Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
You have to be in a certain frame of mind to sit through Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali’s 1929 surrealistic masterpiece, “Un Chien Andalou” which is better untranslated (“Andalusian Dog”) to grasp the grandeur of such avant garde film making. It is filled with aberrant readings and crazy anticpations, as was advised prior to my viewing a couple of years ago. But we earlier promised, we had to do a repeat viewing so we can feature this classic. More than anything, this is the Experimental Film in its purest, unadulterated form. (Not something as predictably cheap, trashy and predictable as "Masikip sa Tatlo".)
The film is a series of unorthodox images that feature a pair of lovers who provocatively opens a scene with the man slicing his girlfriend’s left eyeball with a razor blade. Then in twisted chronological fashion, it jumps 8 years later where the same guy hits a curb of the road while biking. The lady from the window comes down to gather him, then like a dream, he is shown gazing at his hand with dark giant ants scurrying around. The camera then pans succesively at a lady’s armpit then the blades of a flower. These images come in steady succession, each one with discordant narrative from the next.
One of the most provocative is the guy mashing the girl’s breasts (this, after all was 1929). When she runs for cover, he suddenly finds a pair of ropes and starts hauling them off until we see that these were attached to a piano with dead donkeys on top and two Jewish men behind the piano.
In the surreal world, as in abstract art (Dali’s realm), it’s the viewer who makes the meaning, wading through aesthetic pretentions. Cinema, after all, is a halfway state between films and dreams; a superimposition of dreams and everyday reality. In dreams, narrative coherence isn’t always expected or achieved. This is the basis from which surrealists have embraced cinema as a medium of expression.
Salvador Dali was 25, while Luis Bunuel was 29 when they received a cash gift from Bunuel’s mother. This prompted them to make a 16 minute film that opened all doors to the irrational; one that followed the logic of dreams. It took them a fortnight to shoot the scenes. When they finally premiered it in Paris, they received massive critical acclaim. The film then run for 8 months!
The title, “Andalusian Dogs” is supposedly the title of an anthology of unpublished poems of Salvador Dali, but this – ambiguous and not really found within the tale – found itself as title to one of the most spell-binding masterpiece on surrealism.
It isn’t everyday that you get to watch such provocative images bunched up in 16 minutes of black and white montage. Whether this is appreciated easily by any audience is debatable, but you will never forget the images. They get stuck in your mind for a while. I am not either if that’s a good thing. These artists are too preoccupied by death, sin, guilt, mutilation, fetishism and decay. Just maybe when we've encountered them, we will be adept at staying away from such grey-and-dark matters.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Machester (Liam Browne) and Noon (Nancy Trotter Landry) enjoying a hot summer before "opportunity" knocks at his door.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Leighton Meester is next seen in the rom-com "Monte Carlo" with Selena Gomez and Glee's Cory Monteith. She's still in "Gossip Girl" as Blair Waldorf.
Matt Lanter was recently seen in the execrable "Vampires Suck" portraying Edward Cullen's alter ego Edward Sullen. He'll be seen next alongside Burt Reynolds and Cary Elwes in "Ruby McCollum".
Matt Lanter portrayed Anakin Skywalker in the animated film, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. When he's not acting, this 5'10" Ohio cutie enjoys being outdoors, playing golf and relaxing at the beach.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
The most poignant moment in Jake Scott’s “Welcome To The Rileys” happens between married couple Doug and Lois (James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo, respectively).
At first glance, the couple lives a harmonious and affluent household. But not long ago, they lost their only daughter in a car accident. Lois has become agoraphobic, refusing to get out of their house. This has ushered an unusual household mechanics that they have to deal with on a daily basis. As a consequence, Doug tries to stay away from the depressive atmosphere of his home life. When Doug’s mistress suddenly succumbs to an illness, the strain in the couple’s relationship starts to unravel. Doug is inconsolable. When he had to attend a conference in New Orleans, he meets a tough talking stripper Mallory (Kristen Stewart) who reminds Doug of his daughter. He suddenly refuses to return to Indianapolis, posing himself as Mallory’s guardian. What happens to the agoraphobic Lois?
Once Lois learns of her husband’s plans, she gathers herself, and with all her resolve, braves her fears, and drives her car to see Doug in New Orleans. This is a daunting 1,320 kilometers (820 miles)! It was her first time in the outside world – in 5 years!
The couple’s reunion was awash with emotions; tentative glances, elation, and a deep affection that’s palpable and real! Such moments make cinema a repository of priceless moments!
I am not a fan of “The Sopranos” but Gandolfini absolutely won me over. It was refreshing to find Kristen Steward exploring emotions outside Bella Swan’s constant pout, she was almost “scary” as the foul mouthed Mallory (with enough cuss words to hang around a Christmas tree).
Melissa Leo on the other offered the most insightful performance as the grieving Lois who allowed her husband to keep an extra marital affair. At times, she reminded me of Helen Mirren. Her understated grace is too far removed from her Oscar nominated turn as a human trafficker in “Frozen River”, as well as her Golden Globe winning role as Mark Wahlberg’s feisty mom in “The Fighter”. It’s these understated character studies that make watching movies so fulfilling.
Aside from the Twilight sequels, Kristen Stewart will be part of Jack Kerouac's road tales, "On The Road" - directed by one of my favorite directors Walter Salles ("Behind the Sun", "Central Station", "The Motorcycle Diaries").
Sunday, March 20, 2011