Philosophy

Samuel Beckett & Alan Schneider – Film (1965)

F I L M I N F O
1. Samuel Beckett made a single work for projected cinema. It’s in essence a chase film; the craziest ever committed to celluloid. It’s a chase between camera and pursued image that finds existential dread embedded in the very apparatus of the movies itself. The link to cinema’s essence is evident in the casting, as the chased object is none other than an aged Buster Keaton, who was understandably befuddled at Beckett and director Alan Schneider’s imperative that he keep his face hidden from the camera’s gaze. The archetypal levels resonate further in the exquisite cinematography of Academy Award-winner Boris Kaufman, whose brothers Dziga Vertov and Mikhail Kaufman created the legendary self-reflexive masterpiece Man With a Movie Camera. Commissioned and produced by Grove Press’s Barney Rosset, FILM is at once the product of a stunningly all-star assembly of talent, and a cinematic conundrum that asks more questions than it answers. Read More »

Ermanno Olmi – Il segreto del bosco vecchio AKA The Secret of the Old Woods (1993)

This Ecological Fairy Tale, with live actors and talking animals tells the story of a colonel (Paolo Villaggio) who is entrusted with a large estate of woodlands until his schoolboy nephew comes of age. Disregarding local tradition and the practice of his esteemed deceased brother, the military man decides to selectively cut the old growth timber. He is confronted with the protestations of the tree spirits (Giulio Brogi) and the local townsfolk, to no avail. Over their objection he releases the unpredictable wind from the cave to which it has been confined, and even wishes for the early demise of his nephew so he can own the woods outright. But he comes to value human contact more, starts to come to terms with most of the spirits, and reverses some plots to get rid of his nephew. A bit like a live action Hayan Miyazaki tale such as Princess Mononoke, but not so violent. Read More »

Luc de Heusch – Gestes du repas (1958)

Luc De Heusch – Les gestes du repas (1958)
1958. 35 mm., black and white, 23′.

Les Gestes du repas (Mealtime Gestures),
This ethnographic film shows us the image of man at his table. An acute view of Belgium. Read More »

Daryush Shokof – Seven Servants (1996)

AMG: A very strange dream about a wealthy man preparing for death inspired director Daryush Shokof to make this off-beat and highly esoteric art film. Archie (Anthony Quinn) receives inner peace by being touched by people of four different racial groups. The film shows the five of them conducting daily activities as Quinn endures having their fingers in his nose and ears constantly for 10 days. Archie invites two old friends of his to be present at his death and reveals his secret for inner peace to them. The man goes off in a huff, but the woman stays around and finds her own enjoyment in the situation. Read More »

Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub – Geschichtsunterricht aka History Lessons (1972)

Quote:
Based on an unfinished novel by Brecht, the 1973 feature History Lessons takes on a loose journalistic form, as a young man drives through contemporary Italy to interview an ancient Roman banker on his views of Caesars reign. The discourse turns on the interpenetrations of politics, trade, and war, and the films relentlessly demanding pace marks its makers ambitions to wedge open a space beyond capitalist production, from which some new critique might emerge. Read More »

Sammaria Simanjuntak – Cin(T)a (2009)

Cina was a Chinese-Indonesian Christian young man who got his name ‘Cina’ (China, in English) by misunderstanding in his birth registry and is pursuing his dream to get a scholarship in an architecture faculty in Bandung, Indonesia. He was against his father’s plan for him to leave for Singapore where there’s a scholarship offer with 6 years working contract after, so he could be able to get a chance to be in the governments and to become a governor for Tapanuli, a new province of his dream. Read More »

Peter Watkins – Fritänkaren aka The Freethinker (1994)

Quote:
“This is Peter Watkins (epic) companion-piece to his highly acclaimed “Edvard Munch” (1974). “The Freethinker” examines the life, art, and times of the noted Swedish dramatist August Strindberg, author of Miss Julie, Inferno, and Dance of Death. Strindberg is depicted as a rebel, and idealistic and controversial iconoclast who openly criticized the hypocrisy of 19th century society.” (p. back cover) The film broadly focuses on 3 aspects of Strindberg’s life- the impact of his childhood on his psychology and future work; the meaning of his relationship with his first wife, and the way in which Strindberg, as an author, created works that confronted the social injustices of their time. Read More »