Archive for August, 2010

Palm Dude & Pool Bunny

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Palm Dudeguypalm
hired to trim the leaves. These are parents of my two palm trees growing nicely in my yard – free gift from nature.

20 best art films by Masters Degree (masters degree?). How many of them have you seen?

1) Modigliani film (Montparnasse 19) by Jacques Becker is missing from the list.
2) Savage Messiah is missing.
3) Rikyu by Teshigahara is also missing.
4) Caravaggio by Derek Jarman is missing.
5) Henri Rousseau by Ken Russell is missing.
6) Henry Darger – In the Realm of Unreal by Jessica Yu is missing.
(Jessica is married to Mark Salzman)

(Pool Bunny by Fung Lin Hall)

At least How to Draw a Bunny showed up in this list of 20 best films.

Update: Happy birthday Robert Crumb (Aug 30 1943) .. now a film about his life should be in the list.
Seraphine won numerous awards and Camille Claudel is missing too.
Thanks Herman Costa for the tip.

R.I. P Christoph Schlingensief

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

<> <> ChristophSchlingensief
Christoph Schlingensief (24 October 1960, Oberhausen – 21 August 2010, Berlin)

Chistoph was a German film and theatre director, actor, artist, and author. Initially working as an independent underground filmmaker, Schlingensief later began staging productions for renowned theatres and festivals, which often were accompanied by public controversies. In the final years, he also worked for opera houses, and established himself as an artist.

Cultural rebel loses cancer battle

According to many, his desire to set his legacy in stone was manifest in a development project in Burkina Faso, one of Africa’s poorest countries, that if completed would include an opera house, a school providing music and film lessons for 500 children and an infirmary. Schlingensief called the project “Remdoogo – The Opera Village,” and the foundation stones for the Festival Hall of Africa were laid in February.

United Trash (youtube)

Church of Fear (youtube)

Schlingensief’s filmmaking techniques illustrate his aesthetic vicinity to Fassbinder: the tendency to base the treatment of a particular subject matter on a sudden idea or a topical occasion, the anarchic and nonchalant approach to the forms of dramatic portrayal, the spontaneity of performing as an inferior re-enactment of everyday reality as well as a casual, disturbing tendency towards aggressiveness. Imitation and irritation assume key significance here. The objective is to find the most direct way of documenting a unique, unrepeatable occurrence, which consequently assumes a theatrical character. Schlingensief’s films are personal statements – not just on the era in which they are set, but, in particular, on the time of their creation.

See a photo of Tilda Swinton and Christoph

Schlingenseif is seen here with British actress Tilda Swinton, with whom he had a romantic connection previously.

More than an artist: During the 1998 federal elections he founded a political party of his own, Chance 2000, to represent non-voters, the handicapped and other minorities. (Click to see the photo)

Photos from his homepage bio_automatenbild_klein

No other German director has in recent years been as active as Christoph Schlingensief in earning the term “political” for his theatre. As society’s concept of the political became increasingly arbitrary and theatrical, Schlingensief responded with a rather unusual cure: he fought against the haziness of politics by totally confusing supposed unambiguities.

From his early films in the 1980s, in which Hitler, rapists and mass shooters indulged in orgiastic mischief, to his dramas at the Berlin Volksbühne in the 1990s, whose chaotic scenes brought German icons such as Rudi Dutschke, Helmut Kohl or Rosa Luxemburg down off their pedestals, and to his performances in public (e.g. the artistic welfare mission 1997 at Hamburg’s main train station), one basic theme is always apparent: do not trust certainties!

Moving Side by Side

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

(direct link here)

Black hole lensing
Black_hole_lensing_web Black_hole_lensing_web
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Nico Vassilakis

R.I.P Mitsuo Aoki – Hawaii’s Living Treasure

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

Mitsuo Aoki was my ProfessorMitsuo-Aoki
He was 95.

Professor Aoki introduced me to the writings of Paul Tillich, Soren Kierkegaard, Simone Weil, Camus, Martin Buber, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and others in his class at the University of Hawaii. He used to step on top of the podium and do the Zorba the Greek dance. His lectures were so moving that many of his students in class were often in tears. He was a Buddhist and a Christian and a cosmic dancer.

A Mystery to be lived mitstaichicutout

My First Age began, when in my birth, I very wisely chose my Japanese Buddhist parents. So some 80 years ago, I started life in a Sugar Plantation, on the Big Island in Kohala, in a village called Hawi.

He did work with Paul Tillich.

Counselor on dying rejoiced in life (Obit from Star Advertiser)

The Rev. Mitsuo Aoki helped countless people, particularly cancer patients and their families, with his compassionate outlook on dying.
“He was sought out a lot for his wisdom,” said the Rev. Clarence Liu, chaplain of Hospice Hawaii. “He lived his dying in the very same way that he shared about it and talked about it. There was great integrity and great truthfulness in the way he lived his life.”
Aoki, a theologian, minister and college professor who founded the religion department of the University of Hawaii at Manoa and served as an influential figure in the establishment of Hospice Hawaii, died Thursday at his Pohai Nani home in Kaneohe. He was 95.
Born in the plantation town of Hawi on Hawaii island, Aoki, known as “Mits,” attended the Chicago Theological Seminary and Union Theological Seminary.
According to longtime friend Rick Bernstein, who knew Aoki for 40 years, he was raised in the Jodo-shu Buddhist tradition and converted to Christianity in the 1920s. He was a recipient of Honpa Hongwanji Mission’s Living Treasure award and the Jefferson Award for outstanding community service.

Dying people are my people
In 1957 Reverend Aoki experienced an out of body experience when he had a car accident.

Goodbye Abbey Lincoln and Herman

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Abbey Lincoln and Herman Leonard passed away.

Abbey Lincoln and Herman Leonard: Truthtellers in Jazz
Within two days last week we lost two jazz greats, both of whom gave us much more than entertainment. For over fifty years, Abbey Lincoln sang and wrote unflinchingly about a woman’s survival in a tough world. On August 14, heart failure took her at the age of 80. The day before, Herman Leonard had died at 87. His instrument was a camera; through it, he looked at jazz figures with a fond but probing eye. Somehow, through the art of still pictures, he made their humanity come to life, while adding a sexy touch of film noir.

See Jazz Legends photographs by Herman Leonard. here.

  • Remembering Abbey Lincoln actress

  • Abbey and Max max&abbey

    More Abbey Lincoln on youtube
    First Song

    Afro Blues

    Max Roach Freedom Suit

  • R.I.P Max Roach Aug 2007

    Gradiva by Raymonde Carasco on Ubuweb

    Saturday, August 14th, 2010

    Gradiva Sketch I carascolarge (1978)

    Ubuweb indexed Gradiva (26 min.) Raymonde Carasco’s film is finally available to the world at large.

    Step by step, delusions escape us like a snake between two stones. The solemn, ritualized repetition of a maiden’s foot stepping on ancient stones has been described as a synecdoche, a trope by which the part represents the whole. The whole in this case is W. Jensen’s novel Gradiva, immortalized by Freud, Bréton and many later French intellectuals like Jean Rouch or Derrida. It is a story about a archeologist who is entranced by the of figure an ancient bas-relief depicting the walk of a young woman from Pompei. Shot with the assistance of Bruno Nuytten (known for his work with Duras), Carasco’s Gradiva is a poetic construction about the fetishization of desire, one that seems to go against Freud’s reading: the gracious movement of the maiden’s foot is seen to be the object itself, not a mere referent, of male desire. ..-Eye of Sound (Read more Ubuweb)

    Raymonde Carasco carasco3
    In Memoriam: Raymonde Carasco 1933-2009 – Master of the Ethnographic Poem (Nicole Brenez)

    How can cinema reach the poetic truth of phenomena, how should the sensual description of appearances and particularities be converted into such a ‘magnetic song’?
    We must thus go back to the very origin of Carasco’s quest. She did not set out for Mexico in the late 1970s in order to rape and pillage the imaginary of the Tarahumaras, but rather to follow the traces of Antonin Artaud, to empirically verify the encounter between a sacred text of modernity and its reality. With the result that her research does not comprise a classical type of investigation (to hide, discover, expose), but an alliance of the senses: to enjoy the privilege of being there, to accept that that she will never see everything, to acquiesce in the gradual revelation of only a few traces, to grasp some movements, some signs that testify to the beauty of friendship, before pretending to understand anything – to share not the secret but the cult of the secret, the cult of mystery and trance.

    Image by Carasco carasco2

    Tutuguri – Tarahumaras 79 2SpectTutu-1
    Raymonde Carasco and Régis Hebraud

    Tutuguri – Tarahumaras 79 ciguri
    Ciguri 99 – Le dernier Chaman
    Raymonde Carasco, France, 1999, 16mm, VO fr / OV fr, 65′

    The words of the last of the Tarahumara shamans alternate with Artaud’s texts about Ciguri, the higher plane of consciousness they access through peyote rituals.

    R.I.P Robert Aitken

    Thursday, August 12th, 2010

    Robert Aitken MISC Roshi 5 1917 – 2010

    Robert Aitken dies at 93; American Zen master
    Aitken, one of the first Americans to be fully sanctioned as a master of Zen Buddhism, emphasized a path to enlightenment through social action. (LA times)

    D T Suzuki MISC Roshi 1 and Robert Aitken

    The story of how Robert Aitken came to Zen is remarkable in itself. Aitken was an undergraduate student at the University of Hawaii when he decided he needed a break from studies, and he took a construction job in Guam. So it was that he was an American civilian in Japanese-occupied Guam when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. He was taken into custody the day after the bombing and spent the entire war in civilian prisons in Japan.

    One of the guards loaned Aitken a copy of R. H. Blyth’s book Zen in English Literature and the Oriental Classics. Aitken read the book several times until the guard took it back. But then Aitken was moved to a new prison, and his cell mate was — R. H. Blyth. Blyth was a student of Zen who had been teaching English in Japan when the war began, and so he also spent the war in Japanese prisons. So it was that Aitken’s misfortune became an opportunity, and he and Blyth had long discussions about Zen.

    Aloha Roshi (Diamond Shanga)

    A memorial ceremony and celebration for Robert Aitken will be held at Palolo Zen Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sunday, August 22 at 10 AM.

    Johnny Suede & Clown Fashion

    Monday, August 9th, 2010

    Johnny Suade

    Who knew Nick Cave and Brad Pitt from the great team of The Assasination of Jesse James by a Coward (trailer) – appeared together in Johnney Suede before.
    This was a fun film with Catherine Keener.

    Stars in rewind – Brad Pitt in Johnny Suede (Cinematical)

    Granted, I’m partial to Johnny Suede’s downtown NYC vibe, pompadours, and anything with Catherine Keener in it, but Johnny Suede does give us a taste of the Pitt that was to come. And let’s not forget cameos by Samuel L. Jackson and Nick Cave, whose white pompadour rivals Johnny’s in magnificence and brings to mind director Jim Jarmusch’s famous coiffure, which is perhaps no coincidence since DiCillo was the DP for several Jarmusch films.

    Clown dude SF clown shoe dude spotted by Jtwine in San Francisco.

    Nick singing in Jesse James..

    Beatiful and haunting song for Jesse by Nick (music with still image on youtube)

    Jacques Audiard

    Friday, August 6th, 2010
  • Sisters Brothers – Jacques Audiard, Joaquin Phoenix, John C Reilley

    Joaquin Phoenix: ‘Jacques Audiard is unique, even among French directors’

    Interview from Filmmaker

    It follows a young prisoner named Malik (a terrific Tahar Rahim), who enters jail as little more than a homeless petty thief, but after being taken under the wing of a ruthless Corisican gangster (Neils Aerup), slowly builds an empire of his own. While drawing comparisons to classics of the genre such as Goodfellas, it is an expertly observed, deeply humane piece of crime cinema than has few antecedents.

    A Prophet un_prophete_jacques_audiard_11B

    Sundance review

    The best part, other than the fact that character is almost always revealed through either subtle performance or behavior, never though explicit dialogue (Malik barely says anything through the whole movie), is the fact that the film engages with a sort of unique brand of fantasy. These sequences, sometimes referencing the future-seeing skill of the film’s title, never stray from the established camerawork, integrating seamlessly. They sneak up on you – but then hit hard with their simple beauty. It’s a path to Malik’s interior life that complements his nuanced, quiet performance.

    For your consideration an anti-Scarface (Carpetbagger blogs Nytimes)

    The story of a Frenchman of Arab descent, played by Tahar Rahim (“a stealth presence”) who gets a rogue’s education in prison, it was described by the director, Jacques Audiard, as “an anti-Scarface.”

  • I have seen “Read My Lips” and was captivated by “The Beat My Heart Skipped”.

    The Beat My Heart Skipped (trailer) audiardroman

    Stylish and visceral, this able remake is infused with realism, grit, and a taut performance by star Romain Duris


    Anton Chekhov

    Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

    Anton Chekhov LA la-ca-mikhail-chekhov014.jpg and his brother

    Book Review: Treasured memories of a beloved brother
    ‘Anton Chekhov: A Brother’s Memoir,’ finally translated into English, offers a gossipy remembrance of a beloved brother by a man who continues to miss him.

    His short stories, plays and journalism are still upheld as models of humane perception and imaginative compassion. That their short fiction is “Chekhovian” is the compliment we pay to contemporary masters such as Alice Munro and William Trevor. No month goes by without a performance somewhere of “Uncle Vanya” or “The Seagull” or “The Cherry Orchard.” Chekhov’s admirers are legion and vie to take stage center in the ongoing chorus of praise.

    Chekhov with Tolstoy Tolstoy_and_chekhov

    Daily Chekhov – (twitter)

    Lady with the Dog/ Дама с собачкой – 1/9 (see a great classic on youtube)
    Many versions of theatrical productions now on view on youtube..Judi Dench in the Cherry Orchard etc.

    ANTON CHEKHOV 1860 – 1904
    His last words
    ‘It’s a long time since I drank champagne’
    Terminally ill, he went with his wife Olga to Badenweiler. Later she recalled his dying moments: ‘Anton sat up unusually straight and said loudly and clearly (although he knew almost no German): “Ich sterbe” (I’m dying). The doctor calmed him, took a syringe, gave him an injection of camphor, and ordered champagne. Anton took a full glass, examined it, smiled at me and said: “It’s a long time since I drank champagne”. He drained it, lay quietly on his left side, and I just had time to run to him and lean across the bed and call to him, but he had stopped breathing and was sleeping peacefully as a child … ’

    Update:The Russian playwright seems as modern to audiences and writers as ever – and also as mysterious

    Chekhov is different; what does he think of his characters? Does he admire them or pity them? Ask us to examine or ridicule? It’s never obvious. Chekhov’s characters tend to let their mouths run away with them (Gayev in The Cherry Orchard fills a silence with an idiotic hymn of praise to a bookcase that, even as he’s saying it, he must regret). It’s almost as if Chekhov lets silences form in his play, which his characters nervously fill and thus reveal themselves.