With occasional reflection on the perpetual absurdity/intrigue of life and society in general.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bill Hicks - Relevant Quotes

"We are the facilitators of our own creative evolution."

The Human Centipede - "Shock Cinema"? - Roger Ebert Review and Official Trailer

Alright, as I promised to revisit it, here is the full scoop on The Human Centipede according to Roger Ebert (by the way, he optioned out of giving it a star rating - he didn't give it 0 stars, just withheld the rating - interesting). I think this pretty much covers it. Upon reading this review, my interests and curiosity remain peaked and my stomach uneasy.

I have particular interest in (and have studied extensively as well as written on) a fringe contemporary movement in French Cinema referenced as the Cinema du Corps. The term was coined by Dr. Tim Palmer (University of North Carolina Wilmington), the leading scholar on the movement. I have had the privilege of studying under Dr. Palmer (also one of those rare born-to-teach professors - the one that makes every class an intellectual joy). A common critique of the Cinema du Corps filmmakers (Marina de Van, Gaspar Noe, Bruno Dumont, etc.) is an accusation of "shock cinema" due to the direct and stark manner in which they explore physicality. It is argued that the imagery is propelled by the desire to shock alone with too little value or subtext to justify the extremity of the imagery (Noe being the only one to embrace and own this critique proudly). I have commonly and adamantly argued against this surface assessment of the movement by the more traditional guard of film academia - and actually find it to be amongst the more groundbreaking/intriguing modern cinemas. I also embraced recent cult horror film, Dead Girl, which received similar critical accusations (I had the privilege of screening this film at a festival, followed by a Q&A with the young filmmakers - only 20 people or so were left by the end - the others walked out too disturbed - it was an exceptional festival experience). However, in reading the reviews of The Human Centipede (not directly associated with the cinema du corps movement in film, yet garnering the same critical tag of "shock cinema"), I have to admit, while leaving my mind as open as possible, it will take quite a bit for this film to shed the gratuitous "shock" tag - if it even cares too.

It's not death itself that's so bad. It's what you might have to go through to get there. No horror film I've seen inflicts more terrible things on its victims than “The Human Centipede.” You would have to be very brave to choose this ordeal over simply being murdered. Maybe you'd need to also be insane.

I'm about to describe what happens to the film's victims. This will be a spoiler. I don't care, because (1) the details are common knowledge in horror film circles, and (2) if you don't know, you may be grateful to be warned. This is a movie I don't think I should be coy about.

OK. Dr. Heiter is a mad scientist. He was once a respected surgeon, but has now retreated to his luxurious home in the German forest, which contains an operating room in the basement. His skin has a sickly pallor, his hair is dyed black, his speech reminds us of a standard Nazi, and he gnashes his teeth. He is filled with hatred and vile perversion...

Heiter plans to surgically join his victims by sewing together their mouths and anuses, all in a row, so the food goes in at the front and comes out at the rear. They will move on their hands and knees like an insect. You don't want to be part of the Human Centipede at all, but you most certainly don't want to be in the middle. Why does he want to commit this atrocity? He is insane, as I've already explained. (follow the link for the entire review and watch the trailer below).

Cannes Update: Thai Filmmaker, Weerasethaku, Wins Palme d’Or

I've been a bit slack with updates from Cannes (silly me, I've been busy with never-ending post on my own torturous film project) - while much of cinematic interest has unfolded at this years festival. I will certainly be visiting a few films and topics from Cannes Film Festival 2010 in upcoming postings (Jean Luc Godard's Film Socialisme is of particular interest). It seems that the jury morphed into a reflection of its president, Tim Burton, in selecting an unexpected Thai film for the Palme d'Or - a fantastical piece that delves into cultural myth and afterlife otherworldliness (perhaps with less macabre than Burton's films - maybe due to relative cultural differences in popular perceptions of death) - and the first Thai film to receive the top honor. For a complete report of the awards, follow the embedded link to the official Cannes website, or you can read more from the NY Times article below:

Apichatpong Weerasethakul, center, winner of the Palme d’Or, with Tim Burton, far right. Juliette Binoche, far left, and Javier Bardem, second from right, won acting prizes at Cannes.

CANNES, France — On Sunday evening the 63rd Cannes Film Festival came to a shocking, exhilarating close with the Palme d’Or going to “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” from the Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Surely the only Palme winner to feature sex between a princess and a thrashing catfish, “Boonmee” is a fantastical tale about a dying man whose past lives — and ghostly relatives — enraptured some critics while turning others off. The speculation that it might appeal to the jury president, Tim Burton, along with some of his more discerning fellow jury members, proved true.

On accepting the award Mr. Weerasethakul (who goes by Joe) said in English that “this is like another world for me,” and noted that “Uncle Boonmee” is the first Thai film to win the Palme. “I would really like to kiss all of you,” he said to the jury, telling Mr. Burton that he liked his hairstyle. Mr. Weerasethakul thanked “all the spirits and ghosts in Thailand,” who made it “possible for me to be here.”

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Karl Pilkington - Words of NO Relevance

ON ART: "Stop looking at the walls, look out the window."
Podcast Series 2 Episode 1

These are words and sayings by Karl Pilkington (notorious as the butt of the Ricky Gervais Show and podcast). Rarely is there any relevance at all outside of Karl's own head, but sometimes he'll surprise you with accidental wisdom. Follow the link for more from Pilkipedia.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Enigmatic "Justice" - reflections and observations

Justice is an abstract concept (perhaps due to it's intangible universality juxtaposed with the necessity to impart it under subjective consideration) - and, hence, one that is poorly integrated into our social, judicial, and economic paradigms.

Note: reference Plato's "forms"

The Centipede - Coming Soon

Now, use your imagination - and think on the horrifying side of things. This is a key element in the premise of a controversial new film. More to come soon...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Cannes Update - Opening Day

Wednesday, May 12 was Opening Day of Festival de Cannes - Hooray! More news to follow as the festival unravels with arrogant buzz, honest acclaim, and all of those things that make festival coverage and film critique so fun. Once again, you can follow the link to the festival website for more information: Festival de Cannes

Convergence of Cultures and Time - Images of Intrigue

The convergence of cultural and temporal realities, though too often the cause of sadness and strain, can also be amusingly beautiful.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bressonian Quote #10 - Notes from a Master Filmmaker

"No marriage of theatre and cinematography without both being exterminated." - Robert Bresson

Note: "Cinematography," to Bresson, was a term for filmmaking with a specific connotation of artistic and realist integrity.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Cannes Update - Rubber - A Film About a Psychic Tire of Terror

That's right. It's a film about a killer Tire with psychic powers that terrorizes people before exploding their heads (Scanners style), or something of that sort. And Yes, it is an official selection to Cannes Film Festival 2010. Upon first hearing the summary of the film, my initial reaction was a slight chuckle and grimace. It sounds like another low-budget, niche horror film in a genre so depleted of original concept and innovation that it has resorted to yet another killer, inanimate object - and all that is left in the ideas box is a mundane rubber tire (just the rubber part, not even a rim). Certainly it will try to salvage credibility with a self-referential, semi-parodic tone (like so many today, attempting to follow Rami's Evil Dead paradigm to no avail) - as if awareness of the genre failings is enough to justify them. Maybe they're thinking that the youth market and DVD sales will make money regardless of how ridiculous it is - pretty common approach. Then I remembered - It's an official selection to Cannes - plenty to lend it credibility of some sort, and just weird enough of a coupling to peak my interest - so I gave it a more thorough glance. Of course, it actually looks very interesting with quality production value and a potentially unique story - it might be badass. Written, shot, and directed by Quentin Dupieu (but he sometimes goes by Mr Oizo - check out his music under this pseudonym), it premiers Saturday May 15 . Follow the links for more info and stills and check out the trailer below.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Robert Rodriguez - A Message for Arizona - in Movie Trailer Form

AintitCoolNews.com claims that Rodriguez (co-director with Ethan Maniquis) and Danny Trejo (lead actor) dropped off this "illegal" trailer for their soon-to-be-released film, Machete - a message in response to the absurd immigration bill in Arizona - and in honor of Cinco de Mayo. Rodriguez continues to find ways to do as he pleases - in the fine independent spirit that we have come to expect of him, and the fans get a nice treat as a result - bravo. Don't F#@k with Robert Rodriguez - and let's hope that the national backlash against Arizona's horridly regressive legislation continues. Follow the title link for the AICN posting. Enjoy the trailer.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

2010 Festival de Cannes Update - Film Lineup

OPENING FILM: Robin Hood (Out of Competition)

CLOSING FILM: The Tree (Out of Competition)

Tournee (dir. Mathieu Amalric)
Des Hommes et des Dieux (dir. Xavier Beauvois)
Hors-la-loi (Outside the Law) (dir. Rachid Bouchareb)
Biutiful (dir. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu)
Un Homme Qui Crie (A Screaming Man) (dir. Mahamat-Saleh Haroun)
The Housemaid (dir. Im Sang-soo)
Copie Conforme (Certified Copy) (dir. Abbas Kiarostami)
Outrage (dir. Takeshi Kitano)
Poetry (dir. Chang-dong Lee)
Another Year (dir. Mike Leigh)
Fair Game (dir. Doug Liman)
Mein Gluck (You. My Joy) (dir. Sergei Loznitsa)
La Nostra Vita (Our Life) (dir. Daniele Luchetti)
Utomlyonny Solntsem 2 (Burnt by the Sun 2) (dir. Nikita Mikhalkov)
La Princesse de Montpensier (dir. Bertrand Tavernier)
Rizhao Chongqing (Chongqing Blues) (dir. Xiaoshuai Wang)
Loong Boonmee Raleuk Chaat (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives) (dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
Tender Son РThe Frankenstein Project (dir. Kornél Mundruczó)

Tim Burton, President
Kate Beckinsale – Actress / United Kingdom
Giovanna Mezzogiorno –
Actress / Italy
Alberto Barbera – Director National Museum of Cinema / Italy
Emmanuel Carrere – Writer – Scripwriter – Director / France
Benicio Del Toro – Actor / Puerto Rico
Victor Erice – Director / Spain
Alexandre Desplat – Composer / France
Shekhar Kapur – Director – Actor – Producer / India

For a complete list of films screening (Un Certain Regard, Out of Competition, etc.), Jury members, and further info on this year's films, follow the link: 2010 Cannes Lineup (RopeofSilicon.com) - Complete

Monday, May 3, 2010

Marlon Brando - Images of Cool and Relevant Quotes

“Acting is the expression of a neurotic impulse. It's a bum's life. The principal benefit acting has afforded me is the money to pay for my psychoanalysis.”

“An actor is at most a poet and at least an entertainer.”

“People ask that a lot. They say, 'What did you do while you took time out ?' - as if the rest of my life is taking time out. But the fact is, making movies is time out for me because the rest, the nearly complete whole, is what's real for me. I'm not an actor and haven't been for years. I'm a human being - hopefully a concerned and somewhat intelligent one - who occasionally acts.”

“If there's anything unsettling to the stomach, it's watching actors on television talk about their personal lives.”

“The only thing an actor owes his public is not to bore them.”

“If we are not our brother's keeper, at least let us not be his executioner”

Bressonian Quote #9 - Notes from a Master Filmmaker


Note: "Cinematography" for Bresson has the special meaning of creative film-making which thoroughly exploits the nature of film as such. It should not be confused with the work of a cameraman.