Archive for February, 2005

World Wide Survey – Interesting Middle Aged Men – Bruno Ganz, Takashi Miike, Om Puri & Vasan Sitthiket

Friday, February 25th, 2005

Bruno Ganz
Our beloved angel from “Wings of Desire”, Bruno Ganz now plays a monster Adolf Hitler in the new German film “Downfall”
“In the White City” by Alain Tanner was a beautiful almost forgotten film. See Bruno Ganz in the moment of epiphany from this clip. (Scroll down). Note: Hollywood production of “Thelma and Louise” was adapted from Tanner’s “Messidor ”

Takashi Miike will have screenings at Austin Film Society from March 1 – April 12.
“The Happiness of Katakuri Family’ is a zany camp musical by Takashi, and horror lasts only a few seconds unlike his other creepy films. (Comparison of this film to the original Korean film from well researched article by filmbrain is here. )

A week ago I saw “My Son the Fanatic” and thought Om Puri was magnificent. Here is a good interview from Bomb and another one from “He’s worked with the creme de la creme of masterful directors — Satyajit Ray (Sadgati), Udayan Prasad (Brothers in Trouble), Sir Richard Attenborough (Gandhi) and Mike Nichols (Wolf) — and graced television ventures as prestigious as the acclaimed series The Jewel in the Crown. Consequently he has, like Pitt, found himself a screen sex symbol, if a much more unlikely one.”

This morning I was introduced to Vasan Sitthiket by Scattered Blog.

Title:Dam Kills Water, Kills Man, Kills Fish – Oil and Sand

An old interviw from Asiaweek describing Vasan as rude, crude and proud – an artist at war with the world.

Seems I ‘m Never Tired of Loving You

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005

Dr Nina Simone sings for you.

Leopoldo Maler
Argentinean, born 1937
Hommage, 1974
Modified typewriter
“The work before you, entitled Hommage, has a great deal of personal meaning for Maler himself, however. His uncle, a well-known Argentine writer, is believed to have been killed for the inflammatory content of his political essays. The old Underwood Typewriter that now emits flames in the place of words is of the same style that Mahler’s uncle used during his esteemed career.”
From here.
(following a conversation at pas au-dela and in gratitude for the
link restored for scarecrow.
May Hunter S. Thompson have a safe passage.)

Hunter S Thompson RIP –

Monday, February 21st, 2005

Hunter S. Thompson
Gonzo is gone.
What happend?
Found this beautiful webpage.
Here was a tribute from France, a brilliant and amazing flash inspiration piece created not too long ago . (The piece is titled Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas.)

Dr. Nina Simone – Alabama Got Me So Upset

Sunday, February 20th, 2005

<> <> <>Nina Simone

“The name of this tune is Mississippi Goddam
And I mean every word of it…”

“You listen to her not when you are raw, but when you are thoughtful.” From “Bitter and Beautiful, the professional honesty of Nina Simone.
Nina Simone was born on February 21, 1933 in the small town of Tyron, North Carolina.
“She listened to Bach (“Bach and I hit it off marvelously”), read James Baldwin, saw French movies. Born Eunice Waymon, she took her stage name from Simone Signoret” from here.

Nina as High Priestess, has everything you need to know about her site.

Nina was placed with a tutor called Mrs Massinovitch who introduced her to the music of Bach. ‘Once I understood Bach’s music,’ Nina recalls, ‘I wanted to be a concert pianist. Bach made me dedicate my life to music.’

Nina Simone is often classified as a jazz singer, but this is what she had to say in 1997 (in an interview with Brantley Bardin):
“To most white people, jazz means black and jazz means dirt and that’s not what I play. I play black classical music. That’s why I don’t like the term “jazz,” and Duke Ellington didn’t like it either — it’s a term that’s simply used to identify black people.” (Women’s history

Youtube animation film of “My Baby Just Cares For Me”

I put a spell on you

John Malkovitch opened his film “Dancer Upstairs” with Nina Simone in the background and ends the film with her song, Who knows where the time goes.
“Just in Time” sung by Nina graced “Before Sunset” (Richard Linklater).

Marguerite Yourcenar – Madame Bibliotheque

Saturday, February 19th, 2005

Musee Marguerite Yourcenar my museum

It has been a while since I read something interesting about M.Yourcenar, an erudite and eccentric Grande Dame of Letters, so refreshing to find this article by Joan Acocella, Becoming an Emperor or how Marguerite Yourcenar reinvented the past. New Yorker magazine. I did not know that Yourcenar spent half of her life in USA, and even had a citizenship and taught at Sarah Lawrence.

John Updike described her writing as marmoreal and elegant – thus pasted in the back of book “That Mighty Sculptor, Time”. (Marmoreal means like a marble or statue – learned a new word today.)

More about M. Y. “Her many meditations on the meaning of love and pleasure often had their roots in personal crisis; yet they were always filtered through historical, mythological or fictitious characters.”

Here is a sample of her writing;

Febo del Poggio

I am awakening. What did the others say? Dawn, you who reconstruct the world each morning: complete, with naked arms that hold the universe: youth, the dawn of man. What does it matter to me what others have said, thought, believed…I am Febo del Poggio, a scoundrel. Those who speak of me say that I have a base soul; but perhaps I have no soul at all. I exist in the way a piece of fruit exists, a glass of wine, a splendid tree. When winter comes, one abandons the tree that no longer offers shade; when one’s hunger is sated. one throws away the pit; when the glass is empty, one takes another. I accept that. Summer, the lustral water of morning over lithe limbs; O joy, dew of the heart….
I am awakening. Before me, behind me, there is eternal night. For millions of ages I have slept; for millions of ages I shall sleep again…I have but one hour. Why would you spoil it with explanations or maxims? I stretch out in the sun, on the pillow of pleasure, in a morning that will never again return.

(Excerpt from a book “That Mighty Sculptor, Time” by M. Yourcenar).

“The Vision of the Void” was her book on Mishima, where she interpreted Mishima’s suicide as part of his work. A few reviews that I read online were all very negative, and I have not read her Mishima even though her writing on Mishima was how I came to know her.
She visited Borges and spent some times with him just before he died. Her tribute to Borges became her last piece of writing.

The White Countess – In Shanghai, Christopher Doyle with James Ivory and Kazuo Ishiguro

Tuesday, February 15th, 2005

Christopher Doyle is working with James Ivory on a film called White Countess screenplay written by Kazuo Ishiguro.
Plot Outline: Set in 1930s Shanghai, where a blind American diplomat develops a curious relationship with a young Russian refugee who works odd — and sometimes illicit — jobs to support members of her dead husband’s aristocratic family. (Yahoo, Imdb). This seems not be an adaptation of Ishiguro’s novel “When We Were Ophans” which also takes place in Shanghai. Ralph Fiennes, the Redgrave women (Natasha, Vanessa and Lynn) all star in this film.

Going back to Chris D. found this article, “He can barely stop himself laying into Lost in Translation. “It’s articulating the Bush doctrine of how to engage with the rest of the world. Let’s all be Americans, that’s what it’s saying.” (Wow, Sofia paid a tribute to Wong Kar Wai in her Oscar acceptance speech. She must work with materials she feels close to and she only knows of the bored and the rich Americans. )
Christopher Dolye’s life so interesting that I overlook his Asian bias. Watch all the films he made in the past and you participate in an important film history in progress.
Working with Wong Kar Wai, Richard Corliss from Time Asia wrote, “Cinematographer Christopher Doyle matches the director’s artistry and energy with a luscious camera style that sees beyond surfaces into essences. He takes ravishing pictures of troubled souls.” More on here.
Have not seen 2046, or Last Life in the Universe. Can’t wait to see them.

C. Dolye made two films with his fellow Aussie director Philip Noyce. “The Rabbit Proof Fence” and “the Quiet American” were excellent.
(The Not So Quiet American by Zizek, here.)

Hal Lum Exhibit + Arthur Miller RIP

Friday, February 11th, 2005

Buffalo by Hal Lum

Hal Lum is showing his paintings/drawings at First Hawaiian Center in Honolulu. The exhibit continues to May 3, 2005. “Hal Lum’s whimsical and often organic compositions in brilliant colors reflect his delight in discovery of new places, people, and experiences.”
Hal is a Monkey Gemini and his works represent the spirit of curious and fun nature. Hal I assume is more like Paul Gauguin than Marquis de Sade. Only Masayo who photographed his work and posed for the photo knows the secret.
This morning Hal and I have exchanged a number of emails talking about the passing of a great playwright Arthur Miller.
Just the other day I found out that Catherine Deneuve’s favorite actress is Marilyn Monroe and she mentioned specifically Marilyn in the Misfits. Catherine Deneuve, though mentally tough and had much better childhood experience than Marilyn must know something about the burden of being a sex symbol for the world. Miller-Monroe union and the subsquent breakup was part of important moments in the history of American culture, vis-a-vis of merging of high and low culture, creative collaboration, fame, glamour, political witchhunt, about integrity and authenticity. It is interesting to note that Miller’s daughter Rebecca Miller has become a filmmaker and her incredibly talented husband Daniel Day Lewis has become a supportive husband to her creative work by appearing in her small independent film. They seem to have been spared from the pain and turmoil that Marilyn and Miller have suffered.
Came across this fun article by Miller on his visit to Cuba, writing about Fidel Castro.

From Village Voice, a tribute by Michael Feingold is here.
A tribute from Harold Pinter is here.

My Life as a Human Being, Miro Svolik and “Tony Takitani” a Life of a Film

Thursday, February 10th, 2005

Photo by Miro Svolik
The above untitled photo is by Miro Svolik a Czech photographer. Miro was born in Slovakia, and now works in Prague. Most of his photos have poetic titles – Because the Attraction of the Infinite is Infinite or “I Crowned Myself the Empoeror” “He seems to see no division between reality and a dream state. His work has the same charm and fresh simplicity as Duane Michals-it makes you wonder, “Why is it I never thought of that?” ..from here.

Many months ago I read Haruki Murakami’s short fiction in the New Yorker titled “Tony Takitani”. “Tony Takitani” has been adapted to a film by Jun Ichikawa which is now getting reviews following its introduction at the Sundance Film Festival. Here are couple of reviews here and here. The film now has a web site and a trailer in Japanese.

Goobye Monkey – Last Year in Paris (not at Marienbad)

Sunday, February 6th, 2005

Parade 2005 Monkey Year
On Feb. 9 2005, Monkey gives away to Rooster according to Chinese astrology. Last year in Paris a spectacular parade was staged in the style of Zhang Yimou . Click here. to see all the photos, they are breathtaking.

Francois Truffaut was born on Feb 6 1932, the year of Monkey (Sun & Moon in Aquarius, same as Jeanne Moreau, Colette, Olivier Assayas, Joan Mitchell) Joan M. was the only American from this group, however she married a Frenchman and lived in France.
Does this describe Francois Truffaut?
Two overlooked film classics by Truffaut are Two English Girls and the Wild Child.
Two English Girls was adapted from Henri Pierre Roche’s novel but Truffaut changed the ending by killing off the emancipated sculptress. The Insdorf biography quoted Truffaut as saying that he was influenced by Emily Bronte’s early death. Here is another explanation from the article by Bob Wake. “Pauline Kael, in her 1971 review of Two English Girls, suggested a more startling impulse behind Truffaut’s decision: Muriel and Anne had come to be painfully associated in the director’s mind with two real-life sisters—the actresses Françoise Dorléac and Catherine Deneuve—with whom Truffaut had worked and with whom he had love affairs. Dorléac died in an automobile…”
Truffaut was adopted by Andre Bazin who founded Cahiers du Cinema. 400 Blows was dedicated to Andre Bazin and “The Wild Child” was dedicated to Jean Piere Leaud.
“The progression from Bazin/Truffaut to Truffaut/Leaud, symbolized by Itard/Victor (characters from the Wild Child), tells a story of love through work ties rather than blood ties, or the power of adaptation through adoption.” (excerpted from Francois Truffaut by Annette Insdorf -pg182).
More on Truffaut’s childhood included in France, Childhood and
Genius. Here.

William S. Burroughs – Our Paranoid Friend Had a Dinner with Susan Sontag

Saturday, February 5th, 2005
  • Beatmuseum.billroof

    In 1959, Brion Gysin commented to Burroughs that ‘writing was fifty years behind painting’, suggesting, like the Dadaists and Surrealists, Burroughs use collage techniques in his writing.

    “Most of the trouble in this world has been caused by folks who can’t mind their own business, because they have no business of their own to mind, any more than a smallpox virus has …”
    ….Excerpt from My Own Business via Beatmuseum.

    Collage by WSBCollage by WSB

  • With Susan 1aBSontag

    WSB and Susan Sontag discussed writing at Victor Bockis dinner party.

    The Naked Lunch by David Cronenberg.
    The Obituary by J.G. Ballard, here.
    WSB in Lawrence, here and his photo album, here.
    His graphic edition, here.

    Alan Sondheim and Gertrude Stein

    Thursday, February 3rd, 2005

    Happy Birthday! Image copied from Kawauso

    Alan Sondheim – Poems & movie
    For Kenneth Patchen
    An old interview, here.
    Two from Melting soul, here and here.

    Gertrude Stein was a student of William James. and had many friends – as you can see from this
    story quilt by Faith Ringgold, showing Stein’s salon. (note Picasso’s portrait of Stein; Stein is seated below it –
    via here

    Dinner with Gertrude

    From the New Yorker magazine, Gertrude, Alice and the Web, here.

    Lou Harrison – Harrison House Retreat

    Wednesday, February 2nd, 2005

    On this day, Feb 2, 2003 Lou Harrison died of heart attack on his way to attend the festival of his music in Ohio State University. “He has been a record salesman, an animal nurse, a journalist, a florist, a forestry firefighter, and dance accompanist. He is a poet, painter, calligrapher, and type face designer in addition to being a composer. He has helped to introduce the Indonesian gamelan to the United States” (an except from here.)
    “Harrison House Retreat” is the straw bale “composer’s cave” that Lou Harrison completed in 2002 on the edge of Joshua Tree National Park, read more. See the clip of Harrison talking about the house project and the work in progress photos inspire you to sneeze and cheer.

    Lou Harrison’s house Lou Harrison's house

    “He had a wide network of friends, a legendary thirst for knowledge and a just-as-legendary generous nature. “When Lou found a book that he liked, he would buy at least three copies,” said George Zelenz, an architect who lives nearby. “One for himself, one in case the first got lost and one for a friend he thought might like it.”

    The list of discography here.