In British director Don Levy’s Herostratus, a young poet, Max (Michael Gothard, The Devils), decides to commit suicide in public as a form of protest. He hires a prestigious marketing company to capture the event and promote it to the masses. As preparations begin, however, Max realizes that his plan might be flawed – he doubts that the company would cover the event as he wishes. With only a few days left, the young rebel is faced with an impossible dilemma – finish what he has started, or abandon his plan and run away.
Herostratus reminded me about two very powerful films: Marco Bellocchio’s Fists in the Pocket (1965) and Bernardo Bertolucci’s Partner (1968). In the former, a young epileptic (Lou Castel), frustrated with the world around him, goes on a family killing spree. In the latter – a film loosely based on Fyodor Dostoevsky’s work The Double – a passionate revolutionary’s (Pier Clementi) plan to commit suicide issuddenly thrown into turmoil when a mysterious double appears. Continue reading
Two teenage girls, both named Marie, decide that since the world is spoiled they will be spoiled as well; accordingly they embark on a series of destructive pranks in which they consume and destroy the world about them. This freewheeling, madcap feminist farce was immediately banned by the government. Continue reading
Richard Martini’s “Camera” is an ambitious – yet, addictive independent film encompassing intrigue, comedy and adventure. An inside look into the lives of several people – via the one digital camera they all buy – it’s a compulsively magnetic piece that shows flair and creativity on behalf of the helmer. It’s got no budget and it’s got no buzz – but “Camera” is a rare delight, and especially interesting to see Martini can draw in some fine cameos by people like Jack Nicholson, Oliver Stone, and Angie Everhart.
Bravo Martini – we look forward to your next project. Continue reading
Notable film theorist Gene Youngblood has this to say about the “Cosmic Cinema” of Jordan Belson in his classic book “Expanded Cinema”:
“Certain phenomena manage to touch a realm of our consciousness so seldom reached that when it is awakened we are shocked and profoundly moved. It’s an experience of self-realization as much as an encounter with the external world. The cosmic films of Jordan Belson possess this rare and enigmatic power. Continue reading
Working completely outside the mainstream, Stan Brakhage has made nearly 400 films over the past half century. Challenging all taboos in his exploration of “birth, sex, death, and the search for God,” Brakhage has turned his camera on explicit lovemaking, childbirth, even actual autopsy. Many of his most famous works pursue the nature of vision itself and transcend the act of filming. Some, including the legendary Mothlight, were made without using a camera at all. Instead, Brakhage has pioneered the art of making images directly on film itself––starting with clear leader or exposed film, then drawing, painting, and scratching it by hand. Treating each frame as a miniature canvas, Brakhage can produce only a quarter- to a half-second of film a day, but his visionary style of image-making has changed everything from cartoons and television commercials to MTV music videos and the work of such mainstream moviemakers as Martin Scorsese, David Fincher, and Oliver Stone. Continue reading
Finally reunited, Stan Brakhage’s masterpiece Dog Star Man is an experimental movie without sound. A creation myth realized in light, patterns, images superimposed, rapid cutting, and silence. A black screen, then streaks of light, then an explosion of color and squiggles and happenstance. Next, images of small circles emerge then of the Sun. Images of our Earth appear, woods, a part of a body, a nude woman perhaps giving birth. Imagery evokes movement across time and space. If the movie tends sometime toward abstraction, there is still a kind of off-the-tracks narration here. Dog Star Man could be about a man, lost in mountain, struggling to survive, and as he fell the breath of death on his shoulder, remembering trough flashes his wife and son. Continue reading
This film took 300,000 photos, riots, wildfires, paintings in abandoned houses, two years and zero graphics to make. It changed my entire life.
Circle of Abstract Ritual began as an exploration of the idea that creation and destruction might be the same thing. The destruction end of that thought began in earnest when riots broke out in my neighborhood in Anaheim, California, 2012. I immediately climbed onto my landlord’s roof without asking and began recording the unfolding events. The news agencies I contacted had no idea what to do with time lapse footage of riots, which was okay with me because I had been thinking about recontextualizing news as art for some time. After that I got the bug. I chased down wildfires, walked down storm drains on the L.A. River and found abandoned houses where I could set up elaborate optical illusion paintings. The illusion part of the paintings are not an end in themselves in my work. They’re an intimation of things we can’t physically detect; a way to get an ever so slight edge on the unknowable. Continue reading