Sep 29, 2016

Körper (Sasha Waltz, 2000)

Körper (Telo, premda nemački izraz više podseća na englesku reč za leš) koreografkinje Saše Valc može da funkcioniše kao sinonim za odvažno pomeranje granica u svetu modernog plesa. Kao što naslov sugeriše, fokus je na ljudskom telu, koje za autorku predstavlja...

... prvenstveno biološki organizovan sistem ćelija, ali i ćeliju samu koja u simbiozi sa drugim telima formira živi totem / super-telo.
... komad gline koji se gnječi, razvlači i kida, ne bi li nastala figura iza čije se uznemirujuće izvitoperenosti krije mnoštvo značenja.
... mašinu ili jedan njen zupčanik; egzotični muzički instrument koji proizvodi zvuk prosvetljujućeg haosa i neprirodnog reda.
... gomilu mesa, ali i iskonski princip, esenciju kosmosa, ogledalo psihe, pređu za tkanje apstraktnih mitova, početak i kraj, razum i bezumlje, san i stvarnost, zastoj vremena i beskonačnost prostora.

Ono je prelepo u svojoj odvratnosti i ništavno u svojoj punoći. Pokret ga potvrđuje, ali i negira u nizu često kriptičnih, duhovno-orgazmičnih sekvenci koje čine provokativni i verovatno nenarativni performans. U isti mah otrovna i okrepljujuća, zabavna i zbunujuća, komunikativna i otuđujuća, razjarujuća i umirujuća, a povrh svega uvrnuta da uvrnutija ne može biti, predstava Körper pruža jedinstven doživljaj.

Preuzimajući veliki rizik, Valcova uporno odbija da jasno odgovori na pitanja tela i od svojih razmišljanja gradi bezizlazni lavirint. Zajedno sa timom koji stoji iza vrlo oskudnih kostima i minimalističke scenografije stvara ambijent u kojem su plesači gotovo primorani da se oslobode inhibicija i daju sve od sebe u ovaploćenju njenih deliričnih vizija.

Sep 26, 2016

101 Music Videos for a Desert Island

For my blog’s 7th anniversary, I’ve decided to compile a hypothetical list of 101 music (and a few lyric) videos that I would gladly take to a deset island, whereby I limited myself to only one song per band / performer. (There are a few exceptions for some of the artists who went for a solo career or collaborated with another band.) So, what you can expect hereinafter is a little bit of everything from commercial and indie pop, through alternative/progressive rock and all the way to blackjazz and other genre hybrids, sorted by release year and in alphabetical order. (I hope there are no typos or wrong links.)

1. R.E.M. – Losing My Religion (1991)
2. Sugarcubes – Hit (1992)
3. Portishead – Glory Box (1994)
4. Björk - Army of Me (1995)
5. Deep Blue Something - Breakfast at Tiffany's (1995)
6. Jewel – Foolish Games (1995)
7. Faith No More – Digging the Grave (1995)
8. Nick Cave & Kylie Minogue - Where the Wild Roses Grow (1995)
9. Therapy? – Stories (1995)
10. U2 – Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me (1995)
11. K’s Choice – Not an Addict (1996)
12. Guano Apes – Open Your Eyes (1997)
13. No Doubt – Sunday Morning (1997)
14. Garbage – Push It (1998)
15. Metallica – The Unforgiven II (1998)
16. Rammstein – Du riechst so gut ‘98 (1998)
17. Smashing Pumpkins – Ava Adore (1998)
18. The Cardigans – My Favorite Game (1998)
19. Bush – The Chemicals Between Us (1999)
20. Skunk Anansie – Charlie Big Potato (1999)

41. Within Temptation – Angels (2004)
42. Coheed and Cambria – The Suffering (2005)
43. Leaves Eyes – Elegy (2005)
44. Novembers Doom – Autumn Reflection (2005)
45. Panic! at the Disco – I Write Sins not Tragedies (2005)
46. Queens of the Stone Age – Little Sister (2005)
47. Stream of Passion – Passion (2005)
48. The Birthday Massacre – Blue (2005)
49. Evanescence – Lithium (2006)
50. Incubus – Anna Molly (2006)
51. Juliette & the Licks – Sticky Honey (2006)
52. Maximum the Hormone – Zetsubō Billy (2006)
53. Poets of the Fall – Carnival of Rust (2006)
54. Pure Reason Revolution – The Intention Craft (2006)
55. The Gathering – Alone (2006)
56. Ava Inferi - Dança Das Ondas (2007)
57. Epica – Never Enough (2007)
58. Fair to Midland – Dance of the Manatee (2007)
59. Klaxons – Magick (2007)
60. Sirenia – The Other Side (2007)

61. Rishloo – Freaks & Animals (2007)
62. Riyu Kosaka – Danzai no Hana: Guilty Sky (2007)
63. Tarja – I Walk Alone (2007)
64. Birds of Tokyo – Silhouettic (2008)
65. Indica - Pahinta tänään (2008)
66. Mor ve Ötesi – Deli (2008)
67. Swamp – Everything Is Coming up Roses (2008)
68. E-Play – Retrovizor (2009)
69. Eluveitie – Omnos (2009)
70. Magenta Lane – Lady Bones (2009)
71. Nightwish – Amaranth (2009)
72. Anathema – Dreaming Light (2010)
73. FACT – Behind a Smile (2010)
74. Fallulah – Give Us a Little Love (2010)
75. Madder Mortem - Where Dream and Day Collide (2010)
76. Tristania – Year of the Rat (2010)
77. Yoshida Brothers – Rising (2010)
78. 22 – Plastik (2011)
79. Amaranthe – Hunger (2011)
80. Chrysta Bell feat. David Lynch – Bird of Flames (2011)

81. Djerv – Madman (2011)
82. Liv Moon – Shi no Butou ~ Dies Irae ~ (2011)
83. Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks (2011)
84. Paatos – Gone (2011)
85. Incura – The Greatest Con (2012)
86. Katatonia – Lethean (2012)
87. Leprous – The Cloak (2013)
88. Shining – I Won’t Forget (2013)
89. Strangefruit – Sea of Fog (2013)
90. Delain feat. Marco Hietala - Sing to Me (2014)
91. Lykke Li – I Never Learn (2014)
92. Agent Fresco – See Hell (2015)
93. Midas Fall – Push (2015)

94. Persona - Blinded (2015)
95. The World State - A Castle for the Battles that I Fight (2015)
96. Vola – Gutter Moon (2015)
97. A Dream of Poe - Lighthouses for the Dead (2016)
98. Brisa Roché - Each One of Us (2016)
99. Jambinai – They Keep Silence (2016)
100. Lacuna Coil – Delirium (2016)
101. Long Distance Calling – Lines (2016)

Sep 24, 2016

The Bunker / Der Bunker (Nikias Chryssos, 2015)

Once the credits roll (and afterwards), you will most probably be left with scratching your head, while wondering: "What the glorious hell did I just watch?" Weird as a deified, demon-voiced entity called Heinrich, Nikias Chryssos's feature debut seems like an answer to a question no one has ever asked: "If some wunderkind with a Lynch's mindset and a penchant for campy art had been tasked with making a film on both education and dysfunctional family, what would have resulted from his wild experiment?"

The titular location deep in the snow-covered woods is the home of one of the most 'merkwürdig' nuclear families to be ever put on screen. For a concrete structure associated with war, it is lit quite nicely and beautifully decorated, if a bit creepy retro-chic is your cup of bitter tea (kudos to production designer Melanie Raab). Its colorful interiors are complemented by equally queer outfits of its inhabitants - 8 year old Klaus (played by 1984-born Daniel Fripan), the Father (David Scheller) and the Mother (Oona von Maydell).

The aforementioned man-child is being prepared to enter the White House one day, but he's failing to learn the most elementary lessons. (This could be a poke at certain Austrian bodybuilder's governance over California.) Following the arrival of the Student, who has been seeking after a quiet place to work, is the "little one's" improvement, as well as the antics of the most nebulous, yet not-without-a-meaning kind.

Without spoiling too much, one might say that having a wound-residing alien as the adviser is not the best idea, although it is mandatory for a twisted joke to work. But, is there something more than the rug-pulling gimmicks in The Bunker? Well, firstly there's the obvious and it is the inclusion of many story-moving dichotomies - parent vs child, work vs play, pain vs pleasure, reward vs punishment, masculine vs feminine, keeping vs letting go, dependence vs independence. Secondly, it is the irrational, almost Kafkaesque atmosphere that draws you in and doesn't let you go until the (ironically?) anticlimacting finale.

Also worth mentioning are the superb performances of the ensemble cast, especially by Fripan, whose childlike mannerisms are unparalleled. And let's not forget Bukowski (Der Samurai), who turns the ostensibly as-normal-as-scholars-can-be character into a weirdo. Matthias Reisser's cinematography is yet another reason for giving this film a chance, even though its pacing is not pitch-perfect.

Sep 19, 2016

The Distance (Sergio Caballero, 2014)

Following Caballero's zany debut Finisterrae, starring two guys wearing sheets in the roles of ghost-pilgrims, is another marvelous example of the Catalan's "prankster art cinema". A deliciously preposterous story chronicles elaborate preparations for a heist, whose purpose is a titular McGuffin. "The amount of space between two places and things", as the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines distance, is much more than an abstract noun for both the author and the eccentric characters of this well-intentioned, over-the-top farce.

Gifted with stupefying ESP powers, such as telepathy, telekinesis and telecommunication with a sexy croupier in Las Vegas, three Russian dwarves orginize and eventually carry out the robbery for a kidnapped Austrian performance artist, sporting a dried-mud-covered face and a pair of Lederhosen. Their only obstacle is presented in the form of a guard who has a high-heel fetish and the strangest of the strange pets - a smoking, haiku-reciting bucket infatuated with a chimney.

From the introductory narration, through the absurd shenanigans of the "ruin porn" kind and all the way to the 'Borgesean' epilogue, Caballero demonstrates a keen sense of deadpan humor, as well as a fondness for powerful 'Tarkovskian' imagery. Occasionally, his surreal puzzle strikes 'Buñuelean' & 'Lynchean' chords, whereby it features a few dimensional rifts, dead rabbits, edible Yoko Ono, a functional junk-parts-machinery and a spectacular frozen-wasteland scenery. The atmosphere of drab, Soviet-like dreariness is complemented by a multilayered soundscape of Lenin's speeches and the tracks that might have been taken from some scream queens' agony compilation. Stylishly shot by Marc Gómez del Moral, the world of The Distance (La distancia) is deeply rooted in the irrational, meaning that it will either draw you in or you'll feel utterly repelled by its ridiculous, yet peculiar charms. Whether it has a deeper meaning or not, it's quite original, so encore, please!

(If this loony flick sounds like your cup of tea, be sure to check out my first list at Taste of Cinema.)

Sep 14, 2016

Eternal na Salonu stripa!

Kao što naslov sugeriše, moj rad Eternal ćete u analognoj formi moći da vidite na velikoj izložbi XIV Međunarodnog salona stripa, budući da je odabran kao jedan od 100 najuspelijih radova. Kako sam obavešten, izložba se otvara 29.09. 2016. od 18:00, u Maloj Sali SKC Beograd i traje do 02.10. 2016, a radno vreme galerije je od 10:00 do 20:00 časova. Pošto nisam siguran da li ću biti u mogućnosti da istu posetim, zaobići ću "možda se tamo sretnemo"...

Sep 8, 2016

A Crippled Pawn

... or the first life under a psychopath
through the last attempt at invisibility

(click to enlarge)

Sep 5, 2016

Zoom (Pedro Morelli, 2015)

Wonderfully eccentric, Brazilian/Canadian co-production Zoom is Pedro Morelli's sophomore feature, following drama Entre Nós he co-directed with his father Paulo, and also quite an exhibitionist debut for a cycling journalist-turned-editor-turned-screenwriter Matt Hansen. Presumably inspired by Escher's litograph Drawing Hands, it out-stranges Stranger than Fiction, another possible role model, with its knotty loop-the-loop structure. Described as "a multi-dimensional interface", in which three individuals author each others' destinies, it's certainly one of the most refreshing examples of a non-conformist filmmaking.

Looking like a blonde version of Thora Birch in Ghost World, Alison Pill plays a comic book artist Emma, who works in a sex doll factory, jealous of the inanimate gals' "perfect" bodies. After her sloppy colleague and boyfriend Bob (Tyler Labine) makes an ill-advised comment about her breasts, she gets a (very noticable) boob job - a wrong decision that sets events in motion... or more like in chaos.

Frustrated, she invents her dream man - a blockbuster director Edward (Gael García Bernal, in a rotoscoped form), who wishes to depart from his usual oeuvre. Going against studio executives' expectations, he starts to discover his feminine side through the auteur project about a model named Michelle (Mariana Ximenes), aspiring to become a writer. As you might already guessed, her book is about Emma... Oh, and let's not forget that, in another fit of rage, Emma drives Edward into the artistic dead-end, by significantly reducing his member's size. 

So, what we get here is basically a film within a comic (brought to life) within a film, or in other words - a cinematic ouroboros of the goofy kind. A triplet of stories, riffing on the themes of both female and male insecurities, personal identity, higher forces, self-reliance, stereotypes and sexuality, eats away itself in an amusing meta-fantastic fashion. Notwithstanding this (beautiful) mess, Morelli helms his delightfully odd picture with an assured hand and a great sense of humor and healthy self-irony, while throwing darts at Hollywood hollows and exploring the creator-creation relation. His cast is as diverse as his sly stylistic choices, which reflect each tale's "shenanigans".

Emma gets stuck in an intentionally imperfect simulacrum of dimly lit American indie dramedy that transforms into a naively concieved crime-adventure. Edward is a part of the sex-fueled world of ink and colors, that could be influenced by Roy Lichtenstein's artwork, as well as Ralf Bakshi's opus. And Michelle stars in a well-minded parody of delibaretely paced arthouse flicks, and later on a mock-up (the key word is mock) of some boasting action hit finale. This quirky fusion of disparate ideas never does seem to be jarring, thanks to Adrian Teijido's keen eye, Luis Dourado's and Marcelo Souza's attractive animation, and Kid Koala's musical mischiefs. Zoom is by no means perfect (well, nothing is), but the flaws don't affect its irresistible charm.

Sep 3, 2016

Spiritual Decline + South Korean Exorcism (Under Electric Clouds + The Priests)

(This double mini-review might seem like an odd coupling, but in fact, one of both movies' focal points is a feeble human anima...)

Under Electric Clouds (Под электрическими облаками, 2015) by Aleksey German Jr. indulges in philosophical meanderings through the soul's labyrinth. Set in 2017, exactly one hundred years after Russian Revolution, it takes an uncompromising look at the state on the verge of another war. With a "glorious" past almost forgotten by millennials, a desolate present and an uncertain future, its citizens wander aimlessly, appearing as disoriented ghosts stuck in a bleak limbo.

Through its episodic and elliptical narrative, this harrowing arthause SF-drama introduces several characters of different age, gender, social status, occupation and sensibility, exploring their country's moral, spiritual, cultural and intellectual downfall. An unfinished skyscraper skeleton, barely visible through the dense fog, stands tall (and eerie) as a symbol of pre-apocalyptic Russia, affecting miserable existence of a Kazakh construction worker, tycoon's inheritors, a real estate agent, a museum curator, a drug addict (Chulpan Khamatova playing young man) and an architect. (The latter thinks his profession is pointless and gets the sourly funniest segment, containing the song about Mickey Rourke's dead dog.) Their often cryptic and absurd dialogues, occasionally with deceased friends and acquaintances, could be seen as paragons of the feature's impenetrability. Bressonian acting only adds to already leaden and stifling atmosphere, reminiscent of Hard to Be a God, a testamental film by director's late father.

While holographic ads, promising false hope, are projected onto the grey skies, the protagonists underneath are lost in desperate attempts to find someone, or at least something, to hold onto. The surrounding is shrouded in unbearable silence and it reeks of decay, heightened by adverse weather conditions. The overwhelming dreariness, pierced by tiny bits of wry and dry humor, propels the darkest of thoughts and demands a superhuman patience, but beautifully framed long takes and poignant ending soften the coldness of German's relentless vision.

In Jae-hyun Jang's full-length debut The Priests (or Black Priests, in a Korean title's literal translation), Father Kim (Yun-seok Kim) and Deacon Choi (Dong-won Kang) strive to save the soul of a comatose high school girl (So-Dam Park), believing she has been possessed by an evil spirit. But when they try to free her from the clutches of a nameless demon, they realize he is far more powerful than they ever thought. (And not to mention he's a polyglot and clairvoyant!)

In the clash of Eastern and Western culture, young director smoothly balances between subtle dark humor and gripping, if predictable dread, while paying a heartfelt homage to The Exorcist. With an interesting and quite unlikely duo leading the audience through the proceedings, he knowingly combines buddy movie tropes and supernatural horror, bringing some action to film's suspenseful crescendo. Hints at possible sexual abuse render Kim's character ambiguous, so the sympathy goes to Kang's naive, yet capable rascal Choi, whose tragic childhood loss is evil's favorite delicacy. As both innocent victim and vicious villain, Park is probably the most convincing of all the actresses who were walking down the same lane as barely adolescent Linda Blair.

Even though Jang stays far from reinventing the sub-genre, oriental spices make for an exotic taste - there's a shamanistic appetizer with a bull's head prior to the main course, involving a piglet and cats, crows and cockroaches gathering. Being born in the year of the tiger also carries great importance, as well as playing a CD of Bach's music. Tight visuals, especially during the exorcism parts, once again demonstrate the immense strength of the modern South Korean cinematography. The Priests has more than a few spare minutes in the first half, but its second half's intense atmosphere is a solid compensation.