Saturday, April 30, 2011

RIP MARIE-FRANCE PISIER (1944-2011)

I think she is as beautiful and elegant as Anouk Aimee, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Stephane Audran.

I think the casting in DOMBAIS ET FILS is spot-on, because Caroline Bourg, who plays the daughter of Marie-France Pisier in this miniseries, looks like Kristin Scott Thomas.

Marie-France Pisier's films that I saw:

1.CELINE AND JULIE GO BOATING (1974, Jacques Rivette, A++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++)

2.THE PHANTOM OF LIBERTY (1974, Luis Buñuel, A++++++++++)

3.TRANS-EUROP-EXPRESS (1967, Alain Robbe-Grillet, A++++++++++)
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4276930021793732862#

4.DOMBAIS ET FILS (2007, Laurent Jaoui, A++++++++++)

5.TIME REGAINED (1999, Raoul Ruiz, A+)

6.THE BRONTE SISTERS (1979, André Téchiné, A+)

7.THE FRENCH ATLANTIC AFFAIR (1979, Douglas Heyes, 278 min)

8.THE LADY BANKER (1980, Francis Girod, A+)

9.THE ICE RINK (1998, Jean-Philippe Toussaint, A+)

I'm also saddened to know that Ken Russell suffered from a stroke.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/apr/28/ken-russell-the-devils



Friday, April 29, 2011

FILM ARTICLE WISH LIST

The article in the link below questions the female roles in Andrei Tarkovsky's films. I'm not sure whether I agree with this article or not. Maybe I have to re-watch Tarkovsky's films again.


http://filmmakersjournal.co.uk/article.php?id=45


I wish some critics write articles about the female roles in the films of


1.Chana Kraprayoon, who directed DANGEROUS GIRLS (1976), OH MADA (1977), RAI SANAYHA (1979), VICTIMS (1987), TONG PRAGAI SAD (1988)


http://www.thaifilmdb.com/th/pp01651


2.Permpol Choei-aroon, who directed LIFE IS A BITCH (1977), MUANG NAI MORK (1978), A CITY OF BEGGARS (1978), HOSTAGE HUSBAND (1985), and THE JUDGEMENT (1989)


3.François Ozon


4.Paul Verhoeven


5.Arturo Ripstein

Thursday, April 28, 2011

CHALOEMKIAT SAEYONG'S RETROSPECTIVE THIS SATURDAY

The retrospective of Chaloemkiat Saeyong, who is one of my most favorite directors of all time, will be held this Saturday on the 9th floor of BACC at 1500-1800 hrs. The details of the event can be found here:
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=194731583900668


The event is organized by Bodin Theparat. The poster is designed by Nattaphan Boonlert.

This is what Ratchapoom Boonbunchachoke wrote about Chaloemkiat's films:
" Chaloemkiat's films are structured like a vast, dazzling labyrinth in which being lost is considered less like a loss than a reward, the complex yet never tiring one to wander into. Challenging experiment inducing pleasure deserves to be seen and enjoyed. A must for the adventurous!"

This is what I wrote about Chaloemkiat in INDIAN AUTEUR:
http://www.indianauteur.com/?p=976
" Chaloemkiat Saeyong’s masterpiece is Politically Lawyer and Narrative Cinema (2009, 27 min), which plays with many elements of cinema. The film tells a fictional story about a murder in an airport and uses this murder to remind the viewers of the real case of Somchai Neelaphaijit, a Thai political lawyer who disappeared in 2004. Wiwat Lertwiwatwongsa, a Thai film critic, makes an interesting observation that the film seems to both tell a story and destroy its story at the same time. The film is extremely self-reflexive and has numerous weird things in it. For example, both the English title and the Thai title of this film are “intentionally” grammatically wrong. The film shows us a lecture room or a corridor in a building, while a text appearing on the screen says that the audience must imagine that what they see is an airport. The film reminds me of some weird and wonderful films by Jean-Luc Godard. Chaloemkiat also made Peru Time (2008, 18 min), which lets us watch a sunset for 18 minutes while some unreadable texts keep appearing on the screen. Wiwat compares this film to the opening scene of India Song (1974, Marguerite Duras). Chaloemkiat also made A Place of Different Air (2008, 24 min), in which the images appearing on the screen change their sizes from time to time. This semi-documentary, semi-experimental film is about a family who has just moved to a new place, and the different image sizes seem to emphasize the contrast between the old place and the new place."

My comments on other films of Chaloemkiat:
http://celinejulie.blogspot.com/2011/02/afternoon-landscape-2011-chaloemkiat.html
http://celinejulie.blogspot.com/2010/07/judge-2010-wachara-gunha.html
http://celinejulie.blogspot.com/2010/02/history-on-air-2009-chaloemkiat-saeyong.html

Chaloemkiat's interview in Thai:
http://fuse.in.th/blogs/interview/3941
http://www.youtube.com/siaminception#p/u/38/GaFAul6my3g

How to financially support Chaloemkiat's new film:
http://dominofilm.blogspot.com/2011/04/supporters.html

EMPLOYEES LEAVING THE LUMIERE FACTORY (2010, Chaloemkiat Saeyong, A+++++++++++++++) is my most favorite Thai film I have seen so far in 2011.

What I like very much in this film include:

1.Its trance-like quality. While I was watching this film, I feel as if I was having a trance. It's the same kind of feeling I get from watching AUTOHYSTORIA (2007, Raya Martin, A++++++++++).

2.Its darkness, its dim light, and the image of a woman in the dark.

3.Its sound effects. These sound effects might be just a room tone in most films. But in this film, this "room tone" becomes enormous, becomes something very special.

4.The film arouses my imagination very much by its darkness and its "room tone". The "dark scenes" in this film make my imagination explode.

5.Its repetitive structure. The same event seems to happen 3-4 times in this film, with slight differences each time. This structure reminds me of some films by Jean-Marie Straub.

6.The man lying on the stair. I think this is very weird and wonderful. Chaloemkiat said that this man performs "a sculpture" in this film.

7.The mysterious woman who walks in a very strange manner near the end of the film. Chaloemkiat said that he doesn't know who this woman is. She just walked into the frame of this film by accident.

8.Its minimalism

9.Its uncompromising quality. I think it should be screened together with RUHR (James Benning).

10.The film can be greatly enjoyed no matter whether you understand this film or not. I had seen this film before I had a chance to listen to Chaloemkiat's explaining about why he had made this film. So while I was watching it, I had no clue at all what this film is all about. I didn't understand anything in this film, but I enjoy it very much.

After I had seen the film, Chaloemkiat explained to the audience that the film is about some film education in some Thai universities, which is like keeping the film students in total darkness.

Though this film has its real meaning, what I like very much about it is that I don't have to understand its real meaning to enjoy it. Even though I know its real meaning by now, I don't think I will focus my mind on its meaning when I have a chance to see it for the second time or third time. When I see this film for the second time or third time, I will forget its real meaning, I will let my imagination explode again, I will use the "sound" and the "images" in this film to imagine "other films" and "other stories" that I like.

FAVORITE THAI FILMS SEEN SO FAR IN 2011

1.EMPLOYEES LEAVING THE LUMIERE FACTORY (2010, Chaloemkiat Saeyong)

2.THE FESTIVAL OF DEMON SPIRIT (2011, Sittiporn Racha)

3.RESIST (2009, Teeranit Siangsanoh, 54 min)

4.ME AND MY VIDEO DIARY (Tani Thitiprawat, 30 min)

5.EROTIC FRAGMENTS NO. 1, 2, 3 (2011, Anucha Boonyawattana)

6.PANYA RENU (2011, Bhin Banluerit)

7.HUG NA SARAKHAM (2011, Tanwarin Sukkhapisit)

8.I HOPE WE WILL PASS THROUGH THIS NIGHT (2011, Wattanapume Laisuwanchai)

9.DINING TABLE (2011, Wararak Thienkunakorn)

10.PIG'S STORIES (2011, Amrit Chusuwan, video installations)




Sunday, April 24, 2011

LA FILLE AU FOND DU VERRE A SAKE (2009, Emmanuel Sapolski, B)

I don't enjoy this film, and I'm not sure why. Theoretically, I should have enjoyed this film, because there are many reasons that should have made me like it, such as

1.The film is about interracial relationship.
2.The film seems to be made with good intentions towards its Asian characters.
3.The film has a nice supporting gay character.

However, I don't enjoy it that much, and I still can't figure out why. Maybe the reasons why I don't enjoy it include:

1.The heroine's mother seems to be a stereotyped character, but the Asian mother in MY BROTHER IS GETTING MARRIED (2007, Jean-Stéphane Bron, A+) is a little bit stereotyped, too, but I still like MY BROTHER IS GETTING MARRIED very much.

2.The film ends with the reconciliation between the runaway Asian woman and her family. Normally I love films of which the heroine severs her ties with her family at the end of the film, such as SHIRLEY VALENTINE and LE BLEU DES VILLES (1999, Stéphane Brizé), not the ending in which family members reconcile with one another.

However, I still worship the film RESTLESS (2009, Laurent Perreau, A+++++++++++++++) very much, though its heroine reconciles with her grandfather near the end of the film. In fact, the reconciliation between these two characters moves me so much that it makes me want to cry.

So I'm not sure that the reconciliation is the reason why I don't enjoy LA FILLE AU FOND DU VERRE A SAKE, because there are some family reconciliations in other films, and I still enjoy them.

Apart from LA FILLE AU FOND DU VERRE A SAKE, there are other films about Asian-Caucasian relationships which I don't enjoy, such as:

1.BUTTERFLY MAN (2002, Kaprice Kea, C)

2.THE LAST SAMURAI (2003, Edward Zwick, B-)

3.NOW CHINATOWN (2000, Steven Dunning, C)

4.ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BRIDGE (2002, Hu Mei, Austria, B-)

5.PARIS (2004, Ramin Niami, C)

I'm also not sure exactly why I don't enjoy the five films above, though these films seem to be made with good intentions towards their Asian characters, too.

Maybe some critics should analyze the five films above and LA FILLE AU FOND DU VERRE A SAKE, so that I may understand why I don't enjoy these films.

On the contrary, there are some films about Asian-Caucasian relationships that I like very much, including:

1.AE FOND KISS... (2004, Ken Loach, UK, A+)

2.THE HOME SONG STORIES (2007, Tony Ayres, Australia, A+)

3.IRON & SILK (1990, Shirley Sun, A+)

4.LADY BAR (2006, Xavier Durringer, France, A+)

5.M. BUTTERFLY (1993, David Cronenberg, A+)

6.MY BEAUTIFUL LAUNDRETTE (1985, Stephen Frears, UK, A+)

7.NINA'S HEAVENLY DELIGHTS (2006, Pratibha Parmar, UK, A+)

8.SIAO YU (1995, Sylvia Chang, A-)

9.TERRIBLY HAPPY (2010, Pimpaka Towira, A+)

10.THE WEDDING BANQUET (1993, Ang Lee, A+)

This is the photo of Frédéric Siuen, a supporting actor in LA FILLE AU FOND DU VERRE A SAKE.




CONNECT (2010, Worawich Subtawesang, A)

CONNECT (2010, Worawich Subtawesang, A)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Avl6DZvj0YA&feature=share

Maybe this film should be screened together with RELATION (ระยะความเข้าใจ) (2008, Supakit Seksuwan, A)

Thanks to Wiwat Lertwiwatwongsa for telling us about CONNECT.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

"FAILED ART FILM" GENRE

This is from my conversation with Graiwoot Chulphongsathorn on John Waters' lecture about "failed art film" genre:
http://www.egs.edu/faculty/john-waters/videos/filth-101-film-taste-and-philosophy/

Oh, I like the attitude of John Waters on this thing very much. I think there are many films that failed to be respected by the critics and the audience, but there are still some interesting things or weird things in them. POLA X is surely one of them. ÉCOUTE VOIR may be one of them, too. I don't know if ÉCOUTE VOIR financially failed or not when it was released, but I guess the film might have failed in a way, because Hugo Santiago didn't become famous, and Deneuve doesn't do this kind of roles again.

In my opinion, I think THE 8TH DAY (แปดวันแปลกคน) (2008, Chatchai Yodseranee, A-) is a failed art film, too. I think the film is too ambitious, and may be too pretentious, but the film still stands apart from many Thai ghost films. THE 8TH DAY "couldn't find the right tone or the right element", but it is really "odd". I don't care much about this film when it was released, but three years have passed, and it seems no directors want to make a Thai ghost film like this again, so THE 8TH DAY becomes interesting, because it is still "different" from others.

THE 8TH DAY didn't fail totally. At least it helps re-launching the career of Wasana Chalakorn.

Another failed art film may be "THEORY ON THE DINING TABLE" (2010, Prachya Lampongchat, A++++++++++), which is a part of the omnibus film BROWN SUGAR 2. The film doesn't "fail" in my point of view, though it may fail in the eyes of some critics and the general audience.

Some "tribute" films are really bad, though. If I remember it correctly, WHEN BRENDAN MET TRUDY (2000, Kieron J. Walsh, C+) got a big inspiration from BREATHLESS, but I don't like WHEN BRENDAN MET TRUDY at all. But WHEN BRENDAN MET TRUDY is a mainstream film, so I don't think it belongs to the "failed art film" genre.

ÉCOUTE VOIR (1978, Hugo Santiago, A++++++++++)

Things I like very much in this film include:

1.It is such a thrill for me to see Catherine Deneuve uses some martial art skills to deal with villains in this film. I usually like heroines who possess some martial art skills, such as the one in RAGING PHOENIX (2009, Rashane Limtrakul, A+++++), but I had never thought that Catherine Deneuve used to play in a role like this, too.

One of my most favorite scenes in ÉCOUTE VOIR is in the minute 3 in the clip below. It is the scene in which Deneuve fights with a villain and a villainess in a strange religious cult.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d076zoEhqSo

It is a pleasure to see Deneuve in a role like this. It is described in TIME OUT FILM GUIDE that her role in this film is a mix between Emma Peel and Humphrey Bogart. I have no knowledge about both Peel and Bogart, but I like Deneuve's character in this film very much.

I think Deneuve's role in this film is very different from the roles she usually plays. It makes me think of other great actresses who can show their true ability when they have a chance to play the roles they are not accustomed to. It makes me think of

1.1 Jamjuree Cherdshome, who plays a good-hearted woman in PLOENG PAI (1990, Thai TV series), though she usually plays the villainess in other TV series.

1.2 Chintara Sukapatana, who plays a tough servant in VICTIMS (1987, Chana Kraprayoon)

1.3 Charlize Theron in MONSTER (2003, Patty Jenkins, A+++++++++++++++)

1.4 Julia Roberts, who looks so serious in MARY REILLY (1996, Mary Reilly, A+)

1.5 Anna Faris, who looks like a normal, decent woman in YOGI BEAR (2010, Eric Brevig, A-/B+)

ÉCOUTE VOIR may be more like an ordinary film, if the film stars Alain Delon, Michelle Yeoh, or Maggie Q as the hero or heroine of the film. I think what makes this film unique is because I have never seen Deneuve in this kind of roles before.

2.The hints that the three main female characters in ÉCOUTE VOIR might be lesbians. I saw this film on the TV channel TV5 MONDE, and I don't know if some lesbian scenes had been censored from the TV version or not. From the version I saw, the lesbian thing in the film is not explicit, but there is something hinting at it.

3.One of my most favorite scenes in the film is the scene which parodies the elegance of Deneuve. It's the scene in which we see Deneuve walking so elegantly. Her head is held high. Her eyes look straightforwardly. The scene shows her walking from many angles. And then she has to stop walking because she bumps into some small children on the street. Because she likes to keep her head held high while walking, she can't see these children coming at her.

4. The plot about the radio signals which can control the minds of the listeners. The scene in a restaurant in which many people are moving slowly because they are controlled by the radio signal is very weird and very memorable.

The plot about the radio signal is very interesting. It reminds me of some political violence in Thailand which is partly instigated by Thai media, including newspaper and TV. It also reminds me of the Rwanda Genocide in which some radio stations played a part.

The plot about the radio signals also reminds me of some films which deal with the influence of the radio and TV signals, such as THE TESTAMENT OF DR. MABUSE (1933, Fritz Lang), LES CREATURES (1966, Agnès Varda, A++++++++++), and HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH (1982, Tommy Lee Wallace).

5. The ending of this film, in which the heroine mumbles something to herself. If I remember it correctly, she intends to improve herself and intends to save the world again. This ending makes me love this character very much.

6.Anne Parillaud

Some other things about this film:

1.There's a scene in which the heroine goes to see THE LIFE OF OHARU (1952, Kenji Mizoguchi). Since I haven't seen THE LIFE OF OHARU, I don't know if it might be connected to ÉCOUTE VOIR in any other ways or not.

2.I don't understand why the castle owner wants to hire the heroine at the beginning of the film. Is it because I don't understand the film? Is it because I can't follow it story? Or is it because there are some plot holes? This case reminds me of THE BIG SLEEP (1946, Howard Hawks), because I'm still not sure who kills whom in this film. I hope someone writes about ÉCOUTE VOIR and THE BIG SLEEP by detailing the events in both films chronologically, so that I can understand them. However, the puzzlement, or the possible plot holes, in both films is not something important in my point of view. It's just a funny thing for me.

Apart from ÉCOUTE VOIR, there are other French crime/mystery films that I like very much, including:

1.WHO KILLED SANTA CLAUS? (1941, Christian-Jaque)

2.LES DIABOLIQUES (1954, Henri-Georges Clouzot)

3.PARIS BELONGS TO US (1961, Jacques Rivette)

4.FIRE AND ICE (1962, Alain Cavalier)

5.JUDEX (1963, Georges Franju)

6.IF I WERE A SPY (1967, Bertrand Blier)

7.LAW BREAKERS (1971, Marcel Carné)

8.THE DOMINICI AFFAIR (1973, Claude Bernard-Aubert)

9.THE INHERITOR (1973, Philippe Labro)

10.SHOCK TREATMENT (1973, Alain Jessua)

11.LE DOSSIER 51 (1978, Michel Deville)

12.I AS IN ICARUS (1979, Henri Verneuil)

13.LA MÉMOIRE COURTE (1979, Eduardo de Gregorio)

14.THE RED SWEATER (1979, Michel Drach)

15.THREE MEN TO DESTROY (1980, Jacques Deray)

16.CHICKEN WITH VINEGAR (1985, Claude Chabrol)

17.LA SENTINELLE (1992, Arnaud Desplechin)

18.SEE HOW THEY FALL (1994, Jacques Audiard)

19.RED LIGHTS (2003, Cédric Kahn)

20.LEMMING (2005, Dominik Moll)

21.CROSSED TRACKS (ROMAN DE GARE) (2007, Claude Lelouch)

22.CRIME IS OUR BUSINESS (2008, Pascal Thomas)

23.THE NEW PROTOCOL (2008, Thomas Vincent)

24.AM STRAM GRAM (2009, Stéphane Kappes)

25.LIGHTS OUT (2010, Fabrice Gobert)


Friday, April 22, 2011

POSTER FOR DOMINO FILM EXPERIMENT

This poster is designed by Wiwat Lertwiwatwongsa.



Sunday, April 17, 2011

ZOETROPE (2011, Rouzbeh Rashidi, Ireland, 72 mins, A++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++)

This is my most favorite film I have seen so far in 2011.

Things I like very much in this film include:

1.Its natural beauty, which makes me cry. I had never thought I would cry for this kind of films. But I saw it twice and I cried both times. Maybe I'm crazy. I don't know. The sunlight in this film is so beautiful. The first time I watched it I cried for the scene depicting many parked cars under the sun (minute 36-37). The second time I watched it I cried for the moment when we see the sun, the sky, and the clouds rolling by after we see a man watering his garden (minute 51). I feel as if I were a vampire who could only experience the beauty of sunlight via this film.

2.Its indescribability. It's so minimal, so anti-story, so poetic, so sublime. I worship this film as much as I worship AGATHA AND THE UNLIMITED READINGS (1981), WINDOWS (1999, Apichatpong Weerasethakul), BIRTH OF THE SEANEMA (2004, Sasithorn Ariyavicha), I FORGOT THE TITLE (2009, Christelle Lheureux), and RUHR (2009, James Benning). All these films give me extreme pleasure and blissful experience by their images and sound (or lack of sound). All these films make me speechless. All these films remind me that it is useless to describe the wonders of these films by my words.

3. It's rare to find a film like this: A film that lets us admire both the beauty of the sunlight and the neon lights, the swaying of trees and grass in the wind, the "dirtiness" of a window, a man sleeping while moving his fingers a little bit, the changing of light during the day, the effects of the changing of light on the grass, trees, wall, curtains, and room. While many films give us climax by having the villain killed, this film gives us excitement by letting us notice the changing of the sunlight on the grass and the wall.

4. Something caught unexpectedly by the camera. I guess this film is a documentary, or mostly documentary, so I love the scene in which a brown t-shirt falls down from a clothesline in minute 16-17 very much. I love it no matter whether the scene is a real scene or a staged/fictional scene. The falling down of a t-shirt is an unimportant event. But when it happens in front of the camera in this film, it feels so sublime. If the scene is real and the director didn't know beforehand that it would happen, I think it is like a small miracle that it happened in front of the camera. It is as if some invisible angels help making it fall down for this film. If the scene is fictional, I still like it very much that Rashidi includes a scene of unimportant event like that in his film.

5.The dirty window scene is extremely beautiful, and a little bit funny. I find it funny because at first I thought the cleaning of the window from the outside would make it clearer, but it isn't. The image is still as blurred as before the cleaning. The image in this scene is as beautiful as an Impressionist painting.

6.The sound of a clock ticking. It is a mundane sound in our everyday life. It becomes "special" in this film.

7.The act of watching. In this film we see someone watching the internet. It reminds me of two scenes in ONLY HUMAN (2009, Rouzbeh Rashidi) and a scene in REMINISCENCES OF YEARNING (2011, Rouzbeh Rashidi) in which we see some characters watching television.

8.The ending of this film, which is like a return to the ending of LIGHT AND QUIET (2008, Rouzbeh Rashidi). We see lights of car moving during the night in both scenes, though in this film we see them closer and in a slow motion, as if in dream.

9.The appearing of the alphabet in the opening and ending credits.

10. What does this film mean? I don't know. But some parts of it remind me of some parts of poems I like very much. Unintentionally or not, this film makes me realize how beautiful, how heavenly many mundane things are. The sun, the wind, the light, the shadow, the trees, the grass, the dirty window, the reflection on a clear window, the clouds, the sprinkling of water, the curtain with the bright sunlight, the curtain with the dim sunlight—all these things are heavenly and sublime, and they are all around us everyday.

It is rare that a feature film pays attention to small things like this. Normally I find this kind of things in poems, not in films. This film is extremely poetic, and Rashidi is a real poet-filmmaker. So let me quote two poems that I like very much here, because some parts of this film remind me of some parts of these two poems.

The swaying of grass in minute 35 reminds me of this poem by Emily Dickinson:

"THE GRASS so little has to do,—
A sphere of simple green,
With only butterflies to brood,
And bees to entertain,

And stir all day to pretty tunes
The breezes fetch along,
And hold the sunshine in its lap
And bow to everything;

And thread the dews all night, like pearls,
And make itself so fine,—
A duchess were too common
For such a noticing.

And even when it dies, to pass
In odors so divine,
As lowly spices gone to sleep,
Or amulets of pine.

And then to dwell in sovereign barns,
And dream the days away,—
The grass so little has to do,
I wish I were a hay!"

Parts of this film remind me of this poem by Emily Dickinson:

"A SOMETHING in a summer’s day,
As slow her flambeaux burn away,
Which solemnizes me.

A something in a summer’s noon,—
An azure depth, a wordless tune,
Transcending ecstasy.

And still within a summer’s night
A something so transporting bright,
I clap my hands to see;

Then veil my too inspecting face,
Lest such a subtle, shimmering grace
Flutter too far for me.

The wizard-fingers never rest,
The purple brook within the breast
Still chafes its narrow bed;

Still rears the East her amber flag,
Guides still the sun along the crag
His caravan of red,

Like flowers that heard the tale of dews,
But never deemed the dripping prize
Awaited their low brows;

Or bees, that thought the summer’s name
Some rumor of delirium
No summer could for them;

Or Arctic creature, dimly stirred
By tropic hint,—some travelled bird
Imported to the wood;

Or wind’s bright signal to the ear,
Making that homely and severe,
Contented, known, before

The heaven unexpected came,
To lives that thought their worshipping
A too presumptuous psalm."

You can watch many short films by Rouzbeh Rashidi in his Vimeo channel:
http://vimeo.com/rouzbehrashidi/videos







REMINISCENCES OF YEARNING (2011, Rouzbeh Rashidi, Iran, 90 min, A+++++++++++++++)

Things I like very much in this film include:

1.Its uncompromising quality. The film doesn't try to make the audience understand it at all. The story goes anywhere it wants to go, with no boundaries. Yet it all makes sense and doesn't feel too random, because it tells the audience at the beginning that the film is dedicated to the filmmaker's friends and Maya Deren. So the audience is not surprised why the film looks very surreal and consists of many small stories or segments. I think each segment of the film deals with each particular friend or group of friends.

This kind of uncompromising quality and super-surreal quality makes me want to screen this film together with KALYI – AGE OF DARKNESS (1993, Fred Kelemen).

2.My favorite segment of the film is the segment which deal with a dilapidated building with flooded water and the wave crashing on the rocks in the minute 42-46. I think this segment doesn't try to emulate Maya Deren too much, and doesn't try too hard to be "haunting". I think this segment presents one of Rashidi's strong points—atmospheric scene which tells no stories. I'm glad Rashidi uses this strong point to the utmost degree in ZOETROPE (2011).

3.My second most favorite segment in the film is the one in which a guy walks up and down a street at night, smoking some cigarettes, going in and out of a house, lying on the floor, having a nightmare, and the segment ends by presenting a view from a rooftop. I love the cinematography in this segment. It is very dark, very blurred, very grainy. Extremely exquisite in my point of view. This scene also doesn't try too hard to be haunting.

4.The cinematography in this film is excellent. I think it is as beautiful as the one in BIPEDALITY (2010, Rouzbeh Rashidi), but in a totally opposite way. The cinematography in BIPEDALITY is very polished and colorful. The cinematography in this film is very rough-looking in some parts and in black-and-white. I also think you are successful in emulating the cinematographic style of Maya Deren and some old experimental films.

5.My most favorite image from the film may be the one in minute 33 when we suddenly see a bright light in rectangular shape covering up a man's face. What does this image mean? I don't know. But it gives me a thrill as much as the images in the film TAKE THE 5:10 TO DREAM LAND (1976, Bruce Conner), which also defy explanation.

6.I think it is interesting that Rashidi makes film about his friends in a surreal or experimental genre. Many filmmakers make films about their friends in a documentary genre. So this film stands apart from most films which deal with the filmmaker's own friends.

This film also stands apart from other experimental films with haunting quality. The atmosphere in this film may remind me of BEGOTTEN (1991, E. Elias Merhige) and some films by David Lynch and Nina Menkes, because their films are also experimental and haunting, but their films seem to have some sinister power in them, because their films may explore the dark side of human beings. Since REMINISCENCES OF YEARNING is about the filmmaker's dear friends, the film is not overwhelmed by the sinister power or the evil buried deep down in our psychology. Thus the film is different from other experimental films with haunting quality that I have seen.

7.I like the structure of this film. This film begins in a very surreal, old-styled mode. Then it gradually shifts into a documentary and home movie mode: the dilapidated building segment, the campfire segment, the house segment. Then it becomes surreal again with the segment presenting a guy who opens about ten doors successively. Then it ends like a home movie.

I like the mixing between the surreal genre and the home movie genre in this film. I wish I could screen this film together with RESIST (2009, Teeranit Siangsanoh, 54 min, Thailand, A+++++++++++++++), because RESIST also mixes these two genres. RESIST begins as a documentary about Teeranit's friends, but the film shifts into a surreal mode in the second half of the film.

8.The sudden shift of the look of the film in the woodcutting scene, from more polished look to more grainy look. I feel as if that moment in minute 41 is the division line, because the scenes before it are in surreal mode, and the scenes after it are in home movie mode.

9.The shaking of the images in minute 36. It looks as if the images come from an old videotape.

10.The sound effects near the end of the film is very interesting. We can hear at least four overlapping sounds: the birds, the water, the chants, and a looping sound of something unidentifiable. I think the sounds of the birds and the water are recurring motifs in Rashidi's films.

11.There is also a very personal reason why I like REMINISCENCES OF YEARNING. After watching this film, I find that this film is what I wish I could do, but can't. It reminds me of my old friends from high school. We share many "imaginative worlds" together. This film makes me realize that if I could make a film about my own friends, maybe it should not be a pure documentary, maybe it should be a film which explore both our real lives and our imaginative lives.

You can watch many short films by Rouzbeh Rashidi in his Vimeo channel: http://vimeo.com/rouzbehrashidi/videos



BIPEDALITY (2010, Rouzbeh Rashidi, Ireland, 67 min, A+++++++++++++++)

Things I like very much in this film include:

1.It seems to be the most gorgeously cinematographed film I have seen since UN LAC (2008, Philippe Grandrieux). I like the landscape scenes in the film very much. Extremely beautiful. I like both their color tones and their damp-and-misty look.

2.At first I thought some landscape scenes are still photos, but when I pay attention to them, I found some small movements in them. I like this fact very much.

3. I also like the performance of the actress very much. It seems her character is a little bit uneasy, or has something hidden in her mind, or has something she really wants to talk about but doesn't dare, etc. The actress is great in hinting that there might be some hidden feelings, some troubled feelings, or some hidden thoughts beneath this character.

4. My English listening skill is very bad, so I can't follow all the things that the characters say. But I think it is interesting that the characters talk for a long time about the lives of some unseen characters. I think I have rarely found other films doing this before.

What other films usually do is that:
a) they pay attention to the "direct" effects of the crime or the loss of the child to the characters, such as THE COLOR OF LIES (1998, Claude Chabrol)

b) the "seemingly irrelevant events" are portrayed only as "the background", such as in NATHALIE GRANGER (1972, Marguerite Duras), in which we keep hearing from the radio about some murderers at large, or in INDIA SONG (1974, Marguerite Duras), in which we keep hearing the sound of the beggar woman and her story.

So I find that what BIPEDALITY does is very interesting, because this kind of thing doesn't happen in most films I have seen.

5. I like that BIPEDALITY seems to be half-way between "the extremely poetic/ambient" and "the extremely humanist". I mean its talking scenes are very natural and its characters are very human, very real, but the fact that the characters keep talking about "the loss of someone's child" and the fact that the scenes are interrupted from time to time by the landscape shots make this film different from other humanist films, such as the ones by Mike Leigh or Eric Rohmer. The landscape shots in BIPEDALITY are extremely beautiful, but their durations are not as long as the ones in James Benning's films, so BIPEDALITY is different from that group of films, too.

The balance between human-landscape in BIPEDALITY makes this film very interesting and very different from others.

6.The character of the woman, which is hard to understand. Normally I identify myself with a female character in most films, but in this film I sympathize with the male character who can't understand his lover.

While I think that the mysteries in LIGHT AND QUIET (2008, Rouzbeh Rashidi) result partly from the loss of dialogue, and the mysteries in ONLY HUMAN (2009, Rouzbeh Rashidi) result from spending too little time with each character, in BIPEDALITY the audience can hear the dialogue fully, and spend an hour with only two characters, but the audience may still not be able to fully understand this woman.

I also think the mysteries in ONLY HUMAN result partly from the fact that the audience knows nothing about the past of its characters. But in BIPEDALITY, the audience knows something about the past of the heroine and the past of the woman who loses her child, but it is still not enough. The past of these two characters that we learn doesn't help explaining why the heroine behaves like this or why the woman loses her child.

There is something mysterious, something left unsaid in many of Rashidi's films. And that's why I like them very much.

Though the heroine is hard to understand, she is still very human. I think she is as interesting as the heroine of THE GREEN RAY (1986, Eric Rohmer), who is "very difficult" and "very human" at the same time.

7.The face of the heroine when she watches the hero showering. It is very enigmatic for me. What is she thinking? Do her eyes speak anything or nothing at all?

8.The gestures of the characters, such as the heroine tearing up the small pieces of paper, or the hero throwing away the pot in frustration. I like the film's observation on human gestures or human interactions with each other.

9.The mysterious sound which occurs when the man and the woman sit on the sofa together after his shower. What is this sound?

10. The blurring or the obscuring of some images, especially the reflection on water of the two characters talking. I think it is very beautiful. The reflection on water can also be found in an early scene in ONLY HUMAN, but it is used much more fully and gorgeously in BIPEDALITY.

In some landscape shots in BIPEDALITY, some parts of them are clear, some parts of them are blurred, and they result in very beautiful images.

I like all the ways Rashidi uses to blur his images very much: by using optical effects in LIGHT AND QUIET and REMINISCENCES OF YEARNING (2011, Rouzbeh Rashidi), by using reflection on water in BIPEDALITY, or by using unclear window in ONLY HUMAN and ZOETROPE (2011, Rouzbeh Rashidi).

11.The mystery of the title of the film. Why is this film titled BIPEDALITY? I don't know. Does it mean human beings are very complicated?

You can watch many short films by Rouzbeh Rashidi in his Vimeo channel: http://vimeo.com/rouzbehrashidi/videos



ONLY HUMAN (2009, Rouzbeh Rashidi, Ireland, 72 min, A+++++++++++++++)

I think this film should be screened together with ZOETROPE (2011, Rouzbeh Rashidi), because both of them observe daily or mundane activities, but while ONLY HUMAN pays attention to human beings, human communications, and the moon, ZOETROPE pays attention to the atmosphere and the sun.

Things I like very much in ONLY HUMAN include:

1. It never attempts to create too much drama out of these characters' activities, which surprises me. At first I thought there would be some dramatic things happening to these characters, or all the characters would be obviously connected in the end. But the film doesn't try to do that. The audience can only observe these characters' slices of undramatic lives.

2.The faces of the characters, which show some unidentifiable emotions, or show some strong, unexplained feelings. I use the word "unexplained", because the film doesn't tell clearly why Dean Kavanagh looks unhappy both before and after he calls someone, or what the woman who uses the sewing machine really feels, etc. The camera closes up on these characters' faces. Their faces look very intense. We can feel that these characters must have something in their minds, but the film never tells what they are thinking, what makes they feel like that, what happened to them before we see their faces, or the past of these characters which must be the reasons why the characters make faces like that.

By explaining nothing, the film doesn't reduce the lives, the past, or the histories of these characters into simple cause-and-effect. The film doesn't tell the audience, "Because the incident A happened, the character B feels like this". The faces of the characters become enigmatic, though they are not blank because they show some unidentifiable emotions. And these faces with unexplained emotions make me feel that these characters are real. These faces make me feel that these characters really have their own past, their own unsaid stories. These faces make me imagine that there must be many stories happen in their past, and that makes them who they are today. I feel that these characters are "human", because their faces are humans' faces, which shouldn't be easily defined by simple words, such as happy or sad.

ONLY HUMAN is dedicated to Jean-Pierre Melville. I have seen only several films of Melville, so I can't say which parts of ONLY HUMAN are linked to Melville, except the two films of Melville excerpted in this film. However, the unexplained feelings on the faces of the characters remind me a little bit of the faces of some characters in UN FLIC (1972, Jean-Pierre Melville). UN FLIC impresses me a lot with the faces of Catherine Deneuve and Alain Delon. Deneuve's face in UN FLIC is very cold. Delon's face in UN FLIC gives a very intense feeling, but it doesn't show easily-identifiable emotions, unlike faces of heroes in other films. The expressions on Delon's face in UN FLIC defy definition like those of the characters in ONLY HUMAN.

If I have to rank faces in films on the "identifiable emotions" scale, faces in melodramatic TV series might be "5" for their overexpressiveness. Faces in dramatic films might be "4" for their expressiveness. Faces in ONLY HUMAN and TIME WITHIN TIME (2009, Menno Otten) might be "3" for their unexplained expressions. Faces in UN FLIC and some films by Aki Kaurismäki might be "2" for their underexpressiveness. Faces in Robert Bresson's films might be "1" for their inexpressiveness. This scale doesn't connote how good or bad a film is, though.

I think this kind of faces is one of Rashidi's signatures. In LIGHT AND QUIET (2008, Rouzbeh Rashidi), I like the face of the protagonist when he is showering very much. At that moment, his face shows some intense emotions. I think the protagonist is feeling sad at that moment, but what is interesting is that the film lets his face show only "a fragment" of his sadness, not all of his sadness.

3.One of the faces in ONLY HUMAN that I like very much is the face of the guy who watches UN FLIC. I think the helicopter scene in UN FLIC is one of the most exciting moments in the film, but the face of the guy who watches it shows no excitement at all. All the excitement he may feel is kept inside, not showing on his face. I think this is very realistic. Some viewers really react like this while watching films. I'm glad that ONLY HUMAN chooses to show an action film of which the viewer react like this, instead of showing an action film of which the viewers react like cheering an important football match.

4.The sound of the rain, which can also be found in an early scene in LIGHT AND QUIET, and in BIPEDALITY (2010, Rouzbeh Rashidi).

I think the sound of water is a recurring motif in Rashidi's films. I also like the sound of shower in LIGHT AND QUIET and BIPEDALITY, the sound of faucet in BIPEDALITY, and the sound of water from unknown sources in REMINISCENCES OF YEARNING (2011, Rouzbeh Rashidi), which reminds me of a scene in BELLE DE JOUR (1967, Luis Buñuel), in which we hear the sound of unknown water, too.

5.The sound which is separated from its origin. I think this is also one of your signatures. In LIGHT AND QUIET, we hear many cars, but we don't see them. We hear the protagonist do something after shower, but we only see the black screen. In ONLY HUMAN, we hear the Asian girl speak a sentence near the end of the film, but we only see her face "before" and "after" she speaks it, not when she is speaking it. We also hear some screams in an early part and near the end of the film, but we don't see the screamers. We hear some footsteps, but we don't see the walkers.

6. The loneliness of the characters. It seems the characters in this film try to communicate with or connect to someone, but their attempts bring no satisfying results. A couple of teenagers try to get intimate with each other, but fail. The sewing woman can't reach Sara on her phone. Dean Kavanagh's character doesn't look happy after he talks to someone on the phone. The video game guy lies to someone on the phone. The face-to-face conversation in the restaurant ends badly. A woman tries to reach someone in an apartment, but fails. This loneliness is dealt with in a realistic way, not in a romantic way like Wong Kar-wai's films, not in a comic way like Tsai Ming-liang's films, and not in a cold way like some Austrian's films.

7.Some moving images which are so motionless that they look like still photos. There are some scenes of Dean Kavanagh which resemble still photos, because his face does not move for many seconds in these scenes. There are many landscape/atmospheric scenes in BIPEDALITY and ZOETROPE (2011, Rouzbeh Rashidi) which look like still photos, too.

8.The landscape shots which are inserted into some parts of the film without explanation how they are connected to the story. These include the scene of a group of people on a boat, which comes after the scene of Dean Kavanagh on a train, and the ending sequence of the film. This technique is used much more fully and interestingly in BIPEDALITY.

9. ONLY HUMAN is very different from other films I have seen. I think the duration that the film spends on each character is one of the things that make the film different. If the film focuses on the slice of life of only several characters, such as the Asian man and woman, the film might be a little bit closer to JACKY (2000, Hu Fow-Pyng, Brad Ljatifi). If the film focuses on the slice of life of many more characters, the film might be a little bit closer to SOMETHING MORE THAN NIGHT (2003, Daniel Eisenberg). Anyway, I'm glad that ONLY HUMAN is like this. It has its own charm, while other films also have their own charms.

You can watch many short films by Rouzbeh Rashidi in his Vimeo channel: http://vimeo.com/rouzbehrashidi/videos



LIGHT AND QUIET (2008, Rouzbeh Rashidi, Iran, 67 min, A+)

Among the five feature films of Rashidi I've seen, I like this one the least, but I still like it very much. Things I like in this film include:

1. The mysteries. I think what makes this film very different from many Hollywood or American independent films is the mysteries. If this film was made by an American independent director, the film might have told its story straightforwardly. But LIGHT AND QUIET seems to hide a lot of information from the audience. This is a very brave act, because a lot of audience may not like it, but the filmmaker still chooses to do it.

After seeing this film, there are a lot of questions left on my mind: What does the protagonist do for a living? What does he do that makes him get severely criticized? What is the protagonist looking at, or photographing, in minute 38? Why does the guy in minute 43 become upset when the protagonist shows up at his home? Who is the guy in the opening scene? What does the ending scene mean? Does this film say something about the filmmaking or the censorship in Iran?

By not giving the answers to the audience, LIGHT AND QUIET becomes special and very different from both mainstream films and some independent films. The audience has to think for himself and has to pay attention to other things in the film apart from the story, such as the gestures of the characters and the composition of the image.

The mysteries, the withholding of information, or the sense that there are some stories happening "outside" the film is one of Rashidi's "signatures". It reminds me of the old portraits of women in some of Rashidi's short films, such as NIGHTFALL (2008), and DAMP AND MISTY (2008). These old portraits seem to be important and have some special meanings to the protagonists in the films, but the special meanings are never explained. The stories about these portraits are left outside the films.


2.The sound in this film. In LIGHT AND QUIET, we don't hear the characters talking. I think only 30 % of what the characters talk is transcribed into texts. The other 70 % of the talking is lost, and this causes the mysteries in the film.

Instead of the dialogue, what we hear is the sound of car moving, and some sound which feels like it comes from the streets. This characteristic makes LIGHT AND QUIET unique. It is more radical than NEWS FROM HOME (1976, Chantal Akerman), in which the sound of the streets overwhelms the voiceover from time to time.

By using the sound of the streets, LIGHT AND QUIET is also different from silent films. I think LIGHT AND QUIET is special, because it is partly similar to silent films, and partly different from them at the same time. It is partly similar to silent films, because we don't hear the characters talking, and we must try to follow the story by watching the gestures and movements of the characters and reading the texts. It is partly different from silent films, because we hear the ambient soundtrack, and the film looks contemporary. Its style is not like the one employed in old silent films or neo-silent films, such as TALES FROM THE GIMLI HOSPITAL (1988, Guy Maddin) or JUHA (1999, Aki Kaurismäki).

I think the ambient soundtrack is one of Rashidi's "signatures". In later films of Rashidi, the ambient soundtrack is very important.

3.The strange composition of the image. In an early scene, a guy comes to visit the protagonist to give him a job, but the visiting guy seems to be cut off from the frame. We only see a glimpse of his face for several seconds. In the middle of the film, we see in close up the lower torso of the cigar man, and it looks very strange. There are also a few scenes in which the real action happens in the background, instead of the foreground. These include the scene in which the protagonist and a guy quarrel on a sofa in the background, while we see the chessboard in the foreground, and the scene in which the protagonist quarrels with another man near a gate in the background, while we see a car in the foreground.

This strange composition is employed again in a scene in REMINISCENCES OF YEARNING (2011, Rouzbeh Rashidi), in which we see some family members moving about in the background, while some unidentifiable objects are put in the foreground.

4.The abrupt cut in a few scenes, such as in minute 26 after the cigar man leaves the scene. This abrupt cut is quite startling because it is unexpected.

5.The chain of oppression. The cigar man seems to oppress a guy. That guy oppresses the protagonist. The protagonist oppresses the servant. That makes a scene near the end of the film very touching. It is the scene in which we have the first chance to see the face of the servant clearly. In that scene, I feel as if the protagonist begins to understand the oppressed feeling of the servant, and it is very moving for me.

6.The ending, which is a pure delight. I'm not sure why the ending gives me a very pleasant feeling. Maybe it is because the ending, in which we see blurred lights from moving cars for five minutes, is not as claustrophobic as other scenes.

I think the ending scene of this film is very atmospheric, and the sudden shift to atmospheric scenes reminds me of the ending of THE ECLIPSE (1962, Michelangelo Antonioni). I'm glad that atmospheric scenes are becoming more and more important in later films of Rashidi.

I also think Rashidi use blurred images very interestingly. Apart from the ending of the film, the blurred images also occur at the end of a quarrelling scene in the middle of the film, and occur before a powerful guy talks to the hero near the end of the film. I'm glad that blurred images in various kinds are employed beautifully in later films of Rashidi.

You can watch many short films by Rouzbeh Rashidi in his Vimeo channel: http://vimeo.com/rouzbehrashidi/videos




Thursday, April 14, 2011

FAVORITE QUOTES FROM JEAN-CLAUDE ROUSSEAU

Jean-Marie Straub said that Jean-Claude Rousseau, Peter Nestler, and Frans Van der Staak are the greatest filmmakers in Europe in these times.

From an interview by Cyril Neyrat in Lumen Journal
http://lumenjournal.org/i-forests/interview-rousseau/#fnref-291-2

"What do I gaze at? At nothing describable, that one can observe and detail. To detail the shot would be to lose the image. I’m thinking of that beautiful preface to the book of geography, but which, as a passage, couldn’t be appropriated into the film. It’s a question of observation; the goal of the textbook is evidently to teach children and to stimulate their observation with the pictures. But to observe isn’t to be seized by the image. It’s to seize but not to be seized. The lengthiness of the shot corresponds to this gaze that doesn’t interpret, that doesn’t insist on a motive, but that is a pure vision, as we say, “to have visions.” This goes back to those disorienting moments where someone you’re with seems “out of it,” when his vision’s taken him somewhere else. And when you ask him, then, “what are you looking at?” it’s always the same reply: “nothing.” Suddenly he’s there again, as if the question had broken a charm. That’s what it is to see the image: it’s an absence."

" Let’s just say that very quickly I saw the promise of a film: I was watching the elements orient themselves, and without being able to say where it was leading, what I really wanted, it was clear that this current knew where it was going. It was simply a matter of following something that would sustain itself, that had its path, and that I only had to recognize and follow. These different vectors were converging at a single place and making the film itself this nexus: Petrarch, a geography book, a Giorgione painting, an erotic photo, an abandoned factory, the fountain at Vaucluse, and then inspiring correspondences between all these, as if validating them, the text by Lucretius on the movement of atoms, or more exactly, Bergson’s summary of it that he did in a book for philosophy students."


More about Jean-Claude Rousseau:
http://landscapesuicide.blogspot.com/2011/04/illuminations-6-or-movement-of-atoms-is.html
http://supposedaura.blogspot.com/2007/11/domestic-interiors-of-jean-claude.html
http://www.ncncine.com/20052.html




Wednesday, April 13, 2011

BANGKOK POST'S ARTICLE ON DOMINO FILM EXPERIMENT

BANGKOK POST'S ARTICLE ON DOMINO FILM EXPERIMENT


http://www.bangkokpost.com/arts-and-culture/film/231749/small-money-big-names

A HOTEL IN AYUDHAYA

The hotel BANNKUNPRA in Ayudhaya province looks very interesting. It is very cheap. I hope I will meet no ghosts there, though.


FAVORITE QUOTE FROM PATRICIO GUZMÁN

Favorite quote from Patricio Guzmán, a great documentary filmmaker:
"What I like the most is to be able to film the silences. When a person is unable to continue speaking, has nothing more to say, instead of cutting there, I continue to observe the person. I think I interview more with my eyes than with my words."

(From Film Comment, March/April 2011)

The quote above reminds me of the silent scenes in such documentary films as

1.MODERN LIFE (2008, Raymond Depardon)

2.The Cinématon films of Gérard Courant

JEAN-LUC GODARD – CINÉMATON # 106 (1981)

PHILIPPE GARREL – CINÉMATION # 193 (1982)

SANDRINE BONNAIRE – CINÉMATON # 238 (1982)


SCREAM 4 (2011, Wes Craven, A+)

I think the film is extremely entertaining for me. My most favorite scene is the opening scene. The structure of this opening scene is very interesting.

Wes Craven is still an expert in creating tense situations in an ordinary house. The characters in SCREAM 4 run for their lives in an ordinary house, like in many of his films, including MY SOUL TO TAKE (2010, A+/A). I have seen scenes like this for a hundred times, but I'm still excited by them. I should have been bored by this kind of cliche, but I'm not. I have to thank Wes Craven for it.

However, in the end I think Wes Craven still can't transcend himself or the standard horror/thriller genre. The ending is too neat. Everything is explained. The killer has time to explain everything, including the motivation, before the film ends. I'm a little bit bored by this kind of "ending", but I'm not sure whose fault it is. Is it the fault of Wes Craven, the screenwriter, or the producer? Who "ordered" that this film must end like this?

Watching SCREAM 4 somehow reminds me of many films adapted from Agatha Christie's novels, because these films are also extremely entertaining and extremely exciting, but all the excitement seems to evaporate when we know who the killer is, when we know his/her motivation, when everything is explained.

My problem with SCREAM 4 and Agatha Christie's films may result from the fact that they seem to pay the most attention to the question "Who did it? And why?" And after we know the answers to these questions, there are too few things left on our minds.

As entertaining and exciting as it is, SCREAM 4 lacks one thing I like in many films—the "disturbing" quality.

Agatha Christie's films also lack the disturbing quality, too. This is in contrast to films adapted from novels by Ruth Rendell or Patricia Highsmith. Mary Higgins Clark, Christie, Rendell, Highsmith, and Georges Simenon all wrote about crimes. But most films adapted from the novels of Clark and Christie do not disturb me, because they pay attention to the question "Who did it?" Some films made from the novels of Rendell, Highsmith, and Simenon disturb me, for example, LA CÉRÉMONIE (1995, Claude Chabrol), THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY (1999, Anthony Minghella), JUSQU' À L'ENFER (2009, Denis Malleval), because they don't pay attention to the question "Who did it?", though they are also about crimes. I think Rendell, Highsmith and Simenon can dig deeply into the dark side of human beings, and that makes their films more interesting, more disturbing, more unforgettable.

I think SCREAM 4 suffers from the same problems found in Agatha Christie's films. SCREAM 4 is as good as it can be as a standard horror/thriller film, but as for "films about serial killers", I may prefer such films as BAISE-MOI (2000, Virginie Despentes + Coralie Trinh Thi), FUNNY GAMES (1997, Michael Haneke), HORSEMEN (2009, Jonas Åkerlund), PEEPING TOM (1960, Michael Powell), SOMBRE (1998, Philippe Grandrieux), THE STRANGERS (2008, Bryan Bertino),TENDERNESS (2009, John Polson), THE WITCH (2009, Alwa Ritsila), and WOLF CREEK (2005, Greg Mclean), because they are more disturbing.

THE WITCH (2009, Alwa Ritsila)

The problem about "neat ending" or the ending "when every problem is solved" can be found in some Thai films, too.

I like LADY MINA: VAMPIRE HUNTER (2011, Ninart Boonpothong, stage play, A), THE MICROCHIP (2011, Krissanapong Ratchatha, A+/A), and HAZART (2011, Pornchai Hongrattanaporn, A+/A) very much, because I think they talk about the current political problems of Thailand.

Since the political problems of Thailand are not solved yet, I like it very much that LADY MINA: VAMPIRE HUNTER and THE MICROCHIP do not end by having every problem solved.


Unfortunately, HAZART seems to end by having every problem solved, so I'm not sure if its ending is appropriate or not, if you choose to view this film from a political angle.


DOMINO FILM EXPERIMENT

The Domino Film Experiment is a project by Sonthaya Subyen. In the first stage of this project, a screenplay by Danarun Sangthong will be adapted into a film by Chulayarnnon Siriphol, Ratchapoom Boonbunchachoke, Chaloemkiat Saeyong, and Wachara Kanha.

The producer is Panu Aree.

The consultants of this project are Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Kong Rithdee, and Somkiat Vituranich.

The funding of this film is by donation from any film enthusiasts.

The blog of the Domino Film Experiment

The facebook of this film project

How to contribute to this film

Contributors so far

Sunday, April 10, 2011

FILM WISH LIST: FADE TO BLACK (1980, Vernon Zimmerman)


I like SCREAM TRIOGY very much, so I want to see FADE TO BLACK, because it is also about a serial killer and has many references to old films, such as DRACULA (1931, Tod Browning), THE MUMMY (1932, Karl Freund), KISS OF DEATH (1947, Henry Hathaway), WHITE HEAT (1949, Raoul Walsh), HOPALONG CASSIDY (1952-1954, TV series) and PSYCHO (1960, Alfred Hitchcock).

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080711/movieconnections


Vernon Zimmerman seems to be very interesting. I also want to see LEMON HEARTS (1961) by Zimmerman very much.


Here is what Jonas Mekas wrote about LEMON HEARTS (1961, Vernon Zimmerman) in 1962:


"RON RICE. VERNON ZIMMERMAN. THE POETRY OF THE ABSURD.


THE FLOWER THIEF (1960) by Ron Rice, and LEMON HEARTS (1961) by Vernon Zimmerman, are two of the latest and most successful examples of post-PULL MY DAISY cinema. Both are made with the utmost creative freedom, with the utmost disrespect for the "professional" camera, plot, character conventions. They merge and combine the spontaneous cinema of PULL MY DAISY, the freedom of the image of Brakhage, the "uncleanliness" of action painting, the theater of Happenings (Kaprow) and the sense of humor of Zen. Their imagination, coming from deeply "deranged" and liberated senses, is boundless. Nothing is forced in these films. They rediscover the poetry and wisdom of the irrational, of nonsense, of the absurd—the poetry that comes from regions that are beyond all intelligence, the regions of ZÉRO DE CONDUITE, of FIREWORKS, of DESISTFILM.


Nevertheless, the materials with which they create are embedded in reality. Didn't Rimbaud write his ILLUMINATIONS out of the burning, intensified reality of his own life? Such are the lives of the modern film poets. With their own lives, they create a "cinema reality" that is tense to the point of explosion. In a sense, they don't have to "invent"'; they just have to turn the camera upon themselves, or upon their close friends, and it explodes into the pyrotechnics upon which no imagination could improve."


The quote above comes from the book FILM CULTURE READER (edited by P. Adams Sitney).


Ed Halter wrote about THE FLOWER THIEF here:


http://www.villagevoice.com/2005-03-08/film/central-asian-indie-wastes-post-apocalyptic-landscape/


ZERO FOR CONDUCT (1933, Jean Vigo)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTS9yoX_2_g&playnext=1&list=PL540C9807689CBA8B


FIREWORKS (1947, Kenneth Anger)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XPm9iULJTE


DESISTFILM (1954, Stan Brakhage)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIRw7Kxz5rY


PULL MY DAISY (1959, Robert Frank + Alfred Leslie)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8jz8fgN-QM






SCULPTURES AT BANGKOONG TEMPLE


I like the sculptures at Bangkoong temple very much.