Archive | November, 2012

Found Moments of Found Memories

27 Nov

By Charlotte Martinez

Until recently, I’ve experienced movies from the perspective of a storyteller, an audience member with humane rather than critical opinions. I have, unfortunately, run out of unique ways to describe humanity in archetypical stories, and when I criticize I contradict myself with the argument, “but it’s all interpretive.” From being both in front and behind the scenes of film, I have discovered the following: formulas in story are wonderfully easy to spot, so there is no secret in selling a movie. Formulas feed good feelings, like treats given to dogs on long walks. I challenge the filmmaker to present the same formula in a new way. Good luck.

I give props to the foreign film Found Memories for doing just that. Continue reading

Tomaž Šalamun, On the Tracks of Wild Game

27 Nov

By Brandon Ghigliotty

 

Pages with poetry tucked into its corners, giving a glimpse into a mind at work. The white on the page chases four lines:

Heavenly shepherds,

young men on earth,

where did your women hide,

as you fled into this tree? (“Good Day, Iztok”)

Tomaž Šalamun’s work is a dark, surrealistic trek into the thoughts of an artist. Slipping from incantatory passages and affirmations into bizarre abstractions and conduits into the subconscious, Šalamun navigates the craft of poetry via pure intuition, yet his work gives the reader pause. It is impossible to gloss over passages such as:

Killing sounds

authentic, love—less authentic.

Flowers don’t smell

authentic, but good.

Killing smells good.

Flowers smell good, red, black, and

white.  (“Son”)

More grounded work such as the line, “A surge in the scent of daffodils.” (“Good Day, Iztok”) juxtaposes with the grisly “Give me your skin, I said to him. And I sucked up/his marrow so that only the devil/was left of him.” (“Son”)

Šalamun admits he knows nothing of the techniques underlying poetry, but describes his ravenous consumption of work from the poets who influenced him. In this method, as others have done before him, Šalamun apprenticed himself under the work of his predecessors and cultivated his own voice—a voice he carries into his readings.

Perhaps Šalamun is trying to escape the apparitions conjured by his poetry, but he frantically rushes through his work. Šalamun chooses a few poems to read in English and then reread in the original Slovenian. These moments elevate the reading from others, as hearing a poem in the poet’s mother tongue is a purely sonic experience.

After his hypnotic reading, Šalamun said, “Between ‘you can’ and ‘you cannot’ is art.”

When asked about his writing process and how he comes to his ideas, Šalamun said, “When I write I’m not in my mind–I’m out of my mind.” It can be a frustrating process. Šalamun recollects a five year period where he could simply could not write. A time during the Balkan War when his work weighed on him and inspiration fled. He wonders if his work contributed to the dark mood of that period—then distracts himself—moving on to another subject. His fleeting, scattered thoughts are reminiscent of his poetry—glimpses of the past lost to the procession of time.

On the Tracks of Wild Game, the latest collection of Šalamun’s poetry, translated into English by Sonja Kravanja, is available now from Ugly Duckling Presse.

Baraka: The Film with No Words

27 Nov

By Nick Beckman

Twenty years after its theatrical release, the non-narrative film about life on earth and the essence of spirituality has finally gained a sequel, drawing new and old audiences to sit still and watch beautifully edited 70 mm footage. Baraka (1992) and Samsara (2012) are films meant to entertain viewers visually, as well as providing them with an excitingly epic score, without directing them via text or voice-overs.

Baraka begins with a shot of a mountain pass. After a few seconds of stillness there is a slight movement in the bottom right hand corner; an eagle swooping down and out. Not only does this put into perspective the shear greatness of this mountain, but also how far away the cameraman is to be able to get such a shot. The next scene is a pan from a snowy landscape down into a hot spring being enjoyed by a red-faced baboon. Continue reading

A Personal Account of Enlightenment at The Rocky Horror Picture Show

27 Nov

By Jessica O’Brien

The night of Sunday, Oct. 28 marked a momentous milestone for me, a rite of passage if you will: the defloweration of my Rocky Horror virginity. At 10 p.m. at Santa Fe University of Art and Design’s ‘The Screen’, Frank N’ Fun Productions presented a screening of cult classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show for students of SFUAD.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show first appeared as a midnight showing on April 2, 1976 at Greenwich Village’s Waverly Theater. Greenwich, NY in the 1970s was known for its individuality, homosexuality, and defiance of expected norms—much like Rocky Horror. Thus, the movie catered well to its audience and just five months after the first showing, it had developed a festive reputation and devout following. At Rocky, you find the atmosphere to be more communal, friendly. It was, after all, the first movie where audience participation—props and counterpoint dialogue, a live cast reenacting movie scenes up at the front—was encouraged. Continue reading

A Social Statement About Loneliness and Hunger

27 Nov

By Arianna Sullivan

Picasso’s “Woman Ironing” has been known to have a ghost painting, underneath the picture of a woman bent over her iron, since 1989. The ghost, discovered with an infrared camera, is a portrait of a man with a moustache looking directly at the viewer from his place on the canvas.  We’ve recently been given opportunity to take a closer look at this elusive under-painting; John K. Delaney, of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, was able to use both hyper-spectral and multi-spectral infrared cameras to reveal a more clear image. Still we are left with a ghost:

A man sits face on, poised as if to paint a self-portrait, and is disappeared under a woman ironing. She is a skinny woman, painted during Picasso’s skinny times—a recycled canvas. With Delaney’s images we can see the man’s eyes more clearly, the part of his hair on the right side of his head. Still we do not know who he is, or how many years before “Woman Ironing” Picasso began his portrait. Now we are the hungry ones, greedy for the painting’s story. Continue reading

Seven Psychopaths: Casting Isn’t Everything

27 Nov

By Clara Hittel

Before I found out that there was a new film written and directed by the Irish playwright Martin McDonagh, I’d heard whispers from excited film students about an upcoming release with the quirky cast of a hip director’s wildest fantasies: Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson and Tom Waits. Throw in cameos by Harry Dean Stanton, Kevin Corrigan and Michael Pitt, and I’m sold eight times over. Seven Psychopaths could have been nothing more than these guys sitting in a room staring at each other for two hours and I figured I was bound to like the film. As it turns out, casting isn’t everything.

Martin McDonagh, who could easily have pursued a successful career as a Sting impersonator if he had been so inclined, has transitioned reasonably well from writing and directing for the stage to the screen. However, his film work still has an undeniably play-like quality. It is hard to say whether the delivery of the lines feels this way because of the script itself or because of McDonagh’s brand of directing. Maybe it’s both. After all, he’s been writing plays for over two decades and Seven Psychopaths is only his third film. Before Psychopaths was the 2008 feature film In Bruges, which also stars Colin Farrell and is a large contributor to the epidemic of Irish-accent envy among young male actors in America. Before that was the gut-wrenching short film Six-Shooter, which prods you into laughing against your better judgment as some very unfunny events take place. Continue reading

Class assignment December 4

27 Nov

Our Dec. 4 class will be devoted to a seminar on Janet Malcolm’s The Journalist and the Murderer, as well as a discussion of journalism and ethics.

The success of our discussion will be largely determined by everyone reading the entire book carefully, as well as other provided materials, and coming to class with ideas for questions and paths of inquiry. Your final writing assignment (for the final) will be a short paper on the book due the following book.

Please review the Society for Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics:

Please read: Chapter 22, NRW, “Ethics”

I will present some background information on the book as well. Here are some other resources for you to consider as part of our discussion and/or your final paper:

Joe McGinness’ response to Malcolm (epilogue to Fatal Vision)

Paris Review interview with Janet Malcolm

Errol Morris takes on Janet Malcolm (Slate magazine)

Interview with Janet Malcolm (Salon)

Who’s Afraid of Janet Malcolm? by Robert Boynton (Mirabella)