Showing posts from August, 2011

Losing the ability to contemplate nature for itself

Should something happen at the end of the pier? Must this trail lead somewhere at all? Tok Tokkie, Namibia Would a cataclysm make this place any more spectacular ? Antarctica No need for suspense here Namibian desert Who said a desert was emptiness? Little Sandy desert; Australia Does unfamiliarity frighten you? Would a back story improve your impressions? Beardmore Glacier; Antarctica Is it plain to you? Over-dramatized oil war or peaceful oasis? Lybia desert There is still beauty where there is "nothing" Bonneville salt flats; Nevada  If you find this boring get the hell out! Atacama desert; Chile THAT IS CONTEMPLATION If you're not moved by the immensity of the landscape, by the humbling scale, by the subtle variations in uniformity, by the depth of emptiness, by the simple beauty of Nature... you're not ready to immerse yourself in contemplative cinema which requires you to leave at the door yo

Déjà-vu (Köhler)

"[..]This map that did (as [Gilberto] Perez [ The Material Ghost ; 1998]) go out of style for a time, perhaps during the period of postmodernism, and definitely during the period when Fassbinder ruled the arthouse. But the map has been opened again by a new generation. Its influence can now be seen in films from every continent - too such extent that the Antonioni open film can be said to be in its golden age. There are some examples: the work of Apichatpong Weerasethakul from Blissfully Yours to Uncle Boonmee ; Lisandro Alonso's La Libertad through to Liverpool ; Uruphong Raksasad's Agrarian Utopia ; C.W. Winter and Anders Edström's The Anchorage ; Ulrich Köhler's Sleeping Sickness ; the entire so-caled Berlin School of which Köhler is a part; Albert Serra's Honour of the Knights and Birdsong ; James Benning; Kelly Reichardt; Kore-eda Hirokazu; Ho Yuang's Rain Dogs ; Jia Zhangke's Platform and Still Life ; Li Hongqi's Winter Vacation . The lis

Slow Parody (Sight&Sound)

"I fell to wondering how Europe's great auteurs would get on should they stray into the world of cunning stunts and spectacular car crashes [..] Béla Tarr remakes Two-lane Blacktop The development process is slow given Tarr's insistence that the existing screenplay (a) has too much dialogue, (b) spends too much time off the highway, and (c) is too short. Progress is slow; producers come and go; and, as a decade goes by, Tarr immerses himself in 1970's American cinema, showing special interest in Five Easy Pieces. Shooting begins with János Derzsi in a Dodge Charger driving very slowly along an empty desert highway with the camera tracking beside him. Chapter two : Derzsi stops at a roadside diner and orders potatoes. The waitress points out that potatoes are served only as part of other dishes. Very slowly, Derzsi begins to work his way Jack Nicholson's "hold the chicken" speech from Five Easy Pieces until potatoes are served - for that, it turns out,

Jeanne Dielman (Courant)

JEANNE DIELMAN, 23 QUAI DU COMMERCE, 1080 BRUXELLES de CHANTAL AKERMAN. Gérard Courant, in  Cinéma différent , n° 1, février 1976. "Le sang neuf du cinéma coule dans ces images statiques où s’installe une tension indicible. Honte à ceux qui se plaignent de l’inexistence d’un nouveau cinéma car, s’ils n’ont pas vu Jeanne Dielman , ils ne savent pas alors que ce film est d’une modernité à couper le souffle et, l’un peut-être ne va-t-il pas sans l’autre, un hommage à l’intelligence et à l’esprit féminins. Et si certains ont ressenti cette oeuvre comme une provocation, c’est parce que Jeanne Dielman s’applique à détruire certains mécanismes ancrés dans nos habitudes mentales. Ce film est un défi à l’encontre de tout un cinéma reposant sur des concepts exclusivement commerciaux. [..] Chantal Akerman: « Jeanne se raccroche à un ordre masculin, qui n’a plus aucun sens. La mécanique tourne à vide. Un geste la mène au geste suivant et lui permet de tenir. Mais quand pour la première

The Post-Tarkovskian bandwagon (Pigott)

Excerpt from a thesis by Michael Pigott: " Time and Film Style " (University of Warwick, Department of Film and Television Studies; June 2009) [ PDF ] : Slow Cinema While one of the central goals of this thesis was to show that temporal stylisation occurs across a range of film styles, a distinction may still be made between the kind of cinema that uses time as an equal or lesser element within a formal framework and those that actively foreground the temporality of the moving image as an aesthetic principle, a mode of enquiry and expression. I have stayed largely away from contemporary arthouse cinema, FOOTNOTE: This was partly in an effort to maintain a sense of comparability between categories. To embark upon a discussion of a whole sub-genre within the Long Take category would be to unbalance the structure of the whole thesis. Also, my method throughout has been to analyse key examples and limit cases that demonstrate the major characteristics of a particular catego

On Being Bored (Phillips)

“ On Being Bored ” in:  On Kissing Tickling and Being Bored: Psychoanalytic Essays on the Unexamined Life  (Adam Phillips; 1993) [..] Every adult remembers, among many other things, the great ennui of childhood, and every child's life is punctuated by spells of boredom: that state of suspended anticipation in which things are started and nothing begins, the mood of diffuse restlessness which contains that most absurd and paradoxical wish, the wish for a desire. As psychoanalysis has brought to our attention the passionate intensity of the child's internal world, it has tended to equate significance with intensity and so has rarely found a place, in theory, for all those less vehement, vaguer, often more subtle feelings and moods that much of our lives consist of. It is part of Winnicott's contribution to have alerted us to the importance, in childhood, of states of relative quiescence, of moods that could never figure, for example, in Melanie Klein's gothic melodrama