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| blogging since Oct '01
This is Gordon Osse's blog.
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"He who does not at some time, with definite determination consent to the terribleness of life, or even exalt in it, never takes possession of the inexpressible fullness of the power of our existence."
all faces followers of
All colors, beams of
-- Akhenaton, "Hymn to the Sun"
Opt your children out of Pentagon harassment
WHO I WORK FOR: Mount Hope Wholesale
Wholesale nuts, grains, fruits and spices (and more) shipped from Cottonwood AZ
(Tell them you heard about them on Gordon's blog!)
WHAT I'VE SEEN LATELY:
(r) = re-viewing
God Told Me To (1976, Cohen)
Whispering City (1947, Otsep)
Times and Winds (2006, Erdem)
Dirty Money (Un flic) (1972, Melville)
10th District Court (2004, Depardon)
RFK Must Die: The Assassination of Bobby Kennedy (2007, O'Sullivan)
The Furies (1950, Mann)
In a Lonely Place (1950, Ray)(r)
The Adjuster (1991, Egoyan)(r)
Mad Men The Buddha of Suburbia Intelligence (2006, Haddock) Family Guy
SUGGESTED VIEWING: The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear (2004, Curtis) [available for streaming/download here]
My reaction to science fiction resembles that of my body with respect to pollen (I suffer from hay fever).
Why do people read science fiction? I can imagine what they get from reading "The War of the Worlds" or "It is Difficult to be God", but not from other "works". If all an author has to offer is a "fantastic story", I am able to come up with a dozen of my own. I never read to kill time. Killing time is like killing someone's wife or a child. There is nothing more precious for me than time.
Can't find anything like a decent obit, so this will have to do.
I've only read Solaris -- which is way different from either movie version, and worth tracking down -- but he was an artist, with a darkly satirical bent, working in (subverting generally) the SF genre. And I don't know how well he's been translated into English, I seem to remember this is a problem.
Anyway, check the Wikipedia links etc. He was quite a character.
The Narrow Margin, a late-in-the-era noir that's both lean and tony. Charles McGraw plays a Chicago police detective assigned to guard state witness Marie Windsor on a train trip to Los Angeles. Over 70 taut minutes, Fleisher and cinematographer George Diskant use the resources of a well-funded studio to get evocative lighting and imaginative camera placement into a realistic train set. The slick approach is a little bloodless in comparison to classic noir, but the material itself makes fine entertainment, from the clever plot twists to crackling dialogue like "She's a 60-cent special: cheap, flashy, and strictly poison under the gravy." [link]
Anywhere you can walk slowly down the street without being shot at by Western contractors. Anywhere you can reorganise buildings without permission. Anywhere you can stand still without being questioned. Anywhere you can find abandoned beds. Anywhere the movie you always wanted to see is playing. Anywhere you legged it. . . A Mis-Guide to Anywhere is a utopian project for the recasting of a bitter world by disrupted walking.
But, as ever, when kids start acting moody and dressing funny, parents come to the natural conclusion that they've joined a sect devoted to murder, mayhem and unspeakable acts or sexual debauchery. What they're really doing, as a new scientific study into the bleedin' obvious has documented, is exchanging make up tips while cramming for their future PhDs in Victorian literature.
Nice film-related post on James Wolcott's site, with a link to what seems a fine movie blog, Like Anna Karina's Sweater which mentions that Altman's A Perfect Couple will be released soon; unfortunately, it's not gonna be listed at netflix because it will only be available as part of a box set with Quintet, M*A*S*H, & A Wedding
M*A*S*H has a been out in deluxe edition for a while, and nearly no one liked Quintet, so this one smells a bit.
However, I'm kind of fond of A Wedding, and APC has always been one of my favorites -- who else would cast Paul Dooley as a romantic lead, and pull it off? So at least they'll be available somehow...
But as with Murnau's Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, these films should be available as individual discs as well. Fox's noir sets are great, but this is the kind of thing that drives people to BitTorrent. . . which is fine with me.
google capture of J Hoberman's review of Cafe Lumiere & Onion AV Club's 2002 interview with Tsai Ming Liang
If anything, Cafe Lumiere suggests an Ozu film in reverse — it's mainly ambience "pillow shots," with bits of narrative serving as punctuation. Back in Tokyo after a stay in Taiwan, Hou's young protagonist Yoko (Japanese pop star Hitoto Yo in her first movie) is subdued and opaque as she reoccupies her microscopic apartment and re-establishes contact with her equally undemonstrative family and friends. No one is particularly voluble; the lengthiest conversations are conducted over the phone. The perverse eloquence of Cafe Lumiere lies in the way in which most things remain unsaid. Feelings are largely unexpressed, the better to surface in Yoko's dreams. These, it turns out, are largely mediated by Maurice Sendak's Outside Over There — the tale of a girl who rescues her baby sister from goblins — which Yoko realizes she read as a child.
Just watched the first couple of episodes of the late 70s British series The Sandbaggers, which I'd never heard of (it showed up on a netflix page), and it's quite good -- probably the most realistic (seeming anyway) depiction of active intel ops (and particularly the politics and greed behind them) I've seen, and well written
Former intel man Ian Mackintosh created & wrote the series, which ended abruptly after the first season because he vanished flying a small plane in Northern Canada, and no one knew how to continue because he really did write every episode.
Dark Mirror features Olivia de Haviland as good and bad twins, Secret... has Joan Fontaine & the always remarkable Michael Redgrave (whose delightful Alan Strachan bio I'm reading now) & David Thomson wrote the following about Letter:
Letter from an Unknown Woman ... is only a perfect film, and only less obvious because it is a rehearsal for the greater tragedy of Madame de . . . But Letter makes Joan Fontaine a youth, a romantic young woman, and then a victim; it employs the solemn handsomeness and self-regard of Louis Jourdan to wonderful effect; it makes a quite credible Vienna and Linz; and in its melodic variations on staircases, carriages, rooms, glances, and meetings, it is a film about forgetfulness and the inescapable rhyming of separate times. No one had more sympathy for love than Ophuls, but no one knew so well how lovers remained unknown, strangers. [The New Biographical Dictionary of Film]
DVD Beaver's Gary Tooze loses it over the new Region 2/PAL set Free Cinema: The Definitive Film Collection from the British Film Institute
From a site devoted to Lindsay Anderson:
In reaction to this 'stick in the mud' culture, a younger generation of filmmakers led by Lindsay Anderson, namely Czechoslovak-born Karel Reisz and Tony Richardson organized the Free Cinema movement in the mid-50s. These founders were soon followed by Lorenza Mazzetti, Walter Lassally and John Fletcher. Its purpose was to produce short, low-budget documentaries describing and highlighting the problems of contemporary life (O Dreamland (1953) and Richardson's Momma Don't Allow (1955)). Founded on the ideology and practice of Neorealism, the Free Cinema movement emerged with a larger social movement, assailing the British class structure and calling for the replacement of bourgeois elitism with liberal working-class values. In the cinema world, this anti-establishment agitation resulted in the New Cinema, or social realist movement, which was signaled by Reisz's Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960), the first British postwar film to have a working-class protagonist and proletarian themes.
Stylistically influenced by the New Wave, with which it was concurrent, the 'social realist' film was generally shot in black and white, on location in the industrial Midlands and cast with relatively unknown young actors and actresses. Like the New Wave films, social realist films were independently produced on low budgets (many of them for Woodfall Film Productions, the company Richardson and playwright John Osborne founded in 1958, principally to adapt the latter's Look Back in Anger), but their freshness of both content and form attracted an international audience. Some of the most famous were Richardson's A Taste of Honey (1961) and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962), John Schlesinger's A Kind of Loving (1962) and Billy Liar (1963), Anderson's This Sporting Life (1963), and Reisz's Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment (1966). [link]
I have a hunch this is a better way to understand the accomplishment of these filmmakers than watching the later features, which seem tame now.
Hopefully this will see a release here in North America, though I wouldn't hold my breath...
(Note that you need a player that is PAL-compatible and region-free to watch this title.)
I watched 2 films this week which have recently been released on disc which it seems many critics just didn't get: Atom Egoyan's Where the Truth Lies & Hou Hsiao Hsien's Cafe Lumiere
I'll post about the former soon, which I liked more than most people, though it's not Egoyan's most successful work.
But Hou's film I found exquisite, and I searched for awhile online for reviewers who started with THE WORK and THE ARTIST, not with what others have said, or their reputation etc., which is where they go wrong of course. The context of the artist's past work is always where you start, or why bother?
Film history is also more important than usual here, since the title is a reference to the first filmmakers, the Lumiere Brothers and specifically their landmark minute-long short L'Arrive d'un train en gare de la Ciotat, which was notorious for many years for how it supposedly sent panicked Parisians running from the theatre or at least under their seats (later debunked). The point being Hou is, and always has been, very concerned with recording the history of himself and Taiwan, of the purpose of cinema being "to capture the reality of a moment without losing sight of the permanence imbued by the act of recording," as Zach Hines puts it succinctly in his Pop Matters review, probably the most insightful of the ones I found.
I'd also point out that the actress who plays the main charcter, Yo Hitoto, is Taiwanese-Japanese, and the lyrics of the song she sings over the closing credits highlight the admittedly deeply sublimated relationship between her Yoko and Tadonobu Asano's Hajime (Asano is also only half-Japanese):
the reason we had a dog was that little girl wanted to make-believe that it was a reincarnated spirit, the oversized slip-on sandals, sunburnt a dark red and mom splashes water on my gaudy bikini. before I knew it, I'd gotten used to the spiral staircase just as it was back then, six lumps of cloud
girl who accidentally dropped her first love at Kototoi Bridge eventhough she wanted to fill in the blank map take a look back with an adult face, the sweat of things that never paid off, has at last, at long last bloomed as a daphne flower glad to be born
rolling by, just a momentary blue *1 who was it again, who'll float by happiness and loneliness go hand in hand I contemplate on the way back this lonely path home
in substitute for a father to watch over me, yesterday, torn away page by page, by you you're used to me being so sensitive, but, but you never know when you'll get what you want I don't really need anything good. but I wouldn't mind it
rolling by, just a momentary blue who was it again, who'll float by happiness and loneliness go hand in hand I contemplate on the way back this lonely path home
Between me and you, is only blue How can I not think of, who is the one that is floating away? In order for happiness and sadness to face each other What is still missing? I contemplate, on the road home [centigrade-j]
There is the history of how the fates of Japan and Taiwan have been intertwined (Taiwan was a Japanese colony for the first half of the 20th century), which is mentioned in the Metro Lumiere doc on the disc, and Cafe Lumiere reveals itself to Japanese and Taiwanese viewers more readily than to a Westerner.
But movies like this -- like those by directors like Jarmusch, Antonioni, Yang, Tsai -- will seem like they're made up of all the scenes where nothing happens to viewers who are completely passive, dependent on melodrama and big "signs" telling them what's happening or going to happen. Yet the rewards are so much greater if you open a few doors yourself, instead of being pushed through them.