publicized more than FDR’s beloved pet Scotty, Fala. Fala was given to Roosevelt as a Christmas gift in 1940 by his cousin, Daisy. His original name was Big Boy, but Roosevelt changed it to Murray the Outlaw of Falahill. This was shortened to Fala. Fala frequently traveled with FDR and the president ordered that only he could ever feed his beloved dog. Fala was to outlive FDR by seven years, dying in 1952. He was buried alongside the president and a statue of him with FDR is featured in Washington DC’s Franklin Roosevelt Memorial. He is the only presidential pet so honored.

    Roosevelt facts

    Born on January 30, 1882, FDR was nameless for the first seven weeks after his birth.

    FDR was a C student at Harvard

    Franklin pink-and-blue-Franklin-Roosevelt-2eleanor_01 and Eleanor
    Why was Franklin dressed as a girl?

    * Frank Sinatra claimed that he named his son Frank Sinatra Jr. not after himself, but after FDR. Frank’s full name is Franklin Wayne Emmanuel Sinatra.

    Hitler & FDR study in contrast

    Newsha Tavakolian – Refused the Prize Money

    September 19th, 2014

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    Newsha Tavakolian 1newsha

    Newsha Tavakolian (see more from her portfolio)

    Keeping True to an Iranian Vision, Minus Big Money

    Lens plus

    She has instead walked away from the prestigious prize after what she considered repeated interference from Mr. Carmignac, whom she accused in a lengthy Facebook post and subsequent interview with Lens of distorting her vision by editing her images, demanding changes to her text and insisting on titling the project “The Lost Generation,” which she thought was not only a cliché, but could possibly provoke Iranian authorities. While she said the foundation had announced it had “adjourned” her prize because of fears for her safety in Iran, she said the only perils she faced were artistic ones from Mr. Carmignac, who she said seemed intent on controlling her take on her homeland and experiences.

    “I had to make a choice between my artistic freedom and my dignity, or the glory of something that is not real or not mine when it comes to what kind of book do I have,” Ms. Tavakolian said in a phone interview from Tehran.

    R.I. P Yoshiko Yamaguchi/Ri-Ko-Ran – Diva of China & Japan

    September 15th, 2014
  • Wartime film idol, propaganda tool Rikoran dies at 94 Japan times

  • Japanese Actress Shirley Yamaguchi, Who Starred in ‘House of Bamboo,’ Dies at 94 (Variety)

  • Yoshiko Yamaguchi1cYamguchi

    photo via

    Shirley and Charlie 1charlieYamaguchi
    (photo via)

    Yoshiko Yamaguchi and Isamu Noguchi1IsamuYoshiko

    photo via
    See previous post

    Hollywood reporter -

    After her first marriage to Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi ended in the mid-1950s, Yamaguchi married Hiroshi Ohtaka, who was Japan’s ambassador to Burma, now Myanmar, and occasionally appeared on television. In 1974, she was elected to parliament’s Upper House as a member of the governing Liberal Democratic Party and served until 1992. She was among the contributors to a private atonement fund for Asian “comfort women” used as prostitutes for Japan’s wartime military.

  • Shanghai no Onna 1952 (youtube)

  • Caught Between China & Japan: Superstar Li Xianglan

    She called China her fatherland and Japan her motherland.

  • 1mifunescandal
    (Scandal – directed by Kurosawa)

    She was active in promoting relations with China and other Asian countries. One of her concerns was Japanese “comfort women” military brothels, an issue that still strains ties between Japan and its neighbours.

    In her 1987 autobiography, Yamaguchi wrote she was shellshocked when she watched “China Nights” to prepare the book. “Why did I have to appear in such a movie and perform as ‘Chinese actress Ri Koran (Li Xianglan)’? I felt miserable realising this at this advanced age and I had sleepless nights for months.”

    However, according to some Japanese bloggers, the movie was not widely taken as a pure propaganda film but was appreciated by many people in both Japan and China.

    “I think song is something that helps shrink boundaries and distances,” Yamaguchi told public broadcaster NHK in 1985. “I myself suffered much as I was trapped in a war between two countries as long as I remember. Therefore I am determined not to tolerate any war.” (via)

    Adieu Antoine Duhamel – Film Composer For Godard & Truffaut

    September 12th, 2014
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    Antoine Duhamel (30 July 1925 – 11 September 2014) was a French composer, orchestra conductor and music teacher.

    Antoine Duhamel filmography

    Top tracks for Antoine Duhamel

    Click to see large 1antoineSafeC

    In 2002 he was awarded the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival for his music for the Bertrand Tavernier directed film, Laissez-passer.

    Safe Conduct (Laisser-Passer) by Bertrand Tavernier.
    The film is almost 3 hours long. The first half was a bit frantic and confusing but the last half the film began to take shape and delivers.
    Filmmaking under Nazi rule during the occupation in France is the theme and the central character played by an actor who was a real biker made this cycling resistence movie memorable. The film deals with a controversial and difficult subject.

    Ridicule composed by Duhamel (Ridicule is a film about Wit.. a great film by Patrice Leconte).

    Antoine Duhamel :Les Charmes du Japon (Truffaut – Antoine Doinel series)