God's Little Acre

God's Little Acre
Lord, make way for gold

the girlfriend experience

the girlfriend experience
chelsea's work

Trash Humpers

Trash Humpers
broken, faked, MADE

Monday, November 17, 2014

happy endings

Abrupt but not unbelievable; suddenly incongruous yet totally satisfying. Sometimes happy endings occur hastily, and  against all reason.  To make it work reveals the skill of production.
Think about some of the dark films that are expected to end with the culmination of misery that they've been tracking all along, but then they sideline us with blind optimism.










Contrary to hope, there is happiness in store for us.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Flattened Out: Lands Explored in ADIEU AU LANGAGE

The challenges of depicting interior experience  can account for a social distance remaining uncrossed.  To discount the inner world, to be unable to access others or your own, is to perpetrate a flat, protected world, one of images doubling as obstacles,  those that are impossible to penetrate.
One could imagine a group of people at a societal gathering; say a book fair, and the people are so accustomed to remaining curled up inside their own denial of the depth of inner experience that they refuse to discuss the books with one another or to interact; their main experience is of flashing and swiping, heads pointed town at the flat digital outputs of their smartphones.

One can imagine an uneven love affair, or how all true love affairs
are uneven; one must love more and therefore hurt more than the other. At one point in ADIEU AU LANGAGE  Godard's narrator states something about how once an animal as a pet has  directly met the gaze of a person, there is no going back, there is no more of being exactly two. Like lovers, like parents and children, they have seen each other because they both have bothered to LOOK:   they are connected through specific  recognition; of inner life and mutual feeling.
They are no longer two, and yet as we hear this we see the dog alone.  One imagines the dog, or any animal that is kept by a human, is the one who bears the burden of longing. One can not imagine that the person who has imprisoned this animal with our love and dictates the terms is the one who ever feels the pain associated with that love as the dog.  The person imprisons by deciding when they'll see the dog; we decide how much time we have and how much love we will allow ourselves to give.


This is doubly true in a couple of man and woman or woman and woman and man and man. It is a societal idea; a political need for reliance on a flattening out ; an easier way to disseminate and sell images and stories; that has chained us to our technology and flattened out what was once made of flesh that could be held and felt; not just shared in a gaze/  The one who can not decide when they love is the one who looks longingly to feel that love they were glimpsed.  It is teased with; the gaze of a lover when they see your soul and then the denial of interior oneness as they pull away and control the intensity is not unlike defining the boundaries of love with a pet.


In another iteration of this idea, Godard shows us a dog in war. And his narrator says something about the dog as a soldier.  He is the soldier of love, the less loved of the two, and he will sacrifice for what is greater than him alone.


ADIEU(goodbye, farewell) . AH DIEUX (oh, Gods).  More puns from Godard, but also they are extensions of one thing into another object. We have one thing that is now two things and if both are added together there is a destruction of the first; it is no longer a flat label but it is an extension; a protrusion , like adding a dimension to see something flat protrude into something tangible.
Elements of collage used before by Godard, oh yes, but also now it is speicifally reflecting the idea of    a single image, idea or word altered and illuminated by the generation of multiple meanings; multiple sides; three dimensions.


Echoing the flatness of our relations with one another, is the flatness of our ecstasies and sorrows.
The new film is flooded with gestures of lovers, but there is a schism between acting in love and being in love; one unavoidably crystal when seeing these people together. Their life is surrounded with a hideous lack of depth; the large flatscreen television in their home plays a classic Hollywood film in a shitty looking format. The most exciting discussion of literature is of Solzenhitsyn, but the conversation is stilted by the limitations of human's ability to delve inside and to connect to one another. The poetry and humor of Godard's film shows this by a series of searches for pictures of Solzenhitsyn on cellphones.

The destruction of depth is nothing but a result of one plus one.  Is this a depthless land we reach by way of (1) refusing to love limitlessly PLUS  (2) chaining our intellectual experiences to the army of the new; to the propagation of images sold on the web; the amazon booklist.
Jacques Ellul is mentioned, and i've only read his book Propaganda.(the author but not that book is  specifically mentioned in Godard's film),  This is a book very much about social change affected by political parties owning philosophy; controlling what we buy and what we see, but not through laws, rather through IDEAS. The application of one plus another to equal two is an element of collage, the duality of dimensions to add up to their implosion and rebuilding; the 3d  of the film is used as a readjustment or a corrective in its design.


There are many more complicated ideas and layered structures of film and philosophy at work.  Others are and will continue to explore them. The land of the loveless and the land of the half loved; dogs and people both, is a minefield of fascination for me.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

MORE MORE MORE MORE AND MORE

Pointer Sisters Favorite tune at a crackheaded pace in live performance.


more.  and more.


Monday, September 29, 2014

BIGGER THAN YOU

Asia Argento's INCOMPRESA (English translation MISUNDERSTOOD) elevates the childhood memoir film.  Yes, it expertly depicts the early 1980s, and yes the music , decor and wardrobe selection is a worthy experience in itself.
Sure, there are comical characters and irreverent wit in the depiction of family dynamics.  Indeed, the style is attractive, the filmmaking is hip and the music is cool.

What is novel, and also an aspect in some of the truly great childhood memoir films (Truffaut's QUATRE CENT COUPS, Soderbergh's KING OF THE HILL, Saura's CRIA CUERVOS) is what is depicted alongside the pop interiors and evocative synth song,  the immense weight and mature inner turbulence that a child must bear.
All a child wants is to be loved and to be bigger.  Sometimes, neither is achieved, and the only thing bigger a child has is the volume of her burden of existence, feeling so unwanted.

Much of Asia's tone is light, comical, though there is always a depth alluded to , even in the most literal visual sense; the range of colors in her pallette, the depth of angles to every friendship and relationship.  What may start out in the spectators eye as a common close female friendship eventually radiates further and further outward, in dizzying orbits of complex dynamics. Every relation is shown in much the same way.  A loving mother is also a fashion icon and also a cocaine abuser and also someone who is a blanket of comfort.

There are scenes that depict events that are not exactly real, yet the degree to which things are imagined or exaggerated or happening is purposefully conflated, messy and not to be untangled.
I experienced this film recollecting my own (though non famous and  middle class) upbringing, remembering halfway jumping out my third flr window before changing my mind and trying to climb back inside....recalling physical pain from hard sobbing when a relative told me they love my sister more than me.
sneaking drinks + blow at the parentals bday party supposedly for the daughter they all forget


The heart of the film is  beautiful dreadlock, a tightly woven knot of causation, brilliance, loneliness, genetically inherited misery and clinical depression.  One also feels the presence of a normal child who is so devoid of unconditional love and preference (by any friend or boy or parent) that she can not imagine the point in being alive.
By film's end, we are left with a colorful little girl whose costume changes and passionate attachments have been distracting from a girl who wants people to know what pain lives inside her, under the mask. Maybe if people knew they would simply choose to be nicer.


Aria + Dac, her stolen cat and 1 true friend

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

graceful acquistion: Assayas' THE CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA

I wish i could more clearly relay my impression of seeing Olivier Assayas' THE CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA.  I was tired, even jet lagged, and i saw it late my last night in Amsterdam for a romantic (reservation for one) fast paced three day travel weekend.

 The film was both dreamy and sober,  experiential and plot driven, a love story and a horror story.  American and French.

Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche play personal assistant to a star and aging theatrical and film star, respectively. Both women surprise.  Stewart's American assistant  is a no nonsense young woman who is capable above her job title, a woman who Binoche's renowned, confident yet still insecure actor relies on as the eyes and ears experiencing her performance.  Stewart speaks quickly and intelligently in the role, informative, well schooled on acting, better informed than her boss about the current crop of  filmmaking and acting stars.
The women connected create a bonded relationship, each partner bolder, more solid and self fulfilled.
Binoche plays a great actor, and a great actor can not exist in a vacuum.  She must be a part of the world, a part of a relationship, to authentically portray an experience and a connection.

Each woman verifies the other, and informs her stability. But the relationship is not equally distributed, for there is still a vital tension at the center of it, the desire for youth and for new knowledge with the yearning for wisdom, wealth and experience.
Assayas' film refuses to be a straight art film that doubles as modernist vampire genre film as much as it refuses to be straight "making of a film"..film.  You could not quite call it a female melodrama either, though it beautifully takes many of the melodrama's elements and runs with them.  There is a symbiotic union, struggle and replacement of the Image, (with the female icon as image) and there is also a story of money , sex , seduction (on multiple tiers, be it the seduction of friendship and of Moretz with her author boyfriend) and duplicity.
CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA is really all of these things, and all of them at once.  It is elusive and rich; the mirroring of any image is more of a collection of  shards of  glass. The movie is dense, yet
quiet in it's construction.

The relationship  fulfills a vital need for both women, but when one disappears, is it because her need has been surpassed? Her role replaced...or is  her position and its inherent tension stifled?



The bottom line is that this film encompasses everything that interests me most about Assayas.
It has elements of the Vampire film genre that is an aspect of the corporate take over and female character immolation in DEMONLOVERCLOUDS echoes IRMA VEP in its self reflexivity of actresses as well as the way it nods to other films (Assayas' own SUMMER HOURS , BITTER TEARS OF PETRA VON KANT, GERRY.)  Much is being acted out here. The single film Assayas has made encompasses at least four themes and genres he has previously explored, yet all coexist coherently. Like in Gus Van Sant's GERRY,  the film image and structure itself is forefront and death is on the horizon.  In the last quarter of the movie, one of the main women vanishes from the storyline, and she may have also dropped off a cliff in the Alps. She is not brought up again,  image surpassing image until one fades away, too far to see, without further mention.

                            

Sunday, August 31, 2014

kardashians kan kry

Kris Jenner has not let herself be known.  Bouncing from business lunch to business lunch, she plays manager to several high powered Hollywood children, making sure that deals get negotiated in her interest.  She rushes out of Nobu to check in on various daughters in various photo shoots, and Kris' Truth remains hidden in the unknowable space between her outings.



Many ask if mother manager exploits her own children.  Is making your children filthy rich equivalent to exploitation? Or is it only because she designs what they get hired for, and she is cut 15 percent, or is it more?
Maybe she started out to make her children learn to work, and within her hollywood context, living life as reality starlets was simply reflective of their locally limited options.
Maybe it turned exploitative later on.
Some wonder, do the children feel exploited? Do they seek out fame and the initiation of narratives (to make a better tv product)?
In the last episode of KEEPING UP WITH THE KARDASHIANS Khloe flipped out on mother Kris, saying she can't have her as her manager if she keeps slipping up. Khloe said her mother had set her up on an interview where she was asked questions her manager was supposed to make sure were not allowed, but Kris had forgotten to check the questions. Khloe's rage was personal, claiming it made her feel less loved, low on the totem pole, and more forgotten compared to more valuable siblings.   At the episode's end, all had been resolved, because the rest of the episode focused on Khloe's burgeoning dalliance with French Montana, and her attempts to cope with divorce and a broken heart.  The issues with managerial exploitation were now safely contextualized as one more way Khloe was acting out because of her heartbreak.  Kris expressed love and patience with Khloe, and by the credits, all was well at Kasa Kardashian.

At no time did the children unite to discuss the thought that they may all be exploited in their roles as daughters on camera.  It is confusing, but it is also a culture which often equates parents with bosses. Both make decisions as to how to behave,and how to instill order and teach people how to make a space (company or family home) profitable.
The boss is the one who exploits because they control how your wages reach you, n'est-ce pas?

Who is the real Kris Jenner?  Does her heart still mourn her late husband?  Does her soul still cry out for murdered best friend Nicole Simpson?


Has she bled out silicone tears and sweated through menopausal 15 hour industry work days just to one day enjoy a little bit of luxury?


Tortured by her daughters' beauty and her competitive nature, she is but a woman who gave birth to many beautiful wage earners.  Unable to keep up or cease aging, her gears whir into motion, desperate to DO something. Resulting in a series of plastic procedures; ranging from 'unfortunate' to 'not so bad' to 'could be an allergic reaction',  the pain wears itself on her bloated features and increasingly short haircuts.






The soul lies under our skin, yet sometimes it sweats through it's cover, revealing itself in droplets of transparency.
The consistent motion of managerial meetings resists opportunities for the soul to touch and moisturize the chafing brutal exercises of labor that persist to keep it hidden.
How can mother be seen as mother when she is the wage manager?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Lock up the Beast

The scar of his pain is larger, more visible than one is allowed to show.

The scar in mention is of Freddie Quell's. But the scar he bears is of any human who transgresses. The Jesus of post war United States. The cross bearer who fucks underage girls, without any stigmata. Anderson narrows in on messy, expansive debauchery with a formalistic, laser focus. THE MASTER is on fire when the cinema is at its most essential: music is clean and classical; the focus of each shot is precise, narrow.
The order and discipline of the storytelling is what makes the transgressions and scope of the religious founder so compelling.

THE MASTER opens with approximately 20 some minutes of "scoundrel esque" behavior from Joaquin Phoenix's character, a former US Seaman (a marine?) who acts out sexually and morally in anti social, public inappropriateness that ousts him from societal acceptance.

How is one to fit in when one's emotional pain exceeds what polite graces allow?  Phoenix's character       Freddie Quell explains away some "bad behavior" to a military superior by noting he was reacting poorly
to a letter he received from an ex.  The connection is logical, yet in other scenes, his debauchery and risk taking behavior is less explained.  The religious portion of the film will focus more on causation at its most nebulous; memories from pre birth.


The LRH ish Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) forms a symbiotic relationship with Quell.  Dodd is the hand on the shoulder, the calming, fatherly and non judgmental presence who ( at first) lightens the harshness of Quell's burden.  His smile is warm, his pasty skin is soft and his features as gentle as his hair color.  In sharp opposition is the angular Quell whose neck always seems to be straining up and away from his spine, with veins and wrinkles strangling his skinny face.

"YOU ARE NOT RULED BY YOUR EMOTIONS.  WE DO AWAY WITH NEGATIVE EMOTIONS..AND BRING MAN BACK..MAN...IS NOT AN ANIMAL."

Even while listening on headphones and transcribing this message of Dodd's Quell nonchalantly writes a note to his fellow listener that asks if she wants to fuck.  The fact that this question is in conflict with the promise of higher self that Dodd promises is not reflected in Quell. He is still operating, ever casually, from his basest instinct.  He is like Truffaut's WILD CHILD, brought in from the jungle family and expected to behave amongst professors.
ordered symmetry of the gnarled face

But the union of Quell and Dodd is also a clear and deliberate reflection of what happens in 12 step programs.
Quell is attracted to Dodd as he relates to him yet Dodd has something that Quell wants.  This element of identification with attraction to an improved self is a key principle of how 12 step fellowships operate.  In looking for a sponsor the basic texts tell people to look for someone who has something that they dont. To find that person who is similar yet calm, when you are anxious. Or someone who has pain like yours, but they act light and they smile, while you shrug, and walk looking downward.

interdependence

Their first intake, the one on one between the two men, shares some elements a Fourth and Fifth Step.  Scientology has replaced 12 step programs for many addicts who prefer religious promises to the non religious Anonymous Fellowships.
Ultimately, the behavioral issues and help that men seek is unable to be contained. The film tracks a progressive and chronic expansion; it is comprised across oceanic waters, dug in the sand, runs across the desert, compulsive behaviors and tempers unleashed. The beast evades lock down and the clock ticks in time with the staccato of the film's score, tracking inevitability.

As the film progresses, there is a stress on repetition, both in specific spoken utterances ("excuse me, excuse, me, excuse me" and the way Quell and others are asked to repeat their names  during intake), and also in the consistent return to the past and alternating progression of Quell's spiritual journey. This rhythmic tension adds with each cycle of the story, each cycle of progression and regression of Quell's journey and Dodd's religion.

The perversion of behavioral science suits some of the people in the universe of THE MASTER. It entails creative storytelling,  improvisational science, and aid to people who engage in self harming antisocial behaviors.  Using academic perversion to dominate natural human perversions is an implementation of ORDER and DISCIPLINE on the highest levels, not at all unlike the filmmaking employed to illustrate it.

Lorna's Silence

Lorna's Silence
spirit interrupts

the girlfriend experience

the girlfriend experience
chelsea managing the business

l'Interieur

l'Interieur
cutting through the walls