Main Articles

Featured pieces on different film subjects.

A SLOW ARTIST?: THE QUINCE TREE SUN BY VICTOR ERICE AND ANTONIO LOPEZ GARCIA

A SLOW ARTIST?: THE QUINCE TREE SUN BY VICTOR ERICE AND ANTONIO LOPEZ GARCIA

By Vica Smirnova

As with Antonio López Garcia, who follows nature, Victor Erice creates a palimpsest of times, or, rather, of traces of their presence, insisting on conventionality of end and beginning. In the end the camera, which for a long time shared a place with the artist, is left in solitude. Different mediums will create a semblance of finality; of something that doesn’t finish or, on the contrary, finishes in every moment of painting and filming.

ON LAB LABA LABA (SPIDER LAB) AND THE PLAYFUL REINCARNATION OF THE PROPAGANDA FILMS OF NEW ORDER ERA INDONESIA

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By Lauren Bliss*

In early 2015, the Indonesian experimental film co-operative Lab laba laba (Spider Lab) restored for exhibition a large number of propaganda films that had been produced in the abandoned film studios of the State Production Film Centre (PFN) in Jakarta. Having been left to the elements for nearly 12 years, the PFN was once the central film production house of New-Order era Indonesia.

GOD’S LEFT INDEX FINGER: ON JONATHAN DEMME’S “THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS”

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By Victor Bruno

Over the last few months—starting with the release of Ricki and the Flash (2015) on home video—I developed an interest in Jonathan Demme’s cinema. As I watched his films, I developed a few ideas and scratched some notes on them about his ideas, interests and general style. That, by coincidence, happened to coincide with shifts on ideas of my own. Some of these notes were abbreviated and became my entry on MUBI’s Notebook fantasy double-feature pool.

EDWARD HOPPER: THE MIRROR EFFECT

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By Vica Smirnova

Since the 1930s Hopper has been quoted endlessly: De Mille and Siodmak, Hitchcock and Lynch. Hopper’s infinite stylizations reproduced the same effect of subtraction of the human, priority of space over its character. In his Victorian cottages, deserted cafes and hotels, a character was present only to point out his own insignificance. Hopper invented an absent America, and having fallen in love with its own reflection, it forgot about the author, as if this landscape had materialized out of thin air and had existed from the start.

BERTOLUCCI’S “FAKE OPHELIA”

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By Luke Scerri

It is an unfortunate undeniable occurrence that in film criticism, the importance of the musical contribution to the transformation of the art form is quite often overlooked, or underestimated because of several other factors that seem to strike the viewer at first glance. Bertolucci’s Last Tango In Paris is certainly no exception.

ABOUT “JE M’APPELLE HMMM… “

Je m'appelle Hmmm...

By Claudia Siefen
In all this passivity, ignorance and awkwardness wrapped up in cotton wool, Céline (Lou-Lelia Demerliac) is such a strong character almost inappropriate for a child. The camera and framing (Jean-Philippe Bouyer) stays close to the protagonists that you literally feel the cramped confines. Here the so called grown up world means not to mention certain things, to play the game of not talking.

THE WRECKAGE OF MEMORY: NOTES ON KENJI ONISHI

Ginnamari-ga-Bericht Verband Vertreter Onishi Kenji 2012

By Claudia Siefen

Onishi Kenji was born in 1973 in Mie Prefecture, located on the biggest japanese island of Honsh. He began making films with a second-hand 8mm camera, which he obtained during his high school days. In 1995 he founded the filmmaking group “Cinema Train” in Tokyo, a company that distributes films by young Japanese filmmakers and screens underground and avant-garde work from overseas. Here the filmmakers are invited and also united for the individual expression and a desire for a space to share their ideas. In 2007 Onishi worked as a cinematographer for Oguchi Yoko’s Real Access Discommunication. Onishi has made more than 100 films since 1990, ranging from Super-8 studies of light to full-length features filled with drugs and violence. I will be introducing some of them here, brought together on his DVD collection “Selected Works Of Kenji Onishi“.

CAN’T GET ENOUGH ARYAN KAGANOF

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by Tanner Tafelski

Born Ian Kerkhof in 1964, the filmmaker changed his name to Aryan Kaganof in 1999, when he discovered who his actual father was. Kaganof grew up in Johannesburg, specifically Yeoville, a neighborhood once toted as an area where black and white people lived in harmony during apartheid.

CONDEMNATIONS AND ATTACKS: THE ANGRILY ANESTHETIZED WORLD OF CASA GRANDE

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By Victor Bruno

Casa Grande follow the path opened by Kleber Mendonça Filho’s Neighboring Sounds: it is an arrogant and resentful work disguised as sociological essay made by an individual that, coming from the exact place where the film takes place (literally, since Fellipe Barbosa, the director, lived in the same house that acts as stage for much of this picture and studied in the same school, the Colégio São Bento, in Rio de Janeiro, as does his star), intents to attack by all means the place where he was born, grew up and lives today. Not satisfied, the film also attacks the people who are from there, too. And for Barbosa there is an aggravating: one of his targets is his own family.

THE POST-PHOTOGRAPHIC IN 1951: A SECRET HISTORY

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By Adrian Martin

In this text by Isou, the term ‘post-photographic’ appears often – and prophetically. And let us take in the shock of this context: Isou wrote this smack in-between the publication of André Bazin’s endlessly anthologised “Ontology of the Photographic Image” essay in 1945 and the birth of Cahiers du cinéma magazine in 1951. Bazin, even though we take him today to be the absolute defining point of mid-century European film theory, does not even rate a mention from Isou, even as an enemy to be vanquished. Yet there is no doubt that Isou sought to wipe away most of what preceded him, as well as much that would follow him. Indeed, his proposal is still a radical manifesto waiting to be fully actualised. At the very least, we should do Isou the favour of reading “Aesthetic of Cinema”, since its untimely time may well have finally come in the 21st century.

FRAMING ALTERNATE REALITIES: THREE CONVERSATIONS

Misery - Edda Schönherz

Filmmakers and artists who use elements of documentary filmmaking in their work – individually, and as a community – pride themselves on being adept at traversing across underground sectors that are still largely perceived as taboo to the general society in one way or another. Usually this has something to do with sex, but not always. While some of us might fancy that we’re more sophisticated and open-minded than most, we all have our distinctive no-fly zones.

A CONVERSATION: VERTICAL CINEMA

Vexed (2012). Courtesy Telcosystems.

Julian Ross, Staff Writer at Desistfilm, sat down with two members of Sonic Acts, Lucas van der Velden and Gideon Kiers, to discuss screen formats, scale and the limitations they seek to conquer curating moving image media. The conversation continued with Japanese filmmaker Takashi Makino, with whom Lucas and Gideon collaborated for the film Deorbit (2013) as members of the Dutch media art group Telcosystems.