Saturday, October 3, 2009


Usually I avoid commenting on such current affairs as Polanski's recent arrest, but there have been such heated debates everywhere I go online and with my friends that I thought I'd write about it after all.

It seems that everyone has their own preconceived opinion about the case, which makes arguing quite difficult, and it really doesn't help that this affair has so many different aspects.

1977 was quite exactly the year I started getting seriously interested in cinema, its art and history. Therefore Polanski's flight from jurisdiction has always been a topic I had my problems with and I still can't really say what my opinion about it is. But then what's wrong with that?


At the core of everything is the case, the crime, itself which today is still awaiting due process. It's not about justice, it's a legal requirement. The question about guilt is one of a court and to this day resolved.

It's everyone's right to have and express an opinion, but - except for those involved - none of us talking is victim or perpetrator, prosecutor or the defence lawyer, judge or jury. Therefore our opinions are just simply irrelevant and not worth much more than any other kind of gossip.


Roman Polanski has decided to avoid prosecution and fled from the United States and has done everything to bypass a criminal trial. I don't think not many would agree that this is exemplary behaviour, and denying responsibility can hardly be lauded.

Furthermore this has made the whole issue a complex international and public affair. It is Polanski's full fault to have created such a situation.

Consequently he's been compromising friends and anyone involved in his life and work, including the countries he has been to ever since he left the States. And so in the end this has become a public affair on an international scale.


This has been going on for more than 30 years now. Obviously it was no pressing issue for the United States to urge any of its ally countries to extradite Polanski nor did any of these countries feel obliged to act on their own accord. So why arrest him now?

A German newspaper (DIE ZEIT) noticed that Polanski had been in Germany the last few months shooting his new movie in Sylt, but no request for arrest was sent to the authorities. Obviously someone at the LA district attorney's office finally had a look into his Google alert for 'Roman Polanski', found the invitation for the Swiss film festival and sent an arrest warrant to the Swiss authorities??

It might even be true, but it seems to be a political issue. Switzerland has had some recent international difficulties with the USA (UBS bank) and might feel obliged to make good.

In any case it obviously doesn't have much to do with the initial case in itself.


And so I hear some people getting upset about those artists, mostly from the movie industry, signing the 'Free Polanski' petition. Who cares and why care? It's not like this will really influence the future procedure of this case.

Some signers are Polanski's friends and are showing genuine solidarity, others are maybe just joining to have their name on the list with the 'in crowd'. It's NOT Hollywood expressing an official opinion like a political party might do. Who is Hollywood? It's just a large amount of people working for the major American film production companies, and every one of them has his or her own private opinion.


I also hear doubt about the value of Polanski's work and that his movies should be boycotted, and there's disgust that he ever received an Academy Award for The Pianist.

Despite the fact that nearly all of his relevant art was produced before 1977 it is merely one truth in life that I have learnt that you can't measure art on the personality of its creators. More often than not we here of those nutty or mean people who nevertheless produce timeless works of art.

I actually do value art higher than justice, because art can be and often is perfect, whereas true justice rarely prevails. (If justice existed, then I'd still be running a cinema). And art is not the artist, an artist is a person like anyone else and not above the law.

True art does manage to go beyond the actial intentions of its creator and magically touches realms not initially comprehended in its creation. Art is simply more than just the sum of its parts.

And the Academy Award? How many great artists in cinema have been overseen and forgotten and how often have we been aggravated about certain decisions who got the prize? Polanksi has achieved prize-worthy works within his career, and if he got one after 1977, so it be. It's not like such a prize proves you to be innocent of anything.

But I guess the public has already switched its attention to Letterman...

Zooey Deschanel

Indeterminacy 107

The day after I
finally won the Italian
TV quiz on
I received
anonymously in the mail
Volume II
of a French book
on mushrooms
that had been
published in Germany.

I was studying
it in a crowded
going to downtown Milan.

The lady
next to me said,

“What are you
reading that for?

That’s finished.”

- John Cage

Who's That Girl?

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

An alien lands and tells the people of Earth that they must live peacefully or be destroyed as a danger to other planets.

A true classic of the sci-fi genre, the message quite courageous at the time and still virulent for today. I was especially impressed by Bernard Herrmann's wonderfully eery soundtrack.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Anna Selezneva

Miniatures #12

A Radically Condensed History of Postindustrial Life
by David Foster Wallace

When they were introduced, he made a witticism, hoping to be liked. She laughed very hard, hoping to be liked. Then each drove home alone, staring straight ahead, with the very same twist to their faces.

The man who’d introduced them didn’t much like either of them, though he acted as if he did, anxious as he was to preserve good relations at all times. One never knew, after all, now did one.

Emmi Hellsten

Indeterminacy 101

Peggy Guggenheim, Santomaso,
and I were in a Venetian
restaurant. There were only
two other people dining in the same
room and they were not conversing.
I got to expressing my
changed views with regard to the
French and the Italians.
I said that I had years before
preferred the French because of their
intelligence and had found the
Italians playful but intellectually not
engaging; that recently,
however, I found the French
cold in spirit and lacking in freedom
of the mind, whereas the
Italians seemed warm and surprising.
Then it occurred to me that
the couple in the room were French.
I called across to them
and said, “Are you French?”
The lady replied.
“We are,” she said,
“but we agree with you completely.”

- John Cage

Anna Iaryn

Coraline (2009)

An adventurous girl finds another world that is a strangely idealized version of her frustrating home, but it has sinister secrets.

Superb animated fantasy quite loosely based on Neil Gaiman's wonderful story, basically tuning down the Gothic elements of the original in favour of a more colourful fantasy world and more suitable for children.

Who's That Girl?

New stuff

Julija Steponaviciute

Natalia Vodianova

Tasha Tilberg

Thursday, October 1, 2009

New Stuff

Alexandra Kuznetsova

Vignettes #46

I have been meeting my pal Gerhard every week at the pub for more than 2 decades now. Over the years the one thing that went through any changes was the pub we would visit.

For the last 5-6 years we have been going to a pub whose owner is Helmut, a very nice guy. A year ago he decided to sell his pub to a brewery and in turn have himself employed as the manager, i.e. going from self-employed to employed. On the side he had been studying mathematics at the university, but after 1-2 years he dropped out of that.

We had thought that he was happy with the new arrangement and didn't think anything, when we noticed that he had been absent for the last few weeks and had other waiters replacing him.

But now we were informed that Helmut has quit his job altogether and the 2 replacement waiters, a girl and a young man, have taken over management of the pub.

Surprised, we asked what Helmut was doing now.

We were informed that he has started training to become a gravedigger...

Toma Barkova

Indeterminacy 94

Some years ago on May 30, Mary Fleming noticed a strange amanita
growing near her house in Upper Nyack. She picked the plant,
volva and all, and put it to dry in the sun on top of her station
wagon. A little later before driving into town she took the
mushroom off the car and put it up on an outside window sill,
also in the sun. When she did this, she may have been thinking,
consciously or unconsciously, of putting the mushroom out of the
reach of her cats. She had, at the time, nine of them. At any
rate, when she returned home after having run an errand in Nyack,
two Siamese cats, Poom Poom, a mother, and One Yen, her kitten,
were busy eating the amanita. Three other cats, not Siamese,
were standing nearby interested in what was going on. Only about
a third of the amanita remained uneaten. Six hours later, the
Siamese became ill. They vomited and had diarrhea. Instead of
walking, they staggered around. They suffered peristalsis.
Eventually they were quite unconscious. They couldn’t move at
all. When Mary Fleming took them to the doctor, they were “like
two fur boards.” They were given injections of atropine. They
recovered completely. Twelve days later there was a
thunderstorm. One Yen, the kitten, died in the driveway. Autopsy
showed that the cause of death was heart attack. The mother, Poom
Poom, still lives but has never had another litter. ¶ That’s one
story. Another version is quite different. It wasn’t a cat that
died in the driveway, but a dog. What happened was that five days
before the thunderstorm, Mary Fleming went to Trinidad where her
husband was collecting snakes. She stayed there for a month.
Back home in July she found that three of the cats that had
recovered from the mushroom poisoning were sick. This means —
since One Yen was already dead — that at least two of the
ordinary cats not only observed the Siamese eating the amanita
but themselves partook. 2 − 1 + 2 = 3. The three cats who were
sick in July were taken to the doctor who said they had
enteritis. He was able to cure them. The cause of One Yen’s death
is unknown. Perhaps it was the atropine. Since Mary Fleming was
in Trinidad there was no autopsy. One thing is certain: Poom Poom
is sterile.

- John Cage

Radha Mitchell

Miniatures #11

I'm always irritated when I hear someone saying that they are trying "to find myself" as in: "I ended the relationship, because I need more time to find myself". I imagine split personalities running down the street in search of their other halves.

The accurate reply should be: "Go look into the mirror."

Who's That Girl?

New stuff

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chloe Bello

ph: Cathleen Wolf

The Movies I Watched in September

At the Earth's Core (1976) 4
Atomic Train (1999) (TV) 4
Australia (2008) 6
Auto Focus (2002) 6
Bee Movie (2007) 6
Birthday Girl (2001) 5
Buffalo '66 (1998) 7
Circle of Iron (1978) 4
Code Name: Wolverine (1996) (TV) 4
Coma (1978) 6
Confidential Agent (1945) 6

Corps à corps (2003) 6
Day of the Woman (1978) 5
De battre mon coeur s'est arrêté (2005) 5
Der Baader Meinhof Komplex (2008) 6
Eva, la Venere selvaggia (1968) 2
Hae anseon (2002) 5
I Shot Andy Warhol (1996) 7
Killer: A Journal of Murder (1996) 6
La ciociara (1960) 6
La domenica della buona gente (1953) 6
La fleur du mal (2003) 6
La fortuna di essere donna (1956) 5
Le petit lieutenant (2005) 6
Les étrangers (1969) 6
Maigret tend un piège (1958) 6
Man on Wire (2008) 6
Mindhunters (2004) 5
Nightmare (1956) 6
Salome (1953) 5
State of Grace (1990) 7
Suicide Kings (1997) 6
Tabloid (2001) 6
Taking Woodstock (2009) 6
The Alphabet Murders (1965) 6
The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) 6
The Girl in Black Stockings (1957) 5
The Right Stuff (1983) 6
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) 8

Tod aus der Tiefe (2009) (TV) 5
Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women (1968) 4
Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet (1965) 5
Woo (1998) 4

Agata Andrzejczak

Indeterminacy 65

Then we had to go back to New
Haven to do the TV class
over again. This
time on the way back
it was a very hot and humid
day. We
stopped again in Newtown,
but at a different place,
for some ice.
There was a
choice: raspberry,
grape, lemon,
and pineapple.
I took grape.
It was refreshing.
I asked the lady who
served it whether she had made
it. She
said, “Yes.”
I said, “Is it
fresh fruit?” She said,
“It’s not fresh,
but it’s fruit.”

- John Cage

Who's That Girl?

The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)

A remake of the 1951 classic sci-fi film about an alien visitor and his giant robot counterpart who visit Earth.

Basically a professionally done remake with a good cast and up-to-date special effects, but with an unnecessarily annoying child and a simplified and implausible message compared to the original.