Hommage to Robert Gardner (November 5, 1925 – June 21, 2014)

Robert Gardner à Bard College from Independencia on Vimeo.

 

The Act of Killing

We should probably have an extra VA screening in May to watch this film together! Meanwhile thanks Alexandra,

serendipityscraps

Although, I had the chance to watch The Act of Killing (2012) during a film festival in Budapest (“Ha Érteni Akarod a Világod”, 2013), I have to admit that I’ve been hesitating to write about it. I can’t figure it out if it was the overwhelming 115 min during which I kept repeating to myself “this can’t be real” or when I tried to make myself believe that in the end the filmmaker will intervene saying that the movie is just a macabre re-construction of imagined mass-killings attributed to some patients from a mental institution. And yes, he intervened in the end. I don’t know but this intervention kind of ‘crushed’ me and made me re-consider my experience of watching this movie.

act-of-killing-2

That is why, besides finding it very disturbing in content and event, it left me with the impression of a multi-layered documentary, very powerful and complex in…

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Hukkle and observational cinema

Good points! Hukkle is an observational hyperbole that covers many styles (from nature documentaries to ethnographic observation and the investigative ‘eye’) to create a magical realist atmosphere. It plays with the power of vision to look through and look beyond reality, while contemplating it quite innocently (signaling first discreetly and then more and more clearly that ‘things are not what they seem to be’). And it plays very nicely with film as a medium full of ambiguity, where conventions can be stated, undermined and reformulated at every step (as in the scene of breaking the image into a series of film rolls hanged in the bar door).
See also this article putting the in context and analyzing some of its strategies: http://www.scribd.com/doc/129263822/The-Politics-of-Hiccups

visualcsantrop

It was some weeks ago that Vlad mentioned in one of the classes Hukkle (2002) made by György Pálfi. If you do not remember, then don’t read any further, but watch the movie here (I do not want to spoil the experience, the film is perfectly enjoyable even if you don’t speak Hungarian. You only need to understand two sentences, translated below.):

Since I became ill and today could’t go to classes, I thought I will catch up with some of the things I wanted to watch and decided on Hukkle, with a pretty vague idea of what it is about. The only thing I was sure of is that somehow it is about hiccuping: the theme of the old man with the weird little sound of hiccuping runs throughout the film. Of course this is not a documentary, even though it is based on a true story, one that…

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Ten Minutes Older

dysgraphic squirrel

Ten Minutes Older is the 1978 short film by Frank Herz. As I found out today, there’s a whole tribute to this movie made in 2002 featuring great names such as Werner Herzog, Jean-Luc Godard, Jirí Menzel, Jim Jarmush, Aki Kaurismäki and many more. Also, yes, Daniel wrote about Herzog’s contribution first, so check it out (yes, yes, I know that every semi-meaningful entry on my blog starts with this guy, but seriously, read it).

The way that music follows little boy’s facial expressions reminded me a bit on Sergei Prokofiev’s Petya i volk. Of course, Petya was first the musical symphony and then it was turned into a play (and later into a few animated versions – I’m posting the Disney one here because I cannot find Soyuzmultfilm online), while at Ten Minutes Older it was the opposite, but the experience of watching it is less about what…

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Les Tambours d’avant: Tourou et Bitti (1971)

In a single take that lasts the duration of the camera magazine, Jean Rouch walks with the camera into a Songhay village in which dancers have been waiting for hours to be possessed by invisible spirits. Suddenly, the dancers become possessed, the possession seemingly provoked by Rouch’s camera.

Grey Gardens

Grey Gardens (1975) by Masley Brothers 

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I found by chance “GG” on YouTube and started to watch it just to get a glimpse of it with no intention to watch it to the end. But as it started, I could not interrupt it. The 2 eccentric ladies, mother and daughter, are truly entertaining, in a distressing manner, of course; they really do know how to keep the attention on them. With no intention to do that, perhaps.

Edith and Edie: Tea for two, two for tea

Edith and Edie, cats and ice cream, racoons, sea of leaves, all sorts of things piled up around, general filthiness. All in all, a surreal mess and beauty in decay. The title stands for the gardens that surround the ex-majestic mansion who has been magnificent once. As the ladies themselves. Edith and Edie now live in tandem, completely isolated with no knowledge or experience…

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comment on Forest of Bliss and observational cinema

Excellent observations. I haven’t seen Children Underground but I have a sense of its aesthetics. One of the reasons why we watched 3 different observational styles was to understand how observation as a mode of inquiring reality can take different forms, connected to the epistemic position we assume. MacDougall’s embodied camera is very different from the surgical eye of Wiseman or the empathic vision of Maysles. In this sense observation is what you make of it. One of its strengths however is the space it leaves for the viewer to breathe within the picture, and not away from it.

anthropovisuality

DVD 000209 Forest of bliss

This post intends to explore the materiality of death that imbues everyday living in the holy city, Benares, presented to the viewer through the Gardner’s ethnographic inquiry and visual narrative. The materiality of the movie, I believe, is achieved with the no-intervening and purely observational camera of the director.  Gardner chose a rich visual vocabulary to comprehend and present reality. The meaningful use of sound and visual helps Gardner convey his film’s messages without any need for voice-over or text. In the first section of this I will show how this pure observational movie functions and in the second part I will compare Forest of Bliss with the movie Children Underground (2001) shot in the subways and squats of Bucharest, Romania. I like to question to what extent an observational can inform the viewer and does it have any any implications?

This 90 minute film shows the entanglement of profanity…

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comment on Forest of Bliss

Eka's visual diary

After watching the Forest of Bliss, I had a perception I had been to Benares. I was following the steps of a healer, sitting in a boat, smelling the ash… We had the discussion whether the film without a voice-over can give the anthropological knowledge or not, and I think it can. Gardner achieves this by constructing the set of symbols, which guides a viewer through an entire film and provides clues what the film is about.

Symbols

“Everything in this world is eater or eaten, the seed is food and fire is eater.”- I think this quote from the Upanishads sums up the meaning of the whole life-ritual. The flesh is burnt and restored to the source from which it came to go through the same cycle again. This cyclical nature of dying and revival is revealed in the structure of the film, which gives an impression of…

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Bread Day by Sergey Dvortsevoy

Eka's visual diary

Goats eating newspapers strewn outside and old people try to eke out an existence in the abandoned Russian village. People are kept alive by bread which is delivered by a train carriage at a railway junction five kilometers away from their settlement. The film Bread Day by Sergey Dvortsevoy opens up with a 10-minute shot of the locals pushing the carriage with bread along the railway track. The Driver of the train refused to ride on rusty rails, so villagers move the carriage on their own. The director does not cut the sequence in order to emphasize the difficulty of this labor. Sounds are very important in the entire film, and following the aged people we hear them
moan and groan. After arriving in the village, the carriage stops and the camera slowly pans around to show a desolate winter landscape, abandoned houses covered in snow and puppies, the most…

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LOST FILMS

I sounded interesting and worth spreading the news about it, especially for film lovers or for those more familiar with old films:

LOST FILMS is a new internet portal aimed at collecting and
documentingfilm titles, which are believed or have been declared “lost”. The ARCHIVE currently contains over 3500 entries,a number of which are extensively illustrated with surviving documentscontributed by archives and individuals worldwide. The IDENTIFY section contains images and short video clips of around 50 unknown or unidentified films,which face the danger of also becoming lost if not identified bymembers. The aim of LOST FILMS is not to produce a definitive list oflost films but to provide a platform where members can frequently – andfreely – exchange, add and update information.

LOST FILMS is an initiative of the Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen, Berlin. The project has been developed in close collaboration with the following institutions:

Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv, Berlin
Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung, Wiesbaden
Centre national de la cinématographie (CNC), Paris
Filmarchiv Austria, Vienna
Národní filmový archiv, Prague

LOST FILMS has been made possible thanks to the generous support of the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation).

http://www.lost-films.eu/

Camelia

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