Bing Wang – Caiyou riji (pt. 2b) (2008)

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In the film-festival catalogues of Rotterdam and Hong Kong, it says that Wang Bing was filming on a plateau in the Gobi Desert, but in reality he had to move to a different mountainous region about 500 kilometers away, a journey on unmade snow-covered roads. The terrain that now plays the leading role in the film is in the province of Qinghai, a similar landscape to that of the neighboring province of Tibet (which of course is not regarded by everyone as a province). A high, empty, rough, windy, and desolate landscape. Yes, making films can still be adventurous. The filmmaker found that out at first hand. He started to have altitude sickness at the high oil installation. Continue reading

Bing Wang – Caiyou riji (pt. 1b) AKA Crude Oil (pt. 1b) (2008)

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“In the film-festival catalogues of Rotterdam and Hong Kong, it says that Wang Bing was filming on a plateau in the Gobi Desert, but in reality he had to move to a different mountainous region about 500 kilometers away, a journey on unmade snow-covered roads. The terrain that now plays the leading role in the film is in the province of Qinghai, a similar landscape to that of the neighboring province of Tibet (which of course is not regarded by everyone as a province). A high, empty, rough, windy, and desolate landscape. Yes, making films can still be adventurous. The filmmaker found that out at first hand. He started to have altitude sickness at the high oil installation. Continue reading

Werner Herzog – Land des Schweigens und der Dunkelheit AKA Land of Silence and Darkness (1971)

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Herzog’s magisterial magnificence comes into fuller focus with this “documentary” which reveals new facets of his creative genius. If Signs of Life and Even Dwarfs Started
Small are secret works, hiding his true intentions, and if the brutally sardonic, metaphysical Fata Morgana reveals them, this unbearably moving account of the lives of the deaf-and-blind confirms Herzog as a mysterious new humanist of the 1970s, light-years removed from the sentimentality of the Italian neo-realists and the simplistic propaganda of untalented documentary film radicals. When a deaf-and-blind man, living in total “darkness and silence”,
first gingerly touches a leaf, a branch, a tree, and finally enfolds its trunk in a wordless and sensuous embrace, we are in the presence of the true suffering (and hope) of humanity and the true genius of a great filmmaker.

-from Vogel’s Film as a Subversive Art Continue reading