31 Dec 2018

75 Features for the End of 2018!

Looking back at my favorite pieces of cinema seen in 2018, I realized that having more than 50 titles rated 8 or higher can pose a significant challenge, yet I can't help feeling 'love of all cinema' that the filmmakers Daniel Fawcett and Clara Pais have often touched upon in their interviews, changing the way I relate to the film. Of course, there are always exceptions that get lost somewhere on the serpentine way to my heart, but this article is not about them, so those Jacks and Zamas won't be mentioned (oops!). The following list is dominated by arthouse and avant-garde offerings which my taste leans towards, which doesn't mean there are no surprises. So, here's to an equally cinematic 2019!


1. Phantom Islands (Rouzbeh Rashidi, 2017)
2. Lucky (John Carroll Lynch, 2017)
3. Song of Granite (Pat Collins, 2017)
4. The Forgotten Colours of Dreams (Johnny Clyde, 2018)
5. November (Rainer Sarnet, 2017)
6. Manifesto (Julian Rosefeldt, 2015)
7. A Dragon Arrives! (Mani Haghighi, 2016)
8. The Wandering Soap Opera (Raúl Ruiz, 2017)
9. Grain (Semih Kaplanoğlu, 2017)
10. 24 Frames (Abbas Kiarostami, 2017)
11. A Solar Dream (Patrick Bokanowski, 2016)
12. Scorpion’s Stone (Maximilian Le Cain, 2018)
13. Animal Kingdom (Dean Kavanagh, 2017)
14. The Plague at the Karatas Village (Adilkhan Yerzhanov, 2016)
15. Wild Boys (Bertrand Mandico, 2017)
16. Inside (Vicky Langan & Maximilian Le Cain, 2017)
17. The Rub (Péter Lichter & Bori Máté, 2018)
18. Rey (Niles Atallah, 2017)
19. Mary and the Witch's Flower (Hiromasa Yonebayashi, 2017)
20. Real (Sa-Rang Lee, 2017)
21. Kino Hospital (Jann Clavadetscher, 2017)
22. First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2017)
23. The Other Side of the Wind (Orson Welles, 2018)
24. Sleeping Beauty (Adolfo Arrieta, 2016)
25. Loving Vincent (Dorota Kobiela & Hugh Welchman, 2017)


26. Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018)
27. Mr. Long (SABU, 2017)
28. Drifting Cities (Michael Higgins, 2017)
29. Double Lover (François Ozon, 2017)
30. Unrest (Philippe Grandrieux, 2017)
31. Iridescent (Eli Hayes, 2017)
32. EVERYONE AFRAID TO BE FORGOTTEN (Jonna Lee & John Strandh, 2018)
33. The Greatest Showman (Michael Gracey, 2017)
34. MFKZ (Shojiro Nishimi & Guillaume Renard, 2017)
35. The Lodgers (Brian O’Malley, 2017)
36. I Am Not Madame Bovary (Xiaogang Feng, 2016)
37. See You Up There (Albert Dupontel, 2017)
38. Dailies from Dumpland (Michael Woods, 2018)
39. Batman Ninja (Junpei Mizusaki, 2018)
40. Pin Cushion (Deborah Haywood, 2017)
41. The Scythian (Rustam Mosafir, 2018)
42. Ederlezi Rising (Lazar Bodroža, 2018)
43. Boarding School (Boaz  Yakin, 2018)
44. Valley of Shadows (Jonas Matzow Gulbrandsen, 2017)
45. Call Boy (Daisuke Miura, 2018)
46. The Mimic (Jung Huh, 2017)
47. Self-Criticism of a Bourgeois Dog (Julian Radlmaier, 2017)
48. Sunday's Illness (Ramón Salazar, 2018)
49. Krut: The Himmaphan Warriors (Chaiporn Panichrutiwong, 2018)
50. Waiting for the Barbarians (Eugène Green, 2017)


51. Cinderella the Cat (Ivan Cappiello, Marino Guarnieri, Alessandro Rak & Dario Sansone, 2017)
52. Night Awake (Sandy Ding, 2016)
53. The Whisper of the Jaguar (Simon(è) Jaikiriuma Paetau & Thais Guisasola, 2017)
54. Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018)
55. Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts (Mouly Surya, 2017)
56. Under the Silver Lake (David Robert Mitchell, 2018)
57. God’s Own Country (Francis Lee, 2017)
58. Psychokinesis (Sang-ho Yeon, 2018)
59. 1985 (Yen Tan, 2018)
60. Revenge (Coralie Fargeat, 2017)
61. Jupiter's Moon (Kornél Mundruczó, 2017)
62. Terminal (Vaughn Stein, 2018)
63. Errementari (Paul Urkijo Alijo, 2018)
64. The Crescent (Seth A. Smith, 2017)
65. Paradise (Andrey Konchalovskiy, 2016)
66. Afterimage (Andrzej Wajda, 2016)
67. Accident Man (Jesse V. Johnson, 2018)
68. The Party (Sally Poter, 2017)
69. The Green Fog (Guy Maddin, 2017)
70. Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018)
71. Pity (Babis Makridis, 2018)
72. Foreboding (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2017)
73. Elliot (Craig Jacobson, 2017)
74. Into the Forest (Gilles Marchand, 2016)
75. Drown Among the Dead (Rubén Gutiérrez, 2018)

29 Dec 2018

Shōnen / Call Boy (Daisuke Miura, 2018)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼(☼) out of 10☼ 
 
Featuring some of the boldest, longest, sultriest and most intense erotic scenes in the history of the Japanese mainstream cinema (though their exploitative properties erect a big question mark), Call Boy takes sex and orgasm not for granted, and employs an apt amalgamation of classy, noirish visuals (a commendable feature debut for the cinematographer Jam Eh I) and equally alluring, top-tier jazzy score (composed by Yoshihiro Hanno) to tell a Freudian cumming-of-belated-age story that also works as a heated 'feminist by way of male gaze' meditation on intimacy and female desires (which could often be mistaken for bizarre fetishes), with an approach that's simultaneously serious and laced with bits of tongue in cheek (not to mention other places) humor.

28 Dec 2018

Song of Granite (Pat Collins, 2017)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼(☼) out of 10☼ 

'Birds don't sing
Songs of glory
Ice wrapped wings
That's my story'
 
Masterly blurring the boundaries of time and earthly existence, as well as the lines between myth and reality, documentary and fiction, Pat Collins delivers one of the most astonishing, not to mention unconventional biopics of the latest years (if not ever). The reportedly turbulent life of the Irish 'sean nós' singer Joe Heaney is not exploited for yet another illustration of the artist's whims and struggle in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, nor is it viewed and explored through the prism of a socio-political context. Instead, it is subtly and highly poeticized into a solemn, powerful, pristinely beautiful and deeply moving ode to the raw, unadorned and endangered folk tradition(s).

A decidedly lyrical, 'meandering' and slowburn narrative has an immense soul of stories told by elders, with the listeners of all generations gathered around them, by the fireplace (the first scene after the title matches the exact same description). Heany's drama is conveyed indirectly, through meaningful silences, whispers of the changing landscapes and lingering glimpses into his childhood, middle-aged wanderings and old age reveries portending death. However, its most important aspect are the songs from which the pure, genuine and intense emotions continuously stem, firmly embracing the viewer with their large wings. Performed by both professionals (Lisa O'Neill as a pub singer) and non-professionals (a superb debut for Michael O'Chonfhlaola portraying Joe in his 40s), those melancholic, roughly hewn melodies feel like they have been imbued with ancient or universal truths and mysteries, regardless of the lyrics. They are both the film's connective tissue and portals into another world where nothing but sound and the singer's loneliness exist.

What also makes Song of Granite so remarkable is Richard Kendrick's awe-inspiring B&W cinematography complemented by grainy archive footage whose texture corresponds with the 'abrasive' colors of Heany's voice. Each shot is meticulously composed primarily to match the ascetic grandeur and enchanting simplicity of 'sean nós' (old style) singing, whereby the little, cherished moments are captured so splendidly, that they all transcend their worldliness. Especially praiseworthy are the bittersweet, somewhat dreamy depictions of the protagonist's boyhood in a remote village of Carna, with youngster Colm Seoighe emerging as an acting force to be reckoned with, despite his fragile appearance.

26 Dec 2018

Krut: The Himmaphan Warriors (Chaiporn Panichrutiwong, 2018)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼(☼) out of 10☼

Based on the second fall of Ayutthaya Kingdom during the Burmese-Siamese War (1759–1760), Krut: The Himmaphan Warriors (originally, Krut Mahayut Himmaphan) transforms historical events into a spectacular mythological epic set in a fictional 'world of yore' inhabited by hybrid creatures and fire-spewing stone giants (whose inherently evil, hyper-titanic king eats nothing but molten gold).

Considering that it is created not by a huge studio, but at the digital art department of Rangsit University in Pathum Thani, Thailand, the film features pretty impressive CG animation (almost comparable to the Final Fantasy features), replete with wonderfully choreographed action sequences that are certainly not kid-friendly, i.e. not shying away from blood spilling, bodies being split in halves and swords being shoved down the throats.

Behind the curtain of violence, the themes of unity, bravery, treachery, solidarity, patriotism and self-sacrifice are woven into a simple and familiar, yet strangely engaging story conceived by Wisit Sasanatieng of the Tears of the Black Tiger fame. Although his screenplay feels a bit rushed at times, much relying on the rule of cool and archetypal characters, there's plenty to enjoy in this dark and high fantasy, especially if you haven't neglected your inner child hopelessly enamored with the campy Saturday-morning cartoons of the 80s.

23 Dec 2018

'The Golden Irrational' Triptych

In the end, it all figures
- a particle of dust becomes eternity
and primary colors turn beige...

Pt. I: Prenatal Hopelessness


Pt. II: Posthumous Desires


Pt. III: Patinated Inwardness

(click to enlarge)

19 Dec 2018

Espectros da Terra (Daniel Fawcett & Clara Pais, 2018)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼
 
Co-produced between The Underground Film Studio and Experimental Film Society, Espectros da Terra appears as an artifact from the past, a red and fragile one, like a crystal icosahedron. Right from the opening frame, it takes the viewer to a mysterious world of nature inhabited by strange spirits and creatures magically captured on Super 8 film. By virtue of the grainy imagery of primordial beauty, it gently shrouds you in the cloud of ancient secrets whispered by a creek, the Moon and an oak tree. Reaching for the higher truths, this mini-masterpiece - a cosmically harmonious labor of love - suggests its creators are old souls who have been present on, in and outside of the Earth much longer than they can remember...
 
(The review is based on the private screener provided by the authorial duo.)

18 Dec 2018

Phantom Islands (Rouzbeh Rashidi, 2018)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼

Providing you with a different or rather, differently strange, even wondrous experience on repeated viewings, Rouzbeh Rashidi's latest feature - a sensory meditation on the 'horrors' of human relationships - boasts powerful, physically intense performances by the filmmaker duo Daniel Fawcett and Clara Pais, deepens the mystery of Film through the multitude of subtle cinematic references, transfigures the familiar Irish landscapes into a grandiose, alien(ating) utopia of supernatural proportions, and sends you into a state of dreamlike euphoria while simultaneously dreaming of you, all by virtue of the strong, alchemical, aesthetically impressive synthesis between the visual and sonic narratives.

11 Dec 2018

Elliot (Craig Jacobson, 2017)

 ☼☼☼☼☼☼☼(☼) out of 10☼

Most certainly inspired by Shin'ya Tsukamoto's cult classic Tetsuo (the official poster alone is a reason enough to make this comparison), but adorned with a lurid color palette of psychedelic proportions, Craig Jacobson's hyper-stylized debut feature provides a bizarre mixture of social commentary, parable on identity, cyberpunk horror and experimental phantasy, boasting delightfully gritty practical effects (many kudos to Cassandra Sechler), a darkly ethereal, highly expressive synth-score and a VHS (read: decidedly anti-HD) cinematography which simultaneously awakens 80s nostalgia in all of its glitchy glory, and captures the grotesque mysteries of the titular protagonist's biomechanical, reality-shattering world frequently blurred into mind-boggling abstractions.

Available for rent or purchase at Vimeo on Demand.

7 Dec 2018

The Homo Sapiens Project (Rouzbeh Rashidi, 2011-2015)

Comprised of 199 installments (+ a few bonus features) which range from 1 to 120 minutes in duration, the Homo Sapiens Project by the Irish-Iranian filmmaker Rouzbeh Rashidi sets pretty high standards for the experimental films to come. A culmination of its auteur's practice, as suggested by the official synopsis, it marks a singular milestone in the history of cinema (and no, this is not an exaggeration), which makes the honor of seeing it in its impressive, often ambiguous, not to mention poetic entirety all the greater.

Inspiring in many unexplainable ways and to the point of putting you in the state of hyperproductivity, HSP evokes various associations, reaches to your subconsciousness, compels you to perceive things as if you were an alien entity, and above all, radically explores the endless possibilities of 'motion picture', simultaneously looking into the past and the future. Both beautiful and deformed in its elusiveness, this Janus-headed 'mutant' transforms on countless occasions, decomposes then rises from the ashes, and brings about a collision between multiple filmic dimensions, and between our and its own realities, pushing you down the bottomless rabbit hole.

My two-part essay on EFS Publications is an attempt to grasp its 'madness'. Follow the links provided below:

 
Still shots from HSP
(100) | (135)
(154) | (157)
(160) | (172)
(181) | (189)

6 Dec 2018

Panta Rei (Dem & Seth Morley, 2016)

 ☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼

Exotic, immersive and mystical, Panta Rei focuses on the ritualistic aspects of cinema, invoking strange ghosts of the past, and ‘unsettling’ the depressing present with the beautifully ascetic pagan imagery of red (blood / body), black (shadow) and white (soul). Dubbed ‘film installation’ by its creators, it puts you in a state of wonder by virtue of arcane symbolism, dialogue-free ‘narrative’ and the mouth harp score that resonates of primordial times. As it progresses, the boundaries between then and now, life and death, reality and fantasy, fiction and documentary become increasingly blurred.


4 Dec 2018

11 Recent Artworks

Growing simultanously with my collage obsession is the amount of artworks which reached the number of three hundred a few days ago. The selection presented here includes eleven of my recent pieces some of which show clear signs of the constructivist art influence, as well as the tendency towards colored 'accents'.

Self-Portrait With an Invisible Triangle and Eszett Squared


Leaving the Scrapyard Paradise


Angelic Paranoia: Endless Possibilities of a Room


A Classic Love Triangle With a Geometric Progression


... and Then the Moon Said Let There Be Nothing Else


Maestro's Mystery Is Blue


Likewise, the Eternity Prevails


A Choreography for a Pure Reverie


Forgotten Between a Memory and the Mythical Sun


A Cantilever Ends With a Canned Forever


Cruising Across the Universe Code-Named Kazimir

(click to enlarge)

28 Nov 2018

Phantom Islands in Belgrade!

I am extremely delighted and excited to announce that the audience of this year's Alternative Film/Video Festival will have an opportunity to see Phantom Islands - the latest opus by one of our time's most prominent 'cinexperimenters', Rouzbeh Rashidi - and to meet the mastermind behind EFS in person. The artist who also happens to be a dear friend of mine will be participating in a panel discussion concerning collectivism during which he will present the (exquisite!) book Luminous Void: Experimental Film Society Documents published by EFS in 2017.

The iPhone wiz from Wales Scott Barley whose fascinating feature debut Sleep Has Her House had its Belgrade premiere at Magnificent 7 this june will be taking part in the jury.

So, if you are an alternative cinema aficionado, you might want to reschedule your plans for December 12-16, and visit Serbia's capital.

26 Nov 2018

'Concrete of Doom' Triptych

All our lives we are building our own tombstones.

N: The Graveyard of Beauty


Ж: Black Music


P: … Is Already Dead

(click to enlarge)

25 Nov 2018

Mythomachia EX

My latest collage series titled Mythomachia EX is available for purchase at ITCH.io. Follow this link or scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the widget to find out more about it. If you enjoy my works, follow me @ Facebook. Mythomachia EX is a 'spiritual sequel' to Instructional Manual for the Superstitious which is preceeded by Glum Glamour and The Grain of Ultimate Silence.

20 Nov 2018

The Unforeseen IFF (November 16-17, 2018)

On the 16th and 17th of November, fans of experimental cinema had the opportunity to see a great selection of short films under The Unforeseen moniker, at the comfy venue of the Center for Cultural Decontamination in Belgrade. The Cine-scope program which included 27 titles competing for Grand Prix, Special Mention and Audience awards was divided into four sections: Delirium Archives, Raw Animation, 5(0) Shades of Experimental and Synaesthesia. Chosen as one of the jury members, beside professor of film editing Dragan Dimčić and film critic Ivan Velisavljević, I was introduced to all of the contestants' works beforehand, though watching them on the big screen (i.e. large white wall surface) is what made the experience amazing. This article aims at shedding some light on each of the presented films.

Nutrition Fugue (Péter Lichter, 2018)

A cinematic equivalent of a jazz improvisation (the groovy soundtrack is to 'blame' for the comparison), Light Plays (Jeux de lumière) by Anne-Marie Bouchard is a beautiful collage of intoxicating colors, 'stains' and textures made of excerpts from the vintage educational documentaries transformed into a playful 'adventure' via scratching, drawing and animating on a 16mm tape. Giuseppe Boccassini's Debris appears like an anthology of subconscious associations formed within a (twisted?) mind of a dying person familiar with the structural films, video games and Experimental Film Society offerings. The most delirious of Delirium Archives and one of the Grand Prix 'ex-aequo' winners, the visceral, ferociously striking Never Never Land assaults the viewers' senses with a frenetic mélange of disturbing eroticism and cosmetic surgery interventions. Its creator, Amsterdam-based visual artist Michael Fleming, makes a razor-sharp comment on modern (or rather, eternal?) obsession with physical 'perfection' (as if it were achievable) and simultaneously demonstrates his enviable editing skills. Hungarian avant-gardist Péter Lichter serves a rhythmically delicious meal in his Nutrition Fugue, ironizing eating habits through the communist food adverts altered by exposing the tape to both good and bad bacteria. Having a whale of a time on his Volleyball Holiday, Ricardo Vieira Lisboa employs a scene from Hitchcock's Rebecca and a running gag with a burning celluloid film, emphasizing its fragility, especially when it's within Gremlins' reach - think Hollis Frampton's (nostalgia) 'adapted' for the new age. In ¡PíFIES!, Ignacio Tamarit turns lousy home movies into a stroboscopic smorgasbord of faded memories colliding to the music score evocative of the 70s.


Black Dog (Joshua Dean Tuthill, 2017)

Joshua Dean Tuthill's bizarre, surrealistic stop-motion 'drama' Black Dog that won the Audience Award blurs the line between the Space Race and a seriously dysfunctional family of rednecks, giving a whole new meaning to the phrase 'better the devil you know than the devil you don't know'... or so it seems. Head-scratching moments are bound to happen. Matter Out of Place by Oona Taper combines painterly rotoscoping with frame-by-frame animation into a quiet (feminist?) exploration of fullness vs. emptiness, as the official synopsis and twitchy visuals suggest. Sara Jurinčić's commendable debut September 3, 2015 (3. rujna 2015) is marked by a deliberately messy amalgam of almost Pythonesque cut-outs and autobiographical documentary in which an 'off-screen portrait' of father and daughter emerges from the 'banalities' we read about in daily newspaper. Mathieu Girard utilizes various techniques to animate part Lynchian and part Švankmajer-esque extravaganza Bousche(s), touching upon several topics and endowing the titular organ with multiple meanings. Another firsttimer, Aleksandar Lazar, imbues his contemplative journey, Monstrosity of the Body (Monstruoznost tela), with an introspective dimension, achieving the atmosphere of transcendental calm via ethereal music, hypnotic narration (or more precisely, recitation) and monochromatic imagery that has the protagonist's body abstracted into (micro)cosmic dust. The ideal companion piece to Lazar's innermost visions can be found in Eternity (Věčnost) - a phantasmagorical mystery by the Czech-Korean animator Yeaeun Jang who illustrates the very fabric of primeval dreams with white pencil on a black background. Arash Akhgari addresses the alienation of modern man in a quivering ink-on-white miniature Out of Touch, whereas Carol-Ann Belzil-Normand produces a series of psychedelic WTF-eries around the brief, yet extremely weird clash of furniture and female body in Ultra. Blending Dadaist collages and childlike drawings, Sasha Svirsky 'speaks' of a universal desire to escape the monotony of mundanity in an invigorating absurdist comedy About a Woman Who Wanted to Fly Away (Про бабу, которая хотела улететь), whereby The Life of Insects novel by his compatriot Victor Pelevin springs to mind while visiting the dark world of Daniel Šuljić's minimalist B&W satire From Under Which Rock Did They Crawl Out (Ispod kojeg li su samo kamena ispuzali).

El Diezmo (Jean-Jacques Martinod, 2017)

Completely silent and packed with a handsome cinematography in a boxy format, Alexander Bickford's Myelin portrays a young woman diagnosed with an unspecified (terminal?) illness, and plays out like a heavy, melancholy-fueled dream that could be inspired by the opuses of Maya Deren and Olivier Smolders. From Ecuador arrives an abstract, ghostly, slightly repetitive DV + VHS + Hi-8 phantasy El Diezmo (Jean-Jacques Martinod) set in a virtual or even unfathomable (prenatal / posthumous) realm, with 'a spirit voice' as our only guide. The 'Droste', aka 'mise en abyme' effect is applied to the grainy selfie-culture critique shaped as a meta-film of sorts in Please Step Out of the Frame by Karissa Hahn who takes a cue or two from the Japanese experimenter Takashi Ito. Josh Weissbach's 601 Revir Drive is one of the most 'abrasive' films in the selection, a baffling procession of incongruous pictures thick with raw poetry. Featuring barely readable hand-written subtitles and revolving around a peculiar 'conversation' between a pro-entomologist and Papilio canadensis, Tiger's Dialogue (Dialogue du Tigre) by Matthew Wolkow provides us with a poetical documentary prone to some visual 'gimmickry', such as split-screen and 'butterfly perspective'.


Wishing Well (Sylvia Schedelbauer, 2018)

The second Grand Prix winner Sylvia Schedelbauer takes us on a journey into the farthest recesses of subconsciousness, weaving a flickering eco-parable around a boy's adventure in an enchanted forest. Her Wishing Well wishes you to wake your inner child and drink from the stream of free flowing thoughts, as the parallel dimensions assimilate into a redolent cacophony of colors. Also resonating with ecological sentiment is Atoosa Pour Hosseini's Antler (awarded with Special Mention) - a formally seductive cinematization of the cryptic Voynich manuscript. As challenging to decipher as the said codex, this oneiric, aesthetically pleasing puzzle erases the boundaries between fiction and documentary, and alchemically transfigures a botanical garden into a laboratory of evocative images and sounds. More scenes of Mother Nature - this time, shrouded in its gloomy veil - operate as the verses of a moody ode to the mountains which is also the title of Hrvoslava Brkušić's high-contrast 'photo-novel' Planine. Occasionally reminiscent of Kurt Kren's 3/60: Bäume im Herbst, this 'environmental essay' feels like a lost artifact from the past and, paradoxically, that is exactly what makes it refreshing. Kent Tate's Catalyst (which was reviewed at NGboo Art a few months ago) ads up to the confusion with each repeated viewing - whether it's a 'diary without dates' or a meditation on the dichotomy of the natural and artificial surroundings, it leaves you with a distorted, hard to describe impression. The oppressive, epileptic cine-phantasm Hypnagogia by Pierre-Luc Vaillancourt operates as a psychedelic throwback to the 80s; a volcanic blast of flashing lights, pulsating synthwaves and mind-altering hallucinations. And finally, Andreas Gogol's Xarussell spins you on a carousel of amorphous reveries, as elusive as a hummingbird drawn to a cherry-sized disco ball...

15 Nov 2018

Ant Head (David Lynch, 2018)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼
 
 
Part myrmecophobic nightmare, part post-structural experiment (along the lines of Industrial Soundscape) and all an anti-music video for a couple of songs created in collaboration of David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti, Ant Head cements its creator's place amongst the boldest of filmmakers working today. This 13-minute short depicts a deformed head (think the Eraserhead baby's younger, more human brother) that is, reportedly, made of cheese and raw chicken meat, swarming with ants and recalling this writer's close encounter with a large troop of the said six-legged insects during their invasion on a chocolate spread pack.
 
Set against a high-contrast B&W backdrop of utility poles and transmission lines which stand frozen in time (confirming Lynch's obsession with electricity), the creepy fromage noggin turns into a negative-self once Frank 2000 gets abducted by Woodcutters From Fiery Ships (this is no code, but a direct reference to the tracks). The ear-piercing cacophony of avant-garde jazz noise which accompanies the bizarre visuals amplifies the atmosphere of gloom and decay, plunging you into a world parallel to that of the Black Lodge from the Twin Peaks series. A must-see-and-hear for the Lynch completists.


13 Nov 2018

Nepredviđeni - dani eksperimentalnog filma u Beogradu

Ove godine se održava treći međunarodni festival eskperimentalnog filma Nepredviđeni, a meni je pripala čast da budem jedan od članova žirija, pored Dragana Dimčića, profesora filmske montaže na Fakultetu dramskih umetnosti i Ivana Velisavljevića, filmskog kritičara i koautora knjige Kritički vodič kroz srpski film. Takmičarska selekcija obuhvata dvadeset sedam kratkometražnih ostvarenja iz različitih krajeva sveta, a organizatori najavljuju i posebne projekcije. Mesto i vreme dešavanja su Beograd, Centar za kulturnu dekontaminaciju, 16. i 17. novembar, a dodatne informacije možete dobiti na zvaničnoj ili Facebook stranici festivala.

11 Nov 2018

Chuma v aule Karatas / The Plague at the Karatas Village (Adilkhan Yerzhanov, 2016)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼(☼) out of 10☼

Set in a ramshackle fictitious village of idiotic dwellers, bizarre customs, bleeding walls, dancing shadows and seemingly eternal night (followed by a hopeless dawn), Adilkhan Yerzhanov's absurd, surrealistic drama peppered with wry, black humor serves as a hyperbolic allegory of a corrupted, self-destructive society (which also praises stupidity), and feels as if it were written by Kafka in delirium, adapted by Beckett high on antidepressants, and directed by Majewski's angsty twin who eschews camera movement in favor of oppressive mood, and has a knack for transforming his darkest dreams into a quirky, noirish, mythical, dimly lit and delightfully off-the-wall cinematic (un)reality.

9 Nov 2018

K'na, the Dreamweaver (Ida Anita Del Mundo, 2014)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼

An exotic treat for everyone unfamiliar with the culture of the indigenous T'boli tribe of Philippines, K'na, the Dreamweaver weaves an archetypal, bittersweet story of love, loss, seemingly petty feuds and the importance of dreams into a fairy-tale-ish, placidly paced drama packed with an elegant, evoking string score by Diwa de Leon, nuanced performances that occasionally mimic non-professional naïveté, as well as with a handsome cinematography by Lee Meily whose camera lovingly captures the lush greenery of the setting, the intoxicating beauty of elaborately designed abacá costumes, and the arcane symbolism of local customs and traditions.

3 Nov 2018

Les garçons sauvages / The Wild Boys (Bertrand Mandico, 2017)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼(☼) out of 10☼
 
The expression 'boys will be boys' gets a whole new meaning in Bertrand Mandico's provoking feature debut which has five young and androgynous actresses portraying titular (anti)heroes. Brilliantly cast, Pauline Lorillard, Vimala Pons, Diane Rouxel, Anaël Snoek and Mathilde Warnier appear to have a whale of a time in the uninhibited roles of upper-class male adolescents whose heinous crime triggers a life-transforming adventure.

A private, ritual-esque performance of Macbeth turns into an orgy and ends in accidental murder of a beloved literature teacher (Nathalie Richard), with the culprits convicted at a 'simulacrum of a trial where they all lie wonderfully'. Initially separated, they are brought together when their rich families invite a Dutchman named 'The Captain' (Sam Louwyck) to execute the punishment. Claiming that he can 'transform any violent boy into a civilized and docile being', this mysterious man takes the 'erudite at will, but barbarian' brats to serve him on his dilapidated ship, as the story gradually becomes more bizarre and surreal, especially when they reach their port of call.

On a magical, paradise-like island where the crew lands, we encounter Dr Séverin(e) (Mandico's muse Elina Löwensohn, at the top of her game) whose secret is in correspondence with the film's gender-bending, politically incorrect, no-holds-barred properties. Without revealing any of the sticky, delightfully decadent and disturbingly erotic details, let's just say that The Wild Boys plays out like a twisted adaptation of The Lord of the Flies that has been influenced by Burroughs's writings, Classic Hollywood, La Nouvelle Vague, as well as by the transgressive works of Walerian Borowczyk and David Cronenberg. This bold, highly referential, somewhat paradoxical phantasmagoria fueled by irony and tongue-in-cheek wit also brings the names of Raúl Ruiz and Guy Maddin to mind, yet the peculiar world in which it's set strikes us as pretty idiosyncratic, not to mention unforgettable.

What makes it so immersive are its dirty, sweaty, gooey atmosphere and highly stylized visuals which comes as no surprise considering Mandico's short offerings such as Boro in the Box and Our Lady of Hormones. Boasting the unmistakable art direction, refreshingly 'quaint' in-camera and practical effects, as well as the exquisite black and white cinematography with occasional splashes of sultry, saturated colors à la Pink Narcissus, the film provides us with some sweet aural nectar and spicy brain snacks as well.

27 Oct 2018

Manifesto (Julian Rosefeldt, 2015)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼

Maniacally obsessed with high angle and precision, Julian Rosefeldt delivers an
Absolutely delightful, positively deadpan experimental drama which is
Nothing as much as it is Everything, and whatever DADA falls in-between.
Irreverently cheeky and somewhat anti-art for the sake of art, this (meta?)
Film injects a deliberately sterile mockumentary into an omnibus-like
Ensemble drama, with the brilliant Cate Blanchet herself being the ensemble of 12.
Simultaneously stray and straight, Manifesto shows both white and broken
Teeth in its wide grin and often bites while spitting one quotable line after another.
On the other hand, 'all current art is fake', so beware of the 'square which becomes blobby'!


(... also applicable ...)

Mischievously poised and monumentally small.
Awkwardly elegant and austerely extravagant.
Non-essentially indispensable, non plus ultra?
Irrationally reasonable and intelligently naive.
Fascinatingly flat and fanatically disciplined.
Eccentrically conventional and explicitly equivocal.
Serenely rebellious and superficially profound.
Theoretically practical and teasingly comforting.
Obnoxiously wonderful and ostentatiously modest.

22 Oct 2018

Instructional Manual for the Superstitious (Another 6 Pieces)

And with another five pieces, Instructional Manual for the Superstitious will reach the planned 50th page! For everyone wondering what the f*ck is this all about, I'll shed some light on the series:

A distorted reflection of the world in chaos which is simultaneously intimidating and inspiring, the 'Instructional Manual for the Superstitious' series of vintage-esque digital collages amalgamates its creators hopes, fears, dreams and phantasies into a wild, intuitive, irreverent, phantasmagorical and somewhat absurd entity. Laced with the traces of cynicism and self-irony, this anthology is an attempt to breathe new and peculiar life into 'forgotten' imagery borrowed from the vast public domain archive. The bilinguality of the artworks' titles is deliberate and meant to add to the puzzling nature of the project.

RE: Volution


If a = B + CCC, else D.E.A.th


Radost-Na-Dugme


Morning Dew for the Alpha Ambassador


Ptica Grabljivica


Little Miss Under Standing

(click to enlarge)

16 Oct 2018

Instructional Manual for the Superstitious (Another 13 Pieces)

The longest collage series I've created so far, Instructional Manual for the Superstitious will soon reach 50 pages and be released as a PDF anthology including hi-res versions of artworks.

Æonic Discovery


Glow & Animosity


Pravilo X>=


This Way Away


Horticultural Paranoiac


Alchemical Conversations


A Different POV


Falling Star 888


The Instrument of Doom


Isti Otrov


The Grapes of Wraith


A Close Encounter of the 4D Kind


Prenosiva Kataklizma

(click to enlarge)