Archive for August, 2006

Varda Brava – Agnes Varda

Monday, August 28th, 2006

Agnès Varda, is exhibiting at the Fondation Cartier.

L’Ile et Elle fills two floors of Jean Nouvel’s spectacular Fondation Cartier with a kaleidoscope of colour and sound inspired by the windswept island of Noirmoutier off the west coast of France. As always with Varda, the exhibition makes overlapping references to her own career, family and friends.

Photographs by Agnes Varda
Top from Cinevardaphoto, bottom Huey.

This riveting documentary, “Black Panthers – Huey!”, directed by French filmmaker Agnès Varda transports you to the pivotal Free Huey rally held on February 17th, 1968 (Newton’s birthday), at Oakland Auditorium in Alameda, California. Newton, the charismatic young college student who, along with Bobby Seale, created the Black Panther Party, had been jailed for allegedly killing a police officer. His arrest–widely believed at the time to be a setup–galvanized Party support throughout the nation and led to a boom in Party membership, bringing a new level of public attention to the Panthers’ cause.

Agnes Varda’s Black Panthers – Huey! from Ubuweb.

Varda’s documentary work echoing, at various moments, the digressive cine-essays of Marker, the critical examinations of Godard, and the autobiographical experimentation of Akerman. But beyond these comparisons, it reveals a consistent yet absolutely unique voice spanning a 40-year period of photography and nonfiction filmmaking.

Varda continually returns to the impenetrable surface of the photographic image. Both “Ydessa” and “Ulysses” discover a subject’s complexity under layers of meaning, intended or unintended, initially obscured by the visceral impact of aesthetic beauty and fascination. (via Indiewire)

Agnes Varda from Senses of Cinema

  • The Gleaners and I (my favorite film) – two good still photos here.

  • Impromptu

    Thursday, August 24th, 2006
  • I – Faces

    Faces digital image by Fung Lin Hall

    Faces from left, Anna Akhmatova, Meryl Streep, Patricia Clarkson and Simone Weil.

    We have the actresses to portray Anna Akhmatova and Simone Weil. Would anyone care to write scripts for these talented actresses?

    II – Ohio Impromptu – Jeremy Iron in Samuel Beckett Play.

    There are two characters, the Reader and the Listener. The Reader, it emerges, is a mysterious messenger from someone now dead and once loved by the Listener. The book the Reader reads from tells the story of the Listener mourning right up until the last moment, when the story is told for the last time and “there is nothing left to tell.” Throughout, the Listener not only listens but also regulates his companion’s reading by knocking on the table with his hand in an attempt to ensure that this will not be the final telling of the tale.

    As in Dead Ringers, Irons does a remarkable job at portraying dual natures without the need for makeup or gimmickry: you always know which is which, as if Irons has inhabited both roles from birth to present, experiencing every nuance of difference over the years and inscribing them into face, voice, posture, manner. His Listener is deeply tragic but never pathetic; lost in a barren desert of his own creation, his final, angry knock is a note struck with overtones of futile desperation and fateful resignation. His Reader is no less remarkable. Like someone trusted with the care of a terminally ill but occasionally demanding loved one, he balances tender pity with profound weariness, painfully restricted compassion with self-aware frustration. When Reader and Listener trade knowing looks, you completely forget this is the same actor.
    From the modernword

    The River – Jean Renoir

    Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006

    Rhada Radha Dance from the River by Jean Renoir dance sequence from Jean’s Renoir “Le Fleuve” or the River.

    This dance scene is part of story within a story. Radha plays a mixed race character called Melanie in this coming of age film.

    The review of “The River by Beth Gilligan

    Interestingly, Melanie’s character does not appear in the Godden novel, but was added by Renoir, who wanted a non-colonialist voice to be heard in his film

    Who is Radha?

    Desert Dog Day

    Thursday, August 17th, 2006

    Daisy and Spike
    sitting among the brick installation for dummies.

    Enlarged version here.

    Daisy and Spike sunning on their favorite spot and Coyotes in the desert mountains salivating outside the fence.
    Silence of the Chihuahua Spike and Daisy digital photo by Fung-Lin Hall

    Here are some dog related trivia.
    Stay away from this film if you love dogs. “Address Unknown” – Kim Ki Duk’s brutal film depicts Korea after the Korean war.

    Amores Perros means “Love is a female dog”

    Nora Inu (Stray Dog) by Kurosawa
    During the opening credits, there is footage of a panting dog. However, when American censors saw the footage, they assumed that the dog had been harmed. This run-in with American censors caused Kurosawa to remark that this was the only time he wished Japan had not lost WWII.

    If only the real criminals get busted.

    A German shepard dog named Kafka

    “All knowledge, the totality of all questions and answers,
    is contained in the dog.”
    – Franz Kafka – Investigations of the dog

    Johannes Kepler saw himself as a hapless lap dog.

    That man has in every way a dog-like nature. His appearance is that of a little lap dog. . . . He liked gnawing bones and dry crusts of bread, and was so greedy that whatever his eyes chanced on he grabbed. His habits were similar. He continually sought the good will of others, was dependent on others for everything, ministered to their wishes . . . and was anxious to get back into their favor. He is bored with conversation, but greets visitors just like a little dog; yet when the least thing is snatched away from him, he flares up and growls. He tenaciously persecutes wrongdoers–that is, he barks at them. He is malicious and bites people with his sarcasm. He hates many people exceedingly and they avoid him, but his masters are fond of him. His recklessness knows no limits . . . yet he takes good care of his life. In this man there are two opposite tendencies: always to regret any wasted time, and always to waste it willingly. . . . Since his caution with money kept him away from play, he often played with himself. His miserliness did not aim at acquiring riches, but at removing his fear of poverty–although, perhaps avarice results from an excess of this fear.

    Kepler’s quotations in this chapter are taken from Arthur Koestler’s classic, The Watershed: A Biography of Johannes Kepler (New York: Anchor Books, 1960).

    Koestler and Kepler; the perfect fusion, a review Written by Devin Mcintosh.

    An Inner Silence Portrait of Beckett by Cartier Bresson + Youtube Play by Samuel Beckett

    Monday, August 14th, 2006
  • 1abeckettcartiebresson
    Samuel Beckett by Henri Cartier Bresson

    An Inner Silence: The Portraits of Henri Cartier-Bresson

  • Play by Play by Samuel Beckett Samuel Beckett

    Alan Rickman, Kristin Scott Thomas and Juliet Stevenson playing (tongue twisting Beckett play directed by Anthony Minghella) now on Youtube.

    Part I here

    Part II here

    Three urns stand on the stage. From each, a head protrudes – a man and two women. The play tells the story of a love triangle, and each character narrates a bitter history and their role in it. On the stage, each head is provoked into speech by an spotlight. In the film, the camera takes the role of the spotlight. (Synopsis)

    You only discover Beckett’s genius once you start immersing yourself in the material. Beckett completely altered our vision of what theatre can do. In a sense they are not really plays but theatrical events. He is more a poet or installation artist, or performance artist, or some strange combination of all of those things, than a playwright. He pays as much attention to what sound and light are doing as he does to text. Stevenson on Play.

    In 1965 Philip Glass composed music for a production of Play. The piece was scored for two soprano saxophones, and is his first work in a minimalist idiom – an idiom which was substantially influenced by the work of Beckett. From here.

    Sam I Am (from the New Yorker by Benjamin Kunkel)

    Beckett’s work can lay a strong claim to universality: not everyone has a God, but who doesn’t have a Godot?

    The Homeless Saint

    Wednesday, August 9th, 2006

    David Oliver Relin’s book “Three Cups of Tea” documents the life and work of Pakistani school builder Greg Mortenson. Mortenson is the son of missionaries who grew up in Tanzania where his parents built a teaching hospital. Mortenson climbed Kilimanjaro when he was eleven and became hooked on climbing. He became a nurse in the San Francisco bay area to support his rock climbing living in his Buick.

    Greg Mortenson Greg Mortenson and kids.

    After rescuing a French climber during an attempt on K2, Mortenson got lost on his descent out of the mountains and ended up in the Balti village of Korphe not on his map. The village headman Haji Ali and his wife offered the hospitality of their own home while Mortenson recovered and Mortenson promised to build the village a school (emulating his parents and hero Sir Edmund Hillary).

    Mortenson wrote an article about his K2 experience for a climbing journal where venture angel Jean Hoerni learned about Mortenson’s wish to build a school. Based on a single phone call (from a pay phone) Hoerni sent Mortenson a check (to a P.O. box) for $12,000. Mortenson bought materials for the school only to realize that the materials couldn’t be delivered to the village without a bridge. Mortenson met Hoerni at the annual Himalayan Association meeting where he was given another $10,000 for the bridge and $20,000 to live on so he could work full time on his school.

    Hoerni died of Leukemia shortly after the school was finished leaving Mortenson $1,000,000 to build more schools.

    When he had spent the money, Jon Krakauer “Into Thin Air” and “Under the Banner of Heaven” introduced Mortenson to the editor of Parade magazine who ran a cover story on Mortenson’s work. The article resulted in a deluge of letters and contributions, allowing Mortenson to continue building schools. To date Mortenson has built 55 schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Along the way, he turned down a U.S. military offer of surreptitious funds. Mother Teresa would probably have accepted the money.

    Mortenson seems to have an instinct for surrounding himself with able associates. He has defeated two fatwa’s from fundamental mullahs using the Shia legal system. The first ruling came from Qom in Iran praising Mortenson’s (the infidel) work including the education of girls. The second ruling from Pakistan nullified the Fatwa and ordered the mullah to pay for the material his thugs had destroyed when they attacked a school under construction.

    Mortenson provided an important source of information via his extensive contacts in the mountains of Pakistan after the recent earthquake.
    Greg Mortenson on the Pakistan Earthquake

    RIP Jason Rhoades

    Saturday, August 5th, 2006

    From came this sad news.

    Jason Rhoades

    To Live and Die (But Not Show) in L.A.

    Jason Rhoades, 41; Artist Combined Humor, Poignancy –
    Los Angeles artist Jason Rhoades, who became more celebrated in Europe than in the United States for elaborate installations that broke down conventional walls between performance and conventional art, died Tuesday. He was 41.

    Samples of his works,
    Lego Mecca Ka’ba

    PeaRoe Ramp (Honda Parts embedded)

    One half thousand gallons wall

    August Memo

    Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006

    Rhada II For Jean Renoir and Rumer Godden (ref. The River)

    Rhada II digital art by Fung-Lin Hall

    On this day

    August 1,1873 First cable streetcar: Andrew Hallidie’s invention has its test run on Clay Street Hill, San Francisco. It went into operation a month later.

    August 1,1944 – Anne Frank: The young diarist makes her last entry. Her family was found by the Nazis and taken to concentration camps. Her diary described their previous 756 days of hiding.

    Henri Cartier Bresson died on August 3, 2004.

    Cartier Bresson’s Decisive Moments on youtube.

    How many of them are you able to identify?
    Some of these people have been featured here.

    Simone Beauvoir, Samuel Beckett, Camus, Igor Stravinksy, Carl Jung.

    Sidebar menu has Susan Sontag and Matisse under Morocco.

    Seeing Huston’s Freud (the misadventure of Sartre’s writing script for John Huston).

    Let’s get the gossip out of the way.

    Huston’s decision to have Sartre write the script provides me with the most fun. “Sartre was a little barrel of a man,” Huston wrote in his autobiography,1 and said in his Playboy interview: “He was without egotism and was probably the ugliest man I have ever laid eyes on–one eye going in one direction, and the eye itself wasn’t very beautiful, like an omelet. And this pitted face.”2 Huston took Sartre to his castle at St. Clerans in Galway. There, during their story conferences, Huston tried to hypnotize Sartre. (Norman N. Holland)

    Mr. Sartre goes to Hollywood.

    Happy Birthday to Diane Wakoski.
    Diane Wakoski was born August 3, 1937.
    Two poems by Diane Wakoski
    Red Bandana and the Hitchhikers.

    John Huston was born 100 years ago, August 5, 1906.
    Celebrating John Huston at slate picture gallery, here.