Sep 28, 2018

HSP Vol. 1-10 on EFS Publications

Part I of my article on the voluminous, not to mention inspired, mind-blowing and mind-boggling Homo Sapiens Project by the prolific filmmaker Rouzbeh Rashidi (who also appears to be a walking encyclopedia of cinema history) is published! It encompasses the first 99 out of 199 films, so accordingly it is the greatest wall of text I've written by far, and it contains some of the wildest and weirdest lines that have ever come out of my pen (or rather, keyboard). You can read it at EFS Publications, just follow THIS LINK.

Still Shot from HSP (36)

Sep 26, 2018

9 Years of NGboo Art!

108 months ago, NGboo Art was born. Originally, this blog was intended to be nothing but a hobby based on huge amounts of passion and enthusiasm, but for the last couple of years, writing about films and creating artworks (to be precise, collages) earned me some profits. (That 'some' is much better than the architectural 'none' which has often been the trigger of much disappointment and regret in the past). As of late, I opened a Ko-fi account for donations / possible patrons and a Society6 store in which my designs (15 of them, at the moment) are available as art prints, iPhone skins, stationery cards and whatnots. There's also a Fiverr gig for collage orders, and let's not forget a couple of fresh PDF artbooks, Glum Glamour and The Grain of Ultimate Silence, available for purchase on

During almost-a-decade-long period, I've faced many confidence-dissolving downs, but I'd rather talk about ups, such as forming new friendships, getting in touch with many wonderful, struggling and persevering artists from around the globe, or having my works exhibited three times in Belgrade (this September, it will be four), once in Luzern and once in Preston. 2018 stands out as the year of the greatest changes, the plenty of highlights being: the inspiring visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art in the most pleasant company of Jelena Perišić (aka Kemmer), the unforgettable Sarajevo meetup with the prolific filmmaker Rouzbeh Rashidi (whose latest offering Phantom Islands looks and sounds absolutely astonishing on the big screen), several essays written for EFS Publications, an article contributed to Film Panic magazine (more to come, hopefully), an interview and a brief, yet memorable live conversation with Scott Barley (whose feature debut Sleep Has Her House is overwhelming when experienced in a well-equipped cinema), an honorable and quite flattering mention of my name in the column story on Slovenian multimedia artist Janja Rakuš, an evening of sensational musicianship on Nišville (very special thanks to Marko Žunić), as well as a few designs for NYC-based musician and film director Martin Del Carpio (Bandcamp / Vimeo).

My most recent preoccupation (teased here and here) has been the voluminous essay on Rashidi's 'secret' magnum opus Homo Sapiens Project which, inter alia, inspires weird analogies and encourages hyper-productivity. (At this point, I've seen 100 out of 199 installments, so it's pretty safe to say that I'm high on HSP.) On a different note, collage-crafting has already turned into an obsession, therefore I present my latest five pieces which have already been revealed on my Facebook and Ko-fi pages (and which will probably turn into a long series).

Finally, I want to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who has been following these pages! Cheers! ;)

Less Than If

Unchaining the Food Chain

Proportions of Martyrdom

Fast Approaching

Gemini Jumpers

(click to enlarge)

Sep 22, 2018

Spirits of the Air, Gremlins of the Clouds (Alex Proyas, 1989)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼

Set in a post-apocalyptic world that wouldn't look out of place in a surrealist painting, the recently restored debut by Alex Proyas (of The Crow and Dark City fame, as well as of Gods of Egypt shame) is a visual tour de force of overwhelmingly great and whimsical proportions, albeit slightly hampered by dramatic inertness.

A candle-lit hut in the Australian middle of nowhere acts as a home for a couple of siblings, Betty (Melissa Davis) and Felix (Michael Lake), raised by the Christian fundamentalist father who bequeathed them with countless crucifixes of all kinds and sizes hanging around as the only pieces of bric-à-brac. Combined with the aftermath of an unspecified cataclysmic event, the heritage has taken its toll on the flighty sister, whereas the disabled brother clings to the sole non-religious book they have - The Birth of Flight. His passion for aviation (that rendered him cripple) turns into obsession after the arrival of an enigmatic stranger, Smith (Norman Boyd), who intends to cross over the mountains to the north, even if he has to fly. Much to Betty's disapproval rooted in the belief that the interloper is a demon, the two men begin to work on a contraption that will help them overcome the dire situation.

Deliberately paced and laced with absurdities and eccentricities of its characters, Proyas's story of a desire to escape and struggle between progress and status quo could also be interpreted as an allegory for artistic creation, with the trio of protagonists representing different aspects of the author or even the interacting agents according to Freud's psychic apparatus. If we go along the latter theory, we will recognize instinctual impulses of id in Felix, restraining demands of super-ego in Betty and mediating role of ego in Smith, with the performances similarly devised. In his first and only film appearance, Boyd (who is conveniently credited as The Norm) brings some ice to the overheated histrionics of Davis and Lake, especially of the former whose fits of theatrical madness would give many of the silent cinema stars a good run for their money. Identifying with any of them is certainly not an easy task, though the dreamer archetype embodied in Felix comes off as the most sympathetic, despite his manic enthusiasm.

The barebones narrative may not be the most dynamic, logical or engaging one, but it doesn't really matter, because Spirits of the Air, Gremlins of the Clouds provides us with the imagery that is absolutely stunning right from the get-go. As dreamlike and powerful as the desolate vista of rusted caddies buried nose down in the sand, the shots intertwined with the opening credits prove that love at first sight is quite possible. Making sure its flames keep burning brightly all the way to the end are the author's crystally clear vision and the affective commitment of his art department. The vast exterior's turquoise blue skies opposed by the scorched oranges of the desert are gorgeously lensed by David Knaus in a boxy format, and the same goes for the ramshackle interiors of the cross-infected household, not to mention extravagant costumes and makeup that correspond with the paranoid behavior of Davis's (anti)heroine (who would feel as comfortable in some Gilliam's, Jarman's or Jodorowsky's offering). Peter Miller's art direction is impeccable, whereby his haunting and evocative 'Tangerine Dream meets Dead Can Dance' score sets the melancholic atmosphere of the whole proceedings.

Sep 19, 2018

'Rabbit-Chicken-Knight' Diptych

You're a Big Girl, Alice

Keep Dreaming, Cinderella

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Sep 18, 2018

The Ministry of Hell

Long ago, they were swirling around the dying light,
until all of them were swallowed by the eternal night.

(click to enlarge)

Sep 15, 2018

'ABC~DADA' Triptych

'A' is for Archetype

A princess insisted on the Motor Proficiency Test, but her pet monster had swallowed a soap. Therefore, her suitors were obliged to engage in a savage battle organized by the astral projection of her Dreamweaver. The event was held at the haunted train station.

(click to enlarge)

'B' is for Bareness'

Before Butterfly’s ascension to Lucidity, there was a machine which had never been put to operation. However, nobody knew why her lost brother had to imagine a realm where taking clothes off felt like making moths believe in the healing power of flame.

(click to enlarge)

'C' is for Ceasure

Cautiously proceeding to the Oracle, she turned towards the Moon to find that he had transformed into a viciously red poppy flower. Maybe it was her smile that plunged him into Rapture. Nevertheless, she opened the door and entered the Nowhere of her Secrets.

(click to enlarge)

Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼

Frequently veiled in simultaneously fiery, sultry and ethereal reds (which get well along with a tragic hero's first name), a sophomore feature by Panos Cosmatos (of Beyond the Black Rainbow fame) is a striking amalgam of deliberately paced occult horror, profoundly irreverent pulp fantasy and blood-soaked revenge flick which provides the viewer with the stylish, hallucinatory visuals, doomy, densely atmospheric soundscapes, myriad of 80s references (from Altered States to Heavy Metal to Hellraiser), as well as with wry humor and deliriously unhinged performances (especially by Nicolas Cage and Linus Roache as the film's yang and yin, respectively), all neatly interwoven into an unorthodox narrative of star-crossed lovers, religious delusions and 'serious' cosmic disruptions.

Sep 11, 2018

Incestuous Masquerade: Freya & Freyr

"Set me on fire and never ever put me out
I never knew that it was possible to feel this way"

(click to enlarge)

Sep 10, 2018

HSP - A Haiku Teaser

The sheer scope of Rouzbeh Rashidi's oeuvre dwarfs many of the modern filmmakers, with Homo Sapiens Project alone encompassing the incredible number of 199 installments (and still growing!), their lengths varying from 1 to 120 minutes. Writing about this 'ongoing series of personal experimental video works'  for the past few days (currently musing over the fourth volume), I've been facing the greatest challenge ever since I started reviewing films. I've also realized that Rashidi's 'trial and error' approach results in oft-indefinable 'something' which inspires in mysterious ways. Therefore, I reveal one of the three haiku-esque poems written after the brief, yet memorable encounter with HSP (34) and serving as a teaser for the upcoming (voluminous) article.

Amorphous nightmare
Opens the mind of a bird
In evanescence.

Still Shot from HSP (34)

Sep 8, 2018

A Secret Entrance to Cinelandia

Watching and writing about Rouzbeh Rashidi's extensive Homo Sapiens Project has given me a new boost of inspiration to continue creating collages on a (more or less) daily basis, in spirit of hyper-productivity the aforementioned filmmaker is often associated with, and comparable to the likes of Katsushika Hokusai, if I might add (though he hasn't approached the number of 30,000 works... yet). My latest piece, A Secret Entrance to Cinelandia, may not be as 'alien and distant' as HSP, but it does pay a modest and heartfelt homage to a small portion (approx. one tenth) of the anthology I've explored so far.

(click to enlarge)

Sep 6, 2018

Black and White Compete for the Highly Sophisticated Gray

That dawn had the face of a patient who suddenly realized the doctor didn't exist at all. It pulled a hair out of its eye and whispered a secret: "Forever breathes heavily." Not even the night that had already fallen asleep could have dreamt of any possible meaning of those words. And the wind of two nightmares was just sitting there in the corner of perseverant nowhere...

(click to enlarge)

Sep 5, 2018

Boarding School (Boaz Yakin, 2018)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼(☼) out of 10☼

Jacob is almost 13 which is 'called 12', his night terror involves a young woman with bloody teeth and his mother's nervousness caused by the poor boy's regular wake up scream suppresses her maternal instincts. 'You go to sleep, or I will kill you!' hardly qualifies as comforting words, but thankfully there's a rather composed step-father to keep the family as functional as possible. However, when he catches Jacob dressed in his recently deceased grandmother's gown and opera gloves, dancing to gramophone-played tango, he decides it is time for some serious re-education, so he enrolls his stepson to a mysterious boarding school.

The institution is led by even less staff than the one from Lucile Hadžihalilović's extraordinary debut Innocence (which might have served Yakin as one of the sources of inspiration), with Dr. Sherman (Will Patton, utterly creepy from the initial appearance) as principle and sole teacher, and his much younger Mrs (Tammy Blanchard whose wide smile warns us that something is weirdly off) preparing meals and correcting the children's grammar. The 'unique young people' brought there are also small in numbers - Frederic suffers Tourette syndrome, Elwood likes to snort his scrambled eggs (!), Phil (played by a girl) is a horribly disfigured burn victim, Indian twins are abandoned by their white adoptive parents, and Christine is a bratty nymphet with highly masochistic tendencies.

And not to mention that the building is situated deep in a forest and surrounded by electric wire, with no cell phones and internet available in case of emergency, considering that the time period falls in the early 90s. In spite of the lavishly decorated interiors that pay a loving homage to the Italian master of horror Mario Bava (whose Black Sabbath is shown on late night TV at one point), the claustrophobic compound controlled by a religious disciplinarian zealot is the last place you would want to spend your days, even if only for two weeks of 'striving for clarity'. Observed through the eyes of the deeply traumatized, emotionally distressed and sexually confused, yet somehow unwavering Jacob (Luke Prael, in a 'hypnotized' performance corresponding with the film's hard-to-describe tone), that transitional microcosm, so to speak, as well as both the childhood and the adulthood are akin to hell by way of the grimmest of Grimm fairy tales. The hellishness of our little hero's surroundings is portended in the opening credits showing cityscapes bathed in fiery reds and the coldest of blues.

His coming out and of (psychotic?) age story - not always as layered as it wants to be, but still captivating and somewhat reminiscent of Till Kleinert's Der Samurai (must be the dress and flames) - is told from his own perspective and further puzzled by the element of Jewish heritage and Yakin's insistence on leaving some questions unanswered. Deliberately paced, laced with metaphors and sprinkled with twisted, unexpected humor (including Dr. Sherman's cartoonish accent), the unconventional narrative is closer to irrationality than reality which makes Jacob's nightmare utterly unpredictable, with the best twists saved for the bloody climax. The film itself has more in common with the European arthouse than the American horror, and its creator doesn't shy away from the B-movie / exploitative qualities in increasing its entertainment value and simultaneously, its discomforting atmosphere. A peculiar beast indeed, Boarding School is also commendable for its beautiful cinematography by Mike Simpson and subtle, unobtrusive score by Lesley Barber.

Sep 4, 2018

The Artist is Naked

Experimental films appear to have a strange hold on me. So, in a big leap out of my comfort zone (as announced in the previous post), I take a stab at 'art modelling' to create a couple of odd self-portraits in wich 'self' is pretty much bare.

(click to enlarge)

Sep 3, 2018

In Search of Scorpion's Stone

In my 7th article for EFS Publications, I set on a quest for Scorpion's Stone - an enigmatic relic (or maybe only a concept?) of Maximilian Le Cain's latest and most ambitious film. As challenging as 'a 6-hour experimental film' sounds, this avant-garde (anti)epic has the ability to push you out of your comfort zone in a way you couldn't have imagined (or maybe you could, but didn't want to admit) which is soon to be proven in one of my upcoming collages.

Read the essay here: In Search of Scorpion's Stone

Vicky Langan in Scorpion's Stone