Archive for July, 2007

L’Eclisse, The Passenger, La Notte – Michelangelo Antonioni

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007
  • alaindeloneclipis
    (Alain Delon from L,Eclisse)

  • What are you running away from? (In the Passenger Maria was quiet, intelligent, even sweet.)

  • A trailer from La Notte with Jeanne Moreau, Monica Vitti and Marcello Mastroianni.

  • 1aalberto-giacomettianton
    Monica Vitti and Antonioni looking at Giacometti sculptures.

  • L’Aventurra at Cannes 1960 (Henry Miller was a jury)

  • China 1antonioniChina

    Antonioni’s rarely seen documentary on China (Hyperallergic)

    Antonioni’s experimental travelogue of the early days of the Cultural Revolution is a complex, sometimes confusing, and priceless document of a transformative moment in Chinese history.

  • Click to see large 1antonioniBrucedavidson photo by Bruce Davidson

  • R.I.P Ingmar Bergman

    Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

    Ingmar Bergman Ingmar Bergman

    BERGMAN: We artists represent the most serious things—life and death—but it is all a game.

    A good intellectual, in my opinion, is one who has trouble with his emotions. He must doubt his intellect, have fantasies, and be powerfully emotional. I meet many fishermen and farmers on the island, who are completely free because their lives are so tough and close to them that they are extremely verbal. They are often crazy, but they are sure of themselves because they know their profession. And I always only work with actors who are—in a special way—self-possessed.

    Film work is a powerfully erotic business; the proximity of actors is without reservations, the mutual exposure is total. The intimacy, devotion, dependency, love, confidence and credibility in front of the camera’s magical eye become a warm, possibly illusory security. The strain, the easing of tension, the mutual drawing of breath, the moment of triumph, followed by anticlimax: the atmosphere is irresistibly charged with sexuality.
    It took me many years before I at last learnt that one day the camera would stop and the lights go out. (page 169 – 170, The Magic Lantern by Ingmar Bergman)

    No one made film like him. (Rick Moody and others on guardian tribute.)

    Obit from Greencine Daily

    Bergman articles, photos from Times Topics (NYtimes)

    “How I take my walk depends on the winds,” he says. “I have staked out four different routes. In May-June I cannot walk on the shore; the birds are breeding and then it’s pure Hitchcock if you go near them.”
    A housekeeper comes in for three hours a day, cooking dinner according to a strict rotation. Bergman makes breakfast and lunch himself.
    “At three o’clock in the afternoon I watch films,” he says. He has his own movie theatre stocked with 4,500 video cassettes. And every year he chooses between 150 and 200 reels—real film reels—at the Film Institute, which are driven by truck down to Fårö. From On Bergman, loneliness and time on his handless clock (Clock image from Alec Soth)

    Francois Truffaut “His female characters are infinitely subtle, while his male characters are conventions.
    Orson Wells “He’s far more foreign to me than the Japanese.”
    Fellini called him a milk brother. Olivier Assayas “If I had to define where Bergman’s legacy is, I would say everywhere in French cinema.” From the view on Bergman

    I would not have made any of my films or written scripts such as Taxi Driver had it not been for Ingmar Bergman – Paul Schrader

    Imagine it! Bergman! Dead! Wasn’t he my first vision of what it was to be an artist? (Spurious)

    Bergman saved his best work for the stage. Certainly everybody sitting in my row at the Edinburgh theater believed it, that night in the summer of 1986. (Michael Phillips)

    Liv Ullman on youtube talks about Ingmar Bergman

    “We Swedes are so often described through the eyes of Ingmar Bergman that we have to say, ‘no, we’re not like that.'”
    From a recent article on Ingmar Bergman.

    Magic, Wonder, And Even Ghosts: Fanny And Alexander’s Christmas by recently departed Teresa Duncan (Wit of the Staircase)

    Ingmar was a Melancholic Workaholic (Cancer/Horse)

    Previous post on Ingmar Bergman and Sven Nykvist

    Tale of an Osaka Love Thief

    Sunday, July 29th, 2007

    The Great Happiness Space:
    Tale of an Osaka Love Thief
    The Great Happiness Space: A Tale of Osaka Love Thief
    directed by (USA 2006) Jake Clennell is on Google video.

    Finding The Great Happiness Space
    The phenomenon of the male host club has been sweeping Japan for some time now. These men in some instances have even become pseudo celebrities appearing on billboards and even on television shows. Simply put, women come to host clubs and pay for attention and affection, creating a fictional relationship with their host.

    Jake Clennell Jake Clennell

    There were many men that came out of it from the cinema that were probably more teary eyed than women, which is something that I find very interesting. I think men really come out of it with a sense of despair.

    Club Rakkyo where the action takes place, is a place of contradictions.(via)
    3 love thieves The Great Happiness Space:A Tale of Osaka Love Thief

    The star of the documentary actually works at “Club Clover”, where staff ranking is posted and you can see his profile. Issei’s (the love thief star) blog is here. (He has not dropped dead from a daily diet of champagne.)

    The Company Men,

    In When a Woman Ascends the Stairs, Mikio Naruse draws us into a world often intimated in movies but rarely ever fleshed out: that of the Japanese bar hostess. A postwar offshoot of the Geisha tradition, these bars serviced men through the company of women and the comfort of drink. Forty years on, and the mizu shobai, or “water trade”, has come to evolve once more: catering exclusively for female clientele…

    Mizu Shobai (water business) is a metaphor for floating, drinking and impermanence. . (Wikipedia)

    Related links
    Casanova for Hire

    Thor Williamson is Canadian (his mother is Japanese) and a high ranking host working in Tokyo.

    Mikio Naruse’s When a Woman Ascends the Stairs on youtube.

    The Trap – Adam Curtis

    Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

    <><><><>Trap digital image by Fung-Lin Hall

    BBC’s Adam Curtis presents an intellectual history of the right since WWII in a series of three parts. The left is largely silent in this period with intellectual leaders Hofstadter and John Kenneth Galbraith dying to be replaced by no one. During this time, the right has so dominated the field of ideas that even Labour’s Tony Blair and the Democrat’s Bill Clinton were largely co opted as they abandoned long standing left ideals, undermining economic theory, important government regulation, and social safety nets. Curtis notes the dangerous concentration of wealth and power by a new elite and the general decline in welfare for the masses in the West. Curtis also shows how players learn to “game” or beat any attempt at objective metricization such as mental health diagnosis, Vietnam body counts, modern corporate accounting, British National Health care. Featured “thinkers” are;

    John Nash game theory, paranoia and the cold war, Rand Corp. prisoner’s dilemma

    Friedrich von Hayek Austrian school, fear of institutions East or West

    R.D. Laing, Rosenhan Thud experiment discrediting psychology leading to metricization of diagnostics and medication of deviance

    James M. Buchanan fear of danger of zealots and need for self interest motivation

    Alain Enthoven Rand Corp. metricize management influenced McNamara, Thatcher

    Thomas Schelling Game theorist nuclear deterrent models

    Isaiah Berlin. Russian Jew Defined negative liberty as the absence of constraints on, or interference possible action. Greater “negative freedom” meant fewer restrictions on possible action. Associated positive liberty with the idea of self-mastery, or the capacity to determine oneself, to be in control of one’s destiny. influenced Tony Blair

    Alan Greenspan, Robert Rubin dismantle social safety nets for short term economic gains influenced Clinton

    Episode Two: You can only trust the numbers.

    Episode Three: We will force you to be free.

    Related links
    Cry Freedom (Guardian)

    In the cold war paranoia made sense, but a bold new documentary argues that the west has become trapped in a false idea of what it means to be human. By Oliver Burkeman

    R.D Laing, Knots

    I found this documentary at bicyclemark

    Jeremy Blake – We Are for the Dark

    Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

    We are for the Dark oil on canvas, triptych and Mod Lang installation

    The Golden Suicides (Vanity Fair)

    When Theresa Duncan, 40, took her own life on July 10, followed a week later by her boyfriend, Jeremy Blake, 35, their friends were stunned and the press was fascinated: what had destroyed this glamorous couple, stars of New York’s multi-media art world, still madly in love after 12 years?

    Mr. Blake, whose work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art and several other prominent institutions, began to make a name for himself in the late 1990s with dissolving photographic projections used to create the equivalent of geometric abstract paintings. He called his work “time-based painting.” Two Artists, One Suicide, the Other Missing, NYtimes

    ~~~~~~~~Fish by Jeremy Blake~~~~~~~~(via)

    I want to reclaim abstraction from its being just a visual style. After all, before abstraction was a visual style, an abstraction was a philosophical concept that called up multiple images. That’s what abstraction means to me: the visual demonstration of philosophical nuance. In the conversation: John Baldessari & Jeremy Blake

    Silicon Philosophies
    + sound and images fromPunch Drunk Love

    Artkrush Interview (about his SFMoma show)

    Jeremy Jeremy Blake animation Blake Jeremy Blake animation Animation

    Previous post includes photo of Jeremy Blake and Theresa Duncan.

    Update: Corcoran – Jeremy Blake show will go forward. (via Tyler Green)

    RIP Theresa Duncan

    Friday, July 20th, 2007

    Jeremy theresajeremybonnieclyde and Theresa

  • Possible news of Theresa Duncan

    Is this true? The deeply disturbing and shocking news of Theresa Duncan’s suicide report came from Tyler Green this morning.
    Theresa and I have exchanged emails in the past and her blog (The Wit of the Staircase) has been parked on my sidebar menu for more than a few years.

    A Damn Song Theresa Duncan and boyfriend
    Listening to each other’s hearts – Sept. 27, 2005

    Hearing Jeremy’s heart like this was amazing, like staring through a telescope at a vast and previously undiscovered world. The beats sounded so powerful, and yet so temporary. We are just another damn song….

    Obit from Hotel Chelsea blog.

    Theresa had a unique visual sensitivity, and would frequently point out stunning juxtapositions of images. (via)

    Did she imagine the harrassment from these individuals?

    While this ongoing illegal harassment of Wit using Federal employees (or their “cut-out” counterparts) and Federal funding (your Homeland Security tax dollars at work!) is meant to deprive us of work and our livelihoods and even sanity, the harassment also has a curious sexual focus on Wit that mirrors this J. Edgar Hoover campaign against Black Panther organizer and actress Jean Seberg. From a post by Theresa on May 13,2007

    Nothing in the Times would even suggest, naturally, that Theresa Duncan had been, or felt she had been, and testified to having been, testified that she had been harassed and intimidated by a dangerous and very powerful man who was conscienceless. There’s nothing to suggest anything other than the superficial story as delivered in the news available – she left a note, he left a note, they’re gone.
    But in loyalty to what she was and did here, in this big after-school hang-out where we knew each other as similar creatures, it needs to be brought forward.
    She was funny and cute and harsh and intimidating in a big-city way. Now she’s gone. Two Artists Missing – Dirty Beloved.

    Wit Talks Art, War and Religion With Activist Father Frank Morales on May 31, 2007

    From a post:The Ultimate Trip: Where Will You Go When You Die? Sunday Feb 11, 2007

    Wit’s dissolving mind will no doubt invent a library, or a scenteur’s organ–the vast collection of reference scents used in the perfumer’s craft, arranged upward in tiers like an orchestra.

    The Golden Suicides (Vanity Fair)

    When Theresa Duncan, 40, took her own life on July 10, followed a week later by her boyfriend, Jeremy Blake, 35, their friends were stunned and the press was fascinated: what had destroyed this glamorous couple, stars of New York’s multi-media art world, still madly in love after 12 years?

    We are for the dark (Jeremy Blake)

    Vanitas and Skullptures

    Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

    Nicola Bolla Sculptures

    Name this artist.

    Choose an answer from the list below.

    A) Vik Muniz) (see his Clown skull)

    B) Diamond Heist

    C) Nicola Bolla

    Born in 1963 in Saluzzo and the son of a painter, the artist currently lives and works in Torino. A practicing opthamologist and eye surgeon, Bolla lives a kind of double life, practicing medicine by day and working in his studio after hours, creating objects of tremendous beauty and peculiar contradiction. (The description from a dated source)

    Vanitas (Stampelle) the crutch and more Vanitas by Bolla from Speronwestwater site.

    He creates art out of Swarovski crytals. “I make sculptures like a jeweler makes jewelry.” One of his latest works – jail door, stoole and noose made from crystals – was described as “an imaginary suicide in a jail for fashion victims”. (via)

    I think Damien took inspiration from Nicola Bolla and his Skull too. (A comment from “My old friend Damien stole my skull idea)

    Nicola Bolla Sculptures (image source)

    Romany Journeys

    Friday, July 13th, 2007

    Romania Photo by Joakim Eskildsen.

    Hungary Photo by Joakim Eskildsen.

    Photos by Joakim Eskildsen

    Between 2000 and 2006 I together with writer Cia Rinne undertook travels in seven different countries with a view to gaining an insight into the life of the Roma and the conditions they face. We always tried to spend a considerable length of time among the people whom we wanted to learn about and, if possible, to live with them for a while.


    World: Europe Kosovo gypsies under threat

    If Kosovo does return to violence, there is one group that might suffer more than most: the oft-abused Roma. (via metafilter)

    Previous post on Roma Filmmaker Tony Gatlif is here.

    The Seven Samurai and J M Coetzee

    Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

    The Seven Samurai is a film in complete command of its medium yet naive enough to deal simply and directly with first things. Specifically it deals with the birth of the state, and it does so with Shakespearean clarity and comprehensiveness. In fact, what The Seven Samurai offers is no less than the Kurosawan theory of the origin of the state. Excerpt from The Diary of a Bad Year by J M Coetzee.

    Toshiro Mifune (top)The Seven Samurai digital image by Fung-Lin Hall Hollywood remake with Yul Brynner.

    A new book by J M Coetzee The Diary of a Bad Year will be published in Janaury 2008.

    Stepping Stones a review of Hugo Claus Poems by Coetzee

    In one of Hugo Claus’s later poems, a celebrated poet agrees to be interviewed by a younger man, also a poet. A few drinks soon unleash the malice and envy that lie behind the visit. Just between the two of us, asks the younger man, why do you keep the modern world at arm’s length? Why do you pay so much attention to the dead masters? And why are you so obsessed with technique? Don’t be offended, but sometimes I find you much too hermetic. And your rhyme patterns: they are so obvious, so childish. What is your philosophy, your basic idea, in a nutshell? The older man’s mind roams back to his childhood, to the dead masters Byron, Ezra Pound, Stevie Smith. “Stepping stones,” he says.

    “Pardon?” says the puzzled interviewer.

    “Stepping stones for the poem to tread on.” He leads the young man to the door, helps him on with his coat. From the doorstep he points up at the moon. Uncomprehending, the young man stares at the pointing finger.

    Imaginary Notion

    Wednesday, July 4th, 2007

    Google Eagle Dryscape by Fung Lin Hall looking for prey

    A poem by Alan Sondheim

    when i talk with incompletion
    sometimes there comes a notion
    that someone owns completion
    an imaginary notion

    asking campers riddled questions
    is riddling walls of the camps
    someone who no longer questions
    is no longer roll-called in the camps

    grey stained red and sutured mouths
    no one ever gets out of here
    bodies are nothing but mouths
    the rest no longer here

    obscene half in obscene half out
    this is the primal scene
    it never happened or worked out
    just repetitious scene

    arrows fly like cursors hasten
    better get out of the way
    space itself seems to hasten
    time imprisoned one way

    time has no time to rupture time
    space is only residue
    of time confined to confine time
    time is residue

    RIP Edward Yang

    Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007

    Edward Yang – 1947-2007

  • <> <> <>
    Yi Yi on youtube with Portugese subtitles. Here Issey Ogata plays Japanese Bill Gates type computer businessman.

    The kid with a camera says farewell to grandmother here.

    Obit from Steven Shaviro who has seen Edward Yang’s early films. Yi Yi is the only film released in USA.

    I remember being stunned and blown away by The Terrorizer (1986) when I saw it at the Seattle Film Festival: sometime in the late 1980s. It was an elegant, beautifully meditative, and deeply unsettling exploration of urban anomie and alienation, paranoia, and random encounters; it played as if a Patricia Highsmith novel had been turned into a screenplay by Jorge Luis Borges, and then shot by Antonioni.

    Edward Yang – a profile from Senses of Cinema.

    The Roma Filmmaker – Tony Gatlif

    Monday, July 2nd, 2007

    Music as memory of their persecution or why Gotlif focused on Gypsy music.

    I wanted to make a film the Rom people could be proud of, not something to exhibit their misery. I wanted to produce a hymn to this people that I love.

    Latcho Drom is a musical odyssey which follows the route of the Gypsies from Rajasthan in northwestern India through Egypt, Turkey, Romania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, France and finally, Spain

    Romany’s Indian heritage captured from this youtube sample.

    (Full screen version)

    The Roma are among the most widely persecuted peoples in the world. Going by many different names including the derogatory Gypsy (The British believed they originated in Egypt), Roma seems to be slowly gaining as the accepted name. Linguistic and genetic evidence puts their origin in the Punjab India which they seem to have left about 1000 – 1050 AD. (The Roma Poetess)

    The director, Tony Gatlif, born in Algeria, talks about his film:

    When I arrived in Balteni, I found extraodinary people without a care for Rumania nor France! Balteni is located 60 kilometers from Bucharest. It is a sort of isolated ghetto in the middle of the countryside. (via)

    Gadjo Dilo is the last in a trilogy of films (The Princess, Latcho Drom) by Tony Gatlif about gypsy culture. Romain Duris who played the European in Gadjo Dilo 10 years ago worked with Gatlif again in Exile 2004.

    Romany Roots photo gallery (BBC)

    Django Rhinhardt was Belgian Sinto Gypsy jazz guitarist.

    Portfolio of Andrew Miksys in slide show and an introduction by Andre Codrescu (Slate).