martes, 17 de abril de 2012

Lynchianism's ambit in contemporary movies by David Foster Wallace

IN 1995, PBS ran a lavish ten-part documentary called American Cinema whose final episode was devoted to "The Edge of Hollywood" and the increasing influence of young independent filmmakers – the Coens, Carl Franklin, Q. Tarantino, et al. It was not just unfair, but bizarre, that David Lynch's name was never once mentioned in the episode, because his influence is all over these directors like white on rice. The Band-Aid on the neck of Pulp Fiction's Marcellus Wallace – unexplained, visually incongruous, and featured prominently in three separate setups – is textbook Lynch. 


As are the long, self-consciously mundane dialogues on foot massages, pork bellies, TV pilots, etc. that punctuate Pulp Fiction's violence, a violence whose creepy-comic stylization is also Lynchian. The peculiar narrative tone of Tarantino's films – the thing that makes them seem at once strident and obscure, not-quite-clear in a haunting way – is Lynch's; Lynch invented this tone. It seems to me fair to say that the commercial Hollywood phenomenon that is Mr. Quentin Tarantino would not exist without David Lynch as a touchstone, a set of allusive codes and contexts in the viewers midbrain. In a way, what Tarantino has done with the French New Wave and with Lynch is what Pat Boone did with rhythm and blues: He's found (ingeniously) a way to take what is ragged and distinctive and menacing about their work and homogenize it, churn it until it's smooth and cool and hygienic enough for mass consumption. Reservoir Dogs, for example, with its comically banal lunch chatter, creepily otiose code names, and intrusive soundtrack of campy pop from decades past, is a Lynch movie made commercial, i.e., fast, linear, and with what was idiosyncratically surreal now made fashionably (i.e., "hiply") surreal.


In Carl Franklin's powerful One False Move, his crucial decision to focus only on the faces of witnesses during violent scenes seems resoundingly Lynchian. So does the relentless, noir-parodic use of chiaroscuro lighting used in the Coens' Blood Simple and in all Jim Jarmusch's films . . . especially Jarmusch's 1984 Stranger Than Paradise, which, in terms of cinematography, blighted setting, wet-fuse pace, heavy dissolves between scenes, and a Bressonian style of acting that is at once manic and wooden, all but echoes Lynch's early work. One homage you've probably seen is Gus Van Sant's use of surreal dream scenes to develop River Phoenix's character in My Own Private Idaho. In the movie, the German john's creepy, expressionistic lip-sync number, using a handheld lamp as a microphone, comes off as a more or less explicit reference to Dean Stockwell's unforgettable lamp-sync scene in Blue Velvet. Or consider the granddaddy of inyour-ribs Blue Velvet references: the scene in Reservoir Dogs in which Michael Madsen, dancing to a cheesy '70s Top 40 tune, cuts off a hostage's ear – I mean, think about it.


None of this is to say that Lynch himself doesn't owe debts – to Hitchcock, to Cassavetes, to Robert Bresson and Maya Deren and Robert Wiene. But it is to say that Lynch has in many ways cleared and made arable the contemporary "anti"-Hollywood territory that Tarantino et al. are cash-cropping right now.

lunes, 16 de abril de 2012

Tom Waits. I worry primarily about whether there are nightclubs in heaven


                                        


Transcription of one of the best interview i have seen:

D: Don Lane (Wearing a wonderful coffee-coloured three-piece)

T: Tom Waits (Tom's wearing a black suit, black shirt with white trim, and pork-pie hat. Pointy shoes - possibly boots (can't see them that much, really) with black socks. He's smoking like a chimney, and looks pissed. He also has that under-lip goatee going on.
The set: normal talk-show set, two chairs with a table between, and a mic between the chairs. Don's sitting down, Tom's not here yet.

D: One of the newest singing phenomena's overseas is a 29-year-old, gravelly-voiced singer/poet who worked on jobs like a firefighter on the Mexican border and dishwasher just so he could keep working on his music. His name is Tom Waits, and he doesn't work at, or try to be different or unusual - it comes to him naturally.
FILM: Tom at a piano, singing Silent Night. (Presumably a snippet from the "Christmas Card..." - looks like a large place.)

D: Heh, ah, that was an unfortunate selection of a piece to show you, right there. I thought I should say that now so I wouldn't have to say it later. He's a mixture of "Satchmo" Armstrong and Humphrey Bogart when he sings - it's an incredible style.. he sings like no-one else does or ever did. He's going to be doing a number for us later tonight, so I think you're really gonna like him gonna understand the great sensitivity in his work. So would you welcome the very curious and the very talented Tom Waits!
(Tom enters from the right, kinda stumbling. He sits in the chair, proceeding to smoke.)
D: How are you, Tom?

T: Oh, better 'n nothing. Ashtray here?

D: Oh, ashtray, ashtray. We don't have one here...I tell ya what.. use... you can use this glass, all right? Just get it in there. How are you? You all right?

T: Yes, yes, I'm fine, thank you.

D: Just wanna check, to make sure you're OK. (Tom's looking pretty unsteady at this point.

T: I'm-a gonna get comfortable here.

D: How long.. *Tom ashes, missing the cup* Ah, nice shot. It's OK. We all miss once in a while. How long have you been in Australia?

T: I got here last night. I got a plane out from Paris(1) for about 22 hours. A fascinating flight.

D: What do you do for 22 hours on a flight? Do you have ways of entertaining yourself?

T: Well, they show movies that are not a big success anywhere else, they put them on the planes. (Lights another cigarette.)

D: I would do that for you, it's the part of the host that's supposed to light the guest's cigarette, but you look like a man who can handle that all by yourself. We got an ashtray yet?

T: S'alright. (Tom keeps looking down between the chairs from now on.)

D: Did you put the butt in there? *laughs* How long have you been singing?

T: Pardon me?

D: I said how long have you been singing? (They shift in chairs, hunker down closer. Tom appears to not be able to hear too well.) Now I'm right here with you, I'm gonna do this interview. I'm not goin' nowhere. (stagehand gives Don an ashtray.) There ya go.

T: Oh, ya got people workin' for ya an' everything.

D: That's right - It never fails, Tom, you can ask for anything you want on this show, and we'll have someone go out and get it for you.

T: Christ!

D: I...er, we tried to get him, but there wasn't enough money. We didn't know who to call for the booking. I got the wrong agent. (Tom's looking down between the chairs again.) Is there something down here I don't know about?

T: (Tom gestures. It sounds like he says "keep it quiet" or something like that.)

D: Let's move ahead. They tell me you have some kind of a cult following. Do you... do you agree with that expression?

T: I have a growing level of popularity throughout the intercontinental United States, Japan, and...er...I travel extensively in Europe, as well. I don't do half bad...

D: They tell me now you have a new market there in Ireland. Is that true?

T: I've performed in Dublin, I did very well there as well.

D: You look like a leprechaun; you should do well there!

T: Well, I'm also big in Philadelphia. (Grins. Ashes cig, some gets on Don.) Excuse me. I feel like I'm at my grandmothers. (He's talking into a mic between them - he's been progressively slumping closer towards it.)

D: I won't clean anything off. What would you call your singing, your singing style? What kinda music is it that you really like? Is it all your own stuff, or do you do other people's things as well?

T: Occasionally, I'll do a cover version of somebody else's number, but primarily, I like to deal with my own travelogues.

D: And to what kinda of an audience do you work? Is there an age bracket to your audience? Or is it a mixture of all?

T: You're starting to sweat, Don (Don wipes his forehead)

D: Yeah, yeah.. If you were in my position, you would be too! I'd like to have a show next week. Question FIVE. (looks at script - applause - Tom smokes) I'd... (coughs, waves away Tom's smoke) If I stay here with you another ten minutes, there's gonna be an Indian raid!

T: You're big here in Australia?

D: (Nods) Now you know why! At 29...

T: Thank you!

D: Are you 29?

T: Yes, as a matter of fact.

D: Well, at 29, (as Don leans in, Tom sits back in his chair) My god! It's the first time I've seen you up straight! Pardon me, I didn't mean to say straight. (mimes ventriloquy (?) with Tom) Well, how are you tom? (In funny voice:) good, thank you, everything's fine! (Back to normal voice:) At 29, you write about all these things that have happened to you, sorta like these lowlife things that have happened to you...

T: You read that right off the page!

D: No I didn't!

T: Ah, you did. It says lowlife, right there

D: Ah, yeah, well I won't mention that. You don't want that question used? You got a pen? Can I borrow a pen? (Stagehand gives Don a pen.) Well, I'll go through the list, Tom, and you can tell me what you'd like to answer and I'll do it. How long have you been singing? You answered that, though, didn't you?

T: I've been on the road for about seven years.

D: Seven years. We got that. (writes) Seven years. How does a guy with a voice like that decide to be a singer and succeed?

T: Well, it was a choice between entertainment or a career in air conditioning and refrigeration.

D: Ah - what about some of your early influences? Early influences on you and your music?

T: I enjoy Rod Steiger.

D: Wait a minute! Wait a minute! Rod Steiger? OK...

T: Rod Steiger

D: I have all of their albums.

T: I...er... I enjoy Lord Buckley. Lenny Bruce...

D: Lord Buckley! You lost the world! Nobody knows who Lord...

T: You know who Lord Buckley is!

D: Yes. But we ain't gonna talk about him here. Now we come to the good part. Your acting career.

T: Ah.

D: You remember that? Your acting career? (Waves at Tom) Yes? We have a clip here with Sylvester Stallone. You know Sylvester Stallone? Big feller. (Makes boxing movements)

T: I'll try and remember. (Boxes back.)

D: Sylvester Stallone did this movie called Paradise Alley in which you had a part.

T: Yes.

D: Did you enjoy doing that movie?

T: Yes. It was like five weeks of work for three lines of dialogue. It was interesting to see the bowels of the
film industry.

D: I'm certainly glad you finished the sentence.

T: But it was a totally new challenge for me. (Lights new cigarette.)

D: Let me ask you something. Do you worry about achievement? Does it worry you, or do you just do your own thing and say 'here it is, you either accept it or not'?

T: Er, Do I worry about achievement?

D: Yep.

T: I worry about a lot of things, but I don't worry about achievement.

D: We'll scratch achievement off there. (writes)

T: I worry primarily about whether there are nightclubs in heaven.

D: You wouldn't get a booking there - they'd be overbooked, wouldn't they? Aren't all the greats up there? Where's this heaven you're talking about?

T: Ah, search me.

D: Depends what you've got on ya. OK. We'll take a look at.. here's Tom in.. no wait. We do a lot of fooling around here, and believe it or not, somebody at home's gonna say look, gee, they're having a hard time, but we're not! I spoke with him this afternoon and we had a great time, and he's just.. mad! But he's lovely, he's a great creative man. Look creative! *tom smiles* Lovely, tom. Here's Tom in Paradise Alley with Sylvester Stallone, who will be a guest of our show via satellite. Here, have a look at this...

FILM: A piano's strings, moving up to show Tom playing. He's singing. The clip cuts, in dialogue, between Tom and Sylvester, finally ending with Sly walking out of the bar.
Tom sings: ...wake at night again, now that Annie's back in town..

Sly: Mumbles!

T: Yeah? Whaddayawant??

S: When was the last time you were with a woman?

T: Probably the Depression.

S: What you saving it for?

T: I dunno man, maybe A big finish.

S: Now you better get out a bit more, your're starting to look grey...I'm off to visit the best lookin' tomato in the neighbourhood. 'night mumbles.

T: (singing) ...all the cornerboys still lollygag, the sailors shoot the breeze.. well, some things around here never change...

CUTS back to studio. Tom and Don are at a piano, Don seated on the stool, closest. There's a large orange (vodka and?) on the piano, with an chunky ashtray alongside. Tom starts playing some intro chords...

D: OK. Have a seat. Where do you get the inspiration for most of your stuff?

T: Well, you know.. most of my songs are kinda travelogues. It's difficult to say exactly where they come from . You gotta sleep with one eye open. This song here is entitled "On the nickel" In downtown Los Angeles, there's a place called fifth street, it's a place where all the hoboes are, and they call it "on the nickel". There was a motion picture called "On the nickel" that was written by Ralph Waite and this is a story, kinda a wino's lullaby.
*Ashes his cigarette and proceeds to play "On The Nickel" - it's a great rendition. His voice is *very* deep and...phlegmy, I guess. It's a fantastic version, ending with "Waltzing Matilda" that brings the house down.*
Don walks in, says something to Tom, but it's drowned out by the sound of the crowd's applause.
D: TOM WAITS! Ha! That was great. listen - we have been warning you and warning you for the past three shows that this was not an ordinary man, and I have not had a good time interviewing as I have with this man, because he's the ultimate send-up. Lemme tell you where the dates are gonna be. Melbourne, he's at the Palais theatre on May the 1st and the 7th(5) , and you...I can't stress enough that you have to see him. if you can, find a friend who's got a Tom Waits album and have a listen to the kinda stuff this guy creates. The 1st and the 7th - Don't blush on me now, by God! (Tom's laughing and blushing) Sydney, state theatre, on the May 2nd and the 14th. Canberra - I want you to come back on the show so everyone sees that this is the way you always are! - Sydney state theatre May 2nd and the 14th. Canberra Theatre May 4th, Brisbane Mayne Hall on May the 5th, Adelaide Festival Theatre on the 8th, out at Perth at the Concert Hall - man, you'll love it out there mate, they'll adore you - May the 11th, and if between that, if you can find out a way to come back here and sit down and talk to me, you can come on the show whenever you want. Because I think you're a gas. Thank you for coming out. Tom waits! And when we come back, Chubby Checker, the big twister that'll knock your brains out...

jueves, 12 de abril de 2012

Giorgos Lanthimos' new film. Alps


Alps, the new film by "Dogtooth" director Giorgios Lanthinos is a film about "a group of people who agree to stand in for the lost loved ones of others, replicanting their behaviour and gestures, obtensibly to help with grieving"

Giorgios Lanthinos and Efthymis Filippou developed the premise for the film out of the idea of people who allege something which is fabricated, for example via prank calls or by announcing their own deaths. The story took from as they needed a setting which could work well cinematically. Lanthimos considers it the complete opposite of his previous film, Kynodontas, wich he says "is the story of a person who tries to escape a fictitioud world. Alps is about a person who tries to enter a fabricated world"

Director: Giorgios Lanthinos
Script.    Giorgios Lanthinos, Efthymis Filippou
Cast:      Aggeliki Papoulia, Stavros Psyllakis, Ariane Psyllakis
Genre:    Drama
Runtime: 93 min
Country: Greek

I really recomend to read the Alps- Press Note 

Trailer and teaser of Alps




video

And the trailer of Kynodontas, one of the best films i've ever seen.

Hemingway's the old man and the sea

A German Artist Marcel Schindler relesased "ein stop-motion film" inspired by "The old man and the sea"  the tune is "sail" by Awolnation.

video

miércoles, 11 de abril de 2012

A Take-away Show. A different way to listen music

The founder of the website La Blogthèque, wanted to shake things up and find another way to share music. He also wanted to film music differently. He offered Vincent Moon (http://www.vincentmoon.com/) to go and film musicians n Paris. The so called Take-Away Shows have existed since April 2006. The large amount of clips is the result of a very fast filming process with mostly one take recordings in a way comparable to the Dogma 95 concept. Comparable with the field recordings of Alan Lomax or the Peel Sessions of John Peel. Moon has set up a large collection of unique single take recordings enhanced with  artistic filmed video footage. The fast filming process he uses is a form of guerrilla film making. The sessions are usually two or three tracks filmed improvised in an unusual enviroment and as such they ofthen had a rough and ready, demo-like feel, somewhere between a live performance and a finished music video. These live, unsually staged performances differ from the artifice of traditional music videos in favor of single-take, organig and primarly accoustic sessions.

This is a Take-Away show recorded in Istanbul

video