Friday, July 29, 2011

#maleobjectification

music: Maria Taylor - Matador

(I'll either hate this movie, or secretly-furiously like it. I already feel dumb just posting the trailer here, but anyways...)



Replay the end of that trailer.

"Seriously?! It's like you're photoshoped!"

I've been reading/thinking/writing too much about faux lesbianism (softbianism, bisexual chic, call it however you want) (and the male gaze), so I feel like I'm entitled to a little male objectification, hehe.

No, seriously. Last time I forgot to mention smth very important: a guy who looks like that is nothing special, actually he's just blah, but a guy who looks like that and talks like this, now that's smth entirely different:
You have to question a cinematic culture which preaches artistic expression, and yet would support a decision that is clearly a product of a patriarchy-dominant society, which tries to control how women are depicted on screen. The MPAA is okay supporting scenes that portray women in scenarios of sexual torture and violence for entertainment purposes, but they are trying to force us to look away from a scene that shows a woman in a sexual scenario, which is both complicit and complex. It's misogynistic in nature to try and control a woman's sexual presentation of self. I consider this an issue that is bigger than this film.
- Ryan Gosling (source: Jezebel)

(And if you don't want to just take his word for it, (re:)watch This Film Is Not Yet Rated; the MPAA is one sexist, homophobic little devil.)

Last Friday: Mono (Japan)

music: M83 - Midnight City

Later edit: for a better account of the concert, from a music connaisseur, please read cherrypick's post at Babylon Noise.

(I'm only posting this now because my stupid effin Internet connection is working really, really bad. Actually, I'm on a night shift not because I want to, but because this is the only time I can be online w/out going insane from clicking the refresh button. Anyways...)

I'm pretty sure I've first seen the posters for Mono's concert in Cluj and thought they were just another Romanian indie band I wouldn't have patience for. Luckily for me, at a certain point I got curious about this Mono band, and checked the event page on Last.fm. And what a lovely surprise: it was a Japanese band! Then, I wasn't sure if I had listened to them before or not - because I do this: I'll listen to a band, like it, but then forget about it. My memory was telling me Mono was that one Japanese band I had found out about from Re:publik and it turned out she was right:

Mono - You Are There review (Re:publik, 2006)

I was a tiny bit nervous about going to this club alone but in the end I went with CC, yay. We were far away from the stage, right in the back, and at a certain moment I did try to get closer to the stage, but got stuck somewhere in the middle. So, no decent photos, just a few crappy ones (after the jump).

The concert was great, obviously. The problem is that I can't help but feeling that my tone-deafness doesn't exactly allow me to fully appreciate, understand and memorize instrumental music, no matter the genre. I could only recognize two songs they played (T_T). I wish I at least had their set list...) (Later edit: for the set list, check out the comments section! :)


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

July 19: blue(berries)

music: Penny And The Quarters - You And Me *

Blue Valentine (Derek Cianfrance, 2010)
* After having read the story of this song I just couldn't resist the temptation of watching Blue Valentine again. The impact of some scenes wasn't as strong as the first time I saw it, but overall, Blue Valentine still caused me a huge heartache, which is so weird because I can't personally relate to this movie in any way. It's like a faux feeling of longing. Or it's probably just empathy for the two characters. Then, if I didn't have such a looong list of films I've never seen, I would watch Blue Valentine even for a third time, asap, just for the brilliant performances. Besides, who can resist the charms of the Gosling? (I might even watch The "Corny" Notebook just because he's in it.) And Michelle Williams has gotten so good over the past few years - it's a pleasure to follow her evolution. (I can't wait to see her as Marilyn.)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Aggressive nonparticipant*

music: Tasseomancy - Heavy Sleep

And could it be that in this passivity I shall find my freedom?

C'est d'ailleurs la grande force politique de Duras de s'être concentrée sur des gens perdus qui, parce que perdus, déboussolaient aussi le monde à leur entour. Ce que la cinéaste invente à ce moment-là grâce à ces sociétés de quasi-fous, ce n'est pas l'idée que la folie est révolutionnaire, mais que la perte (et la passivité suprême qui conduit à la perte) est la révolution, que c'est ne rien faire, ne rien être, qui provoque la ruine de l'ordre ancien du monde.
Stéphane Bouquet, «Marguerite Duras, Mai en silence» dans Cinéma 68

Okay. I'm Dostoevsky. You're Anna. We're writing The Gambler. Take my dictation. Who's ever written the great work about the immense effort required in order not to create? Intensity without mastery. The obsessiveness of the utterly passive. And could it be that in this passivity I shall find my freedom?
Slacker (Richard Linklater, 1991)

*****

TV is. We Are. Imagine Yourself.

Slacker (Richard Linklater, 1991)


So, uh, what is this... some kind of psychic TV-type parallelism?


Well, we all know the psychic powers of the televised image. But we need to capitalize on it and make it work for us instead of us working for it.

Like how?

Well, like, to me, my thing is... a video image is much more powerful and useful than an actual event. Like back when I used to go out, when I was last out, I was walking down the street and this guy came barreling out of a bar... fell right in front of me and he had a knife right in his back... landed right on the ground. And I have no reference to it now. I can't refer back to it. I can't press rewind. I can't put it on pause. I can't put it on slo-mo and see all the little details. And the blood, it was all wrong. It didn't look like blood. The hue was off and I couldn't adjust the hue. I was seeing it for real, but it just wasn't right. And I didn't even see the knife impact on the body. I missed that part.
Slacker (Richard Linklater, 1991)

This segment of Slacker drew my attention for several reasons: it's probably the weirdest of them all (I didn't get one thing: okay, the guy is nuts, but why does he have a tv taped to his back?); it says a lot about our visual culture; the guy might be labeled a hikikomori *grin*; I saw this on Monday, and earlier that day I was taking silly pics of my tv while watching Roman Coppola's CQ on MGM, so yeah... I am a character in Richard Linklater's Slacker.

CQ (Roman Coppola, 2001)


(* "Aggressive nonparticipants" is the phrase used by Criterion to describe the generation portrayed in Linklater's Slacker.)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

In which this goose goofs off, or: just a regular hiki day

music: Kaki King Live at The Blind Pig (June 29 2011)

Today I've moved my desk on the floor; I re:watched a Seinfeld episode for the nth time and two three and a half movies (the second half of Pasolini's Il Decamerone, Ro.Go.Pa.G. and the first two movies in The Thin Man Series) and concluded that was enough for today. So sitting there on the floor, like the Japanese, I thought I'd check my mail once more before shutting down all distractions and do some reading. Sounds like just a regular hikikomori day, right? Which is why this video sent to me via e-mail is very well targeted, I guess:



Thank you, Grant, for sharing your video with me.

This makes me happy - not just because it's funny and well made, but mostly because after having watched it I can conclude I still have a sense of humor about this whole hikikomori business. I truly believe that the moment I lose said sense of humor, things will have gotten too serious. Till then I can relax and have a laugh about it. When my brain allows me to do so, that is.

Now, I've never seen The Little Mermaid, so that reference is a bit lost on me. Also: I'm not an otaku, I don't play video games. However, there's one thing in that video I can relate to - being a hikikomori often means forgetting the basics of socialization. If there was a time when you had any social skills at all, which I doubt I've ever had.

Oh, and I certainly appreciate the Japanese subtitles. This reminds me, once more: I have to, I have to start learning Japanese again. Argh, all this procrastination is gonna turn me into a pickle get me into a pickle (oh. my. gosh. this is so embarrassing! I just realized I misunderstood this the first time, and the second time I read about this story - I actually thought the story was about ppl turning into pickles, which wouldn't be such a tragedy had I not written it in a text for DV! *face palm* I usually double-check, if not triple-check stuff; how the hell did I miss this?! Hm, this is ironic, isn't it? I don't know if it was because of procrastination or what, but not double-checking this kinda got me into a pickle, didn't it? This will teach me a lesson 'cause clearly, I don't know my idioms. Ufa, in just a few minutes I managed to go from being amused to being angry at myself.)

Goose Goofs Off

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cinephile in training

music: Patti Smith - Ask The Angels


These days I avoid calling myself a cinephile. There was a moment, a tiny moment, when I felt I had reached that point where I earned the right to wear this label. But I soon started feeling like such a fraud - I realized that I didn't know that much about films. So now I like to call myself a cinephile in training. I guess that's more honest.

Actually, I don't know why it's taking me so long to learn about cinema. It should be easy, right? The problem is that I have too much catching up to do. If I allow myself to look for excuses (and when don't I allow myself that?), I'll have to put the blame on my apathetic environment for my late, my very late, interest in movies. I was reading Andrei Gorzo's text from DoR #5, in which he says that at 16 he started reading books about cinema, and then I remembered that at 16 I was barely renting my first films from a videotheque. Of course, he lived in the capital, I lived in a small town where the only movie-related information was coming to me via magazines like Bravo and Popcorn, and the tv guide.

I realize now that we were lucky to even have a movie theater and not one, but two videotheques. Some small towns aren't that lucky. I often wish I had seen more movies in the darkness of the movie theater, but then I remember why I hadn't. There wasn't much to see - only blockbusters and the occasional Romanian film you had to go to with the class. I've seen so few movies at my local movie theater that I'm pretty sure I can remember all of them. Except that first one. I was ten, it was my mom's birthday but I had an admission exam in French, I was upset because I couldn't remember the name of a character from one of the stories from the 4th grade textbook (damn you, François!), my mom took me for cake to a cofetărie across the street from the movie theater and then she realized we could make it to the 11 a.m. screening. I remember all this, but I cannot remember the title of the movie. It was an American thriller. And then I think: this cannot be the very first movie I've seen in a movie theater. Not having an interesting answer to the question "What's the first movie you've seen in a movie theater?" is one of the things that makes me feel less of a cinephile.

Last year I really wanted to see a movie at my local movie theater because I don't think I've been there since high school. And I saw Splice. And I was the only one in the cinema. Oh, how special I felt! he he I'm sure the lady who sells tickets and the projectionist must have thought I was a weirdo, and I guess I am, but I don't care. Even though Splice was disappointing, watching a movie by myself in a cinema gave me such a warm and fuzzy feeling. (^_^) I'm making this count as a cinephile experience. Yes, a screening of Splice can be on the same list as the screening of the restored Metropolis at TIFF 2010, there's nothing wrong with that. *grin*

Splice (seen at my local movie theater)

Of course, one of the main reasons for which my environment wasn't stimulating was that my friends weren't interested in movies. When I was about 12-13 and I wanted to go see a movie I had to beg them to go with me despite the fact that I was always careful to pick sth they might enjoy, like a comedy (Jungle 2 Jungle) or a horror (I Still Know What You Did Last Summer). At the time I thought they didn't like the movies I picked, but now I think they just didn't like me. And yeah, I guess some of them couldn't really afford a movie ticket and maybe they hated me for putting them in an awkward position by insisting that they come with me, but let me tell you this: if you can find the money for cigarettes, you can find the money for a lousy movie ticket. (There's nothing more annoying than smokers who complain they don't have money for this or that. Um, here's a thought: give up smoking!) And later, in high school, I didn't really have friends. There was the occasional movie talk with my desk mates (I had three), and I even saw a few movies with them, but this never generated that cinephagie I wish I had suffered from at that age.

I guess the moment when my interest in movies became kinda serious was when I got a VCR. I had a pen pal coming over my place (the only one I've ever met in person; boy, how things have changed since then :), and because I wasn't the clubbing type of person I thought the only entertainment I could offer her was this movie we both wanted to see. I won't mention the title of the movie, or the reason for which we wanted to see it, because one's more embarrassing than the other. At that time I didn't have a VCR, and the way I borrowed one is very lanţul-slăbiciunilor. I went to the videotheque, which was right next to my building (how convenient!), and made sure they had the movie and my dad borrowed the VCR from one of his co-workers' son-in-law. That guy let us keep it for an entire week, and since I already had a videotheque card, I went and borrowed a few more movies, among which Amélie, even though I hadn't heard of it. I don't really know what drew me to it, maybe it was that Oscar sign, but what a lovely discovery that was, and one that really opened up my appetite for non-blockbusters. This was July 2003. I know this because I still have the receipts. After that week, I couldn't imagine life without a VCR. Luckily, at that time we could afford such a thing. I remember I wanted a second-hand VCR, and my dad kept telling me that there was no point in getting a VCR because soon they would be out of use. But I wanted a VCR because I wanted to record stuff from tv. DVD players had just started being sold around here, and there was a store where they had one DVDR, but it was so expensive. We eventually got a combo (VCR+DVD player), which really was the best solution because I could still rent videos (they didn't have movies on DVD just yet). Now that I think about it, I can't believe this combo still works after all these years, and it has never been broken, not once. I had tons of VHS tapes, and I still have a lot of them. For some reason, I can't get rid of them just yet. I'm a hoarder, that's what I am.


Obviously, my interest in movies became serious once I got a good Internet connection. At the same time, I was already living in Cluj, I had colleagues who were as interested in movies as I was, I was going to TIFF, so things improved a lot. But you know, I'm slow. I mean, I'm marathoning Pasolini for the first time. Moreover, he's the first Italian director I'm marathoning. I still have sooo much catching up to do. And my cinephile training is still a solitary endeavor, even though in Cluj there are more and more cine-clubs or special screenings, and I guess there's a chance to connect with other cinephiles. But you know, I have zero social skills. And I don't live there anymore, so anyways. A couple of years ago, or so, I wrote a text about cinephilia in Romania for Indian Auteur despite the fact that I knew I wasn't the right person for that. Writing that was quite irresponsible of me. If there's such a thing as a cinephile scene, I'm def not a part of it. So, it's not fair of me to say that being a cinephile in this country is a solitary experience. It is for me. But now that I've been at TIFF for six years I realize that for other ppl things are pretty different. They go to TIFF and lots of other mini-festivals and they connect with other cinephiles, they get involved in or even curate film events.

On this island of moi, the Internet is King. The Internet has done amazing things for my cinephile training, and I'll acknowledge that each time I have the opportunity, I don't care how alienating that might sound. I wrote this text about cinephilia and film criticism in the digital era; the title may announce a serious analysis, but it's far from that - it's really just a pretext to tell ppl about two of my favorite new discoveries: Project: New Cinephilia and Kartina Richardson's film reviews. (Kartina deserves a separate post. Soon. Soonish, I hope.) They're so inspiring and it's things like these that both make me suffer from Too Many Films To Watch Anxiety Syndrome and make me go forward and see even more films and try to understand them as well as I can.

I still have a problem with writing about films, though. Like Fran Lebowitz says, it's not a writer's block, it's a blockade. I know I can't write anything insightful about a film, so I can't write at all. Meanwhile, I adopted the fragmentarium method. Come to think of it, that's a very 2.0 way of talking about films.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Blank

music: Zola Jesus - Vessel


One fucking year. One year of blankness. But I'll try not to splash my depressive melted brains all over the Internets. I hear that can be contagious.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Accattone you'll be

music: Morrissey - You Have Killed Me

Accattone (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1961)

I've finally seen Accattone, and that reminded me of this:



(This post was brought to you by the power of Ginger Tea. I've been feeling so bad these past few days that I couldn't even watch a Glee episode w/out getting a massive headache. But ginger tea is magic, I tell you. Just one cup, and I instantly felt better. I couldn't have made it through Accattone w/out it.)