Monday, December 11, 2017

Japanese film: Ryuichi Sakamoto: CODA

Post-Fukushima: Sakamoto is playing on a beaten-up piano…
Playing on the corpse of
a drowned piano...
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Sakamoto: It’s the corpse of a drowned piano. A black wall of water came over the pine trees. The room was flooded, the piano drowned. But some sound still comes out of it.
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Narrator: Then there was the MRI.
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Sakamoto: Stage 3, throat cancer. The treatment has extended my life. I don’t know how many years I have left, 20 or 10, or maybe there’ll be a relapse, but I want to be able to work.
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Narrator: Music.
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Sakamoto: And incorporate natural sounds too: leaves, rain, birdsong. Beginning on the piano, then recording using all these objects here, windows, bottles, buckets, cymbals, violin and computer.
_________
Voice-over

A coda is a concluding movement. We hope that this documentary CODA, is not a finale for Ryuichi Sakamoto, that he will give us more memorable music. None of us know how long we have. But Sakamoto is an inspiration when he is determined to produce “meaningful work I’m not ashamed to leave behind.”
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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Challenging reality: Leandro Erlich

The ghosts are us...
At the exhibition…
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Jorge: In school? Hmm. Our images projected into a deserted classroom. Nothing is what it seems, it would seem.
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Jean-Paul: Smokey mirrors. We know it is an image.
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A virtual boat ride?
Jorge: But he is using this as a catalyst to ask the question, “Is there more than one reality?”
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Jean-Paul: A clever optical illusionist. I give him that.
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Jorge: And it sets us questioning what is real.
Letting go...
____________
Voice-over
Are there multiple realities? Parallel worlds? Or only one?

Borges declared that “Reality is not always probable, or likely.”

Yet some philosophers argue that everyone sees the same things. An extreme form of this opposing view is Sartre saying, “Things are entirely what they appear to be and behind them...there is nothing” (Nausea, 1938).


Leandro Erlich Exhibition Seeing and Believing at Mori Art Museum.
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Friday, December 1, 2017

Merry Christmas from the White Rabbits



WHITE RABBIT  WHITE RABBIT  WHITE RABBIT
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From the Franks' Gold album: Myrrhy Christmas
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WHITE RABBIT  WHITE RABBIT  WHITE RABBIT
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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Ando Tadao exhibition


Architects at the National Art Museum…
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Guy: Magnificent! How many people are here today would you say?
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Paul: The information desk told me seven thousand.
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Guy: Architectural exhibitions can be tricky to curate.
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Paul: Because they're about buildings?
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Ando Tadao in his Church of Light
Guy: The buildings are too big and the plans are too small.
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Paul: But this. Brilliant curating. Hundreds of video screens on loops of projects, sketches, photos, models, working drawings.
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Naoshima
Guy: And monster installations. Ando’s office, the multi-screen theaters, the walk-in life-size reconstruction of his Church of Light.
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Paul: Performance too. Ando is here, he does an hour long Q&A, he sketches and pastes these in books of his buildings.
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Guy: And self-taught. Began his career as a boxer. Opened his office in 1969. Still active all over the world.
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Paul: National treasure.
__________
Voice-over
AndoTadao Exhibition at National Art Center, Tokyo. Nogizaka Station. Until December 18. Highly recommended.
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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Kazakhstan films: Test (2014) and Sveta (2017)

Films with no speech…
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Kirsten: I saw a Kazakhstan film three years ago in which there was no speaking. Test. Испытание. Then last month Sveta became the second Kazakhstan film I have seen with no speaking.
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Dorothy: No speaking means it was a statement of some kind?
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Elena An in Test
Kirsten: Different films, different intentions. Test was about a wordless relationship between a dying father and his teenage daughter living in a very remote steppe area. The power of the film was in the cinematography. Only three pages of script, the film took shape and grew a story during editing. But a powerful film. Star, Elena An, a non-professional actress.
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Dorothy: I can imagine the work that went into post-production on that!
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Laura Koroleva in Sveta
Kirsten: And Sveta had a cast who were all deaf. A drama revolving around a unique deaf woman. The characters all used Russian sign language to communicate. A tightly scripted story but the director said the hard work was in training the cast to act since they were deaf. A lot of rehearsals and retakes. Star, Laura Koroleva, again a non-professional actress. Just goes to show.
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Dorothy: Subtitled?
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Kirsten: Of course. Japanese down the right, English along the bottom.
____________
Voice-over
Alexander Kott, director of Test.
Zhanna Issabayeva, director of Sveta.

Kazakhstan has an active film industry and international film festivals: the International Astana Action Film Festival and the Eurasia International Film Festival held annually.
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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

French film: Lumière!

A paean to the genius of the Lumières…
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Marguerite: A collection of 108 remastered 50 second-films.
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Auguste and Louis
Jeanne: They were inventors and directors, not just inventors, like Edison. He shut the moving pictures in a box, in his kinetoscope. The Lumières showed the moving pictures using their cinematograph, so many people could see at once.
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Marguerite: The cinema was born.
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Jeanne: Edison’s invention was like seeing pictures on a smartphone. The Lumières created cinema. A distinction that exists today.
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A star is born...
Marguerite: They formed a, what you say, a disciplage of directors who went out and shot exotic places and activities. Collaborative power.
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Jeanne: And their actualités are really the first documentaries. Apt naming too. Their name means “light”.
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Marguerite: And what a body of work they left. Produced 1500 films between 1895 and 1905, then just quit. Went on to other things.
_________
Voice-over

Brothers, Auguste and Louis Lumière, inventors, producers, directors. In a sense, they founded the movie business. Kudos to Director Thierry Frémaux for his 4K montage of 108 films: Lumière!
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