Monday, February 8, 2016

Consider the Lobster

The Lobster (2015) - Lanthimos
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An absurdist satire on modern relationship, The Lobster is the first English feature, with an international cast, by Greek badboy Yorgos Lanthimos. An unnamed middle-aged schlubby, bespectacled protagonist (Colin Farrell) is relocated to a remote lakeside hotel/sanitarium after his wife of 12 years dumps him. The place is full of such rejects, trying to fall in love with someone while staying there before they turn into an animal (of their choice). Our protag wants to be a lobster if the time comes, because it lives long, blue blooded and remains fertile all its life. There he befriends with two men- the man with a lisp (John C. Reilly) and the man with a limp (Ben Whishaw), both awkwardly, desperately trying to make connection with the opposite sex any way they can to avoid turning into an animal. Then they have to hunt loners in the woods (former hotel guests who ran away to avoid turning into an animal) with tranquilizer guns to prolong their stay.

After pairing with a sexy but heartless hunting champ (Angeliki Papoulia) by faking his heartlessness and things horribly go wrong, our protag escapes to the woods, only to fall in with a group of loners, headed by Léa Seydoux. This loner leader takes a polar opposite view on relationship, prohibiting any flirting or hooking up among members and punishing them severely if they break the rules. It's as if the hotel symbolizes (it does/doesn't really) the consumerist capitalism, the loners are like the emotionless commies. There he meets a fellow short sighted person (Rachel Weisz) and falls in love.

There are bunch of rules and inner logic in the world Lanthimos creates that are just as complicated as the hidden rules of our mating rituals in the modern world. He hits home hard that our arbitrary criteria in dating and finding a companion in our world largely depends on trivial matters like putting heavy emphasis on matching attributes (nearsightedness, types of music you like, whatev). That you can just easily reject someone by not liking that person is prone to nosebleed or having a lisp. Just like his other films, Lanthimos has a mean streak (especially against animals- obviously fake but still). But I can see many people shrugging it off as a lackluster film. It is visually, emotionally subdued by design. Its black humor pitched and delivered perfectly by Farrell, Reilly, Whishaw, Seydoux, Weisz, Olivia Coleman, and two stunning Lanthimos regulars - Papoulia and Ariane Labed.

While it's never laugh out loud funny, nor extremely disturbing, the film has a lot to say about the hollow nature of human courtship. I was touched by how sweet the film was: characters in the film still abide by the social conventions, but their desire to be with someone and not be lonely is stronger than anything. It's the most romantic movie I've seen in a while.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Scott Barley Interview

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I've come across many visual artists/filmmakers since I started this blog. Most of them have been for Twitchfilm during film events, such as festivals, promotions for their film releases, etc. An interview usually lasts 15 to 20 minutes. I get 30 minutes if I am lucky. The PR firms usually keep a tight schedule and you have to be very alert and ready to get what you want out of these artists. It's not always easy. There are always huddles- the New York traffic, the timing of the day (early vs later interviews), weather, technology malfunction (cell phones, skype and my 10 year old ipod with a microphone), individual characters of the artists themselves. But I'm not really complaining. I get to meet some of my heroes and discover many interesting artists. Since I've been doing this for a while now, I think I'm getting pretty good at asking the pertinent questions to satisfy my preoccupations. But at the same time, I've always felt 20 minutes is nary enough to scratch the surface: to find out someone's artistic point of views or artistic processes or personalities or crafts or philosophy on their practices, or anything for that matter.

I've come across Scott Barley's work at a film torrent site. The screen caps and description of the film look intriguing. And it was marked as KG Artist (filmmakers who upload their own work on Karagarga torrent site). Watching Barley's Hunter for me, was a watershed moment. I was immediately drawn to his beautiful, mesmerizing images. The mood and mystery and melancholy he conveyed in that short, majestic film was exactly what I've been looking for in films both as an adventurous spectator and occasional practitioner. I pm'd him immediately and to my surprise, he responded. And that's how our correspondences began.

As much as I love narrative filmmaking, I strongly believe film is a sensory medium first and foremost. And the medium still remains to be the most exciting art form, still founding its ways and holds a lot of possibilities. As I go through Barley's films one by one, they give me a strong sense of assurance in my belief that it is not foolish to think that film is not only not dead but only just have begun living despite all the naysayers.

Preparing for Barley's interview, I decided to take a different approach: I'd send him questionnaires and he'd take time to reply. There'd be less pressure and it would be more in-depth. Indeed. What you are about to read is quite a long and completely unedited correspondence, between an interviewer who is very much excited about discovering an artist & his practice and the subject who generously pouring his heart out.

Barley is a prolific artist whose background conveys wide range of artistic practices - painting, music, literature, constantly working, outputting his thoughts and visions in many forms. I just finished watching Closer- his David Bowie tribute film/poem. It's achingly beautiful. Wise and intelligent beyond his years, it has been a truly inspirational experience to communicate with him. For that, I thank him from the bottom of my heart. So without further a do:

For the readers, I can't not mention how I found your work first - at an elite film torrent site. Therefore I can safely assume that your cinephilia runs deep. For many filmmakers I know, there was one defining moment in their lives how viewing of a particular film turned them into being a filmmaker. You mentioned Stan Brakhage, Phil Solomon and Michael Snow at some point in your career. I am wondering if there was such a film that made you pursue your career as a filmmaker. And who are some of your biggest influences on your work?

Scott Barley: Well, there have been quite a few “milestones” in my life that have really defined a strong sense of a creative path for me; not just films. Please bear with me, as I trudge sporadically through them - and the in-betweens.

Cinema actually came quite late to me, when I was 14. On a whim, I went to see Pan’s Labyrinth in the cinema with my father. I had never seen a foreign film before then, and had no idea going in to the theatre what Pan’s Labyrinth was about, or even that it was in another language. But the film spoke directly to something nebulous yet very concrete, beyond the surface of my self, in a way that no film I had seen before had done. It transcended language. It was an epiphanic moment for me; this understanding: language was no longer necessary to understand or feel on a fundamental level. It was more fundamental than language. It was simply humanness. I was not a big “film person”, and Pan’s Labyrinth changed everything. I didn’t know that films could do this to you. It moved me to tears, and while watching the film, I felt like my heart stopped several times. I remember getting so frustrated with friends in school, who dismissed or ridiculed the film, simply because it had subtitles. Pan’s Labyrinth taught me something which I’ve lived by very strongly to this day, and will continue to do so for the rest of my life: let art and experience wash over you like an ocean. Submit to it. Don’t think too much. Just feel.

I felt very alone in my teenage years, and art - however - or rather, the more - dissonant, stygian, and difficult - became my refuge. I am a romantic, very sensitive and idealistic to this day, and art felt purer than the exterior world, and more in line with my own interior world. I liked simply “feeling”, whereas the exterior world - however insidiously - seemed to portray this notion that feelings were a superfluity.

Before Pan’s Labyrinth, I wrote a lot. I used to write many poems and stories. I was obsessed with language. For many years from the age of 7, I would go to bed each night, reading the dictionary from page to page, memorising the words and their definitions. I would practice my cursive for hours on end, on the same letter, for no reason other than my own unorthodox recreation. I loved the ability to express myself with exactly the right word, even if others didn’t necessarily understand what I meant; at least I knew that I was being earnest, truthful, and precise. From the age of 7, I read a lot of King and Poe. I loved Poe in particular; his eruditeness and (what the philistines call) ’verbosity’, but also the rigour to it. That has remained the same to this day; my love for Krazsnahorkai, Proust, and Joyce in particular knows no bounds. Naturally, being a lover of Poe, I was drawn to the darkness. I am a nyctophile; both literally and metaphorically. I feel most at ease under the cloak of darkness, adrift within tenebriousness and the undeterminable. I had a rule: I would only ever create, or watch, or read at night; for that was when I was at my most percipient, and when I felt most in-tune with the experiential resonance of the “art world”. The only oil that I burned was Midnight’s.

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The Ethereal Melancholy of Seeing Horses in the Cold

I was not particularly interested in or understanding of visual arts before Pan’s Labyrinth. But after that film, I became very passionate about it, as well as mood, experimentation, and allegorical work, but I was not yet making films; not for another 5 years or so. I left writing behind a little, and from 15 on-wards, I was doing a lot of painting instead. I loved Bacon, Auerbach, Kossoff, Kiefer: the masters of emotional darkness and texture. For a little while, I was simply regurgitating the things that I loved in a lesser form. But as time went on, I found that I was able to truly draw from my own feelings, and still inherently capture what drew me to those artists in the first place: the personal, art that scarred, art that acted as a nepenthe or catharsis, and the obfuscation - either through texture, or the literal Latin origin of the word: ‘fuscus’, meaning, the ‘dark’. I believed that genuine art could only be created when you submitted yourself to - and embraced your own - vulnerability, and to be entirely authentic and honest; essentially, you had to pour your soul into it. That has remained the same ever since, and is probably the most important element of my own creative praxis. To paraphrase Cassavetes: you must dare yourself to fail. Why bother, if you’re not going to put yourself on the line?

When I was 16, I discovered Bergman. I think Persona is THE gateway drug for cinema lovers. That film changes you biologically, and by the time the film reel in the film stops, and the light goes out, your DNA is different; you are then far more perceptive to - for a lack of better words - “artistic” or “difficult” cinema. I am drawn to that sort of work: art that changes you from who you were before you experienced it. After Persona, my love for cinema became akin to a snowball gathering speed as it descends from the summit. I would watch up to 40 films of varying lengths in a weekend. I would do nothing else. It’s a miracle that deep-vein thrombosis didn’t set in. Then I discovered Tarr, and perhaps more so than any other of my personal experiences with art, it changed me. Upon experiencing Werckmeister Harmonies, I felt like I had an out-of-body experience. My body surrendered and I saw my soul, stark, fragile and utterly naked before me - for the first and only time in my life. It moved me to tears. I shook a lot. It completely changed me. Words cannot do any justice.

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The Sadness of Trees Part 2

In my first year of university, I became obsessed with avant-garde, particularly lyrical avant-garde, like Phil Solomon, Stan Brakhage, Jean-Claude Rousseau, and Nathaniel Dorsky, and they remain my favourites to this day.

As for elite film torrent sites, like Karagarga - they interest me. I don’t always fully agree with what is shared on there. An artist needs to be paid for their work, just like anybody else, but I feel very passionate about the idea of bringing down the walls of economic elitism and socio-political censorship that prevent a lot of people from accessing vistas of great esoteric cinema, music, and literature. But I still think that sites like Karagarga could do a lot more to ameliorate that problem. I would never share any other artist’s work on Karagarga. I only upload my own work - as that is the only work I have the moral authenticity and legitimacy to share with others online. I do share a lot of my cinephilia with my friends and younger students though, and throughout my degree I organised film screenings such as La Région Centrale, La Vallée close, American Falls, Meshes of the Afternoon… lots of Antonioni, Brakhage, Bresson, Godard, Yoshida, Epstein, a lot of Eastern European cinema from the 50s 60s and later too (that was my most earnest passion during that time) like Vláčil, Wiszniewski, Jan Jakub Kolski, Bartas, Tarr, Fehér, Stonys etc.

I was fighting for a more artistic environment that sadly, my university did not convey. It was a very philistine and anti-intellectual environment actually - not that I am an intellectual by any means, but I yearned for that sense of being a scholar, not simply a “regurgitatior" of other people’s “old” ideas. I wanted to embrace the new and unique, the daring. Lots of people, including the majority of the tutors, sadly, were afraid of feeling or of mystery - whereas for me, those are two of the most empowering elements of art - along with hope. Thankfully I was able to create a small Bande à part of friends who shared my passions and interests and that stopped me from going under.

As for literary influences in my life, they include Georges Bataille, Nietzsche, Camus, Barthes, Sartre, Hegel, Deleuze, Freud, Deleuze, Sontag, Blake, Beckett, Stanley Donwood, Joyce, László Krasznahorkai, Daphne du Maurier, Baudelaire, Pynchon - off the top of my head. Bataille and Sartre in particular are very present in my what I consider to be my best work (Nightwalk, Hunter, Shadows) but I don’t consciously consider any of these things when making a film. I just “feel” my way through the dark - much like the (visual) content of the films themselves.

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I realise this may come across as being pretentious, but I have made a list of the filmmakers that I most admire, in the order they came from memory: Jean-Claude Rousseau, Béla Tarr & Ágnes Hranitzky, Phil Solomon, Nathaniel Dorsky, Michelangelo Antonioni, Pedro Costa, Pere Portabella, Yoshishige Yoshida, Barbara Meter, Stan Brakhage, Philippe Grandrieux, Sharunas Bartas, Wojciech Wiszniewski, Peter Hutton, Jack Chambers, Franco Piavoli, Jan Jakub Kolski, Maya Deren, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Éric Rohmer, Artavazd Peleshyan, Ingmar Bergman, Veiko Õunpuu, Konstantin Lopushansky, Dimitri Kirsanoff, Jean-Sébastien Nouveau, Jean-Pierre Melville, Zoltán Huszárik, Jean-Luc Godard, Aleksandr Sokurov, Robert Bresson, Marguerite Duras, Wang Bing, Bruce Baillie, Audrius Stronys, Kaneto Shindô, Jan Němec, Chantal Akerman, Andrzej Żuławski, Paweł Łoziński, Mikhail Kalatozov, Jean Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet, Amy Kravitz, Bill Viola, Guy Sherwin, Robert Beavers, Harun Farocki, Florence Pezon, Ben Rivers, Elem Klimov, Lav Diaz, Djordje Kadijevic, Jean Epstein, Raúl Ruiz, Dušan Hanák, Bert Haanstra, Mário Peixoto, Robert Todd, Tengiz Abuladze, Yorgos Lanthimos, Margot Benacerraf, Roy Andersson, Peter von Bagh, Abel Gance, David Gatten, Darezhan Omirbaev, Aleksandr Kajdanovsky, Walter Hugo Kouri, Pierre Perrault, Joris Ivens, František Vláčil, Michael Haneke, Yves Allégret, László Moholy-Nagy, Philippe Garrel, Allain-Robbe Grillet, Sergei Eisenstein, Larry Gottheim, Frans Zwartjes, Harmony Korine, Sava Trifkovic, Marjorie Keller, Grzegorz Królikiewicz, Andrei Tarkovsky, György Fehér, Mário Peixoto, Christian-Jaque, James Benning, Teinosuke Kinugasa, Nicolas Rey, Sara Driver, Piotr Dumala, Devin Horan, Terrence Malick, Wallace Berman, Jonathan Glazer, John Frankenheimer, Sohrab Shahid-Saless, Leighton Pierce, Maurice Pialat, Vitali Kanevsky, Vittorio De Seta, Vojislav Rakonjac, João César Monteiro, Jospeh Cornell, Jean Vigo, Werner Herzog, Bill Morrison, Jan Schmidt, Jean Daniel Pollet, Raymond Salvatore Harmon, Dore O., F.W. Murnau, Frank Borzage, Jacques Tourneur, Ken Jacobs, Jonas Mekas, Aleksandar Petrović, Sergey Loznitsa, Albert Serra, Charlie Chaplin, Jem Cohen, Saul Levine, David Perlov, Georges Franju, Werner Nekes, Miguel Gomes, Alan Clarke, Mike Leigh, Julian Schnabel, Aleksei German, Juraj Herz, Peter Nestler, José Val Del Omar, Martin Arnold, Djibril Diop Mambéty, Krzysztof Kieślowski, Dušan Makavejev, Jesse Richards, Matthew Allen, Mikel Guillen, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, François Truffaut & Sylvain George.

Can you tell me the philosophy behind Remodernist Film Movement and how you incorporate it in your practice?

Well the story of how I got involved in Remodernist film is a very strange one. It was in my first year of university and one of the few good lecturers was discussing different film movements, and he somewhat threw shade on the Dogme 95 movement and said that a more recent movement, Remodernist film, was more interesting. Remodernist film seemed to speak to me very profoundly - what the founder, Jesse Richards talked about: the authenticity, the embracement of nuance and human fallibility, the autodidactic. That was very interesting. Anyway, later that same day, I was in a careers advice meeting, and I saw that I had several Facebook notifications come through on my iPad - and they were from a guy called, “Jesse Richards”. I couldn't believe it. It was uncanny, perhaps even fate. He had found my Facebook page of my paintings and early film work the same day I had learnt about him in university. I messaged him, telling him what a crazy thing this all was, and very quickly we became good friends, and we have worked on several projects together since. I consider him to be an idol of mine, a mentor, and yet he is the most down to earth person you could ever meet. A truly great, great man who has his heart and brain wholly in the right place. I am very interested in autodidactism, wabi-wabi, making yourself vulnerable, the anti-elitist element, the purity and liberation of it all really; the idea that the most perfect image cannot exist, but if it did, it would be imperfect anyway. It’s reassuring and a breath of fresh air. I think those things are littered both in front and behind the camera throughout my filmography.

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Certain melancholia and sadness are always present in your work, how much of it is related to your surroundings? How big nature figures in your work?

It’s related to my inner environment. I try desperately hard to speak from the soul, and for it to never be conceited. I try not to make anything if I don’t have something to say. Like I said previously, I am drawn to the darkness, I feel most comfortable in darkness, and so my films convey that, literally and metaphorically. And I believe in an interconnectedness within the universe, and so what I feel inside, I anthropomorphise and project on to the trees, the water, “the hand”, “the horse” etc. …There is an uncanny semblance of man in the spirit of the horse - the simultaneity of elegance and vulgarity… and also pathos - so I am naturally drawn to that creature in my work.

I also think that people who are self-aware can feel too much, and I am one of them, and so I purposely place myself in a vulnerable position when making films, so hopefully the process will act as a catharsis or nepenthe for what I am experiencing. It is a good way to combat negative feelings, in my experience. Whatever makes you afraid or anxious, just go for it! Hunter was a a very important film for me. I was suffering with very debilitating depression and that film perhaps saved my life. It sounds stupid, but it’s true. It gave me something to live for - just making something kept me occupied, and I poured all my feelings of utter aimlessness into something cohesive. The film itself is a mirror and meta-retrospective of my previous films and my own personal filmmaking praxis, as well as a comment on my own existential anxieties as a person and as an artist... It also mirrors life's evolution. From water, to land, to sky.

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I remember that I had been editing Hunter for a few months - every day, all day (I am a perfectionist when it comes to editing) and I was stuck on the shot of the horse, and I knew that that shot couldn't be the ending. I was frustrated. I didn't know how to end the film. So I went to sit outside in the garden. It was nighttime. I looked up at the stars, which were very clear and bright that night, and then quite suddenly an idea came to me, that gave me a sense of purpose - however tenuous it was: We know that science has proven that we are made of stars. We are literally stardust. And we also know that if we look at the Sun, we are witnessing it in the state it was just over 8 minutes prior to how it is in reality, now - because of how far the light has to travel. And then I thought, is it possible, that we could, on a clear night, look up at the vistas of constellations and see the very star that gave birth to us?; a ghost of our former self? And it gave me a sense of purpose, that perhaps, our only aim in the vastness of time and the universe, is to one day return to the stars that gave birth to us. And it was that thought that made me decide upon the ending of Hunter that you see in the film. I try to turn my melancholy in to something beautiful, but still keep it true. I think that people don't always realise just how vicinal sadness and beauty, or horror and beauty truly are. They are very closely aligned. They can blend into each other.

Polysemy is a big thing for me too with my work, and I encourage it. I think that polysemy is too often regarded as being a weakness rather than a strength in art. Some people seem to think that when a piece of work is interpreted in divergent ways that it says something about the lack of articulation in the artist. I couldn't disagree more. Whilst all my films have very strong personal meanings for me, I embrace multifarious interpretations, and often adopt stream-of-consciousness and intuition in my praxis. To be entirely honest, I have in the past, made an entire film, released it and still not known what it was, or why I did it “that way”. But a few months later, I understand - for me. I love the feeling of being lost when I create, or when I experience art. It permits you to search deeper in to your self. Your feelings know better than your logic. People think too much. We should learn to trust ourselves more. I have a vision – but I am not a dictator, and I don’t wish to assume or force anything. I love that people are able to project their own feelings, searches and life experiences on to my work. One person in particular got into contact with me, to tell me when he watched Hunter, he saw the hand as himself, reaching out for the woman he idolised and loved, whom he felt was always out of reach; she was the beyond: the water, the mountains, the stars. Since then, we have become good friends, and he recently told me that Hunter has inspired him to make a film of his own, to communicate his feelings for/to her. I’ve have been privileged enough to have been contacted by a few people, telling me how my films have changed their life, and even inspired a few of them to pick up a camera and make a film for the first time. You cannot ask for more than that. Hearing from people you have never met, and them sharing these personal feelings with you is ineffable. It makes “whatever-it-is-that-I-am-doing” worthwhile. In a way, I make films out of hope. And hope is a tenuous but underrated thing. It’s one of the most profound and precious of all things.

In my view, the filmmaking process is mine. Once the film is finished it is no longer mine. It is yours; it is anybody’s, and it can be whatever they wish it to be, and whatever suits, pleases, disgusts, angers, or I daresay, helps them. And of course, the creation of a film or any work of art is only the very beginning. It mutates and changes, and lives on in different, brilliantly unique people, within their mind, soul, dreams… under closed eyelids. Simply, it lives… It lives on - isn’t that wonderful?! I would not have it any other way.

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Loved the soundtrack on Polytechnique. Can you tell me your collaboration with Easychord on Polytechnique and how important is music in your artistic endeavor?

Music is a huge influence on my work too. The musician, Grouper (Liz Harris) has perhaps influenced my praxis more than anybody else. It’s that obscuration, the textures, the dark, the ethereality, the mood, and the catharsis that comes from unravelling pain and other emotions in one’s life. I could never thank her enough for what she gave me with her music. Also Radiohead, Portishead, Scott Walker, King Crimson, David Bowie, Neil Young, Ligeti, Penderecki, Death Grips - they are all very “cinematic” artists. They create worlds, characters…atmospheres. The rhythms of my films are based around music too. It is why some of my films are silent, and others are not. You have to feel the rhythm. I want to create “visual music” with my films. For me, cinema - in its purest form - is closer aligned to music and architecture in praxis than any other mediums.

For Polytechnique, I was contacted by Roberto Siguera (Easychord), asking me if I would make a film for some of his new music. It was a pleasant surprise. We had not communicated previously. For a while, we talked about what we were both interested in… I remember James Benning coming up a lot at the time, and before I had the music, I had the impression that Roberto wanted something in a similar vein to my first film, The Ethereal Melancholy of Seeing Horses in the Cold. But when I heard the music he had produced - this wonderful, low-frequency, pulsating echo chamber that resisted the corporeal and the concrete - I realised I couldn't make a film like “…Horses in the cold” for him. The music immediately made me feel like I was listening to my own body, as if I was a microscopic, lost traveller, traversing internal bodily terrain. I had recently been doing some purely recreational research into phenomenological concepts such as prisoners cinema, as well as concepts like astral planes, fundamental entity, and the primordial body (something which has become a huge part of my work as time has gone on), and I realised that the music had this quality to it of being dimensionless, but very present, abstract yet lucid too, so I worked around that when making the film. It took about four months to make, if I remember correctly. We never ever talked about it as a music video. It was always an “audio-visual collaboration”. We were both having fun, but we were serious about the project at the same time. It’s actually one of my favourite pieces of work that I have been involved in. I recently released a blu-ray of my work via my website for sale, and seeing and hearing Polytechnique on blu-ray was a revelation for me. I saw these details, light streaks, textures, and abrasions in the film that I forgot I had put in. It’s also me at perhaps my most abstract. It was an honour for both of us that Polytechnique was hand selected by Kim Kascone (assistant sound director on Twin Peaks) for his Drone music cinema film festival in The Netherlands. It has that dark, drone-like quality, I think. I would love to do another collaboration with Roberto at some point. We discuss it now and again. I’m sure it will happen. It’s just finding the right time, and music, and idea.

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Hunter, Shot entirely on iphone 6 Plus

Hunter is absolutely stunning. Considering it is your more recent work and having seen your (relatively) older work on your vimeo page, I can see the progress/evolution of your style if you will. I feel that there is more stately and formalist approach in Hunter. Even though I take each of your film as its own entity singular piece of work, I'd like to know, as an artist how you yourself perceive the change and your directions with each project.

First of all, thank you. There is certainly a progression there. More rigour (I hope), more attention to detail, but still very much part of the same idea, the minimalism, the nature etc. Perhaps, more than anything, I am just paring back what was there before.

I think I have somewhat distanced myself, and I think Jesse has too - perhaps not consciously - from remodernist film more recently. Remodernist film still exists, but it has changed shape and matured. The remodernist element of my early work was more superficial - more to do with the “look” of the film. I wanted it to “look” autodidactic, amateurish, and nuanced. Hunter is still very much a remodernist film, but it has transpired beyond that into something that can only be found in the cracks, in the dark - if you look for it. The films have become more professional and polished, but the human sensibility, the human searching is still very much present. The abrasion and nuance doesn’t live so much in the actual film’s images anymore, but more so in what the images project in the spectator. The films have become more liminal. They're on the threshold of something. Darkness? The unknown? There’s something mercurial beyond the threshold that I want to make palpable when people watch Hunter and my more recent films… a hidden tension, but a powerful one, perhaps. It’s become much more about the “in-betweenness” for me now. As time has gone on, I understand that “aesthetic” can become a dangerous word, because I’ve realised that great art can only exist when you cannot separate the aesthetic from the form or the substance of the piece. They co-exist, and exist as one. Without the other, the other cannot be. So nowadays, the aesthetics of my films alter from film to film, but that is because they are governed by the substance of the film itself; the idea. They are innate and inseparable; born at the hip, as it were. Some films like Shadows actually change aesthetic, canon, mood, style and form, as the film progresses - because the actuality, context and meaning of the film dictates it so. I am not really in charge - the film is. The film tells me what to do.

How does the new technology figure into your working method? Is it just another way for artists to express themselves or is it necessity in 21st century?

Artists cannot always express everything that they wish, or need to convey in just the one medium. As an example, for me, I write, I paint, I make films, I make music. There are things I can do with film that I cannot do in writing, but at the same time, there are things that I can do in writing that I can’t do in film. That excites me: having a genuine reason to explore a different medium for your expression. That is what is so wonderful about film: it is a bastard. It is a bastardised medium, and so there is more “headroom” as it were to express yourself. I embrace all kinds of tech. I see different types of tech as akin to different mediums. They can be surprisingly independent of each other, depending on how you utilise them. I’ve shot stuff on a 240p camera with a 0.3 megapixel censor, through to an ARRI Alexa. Some of those who have the money to afford expensive kit think that suddenly makes them professional. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s nothing to do with the kit. It’s all about how you choose to use it. And sadly, those people who think it’s all about the kit usually have no creative personality. They are faceless, forgettable, and very boring. The medium and tech you choose should be governed by what you wish to express. And so, no, I don’t think new technology is a necessity - outright. It all depends on what the artist is wishing to express, and what will enable them to have that suitable form of expression. I am really enjoying trying to push the tech of the iPhone at the moment. Hunter was completely shot on an iPhone 6 Plus, and it felt really liberating, going to an iPhone after lugging a heavy ARRI Alexa around on the previous project.

A project I am working on at the moment also features some of my hand-drawn illustrations composited into actual film imagery, so that’s exciting too. I’m just experimenting, and trying to avoid complacency. I embrace digital, but love film too. It’s all great, but they are definitely two separate mediums, and I think that we are only beginning to truly see what makes them different in a formal sense, or to begin to see artists truly utilising the differences of digital to film to achieve something that was unachievable with film. Take James Benning’s Nightfall for instance, or Godard’s Adieu au Language, or Phil Solomon’s Rehearsals for Retirement. These projects are incredibly exciting - because these artists are fully embracing a medium, rather than having one foot in digital and one foot still in film. They have a courageousness and embracement for the new and unknown that most filmmakers lack.

Stills and artwork from Sleep Has Her House:
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Tell me about new projects you are working on.

A few different things. I’m working on what might end up being my first feature, Sleep Has Her House. It plays out very differently to my other work, in a formal sense. It's a very, very slow moving film. 10 minute takes. No camera movement. Only movement within the frame. An observation of the more profound elements of life that we don’t often pay attention to: The wind carrying the clouds across the sky… the light changing over time… animals moving through a scene… the moon being obscured by the clouds… and of course silence!… even nothing! That’s something I want to explore more: what qualities or elements does “nothing” harbour? I want to focus on that particular kind of nothing in my future work.

It is a film that I hope people will give themselves over too, and let it wash over them like an ocean. I embrace the idea of people falling asleep whilst watching it, and waking up later on - without that being a problem. I want it to have that very strong meditative quality. In a sense, it’s my idea of the apocalypse: how I see the world ending. It wouldn’t be violent or fast - not right at the end. People would already be long gone. The last few animals would dwell in the hills, in the fog. The film follows that idea. The animals sense that the end is coming and retreat deep into the forest. They cry out in the dark, as they fade into the black. That’s how it will end. A quiet, slow death. Not explosions or tears. Just a long quiet trill… like an elegy. Perhaps the quiet cry of the last animal, as they fade into the dark… into the ground. That’s all.

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Too Young to Die

I have a very bad attention span, so at any time, I’m working on about half a dozen different films - most that never see the light of day. I like to switch between each project as I work through them, or when I start questioning myself too much - almost like when you stare at or repeat a word for so long that it no longer makes sense somehow. It also helps me improve each piece, as one technique that I use on one film may inspire me to do something that I had not thought of previously on another project that I had hit a creative block on. I’m sure some people will say it’s a terrible creative process, but it seems to work for me. So right now, Too Young to Die is on hold (what originally was going to be my first feature), and Sleep Has Her House is something I’m more focused on - but that might change!! I’m working on about four features right now, simultaneously.

I’ve also just finished a poem for an anthology book to celebrate the legacy of the late David Bowie. It will be published in the next couple of months, and all proceeds go to the charity, Cancer Research UK.

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Closer, shot in 4K, in 1:1 aspect ratio

Hunter is getting a screening at The Museum of Modern Art, Mar del Plata, in Argentina on 12th February, 2016. That is a big deal for me. I started making films just a little over 3 years ago, and to have come to this point where my work is being screened in that sort of environment means more to me than I can eloquently put into words. It was around 2 years ago, that Phil Solomon and I became friends, and I am now screening a film of mine alongside his film, Rehearsals for Retirement (in my view, the most sublime digital film ever made - and one of the most embracing of the digital medium too) at The Museum of Modern Art. I can't really get my head around that, and I have so much to thank Phil for, not least his comradeship of being part of this screening along with the "little fish" like myself.

Please visit Scott Barley's website and support his artistic endeavours. Then go on over to vimeo and check out his work.

Friday, February 5, 2016


Die Macht der Gefühle (1983) - Kluge
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Complex, layered examination of the nature of emotions. With old movie clips, newsreel footage, opera, and a narrative storyline, Alexander Kluge's segmented yet cohesive film reflects upon the relationship between objects of war and materialism and human emotions.

A desk lamp, telephone, torpedo, shotgun or nuts and bolts don't have emotions. But it can affect people emotionally in how it's used. Opera is if not anything, full of amplified emotions. An opera singer is asked that in Act I, he has a glimmer of hope on his face, even though in Act V, everyone knows the tragedy strikes. How can he? He sang in that opera 28 times before, he must know what happens at the end. He replies repeatedly, "I don't know that in Act I."

In a murder trial, a judge is puzzled about the case of a woman who shot her husband. She insists that it was an accident, even though her husband had an incestuous relationship with their daughter. Her lack of emotion doesn't make sense logically to the judge. A woman who was dumped by her lover and heart broken, attempts suicide by swallowing pills, a man sees the unconscious woman and revives her then rapes her. He is both a rescuer and assailant. The woman, who was unconscious at the time, forgives the man because she was not emotionally involved in the act.

Kluge's examination of German war past is also there - in order to heal the wound, you have to first remove the scab and treat it. The images associated with German romanticism are often juxtaposed with war footage. Fire takes central role too in linking many of philosophical musings presented here. Repeated old song about impermanence of love and unusual camera angles on an opera stage and spyglass vision of many scenes, remind you of fleeting and subjective nature of emotions.

Then the last 1/3 of the film jumps over to a crime story involving an attractive and young gang of four. They are somehow involved in diamond heist, near murder and revival of a foreign man and crossing the border. Loosely related to the theme of the film and not, the narrative is nonetheless an absorbing one.

Godard's influence on Kluge is very evident in Die Macht der Gefühle/Power of Emotion. But Kluge holds his own. His less on the nose about his contemplation of war and history than his idol. His visual sense is just as sharp as Godard's but yet different. I am very much eager to explore Kluge's other films.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Subtle, Masterful Satire

La Ciénaga (2001) - Martel
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Compared to bombastic, unsubtle satires and social commentaries that we are used to, Lucrecia Martel puts some perspectives on how they should be done, masterfully in La Ciénaga (The Swamp). Taking place in the decaying manor in the jungle in one unbearably hot and sticky Summer in Argentina, the film illustrates the murky underbelly of bourgeoisie without delving into surrealism or making caricatures out of characters. Mecha (Graciela Borges) is seen sunbathing while drunk along with the rest of the inebriated grownups of the house by the pool side. After demanding ice cubes for her wine, she slowly rises in her stupor, tries to collect filthy wine glasses, drops them, falls on top of the shards. The rest of the family are not much better. The emasculated, husband keeps dying his hair and staining the sheets, the 15 year old Momi (Sofia Bertoloto) is obsessed with the pretty native housemaid Isabel (Andrea Lopez), the older daughter Vero (Leonora Balcarce) flirts with her ne're-do-well grown up brother José, who's living with a much older family friend, Mercedes in Buenos Aires, visiting after Mecha's fall and doesn't seem to have problem jumping in mother's bed for a cuddle. Young Joaquin lost one of his eyes while horsing around in the jungle with other boys.

Tali (Mecedes Moran), concerned cousin of Mecha shows up with her family (a grumbling husband, 3 girls and one boy who figure largely into the story later on), not only to check on her cousin but also use the pool for kids who are bored out of their minds. The said pool, neglected and not cleaned for years, is filthy, murky grey disease breeding ground. Isabel warns Momi not to go in there- she might catch something terrible. The contempt for native population is totally out in the open from Mecha down to Joaquin, casually calling them savages and accuse Isabel of constantly stealing towels. With TV always in the background, everyone, across the social strata, is drawn in by the news of appearance of Virgin Mary on top of a cement tower.

With amazing array of characters and richly contrasting social stratification not only in a familial but geographical and cultural, La Ciénaga is a complex examination of a society still steeped in colonial legacy and religion.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Can't Sleep? Drive to an Airport, See What Happens

Into the Night (1985) - Landis
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Average schulb Ed (Jeff Goldblum) has a bad case of insomnia. After finding out his wife is cheating on him, he aimlessly drives to LAX one night. There he rescues, Diana (Michelle Pfeiffer), a damsel in distress, and dove right into whole lotta trouble. Like many 80s movies, Into the Night boasts completely overblown plot so unnecessarily intricate and wordy yet mercilessly unexpositional- it's almost charming. It involves some Iranian imperial emeralds smuggling (up in Pfeiffer's tight butt) and Iranian Gestapos (including director John Landis doing Marx Bros routine as one in a quartet of bumbling idiot goons) and other interested parties. It also features David Bowie as a contract killer type, and flurry of other director cameo appearances - Roger Vadim, Paul Mazursky, Johnathan Demme, etc.

Whatever happened to Michelle Pfeiffer? She is so luminous in Into the Night. She looks mighty foxy in her little red leather jacket and tight jeans. The movie is much a do about nothing but has a goofy, screwball comedy charm in the backdrop of 80s excess.

OK Computer

Unfriended (2014) - Gabriadze
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Finally a legit horror movie for the internet age, commenting on cyber bullying and inanity of private teen lives in America. Forget about some serial killer stalking attractive teens in the woods. It is just as nightmarish for these kids whose sole communication system is taken over by some vengeful, omnipresent computer hack! You don't care for any of these attractive teens if they will each die a horrible death or not. So all the cryin and hollerin and emotional fireworks these kids display on their own corner of skype boxes are for naught. Levan Gabriadze fully takes advantage of lack of details in internet communication to amp up the tension and fuzzy up the logic and it works mostly. Unfriended has no chance of aging gracefully, but I bet they spent as much money on the whole movie as they did for a pair of Keanu's sunglasses in Matrix.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Life is but a waking dream

Cemetery of Splendour (2015) - Weerasethakul
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A former school-turned-hospital in Kon Kaen is the main setting for Cemetery of Splendour. A group of soldiers suffer from sleep disorder where they sleep most of the time, each hooked up to a glowing, color changing apparatus which gives you good dreams ("American soldiers used it in Afghanistan"). These giant glowing sticks stand out in a tropical setting like black monolith in 2001. But they are also pretty and give colorful glows, cinematically speaking. A middle aged local volunteer woman, Jen, takes care of a handsome soldier Itt who's suffering from the illness. They are played by Joe's regular, Jenjira Pongpas and Banlop Lomnoi. According to the young medium Keng (another Joe regular, Jarinpattra Rueangram), the ground the hospital is sitting on used to be a cemetery of ancient kings and they are harnessing the souls of these soldiers to fight for them when they are asleep.

Jen and Itt talk when he's awake. They talk about Jen's American husband whom she met on the internet, Itt's desire to leave the army and set up a Taiwanese style mooncake shop, etc. There are the usual, unsubtle yet natural eroticism and scenes of other ordinary bodily functions in Cemetery that you've seen in Joe's other films. They very naturally fit in to the gentle rhythm of the film. If the recent political unrest of the country is addressed in any way in Cemetery, it's regarded, blended within the universe Joe creates - the collective coma of the soldiers, unexplained digging of earth, some hushed government conspiracy theories uttered by characters. But the film feels more personal- like all his films, the film takes place in Isan province, Northwest of Thailand where the director grew up. And like his other films, Cemetery is infused with his memories of the place and myths and legends he grew up with.

'Life is but a waking dream' is much more pronounced in this film than any other weerasethakul films. But he also acknowledges a certain melancholy in resisting to let go earthly desires. Not as boisterous (for Weerasethakul standards) as Uncle Boonmee, but just as touching and beautiful, Cemetery of Splendour doesn't disappoint.

Thursday, January 21, 2016


Crystal World (2013) - Borg
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Taking cues from Laughton's Night of the Hunter and JG Ballard, Pia Borg creates breathtakingly beautiful short, combining the iconic underwater death scene from the said movie and stop motion sequences. Plays part of First Look at MoMI.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Popularity is a slutty little cousin of prestige

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) - Iñárritu
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A movie as a spectacle, Birdman is a virtuosic experience - technically brilliant and much more sophisticated than action hero franchises it makes fun of. But at the same time, the whole premise is as light as a feather, its comments on Hollywood and its narcissistic actors are emotionally and intellectually hollow. As much as I love Michael Keaton, who commands most of the screen time, his Keatonness is buried deep in meta-ness of the film premise and so never gets to shine. It's as if he is going through the routine of a hamster in a cage, just like the film's universe - one block radius möbius strip trip from and to an unnamed Manhattan theater in the Theater District near Times Square.

Ed Norton gets to play the more interesting part as Mike, a Brando-esque nihilistic actor who comes in to the troupe the day before the theater opens for the preview. Yet he is not written as a one dimensional character, so as other characters. There is much humanity to be found in characters and everyone's terrific acting-wise, from Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Amy Ryan, Andrea Riseborough, Lindsay Duncan to even Zach Galifianakis. But there is not enough time to explore them all. Birdman wants to be many things- it wants to be a Robert Altman film (Raymond Carver connection too obvious?), but only half-heartedly. It never succeeds as those it aims for. It's a fun film that never stops. But it's not a great film.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Back from the Dead

The Revenant (2015) - Iñárritu
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In the tradition of ambitious, bravura, excessive filmmaking, Alejandro G. Iñárritu goes there with The Revenant and achieves Apocalypse Now and Fitzcarraldo worthy greatness. It's an unsentimental, relentlessly brutal, macho filmmaking that will undoubtedly turn a lot of viewers off. But I loved it. It concerns fur trapper/guide Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) leading a cavalry of men in felt business to safety through the snowy and hostile western territory in 1800s. Because Glass has a half-breed, teenage Pawnee Indian son named Hawk and the group reeling after a vicious large scale Indian attack, the tension rises among the crew, especially from Fitzerald (Tom Hardy) an unsavory character who'd fuck over anyone standing in his way and his share of the profit. After the horrendous bear attack that leaves Glass almost dead, the captain of the cavalry (Domhnal Gleeson) orders (with the promise of large rewards) Fitzerald and young Bridger (Will Poulter) to care for Glass and Hawk and give Glass a proper Christian burial when the time comes, and leaves them behind to catch up later.

For the next two hours, The Revenant becomes a harrowing tale of survival and a revenge story. It's an amazing feat for DiCaprio, finally shedding all remnants of youth for the first time in my eyes, crawls the snowy earth, then dove right into the freezing roiling water, eats raw meat and fish, trek and climb the snowy Rockies with his bare hands. He is a live-action Wiley Coyote - he gets mauled, buried alive, almost drowned, thrown off the cliff, and so on and so on. He even uses a dead horse as a shelter, Empire Strikes Back style. Tom Hardy is perfect as a villain with his shifty gaze and mumbling.

Emmanuel Lubezki's only natural lit cinematography doesn't really chart anything new here, but the look and feel of The Revenant is polar opposite from Malick's The New World. And I am very glad that I decided to see the film in theaters. There are some blissfully beautiful shots in Glass's flashbacks/dreams of his dead Indian wife floating over him, but most of the time, the film is all dirt, mud, snot, wet felt and blood. And in its own way, it's spectacularly beautiful.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Topography of Flesh

Meurtrière (2015) - Grandrieux
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The second part of what Grandrieux conceived as trilogy (starting with White Epilepsy in 2012 and planned Unrest), Meurtrière/Murderess is another mesmerizing vertical mobile phone shot experiment. Your eyes gradually recognize human form in criminally underexposed images- the curvatures, concaves, female sex as they move in slow-mo. Distorted, muffled sound crawls to accompany tangle of naked bodies.

It's Caravaggio meets Munch meets Bacon. Slowwww cross-fades add another dimension to it, creating layers of flesh and movement on top of each other. The vertical canvas Grandrieux paints with these trained dancers as they gyrate, falling on top of one another, their light and dark skins contrast and accompany in graceful slow motion is quite intoxicating. Even though it is supposed to evoke or be about "anxiety", watching Meurtrière with all the lights off and plugged in is a beautiful, hypnotic experience.

Meurtrière plays part of First Look 2016 at Museum of Moving Image on 1/24. It is preceded by two shorts, Jet Lag and Lenz Elegy. Please visit MoMI website for more information.

Infidelity is an Equal Opportunity Offender

In the Shadow of Women (2015) - Garrel
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Philip Garrel, known for making films about deeply self-reflexive romantic entanglements since the late 60s, is at it again with In the Shadows of Women. Infidelity, art, improvisation, one-take scenes, shot in monochrome on film & natural settings have been Garrel's MO and although his new film certainly encompasses all those elements, it seems much more concise and less ambiguous and melancholic than his other films, thanks to its script.

What's different here is his emphasis on looking love and romance from female perspective. Famed screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière (Discreet Charm of Bourgeoisie, Tin Drum, Every Man for Himself, Birth) joined in with Garrel's regular writing partners - Caroline Deruas and Arlette Langman to write a script that represents the female point of view, as the title suggests. The result is another slight yet delicious, nuanced psychological drama.

Pierre (Stanislas Merhar of many Chantal Akerman films) and Manon (Clotilde Courau) are middle aged, poor documenatary filmmaker couple- Pierre directing and Manon Assisting. Manon has been completely devoted to her husband's artistic endeavor and believes in his talent. He is working on a documentary about resistance fighters during WW2, interviewing survivors who may or may not be real heros. The matter of fact narration reiterate the fact that Manon is living in her husband's shadows. Pierre is an introspective, thoughtful man but who can be totally aloof and blind on other life matters, especially when it comes to Manon's needs. He starts an affair with Elisabeth (Lena Paugam),an attractive intern at a film archive. And things get a bit complicated when Elisabeth starts spying on the couple and discovers that Manon is being unfaithful to Pierre as well. Pierre, justifying his infidelity to himself as 'male archetype thing to do', can't accept the fact that his wife's cheating on him.

There is nothing remarkable about In the Shadows of Women's premise. But it is interesting to see Garrel not using his hunky son (Louis Garrel) and other attractive young actresses to portray lovers in distress but enlisting older actors to play same romantic predicaments, illustrating that no matter what your age is, love and romance can make fool of yourself. And except the presence of cell phones, the film could easily be taking place in the 60s.

Merhar, who hasn't aged a bit in the last 20 years and still possesses naiveté and thoughtfulness in his eyes, is perfect for the role of Pierre. He assumes the difficult role of a man who is confused when his masculinity he took for granted and his idea of women's roles in society has turned upside down. Courau is beguiling as a frustrated wife of an underachiever looking for happiness in her life. Paugam's unassuming beauty and intelligence suit the role of Elisabeth very well and in tune with Garrel heroines. Even though the film centers around Pierre, In the Shadow of Women ultimately belongs to Cortilde, as she realizes the folly of 'men', thanks to a very well balanced script.

In the Shadow of Women might not be Garrel's best film, but it's good to see him quietly charting new territories in his ever so small, highly out of fashion, romantic entanglement oeuvre and I applaud him for it.

In the Shadow of Women opens theatrically on 1/15 in New York, other cities will follow. Please visit Distrib Films website for more info

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Forever Romantic

Jealousy (2013) - Garrel
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It starts with a break up. Louis (Louis Garrel) leaves his wife and their young daughter for another woman Claudia (Anna Mouglalis). Louis and Claudia are both struggling actors. He thinks moody Claudia is the one that he truly loves and reject all the other advances that are put on him. He is committed. But she isn't happy and their poverty is crushing her spirit. Holed up in their small attic apartment and without a job, Claudia secretly looks for a better man who can provide for her.

Delicately balanced and beautifully put together, Garrel's slight, 77 minute effort is very much akin to old black and white romance of French New Wave of the 60s. There are hardly any coverages, most scenes are shot on a single take and life-like. Garrel, a forever romantic, has never moved on like his contemporaries but has faithfully stuck in his brand of self reflexive filmmaking with his trusty actors who are all very on point.Louis Garrel reminds you of more handsome Jean-Pierre Leaud, sexy, I-just-smoked-10,000-cigarettes Mouglalis is great as a man-eater (yet not a caricature) and Olga Milshtein as Charlotte, Louis's daughter firmly anchors Jealousy in real-life realm. It's a delicious stuff.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Get Your New Year's Cinephilia on with MoMI's First Look 2016

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Starting this Friday and running for three consecutive weekends (1/8-1/24), in their beautiful state of the art theater in Queens, Astoria, the Museum of Moving Image's First Look Film Festival is fast becoming a new New York institution for many film aficionados. Selecting its roster from cinema's most cutting edge filmmakers, the 5th edition of First Look opens with the US premiere of Alexandr Sokurov's new film Francofonia.

Switching gears a bit this year with guest programmers such as Jean-Pierre Rehm of FIDMarseille, and Aliza Ma of Metrograph and Mónica Savirón, along with chief curator David Schwartz, this year's eclectic roster is heavy on the experimental/avant-garde/documentary.

It includes renowned experimental filmmaker Ken Jacobs' new films in 3D, Canadian video artist Dominic Gagnon's youtube culled Inuit epic Of the North, artist Margaret Honda's 70mm silent film Spectrum Reverse Spectrum, short films of Austrian visual artist Björn Kämmerer and Philippe Grandrieux's new film, Meurtrière (his continued exploration of bodies which started with White Epilepsy).

Then there are behind-the-scenes documentaries from Léa Rinaldi (This is What It Is- about Los Aldeanos, the most popular hip-hop group in Cuba, Traveling at Night with Jim Jarmusch and Behind Jim Jarmusch), a documentary on João Bérnard da Costa, a director of the Portuguese Film Museum in conjunction with Nicholas Ray's Johnny Guitar.

Here is how chief curator David Schwartz describes this year's edition in the press release:

This year's edition is a true cinephile's feast, filled with works that reflect on the medium itself, that urge us to reconsider our intimate connection to the ways that we experience cinema. as always, the films in First Look cannot be easily defined. They are artisan works, expressing distinct personal visions, with a strong emphasis this year on avant-garde cinema. To engage in the new possibilties of an art form is also to engage with the past, and this edition of First Look contains an ongoing dialogue with film history, with a selection of older works in dialogue withthe many premieres.

Twitch's own Christopher Bourne will be reporting on some of these selections in a short while, so keep a look out.

First Run Film Festival 2016 runs 1/8 to 1/24 at Museum of Moving Image. Please visit MoMI website for further information and showtimes.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Night Hunting

Hunter (2015) - Barley
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It's inspirational. A short film shot entirely on iphone by artist Scott Barley. The pitch dark night time photography barely sketches out the outlines of the scapes and objects. Barley's on par with Grandrieux to chart the unknown visual sensory territory here. Sound is just as immersive - the constant running of mountain stream. Barley then blends his images with computer generated aurora to top it off at the end. marvelous stuff.