Wednesday, June 14, 2006

[DL] - Directors Lounge news

A few dates and screenings with Directors Lounge :

During the summer, Directors
Lounge (Berlin)
presents: a summer evening with ...
a series of special screenings every Thursday
in cooperation with
zapplive and Z Bar

Emotional exiles from the Land of Opportunity,
experimental filmmakers Ben Russell and Jonathan Schwartz come to Europe


Monday, June 12, 2006

Notes on some Asian films

A bit late at the moment with my postings...
(very short...)

Japanese films

- First I've recently seen in one of the finest theatres in Paris during my short journey over there, Twilight Samurai by Yoji Yamada, 2002 (finally saw it!) which I appreciated especially for the screening itself (great sound, great view, big screen...). I actually liked the simplicity of the film, the pace is rather slow and quiet, the performances are subtle and precised, it even seemed that each movement, each gesture were carefully thought and executed.

- Black Angel, by Takashi Ishii (vol.1, 1997), which was a bit disappointing and all over the place. A dark thriller/action with some beautiful, yet, dangerous women/hitwomen.

- The City of Lost Souls by Takashi Miike (2000). I didn't even know that Michelle Reis played in one of his films. It's a typical Miike film (a violent gangster film), I liked it, mainly because the mix of ethnicities : a Brazilian/Chinese couple as heros, Chinese mafia, Japanese yakusa... Quite of a good fun, and entertaining too, I liked a fast pace & the silliness, it reminded me of a cartoon. I tried to watch Izo, but I didn't get into that much. I even stopped half way through it, it actually tired me.

- Scrap Heaven (2006) by Lee Sang-il, the director who made 69, (with Jo Odagiri and Chiaki Kuriyama). The film left me rather mixed (too teen for me, which was already the case for 69, however 69 was even more teenage film). It reminded me somehow of Fight Club, but in "softer version".

- Moe no suzaku by Naomi Kawase (1997). I think it's my 4th film by this underseen director. There aren't many Japanese woman directors, in fact I think it's the only one I know.
Anyway, I liked it a lot. The film is done in very natural and intimate manner with a documentary approach (Naomi Kawase directs also documentaries), the film mainly explores the same theme than in her other films, the family relationship. She is a very interesting director.

Desert Moon (2001) by Shinji Aoyama. I must say that the film is a bit disappointing. This is not like Eureka, I even prefered A Forest with No Name than Desert Moon.
The film lasts a little bit over 2 hours and I found it too long whereas I didn't feel that way for Eureka which lasts over 3 hours!!!
Desert Moon focuses on a family relationship and the family unit in crisis, a theme that is easily well explored in many Japanese films. But the end went quite wrong and too conventional to me and I disagree with it (I won't spoil it). There are some good uses of sound at some parts and like for The Forest with No Name, I found the film a bit in the same vein than those of Kyoshi Kurosawa.

HK films
- Shanghai Grand by Poon Man Kit (1996) with Leslie Cheung & Andy Lau which was ok, I can always watch HK movies even if they're average, this one is gangster film set in the 30s. The film is a Tsui Hark production with a John Woo kind of style.
- Mongkok Story by Wilson Yip (1996), a triad movie, okay, quite funny (a special kind of humour) a bit messy or too long, worth watching for at least Anthony Wong who is great in there.

Korean film
King and the Clown by Lee Jun-ik (2005) which was the best selling film of 2005 nationwide in South Korea. The film, set in the 15th century, was fine & entertaining, well-acted, nice set and costumes, and shares some common matters with Farewell my Concubine but in a more comedy.


Monday, June 05, 2006

[non-Asian] - Slow Space

Slow Space
a film and art project by fellow curator at the Directors Lounge, Klaus W. Eisenlohr, will be shown in premiere at Kino Arsenal/ Friends of German Kinemathek
june 7th 9pm

Filmed entirely within the urban constructed environment that makes up the contemporary North American city of Chicago, Slow Space is a visually arresting investigation into how space is described, defined and ultimately experienced. Berlin filmmaker Klaus W. Eisenlohr commutes this relationship with the outside 'world' via an array of constructed transparencies in the glass domes and atriums that formed so much of architecture's modernist preoccupation for a constructed inside/outside dialectic. Descriptions and ultimately opinions on the status of public space in Chicago form part of the film's identity via a series of interviews conducted from the participant's private domains. Looking out and sealed behind the glass of their window panes a number of Chicagoans talk about their own experiences on the private/public borders of contemporary urbanity.
Slow Space is a film of many photographs if one considers it's over 3000 edits. Each frame in this 67 minute film it seems has been invested with a quality of aesthetic authorship normally attributed to the production of single images. Employing a staggering depth of compositional artistry Klaus W. Eisenlohr has enabled a joint optic relationship to come into view between maker and film spectator returning the film experience to an almost first time phenomenological encounter. I am, after seeing the film, reminded of my capacity to see, absorb and recognize spaces as images and spaces imagined simultaneously, i.e. to be totally stimulated with my senses activated to the fields of vision being presented. Seeing this film, it becomes apparent how visually stimulating the film experience can be.
Ben Anderson


Slow Space 72' 16mm
a film and art project by Klaus W. Eisenlohr
Premiere at Kino Arsenal/ Friends of German Kinemathek
june 7th 9pm
Arsenal Kino, Potsdamer Stra├če 2, 10785 Berlin, U / S Potsdamer Platz