Archive for January, 2017

Congrats to Federer & Nadal, A Thrilling Match at Australian Open 2017

Sunday, January 29th, 2017
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    Roger defeats Nadal at the final.

    (image via Telegraph)

  • Russell Jackson (Guardian)

    “I don’t think either of us believed we’d be in the finals,” Federer said afterwards before paying tribute to Nadal. “I’m happy for you. I would have been happy to lose, to be honest. The comeback was as perfect as it was.”

    The pointy end of this tournament taught us that sometimes the fountain of youth is actually a mirage. When the favourites Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray stumbled to shock losses in week one, it really should have been a newer-generation top-10 player such as Milos Raonic, Kei Nishikori or Dominic Thiem seizing this moment – or more likely battled-hardened Stan Wawrinka. Yet none had it in him. None had this in him.

    All the while Federer and Nadal were essentially playing from memory but what temples of sporting genius their minds and bodies are. Nadal has beaten Federer so many times over the years some hesitate to call it a rivalry. Here the only shame, as ever, was the need to split them. Performing at this level in your prime is one thing; doing it as the lights dim is the mark of untouchable greatness.

    A day earlier tickets were being hawked for up to A$16,000 – more than it cost to buy a house in Melbourne when the guest of honour, Rod Laver, won his last title and quite a premium on their original price range of $413 to $662.

    RIP John Hurt – 22 January 1940 – 27 January 2017

    Friday, January 27th, 2017

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  • RIP John Hurt

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  • Happy Chinese Lunar New Year of the Rooster, Jan 28 2017 – February 15, 2018

    Friday, January 27th, 2017
  • Happy Chinese Lunar New Year of the Fire Rooster!

    André Kertész 52kertesz

    (repost – see other photos here)

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    Map of China as Rooster .. by Jurgen Trautwein

  • Funny Rooster on youtube .

  • RED ROOSTER 1996 by Edward Ruscha born 1937
    Red Rooster 1996 by Edward Ruscha
    Ed Ruscha archive here.

  • Year of Monkey
    (see Frida Kahlo, Audrey Hepburn and Katharine Hepburn playing with monkey)

    Year of Goat (Zubaran, Marguerite Yourcenar, etc)

    Year of Wood horse (Turin Horse, Leonardo etc)

    Year of Rabit (Pool Rabbit, Ray Johnson etc)

    Year of Rat (Banksy Rat, Rat Patrol)

    Year of Dog

    Year of Pig (Pasolini, Kimono Pig etc)

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    Pathe Rooster

    Then there’s the Pathé rooster, who’s been going strong for more than a hundred years and still turns up in silhouette at the end of the current Pathé “mobile” logo. So far as I know, that rooster has had the longest life of any movie symbol, in part because he originated with the Pathé Frères in France during the late 1800s, was registered in the U.S. in 1902, and adorned a record label (“I sing loud and clear” was the original slogan) as well as newsreels and feature films over the decades. It’s nice to see the company still respects its longtime mascot.

    From R.Ruiz, Rohmer, Ozon, to Dolan, Melvil Poupaud Anyways, The Great Game is His New Film

    Thursday, January 26th, 2017
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    Parker Posey and Melvil Poupaud in Broken English (Z. Cassavates directed)
    Happy birthday Melvil Poupaud.

    Named after author ‘Herman Melville’ by his mother. (via IMDB)
    Slant Interview(discusses his new film the Great Game)

    Although he may be too introverted to gain status as an international superstar, Melvil Poupaud admits he’s content to let independent and auteur-driven films shape his career. He made his screen debut in Raúl Ruiz’s City of Pirates at age nine, after which his maturation on screen came at the hands of some of world cinema’s most accomplished directors, among them Eric Rohmer (A Summer’s Tale), François Ozon (Time to Leave), and Arnaud Desplechin (A Christmas Tale), and Xavier Dolan (Laurence Anyways). Even in his work for American filmmakers like Zoe Cassavetes (Broken English) and Angelina Jolie (By the Sea), there’s a sense that his aura, a charismatic mix of intelligence and apprehension, is a kind of inspirational force.

  • Melvil Poupaud – Interview

    MP: It was thanks in no small part to Xavier Dolan and Laurence Anyways. Every ten years, I’ve been lucky enough to have had some noteworthy roles. When I was 10, it was with Ruiz; then at 20, it was with Rohmer; at 30, with François Ozon and also Desplechin, but in a secondary role. In Ozon’s film, Time to Leave (Le Temps Qui Reste), I died, so after filming it was a kind of rebirth. Then with Dolan when I was 40 years old, when I went into a whole other dimension by playing a woman. It was really demanding, that experience took a lot out of me.

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    Laurence Anyways directed by Xavier Dolan.

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    Time to Leave (starring with Jeanne Moreau) (Melvil was directed twice by Francois Ozon, Time to Leave and Hideaway).

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    Melville as a child actor made his first film “City of Pirates” directed by Raul Ruiz

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    A Summer’s Tale by Eric Rohmer
    (documentary of the making of A Summer’s Tale showed Rohmer’s interests in local music and culture).

    Olivier Assayas & Hou Hsiao Hsien, & Portrait of Ava Gardner by Man Ray

    Wednesday, January 25th, 2017
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    Happy birthday Olivier Assayas!

  • Olivier- Polanski collaboration here.

  • True Story AssayasHo-

    Olivier Assayas and Hou Hsiao Hsien

    A portrait of Hou Hsiao Hsien by Olivier Assayas here.

    Assayas, who while a critic at Cahiers du cinéma had championed Hou long before it was in vogue to do so, followed the master filmmaker around his native Taiwan. Released just after Assayas’ breakout Irma Vep, this intimate documentary profiles a director who was largely unknown on the global scene in the late 90s. HHH: A Portrait of Hou Hsiao-Hsien remains the most thorough look at one of the most revered living directors.

  • Assayas and Mia Hansen Love (husband and wife filmmakers)
    Both received awards in Europe for best director in 2016 (Mia in Berlin and Assayas in Cannes)

  • Assayas Olivier Assayas on Ingmar Bergman on Bergman (I don’t think this book is translated into English.)

    When I did Conversations with Bergman it was an extraordinary experience for a young film-maker to be confronted with one of the great masters. (via)

    Olivier Assayas on Ingmar Bergman (repost)

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    Portrait of Ava Gardner by Man Ray.
    Ava Gardner.(December 24, 1922 – January 25, 1990)
    (She said “Elizabeth Taylor was pretty.. I was beautiful..” )

    Gramsci & Cultural Hegemony, Portraits by Francis Picabia, Portrait of Strindberg by Munch

    Saturday, January 21st, 2017
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    Portrait of Gramsci by Leopold Mendez

    Antonio Gramsci (Italian Ales (Sardinia), 22 January 1891 – Rome, 27 April 1937) was an Italian writer, politician, political theorist, philosopher, sociologist, and linguist. He was a founding member and onetime leader of the Communist Party of Italy and was imprisoned by Benito Mussolini’s Fascist regime.
    Gramsci was one of the most important Marxist thinkers in the 20th century. He is a notable figure within modern European thought and his writings analyze culture and political leadership. He is known for his theory of cultural hegemony, which describes how states use cultural institutions to maintain power in capitalist societies. (wiki)

    Cultural Hegemony

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    Francis Picabia – 22 January 1879 – November 30

    See more Picabia Perpetual Movement (previous post)

  • Gertrude gertrude-stein Stein by Francis Picabia

  • <> <> <> Picabia_Self-portrait_with_hands__1932

  • August Strindberg / Gem. v. Munch
    Portrait of August Strindberg by Edward Munch

  • Ingmar Bergman on August Strindberg (see a video)

    Ingmar and Lena Olin Fršken Julie av Agust Strindberg
    Miss Julie – Ingmar directing Lena Olin

    August Strindberg was born on Jan 22 1849.

  • August Strindberg by Schonberg

    Habitat – Monika Sosnowska (Polish Artist) + Refractions by Robert Morris

    Friday, January 13th, 2017
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  • Monika Sosnowska (born 1972 in Ryki, Poland)

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    Monika Sosnowska: Habitat at Contemporary Austin, Jones Center
    November 22, 2016 – February 26, 2017

    A fallen oak thrusts branches to the sky,
    Like a huge building, from which overgrown
    Protrude the broken shafts and walls o’erthrown.
    —Adam Mickiewicz1

    There is perhaps no stronger iconography of the Polish landscape than its forests, laden with beauty and witness to great atrocities. The ruinous trees illustrated by the Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz refer to the Białowieża Forest, a vast, dark, and mythical forest, or puszcza, on the border between Poland and Belarus. As Mickiewicz’s words portray images of curved, bent, and broken branches—whose entangled forms evoke crumbling buildings and memories of past battles—so trees become metaphorical carriers of memory in the landscape. But Mickiewicz’s words could just as easily describe the work of Monika Sosnowska (Polish, born 1972 in Ryki, Poland). Based in Warsaw since 2000, Sosnowska lives across the street from another forest, this one home to a Jewish cemetery that was destroyed during the Second World War, as the Germans used its headstones for construction works. Shortly thereafter, the Polish people planted many of the trees that compose the current woods and began an initiative to restore the cemetery to its previous state, a project that continues today.

  • See more via Aspen art museum

  • Pinterest

  • Here is another Polish artist Monika Gryzmala who works in Germany.
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    Previous post Monika Gryzmala Spatial drawing

  • Robert Morris ‘Refractions’
    at Sprüth Magers Berlin
    22 November 16 – 14 January 17

    (Merci Pascal Blanchard )

    The Next Day, Bowie,Marion Cotillard,Gary Oldman and Peter Cook with Bowie

    Tuesday, January 10th, 2017
  • bowiecotillardgaryoldman
    The Next Day – Marion Cortillard played a sexworker for priests – read more here.

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    Bowie at Berlin Wall – 1987
    Take peek, David Bowie’s art collection.

  • David Bowie showing off his knowledge of contemporary art with Julian Schnabel here on Charlie Rose. (youtube)

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    Peter Cook, Bowie and Dudley Moore – via

    David Bowie returned to space at 69 (Jan 10,2016 Bowie passed away 2 days after his birthday)
    See more photos and links here.

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    The Cop, The Nun and Peter Cook – the Comic Genius
    Jan 9 1995, Peter Cook died

    An extremely influential figure in modern British comedy, he is regarded as the leading light of the British satire boom of the 1960s. Cook was closely associated with anti-establishment comedy that emerged in Britain and the United States in the late 1950s.

    OM Puri -A Magnificent Actor of East/West Dies at 66

    Friday, January 6th, 2017
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    Guardian Obit here.

    Om Puri

    Om Prakesh Puri OBE (18 October 1950 – 6 January 2017) was an Indian actor who appeared in mainstream commercial Indian, British, and American films, as well as independent films and art films.

    Is Om Puri our greatest living actor? on
    April, 2000 Michael Spagow asked – h/t Terrence Rafferty via FB.

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    Lasse Hallstrom directing Om Puri –

    Om Puri knelt before Helen Mirren –

    MYSTIC MASSEUR, Ayesha Dharker, Om Puri, 2001(c) Think Film. . Merchant Ivory production..
    story by V.S. Naipal.

  • The Intense Serenity of Om Puri, Citizen of the World
    By TERRENCE RAFFERTY APRIL 9, 2000 (NYtimes)

    ALTHOUGH Om Puri has appeared, by his own estimate, in something like 140 films in his 24-year screen career and has been characterized by one expert on Indian cinema as ”the finest actor of the post-independence generation,” he does not expect to be recognized on the streets of New York.

    But when he and I step out for a cigarette in front of the SoHo Grand Hotel, a middle-aged man and woman strolling up West Broadway look startled, walk a few steps farther up the street, and then, after a fast conference, return to tell Mr. Puri how impressed they had been by his performance in ”East Is East,” which they had seen in Israel. He accepts their praise graciously and modestly, and after they have moved on he puffs contentedly and beams. ”That’s absolutely made my day.”

    His delight is so contagious that I instantly banish my suspicion that this improbable encounter has been staged by the wily publicists of Miramax, which is releasing ”East Is East” here on Friday. To be recognized, on a nearly deserted street, for a performance in a British art-house picture that has not even opened in the States? Not bloody likely. And yet: Mr. Puri’s portrayal of George Khan — a Pakistani Muslim married to an Englishwoman (Linda Bassett) and trying to raise seven children in a racially mixed neighborhood near Manchester in the 1970’s — is unforgettable, the sort of performance that should stop traffic. (Light pedestrian traffic, at least.) So I want this scene to be real: It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy, or a better actor.

    Back in the hotel’s smoke-free lounge, Mr. Puri, clearly stimulated by the heady combination of recognition and nicotine, expands on his approach to the domestic tyrant George Khan, who could easily have been played as a monster. ”I look for subtext,” he says, ”the hidden script within the script. Here’s a working-class man who comes to England and finds himself in circumstances that are too huge for him to handle. It’s 1971. In Parliament there are people shouting about repatriation. This man who is so rigid on the surface has agreed to stay with his wife in a non-Muslim area and send his children to modern schools. Even his daughter, and for a Muslim it’s very tough to send a girl child to a modern school. I knew I had to find a space for this in my portrayal, without departing from the script or changing the scenes. So when he hits a child it should be with pain. The anguish on his face should give a little balance to his monstrousness.”

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    My Son the Fanatic (script by Hanif Kureishi)
    Hanif and Omu Puri
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    Photo via

    (via Interview of Om Puri by Terrence Rafferty.)

    In ”My Son the Fanatic,” written by Hanif Kureishi (”My Beautiful Laundrette”), Mr. Puri plays another working-class immigrant father, who is also a Muslim by birth and who also lives in the industrial north, but whose parenting difficulties are precisely the opposite of Khan’s: Parvez, an easygoing cabdriver who loves jazz, drinks a little too much and has for a best friend and confidante a young prostitute, is alarmed that his son has become a militant Islamic fundamentalist.

    The actor considers Parvez the richest role that he has had in the English-speaking cinema. And besides, he says, ”I can more easily identify with that character. I consider him to be a citizen of the world. You could send him to Italy, you could send him to Spain, you could send him to Japan and the man would adjust. There is no place where there is not a collage of people, so there are frictions everywhere. Unless people have a sense of tolerance towards each other’s beliefs, life is not going to be easy.”

    Mr. Puri describes himself as ”very, very liberal,” which is perhaps why most of his work in his native land has been in ”what we call the art cinema, where the assumption is that cinema or theater is a medium of social commitment,” he says. As he sees it, ”My whole training has set me up for that.”

    Born in a rural area of northern India in 1950, Mr. Puri worked his way through a Punjabi university where he joined a theater group and ”drifted” from his youthful ambition to be a military man like his father. The family did not object. ”My father could see that I was economically responsible and really hard-working, so he never questioned my activities. And I never embarrassed him.” He then spent three years at the National School of Drama in New Delhi, where he received what he describes, with some understatement, as a ”very well-rounded” education in the theater: he played Hamlet in Hindi at age 23 and also performed (in that language) Brecht, Shaw, Ibsen, Indian folk plays and even a Kabuki drama.

    After a couple of years at the Indian Film Institute in Poona, Mr. Puri lit out for the film-industry capital, Bombay. He anticipated having a hard time breaking into the movies, because he did not have ”an obvious personality” — which means, in part, that he was not handsome enough to attract immediate attention. But his theater work got him noticed and once he had begun making movies his versatility kept him in demand. By 1981, he was well known enough to get a call from India’s greatest director, Satyajit Ray, who was casting ”Sadgati” (”Deliverance”), which was to be the Bengali filmmaker’s first production in Hindi; Mr. Puri was his choice to play the lead, an untouchable.

    In a way, the actor says, his career in the West is repeating the pattern of his career in India. He has had small parts in the major studio films ”Gandhi (1982), ”Wolf” (1994) and ”The Ghost and the Darkness” (1996), as well as a substantial supporting role in ”City of Joy” (1992). But his meatiest parts have been in serious, low-budget pictures. That’s fine with him, because he has a good life and a thriving career in Bombay, where he can practice his art in accordance with his bedrock principle: never let yourself be typecast. (His hero is Alec Guinness). ”Om has unusual range for an actor,” Mr. Prasad says. ”He seems equally natural playing an illiterate villager or a powerful intellectual.’

    And equally content. Like Parvez — and unlike George Khan — the man adjusts. ”I am happy to be recognized here in New York,” Mr. Puri says near the end of our conversation. ”But it was only two people, and I will not work just so that next time it will be 10 people.” And then he says something that, coming from an actor, strikes me as astonishing, and that may at least partly account for the extraordinary mixture of intensity and serenity that informs an Om Puri performance. ”I, frankly, don’t dream, because I want to remain happy. When you dream too much and the dream doesn’t come true, you hurt yourself. And I don’t want to hurt myself. So I don’t dream. I take things as they are.”

    John Berger dies at 90 & Tilda’s film on John Berger

    Monday, January 2nd, 2017
  • JohnBerger

    John Berger dies aged 90.

  • Bento (Berger) 1abentoberger

    A meditation, in words and images, on the practice of drawing, by the author of Ways of Seeing
    The seventeenth-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza—also known as Benedict or Bento de Spinoza—spent the most intense years of his short life writing. He also carried with him a sketchbook. After his sudden death, his friends rescued letters, manuscripts, notes—but no drawings.

    For years, without knowing what its pages might hold, John Berger has imagined finding Bento’s sketchbook, wanting to see the drawings alongside his surviving words. When one day a friend gave him a beautiful virgin sketchbook, Berger said, “This is Bento’s!” and he began to draw, taking his inspiration from the philosopher’s vision.

    In this illustrated color book John Berger uses the imaginative space he creates to explore the process of drawing, politics, storytelling and Spinoza’s life and times.

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    Tilda Swinton on making ‘The Seasons in Quincy’, four short films about maverick artist and thinker John Berger.

    For Swinton, making the film was a chance to spend time with someone who had become a firm friend. “I wanted a glimpse of his gimlet eye and a blast of his company,” is how she puts it. “I went to find him in Quincy for a check-in, for a catch-up, for a chinwag.”

  • Previous post – Ways of Seeing – John Bergmer.

    “Never again will a single story be told as though it were the only one.” John Berger.. (Michael Ondaatjie quoted J.B. in his forward of his novel In the Skin of a Lion)

  • John Berger collaborated with Swiss filmmaker Alain Tanner who made inspiring films in the 70’s – (Tanner’s Messidor was remade as Thelma and Louise in Hollywood).

    Revisionsing Europe the films of John Berger and Alain Tanner

    is among the few existing English-language discussions of the films made by British novelist John Berger and Swiss film director Alain Tanner. It brings to light a political cinema that was unsentimental about the possibilities of revolutionary struggle and unsparing in its critique of the European left, and at the same time optimistic about the ability of radicalism and radical art to transform the world

    New Year’s Day Poem by Joseph Brodsky – Happy New Year 2017

    Monday, January 2nd, 2017
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    New Year’s Day poem by Joseph Brodsky

    1 January 1965

    The Wise Men will unlearn your name.
    Above your head no star will flame.
    One weary sound will be the same—
    the hoarse roar of the gale.
    The shadows fall from your tired eyes
    as your lone bedside candle dies,
    for here the calendar breeds nights
    till stores of candles fail.

    What prompts this melancholy key?
    A long familiar melody.
    It sounds again. So let it be.
    Let it sound from this night.
    Let it sound in my hour of death—
    as gratefulness of eyes and lips
    for that which sometimes makes us lift
    our gaze to the far sky.

    You glare in silence at the wall.
    Your stocking gapes: no gifts at all.
    It’s clear that you are now too old
    to trust in good Saint Nick;
    that it’s too late for miracles.
    —But suddenly, lifting your eyes
    to heaven’s light, you realize:
    your life is a sheer gift.