Main Articles

Featured pieces on different film subjects.

CONDEMNATIONS AND ATTACKS: THE ANGRILY ANESTHETIZED WORLD OF CASA GRANDE

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

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

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

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.

PAUL’S MOVIE: MIXED BLOOD

By Joe McElhaney

While I do not wish to make a case that Morrissey is a filmmaker on the same level as Warhol, and remaining mindful of major differences between these two artists, Morrissey’s work is nevertheless of some importance and demands to be reckoned with. Few of his films offer possibilities for such a reckoning as Mixed Blood and for reasons very much bound up with the historical moment in which the film was made.

ABJECT SPECTACLE: WETLANDS

By Lauren Bliss

Wetlands lets the abject speak for the body. A film based on the best-selling autobiography of the same title by Charlotte Roche, it tells the coming-of-age of Helen (Carla Juri) who (in her words) makes her genitals a ‘living experiment’. Believing that the world is too obsessed with hygiene, Helen undertakes a series of grotesque encounters, in public toilets, with random strangers, and with foreign objects (vegetables). Much of the film is comprised of her placing her fingers into her various orifices and tasting whatever comes out. The pure disgust is slicked over with a pop sensibility, this is clearly a film marketed to teenage girls (if Bend It Like Beckham with a major case of gastro-enteritis can possibly provide a new angle into the heavily saturated teen movie market). Helen’s wayward, pubescent journey from childhood into the adult unknown is explored through a commercial aesthetic, the film’s rapid cuts, use of pop music, and heavily scripted one-liners forming a glossy ensemble that ensure cult potential.

PETER WHITEHEAD: REVOLUTION, REVELATION – PINK FLOYD LONDON 1966-1967

By Lu Juejing

Initially led by guitarist Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd is one of the most popular band of the London underground psychedelic scene. It is famous for being one of the first to use the psychedelic strobe lights screened during their concerts. The dramatization of their performances combine spectacular visual effects and music during the entire performance. They often play live at the UFO Club, which is the most prestigious club of the moment for the musical scene in London. They are also invited to “The 14 Hour Technicolor Dream” in 1967 at the Alexandra Palace of London, with many other artists (such as Yoko Ono, Mick Horovitz, Alex Trocchi, the dancer David Medalla and his band The Exploding Galaxy Dance Troupe, etc…) as well as many other psychedelic shows.

SHAKING TRACKS: THE DOCUMENTARY WAYS IN THE WORK OF KORE-EDA HIROKAZU

By Claudia Siefen

From his early works he adopted the aesthetics of the unobserved, the genuine. In these actions that appeared to be natural Kore-eda brought his observations to the boiler, every movement and every word, sharpening the vision of the eye for the film setting at the same time. But he also is constantly questioning everything we are shown on the big screen. Because everything that we see is only “everything“ that the director allows us to see. There is a blankspace between everything that is shown and the observation itself.

ROCKING THE HORSE: A FEW NOTES ON THE EARLY WORK OF RENÉ CLAIR

By Claudia Siefen

René Clair and his films; that means funny animals in charge of vehicles or clothing, crowds as group characters in funeral processions, our beloved street singers and workers at a factory. Singing street crowds in general, but also people escaping sleep, getting away again from work and, very handy, some beautiful folded paper.

THE TURNING POINT: GEORGE ROMERO’S LAND OF THE DEAD

By Adrian Martin

Land of the Dead (2005) is, at every moment, a jaw-droppingly audacious film. In fact, it is Karl Marx’s Capital on the multiplex screen. George Romero’s anti-Bush (indeed, anti-American) rhetoric is fearless and unrelenting: the embodiment of evil capitalism, Kaufman (Dennis Hopper), announces, “We don’t negotiate with terrorists”; and his opponent, the heavily ethnic Cholo (John Leguizamo), later responds with: “I’m gonna do a Jihad on his ass.” Only a supposedly trivial zombie horror movie – dismissed, overlooked or treated summarily by many mainstream, middlebrow critics – could manage to fly under the ideological radar so completely to work its savage, subversive mischief.

RE-AGITATOR: A DECADE OF WRITING ON TAKASHI MIIKE BY TOM MES

By Claudia Siefen

Mes’s sort of narrative history of Miike’s filmography gestures at its philosophical dimensions, and is also interested in coupling the director’s biography with the wider aesthetic and japanese society contexts of that decades, too. His book is gripping, as he is dipping from time to time in self-forgotten sentences but never pedantic or even worst: embarrassing. The book’s expansive, full-coloured pages (a ballanced range of unique set photos and film stills by long-time Miike collaborator Christian Storms) and generous margins render that volume a world unto itself, while emphasising the issues Mes addresses in his tale.

THE END OF THE WORLD AS A PROTOCOL: 4:44 LAST DAY ON EARTH (ABEL FERRARA, 2011)

By Nicole Brenez

The burst of apocalyptic works that swept the big screen in 2012 did not owe as much to the Mayans, as to two films whose main contribution was to erect two, symmetrical peaks in the history of the simulacrum. The first was titled An Inconvenient Truth (Davis Guggenheim, 2006), a histrionic slide-show about global warming that garnered two Academy Awards and a Nobel Prize for its protagonist, Al Gore.