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This month's blogs: 2005 March (4) | 2005 March (3) | 2005 March (2) | 2005 March (1)
"Method of this work:
I have nothing to say only to show."
(Passagenwerk (1927 - 1940) - Walter Benjamin)
The "rhizome" allows for multiple,
non-hierarchical entry and exit points
in data representation and interpretation.
--Mille Plateaux - Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari,
volume 2 of Capitalisme et Schizofrénie (1980)
2005, Mar 23; 23:48 ::: Art or porn?
Bad habits. Art (Audrey Hepburn and Peggy Ashcroft in The Nun's Story, 1959)? Or porn?
image sourced here.
The Good Old Naughty Days, released this week, is a smorgasbord of amateur porn from cinema's infancy. But can you tell it apart from the highest expressions of the seventh art? Have a look at these ten pictures, and for each case answer one simple question: art, or porn? --http://film.guardian.co.uk/quiz/questions/0,5952,1196044,00.html [Mar 2005]
see also: art - porn
2005, Mar 23; 21:58 ::: Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991 (2001) - Michael Azerrad
Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991 (2001) - Michael Azerrad [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991 is a book by Michael Azerrad.
The book chronicles the careers of several underground rock groups who, while finding little or no mainstream success, were hugely influential in establishing American alternative and indie rock, mostly through nearly-constant touring and records released on small, regional record labels.
The title comes from the opening line of an autobiograpical song written by Mike Watt of The Minutemen, one of the groups featured in the book. The song, "History Lesson, Pt II" is on Double Nickles on the Dime and details Watt's working class origins and populist sentiments: "Punk rock changed our lives."
The bands featured in the book are: - Black Flag - The Minutemen - Mission of Burma - Minor Threat - Hüsker Dü - The Replacements - Sonic Youth - The Butthole Surfers - Big Black - Dinosaur Jr - Fugazi - Mudhoney - Beat Happening
--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Band_Could_Be_Your_Life [Mar 2005]
see also: Steve Albini - 1980s - underground - independent
2005, Mar 23; 11:27 ::: Japonaiserie or Japonisme
Detail of Vincent Van Gogh's Japonaiserie: Bridge in Rain, an 1887 painting fashioned after a 1857 woodcut by Japanese printmaker Hiroshige. Van Gogh copied Japanese prints to hone his technique.
image sourced http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1583370 [Mar 2005]
The genuine contact between the West and Japan started after the arrival in Japan of the American Commodore Perry in 1853, which brought about the end of Japan's period of isolation" (Ono 2). This contact initiated an assimilation of Japanese styles by European artists and artisans, particularly in the areas of design and construction, which ultimately molded and directed the progression of the Aesthetic Movement as a whole. This assimilation, referred to as Japonisme or Japonaiserie by the French, "paved the way for a whole new philosophy of art and design, which led naturally to an ultimate pursuit of abstraction, while in England the same style was gradually submerged beneath the pseudo medievalism of the Arts and Crafts movement" (Aesthetic 7)
The re-opening of the Japanese borders unleashed a fervor of desire for this "new style" during the 1860s and 1870s, as various Japanese products new and old swept through Europe via Holland and France, and various traders, diplomats and travelers returned from their travels to Japan to publish books and spread their knowledge of Eastern life and culture. "For the western countries it was a confirmation of the triumph of their culture, science and civilization. At the same time, it was an opportunity to explore the unknown world" (Ono 6). Clay Lancaster also points out that "the European countries were examining Eastern Arts as a by-product of the new imperialistic pride in territorial possessions" (quoted by Madsen 192). These new contacts introduced to the European artistic community different perceptions regarding customs and lifestyles outside from those of Europe; these ideals and philosophies were supported and spread by such artists and collectors as Arthur Lasenby Liberty, Christopher Dresser and Dante Gabriel Rossetti (Aesthetic 8, Ono 2). In fact, Liberty's interest in and affinity for Japanese craftsmanship was so fond that he insisted that the Japanese "not allow European influences in return to overturn the art of JapanÉlet the outcome be Japanese in character and in thought" (Ono 28). These cultural interests and assimilations, which also included Chinese, Moorish, Persian, Indian, and Javanese styles, instigated a blurring of cultural lines under the umbrella term "Oriental," and received attention in various International Exhibitions in most notably 1862, 1871, 1873 and 1878. Out of these exhibitions spawned the British appropriation of the Japanese lacquer style. --Jessica Simmons '07, English and History of Art 151, Brown University, 2004 http://www.victorianweb.org/art/design/simmons10.html [Mar 2005]
2005, Mar 23; 11:03 ::: Blood Feast (1963) - Herschell Gordon Lewis
Blood Feast (1963) - Herschell Gordon Lewis [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Blood Feast, a 1963 film directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis, is an American exploitation film often considered the first "gore" or slasher film. It was produced by David F. Friedman. The screenplay was written by Alison Louise Downe, an actress who had previously appeared in several of Lewis's other films. Lewis also wrote the film's score.
The movie was banned in Germany by a court in Karlsruhe, Germany in January 2004.
Well loved by Lewis's fans, and by low-budget cinema buffs in general, Blood Feast is an acquired taste. It's a horror film about an insane Egyptian caterer who kills people so that he can include their body parts in his meals. Blood Feast became notorious, however, for its explicit blood, gore and violence. Many people consider its most infamous moment to be when the murderer rips a young woman's tongue out on camera. (An effect achieved with fake blood and a sheep's tongue.)
It is also noted for its bad direction and acting. Particularly entertaining was the performance of Mal Arnold, playing the part of Fuad Ramses, called by author Christopher Wayne Curry in his book A Taste of Blood: The Films Of Herschell Gordon Lewis "the original 'machete-wielding madman', and the forerunner" to similar characters in the Friday the 13th and Halloween series of films.
Blood Feast is the first part of what the director's fans have dubbed "The Blood Trilogy". Rounding out the trilogy are the films 2000 Maniacs and Color Me Blood Red.
A comedic sequel/remake, Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat, was released in 2002. It marked the first time Lewis and Friedman worked together on a movie in several years. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_Feast [Mar 2005]
see also: Blood Feast (1963) - HGLewis - gore - slasher film
2005, Mar 23; 09:36 ::: On Jack Smith's "Flaming Creatures" (and other Secret-Flix of Cinemaroc) () J. Hoberman
On Jack Smith's "Flaming Creatures" (and other Secret-Flix of Cinemaroc) () J. Hoberman [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Reviled, rioted over, and banned as pornographic even as it was recognized as an unprecedented visionary masterpiece, Jack Smith's "Flaming Creatures" is the most important and influential underground movie ever released in America. J. Hoberman's monograph details the creative making and legal unmaking of this extraordinary film, a source of inspiration for artists as disparate as Andy Warhol, Federico Fellini, and John Waters, as well as a scandal taken to the United States Supreme Court, described by its maker as "a comedy set in a haunted music studio." The story of "Flaming Creatures" is augmented with a dossier of personal recollections, relevant documents, and remarkable, previously unpublished on-set photographs by Norman Solomon. Expanding on notes originally prepared for the 1997 retrospective on Jack Smith at the American Museum of the Moving Image, the monograph includes further material on his unfinished features "Normal Love" and "No President", as well as shorter film fragments. --via Amazon.com
"Jack Smith's photography, film, and performance conjure a world of flagrant passion, campy humor, and morbid beauty." Lawrence Rinder --via Amazon.com
Essay by J. Hoberman. J. Hoberman is Senior Film Critic at "The Village Voice" and author of numerous books of film criticism including "Bridge of Light: Yiddish Films Between Two Worlds, Midnight Movies, Underground Film: A Critical History," and others. --via Amazon.com
2005, Mar 23; 09:36 ::: Flaming Creatures (1963) - Jack Smith
Flaming Creatures (1963) - Jack Smith
Filmstill | © Jack Smith
image sourced here.
see also: underground film - Jack Smith
2005, Mar 22; 22:52 ::: Proto-rock n roll
Influences on the sound [of the The Cramps are early rockabilly and proto-rock n roll like Eddie Cochran, Chuck Berry and Hasil Adkins, 1960s surf music acts such as The Ventures and Dick Dale; 1960s garage rock artists like The Seeds, The Gants, The Sonics, and The Monks; as well as the early punk scene from which they emerged. They also owe a lot to Screamin' Jay Hawkins for having invented the theatrical horror-blues stage act. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cramps [Mar 2005]
2005, Mar 22; 22:49 ::: Protopunk
Stooges (1969) - Stooges [Amazon.com]
The Stooges' eponymous debut, The Stooges, was also released this year to little critical or popular acceptance. The album, however, went on to become one of the most important recordings in the early development of punk rock. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1969_in_music [Mar 2005]
The Stooges is the self-titled debut of the protopunk band The Stooges. It was released in August 1969 and peaked at number 106 on the Billboard album charts. A song was pulled from the album, "I Wanna Be Your Dog," and was released as a single in October. It did slighty better than the album. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Stooges_%28album%29 [Mar 2005]
Protopunk is a term used to describe a number of performers who were important precursors of punk rock, or who have been cited by early punk rockers as influential.
Most protopunkers are Rock and Roll performers of the 1960s and early-1970s, though some earlier performers have been cited. Garage rock in general has been cited as quite influential.
Protopunk has been proven difficult to define, and many widely different groups have been so dubbed. Most had a certain attitude or appearance seen as important, and not any specific musical tendencies. Significant examples include Love, MC5, The Velvet Underground, the Stooges, The Modern Lovers, The Monks, 60's Yoko Ono and the New York Dolls.
Some protopunk bands also fall into the categories of glam rock or UK pub rock.
See List of forerunners of punk music. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-punk [Mar 2005]
The Stooges was a rock music band in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Stooges - like The Velvet Underground - sold rather few records and performed for indifferent or hostile audiences, but are often regarded as hugely influential both on the then-nascent heavy metal music and on later punk rock (see protopunk). Singer Iggy Pop was often the focus of attention. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Stooges [Mar 2005]
see also: proto - punk
Stoner rock emerged as a distinct genre in the late 1980s with bands such as The Miracle Workers, Kyuss, and Monster Magnet, based on early heavy metal and proto-punk acts of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Its most well known exponent is Queens of the Stone Age. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoner [Mar 2005]
2005, Mar 22; 22:44 ::: Stoner rock
Stoner music is an informal or slang term for any of several types of music listened to, or perceived to be listened to, by "stoners," or people under the influence of drugs, typically marijuana. The genres of music this can include, can vary quite widely, depending on the listener's drug of choice and mood.
Stoners seem to show a preference for music that is stimulating, trance inducing, euphoric, calming, grating, strange, comfortable... in short, any music which might produce the same effect as, or enhance the effect of, using one's drug of choice.
Some listeners consider Stoner music to be their 'drug of choice', in fact, some stoners have gone so far as to discontinue use of drugs, preferring their 'music of choice' to drugs. A Prime example would be the Wharf Rats, a subset of deadheads, who gather in groups at Grateful Dead, The Dead, and Phish concerts, as an affinity group to support each other in their sobriety. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoner_music [Mar 2005]
Stoner Metal and Sludge Metal are often used interchangeably, but some fans make distinctions: Sludge metal has more similarities with grindcore and hardcore punk. There also are similarities to doom metal, but most aficionados consider the two genres distinct.
The moniker 'Stoner' is obviously derived from the notion that the artists and audience for this kind of music are stoners, users of cannabis.
Other terms, which also indicate slightly different, but frequently overlapping genres are 'stoner rock', 'desert rock' and the very abstract 'desert music', which usually has only very little 'metal' content as such.
Stoner metal bands play a mix of jam-heavy psychedelic rock laced with some doom metal like riffs and are generally more closely linked to the heavy psychedelic bands of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Monster Magnet and Kyuss were among the most popular practitioners. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoner_metal [Mar 2005]
2005, Mar 22; 22:23 ::: Stoner film
Scene from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) - Terry Gilliam [Amazon.com]
A stoner film is a movie which is generally made by, and for, stoners. Marijuana use is one of the main themes, and inspires most of the action.
- films by Cheech and Chong (1978-1985)
- Dazed and Confused (1993)
- Dude, Where's My Car? (2000)
- Half Baked (1998)
- Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)
- How High (2001)
--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoner_film [Mar 2005]
see also drug film - pot - theme
2005, Mar 22; 21:16 ::: Dream anatomy
Anatomie des parties de la génértion de l’homme et de la femme
Paris, 1773. Colored mezzotint. National Library of Medicine
Jacques Fabien Gautier D’Agoty (1717-1785)
image sourced here.
Gautier D’Agoty’s colored mezzotints have a painterly quality. This pregnant woman calmly looks back at the viewer, a characteristic pose of 18th-century French portraiture.
2005, Mar 22; 13:48 ::: images via Cipango
Rupert Carabin image sourced here.
Yuzuru Miyahara image sourced here.
Eric White image sourced here.
Carlo Mollino image sourced here.
Jack Vettriano image sourced here.
John Tenniel image sourced here.
Franco Fontana image sourced here.
2005, Mar 22; 13:48 ::: Coming Apart (1969) - Milton Moses Ginsberg
2005, Mar 22; 13:25 ::: Death Bed - The Bed that Eats (1977) - George Barry
Death Bed - The Bed that Eats (1977) - George Barry [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
2005, Mar 22; 12:45 ::: Jahsonic focust niet alleen op de wortels van de rapmuziek ...
Wie had vijfentwintig jaar geleden kunnen voorspellen dat het behoorlijk revolutionaire muziekgenre uit de vuile en achtergestelde buurten van New York City, meer bepaald uit de Bronx, ooit zou uitgroeien tot een wereldwijde miljoenenindustrie? Wij alleszins niet, motherfucker! Voor wie het nog niet wist: hiphop is niet meer weg te denken uit de hitparades, om nog maar te zwijgen van de manier waarop marketeers het genre recupereren om de kids diep in de buidel te doen tasten. Geen wonder dus dat hiphop ook op het internet behoorlijk alive and kicking is. Een overzicht!
Jahsonic focust niet alleen op de wortels van de rapmuziek (dub, reggae en electro), maar legt via een stuk of wat uitstekende hyperlinks uit hoe het zit met aan hiphop gerelateerde fenomenen als breakdancing en scratching: ideaal voor wie graag een paar uur grasduint in het verleden, dus. U krijgt bovendien uitstekende cd-, dvd- en boekentips om uw kennis bij te schaven. --http://www.humo.be/Siteshow/start.asp [Mar 2005]
2005, Mar 22; 12:36 ::: Jose Larraz (1929 - )
La Visita del vicio/Coming of Sin (1977) - Jose Ramon Larraz
see: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076888/ [Mar 2005]
2005, Mar 22; 12:16 ::: Little stabs at happiness
Vampyres (1974) - Jose Ramon Larraz
image sourced here.
QUIET MUSIC FILMS LOUD MUSIC DANCING...was the order of the day at Mark's club night at London's ICA. As anyone who's been there will know, it really was THE place to hang out and watch great films, hand picked by Mark. Shame it's been put on hold for a while, after the December 2000 night you'll have to find other ways of entertaining yourselves on Saturday nights...
Each night the club opens at 8pm for quiet music and underground films. The feature film usually starts at 9:30pm. After the movie, you can dance to loud records played by Mark Webber, Gregory Kurcewicz, B R Wallers and guests. --http://www.pulppeople.plus.com/Little_Stabs/little_stabs_at_happiness_page.htm [Mar 2005]
José Larraz was born in the late 1920s in Spain. He made his debut creating photo novels before beginning a collaboration with Marijac after his arrival in France. Together, they made 'Jenny la Fille du Désert' for Mireille. Afterwards, Larraz started working for the Opera Mundi agency, where he created various series, like 'Jed Foran', 'Capitaine Baroud' and 'Cécile'.
After some publications in France-Soir and Le Journal de Mickey, he started working for Spirou in 1967, using various pseudonyms. Under the name Dan Daubeney, he created 'Christian Vanel' and 'Michaël'. Under the name Gil, he wrote the scenarios for 'Paul Foran' (artwork by Jesus Blasco a.k.a. Monterd, and later, Jordi Bernet) and finally, under the name Watman, he did the artwork of 'Paul Foran' and the series 'Kim Norton'.
After a brief appearance in Tintin magazine, he left the comic world to devote himself to directing horror movies. --http://www.lambiek.net/larraz_jose.htm [Mar 2005]
2005, Mar 22; 11:39 ::: 5x2 (2004) - François Ozon
Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi in Ozons Film "5x2".
Foto: Jean-Claude Moireau/Francois Ozon
image sourced here.
5x2 is a 2004 French movie directed by François Ozon. The film has been compared to Memento and Irréversible, since it is shown in reverse chronology.
The story focuses on a young couple, Gilles and Marion in their 30's, filmed in five crucial moments of their life together- the meeting, marriage, birth of their first child, arguments and divorce. However, those are told in reverse order. Each moments is separated by an Italian song with evocative lyrics. Overall, it is a pessimistic life lesson about the difficulties of living as a couple. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5x2 [Mar 2005]
2005, Mar 22; 11:12 ::: Interior Scroll (1975) - Carolee Schneeman
Interior Scroll (1975) - Carolee Schneemann
photo Sally Dixon
from Carolee Schneemann: Imaging Her Erotics -- Essays, Interviews, Projects (MIT)
Image sourced here.
2005, Mar 22; 10:49 ::: Carnal Knowledge: The Sexual Revolution on Film 1967-1972
The revolution came from overseas. The occasionally explicit and often anxiety-ridden depiction of sexuality that occurred in mainstream American cinema in the late 1960s and early 1970s was largely inspired by the influence and popularity of European art films.
In 1966, censors for the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), bound by the strictures of the antiquated Production Code, asked Michelangelo Antonioni to cut a brief glimpse of pubic hair from a scene in his English-language film Blow-Up, which was due to be released by MGM. After Antonioni strongly objected to Hollywood’s demands, MGM opted for an end-run, successfully releasing the film without the Code’s seal of approval through a subsidiary company, Premier Productions.
A year later, the Swedish film I Am Curious (Yellow) was seized by the U. S. Customs Service for “obscene” sexual content. After a group of writers (including Norman Mailer, John Simon, and Stanley Kauffman), psychologists, and clergymen vouched for the film’s artistic and social merit, the U.S. Court of Appeals allowed the film’s release. The controversy, of course, guaranteed its success.
Bowing to the reality of court decisions against censorship, and acknowledging the growing trend towards permissiveness sweeping through American society, the MPAA introduced a self-regulatory ratings system in 1968. Films with explicit violence or sexual content could be released with an X rating (nobody under 17 admitted). Before it was feverishly adopted as a marketing tool by the adult film industry (“XXX!”), the X rating came with no stigma attached. Midnight Cowboy, released by United Artists in 1969, won the Best Picture Oscar (over Hello, Dolly! and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.)
Hollywood’s open flirtation with sexuality was as uneasy as it was inevitable. While imported films such as I Am Curious (Yellow) and W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism were defiantly revolutionary in their politics, linking sexual liberation with a Marxist critique of political oppression, Hollywood struggled with just how to blend old, conventional formulas with new realities. When Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, a comedy about wife-swapping and extramarital sex, seasoned with glimpses of nudity by extras, was selected to open the 1969 New York Film Festival, Vincent Canby excoriated the choice in The New York Times. “If Bob & Carol… has any purpose in the festival, it is to show contemporary Hollywood’s debt to television…to TV’s comedy formulas.”
Indeed, compared to the joyous, explicit, raw, and decadent visions of sex in such varied underground films as Carolee Schneemann’s Fuses, Andy Warhol’s Lonesome Cowboys, and Milton Moses Ginsberg’s Coming Apart, true liberation was rarely to be found in studio films. Instead, distinct notes of anxiety, misogyny, and backlash were evident in such aggressive movies as A Clockwork Orange, Klute, and Carnal Knowledge. In her 1973 assessment of Hollywood’s treatment of women in movies, Molly Haskell despairingly wrote that the past ten years “have been the most disheartening in screen history. The growing strength and demands of women in real life, spearheaded by women’s liberation, obviously provoked a backlash in commercial film.”
Although free to be shown as sexually active and independent, women were more likely than not to be portrayed as prostitutes, victims, or anonymous sex objects. Reflecting the perspectives of their writers and directors, most of the movies of the time (and in this series) are dramas by and about troubled males.
It was at the margins, and on the outside, where progressive views of sexuality could be found. Changing economics in the industry allowed for commercial theatrical runs by independent features, including Paul Morrissey’s Flesh, Barbara Loden’s Wanda (that rare film from the period actually written and directed by a woman) and Brian DePalma’s raucous satire Hi, Mom! Maverick director Melvin Van Peebles achieved startling box-office success with his sexually, racially, and aesthetically groundbreaking film Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, which earned nearly ten million dollars—and sent Hollywood scrambling into the blaxploitation era. The success of these independent films also paved the way for such softcore and hardcore entrepreneurs as Russ Meyer, Radley Metzger, and Gerard Damiano, whose relatively high-class (and amusing) pornographic feature Deep Throat became a box office success and cultural phenomenon in 1972, immortalized (and linked forever with its sociopolitical background) by the Watergate scandal.
Rather than leading the way to a new era of openness and candor, the “sexual revolution” of this period can be viewed, looking backwards and not ahead, as a fascinating artifact of its time. When Pauline Kael proclaimed Last Tango in Paris to be “the most powerfully erotic movie ever made,” and declared optimistically that “it may turn out to be the most liberating movie ever made,” she could not have foreseen that its screening as the closing night film of the 1972 New York Film Festival was not so much the beginning of an era as the end of one, a last tango indeed. --David Schwartz, Chief Curator of Film via http://www.ammi.org/site/screenings/content/2002/carnal.html [Mar 2005]
I AM CURIOUS, YELLOW
Sweden, 1967, 121 mins., 35mm archival print. Directed by Vilgot Sjoman. Seized by U.S. customs officials upon its initial entry, Sjoman’s film became a cause célèbre and cultural breakthrough because of its graphic sexuality (which overshadowed its attack on Sweden’s political establishment). An intricate narrative structure reveals a film within a film, as Lena (Lena Nyman) plays an aspiring actress and political activist attempting to land a role in Sjoman’s film.
United Artists, 1969, 113 mins. Directed by John Schlesinger. With Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Sylvia Miles. This X-rated winner of the Best Picture Oscar broke ground with its frank depiction of the life of a New York “hustler.” After his dreams of big city stardom are shattered (symbolized by his sighting of an ignored corpse on 5th Avenue), Joe Buck (Voight) is introduced to the Big Apple’s seamier side by tour guide Ratso Rizzo (Hoffman).
Avco Embassy, 1971, 97 mins. Directed by Mike Nichols. With Jack Nicholson, Art Garfunkel. A pair of college buddies approach middle age and grapple with changing sexual mores in this lacerating dark comedy written by Jules Feiffer and masterfully directed by Nichols in a stark minimalist style. “Maybe you’re not supposed to like [sex] with someone you love,” wonders the sensitive Sandy (Garfunkel) while the misogynist Jonathan (Nicholson) lashes out at female “ballbusters.”
1969, 110 mins. Directed by Milton Moses Ginsberg. With Rip Torn, Sally Kirkland. Rip Torn gives a raw, ferocious performance as a Manhattan psychiatrist who secretly films a series of sexual encounters-and his own emotional breakdown-in this astonishingly bold, sexually explicit feature. Recently rediscovered, Coming Apart is a powerful time capsule that combines the rawness of cinéma vérité, the psychodrama of Cassavetes, and the formal audacity of Warhol.
BELLE DE JOUR
Allied Artists, 1967, 100 mins. Directed by Luis Buñuel. With Catherine Deneuve. Exploring her sexual fantasies by a day in a Parisian brothel, and quietly living with her Doctor husband at night, Deneuve gives a coolly startling performance as the enigmatic Séverine. Afternoons of passion with a gangster (Pierre Clementi) provide sexual excitement and unanticipated complications. As Buñuel’s camera worships Deneuve throughout, the parade of ridiculous male clientele wryly subverts machismo.
Warner Bros., 1971, 114 mins. Directed by Alan Pakula. With Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland. An aspiring actress turned prostitute, Jane Fonda’s Bree, portrayed with nuance and nervous energy, epitomizes many of the contradictions of the time. Distinctly modern in its sensibility, the story of a detective’s anguished search for his a friend-a suburban family man missing in the city-is presented in classic film noir style, complete with Gordon Willis’s dark, moody visuals.
1967, 110 mins. Directed by Andy Warhol. With Viva, Taylor Mead. The denizens of Warhol’s scandalous Factory stage a mock and mocking Western in the wilds of Arizona. A seemingly drugged-out cast and crew improvise a decadent genre- and gender- twisting parody filled with casual sex and even more casual acting. The last film directed by Warhol (and a precursor to Paul Morrissey’s films), Lonesome Cowboys epitomizes the camp sensibility of the times.
1968, 105 mins. Directed by Paul Morrissey. With Joe Dallesandro. Preceded by FUSES Carolee Schneemann, 1967, 22 mins. Paul Morrissey took the reins of the Factory’s film production while Andy Warhol recovered from gunshot wounds. Preceding Midnight Cowboy (and exceeding it in explicitness), Flesh stars Dallessandro as a bisexual hustler. Schneemann’s kinetic and painterly diary film Fuses is an avant-garde classic in its portrayal of sex from a female perspective.
Paramount, 1967, 98 mins. Directed by Roger Vadim. With Jane Fonda. Preceded by THE BED James Broughton, 1968, 20 mins. “A kind of sexual Alice in Wonderland-in the future,” was how Vadim (then Fonda’s husband) described his adaptation of a popular French comic strip. From its infamous opening striptease, Barbarella revels in her go-go boot-clad physicality and celebrates her discovery of sex. Broughton’s short is a merry, erotic allegory celebrating the cycle of life.
1968, 71 mins. Directed by Russ Meyer. With Erica Gavin. Preceded by LOVEMAKING Scott Bartlett, 1970, 14 mins. EYETOON Jerry Abrams, 1967, 8 mins. FLY Yoko Ono, 1971, 25 mins. Meyer’s self-satrizing and politically-minded skin flick was a theatrical success, paving the way for the “Porno Chic” boom of the early 1970s. Its simple plot chronicles the visits of a black draft dodger, Scottish communist, and freespirited American couple to Vixen’s remote Canadian cabin. The shorts include two visually dazzling portrayals of sex and Yoko Ono’s beautiful film of a fly’s traversal of a naked woman’s body.
BOB & CAROL & TED & ALICE
Columbia, 1969, 104 mins. Directed by Paul Mazursky. With Natalie Wood, Elliot Gould, Dyan Cannon, Robert Culp. “Consider the possibilities,” teased the ads for the opening-night film at the 1969 New York Film Festival. Mazursky’s directorial debut is an old-fashioned comic romp about such new-fangled fads as wife-swapping and group sex. Culp and Wood play a swinging couple trying to initiate their friends into their liberated ways.
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE
Warner Bros., 1971, 137 mins. Directed by Stanley Kubrick. With Malcolm McDowell. Billed as “the adventure of a young man whose principal interests are rape, ultra-violence and Beethoven,” and opening to enormous controversy, Kubrick’s explosive social satire was pulled from public exhibition in England following a series of alarming “copycat” crimes. A truly revolutionary film, that as Vincent Canby put it, is “dangerous in a way that brilliant things sometimes are.”
United Artists, 1969, 129 mins. Directed by Federico Fellini. Adapting Petronius’ account of sexual decadence in Nero’s Rome, Fellini creates his most spectacular film, defined by excess and inspired by Jack Smith’s Flaming Creatures. We follow the journeys of two students with slave-cum-lover Gitone, as they encounter and often participate in feasts, orgies, murders, and the like across the Empire. A fragmented narrative reveals the film as a world unto itself, ruled solely by the pleasure principle.
United Artists, 1970, 107 mins. Imported 35mm print. Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini. Adapted from Giovanni Boccaccio’s 14th Century classic, Pasolini realizes a series of bawdy vignettes, framed by his own turn as Giotto painting a portrait of Madonna and Child. This first of the director’s “trilogy of life” was rated X for, as Variety noted, running the gamut “from lust to deception, jealousy to cuckoldry, revenge to deceit, etc.”
SWEET SWEETBACK’S BAADASSSS SONG
Cinemation, 1971, 97 mins. Directed by and starring Melvin Van Peebles. Released with the tagline “Rated X by an All-White Jury,” this revolutionary film-both formally and thematically-was a major box office hit, inspring the 1970s “blaxploitation” boom. Producer, director, editor, and composer Van Peebles stars as Sweetback, whose legendary sexual power is revealed in the film’s opening, and whose violent encounter with the police sends him on the run.
W.R.-MYSTERIES OF THE ORGANISM
Yugoslavia, 1971, 86 mins. Imported 35mm print. Directed by Dusan Makavejev. With Milena Dravic. Celebrating the life and theories of Wilhelm Reich, the Marxist Freudian who preached revolution through sexual enlightenment, W.R. is a bawdy plea for all manner of liberation. With his trademark collage style, blending documentary and experimental techniques, and hopping between Eastern Europe and the United States, Makavejev simultaneously celebrates and spoofs utopianism.
WOMEN IN LOVE
United Artists, 1969, 129 mins. Directed by Ken Russell. With Alan Bates, Glenda Jackson, Oliver Reed. With 1920s England standing in for the free-spirited 1960s, Ken Russell’s adaptation of the D. H. Lawrence novel about two intertwining love affairs is a successful stylistic match; Russell’s exuberant and operatic visual style meshes well with Lawrence’s fulsome prose. The film amplifies the book’s homoerotic subtext, most famously in the nude wrestling scene between Bates and Reed.
SUNDAY, BLOODY SUNDAY
United Artists, 1971, 110 mins. Directed by John Schlesinger. With Glenda Jackson, Peter Finch. In this thoughtful and groundbreaking drama, a young bisexual designer is the love object of a middle-aged Jewish doctor and a divorced businesswoman. Penelope Gilliatt’s richly textured, highly literate screenplay treats its sexual content with emotional depth and matter-of-fact honesty. “The movie is a novel written on film…in a pungent, slangy style that sounds accurate, not bookish.” (Pauline Kael).
THE LICKERISH QUARTET
1970, 90 mins. Directed by Radley Metzger. Hailed by Andy Warhol as an “outrageously kinky masterpiece,” Lickerish is one of the most beautifully photographed and formally daring films by soft-core impressario Radley Metzger. An Italian couple and their son, fans of erotic films, spot a woman at a carnival who they recognize as a porn actress. An invitation to their villa leads to sexual-and filmic-experimentation.
1967, 91 mins. Directed by Radley Metzger. With Uta Levka. Modernizing Prosper Mérimée’s classic tale, Metzger establishes his Carmen as a chic, independent woman of the 1960s. On the Mediterranean Coast, a strait-laced young policeman falls hard for the irresistible Carmen (Levka), but she prefers pop star Baby Lucas (Walter Wilz).
1970, 87 mins. Directed by Brian De Palma. With Robert De Niro. Preceded by CROCUS Suzan Pitt, 1971, 7 mins. The worlds of New York underground theater and hard-core filmmaking are among the targets of De Palma’s pleasantly scattershot satire starring De Niro as a Vietnam vet trying to make it in Greenwich Village under the mentorship of a porno director played by Allen Garfield. (It was also released as Confessions of a Peeping John.) Crocus is a baroque animated fantasy about marital sex.
IS THERE SEX AFTER DEATH?
1971, 97 mins. Directed by Alan and Jeanne Abel. With Buck Henry. Preceded by PAGAN RHAPSODY George Kuchar, 1970, 23 mins. Inspired by Candid Camera and Laugh-In, this documentary spoof was called “the only really funny movie since Bananas” by The New York Times. A nudity-filled grab-bag, it features Buck Henry, Robert Downey, Marshall Efron, and Warhol superstar Holly Woodlawn. The Kuchar short stars underground love goddess Donna Kerness.
EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SEX (BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK)
United Artists, 1972, 87 mins. Directed by Woody Allen. With Gene Wilder, Burt Reynolds, Tony Randall, Lynn Redgrave, Regis Philbin. Purchasing the rights to the best-selling book, Allen infuriated the author with this bawdy and hysterical parody of the “science of sex.” Seven vignettes, introduced by such questions as “What happens during ejaculation?,” deflate the supercilious tone of the source material.
FRITZ THE CAT
American International Pictures, 1972, 77 mins. Directed by Ralph Bakshi. Based on the characters of Robert Crumb, Bakshi’s X-Rated animated feature contains equal parts social satire and bawdy sexual antics. On a Homeric journey through a New York night, the eponymous feline (an NYU student by day) encounters a motley bunch of characters-Black Panthers, Bikers, Hippies, and finds herself in provocative scenarios that take full advantage of the freedom of animation. --David Schwartz, Chief Curator of Film via http://www.ammi.org/site/screenings/content/2002/carnal.html [Mar 2005]
see also: sexual revolution - nudity in film
2005, Mar 22; 10:21 ::: Shiver of the Vampires (1970) - Jean Rollin
Original poster by Druillet.
Image sourced here.
Shiver of the Vampires (1970) - Jean Rollin [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
see also: Jean Rollin - erotic horror - seventies
2005, Mar 22; 10:21 ::: Bacchanales Sexuelles (1974) - Jean Rollin
Bacchanales Sexuelles (1974) - Jean Rollin [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
I recently watched Bacchanales Sexuelles, my first Jean Rollin movie. For those of you who don't know about his work, he's a Frenchman, now sixty-five, who's best-known for his cult horror movies of the sixties and seventies. He has also made porn, both hard and soft. You can find out more about his work on his own website. I urge you to click on the "interviews" button on the left panel -- it's a well-done, long q&a.
Bacchanales Sexuelles (also known as Fly Me the French Way) was made in 1974 and it has the loopy, stoned sexiness of many other films of that time, such as Sweet Movie by Dusan Makavejev, or some of Walerian Borowczyk's movies. It's kind of about a free-wheeling young woman (Joelle Coeur) who takes over her reporter cousin's apartment only to become caught up with a mysterious S&M secret society. It's a silly, mindless romp -- but it has its own outrageousness too.
The plot isn't your usual porn plot -- it meanders around in a dada-like way, with a logic that's only based in pleasure. It's a very different viewing experience than contemporary porn is. If you compare it to a soft core movie by, say, Zalman King -- whose work I'm fond of -- the latter seems slick. If you compare Rollin's movie to a contemporary Vivid porn video, the Vivid video looks glaring and hard-driving, and anonymous in its settings.
Rollin's movie is -- to use a Norman O. Brown phrase from the seventies -- "polymorphously perverse." It's sexually anarchistic. Rollin is his own man when it comes to directing, known for his odd choice of shots and angles. I found his editing and staging strangely engaging. He puts the camera where it pleases him, so that the logic of the shot-flow feels surreal, in the same way that Erik Satie's harmonies or Jean Cocteau's movies do. Making allowance for the fact that this is consciously trash, of course. But it's trash in that French, sophisticated-primitive way. (I imagine Tarantino would go wild for Rollin's work.)
And what a seventies experience it was to watch the movie, which portrays a world not just of '70s fashions and colors, but of untoned and unpierced young bodies, unwaxed crotches, and enthusiastic young performers clearly in love with the idea of being sexually and physically free on camera. Rollin seems to like standing back and letting the action take on its own life, even during the orgy scene at the film's climax.
I watched the film imagining that Jean Rollin was someone I'd enjoy knowing. I like his arty-trashy, low-budget spirit. And I liked the way he really seems to like women, and women's bodies. He seems to like the variety of them, for one thing. The actresses he uses, like Joelle Coeur, are often luscious and beautful, but Rollin seems to enjoy it if in some of the film's shots they look ungainly. You see wobbly flesh and knock knees, and you find yourself enjoying both.
Rollin also has that French love of women as sexual instigators. They seem to give the impression of being onscreen not to please a man but for their own reasons. There's a moment when Joelle Coeur walks towards a guy -- it's in the morning, and he has just made breakfast for her, but she's feeling wicked and horny. And she smears a little jam or chocolate on herself. It's all her moment. You don't usually see this kind of performance from a woman in soft or hardcore. It's what made the early Jenna Jameson performances such an inspiration to so many women; she seemed to be having her own good time, on her own terms.
I had an enjoyably scattershot set of reactions to the movie. The movie itself was very unfocused; it was like having a couple of glasses of wine and letting yourself go, or like being in the presence of someone who's very stoned and telling you an amusing story that doesn't quite make sense. But that's what I found pleasant about it -- it was outrageous and amiable; it wasn't a pile-driver of a movie. I watched a recent hardcore American porn movie soon after, and it left me slightly nauseated. The camera was so intrusive that watching the film was about as erotic as watching a dental procedure. Bacchanales Sexuelles, though it didn't work on me aggressively, kind of got to me. I'm looking forward to checking out Jean Rollin's horror movies too. --http://www.pollyfrost.com/archives/000061.html#000061 [Mar 2005]
see also: Jean Rollin - erotic horror - Polly Frost - seventies
2005, Mar 22; 09:37 ::: Peeping Tom Screenplay - Leo Marks
Peeping Tom Screenplay - Leo Marks [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
"Don't let me see you frightened" says Mark towards the end of the film, when Vivian has almost discovered Mark's secret.
Vilified by the press and branded as obscene when it was first released, the film "Peeping Tom" portrays a gentle serial-killer who films his victims in their final throes. This is the original screenplay, before substantial cuts were made by the censors. --Amazon.co.uk
Leo Marks (1920 - 2001)
Leo Marks wrote the script for Michael Powell's intelligent and highly controversial Peeping Tom (1960), the story of a serial killer who films his victims while stabbing them to death. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Marks [Mar 2005]
2005, Mar 22; 07:41 ::: Les Lèvres nues, Marcel Mariën, Belgian surrealism
L´introuvable (1937) - Marcel Marien
Paul Nougé - Works Selected by Marcel Mariën
image sourced here.
The texts in this volume by the leader of the Belgian section of the Surrealist movement were selected by his old friend and co-conspirator Marcel Mariën a few months before the latter’s recent death. Mariën, however, was more than just a colleague of Nougé’s, most of Nougé’s writings first saw print in Mariën’s magazine Les Lèvres nues (12 issues between 1954 and 1958) and later appeared in books bearing the same publishing imprint. Mariën’s selection was hardly representative! - no theoretical or political texts, and only one poem. His introduction stresses Nougé’s predeliction for re-writing other authors’ works (as exemplified in the longest text included here), a form of plagiarism promoted by the Situationists as détournement, and the writings of Debord, Wolman et al., including their essay on this particular method, also made their first appearances in the pages of Les Lèvres nues. --http://www.atlaspress.co.uk/index.cgi?action=view_printed_head&number=8&series=3 [Mar 2005]
see also: Marcel Mariën - surrealism
2005, Mar 21; 15:25 ::: Following piece (1969) - Vito Acconci
Following piece (1969) - Vito Acconci
Fotografie | © Vito Acconci
image sourced here.
Following Piece is one of Vito Acconci's early works. The underlying idea was to select a person from the passers-by who were by chance walking by and to follow the person until he or she disappeared into a private place where Acconci could not enter. The act of following could last a few minutes, if the person then got into a car, or four or five hours, if the person went to a cinema or restaurant. Acconci carried out this performance everyday for a month. And he typed up an account of each 'pursuit', sending it each time to a different member of the art community. --http://hosting.zkm.de/ctrlspace/d/texts/01?print-friendly=true [Mar 2005]
see also: art - stalking - body - performance - conceptual - 1969 - Vito Acconci
2005, Mar 21; 11:47 ::: Bricolage
Merz 32A (Les Cérises) (1921) - Kurt Schwitters
Bricolage, from the French bricoler "to tinker" or "to fiddle", is that language's equivalent of the English phrase "do-it-yourself".
In art, bricolage is a technique where works are constructed from various materials available or on hand, and is seen as a characteristic of postmodern works.
These materials may be mass-produced or "junk". See also: Merz, polystylism, collage.
In biology the biologist François Jacob uses the term bricolage to describe the apparently cobbled-together character of much biological structure, and views it as a consequence of the evolutionary history of the organism. (Molino 2000, p.169)
In cultural studies bricolage is used to mean the processes by which people acquire objects from across social divisions to create new cultural identities. In particular, it is a feature of subcultures such as the punk movement. Here, objects that posess one meaning (or no meaning) in the dominant culture are acquired and given a new, often subversive meaning. For example, the safety pin became a form of decoration in punk culture.
Bricolage is also often contrasted to engineering: building by trial and error rather than based on theory.
A person who engages in bricolage is a bricoleur.
Molino, Jean (2000). "Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Music and Language", The Origins of Music. Cambridge, Mass: A Bradford Book, The MIT Press. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bricolage [Mar 2005]
see also: art - found - cultural studies - postmodernism - subcultures - meaning - subversion - collage
2005, Mar 21; 11:47 ::: Tree of Life (1905) - Gustav Klimt
Tree of Life, The Arborvitae (1905) [middle section] - Gustav Klimt
2005, Mar 21; 11:37 ::: Medusa () - Caravaggio
Medusa () - Caravaggio
image sourced here.
see also: medusa
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