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Action, Arnachy, Audacity-Seijun Suzuki B Film Visionary Dies at 93

February 22nd, 2017
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    Yumeji (Kenji Sawada as Yumeji, artist/illustrator)

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    Branded to Kill (Shishido Joe tried plastic surgery on his cheeks to get more work as an actor)

  • Youth of the Beast review

  • Seijun Suzuki dies aged 93 -

    Film-maker who paired pop art visuals and yakuza hitmen in Tokyo Drifter leaves behind a singular, surreal body of work that gained international acclaim

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    Jannis Kounellis of Art Povera RIP – (23 March 1936 -16 February 2017)

    February 16th, 2017
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  • An amazing artist Jannis Kounellis passed away.
    He was 80 years old.

    Jannis Kounellis was born in 1936 in Piraeus, Greece. In 1956, Kounellis moved to Rome and enrolled in the Accademia di Belle Arti.

    “One needs to consider that the gallery is a dramatic, theatrical cavity… My work is not surrealistic, the effect is theatrical, it is Baroque.” – Jannis Kounellis

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    Kounellis at Tramway

    Kounellis at Crownpoint

    Google Jannis Kounellis

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    Fragments of Memory

  • Sergei Eisenstein in Paris, Mexico + Commentary by Nestor Almendros & Peter Greenaway

    February 11th, 2017
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    Hans Richter, Sergei Eisenstein and Man Ray, Paris’ 1929

    Sergei Eisenstein died on 11 February 1948.

  • Nestor Almendros on Sergei Eisenstein

    “Outside [Eisenstein] was a Soviet Russian[;] inside, according to some, he was a Christian, to others he was a Jew, to yet others a homosexual….” In fact, he was all those things. Eisenstein was an obedient Communist throughout his life. He did have a very Christian education in his native Riga, and through his otherwise Russified father he had some Jewish blood. An abundance of religious—and antireligious—imagery was present in all his films. And in addition, there are reasons to believe that in Eisenstein’s creative drive homosexuality played a very important role.

    Nestor Almendros – (Previous post)

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    Diego, Frida and Eisenstein

    Eisenstein in Mexico

    Peter Greenaway on Eisenstein

    Portrait of François Truffaut by Duane Michals + Other Odd Photos

    February 6th, 2017
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    Photo of François Truffaut by Duane Michals, 1981

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    François Truffaut was born on February 6, 1932, in Paris, France. With the identity of his biological father later becoming a mystery, François’s mother, Janine de Monferrand, wed Roland Truffaut, with her husband giving his surname to her son. Yet the couple ultimately never allowed the boy to live with them; he was looked after by a wet nurse until, as a toddler, he was taken in and raised by his maternal grandmother and grandfather.

  • Les Miston (see youtube)

    Truffaut simply called it “my first real film”.Moreover it was Bernadette Lafont’s film debut. She was at that time Gérard Blain’s wife. It was shot at her hometown Nîmes.


    A Gorgeous Girl Like Me

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    (Truffaut and Jean Cocteau)
    via Silent and Talkie blog

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    (Robert Bresson and Truffaut at Cannes 1967)

  • André Gregory and Wallace Shawn’s Top 10 – read what they have to say about Jules et Jim.

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    Two English Girls –

    Truffaut (previous post – his search for love & language, cinema & books)

    RIP Dore Ashton, an Art Historian who embraced Modernism dies at 88.

    February 3rd, 2017
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    NYtimes Dore Ashton who embraced and inhabited moernism dies at 88.

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    Art News obit

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    Portrait of Dore Ashton by Alice Neel

  • On the Influence of Gorky

    Ashton took her notes from Franz Kafka who believed that an “artist was a man of many lives, many potential personalities, and many different relationships.” This outlook on artists is a uniquely modern one. Many artists in the Pre-modern era fit this description, but it was of very little consequence, before the Impressionists, how artists adjusted themselves to fit into society. According to Ashton, it was Arshile Gorky who, upon landing in New York in 1925, made it not only fashionable but acceptable for other New York artists to feel a real sense of liberty and experimentation, to wear different masks when it suited them.

    “He was,” wrote Ashton, “at once, a painter who refused to put a face on his forms and a painter who, at times – moved by sentimental memories – assigned associations to certain paintings.” These meandering tendencies were not those of an artist without direction or focus, but of a man who fully recognized the wealth of form available to the imaginative eye. Ashton believes that Gorky set the bar for those younger New York artists who during the pre-WWII years did lack direction and focus.

    Artists from Middle East +Beyond Saudi Arabia, Tykwer Filmed in Morocco

    February 1st, 2017
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    Tammam Azzam (above)
    6 Inspiring artists from Middle East

    Saudi Arabia top 10 artists (where to find them)

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    Ben was in Perfume and Cloud Atlas. Ben appeared as a hologram/cameo in Hologram for the King.
    Tom Tykwer adapted based on a novel by Dave Eggers.

  • Illusions in the desert – Tom Tykwer’s Hologram for the King.

    Although Clay is trying to sell a hologram, he himself is more attached to tangible things, says Tykwer. “He once sold steel. He stands for a world that is ceasing to exist the way it was, but has to present something that belongs to the virtual future.” Therefore, Clay’s way of working reflects his character.

    By the way, Tom Tykwer did get to see the holy city of Mecca during his travels to Saudi Arabia: “I actually went to Mecca during my research tour – but not intentionally. My guide had taken a wrong route and couldn’t turn back, so we drove through Mecca.” This involuntary stay of Tykwer in the holy city is reflected on in the film.

    “A Hologram for the King” is a movie about the clash of two cultures that is told with subtle humor – and it is a film that reflects on how people deal with two totally different worlds.

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

    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 .

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    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.

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

    January 25th, 2017
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    Happy birthday Olivier Assayas!

  • Olivier- Polanski collaboration here.

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    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

    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

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  • 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

    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

    January 10th, 2017
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    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

    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 -

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    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.”