Ron Athey and Lee Adams – Visions of Excess (2009)

“It’s basically terrorist porn.”
–Bruce LaBruce

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“Visions of Excess was a non-stop, 12 hour voyage into the heart of darkness, a communion with the ragged spirit of Georges Bataille, exploring the philosophers key themes of death, eroticism and the forbidden. This DVD features documentation from Visions of Excess London. Easter Sunday, 2009. Commissioned by SPILL Festival.

“Curated by Ron Athey and Lee Adams, and hosted by David Hoyle the event featured live performances, installations, film screenings and DJs. This dvd features excerpts from work by Lee Adams, Ron Athey, Franko B, Gio Black Peter, Bruce La Bruce, Christophe Chemin, Peter Christopherson, Zackary Drucker, Flawless Sabrina, Dominic Johnson, Mouse, Kira O’Reilly, L.Gabrielle Penabaz, Lazlo Pearlman, SmaxXx, Suka Off, Samantha Sweeting, Julie Tolentino and Veenus Vortex.” Continue reading

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Hans-Jürgen Syberberg – Hitler – ein Film aus Deutschland AKA Hitler: A Film from Germany (1978)

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The third and longest part of Syberberg’s extraordinary trilogy on German culture, history and nationalism (the two earlier films were Ludwig – Requiem for a Virgin King and Karl May), best described as a high camp, heavy-duty analysis of both history and historical analysis itself. The chosen method is to single out, act out, alter, and finally comment on the lives of a handful of ‘awkward’ German historical figures, from Ludwig of Bavaria through fantasy author Karl May to Hitler, the ‘madman’. Behind aesthetic complexity lies a simple purpose: to show up the sort of historical contradictions solved by Marxists with bare economic models, and by others with suspect reference to the ‘greatness’ or ‘madness’ of the figures involved. Visually lyrical, the style is eclectic to the point of hysteria; and the tone oscillates between the operatic (Wagner figures large) and the colloquial (Hitler in conversation with his projectionist) without ever quite coming unstuck. Humour mixes with mythology and analysis in the attempt to reunite art, history and ideology. It’s a quite remarkable film, with a sense of metaphor equal to its intellectual courage. Continue reading

Robert Frank – Cocksucker Blues [+Extras] (1972)

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Plot Outline :
With Cocksucker Blues, Frank bids a final adieu to the utopia of the Beat generation. What did the Rolling Stones expect when they hired him to make a film about their 1972 North American tour? There are scenes of groupie sex in private jets, cocaine snorting, and even a masturbation scene in which Jagger reveals himself to be the cameraman in a reflected image.

But ultimately Frank focuses on the lonely spaces that permeate the rock and roll machine. This is the ultimate direct cinema. The camera movement infects the images with an unbelievable filmic energy, and Frank ignores all orientation guidelines. Populated by the living dead, Cocksucker Blues is a zombie film with no refuge. Continue reading

Neil Young – Journey Through the Past (1974)

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At first glance, you might dismiss Journey Through the Past as just another sci-fi quickie. Please DON’T do that. This 75-minute, R-rated musical documentary is a probing portrait of rock star Neil Young. The film begins in 1966, when Young was still with Buffalo Springfield, and concludes in “the present”-1972, that is. Also appearing are Neil Young’s faithful companions Stephen Stills, Richie Furay, Dewey Martin, David Crosby and Graham Nash. Songs include “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” and “Heart of Gold.” The direction of Journey Through the Past is credited to one “Bernard Shakey”-who also goes by the name of Neil Young ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide Continue reading

Dori Berinstein – ShowBusiness: The Road to Broadway (2007)

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From Amazon.com –

The real drama happens behind the curtain in this fascinating and rare look at four high-profile Broadway musicals (Wicked, Taboo, Caroline, Or Change, and Avenue Q) and their fearless journey to the Tony Awards®. Including a star-studded cast, this entertaining film takes viewers on an unprecedented behind-the-scenes view of the creative process that captures all the heartbreak and hilarity of trying make it big in Show Business!

The playful but intense and vastly informative Show Business: The Road to Broadway is a documentary about four musicals that were contenders for top Tony Awards prizes in the 2004 Broadway season. Following the parallel action between the quartet–“Wicked,” “Avenue Q,” “Taboo,” and “Caroline, or Change”–from concept through casting, rewrites, rehearsals, opening nights and the relative box-office fortunes of each, the film dazzles a viewer by seeming to be everywhere at once. Along the way, one encounters cascades of neuroses and anxieties from the creative community involved in these shows, but there is also tremendous insight shared by the various playwrights, composers, lyricists, producers, directors, and stars who get these productions up and running. There’s sundry drama, too, especially concerning the brief run of “Taboo,” the financially disastrous musical about Boy George that was largely bankrolled by Rosie O’Donnell and ran into a variety of problems. Excellent fly-on-the-wall moments include a dinner sequence involving a handful of well-known theatre critics, whose tastes vary and who often champion shows no one else seems to like. Everything leads to highlights from the 2004 Tony Awards show, which was full of surprises. A final sequence in which one catches up with the many talents involved says everything about how success and failure is often a mere roll of the cosmic dice.
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Lee De Forest – Casey at the Bat (1922)

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In his career, De Wolf Hopper recited Ernest Lawrence Thayer’s “Casey at the Bat” thousands of times. Here, wearing a tuxedo, he emerges from behind a curtain as if at a theater, gives a short introduction, and launches into the poem. The camera is stationary, and although Hopper stands in one place, his hands and arms, his face, and his voice are animated throughout. In delivery, it’s a minstrel performance. Continue reading

Benoît Jacquot – Elvire-Jouvet 40 (1988)

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In 1940, the actor Louis Jouvet held seven masterclasses at the Conservatoire National de Paris, in which he coached a student, Claudia, in the role of Elvire from Molière’s Dom Juan.

The notes from these lessons later formed the basis of a stage play by Brigitte Jaques at the Théâtre national de Strasbourg, with Philippe Clévenot in the role of Louis Jouvet and Maria de Medeiros as Claudia.

This is Benoît Jacquot’s telefilm adaptation of the play, with the same cast. It is in monochrome (as broadcast).
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