Mark Rappaport – From the Journals of Jean Seberg (1995)

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As in his Rock Hudson’s Home Movies, Mark Rappaport offers a trenchant piece of film criticism, revisionist history, and social commentary in the form of a movie star’s fictionalized autobiography–specifically Jean Seberg (Mary Beth Hurt) speaking from beyond the grave about her life and career, as well as the careers of Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave, who, like Seberg, have also been associated with radical politics. Rappaport is a highly entertaining raconteur as he speaks through his title character, always justifying his many digressions on such subjects as movies about Joan of Arc, close-ups, expressionless actors, film directors who depict their actress-wives as whores, the Vietnam war, the FBI, and the Black Panthers; he also has a rather chilling story to tell–not only about Seberg but also about what her audience did and didn’t see in her films from the 50s, 60s, and 70s, including Saint Joan, Bonjour Tristesse, Breathless, Lilith, and Paint Your Wagon. Essential viewing.

Jonathan Rosenbaum Continue reading

Lazar Stojanovic – Plasticni Isus AKA Plastic Jesus (1971)

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Anarchic collage on Titoism and Stalinism, totalitarism and undeground arts, Fascism and Socialism. A minor narrative line tells about a bearded anarchist filmmaker whose Croatian- American girlfriend keeps on singing country songs – one of them entitled Plastic Jesus. When she leaves him, he finds another woman and gets into trouble with the police. Influenced by the Yigoslav Black Wave of the late 6o’s, especially by Dušan Makavejev’s W.R. – Mysteries of the organism, Stojanovićs film marks a free spirit, connected with sarcastic criticism on the socialist leaders of it’s time which is specially dome by a subversive use of certain archive material. [Zagreb Film festival 2006, festival catalogue] Continue reading

Rowan Lee Hartsuiker – Chandmani Sum (2009)

Mongolia. A place of many stories. Vast and endless steppes, mountains and deserts. Chinggis Khaan, symbol for The Land of the Blue Sky. But what exactly is the true face behind this least populated country of the world?

As an audio and visual experience this film brings you in the middle of a journey through Chandmani Sum, a small village in West Mongolia. Through the eyes of an anonymous person we witness an experimental view on the real life of Mongolian countryside.

–Rowan Lee Hartsuiker Continue reading

Sophie Calle & Greg Shepard – No Sex Last Night aka Double Blind (1992)

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http://www.recirca.com/reviews/SophieCalle/Sophiecallereview.shtml

For over 20 years Sophie Calle’s work has taken the form of photographic installations and chronicles, whose structure and form reflect a narrative approach – both within themselves individually and, taken together, in terms of Calle’s own career. Born in Paris in 1953, Calle’s early work dates from a world trip in the 1970s that lasted seven years. During a stay in California in 1978 she took her first photographs – graves marked Father and Mother – with no professional intent, she simply had come upon something that ‘her father might like’. On her return to Paris she began tailing unknowns in the street as part of a conscious ‘drifting through the city’, recording the results in notebooks containing photographs and texts.

By the 1980s the emphasis had moved to her own feelings resulting in the construction of a set of rules and rituals intended to resolve certain personal difficulties. This was followed in the late ‘80s and ‘90s by a concentration on the concept of sight and more recently issues to do with the disappearance of people and things. Continue reading

Ben Russell – Let Each One Go Where He May (2009)

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Let Each One Go Where He May
Ben Russell
2009
2hr. 13min.

Chicago-based filmmaker Ben Russell has gone international with Trypps – a series of short, mesmerizing films loosely interpreting the notion of “trip,” from literal, geographic journeys to ecstatic music-induced highs, variations of trance and spasmodic filmic episodes. Along with Tjüba Tën/The Wet Season (co-directed by Brigid McCaffrey), his medium-length experimental documentary shot in Suriname, and his live projector performances, Russell’s body of work displays an ever-increasing interest in cinematic anthropologies.

Let Each One Go Where He May is Russell’s stunning feature debut, a film that both partakes in and dismantles traditional ethnography, opts for mystery and natural beauty over annotation and artifice, and employs unconventional storytelling as a means toward historical remembrance. A rigorous, exquisite work with a structure at once defined and winding, the film traces the extensive journey of two unidentified brothers who venture from the outskirts of Paramaribo, Suriname, on land and through rapids, past a Maroon village on the Upper Suriname River, in a rehearsal of the voyage undertaken by their ancestors, who escaped from slavery at the hands of the Dutch 300 years earlier. The path is still travelled to this day and its changing topography bespeaks a diverse history of forced migration. Continue reading

Andrew Kotting – Gallivant (1997)

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Synopsis: When British filmmaker Andrew Kotting decided to tour the perimeter of Great Britain with his grandmother Gladys and his daughter Eden, he brought a film crew along. The result is this often humorous and picturesque documentary. Much of it features the travelers interacting with the native villagers who gladly share a story, a bit of colorful philosophy or sing a traditional song. One of Kotting’s motives for the journey was to have a final lark with the 80-year-old Gladys and to spend precious moments with Eden, who suffers from Jouberts Syndrome and may die before reaching maturity.~ Sandra Brennan, All Movie Guide Continue reading