Sunday, March 29, 2009

Kenji Mizoguchi's "Oyu-sama" (1951)

English titles: Lady Oyu, Miss Oyu




Three-dimensional spaces confine people, define people. Architectures we live in change the way we see things, concepts, relationships. The perception of space is one with the perception of the world. Abstract form can touch all human emotions, thoughts...

Mizoguchi is a master of form and light. As in the case of Miss Oyu, his lighting can be very precise, with high contrast. This is one of my very favorite Mizoguchi films.

Kenji Mizoguchi's "Sansho dayu" (1954)

English titles: Legend of Bailiff Sansho, Sansho the Bailiff, The Bailiff





Nature, diagonals, water... Everything is expressive. One of the most beautiful dialogues in all cinema:
– It's my mother's voice.
– No, it's the sound of the waves.

Symmetries constantly broken, there is almost always an angle to the shots, it's very rarely head-on. There's perspective. There's distance. "It's a cold world indeed" says someone in Sancho Dayu, "Isn't life torture?" sings another, "A man is not a human being without mercy. Even if you're hard on yourself, be merciful to others." teaches someone.

Through Mizoguchi, we learn to seek something extraordinary...



Saturday, March 28, 2009

Kenji Mizoguchi's "Gubijinso" (1935)

English titles: Poppies, Poppy, The Field Poppy




It's senseless. "I should have changed. But it's not my fault" says one of the characters. In the great tradition of storytelling, Mizoguchi creates remarkable characters, gets involved in their drama, but also keeps distance. He skips between concepts, ideas, emotions poetically. In his films, people laugh and people cry...


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Kenji Mizoguchi's "Shin heike monogatari" (1955)

English titles: Legend of the Taira Clan, New Tales of the Taira Clan, Taira Clan Saga, Tales of the Taira Clan, The Sacrilegious Hero, The Taira Clan

Life is a dew
Fragile and quickly scattered...

Friday, March 20, 2009

india




Silent. Try to watch it fullscreen.

Shot off my computer screen with E65 while Rossellini's cosmic poem "India" was playing.

I finished six other videos this week. You can see them here.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Alfred Hitchcock's "North by Northwest" (1959)



In North by Northwest, both space and identities are deconstructed, broken down to pieces, and then rearranged.




In Hitchcock's films, fantasies and nightmares are all intertwined. And characters very often talk about this very openly. Here are some dialogues from North by Northwest, interveawing sex and death:


Roger O. Thornhill: Tell me... How does a girl like you get to be a girl like you?
Eve Kendall: Lucky, I guess?
Roger O. Thornhill: Oh, not lucky. Naughty. Wicked, up to no good. Ever kill anyone? Because I bet you could tease a man to death without half trying. So stop trying, ha?


Roger O. Thornhill: I wonder what subtle form of manslaughter is next on the program. Am I to be dropped into a vat of molten steel and become part of a new skyscraper? Or are you going to ask this female to kiss me again and poison me to death?


The Professor: If I thought there was any chance of changing your mind, I'd talk about Miss Kendall, of whom you so obviously disapprove.
Roger O. Thornhill: Yes, for using sex like some people use a flyswatter.


By the way, she does kill him in the film, but it is an illusion.


Monday, March 2, 2009

fraqnc





Silent. Try to watch it fullscreen.

Shot on Nokia E65, filtered and edited on Final Cut.

The footage was taken off my computer screen while Rossellini's "St. Francis" was paused.