Saturday, April 30, 2005
When asked why he made movies, Luis Buñuel said "to show that this is not the best of all possible worlds."
Looks like a classic week at TCM: Sergio Leone's Colossus of Rhodes Monday night at 11:00, part of their salute to Rory Calhoun(!), John Barrymore in what sounds like a fun film I've never heard of, The Great Man Votes, and a not-to-be-missed 5-film celebration of Luis Buñuel best Mexican films on Cinqo de Mayo Thursday, as part of their May salute to Mexican cinema
If you haven't seen Los Olvidados, his movie about street kids in 1950 Mexico City, it's the one I've seen and is essential viewing for anyone (IMHO). Though many fans love Viridiana (I've seen it but so long ago I don't remember it well) and each of them is worth seeing at least once, I'm sure.
However, Los Olvidados is not solely a social document, but also an extension of Buñuel's surrealist aesthetic. This is most apparent in his use of Freudian psychology and his symbolic use of animals, especially chickens. Pedro's and Jaibo's dreams, with their haunting use of slow motion, undoubtedly influenced Andrei Tarkovsky's approach to dreams in films like Ivan's Childhood (1962) and The Mirror (1975). Buñuel claimed that he originally wanted to include additional surreal imagery in the film, including a brief shot of a full size orchestra in the scaffolded building and a top hat in the kitchen of Pedro's home, but the producer Dancigers objected. Buñuel does, however, toss in an homage to Fritz Lang's M (1931) during the pantomimed scene, photographed through a shop window, in which a wealthy older gentleman propositions Pedro. Buñuel was a great admirer of Lang's work and was first drawn to the cinema as an art form after viewing Lang's Destiny (1921).None of these films (the others are Nazarin, Viridiana, The Exterminating Angel, and Simon of the Desert) are on disc, though they have all been available on VHS at one time or another -- if you could find them.
There are good essays on each Buñuel film at the TCM site, the link to Los Olvidados above has a list at the left with links.
If you don't know the name: Buñuel is one of my favorite directors, and very influential -- Hitchcock said he was the best director ever. But there is no definitive page on him (in English anyway) on the Web that I can find.
Here are some essays by Bryan M. Papciak, Franci Arzt, Derek Malcolm on Viridiana, and Gregory and Maria Pearse (I guess, hard to say exactly).
12:09 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Friday, April 29, 2005
Non-Navajo AZ and Hawaii now the last proud holdouts against the tyranny of Daylight Savings Time
Well, maybe "tyranny" is pushing it a bit...
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2 posts at defensetech show how life and the military imitate Art, but not in good way:
-- "It is ... the world of post-industrial, post-state conflict": William Gibson called it back in '86. Plus: Some odd or revealing Googlesat links, including a Star of David bomb target near Groom Lake.
-- Items like this would make even Phil Dick's head spin file: Raytheon sprog sees Minority Report, gets the wrong idea.
10:53 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Are we not
men patented? file
Creating 'human-animals' for research: Ethics report endorses mingling human cells with lesser beings
The "human-animal" part is unsettling of course -- but so is the "lesser beings" phrase, which has a Creepy Christian feel to it.
Drawing ethical boundaries that no research appears to have crossed yet, the National Academies recommend a prohibition on mixing human stem cells with embryos from monkeys and other primates. I'm sure this research has progressed much farther than they're admitting, of course (remember the scene with the lamb-man in O Lucky Man -- and why isn't this classic on DVD?). And it's doubtful anything will stop it, for now.
But even that policy recommendation isn't tough enough for some researchers.
"The boundary is going to push further into larger animals," New York Medical College professor Stuart Newman said. "That's just asking for trouble."
Newman and anti-biotechnology activist Jeremy Rifkin have been tracking this issue for the last decade and were behind a rather creative assault on both interspecies mixing and the government's policy of patenting individual human genes and other living matter.
Years ago, the two applied for a patent for what they called a "humanzee," a hypothetical -- but very possible -- creation that was half human and chimp.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office finally denied their application this year, ruling that the proposed invention was too human: Constitutional prohibitions against slavery prevents the patenting of people.
Newman and Rifkin were delighted, since they never intended to create the creature and instead wanted to use their application to protest what they see as science and commerce turning people into commodities.
And that's a point, Newman warns, that stem scientists are edging closer to every day: "Once you are on the slope, you tend to move down it."
10:07 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Sounds like a good idea to me
USGS recommends 24-hour watch on 35+ volcanoes in US
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Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Pics of apparently very rare sandstorm approaching a new US Marine base in Iraq (haboob I think they're called, here in AZ, where they happen from time to time down in the Valley) -- yeah, here you go
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If you're in Sedona this weekend, Lynne Kitei's doc on the Phoenix Lights event of March 13, 1997 has 2 showings in the afternoon
My girlfriend and I saw something similar here in Cottonwood a couple months before.
You can buy the DVD at her site linked above too.
10:21 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Available on DVD now
Hindle Wakes, a silent film by Maurice Elvey sounds interesting
The camera is used as an eye (for some odd reason I was reminded of Peeping Tom) recording the moment, taking us all for a ride on the roller coaster, the helter-skelter, and snaking through the mass of dancers in the shadowy ballroom. The plays of powerful beams of light illuminate the dancers, whose pulse and fluid movement resembles that of the sea, which is paradoxically never shown. This film is all about the moment, seizing the day, and having the courage to face the consequences alone, if need be. The camera is as much of a conspirator in this as the actors.Though I have to admit I don't know that I've heard of any of Elvey's other 189 films he made between 1913 and 1957 .... though I may have seen his version of The Lodger.
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In case you're still having doubts about the corrosive effect of BigPharma, maybe you'll believe USA Today
The drug companies' corporate planes have been made available not only to Frist, but also for dozens of trips taken by other powerful lawmakers. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., took at least four trips to GOP fundraising events in the past two years aboard Pfizer's Gulfstream.
Drug companies and their officials contributed at least $17 million to federal candidates in last year's elections, including nearly $1 million to President Bush and more than $500,000 to his opponent, John Kerry. At least 18 members of Congress received more than $100,000 apiece.
The industry also liberally funds think tanks and patient-advocacy groups that don't bear its name but often take its side; the National Patient Advocate Foundation, for instance, receives financial support from at least 10 drug companies. And the industry isn't above playing hardball, according to David Graham, a Food and Drug Administration scientist who got on its bad side.
8:24 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Sunday, April 24, 2005
2 to keep track of:
From the New York Times: Arianna Huffington is setting up a blog collecting posts from celebrities, apparently to counter Drudge; and young French actress Isild Le Besco's autobiographical DV film Demi-Tarif (Half-Price), which recalled for Chris Marker seeing Breathless for the first time
The Marker page is a slightly rough translation.
Demi-tarif premieres in the US this summer, even though it's 4 years old. She was 18 when she made it.
It might be unwatchable of course, but Marker is someone I pay attention to.
Meanwhile, it seems the best thing available in the US on DVD with Le Besco in it is Sade, which netflix carries.
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Digital tripping in Basel with LifeClipper
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Also noted on Incoming Signals: legendary NJ freeform radio station WFMU's Beware of the Blog which looks delightful, and Tom Waits' 20 favorite albums ever
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Beware the pointing finger of Harrison Ford [Incoming Signals]
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Frank Lloyd Wright's Ennis-Brown house in L.A. -- a very permanent-looking austere Mayanesque edifice -- is about to fall down the hill due to unusually high rainfall
The textile blocks used to build it are a problem too, as they've absorbed water and are falling apart slowly.
Scenes for Blade Runner were shot there.
6:49 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
US Media finally discovering how military pollutant perchlorate is poisoning aquifers?
Search my old political blog for posts on this back in '03 (enter "perchlorate" in keyword window and "3" in "search back" window).
6:29 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Is that a draft or the smell of the flames of armageddonInc ashing up the last few sheckels of the American economy?
Discovered my favorite new word in this perceptive post by xymphora on US/Israeli Imperial Intentions: bafflegab!
6:06 AM - [Link] - Comments ()