Follow by Email

Monday, 31 March 2014

Visitors. Directed by Godfrey Reggio. Music by Philip Glass. In cinemas on 4 April 2014

Triska
Courtesy of Metrodome Group

Visitors
Written and Directed by Godfrey Reggio
Music by Philip Glass
Cinematography by Graham Berry, Trish Govoni, Tom Lowe
Running time: 87 minutes
Country: United States
Language: No dialogue
Genre: experimental documentary
Filmed in Louisianna, New York, New Jersey and over the moon.
Year: 2013
Cert: U

Trot de couleurs distrait le spectateurJacques Tati – (Too much colours distracts the viewer).

How to locate Visitors on a cinema-photo-videography map?
Hungary. Bela Tarr and Ádám Magyar for their crisp-high-definition-highly contrasted-dimension in time photography.
France. Yoann Lemoine aka Woodkid. Also for his crisp highly contrasted own music videos with a blend of “threatening” architectural buildings (Run Boy Run), but also for his operatic-orchestral music. He and Philip Glass “accidentally” met recently.
Brazil. Sebastiao Salgado. For his texture photography work.
US. Bill Viola. For his extended slow-motion of people's portraits close-ups. Gus Van Sant. For his unforgettable time lapse speed of clouds in My Own Private Idaho.
Armenia. Artavazd Peleshyan for his faces in The End (mentioned in Jerzy Kawalerowicz’s Night Train).

Visitors is the first B&W docu-film by Godfrey Reggio. Still wordless. Still soundtracked by Philip Glass. Presented by Steven Soderbergh and in 4K resolution (4000 pixels across as opposed to 1000 pixels across in HD).

Visitors opens on Triska, a female lowland Gorilla. She looks straight at us. Two minutes at least. We look at her, at our similar physical geography Mammal Being.
Then, craters as if walking on the moon. Moving under the Novus Ordo Seclorum encrypted building as if lying on a skate board under a car; rolling towards the sky on high speed clouds.
Single faces of adults or children alternate with imposing architectural buildings, abandoned fun fairs, crowd of faces, swamps in Atchafalaya Basin, full rootal structure of trees, hands on virtual digital gadgets, a cemetery, a dumping ground...
Triska is gazing back at us! As the camera is zooming out, we are gazing back at her gazing at a standing crowd gazing at her.

For 87 minutes, Visitors journey us on 74 shots, over 70 seconds for each shot when nowadays, a normal cut is less than 10 seconds. We don’t get to see thousands of images, but we get time to immerse on a poetical kaleidoscope of nature and technology that the human race is confronted to.
When we watch the tranquil faces of children or adults, they are either looking at a TV set/games playing or looking at the camera. The result being of two different focuses. Some are being sucked out of themselves, hypnotised while others sink into themselves, possibly more in control of their surroundings.

In some sort of subliminal narrative, Reggio and Glass guide us to a story, the story of the world seen through a range of portraits and emotions that determine who we are in this world, or rather what we have become! Reggio says “Today, a world is born into a child at birth rather than the child born into the world... how fragile we human beings are especially when we’re forced to live in mass societies... we are entertained to death” About technology, he continues “... Gadgets are just an emblem of what it is. Technology is now like the air we breathe. It’s ubiquitous, it’s everywhere. It’s the environment of life, and if my point of view is accurate that we become the environment we live in, we are now becoming technology.
When in the last century, Einstein was supposedly concerned about technology and might have said something like “I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots”, Reggio & Glass propose to remember life as a cyclic way. Reggio uses B&W to bare any notion of contemporary settings while Glass offers an operatic rāga approach in his musical creation.

With his Qatsi Trilogy (Koyaanisqatsi, Powaqqatsi, and Naqoyqatsi-also an accent on technology) spanning over a 30 years period, Reggio plunged us in an over-active life where language could no longer describe the world in which we lived. With Visitors, our world of communication seems to be nearing perhaps ostracism or autism.

Reggio latest opus doesn’t pretend to give any forms of explanation on its optical trip and maybe its lack of it creates a state of disequilibrium. We are not being entertained here but we are viscerally affected. We are invited to be stared at and stare at. When Reggio (born 1939) was 14, he “enrolled” as a monk and his novice master taught him to stare at something until it looked unusual. Trouble is that today, in Western societies, people spend much of their time staring at their mobile phones.

If we, living beings, are on a “robotic” journey, Triska is probably the most worried of us all. Is she looking at us in defiance?
These striking images are here for sure to remind us that we have come on this Blue Planet as visitors. We are guests... in mutation.

Visitors is an experience to stare on big screen.





Thursday, 27 March 2014

David Novick. Your Sister’s Hand. Out now on Drag City Records



 To those with a strong intellectual French background (this is for the French expats-attachés culturels around the world who accidentally read bbldnrbtl), you might remember Il est libre Max... the moment you will read this and the smiles synchronicity from Malaysia, China to Mexico stopping over in Uzbekistan... fills me with joy! Well, it could be worse, I could remind you about Patrick Bruel. And yes, the French glandeurs, ex expats but living in New York or Montpellier (I know where you live)!

So, David Novick’s Gate opens his first lines of guitar on the French 82 guitar “riffs”... then it goes better but better light a camp fire in the living room for Your Sister’s Hand following tracks. If you don’t have a water running in a creek nearby, flush the loo!

Joke apart, the album draws its own ghosts with Ash being a celebration of sadness. Pure sadness, or the beauty of it. When it hangs on your neck, rolls around your hips and lies down on your lap for an undetermined time, like a temporary escort. It’s there, like a comfort, waiting at the door...

 Incantation to the unknown elements of nature, this is what David Novick whispers to your horse ear.
However, if I were a goddess on God?, I would dismiss Until You Show. Nah, Drag PR can’t kill me, he’s flying right now but he has threatened to be back à la Arnie. Well, he has sent me a huge amount of sounds for me to listen to, so here is a pic I took of the sublime Press Release... lazy me!







Wednesday, 26 March 2014

My Stuff. By Petri Luukkainen. A feature-length documentary released by day for night*. In cinemas in London and UK/Ireland 28 March 2014

Courtesy of day for night*


My Stuff
Director: Petri Luukkainen
Finland 2013
80 minutes
Documentary
Cert: 15
In Finnish with English subtitles
Distributed by day for night*

My Stuff is Petri's debut feature-length documentary - a one-year human experiment about what truly matters

It’s a guy who films himself because he’s not happy and he wants the world to know it.
No. It’s the story of a guy from Finland who has too much of too much and he’s sad about it and he wants the globe to be aware about him.

No!

When I received the e-PR and the invit’ to see Petri Luukkainen’s My Stuff a few weeks ago, I got quite excited.
In June 2005, I went to Cuba. I was in Leicester Square Tube at around 9am on 7 July 2005. I had been wondering for some time what my life was about, being invited to VIP stuffs, obviously rubbing shoulders with such and such... was I really happy? I often felt sad! I sold some of my stuff, gave some away, stored some at someone’s place and booked a flight for Peru. Departure: September 2005 for at least a year.

At the age of 23, Petri broke up with his girlfriend. He had been pretty busy since he was 17, having directed TV commercials, working as a director, DOP editor, documentaries and webisodes. By the age of 26, he realised his flat was full of stuff and his life had been quite empty for three years. He simply felt empty in a flat full of stuffs. He was a perfect consumer of the Western world.

He was not clear about what made him happy. He was wondering whether he should go on a trip to find himself. In October 2010, he thought of packing up his stuff. He knew he wanted a clear start.
A month later, he was packing everything away and his friends suggested to film. “I was afraid of showing off my life. The poor guy being sad over having too much stuff. It’s not very noble. I was not proud of showing off my problems and burden the world about it. I was always behind the camera, so I was not sure about being in front of it

His brother, a friend and he were then involved in a diary-trip-documentary that would last 365 days, starting in January 2011. A journey to find out what he really needed and Petri embarked on an experiment with a set of rules:
I)              One year experiment
II)             All stuff in a storage
III)            One item back per day
IV)           Don’t buy any new stuff
I had to set up those rules because the process of choosing is meaningful

My concern was about the choice of month. In winter, you need more clothes. An item a day... How long did it take to get back in the street and go to work?
January is a new beginning. It’s symbolic. It’s a cycle. In Finland, the first week of January is a dead period, but it did take 10 days to actually go back to work and be ‘presentable’ in the street, even if I didn’t have any socks on”

Apart from the set of rules, nothing was planned. Things happened the way they happened. Naked at midnight on day 1, Petri runs from his flat into the snowy streets of Helsinki to the storage. First item: his coat. He spends his first night rolled up on the floor by the heater with his coat on. He wakes up explaining why his legs are inside his coat sleeves.
I was not comfortable with the idea of being naked but it’s a good excuse to start a film. Thinking back about being naked... it felt as being reborn, quite liberating.”

Petri explains that it was essential to do this experiment within his own environment instead of going to a monastery or India because he wanted to continue to work while being on an expedition or adventure of his own life and being surrounded by everyday life’s things when he was dispossessed.

In My Stuff, the fridge is a window ledge; he grows a moustache and when his mother visits him, her laugh about it is quite infectious; Petri has long wise conversation with his grand-mother about what’s really important in life; she is very supportive of his experiment; his young cousin wonders if he has a girlfriend... maybe that’s his problem... he needs one; while a friend is about to be a dad. Ordinary moments of life. Summer approaches and he meets a woman. Petri quite likes her despite his Nan advising him to choose a woman who can cook potatoes. It all becomes tricky when he has to break her bicycle lock because she has lost the key... by his own rules, he can’t buy stuff! As the journey progresses and we all contemplate what is important in life within a digital technology surrounding, Petri’s Nan is taken to hospital after a fall. It is serious but she says she would still be happy to live for a few more decades (she is in her 80’s am guessing). It is decided that his eyes sparkling witty Nan has to go to a nursing home, Petri has to choose some items from her house to keep for himself. In an emotional state, he is confused about what to keep. He loves her, but he is not too keen on keeping something. Meanwhile, we witness his love grow for the mysterious outdoor woman who can’t cook potatoes...

Two years after the end of Petri Luukainen “ordeal”, I was wondering if his life has changed and how hard it is not to be trapped again into consumerism.
It is stable. My life is different. I realise I was buying far too many things before. Now, I have a choice between what I really need and what I want. For example, I knew a few months ago I would have to promote My Stuff around the world and to be presentable I bought this new grey jumper for my London ‘appearance’, but in general I appreciate things I have and concentrate my energy uniquely on things I want, not on things I need... It is not only my life that has changed, but also people’s life directly around me that has changed with that experiment and those who have seen My Stuff. Lots of people have un-opened boxes in their attics or garage that they leave ‘unattended’. We all realise that these once precious belongings disappear emotionally when you don’t see them...”

Petri says that his experiment was quite radical and the most crucial part of it was actually packing his stuff away. He is now very concerned about some issues like environment and has also become a vegetarian. He hasn’t been flying for 3 / 4 years and travelled by bus or train to promote My Stuff, but his schedule is so tight at present that he has to fly. “I want to be as honest as possible with the way I live and my concerns, but going around the world at present, I have to fly. I also know it’s for a short period of time.
Will you promote My Stuff to France?” Petri would like to. He is telling me about a recent experiment of a Frenchman called Benjamin Carle. He shot Made In France over a period of 10 months living on stuff only made in France.

My Stuff is an ordinary film made by a humble man telling a noble tale of a world we all live in.


My Stuff opens on Friday 28 March 2014 in UK & Ireland.
Please check special previews with Q&A with Petri Lukkainen for tonight, tomorrow and Friday @ Goldsmith Uni = http://www.day-for-night.org/

Monday, 24 March 2014

William S. Burroughs - Portraits 1975 – 1995 - by Kate Simon. Till 9 May 2014 @ Showstudio, SW1X. FREE

Courtesy of Kate Simon and SHOWstudio 
Life is a Killer. Last sitting.
The Bunker, NYC 1995

 ... and so, I was rushing from one PV to another... that night. And I don’t normally do previews. Burroughs was in town, or rather Kate Simon.

She was born in New York and is very well known for her photographs of The Clash, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, the Rolling Stones and Debbie Harry. Simon has also captured numerous artists, writers and musicians from Andy Warhol to Vivienne Westwood to Iggy Pop. Moving to London in 1973, in her 20's, she worked at The Photographer's Gallery where she met and was influenced by the likes of photographers David Hurn, Leonard Freed and David Bailey. She was at the same time a photographer for NME, Melody Maker and Sounds. In 1976 she photographed The Clash's first album cover. Kate Simon has work in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art, has worked with The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

SHOWstudio Shop is hosting a solo exhibition of portraits of William S. Burroughs by Kate Simon to celebrate the occasion of his centenary. Some 20 photos of Mister Burroughs in B&W or colour are on display... with Patti Smith, Keith Haring, guns, a typewriter, a cat... at the Bunker in 1995.

The exhibition marks the debut release of Simon’s Cibachrome Edition portfolio, which is comprised of 11 iconic shots of the literary master printed in the now extinct cibachrome medium. These rare photographs will be displayed alongside a selection of black and white limited edition prints. Taken over a 20 year period, Simon has amassed a critical body of work that is widely unseen and captures the many faces of one of the most important American writers of the twentieth century.

Merging the formality of high literature with the allure of the low brow detective novel, Burroughs unapologetically addressed controversial subjects of narcotic abuse, erotic sexuality, criminality and excess in his work. The legendary persona of the author has also garnered unbridled fascination. Purposefully weaving elements of his autobiography into his fiction, Burroughs obscured readings of his own character and rendered himself inextricable from his writing. He also appears in the literature of his contemporaries in a number of contradictory guises, most notably as Jack Kerouac’s Will Dennison and Old Bull Lee. At one moment, he is a grey, anonymous spook with the capability to cast a manipulative spell over his peers, and the next he is warm, mannerly, adored, even kind.

While Simon’s portraits capture the familiar image of Burroughs with his glasses perched on his hollow cheeks, his suit, his trilby hat and often a gun in tow, they also reveal the many facets of the man. But to try and identify the secret of Burroughs’ persona would be as futile as seeking out a fixed narrative within his literature. Here, Simon’s candid portraiture embraces these various copies, simulations and projections of the writer in a show that reflects Burroughs’ own presentation of himself.

Courtesy of Kate Simon and SHOWstudio 
William Burroughs with cat, 1984

Open Monday to Friday = 11 am to 6pm. The exhibition will be accompanied by a supplementary online programme on SHOWstudio.com.
14 March - 9 May 2014 - 19 Motcomb Street, London SW1X 8LB - E-mail: shop@showstudio.comWeb: http://showstudio.com/contributor/kate_simon

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Water Day = 22 March + MUSEUM OF WATER = 6-29 June @ Somerset House, WC2 (FREE)

Courtesy of Somerset House


This Saturday 22 March from 12- 6pm, on World Water Day, live artist, sculptor and film-maker  Amy Sharrocks and a team of archivists will collect donations of water from people in the courtyard of Somerset House. These donations can be anything from Thames water to tears and in any vessel – in the collection so far they range from jam jars to bottles in the shape of the Madonna – and for those who want to tell the story of their water there will be interviews accompanying the donation. There will be a second donation day on 16 April from 12 – 6pm.

These donations will be added to the collection and culminating in Museum of Water, an exciting live artwork coming the Lightwells and Deadhouse of Somerset House in June 2014.

MUSEUM OF WATER
6 – 29 June 2014
Lightwells and Deadhouse, Somerset House
Free
Accumulated over two years from different sites worldwide, Museum of Water is a collection of publicly donated water and accompanying stories brought together by live artist, sculptor and film-maker Amy Sharrocks. The live artwork will invite people to browse and interact with the Museum’s collection in the atmospheric depths of Somerset House’s Lightwells and Deadhouse. The collection of several hundred bottles includes water from a holy river in India, a burst London water main, 20-year-old evaporated snow from Maine, condensation from a Falmouth window, a new born baby’s bath water, Norwegian spit, two different breaths and water from a bedside table said to be infused with dreams. The bottles, in their myriad of shapes and sizes, will fill the walls and alcoves in a unique large scale installation. Soundscapes of stories from donors will flow through the exhibition and water ‘custodians’ will be on hand to guide visitors through the bottles and stories, considering humans’ relationship with the most precious liquid the world has to offer.

The water has been collected on a global scale, donated to the museum from hundreds of people including local school children and passing businessmen, and from as far away as New Zealand and Australia. The stories relating to the donations range from the extraordinarily personal - a hospital water dispenser collected when a woman’s father was in A&E - to the more scientific and environmental - boiled rice water collected by a medical scientist to show what the stool of a Cholera patient looks like. Sharrocks and a team of archivists will collect donations throughout the installation, conducting one to one interviews in the Deadhouse and constantly adding to the collection.
Somerset House has a rich relationship with water dating back to the 16th century. A strategic site onto the Thames thoroughfare, Somerset House was built with a front door onto the river. Originally a grand riverside palace, it was later occupied by the Navy Board in the 18th and 19th centuries. Boats would enter through the building’s Great Arch and the Navy Commisioneri’s ornate gilded barge was stored on site to set sail to Whitehall. Highlighting the historical connection and returning the river to Somerset House there will be a room flooded with Thames river water, transported from the river in buckets by a human chain for the opening day of the exhibition and returned to the river in the same way on the final day. There will also be screenings of water-related films and a programme of public talks from experts, from environmentalists, scientists, development workers and politicians to philosophers, artists and poets. In the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court a free pop-up bar serving tap water will be situated.

Amy Sharrocks is a live artist, sculptor and film-maker who invites people on journeys in which their own experience, communication and expression are a vital part. Most of Sharrocks’ projects relate to water and how it inspires her: “Water is our most basic need and offers some of our greatest joys: the hot bath at the end of an exhausting day, the water fights in summer, the cool drink after a day of running and rushing.  It is the only substance that offers us a break from relentless gravity. It is our most precious substance, but we take it for granted, more used to defending against it than prizing it.  Now – in this incredible year of flooding – is a crucial time for exploring and taking stock of our relationship with this extraordinary liquid, and re-imagining a different future together.” In 2007 Sharrocks invited 50 people to swim across London from Tooting Bec Lido to Hampstead Heath Ponds for her madcap adventure SWIM and in 2009 she toured drift around England, taking people one at a time to drift on swimming pools in an inflatable boat. Sharrocks completed London is a River City in 2011, a series of public walks tracing seven of London’s buried rivers. 
Commissioners and producers Artsadmin have a 35 year history that has included major works in visual arts, performance, danc Abderrahmane Sissako delivers a film on poverty and hunger.e and live art; from Ackroyd & Harvey’s audacious transformation of the National Theatre Flytower (2007) to Rosemary Lee’s film installation Without (2013) featuring over 350 performers from the city of Derry.

Museum of Water has been commissioned by Artsadmin in partnership with Somerset House, LIFT, the Cultural Institute at King’s College London and the Canal & River Trust. A Create to Connect commission and Imagine 2020 project, with the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union. Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Originally commissioned by Artakt and LSHTM.

Somerset House
Strand London WC2R 1LA


In 2008, I met the producers of NO TIME LEFT. Short films on the world problems including Abderrahmane Sissako on poverty and hunger; Mira Neir on gender equality; Gael García Bernal on universal education; Jan Kounen on maternal health (in a community where I lived); Gaspard Noé on AIDS; Gus Van Sant on child health; Wim Wenders on micro-financing, with Muhammad Yunus and Bono.
Here is the short of Jane Campion on water droughts = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7Kk_mkUUN8
All other films can be seen here = http://www.notimeleft.org/p/film-8.html

Vivienne Westwood on Water Day = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuROuLpoJLY




Tenebre. A film directed by Dario Argento. 25 March 2014. Advance Tickets – £5 - £7 on the door. Oval Space Cinema, E2



Year: 1982
Writer & Director: Dario Argento
Actors: Carola Stagnaro, Lara Wendel, John Saxon,John Steiner, Anthony Franciosa, Christian Borromeo,Ania Pieroni, Mirella D’Angelo, Veronica Lario
Music: Goblin, Massimo Morante, Claudio Simonetti, Fabio Pignatelli
Genre: Thriller – psychology – semi sci-fi
Country: Italy
Length: 1h50
Cert: 18
English/Italian with English subtitles

One evening of December 1955. New York. The sky pisses with rain. Elvis Presley is set to release his first single. Young people are queuing… Henri-Georges Clouzot is à l’affiche with his film Les Diaboliques. Sold out. Nobody knows Simone Signoret or the film maker and yet everyone knows about its gothico-horror sub-genre.

10 years later, Antonioni shoots Blow Up and meets Dario Argento on his set. Argento considers Antonioni a master and employs some of his film personal for his debuts early 70’s.

After Suspiria and Inferno, two of highly acclaimed horror-fantastic films, Argento comes back with his primal love, the thriller-serial killer made in pure angoisse!
Tenebre is a hymn to human pulsations, obsession and high dose of cruelty with glimpses of erotico-sadismo.
The movements of the camera impacts on its dizzy and frightening feeling with some real steady pause... Next One is Real will sing nonchalantly Minimal Compact a couple of years later. Nothing is real... no blood but red (Godard)... place to aesthetics.

Claudio Simonetti is the Italian musical revival of the 70’s and strengthens the dense atmosphere of Tenebre.

From Oval Space - “TENEBRE - Oval Space Cinema Club next screening: TENEBRE. Tenebre is Italian maestro Dario Argento's 1982 return to the giallo horror sub-genre which he popularised during the 1970s. The story follows an American writer promoting his latest murder-mystery novel in Rome, only to be embroiled in the search for a serial killer who has apparently been inspired by his book.
The film was originally released throughout Europe without any censorship problems, although later was classified and banned as a "video nasty" in the UK. Theatrical release was delayed and only in a heavily censored form under the title ‘Unsane’.
The screening is fully restored and acclaimed original version, with the influential soundtrack by Goblin.”


Oval Space Cinema Presents: Tenebre (110 min., 1982 – Italy – Intramovies). Tuesday 25 March 2014. Doors 7pm - Film starts at 8pm
Advance Tickets – £5. Tickets – http://www.ovalspace.co.uk/events/view/os-cinema-tenebre
/ £7 on the door. 29-32 The Oval, London E2 9DT
info@ovalspace.co.uk || +44(0)20 7033 9932 II www.ovalspace.co.uk


Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The Machine. Caradog James. A Red and Black Films release – London premiere with Q&A on 19 March; in Cinemas and VoD on 21 March; DVD/Blue-ray on 31 March



Written & Directed by Caradog W. James
Produced by John Giwa-Amu
A sci-fi thriller starring Toby Stephens (Die Another Day), Caity Lotz (The Pact) and Denis Lawson (Star Wars)
Music: Tom Raybould
London premiere - 19 March with Q&A from the Department of Informatics = see below for details.
UK Release Date and VoD - 21 March 2014
DVD/Blu-ray – 31 March
Running Time: 91 minutes
Cert: 15

BIFA 2013: Winner of the Raindance Award ½ Caity Lotz Nominated for Best Newcomer
Winner of Best UK Film – Raindance Film Festival 2013
Winner 3 BAFTAs Cymru 2013 including Best Film
Raindance Film Festival: Closing Night - 6 October 2013
GrimmFest – 6 October 2013 │ Sci-Fi London: Closing Night – 13 October 2013
Mayhem Festival – 2 November 2013

Mostly shot in semi-lit bunkers and industrial spaces in Wales on a shoestring' budget, Caradog W. JamesThe Machine is set in a dystopian near future in Britain, gripped by recession and embroiled in a cold war with China.

Audio-visualising it = Chris Cunningham (high on All is Full of Love + Come On My Selector) meet Alexandro Jodorowsky (high on the Saga of the Meta-Barons) half way through Blade Runner and The City Of Lost Children while being cradled on Tom Raybould’s electronic score!

Inside a top secret MOD base, the Minister Thomson (Denis Lawson) is on the brink of developing a game-changing weapon: a thinking mechanised robot warrior. Lead scientist Vincent McCarthy (Toby Stephens) provides the answer with his creation, The Machine - an android with unrivalled physical and processing skills. However, Vincent has his own personal agenda: his young daughter Mary suffers from Rett Syndrome (neuro developmental disease). He wants to harness this new technology to give Mary another chance at life.

With tests on his early prototypes ending in disaster, Vincent enlists artificial intelligence expert Ava (Caity Lotz) to help him create the full potential of a truly conscious fighting machine.

The Minister is only interested in a killing machine that will follow his command. Ava is suddenly killed and it’s up to Vincent to finish their work alone and bring The Machine to life.

As a human being, Ava is rather irritating with her waterproof smile. As The Machine, she keeps a frozen face despite showing sign of consciousness and intelligence. Realising that The Machine has been created to hurt but not to kill, Thomson orders Vincent to take out the conscious implant off The Machine. It/She is now fully kicking asses and hand-lobotomising, killing anything on her way... except Vincent...

Caity Lotz is rather impressive in playing a double role as pre-Machine and The Machine. Having been a Lady Gaga dancer in the past, she is stunning as a robot dancer (although not sure it was crucial for her to be naked) and as a martial art and stunt woman (she does her owns).
Among the subterranean world of scientific tests, we come across tattooed cyberpunk killers, war veterans with semi-amputated brain, a New Romantic spy woman with a synthetic voice and men in cage waiting to be tested on their amputated limbs.

Despite parts of The Machine being a bit romantico – naïve, the cinematography and the sound synch on images are exquisitely striking. The most powerful image, courtesy of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, being The Machine coming down and being filled up with red liquid in her glass looking material via tentacles.

The Matrix moguls are keeping a close eye on 35 years old Swansea-raised film-maker Caradog James... or maybe it's just a fantasy...


London premiere 19 March (65 tickets left) - Professor Kaspar Althoefer from the Department of Informatics will be taking part in a Q&A chaired by New Scientist at the film premiere of Award-winning British Sci-Fi film THE MACHINE on 19th March, 8.30pm at VUE Piccadilly, 19 Lower Regent St.
The Q&A is on the future of robotics and will also feature Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro and the Geminoid robot = http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-machine-london-film-premiere-tickets-10897760495?aff=eorg



Monday, 17 March 2014

The Big Melt. A film by Martin Wallace and Jarvis Cocker. Music directed by Jarvis Cocker. A DVD release by BFI on 17 March 2014 with extensive extra features.

Courtesy of BFI


Jarvis Cocker grew up in a city of denial, a ghost city where everything bore a name “steel” but steel had “died!”

Sheffield is the greenest city in Europe. In the XIX century, Sheffield was an international steel producer until the 70’s – 80’s. Its decline coincided with the collapse of coal mining in the area.

I asked my other best friend Wiki (after Google) “but what is steel exactly?
‘Steel is an alloy of iron, with carbon being the primary alloying element. Carbon, other elements, and inclusions within iron act as hardening agents that prevent the movement of dislocations that naturally exist in the iron atom crystal lattices.
Although steel had been produced in bloomery furnaces for thousands of years, steel's use expanded extensively after more efficient production methods were devised in the 17th century for blister steel and then crucible steel. With the invention of the Bessemer processin the mid-19th century, a new era of mass-produced steel began.
Today, steel is one of the most common materials in the world, with more than 1.3 billion tons produced annually. It is a major component in buildings, infrastructure, tools, ships, automobiles, machines, appliances, and weapons.’
I bet you didn’t know this = The earliest known production of steel is a piece of ironware excavated from an archaeological site in Anatolia (Kaman-Kalehoyuk) and is about 4,000 years old. Other ancient steel comes from East Africa, dating back to 1400 BC. In the 4th century BC steel weapons like the Falcata were produced in the Iberian Peninsula, while Noric steel was used by the Roman military. For more, go to Wiki yourself!
Steel is one of the world's most-recycled materials, with a recycling rate of over 60% globally.

The Big Melt opens with liquid melted, in preparation of... A feature length elegy to the men and women who toiled in Sheffield's steelworks during the last century, and a hymn to Britain's proud industrial past... A fusion of films, music, animation and English history. A celebration of a steel city where Jarvis Cocker, The Human League, Cabaret Voltaire, Warp Records, Arctic Monkeys, Pulp, Moloko and Joe Cocker were born (or established)...

The Big Melt, it’s a bit like going back to the legendaries massive cutting-edge club 333 (Old Street, EC1) or high tech club The End (West Central Street, WC1) and dancing to the sound of electro or the band Mao Mao playing tribal sounds with classical instruments while watching B&W sharp-edited and looped films.

Here, Maestro Jarvis conducts a Sheffield string quartet, the City of Sheffield brass band, members of Pulp, Richard Hawley, the Forgemasters and a youth choir. Meanwhile International Emmy & Royal TV Society awards winner Martin Wallace edited a selection of 42 films from the BFI Archive along with Jarvis ranging from 1900’s Workforce at Steel & Garland Priory Foundry to 1984’s Women of Steel.

Watch out for the production line work (tribal) sound trance episode between minute 37 and 45... and you might as well go into deep hypnosis just by sitting in your sofa while cream fish-net tights are “messing-up” with strong iron structure supporting a bridge foundation or pylons marching across the landscape... meanwhile ordinary life happens in between pints, young and old faces, cars, fire, water, landscape and sky all surrounded by man-made steel structures... followed by a five minutes animation “A World Without Steel” where everything falls apart until the heart of England distribute its steel worldwide.

The only difference is that the montage is not edited à la Vertov and looped indefinitely like it was in club scenes. The experience was premiered @ Doc/Fest on 12 June 2013 where the score was performed live with a sitting crowd to celebrate 100 years of Stainless Steel.

Whether dancing in a club pre 2002 or sitting in your sofa, Jarvis Cocker & Martin Wallace’s The Big Melt is still an hypnotic experience paying also tribute to the role of women within the steel industry with excerpts from British Women’s Volunteer Army; Women Munition Work; Women in Wartime; Mrs Worth Goes to Westminster; Women of Steel.

With a last image of a forge master controlling the metal (waving goodbye), The big Melt questions however a lost culture that is replaced by a much more formatted/conformist and asepticized world as well as a loss of a two fingers attitude that has now left its place to selfies!


Special features =
The Big Melt Performed Live at the Crucible (2013, 73 mins)
An Interview with Jarvis Cocker and Martin Wallace (2013, 9 mins)
The Big Melt in Rehearsal (2013, 3 mins)
Original trailer
Illustrated booklet with extensive credits and newly commissioned essays from Jarvis Cocker, Martin Wallace and BFI curator Jan Faull

The Big Melt is a Crossover production in association with the BBC, BFI, Lone Star Production Limited, Arts Council England and Sheffield City Council.

Product details:
RRP: £19.99 / cat. no. BFIVD999 / Cert 12
UK / 2013 / colour, and black and white / 71 mins / DVD9 / Original aspect ratio 1.33:1