Currently obsessed

with Terrence Malick’s movies. Just watched Tree of Life and now want to see the rest of his work.

This started not long ago with Days of Heaven, which is magnificent. As is the lovely Sam Shepard seen above. More soon.

On the cinematography of Days of Heaven (1978)]
“With Néstor Almendros, we decided to film without any artificial light. It wasn’t possible in the houses at night, but outside, we shot with natural light or with the fire. When the American team was saying, ‘This is not how we should proceed,’ Nestor Almendros, very courageously insisted. As we filmed, the team discovered that it was technically easier, and I was able to capture absolute reality. That was my wish: to prevent the appearance of any technique, and that the photography was to be processed to be visually beautiful and to ensure this beauty existed within the world I was trying to show, suggesting that which was lost, or what we were now losing.” – Terrence Malick


How they F#&%! You Up…


After a year of doing tiny, tight work (which I am actually taking a breather from right now) I finally have the impulse to return to living in the world of oil painting. I miss it and realize I probably need a bigger space to work in, if this is to come to fruition. I am also sure as with many people who work in a cyclical nature, I feel myself returning to work that I was thematically dealing with almost a decade ago…subject matter that was a lot more personal and psycholgically potent. So we hope.

This is the stuff I was dealing with around ‘98. There was one painting in particular (below), now destroyed out of impatience that related to a copy of Granta I had carried around with me for years. The thesis for the issue: The Family, They Fuck You Up. I think then I harbored this as a personal anthem. Yet time and perhaps age does give you a little wisdom. Now I really ask, is there an American on this planet who doesn’t claim this almost like a badge of honor? I thought of this last night as I was watching The Squid and the Whale. Is there a way to get at this subject matter with out being completely self absorbed? There has to be.

How about cyclical postings?

Being Gustav Klimt


I loved Being John Malkovich, although Malkovich himself I find hard to stomach sometimes (obviously the point of BJM).
I truly love Gustav Klimt’s work, although the poster industry has done a pretty good job of ruining him by sanctioning far too many dorm rooms with The Kiss.

But Malkovich as Klimt, I might not be able to suspend reality long enough. At least they are filming in Vienna. I guess I am coming to this party late as I see now the news about a Klimt movie has been hatched since July 07, 2004 (according to SurfWax).
Film synopsis: A portrait of Austrian artist Gustav Klimt (Malkovich) whose lavish, sexual paintings came to symbolize the art nouveau style of the late 19th and early 20th century.

Footnote– Malkovich is also starring in this year in Art School Confidential, coming to you from the Ghostworld team of Daniel Clowes/Terry Zwigoff.
Film synopsis: Convinced that art school will put him on the path to fame, Jerome (Minghella) must come to terms with his anemic talent, as he watches the girl of his dreams fall in love with another student. Then, strangely, he’s arrested as a suspected murderer – only to discover that crime might actually pay.

PS. Pretty funny Metafilter exhange on Klimt including the dorm room reference I was praying for and and a tip off to the book The Painted Kiss (a genre of books I have resisted so far).

Annotated super footnote, I guess I’m on a roll here. ..I saw an amazing exhibit in 1997 in Amsterdam called Wenen 1900: Portret en interieur that literally gave me goose bumps. Two flights down (this was at the Van Gogh Museum) I had been windy winding my way around the huge crowds out to see Van Gogh, as always- hard. Upon entering the top floor though I found this showcase of Vienna Secession artists , forgetting my irritation as I was literally blown away. There were KlimtsSchielesKokoschkas and many of the not so well knowns such as: MollGerstl,Boeckl.
I have the catalogue which is the only reason my memory is serving me so well at the moment; unfortunately it is in Dutch, which in the last 8 years I have failed to learn. The decorative arts in the exhibit were additionally to die for. A wonderful sense of design went into everything from the mustard pot to your door handle. I’m really such a sucker for this whole era.
When I visited the Neue Gallery in NYC for the first time and saw more art from this same period (including an entire room of Schiele drawings) I had almost the same reaction. I’m sure this has been on my mind lately after reading Roberta of artblog’s posting about her recent visit there. It’s quite the gem of a place if you have any interest in German or Austrian modern art. I would link to their website but it appears to have disappeared.

May 25, 2001

A salute to American originals- George and Mike Kuchar


Sins of the Fleshapoids?
(user comments: All time worst,worse that Plan 9 from Outer Spacesic)

What,you ask(?)Who are these twin brothers,filmmakers, that are so independent you can’t even find their stuff on video? So influential they foreshadowed an army of underground filmmakers including John Waters, Andy Warhol and David Lynch? How is it so with films from the 60’s titled:The Mammal Palace, I Was a Teenage Rumpot,Hold Me While I’m Naked and Color Me Shameless that they are still virtually unknown? It seems a veritable outrage that the general public can not taste the beauty of their cinematic visions.

(Bring back the Kuchars!)

Lucky enough, I had the chance to catch some of their films at a marathon screening some years ago at the American Museum of the Moving Image. I was blown away by their outrageousness (as good as any John Waters offering!),and bizarre resourcefulness considering most of their earlier films were shot in 8mm and 16 mm on the roofs and streets of the Bronx. Casting themselves and fellow acquaintances as stars, they have left behind a still growing legacy of experimental and avant films. My favorite fact is they are totally into cost effectiveness. Still.

*            *           *

Read an insightful interview featuring both Kuchar’s…on their techniques,their philosophies and musings about their stars.
(From: Essential Cinema:Journal of Independent Film)

(a quick excerpt below,here’s the full entertainment)

George: People are desperate to show their pictures. And there ain’t that many showcases anymore. They don’t know what to do. Horrible.

Mike: What about festivals?

George: You have to pay to get your film rejected.

Mike: I could never understand paying sixteen or twenty dollars to get rejected, can you?

George: It’s humiliating.

Mike: I never ever did that. I know some people who pay to enter their film and they say, ‘Sorry, we don’t want it.’.

Marc: Have you ever taken a film class?

Mike: No.

George: No, you buy those little books.

Marc: You teach film class.

George: Oh yeah, I’ve been teaching twenty-one years. I’m teaching film class with a video camera now. [laughter].

Marc: Is that ethical?

George: You know what it is, it’s like the name of the class now is, AC/DC Psychotronic Teleplays and we use anything that moves. We grab all the cameras they have. Still cameras are welcome, even if students bring in Polaroid’s.

An extensive history: The Day The Bronx Invaded Earth.
(From:Bright Lights Film Journal)

*            *           *

A peep from the underground- John Waters’ introduction to their book:REFLECTIONS FROM A CINEMATIC CESSPOOL

May 20, 2001


We can accept the unintelligibility of the world, because in the end it is good. It’s good to be alive. The world is happy. We can open the refrigerator and drink a whole liter of orange juice right out of the carton. How delicious is that!
-Adélia Prado

Awhile back (I think more than a year ago)Bomb Magazine published an interview with Brazilian writer ADÉLIA PRADO, which has haunted me for some time now. Recently I have been frantically looking all over my apartment for this said back issue, and I can’t locate it anywhere.

All is fine though,unbeknownst to myself Bomb has kept its magazine on-line and the archives are plentiful.
I do not know much about Adélia outside what I had read in this article,but her approach to her writing is so lacking in pretense,strangely optimistic and full of humility I have been dying for English translations of her work to surface.

I did find Portuguese sites that contain tributes to her writing. Unfortunately, while it’s truly lucky for all of us now that search engines will run translations for you, I’m afraid as they say, a lot gets lost…. I am wary any eloquentness that might be emptied out of the writing. Fortunately Ellen Watson who sought Adélia out for this article has become the English translator of some her poetry. A book titled:The Alphabet In the Park has been published(edit:which I will undoubtedly be seeking out).

At any rate, this is a wonderful interview between two writers. One reason I felt compelled to seek Adélia Prado out again was by the concise tone she speaks in:

“My concern, my obligation is to reproduce the emotion as faithfully as possible. So I write a poem, and then I read it and say, No,that’s wrong, and then I cut it.

A word of caution for your patience. The Bombsite,bless them,loads rather slowly sometimes, but I recommend sticking with it because I think this is one of those gems.

A little FYI, Bomb’s current issue is up now too and there is a great interview with Wong Kar-wai, whose movie In the Mood For Love, was one of the lovelier cinematic experiences I have had this year.

PS Bomb is also responsible for the discovery of another one of my favorite authors, Jenny Diski, but I will save that for another time.