Tag Archives: film

RIP Agnès Varda (1928 – 2019)

Agnès Varda was a Belgian-born French film director.

Her films were popular among critics and directors, giving her the status of a cult director.

This is perhaps not the best of times to rid the world of a minor misconception regarding the work of Varda, but it is what I must do after researching her oeuvre following her death.

Agnès Varda made one film about the Black Panther Party, just one. That film was Black Panthers (1968), a color film which can be viewed in its entirety at Archive.org[1].

Another film from that same year is called Huey! and is directed by a certain Sally Pugh. It can be seen in full on YouTube [below] and has nothing to do with Varda, although the general subject matter as well as some scenes overlap.

Nietzsche in film

I’ve taken an interest in biopics.

Researching Nietzsche I stumbled upon the film Beyond Good and Evil (1977) by Liliana Cavani, which follows the intense relationship between Friedrich Nietzsche, Lou Salome and Paul Rée.

The film features the scene in which Lou Salomé reins Nietzsche and Rée in front of her cart[1] (above) as well as the horse scene in Turin [2](Nietzsche saw a horse being flogged, embraced it and collapsed and lived ten more years in a vegetative state).

Another interesting film appears to be Days of Nietzsche in Turin[3], a 2001 Brazilian film.

Referring to the horse incident, the film The Turin Horse[4] asks “what happened to the horse?”.

In director Béla Tarr’s introductory words:

“In Turin on 3rd January, 1889, Friedrich Nietzsche steps out of the doorway of number six, Via Carlo Alberto. Not far from him, the driver of a hansom cab is having trouble with a stubborn horse. Despite all his urging, the horse refuses to move, whereupon the driver loses his patience and takes his whip to it. Nietzsche comes up to the throng and puts an end to the brutal scene, throwing his arms around the horse’s neck, sobbing. His landlord takes him home, he lies motionless and silent for two days on a divan until he mutters the obligatory last words, ‘Mutter, ich bin dumm!’ [‘Mother, I am stupid!’ in German] and lives for another ten years, silent and demented, cared for by his mother and sisters. We do not know what happened to the horse.”

See Friedrich_Nietzsche#Depictions

‘Into the Wild’ is World Cinema Classic #224

Into the Wild is a 2007 American biographical drama survival film written and directed by Sean Penn, based on the travels of Christopher McCandless across North America and his life spent in the Alaskan wilderness in the early 1990s.

Depending on who you ask, Christopher McCandless was a Thoreau-like ‘back to nature!‘ hero or a simple-minded romantic.

See World Cinema Classics.

“The Double’ is World Cinema Classic #218

The Double is a 2013 dark comedy written and directed by relative newcomer Richard Ayoade, starring Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) and Mia Wasikowska. The film is based on the novella The Double by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It is about a man driven to mental breakdown when he is usurped by a doppelgänger.

“Ayoade has cited Orson Welles’ Kafka adaptation “The Trial” as a key influence, with its similarly labyrinthine sense of entrapment, along with “Alphaville,” “Eraserhead” and the dry Nordic comedies of Roy Andersson and Aki Kaurismaki; the latter’s imprint is particularly apparent in “The Double’s” regular eruptions of deadpan humor and its rich, almost Sirkian color palette. And so long as there are cinematic references to be footnoted, it’s hard not to flash back to “Rear Window” when Simon uses a telescope to spy on Hannah in her apartment — at first with longing, then with frustration as he bears helpless witness to her trysts with James.” –Justin Chang [1]

The Double is World Cinema Classic #218.

I like hybrids, mixed media …

… I like paintings you can listen to, music for the deaf and drawings for the blind. I like playing with medium specificity.

I recently discovered High Note (1960, above), a Warner Bros. Looney Tunes animated short directed by Chuck Jones.

In this charming film, various musical notes set up the sheet music to get ready for a performance of The Blue Danube Waltz. However, a sole note is missing. It turns out the note (a red-faced “High Note”) is drunk upon staggering out of the sheet music to “Little Brown Jug“, and the irritated conductor chases after him to put him back in his place so the waltz can continue as planned. Eventually, the rogue note is put back into place, but when the performance starts again, it has disappeared again, along with the rest of the sheet music. The composer then discovers that all the notes have gone into the “Little Brown Jug” to get drunk.

This film entered my head as visual music, although it is less so than the music visualization of Fantasia (1940), of which Oskar Fischinger‘s interpretation of J. S. Bach‘s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor is online here.

See also: http://blog.jahsonic.com/listen-to-this-drawing/

I ask of cinema what most North Americans ask of psychedelic drugs

Above is the trailer to  Alejandro Jodorowsky’s first film in 23 years

The Dance of Reality (2013) is an autobiographical film by Alejandro Jodorowsky (born 1929).

Other films of 2013 I have enjoyed:

Coke? The perfect commodity.

Coke? The perfect commodity. Why?

In The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology documentary Slavoj Žižek explains.

The documentary is now online in full. (update: the documentary was taken offline a few days after I had posted it.)

Slavoj Žižek is unique in using films to prove philosophical points, see film and philosophy.

The full text of the The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology is here[1].

 

Michel Houellebecq in ‘Near Death Experience’

Near Death Experience is a 2014 French film directed, produced and written by Benoît Delépine and Gustave de Kervern coming to local screens from September onwards.

The film stars French writer Michel Houellebecq as Paul, a burn-out man who escapes to the mountains on his racing bike with the plan to commit suicide.

Some of Houellebecq’s work has already been filmed.

Several years ago I saw the decidedly philosophical film Extension du domaine de la lutte (also known as Whatever) which is now on YouTube in its entirety.

The “our hero” of Whatever reminds me of Paul.

Houellebecq’s debut as protagonist has been acclaimed.

He is part of my canon.

A milestone in the history of subversion

Discovering Amos Vogel‘s Film as a Subversive Art (1974) was a blast and leafing through the book today still is a thrill (see for example a still I posted on my new NSFW tumblr blog). The book is a milestone in the history of subversion.

Now online is Film as a Subversive Art: Amos Vogel and Cinema 16 (UK, 2003) , a documentary about Amos Vogel (1921 – 2012) and the film society Cinema 16.