Main Articles

Featured pieces on different film subjects.

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.

AS IF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY HAD NEVER HAPPENED: HAUNTING THE DOCUMENTARY FORM WITH ROBINSON IN RUINS AND THE ATTIC

By John A. Riley

Adam Curtis and Patrick Keiller are two makers of idiosyncratic documentaries who have carved out unique careers over the past few decades, stretching the documentary form to breaking point in the process. In this article, I’ll argue that haunting is one particular theme that not only unites the two filmmakers, but goes a long way to explaining their respective warpings of the documentary form. What emerges from their use of the haunting motif is a critique of the prevailing political status quo in Britain

RHYTHM: LET THERE BE MUSIC – THIS IS NOT AN ESSAY ON KHAVN DE LA CRUZ

By Claudia Siefen

Familiarity with Khavn De La Cruz’s film work arouses the faint suspicion that he offers his movies just to contain his other creative passions: writing and music. But these thoughts will vanish in just a second. It is interesting how strongly everything is connected in his work, that means, if he composes a score it only fits there and nowhere else. The same with his piano works for stage. Everything has its place and you can imagine Khavn as a wild musician, punching his piano and singing his mind to the heavens. That is the right imagination.

MOURNING AND SECRET INTERIORS IN DONNA MCRAE’S ‘JOHNNY GHOST’

By Catherine Jessica Beed

This film came to me as a welcome surprise, a postpunk psychological drama with delicious elements of horror and a subject aching in itself. Composed around the term “cryptic incorporation”, this film breathes in layers; at the heart of it a woman in crisis, caged in a present intrinsically linked with a traumatic past. Cryptic incorporation here being refused mourning, an incompleteness of the grieving process.

FRANTISEK VLÁCIL IN THREE TIMES

By David Phelps

Vlácil’s moral grappling seems like its own answer throughout his films. Men are beasts, the world is hell, and innocence can only exist as a symbol, dove or child, unplugged from a brutal reality and dwelling apart in celestial conjecture. Convenient for allegory, the point operates as pretext, subtext, and text of Vlácil’s movies.