Kôzaburô Yoshimura – Itsuwareru seiso AKA Clothes of Deception (1951)

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In 1951 Yoshimura had approached Daiei in order to realise – again from Shindo’s script – his outstanding study of women in Kyoto’s Gion district, Clothes of Deception (Itsuwareru seiso). Once at the studio he went on to work on a number of prestige projects, such as the lavish 1951 adaptation of the Heian-era prose classic The Tale of Genji (Genji monogatari), commissioned by Daiei to celebrate the studio’s tenth anniversary and supervised by respected novelist Tanizaki Junichiro, who had translated Murasaki Shikibu’s original 11th-century text into modern Japanese. Yoshimura won critical acclaim, and the film became Japan’s biggest commercial hit up to that date. Continue reading

Katherine Gilday – The Famine Within (1990)

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Katherine Gilday’s impressive documentary debut The Famine Within focuses on the debilitating and unattainable ideal of a woman, and its devastating effects on the health and morale of women, particularly, young North American women.

The film suggests that consumerism (fuelled by the gazillion-dollar diet, fitness and fashion industries) and mass media are largely responsible for creating and spreading this image. In one example, the film documents a model search. Of the 40,000 women (mostly teenagers) who felt qualified to respond in the first place, only four met the agency’s physical requirements. Even these four girls aren’t “ready” until they are polished, primped, posed and airbrushed for popular consumption. In today’s body-centered, youth-oriented culture, this image becomes a dangerous catalyst for the ever-increasing number of young North American women developing harmful eating disorders. In their obsessive pursuit of the perfect body, many women become anorexic, bulimic or, ironically, diet their way to obesity. Continue reading

Parviz Kimiavi – Mogholha AKA The mongols (coloured version) (1973)

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From IMDB:
A director of a television series on the history of cinema, who has been grappling with the screenplay of his first feature film, receives an assignment to oversee the installation of a television relay station in a remote region of Zahedan province, near the Afghanistan border. He has already hired Turkoman tribespeople for his film and selected his filming location. Meanwhile his wife, who is working on her Ph.D. dissertation about the Mongol invasion of Iran, attempts to dissuade him from accepting the assignment. One night, while working on his history of the cinema series, the director fantasizes a diagetic world that consists of clever juxtapositions of his different worlds: the history of cinema, the history of the mongol invasion, his own film idea and his imminent assignment to the desert. Continue reading

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. 2a) (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

Ken Jacobs – Star Spangled to Death (2004)

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STAR SPANGLED TO DEATH is an epic film shot for hundreds of dollars! combining found-films with my own more-or-less staged filming, it pictures a stolen and dangerously sold-out America, allowing examples of popular culture to self-indict. Racial and religious insanity, monopolization of wealth and the purposeful dumbing down of citizens and addiction to war oppose a Beat playfulness.

A handful of artists costumed and performing unconvincingly appeal to audience imagination and understanding to complete the picture. Jack Smith’s pre-FLAMING CREATURES performance as The Spirit Not Of Life But Of Living (the movie has raggedly cosmic pretensions), celebrating Suffering (rattled impoverished artist Jerry Sims) at the crux of sentient existence, is a visitation of the divine. 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