by Stephen Dwoskin (2012)
Exploring the texture, the beauty and the singularity of aging faces and silhouettes, Age Is meditates through tiny details, a gesture, a pause, a look, on the subjective experience and cultural concepts of ageing.
Jane Arden’s The Other Side of the Underneath is a seriously disturbing film. It is also an uncharacteristically bold one. I think that in a lot of ways it is quite similar to Bernardo Bertollucci’s Partner (1968), a film about a young revolutionary, played by Pierre Clementi, whose life changes dramatically when a double appears and foils his plan to commit suicide. In the opening scene of The Other Side, a schizophrenic woman (Sheila Allen, The Legend of Spider Forest) is pulled out of a lake and placed in an asylum.
The film is based on director Arden’s “A New Communion for Freaks, Prophets and Witches”, a play she staged with the Holocaust women’s theatre troupe. It is comprised of a number of different episodes, each exploring a specific theme – female exploitation, voyeurism, sexual deprivation, etc. The Other Side is also a reflection of its creator’s brush with madness.
The key concept behind The Other Side is intriguing. The film argues that madness is part of a cycle that leads to sanity. It also stresses that this complex process is often misunderstood by those who have never experienced madness. Cultural and societal taboos are cited amongst the main reasons for its existence. Continue reading
The experimental film takes place in North-Caroline. In the last days of the American civil war three characteristic figures of the 1849 Hungarian emigration fight: the geographer artillery officer Fiala János, the rational scientist, Vereczky Ádám, the heroic fatalist and the attendant of Fiala: the emotional Boldogh, who struggles with homesickness. The fate of all the “”slowed down”" revolutionaries is hopeless. The boasting Vereczky dies a meaningless death on a huge swing which he was able to survey with the theodolite. Boldogh longs for home, maybe to die, while there is only one possibility for Fiala: he can participate in the construction works of the Pacific railway.
1976 – Won Grand Prize – Mannheim-Heidelberg International Filmfestival Continue reading
Between July, 2007 and June, 2008, veteran independent film-maker,James Benning built replicas of two iconic American Cabins in a remote part of the High Sierras- Henry David Thoreau’s hut from Walden Pond and the one-room plywood shack in rural Montana from which Theodore John Kaczynski (the ‘Unabomber’) conducted his 16-year bombing campaign via the U.S. mail. The juxtaposition of these two simple structures invokes and implicates deeply conflicted and enduring foundational American myths concerning the scope and meaning of personal liberty, civic responsibility and the rule of law; individual conscience, democracy and civil disobedience; the transcendental value of nature, wilderness and the god-given right to exploit natural resources; American exceptionalism, environmental conservationism and faith in technological progress; the imperative to make oneself (anew), to ’succeed’ and, if necessary, to secede.
Naked Repose: A Conversation with James Benning about “Twenty Cigarettes”
Written by Darren Hughes
Published on 07 October 2011
“The guard is down and the mask is off, even more than in lone bedrooms where there’s a mirror. People’s faces are in naked repose down in the subway.” —Walker Evans
“So, have you ever smoked?” I laughed when James Benning asked me this question at the end of our conversation. “Honestly, I’ve probably smoked about twenty cigarettes,” I told him. “I’m a child of the 70s and 80s. Nancy Reagan told me to say ‘no.’” That was almost the full extent of our discussion of smoking, despite the fact that Benning’s feature-length video, Twenty Cigarettes, is constructed solely of portraits of smokers. The duration of each of the twenty shots is determined by the length of time it takes each subject to light, smoke, and discard a cigarette. Benning composed each shot, staged the person in front of a flat backdrop, and then walked away from the camera. Continue reading
Electronic music by Fred Coulter. With Bob Ohlrich, Pat Myers, Jake Leed, Mary Leed. “… a work of ambition and great technical virtuosity … there is enough going on in AKRAN to command anyone’s attention. And much of that is lovely and wonderfully difficult.” – Greenspun, The New York Times
“AKRAN by Richard Myers was unquestionably the discovery of the year …. It captures in rapid brilliant flashes the fears, the frustrations, the hang-ups, the hopes – the emotional texture of young people today …. It is a fascinating, penetrating film, and introduces Myers as one of the most original and creative independent talents around today.” – Arthur Knight Continue reading
It’s a 2012 short-film, text by Theodore J. Kaczynski, made of scans of a document from a FBI Laboratory, about the danger of experiments with accelerated particles: