Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Friday, May 27, 2005

Paintings...

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William Debilzan paints stick figures with a colorful palette.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Photos...

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Horus Archives is a collection of more than 200,000 amateur snapshots, collected and selected in Budapest by camera-man and film-maker Sándor Kardos. These 37 images shows that in art the business of looking, the way of looking at something, is central, featuring both the artist’s eye and that of the spectator.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Cartoons...

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Charles Barsotti has dozens of his one panel cartoons on the New Yorker's Cartoonbank site.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Cannes Film Festival round-up...

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The festival is over and George sends a couple last emails before he gets back on the bike. Here is an excerpt:

The Death of Mister Lazaresqu - Christi Puiu
[This Romanian] film covers the last six hours of Lazaresqu's life from the time he calls for an ambulance in his cramped, cluttered apartment to his death in the fourth of four hospitals he's shunted around to. Sixty-two year old Lazaresqu has been alone for 8 years since his wife died and has turned into a bit of an alcoholic. Everyone he encounters, his neighbors who come to his assistance, the amublance staff, the nurses and doctors, all comment on the alcohol on his breath taking him for a drunk and advising him to quit drinking. One doctor asks him, "Do you smoke too?" When he says, "Yes," the doctor snaps back, "Good, keep it up." Such is the caustic tone that prevails throughout this exceptionally well done chronicle of the perils of health care in Romania, and probably just about anywhere.

Battle in Heaven - Carlos Reygadas
This Mexican feature was by far the most audacious, and perhaps the most artful,
film in Competition, not only with its extremely graphic sex, but its story and its handling of it. The movie revolves around a dumpy, forlorn forty year old security guard who also serves as the driver for a teen-aged girl who lives with her wealthy family. The guard is especially morose as he and his wife have kidnapped a baby and it dies, tho we see none of this. He seeks solace from the girl, engaging in very explicit sex with her. Unlike most of the other teen-aged girls in heat movies, this didn't pander or sensationalize. Reygadas establishes a very somber mood and maintains it throughout. Perhaps more than any other movie of the festival, I am eager to experience this one again.

A History of Violence - David Cronenberg
The credits warn that it is based on a graphic novel. Maybe that was meant as a disclaimer for the ridiculous, almost farcical, behaviour of the characters of this movie, which jerks from scene to scene with as many holes in them as the multitude of shot up characters in this movie about a man with a past that catches up to him 25 years later.

----------

My totals for my 12 days of cinema: 66 movies, which included all 21 of the films in
Competition, 14 of the 22 in Un Certain Regard, 10 of the 21 in the Director's Fortnight, 7 of the 14 in the Critic's Week, 13 of the 1200 or so films in the
Market and the closing night film.

There were seven that could easily end up on my Top Ten List for the year:
Battle in Heaven, Hidden, Down in the Valley, Broken Flowers, The Child,
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, The Death of Mister Lazaresqu.

There were another seven that have the potential to make that year end list:
Grizzly Man, Factotum The King, Johanna, Room, Me and You and Everyone We Know, One Night.

And, in a class by itself was "Hell on Wheels,"the German documentary on the 2003 Tour de France, a film that had me beaming from start to finish.

Now it is off to the Alps to scout out this year's Tour de France route and also to see a mountain stage of the Giro d'Italia.

Later, George
Paintings...

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Frank Moore's paintings mixed art and politics into refined visual concoctions that often cloaked hard truths in irresistible trappings. His paintings dealt with his concern with the scientific and agricultural communities affect on the environment.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Photos...

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Cannes Film Festival photos.

Hollywood Reporter

Yahoo

Reuters [Javascript window on main page)

IPod @ IndieWire

Magnum Photos [older photos and will need to register]
Cannes Film Festival goes on...

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George has seen over 30 films in a week but he's still enjoying the celluloid adventures at Cannes. As we head toward the final weekend here are some excerpts from his emails.

Broken Flowers – Jim Jarmuch
The film hinges on the wacky, but credible premise of Murray searching out four former girl friends from 20 years ago, one of whom may have sent him an anonymous letter telling him that she'd had a son by him and that he might be coming to visit him. Murray doesn't much care, but his amateur sleuth of a neighbor, all too eager to solve the mystery, forces him to go off on this adventure, arranging flights and hotels and car rentals. It is a superbly crafted film with one comic moment after another. Jarmush does not let up, as his keenly observant eye finds the comic underbelly in every situation and predicament Murray finds himself in.

The Child – The Dardenne brothers
Former Palm d'Or winners with "Rosetta" offered up an equally fine film, though it was anything but comic. It is the story of a young unmarried couple who have just had a child. The father is a petty thief who scorns anyone who is stupid enough to work. His occasional partner-in-crime is a 16 year old still in school. They rob homes and purse-snatch and will do just about anything that comes along to make a buck, including pan-handling, and then the ultimate, selling the baby without telling his girl friend. She passes out when she learns what he has done and is so faint he takes her to the hospital. She's raving mad at him and brings in the cops. The film does not waver in its veracity.

Stoned -
My token market screening for the day was the British "Stoned," a biopic on the last days of Brian Jones of the Stones. It played to a packed house of close to 200 at one of the local theatres that are given up to market screenings. This film was a marked contrast to Gus Van Sant's polished and artful "Last Days", also a depiction of a rock star given to excess doses of alcohol and drugs who meets an early demise. There wasn't much depth to this rendition stocked by a cast who just marginally inhabit the characters they are portraying.

Wolf Creek - Greg Mclean
The Australian Tourist Board is going to have a big job ahead of itself encouraging people to come to Australia, or at least it’s Outback, after this film, based on a true story, of 3 travelers, two British women and an Aussie bloke, who are taken hostage and terrorized by a Outback dweller. This engaging tale of travelers in the starkly beautiful Outback, inhabited by a host of colorful characters, turns into a horror movie about 2/3s of the way thru.

Grain in Ear - Zhang Lu
I, at least, got a healthy dose of bicycles in [this] Chinese film which takes place in a small Chinese city where about the only automotive traffic is police and guys looking for prostitutes. The lead character, a Korea-Chinese woman, is a food vendor who pedals most laboriously a tricycle with her wares on the back. Most of her clients stop by on bicycles. The story moves along about as slowly as she pedals her bike, but with enough insight into her pathos as a single mother and being an ethnic minority to make it a worthwhile portrait.

Johanna - Kornel Mundruczo
This Hungarian film [is] easily the wackiest, most outrageous film so far, an opera, that many will find offensive, of a young blond wisp of a woman who nearly dies in the hospital and is transformed into a miracle healer mounting various comatose men and healing them, eventually antagonizing the doctors and others. The final song blasphemes one and all with the lyrics "Infinite goodness was her failure...better to be a murderer than a saint..."

Paint or Make Love - The Larrieu brothers
Starring Daniel Auteuil, Sabino Azeman and Sergi Lopez also had a plot that had many wondering. The story moves gracefully forward developing a strong and genuine friendship between an older and a younger couple in rural France. The younger husband is blind and the mayor of the town. For better than half of the film it is a pleasure getting to know them and also gaining a genuine glimpse into the world of blindness, when suddenly the movie takes a dramatic turn that was as upsetting to the audience as the turn that "Lemming" took.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Posters...

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Cannes Film Festival Posters through the years.
Is that not an obvious one at this time?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Cannes Film Festival...Continued

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George has been having a great festival. He writes that Sunday; "will long be remembered as Jackpot Sunday, a day I saw six films and six winners, something unheard of at any festival."

Below are some excerpts from his emails over the past couple of days.

Grizzly Man – Werner Herzog
Debuted at Sundance in January to rave reviews and is being distributed by Lion's Gate. Having spent a couple summers in Alaska, I knew I would love this film about a bear lover who spent 13 years living amongst and filming the bears of Alaska before being killed and eaten by a bear. I could not resist the multiple full page glossy ads in the trade papers of three bears in line approaching the grizzly man against a green expanse and Ebert's rave, "Brilliant! An astonishing portrait." I can not disagree.

The King - James Marsh
Starring Gael Garcia Bernal and William Hurt, who were both on stage for the film's introduction. This was another dark American independent like about a teen-aged girl still in school who gets involved with an older guy who the girl's father has forbidden her to see. Bernal is magnificent as a sailor just turned civilian and Hurt too is great as a preacher with a pair of mighty ugly sideburns.

Hell on Wheels -
The highlight of the day. Screen magazine's description was, "An inner view of the Tour de France from the perspective of one its participating teams." The film followed the German team Telekom in the 2003 race. It is Jan Ullrich's team, but not that year, as he was racing for Bianchi. This was a glorious two hour immersion into mostly the unseen Tour in the team bus and the rider's rooms and the director's car and even a montage of the racers pissing during the race, both on their bikes and off. There were only six of us in the small screening room.

Once You're Born - Marco Tullio Giordana
The credits were panned against a prolonged tapestry that had a quick close-up of a bicycle that had me wondering if the director was pandering to his audience seeking their good will with this almost subliminal image or if he was paying homage to the bicycle. Since the film was a most agreeable and original story of a 12 year old boy lost at sea, I can give the director full approval for his use of the bicycle. The critics will most likely steal some of the drama of this story by telling what happens to the boy, but I won't.

Factotum – Brent Hamer
[Based on writings by late novelist Charles Bukowski]. Matt Dillon plays an exemplary drunk, struggling writer, right up there with Mickey Roarke in "Barfly" and Ben Gazarra in an Italian version of his life and the Bukowski of Chicago playright Paul Peditto. There is loads of witty dialogue and outrageous scenes to be mined from Bukowski's work and this film, shot in Minneapolis, succeeds. Among the many jobs the Bukowski character is fired from, one on his first day and another as he is being trained, is at bicycle warehouse. [previous film Kitchen Stories].

Time to Leave – Francois Ozon
For the first time in my Cannes experience I was rained on as I waited in line for [this film]. When we had rain a couple days ago I discovered that my tent was in a low spot. I hadn't taken the time to move it, so that had me nervous. I barely have the time to eat with all the movies to be seen and these ramblings to get out. I heard the first boos of the festival after this movie by those disappointed in the slightness of this story about a 30 year old guy who learns he has an advanced stage of cancer leaving him only several months to live. He declines chemotherapy, as it had less than a 5% chance to work, and he elects not to tell his family or friends. Not much happens, but there was enough depth and feeling to this film that I was happy to have seen it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Wearable Art...

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Badge Collection from some guy who likes 'stinkin' badges'.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Cannes Film Festival...

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George bicycled 600 miles from Paris to Cannes for the film festival before settling in to watch five or six films a day. Below is an excerpt of a few of the films he has seen since the festival opened last Thursday. Enjoy.

HIDDEN - Michael Haneke
The Austrian master Michael Haneke never fails to spice his movies with confrontational moments that have his audiences gripping their armrests in terror of what might happen next. He stays true to from in, "Hidden," his competition entry about an upscale French family terrorized by someone who has them under surveillance.
One of those classic Haneke moments in this one is an altercation between a bicyclist and the lead character, Daniel Auteuil, the host of a TV talk show on books, who blindly steps out into the street between cars, nearly knocking over the bicyclist. Like the typical pedestrian, he starts haranguing the bicyclist, calling him a "dickhead", rather than apologizing for his negligence. This cyclist, a husky, young black man, rather than ignoring him and continuing on his way, harangues back. It is, after all, a Haneke movie.

BASHING - Masahiro Kobayashi
The film opens most promisingly with a young woman speeding into the camera on a mountain bike down a quiet urban side street. She swings past the camera and in the next cut swiftly dismounts, puts down her kickstand and rushes up two flights of stairs to her apartment.
If she'd only have locked her bike, I would have felt in safe hands with a director telling things as they are, but rarely in cinema does anyone lock their bike. It takes time and breaks the rhythm. They are motion pictures, after all.... Time wasn't an issue in this film, as it had a tidy running time of 82 minutes.
Rather than being celebrated for her idealism and her ordeal [as a kidnapped victim in Iraq] she is ostracized and tormented, thus the title "Bashing.". And so is her father, forced to resign from his job, turning him suicidal. The film is based on a true story, but there is no explanation why she is treated as she is.

LEMMING - Dominik Moll
[This film] is slick and full of snappy dialogue, electronic gadgetry and surprises, including a wife tossing a glass of wine into the face of her husband at a dinner party. London bookies had it pegged as the favorite to win the Palm d'Or. Its first hour is exhilarating film-making, which was enough to leave me feeling satisfied, though many regret its marginally trespassing on the realm of the surreal.

KILOMETER ZERO - Hiner Saleem
This film accentuated the hatred the Kurds and Arabs have for one another. A Kurdish soldier is stuck with an Arab driver for a several day trip returning a corpse in a casket to its family. It is lashed to the top of their car and draped with an Iraqi flag. It is quite an image, and even more so when they become a parade of several dozen such vehicles thru the desert. This competition film won't win any awards, but at least it gave a picture of life in Iraq.

DOWN IN THE VALLEY - David Jacobsen
Edward Norton, brilliant as always, plays a down-on-his-luck cowboy from South Dakota working at a gas station in San Fernando Valley. He doesn't even own a car, and knows enough to tell motorists stuck in gridlock, "You don't belong in there, you belong out here," just one of his many homespun remarks in the remarkable script. Early on, as he is putting gas into the car of several teens heading to the beach, he is invited to join them by 18 year old Evan Rachel Wood. He is naive enough to ask his boss if he can have the rest of the day off. He can, but not if he wants to keep his job. He elects to go off with Wood, the first time he's ever been to the beach. Thus begins a romance her father, a law enforcement officer of some sort, is not happy about at all.

WHERE THE TRUTH LIES – Atom Egoyan
Starring former bicycle messenger movie character Kevin Bacon along with Colin Firth as a pair of '60s entertainers a la Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin. Egoyan is known for his distinctive intellectual touch, but there wasn't much distinctive in this tale of a woman reporter trying to solve the mystery of a dead woman found in their hotel room years after the event.

LAST DAYS – Gus Van Sant
Michael Pitt mumbles and cowers for 90 minutes in and around a mansion in the woods until his fatal end. The French speakers were lucky, or unlucky, to have sub-titles to make sense of his sporadic utterings. This didn't have the power of "Elephant", Van Sant's Palm d'Or winner of a couple of years ago.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Collage...

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The Soul of Hope does cut-n-paste and digital collage with vintage photos, letters and images.

[By sheer coincidence Sugar-N-Spice did the same post today. We art blogs are on the same wavelength].

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Movie Update...

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- Star Wars is Anti-Bush - ? So says a columnist at the New Republic. For the record let me just say I didn't find it Anti-Bush so much as Anti-Star Wars fan. I went to a screening a few days ago and really felt it was a waste of two hours. The action scenes almost save it but the acting is pretty bad. The script is like something written by a kid.

- Mondovino is a pretty enjoyable movie but let's be clear; it's not about wine. It's about people who make wine and it's about the Mondavi clan [or are they a mob?] and it's about Jonathan Nossiter's video-making style; He holds his camera waste high and when interviewing people he often focuses on everything except the person he is interviewing. I am still laughing about the shot he does in the distance of an old man who s-l-o-w-l-y decends a ladder. Then there are all the dogs Nossiter showcases. I know little about wine after seeing this film but I know that big brand wines are to be suspect. Nossiter writes about Mondovino.

- Me You and Everyone We Know by Miranda July is the best film I've seen so far this year. That's not saying much since I have seen few new films. But it is a very quirky, disturbing, astute and enjoyable film. It won the Special Jury Prize in Sundance and will be released in June and July.

- Avant-Garde DVD coming - Kino video will be releasing a two disc set of 23 vintage Avant-garde films at the end of June. You read it here first. Kino has not made an official announcment but I have an early check disc. The DVD will include films by Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Hans Richter, Dimitri Kirsanoff and a cool one by Robert Florey titled Life and Death of 9413 - a Hollywood Extra that was much admired by Charlie Chaplin.

- Cannes Blogging at the NY Times - Manohla Dargis and AO Scott are doing the blog thing from Cannes, which started last night.

Speaking of...

- George the Cyclist is in Cannes - Last year I featured daily dispatches of his emails and I will be doing the same next week.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Web Surfing...

Antarctica money

Currently I have no web access at home so here are some links I've been saving up.

- Bank Notes from around the world.

- Napolean Dynamite House Resolution - WHEREAS, any members of the House of Representatives or the Senate of the Legislature of the State of Idaho who choose to vote "Nay" on this concurrent resolution are "FREAKIN' IDIOTS!" and run the risk of having the "Worst Day of Their Lives!"

- Bullitt Locations in San Francisco 1968 - 2002

- Reena Bass Forman has some fabuous photos.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Sculpture...

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Italian Sculptures through the ages [Via the always reliable Plep]

Friday, May 06, 2005

Illustrations & Book...

05895us2

The Water-Babies by Reverend Charles Kingsley (1819-1875) and illustrations by Jessie Wilcox Smith is a Victorian fairy tale of epic proportions and moral overtones that tells the story of Tom, a young chimney sweep, who escapes the toil and drudgery of his miserable apprenticeship through his magical transformation by fairies from a dirty little boy into a clean "water-baby," or sprite, replete with lacy collar-like gills with which he breathes underwater.

Text of the Book

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Sculpture...

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Elizabeth Frank uses fallen cottonwood and aspen branches gathered in mountains and arroyos around the southwest to start her sculptures. Other preferred materials include scrap lumber, old ceiling tin, broken chairs and antique photographs. Once the materials have been collected, Ms. Frank carves, paints and models them. It is her hope that through the transformation of found materials she will mirror the earth's natural cycles of decay and regeneration. Her imagery is inspired by dreams, diverse mythologies, symbolic language and nature. [Via Carolina]

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Painting...

Mull_Tightrope

Martin Mull is a comedian, actor, musician and designer. A good selection of images can be found here and a few more on artnet.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Monday, May 02, 2005

Painting...

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Curzona Frances Louise Allport 1860-1949
was born in Tasmania on 18 July 1860. With the financial support of her brothers in the initial stages, she lived and travelled in England and Europe in the periods 1888-1922 and 1927-31. She studied in London, Paris and Rome and was an instructor at the London School of Photo Engraving and Lithography for 20 years. She depicted young women and girls as well as street scenes with old buildings and few people, suggestive of an unhurried pace of life, grand ruins set in garden panoramas, cherubs and vibrant marketplaces.