Friday, January 22, 2010


In browsing around, I discovered the following series of videos on Youtube:

These dozen brief, abstract clips, all sharing the same hypnotic soundtrack, seem to me not only concentratedly beautiful shots of audio-visual intensity but also a very intelligent use of the specific qualities of Youtube.

Plus, there's the mystery! The only information given on this person's Youtube page is the username 'soldeck' and the location: Gibraltar (?!) The pieces themselves are all simply entitled 'Video', with no stated differentiation between them.

Does anyone know who 'soldeck' is? If so, please contact me because I'm really excited about this find.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

List-less and Fickle: Films of the Decade

Can this blog entry really be by the same person who, not one month ago, articulated his discomfort with writing movie lists in a response to Senses of Cinema's request for a list of the best films of '09?

Hmm. All it took was a friendly query in an email as to what my favourite films of the last decade were... And look what happened!

However, it should be specified that this is strictly an autobiographical outpouring, not a statement on what cinema is today or what it isn't or what it should be...

Listed below are a mixture of unassailable masterpieces and quirky personal favourites. I haven't the foggiest clue which films belong to which of these categories. Actually, I don't care...

I might add to this list as more films spring to mind. However, I won't add any films that I haven't seen before today. But I might delete films if I see them again and find they don't live up to memory- there are three films on this list which I suspect might not sustain another viewing.

And then there are strange cases like Hirokazu Koreeda's Distance which I loved in 2002 and should probably be on the list... Except that I can only remember two or three images from it, that's all!

Amazingly, Garrel, my favourite filmmaker, isn't on the list- he's done really good work in the past decade, but he's competing with his own past films which puts him at a disadvantage. Also, no Bela Tarr, even though I was very keen on The Man from London. Although I appreciate his value, I haven't quite caught up with Apichatpong Weerasethakul. He's still sinking in. And I need to see Tsai Ming-Linag's recent work, something I hope to do very shortly... Also, have yet to see any of Pedro Costa's major works.

Film of the decade: Eloge de l'amour (Jean-Luc Godard)

Runners up for film of the decade: Come and Go (Joao Cesar Monteiro) & As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (Jonas Mekas)

Film of the future: Imburnal (Sherad Anthony Sanchez)

and, in complete disorder:

Juste avant l'orage
(Jean-Claude Rousseau)
Deux (Werner Schroeter)
Lo Sguardo di Michelangelo (Michelangelo Antonioni)
Trouble Every Day & 35 Shots of Rum (Claire Denis)
La vie nouvelle (Philippe Grandrieux)
Millenium Mambo (Hou Hsiao-Hsien)
Father and Son (Alexander Sokurov)
Sky Song (James Fotopoulos)
De la hospitalidad, derecho de autor & Profanaciones (Oriol Sánchez)
Belle Toujours (Manoel de Oliveira)
Mulholland Drive & Inland Empire (David Lynch)
Don't Touch the Axe (Jacques Rivette)
The Flower of Evil (Calude Chabrol)
Dream Work (Peter Tscherkassky)
The New World (Terrence Malick, specifically the long version)
Les anges exterminateurs (Jean-Claude Brisseau)
A Perfect Couple (Nobuhiro Suwa)
The Departed (Martin Scorsese)
The Feature (Michel Auder)
Tiresia (Bertrand Bonello)
Slow Mirror (Ivan & Igor Buharov)
Mary (Abel Ferrara)
La Vie moderne (Raymond Depardon)
2046 (Wong Kar Wai)
Nightshots (Stephen Dwoskin)
Medee Miracle (Tonino de Bernardi)
The Brown Bunny (Vincent Gallo)
Morvern Callar (Lynne Ramsay)
Ouroboros (Alan Lambert)
Miotte vu par Ruiz & Klimt (Raoul Ruiz)
Lovesick (Bill Mousoulis)
Vacanza Permanente (Adolfo Arrieta)
Martyrs (Pascal Laugier)
Dead or Alive 2 (Miike Takashi)
Demonlover & Boarding Gate (Olivier Assayas, the latter mainly out of love for Asia Argento)
July Trip (Wael Noureddine)
Triple Agent (Eric Rohmer)
Shara (Naomi Kawase)
El cant dels ocells & Honor de cavalleria (Albert Serra)
Star Spangled to Death (Ken Jacobs)
Four Nights with Anna (Jerzy Skolimowski)
Melancholia (Lav Diaz)
Battle in Heaven (Carlos Reygadas)
The Pianist (Roman Polanski)
Far From Heaven (Todd Haynes)
Paranoid Park (Gus Van Sant)
Black Book (Paul Verhoeven)
Saraband (Ingmar Bergman)
The Black Dahlia (Brian De Palma)
There Will Be Blood (P.T. Anderson)
Baise-Moi (Virginie Despentes / Coralie Trinh Thi)
Ten (Abbas Kiarostami)
The House of Mirth (Terence Davies)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"You know, things were never like what you see in the films..."
- Iván Zulueta (1943 - 2009)

Saturday, January 02, 2010

In a Year With 13 Movies

With the completion of two further videos this week, my work for 2009 is now at an end. I'm not quite sure how, but it also feels like a phase in my work is concluded. How evident any rupture will be remains to be seen. I completed thirteen short videos last year (counting both the Everywhere trilogy and the ten internet videos as each being one work), even though not all of them were shot in '09. Although I intend stepping back and re-thinking aspects of my film- and videomaking, I have no intention of deliberately slackening the pace of production in the coming year.

So, 2009 at a glance- this is what I've done:

The Hamilton Cell
And the Poor Bird Died...
Don't Even Think About It
Private Report
This Video is Still Here
On Pause
Ten Pieces of Video for Internet
Dead or Alive
The Everywhere Trilogy
The Mongolian Barbecue
Letter from Echo

The sense of completion that this list gives me stems largely from the two most recent videos. And the Poor Bird Died... has simply been hanging around on the computer for so long that it's a relief to have it finally finished. The result is certainly one of the daffiest, wooliest, most off the wall items of weirdness that I've been responsible for. Starring Ed Rendezvous Malone, it evokes private, peurile obsession with self-parodic levity. Yet it certainly isn't lacking in unsettling elements that ground it in a far more threatening reality... The discrepency between reality as directly experienced and that constructed in more general terms from information received certainly preoccupies me.

And this theme is central to The Hamilton Cell, which is inspired by a true historical character whose situation was defined by this anxiety experienced as a pathologically extreme condition. Apart from the title, all references made to this figure in this mainly found-footage video are oblique. It essays a poetic interpretation of his state of mind, schizophrenic and (de)formed by violent cultural ruptures, culminating in a delusional fixation on televised moving images as the source of supreme authority. People familiar with my films will no doubt immediately recognise how made-to-measure he is for a Le Cain subject. This grim, deliberately unpleasant work sees moving images as the gaseous host for history's contagious evil, translating it into the realm of subjective obsession beyond actual experience. Pollutant moving images as an obsessional disease. And this feels like the conclusion much of my recent output has been edging towards...

By the way, anyone lucky enough to have been at Sandra Minchin's Human Oddities Gala Extravaganza event at the Savoy, Cork, last month (in which I also joined Sandra's flaming creatures to play an inebriated, Tod Browningesque bearded lady fortune teller!) might have seen some glimpses of a censored rough cut of The Hamilton Cell hovering silently above the dance floor as The Naildrivers played their set...