26 March 2012

Hunger Games, USA, 2011 ****

Twenty-four kids are chosen at random to take part in the annual contest where only one survives by killing the rest of them. A futuristic tale about our primal instinct of survival.
The Age of Illusions, Álmodozások Kora, Hungary, 1964 **

Istvan Szabo's first feature film about a group of young adults who start their career as engineers, struggle through difficult personal relationships and find a way to stick together. Fast paced with a lot of dialogues. You wouldn't say this comes from a country under a strict communist regime, but somehow this one made it through back in the sixties.
Mientras Duermes, Sleep Tight, Spain 2011 ****

The latest movie from Jaume Balaguero is about a concierge who is obsessed with one of the single women living in the building. He creeps inside her apartment at night, stays under the bed and drugs her so she cannot wake up. When her boyfriend starts staying at her place more often, the concierge has to find new ways to spend time with her alone without anyone noticing. Things get more difficult and turn up the wrong way, just as any of Balaguero's picutres do. Creepy and entertaining.

22 March 2012

Sanja Ivekovic born in Zagreb, 1949

Also at MOMA, i had the chance to see the first North American exhibition of Sanja Ivekovic's work. She is a contemporary video artist. One of my favourite pieces, called Sweet Violence, the work that gives this exhibition its title, was among Sanja Iveković’s first forays into video. It presents one of the artist's recurring themes: the corrosive effect of media culture under the state doctrine known as the Third Way, a political experiment that took place in Yugoslavia in the 1970s, defined by an idiosyncratic mix of socialism and free-market economics, all steeped in propaganda. In order to create a distancing effect, and thus make obvious the contrivances and fictive qualities of media reality, Iveković superimposed black bars on a television monitor and then taped one of the daily broadcasts of Zagreb’s Ekonomsko Propagandni Program (economic propaganda program). With this simple intervention she visually disconnects viewers from the "sweet violence" of media seduction so that they may examine the power of images, the way they circulate in everyday life, the stories they purport to tell, and, by extension, the mythologies that lurk beneath their surfaces.

source: MOMA website

Uncle Boonmee Who Recalls His Past Lives, Thailand, 2010

A sort of fairy tale. A dying uncle who lives in the countryside receives two strange ghost visits. One is his dead wife who suddenly appears at the dinner table one night and another one is his cousin who has turned into a monkey ghost, with glowy red eyes. It is very weird, but the pace is slow, very meditational, with beautiful scenes and landscapes of the jungle. Amazing photography.

21 March 2012

Zoo, USA, 2007

A documentary about a man in the state of Washington who died after having sex with a horse. Yep, you read it right.
Ai Wei Wei: Without Fear or Favour, UK, 2010

A BBC documentary about contemporary artist-architect-designer Ai Wei Wei. He designed the "nest" stadium for the Beijing Olympic Games. 52 minutes long.
Duet For Cannibals, Sweden-USA, 1969

B&W film by Susan Sontag shot in Sweden. A man hires a young assistant to help her organizer his library. In the meantime he must finish writing a book and take care of her mentally sick wife.
Cindy Sherman

The MOMA is currently showing an exhibition on American photographer Cindy Sherman. Her work spans more than 20 years. Her self-portraits are games and tricks to the eye. Not everything you see is real. Her first black and white pictures of supposedly actresses are all fake. She plays the roles of stereotypical women and takes an incognito picture. The result is astonishing. In the 80s she concentrated on her centerfold pieces, which tried to imitate Playboy celebrities. However, there is less erotic and more mystery in her pictures. She then focused on imitating portraits from the Renaissance and the Middle Ages; kings, Popes, royal families, artists, painters, etc. Her old-age women portraits are both whimsical, esthetic and fake. The prosthetic noses and breasts are evident and that is the way Sherman wants them to show. There is a sense of mockery in her work. She wants to fool, surprise and deceive her audience and achieves this wonderfully.

Kulturplatz vom 14.03.2012

18 March 2012

Tasman Richardson at MOCCA

I discovered the work of Canadian video artist Tasman Richardson during my last visit to MOCCA in Toronto. The exhibition is called "Necropolis" and is a set of 6 different installations put together in a labyrinth-like tunnel. The experience for the viewer is one of discovery. The room is completely dark and you have to move around touching the walls to make sure you are going the right way.

His works involve fast-cut editing of pre-existing footage, everything from classic movies to videos. The result is a sort of music video with a lot of images stacked up and rolling before your eyes at a pace of one image per 4 frames. Super fast and eery is the end effect. Definitely worth watching.

Richardson proposed back in 1997 his own manifesto for video creation. The Jawa Manifesto, revised in 2008, is the basis of his work.

Here is an article on the exhibition at MOCCA:

And here is Richardson's website with a link to his previous video works and his Jawa manifesto: