Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Sweet Hereafter (1997)

A lawyer arrives in a small town to persuade parents, who are grieving over the deaths of their children killed in a school bus accident, to let him represent them.

Subtle and calm the movie concentrates on the aftermath and its implications for the survivors and its community, the tragic accident is only the catalyst for the story and is not dealt with in detail.

A Scan a Day

Ragtime (1981)

A young black pianist becomes embroiled in the lives of an upper-class white family set among the racial tensions, infidelity, violence of early 1900s New York City.

Sumptuous adaptation of the E.L. Doctorow novel. Despite the high production values the plot emphasizes certain episodes and neglects other strands.

Who's That Girl?

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Song a Day

CocoRosie - Good Friday

In the realm of any kind of art I've always had the idea that what is truly great is self-invented. For example, you might be learning how to play electric guitar, and you'd love to sound just like Jimi Hendrix or at least be able to do the things he could do on the guitar. But if you're creative, you'll start doing things differently and distinctly your own. Some great artists might even invent their whole own brand of music.

I came across CocoRosie through my pal Gerhard who doesn't watch TV, but listens to radio all the time, and he told me how amazing this new unknown duo sounded like. CocoRosie are 2 sisters, partly of Native American origin, who are based in Paris. Allegedly, they put the complete debut album La Maison de Mon Rêve together in their small room in Parisian Montmarte. Neverthless, the music never feels like a DIY attempt, but obviously is a very personal and beautiful re-invention of music, a sound unlike anything else you can find nowadays, although you can find a myriad of influences inside their sound.

Meanwhile, they have released altogether 3 albums, all magnificent works of sonic art.

You'll find a biography here and at MySpace here.

I once fell in love with you
Just because the sky turned from gray
Into blue
It was a good friday
The streets were open and empty
No more passion play
On st. Nicholas avenue
I believe in st. Nicholas
Its a different type of santa clause

Hairnet Paradise

bad crowd
tea, cake and sweet
sweet jamaica
garden that is sweet
sweet, sweet jamaica

it was a hairnet paradise
i praised in demise
it was a hairnet paradise
brown, black, blue eyes
burn the blue eyes

Dorothea Barth Jörgensen

ph: Eric Sposito

Vignettes #29

Since both of our parents had full time jobs, my sister and I spent the after school hours with our grandparents, in the States as well as later in Germany.

Here in Germany school starts early and ends at noon, so my German grandparents awaited us for lunch, then we were to do our homework, which often was extensive, only then could we do what we wanted to.

One afternoon I was sitting over my homework, and I was losing time, since it was a somewhat difficult task. For our German class I was to write the description of an object, and the object I was appointed to was a telephone. This was in the early 70s, so it was a standard old fashion telephone, exactly as in the picture above.

My problem was how to put its specific form into words. My grandfather was in the room busy cleaning up the dishes from lunch, so I asked him how he would describe the phone. At first he was surprised about my question, asked what I needed it for, but then he really got into the task. In the end he was dictating to me his own full description very carefully considering the right words.

My work was done, we were both satisfied, my grandfather proud he was able to help, and I was happy the work was done and I could go out to play with my pals.

A few days later my grandfather asked me what grade I had got on the description, and I had to admit that it was a 4, the 4th worst grade in a rating system which ranks from 1 (best) to 6 (worst). Completely taken aback he said to me: "Times have truly changed since I went to school."

Monika Jagaciak

Indeterminacy 125

Sometime after my
father’s death,
was talking with
suggested she take
a trip West
to visit the

I said,

“You’ll have a good
time.” She
was quick to

“Now, John,
know perfectly well
that I’ve
never enjoyed having
a good time.”

- John Cage

Nimue Smit

ph: Nick Knight

The Sea Hawk (1940)

Geoffrey Thorpe, a buccaneer, is hired by Queen Elizabeth I to nag the Spanish Armada.

Another classic swashbuckler by the Michael Curtiz/Errol Flynn team, lots of fun.

Ranya Mordanova

New stuff

Who's That Girl?

Hallam Foe (2007)

Hallam's talent for spying on people reveals his darkest fears-and his most peculiar desires.

Enjoyable and a bit off-kilter story about an angry young man's way into adult life. I did need time to get used to his voyeurism, which is at first quite alarming. The plot is ruined somewhat by a not so convincing happy ending.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tanya Dziahileva

Indeterminacy 79

I was never psychoanalyzed. I’ll tell you how it
happened. I always had a chip on my shoulder about
psychoanalysis. I knew the remark of Rilke to a
friend of his who wanted him to be psychoanalyzed.
Rilke said, “I’m sure they would remove my devils,
but I fear they would offend my angels.” When I went
to the analyst for a kind of preliminary meeting,
he said, “I’ll be able to fix you so that you’ll
write much more music than you do now.” I said,
“Good heavens! I already write too much, it seems
to me.” That promise of his put me off. ¶ And then
in the nick of time, Gita Sarabhai came from India.
She was concerned about the influence Western music
was having on traditional Indian music, and she’d
decided to study Western music for six months with
several teachers and then return to India to do what
she could to preserve the Indian traditions. She
studied contemporary music and counterpoint with
me. She said, “How much do you charge?” I said,
“It’ll be free if you’ll also teach me about Indian
music.” We were almost every day together. At the
end of six months, just before she flew away,
she gave me the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.
It took me a year to finish reading it.

- John Cage

A Scan a Day

Natalia Vodianova

Who's That Girl?

Kate Moss irrégulière

(click to enlarge)
ph: Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Jules Mordovets

ph: Laura Sciacovelli

Indeterminacy 178

Merce Cunningham’s father delights
in gardening.
Each year
he has had
to move the shrubs back
from the driveway
to protect them from
being run over when Mrs.
Cunningham backs out.

One day Mrs. Cunningham
in backing out
knocked down but
did not hurt
an elderly gentleman who
had been taking a
Getting out of
her car and seeing
him lying on the
Mrs. Cunningham said,
are you doing there?”

- John Cage

Sarah Stephens

Two-Faced Woman (1941)

While at a ski lodge, the editor of a successful New York magazine meets a female ski instructor and marries her.

Rather average romantic comedy in the star's very last screen role.

P.S.: I probably would have quit, too, if my face were distorted like on that movie poster above.

Snejana Onopka

Camille (1936)

A Parisian courtesan must choose between the young man who loves her and the callous baron who wants her, even as her own health begins to fail.

This Alexandre Dumas adaptation is one of Hollywood's classic tearjerkers, a perfect role for Great Garbo, still watchable after all these years.

Alice Dellal

New stuff

Who's That Girl?

Tony Takitani (2004)

When technical illustrator Tony Takitani asks his wife to resist her all-consuming obsession for designer clothes, the consequences are tragic.

Quiet, subdued adaptation of a Haruki Murakami tale which creates a lyrical tone of its own, wonderfully photographed.

P.S.: Made me want to read the story, so I ordered the book.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Vlada Roslyakova

ph: Greg Kadel

A Scan a Day

Alexandra Tomlinson

ph: Stefania Paparelli

Indeterminacy 48

In 1954, when I went to Europe,
I no sooner arrived in Paris than I
noticed that the city was covered with
posters publicizing a mushroom exhibition
that was being held in the Botanical Gardens.
That was all I needed.
Off I went. When I arrived,
I found myself in a large room filled
with many tables upon which were displayed
many species of fungi. On the
hour from a large centrally-placed
loudspeaker a recorded lecture on the
deadly poisonous amanitas was delivered.
During this lecture, nobody in
the hall moved or spoke. Each
person’s attention was, so to speak,
riveted to the information being
given. A week later, I
was in Cologne in Germany attending a
concert of electronic music. There
was also an audience and a large
loudspeaker. However, many
in the audience were dozing off, and
some were talking to their neighbors.

- John Cage

Maryna Linchuk

ph: Glen Luchford