Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Mike Figgis detained for five hours for 'shooting a pilot'

Another terrorism paranoia involuntary comedy. British film director Mike Figgis (Leaving Las Vegas) spent five hours in the pleasant company of LA airport security staff after saying he was coming to town to 'shoot a pilot', which in film and television speak means, obviously, a test programme. But since security staff in the land of cinema don't know the jargons of the business, - and pilot by now is not really a jargon anymore - they thought it wise to look the term up, just in case.

Read more +

One Minute videos

If you happen to be in London next Sunday check out this screening of one-minute videos by contemporary artists, curated by Kerry Baldry, which will be held at:

at 4pm, on Sunday 3rd June 2007
in the Basement, CANDID ARTS TRUST, 3 Torrens St, London, EC1V 1NQ

The screening will include work by:

Kerry Baldry, Steven Ball, Gordon Dawson, Claudia Digangi, Andy Fear, Steve Hawley, Nick Herbert, Riccardo Iacono, Fil Ieropoulos and Lilly Zinan Ding, Hilary Jack, Esther Johnson, Tina Keane, Deklan Kilfeather, David Leister, Lynn Loo, Katherine Meynell, Claire
Morales, Martin Pickles, Stuart Pound, Laure Prouvost, Eva Rudlinger, Philip Sanderson, Erica Scourti, Unconscious Films, Phillip Warnell, Mark Wigan.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


I love them. Don't you?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Screening: Conrad and Butler Take a Vacation by Noah Baumbach

A short film was made by Noah Baumbach in 2000, Conrad And Butler Take A Vacation, was included in a DVD edition of Baumbach's Kicking and Screaming (1995) released by Criterion. It is miles away from the highly produced films Baumbach has written (The Life Aquactic with Steve Sissou (2004), The Squid and The Whale (2005), which he also directed). In fact it looks quite drab, but that's part of the humour pursued in this short film. The writing in this comedy about two friends on vacation, one of whom has recently divorced, is very good. The simplicity of Conrad And Butler Take A Vacation is very engaging and it has a suave aura of nostalgia about it.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Brazilian Novelle Vague, Herzog and Punk cinema

There's quite a selection of film events coming up in London. First and foremost, I can't recommend enough the season of Glauber Rocha films that will take place at the Tate Modern in London between 9 June and 28 July. Rocha, the leading light of Cinema Novo was, roughly speaking, Brazil's equivalent of Godard. Even though the former died young at the age 42 in 1981, his legacy is enormous and includes masterpieces such as Black God, White Devil (1964) and Antonio das Mortes (1969, pictured), which are all included in the Tate Modern's of programme.

Another iconoclastic director whose films will be shown in London in June is Werner Herzog. The ICA is hosting a season called The Worlds of Werner Herzog between 9 and 30 June, including recent films such as The Wild Blue Yonder (2005), Wheel of Time (2003), The White Diamond (2004) and Grizzly Man (2005), among others. More info from the ICA website.

Elsewhere the Barbican centre is exploring the development of the punk and post-punk movements through a selection of UK and US features and documentaries called Panick Attack! These include Derek Jarman's The Last of England (1988) and John Waters's Female Trouble (1974), to name but a few. More info from here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Vik Muniz

Vik Muniz is a Brazilian born artist who's been living in New York since the early 80s. He's a recent discovery for me, but I have become quite interested in his works of late, especially his conceptualisation of illusion and truth. His final medium is photography, but his work is much more than photography. He's also a great raconteur as the video below testifies, a rare thing in the art world.

Vik Muniz's TED talk +

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

New video: The art of video art

Last week I completed a new video, called The art of video art, cobbled together with archive footage from the Prelinger Archives. It's playing in a loop in the right side bar and expresses exactly my idea of what video art is about.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Parents sue school over Brokeback Mountain + Brokeback to the Future

Via ArtThreat: A substitute teacher in Chicago who showed Brokeback Mountain to elementary children is now facing a lawsuit by one child's grandparents of $500,000. Huh?

On the subject of gay cowboys, here's a funny send-up of Back to the Future, re-titled Brokeback to the Future. And it's clocked so far an amazing 4,395,088 views.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

YouTube, digital Vaudeville

"I was suddenly struck by the ways that YouTube represents for the early 21st century what Vaudeville represented in the early 20th century."

Read article +

Thursday, May 17, 2007

São Paulo NO LOGO has published an article reporting on the São Paulo's administration's decision to ban billboards to unclutter the city. What a fantastic initiative! "City officials in this metropolis of 11 million passed legislation banning billboards, neon signs and electronic panels as of the new year, and the effects of the law have begun to sink in. Billboards have been stripped of their commercial clothing, the stark nakedness of the abandoned frames reminding passers by of the once stolen public space now reclaimed", wrote the online mag. The article links to a Flickr slide show by Tony de Marco showing the empty signs, a beautiful look at the possibility of a world without ubiquitous advertising.

Cannes 2007 opens

The 60th edition of the Cannes Film Festival opened yesterday and footage has already popped up on YouTube, with this clip of the opening ceremony, which looks a bit like the Oscars, actually. That is, grand and cheesy.

The star of the opening day was Norah Jones (pictured) for her starring role in Wong Kar-wai's English language debut, My Blueberry Nights. The word is that it is up against Quentin Tarrantino's Death Proof and the Coen Brother's No Country for Old Men as a contender for the top prize.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Battle of Algiers

The Battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo, Algeria/Italy, 1966), which is currently playing theatrically in the UK, was chosen by Guardian readers as their fifth favourite foreign film of all time. Here's the Guardian's comment on the choice:

You could argue that no modern movie has had more political influence. For the tension in this dramatised documentary has been employed in the training and the inspiration of real-life terrorists opposed to occupying forces. Pontecorvo used people who had known the real war in Algeria - from all sides - and you can tell yourself you are seeing the "true" face of outrage. But, in fact, the picture is artfully made in a black-and-white that apparently appeals to Guardian readers a lot. Above all, this reminds us that "real" coverage of terrible events is itself a political weapon. (DT)

The film has been re-released to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the events depicted in it. The winner of numerous awards, including a BAFTAUN Award and both the Golden Lion and the FIPRESCI Award at the 1966 Venice Film Festival, director Gillo Pontecorvo’s highly acclaimed masterpiece is regarded as one of modern cinema's finest achievements.

Set during the 1954 to 1962 Franco-Algerian conflict, The Battle of Algiers authentically recreates the pivotal political events that took place in the city of Algiers between 1954 and 1957. In an attempt to end French colonialism, which had been in place since 1830, in 1954 the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) began a war of liberation, using terrorism to highlight the plight of the Algerian people to the rest of the world. In response to the escalating terrorist violence in the city of Algiers, the French government sent in an armed force of paratroopers to crush the uprising. Authorised to use whatever force and methods were believed to be necessary in bringing an end to the revolution, the actions of the French military led to a regrettable catalogue of atrocities being committed by those on both sides of the conflict.

Watch trailer of The Battle of Algiers +

Monday, May 14, 2007

Lars Von Trier's struggle with depression

The Filter was sad to hear at that one of its favourite European directors, Lars Von Trier, is going through a bout of depression which has thrown his future projects into uncertainty. According to an article issued by the Associated Press, Von trier said last Saturday said to the Danish newspaper Politiken that after his treatment for depression earlier this year he has been left like a "blank sheet of paper." His next planned project, but which now is indefinitely on hold, is a horror movie called Antichrist, which depicts Satan as the world's creator.

We hope Von Trier gets better soon.

Read more +

Von Trier has a comedy being released in the U.S on 23/5. It's called The Boss of it All. Here's the Danish trailer +

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Paris Hilton: the consensus

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Jodie Foster to play Leni Riefenstahl. Finally.

So it seems that finally the long-rumoured Leni Riefenstahl Hollywood biopic starring the recently outed-again Jodie Foster is going to get off the ground. The German director, who died at the age of 101 in 2003 and whose biggest contribution to the art of cinema was the stunning documentary about the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin (Olympia), surely is superb biopic material and it is easy to see the attraction such a project holds to Foster (who actually does look like the young Riefenstahl). What remains to be seen is how much the film will focus on Riefenstahl's Nazi connections and - one can only wish - try to emulate her superb aesthetic sense.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Make Internet TV

For all of you aspiring internet video bloggers, help is at hand from +

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Rose-strewen press release for La Vie En Rose

I just loved the lyricism in the press release for the upcoming film about France's 'little sparrow' Edith Piaf, called, you guessed it, La Vie En Rose (pictured). So here it goes:

"From Director Olivier Dahan comes the screen biography of legendary French singer Edith Piaf. Starring Marion Cotillard (A Good Year, A Very Long Engagement), LA VIE EN ROSE celebrates the extraordinary life of one of the world’s best-loved performers.

From the streets of the cutthroat Belleville district of Paris to the limelight of New York’s concert halls, Edith Piaf’s life was a constant battle to sing and survive, to live and love. Raised in bitter poverty, surrounded by hookers, pimps and petty criminals, Edith’s magical voice provided an escape, making her a star on both sides of the Atlantic.

Her passionate romances and friendships with some of the biggest names of the period – Yves Montand, Jean Cocteau, Charles Aznavour, Marlene Dietrich and world champion boxer Marcel Cerdan – made her a household name, as did her memorable live performances and beautiful renditions of songs heard across the globe: La Vie en Rose, Hymn To Love, Non Je ne Regrette Rien and many more. But despite her determination to deny her tragic destiny, the “Little Sparrow” – as she was known – flew so high that she could not fail to burn her wings" (italics are definitely mine!).

Verdict: sold!

La Vie en Rose will open in cinemas across the UK on 22 June 2007.

And here's the little sparrow in action:

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Witchcraft at the Barbican + Polanski

The Barbican cinema in central London is showing on Sunday 06 May the legendary and infamous Häxan (Sweden 1922 Dir. Benjamin Christensen 104min). The film was banned in every country in Europe when first released in 1922. It was one of the first drama-documentaries, integrating fact and fiction, and Christensen's experimental style endeared it to the Surrealists. A brew of the horrific, gross, and darkly comedic, Häxan chronicles grave robbing, repressed eroticism, possessed nuns, and a satanic Sabbath, as the director asserts that the ‘witches’ of the Middle Ages suffered the same mass hysteria as did the mentally ill centuries later. Häxan retains a powerful and shocking contemporary resonance, and emerges as a moving, disturbing but ultimately liberating study of the persecution of the mentally ill, women, the poor and the elderly. Geoff Smith's (pictured) new score for Häxan further explores his pioneering approach to composition and performance that was exemplified in his recent scores for Faust and The Cabinet of Dr Caligari.

  • Still at the Barbican, the venue will be screening throughout May a bevy of Polanski films, including his first foray into cinema, the Novelle Vague-y Knife in the Water (1962).

Barbican film +

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Trailer: Strange Culture

Shown this year at Sundance and Berlin (no theatrical releases scheduled yet), Strange Culture deals with the nightmare of internationally-acclaimed artist and professor Steve Kurtz began when his wife Hope died in her sleep of heart failure. Police arrived, became suspicious of Kurtz’s art, and called the FBI. Within hours the artist was detained as a suspected 'bioterrorist' as dozens of agents in hazmat suits sifted through his work and impounded his computers, manuscripts, books, his cat, and even his wife’s body. Today Kurtz and his long-time collaborator Dr. Robert Ferrell, former Chair of the Genetics Department at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, await a trial date.

The trailer makes the film look very promising and it stars Tilda Swinton and Peter Coyote as themselves.

Watch trailer +