19 Apr 2019

Ruben Brandt, Collector (Milorad Krstić, 2018)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼

One of the most triumphant examples of style as substance (think Takeshi Koike's Redline), and another bright milestone in a long and strong tradition of Hungarian animated films, the fascinating feature debut from a Slovenian multimedia artist of Serbian origin, Milorad Krstić, packs the unique character design heavily inspired by Cubist paintings; some great voice work by both English and Hungarian cast; the eclectic soundtrack featuring Šu Šu Šumadijo by actress / pop-folk singer Olivera Katarina (of I Even Met Happy Gypsies fame) and a sexy, jazzy cover of Radiohead's Creep by Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox; a hefty dose of stunning action sequences that live-action heist movies can only dream of, as well as a myriad of wittily integrated classic art and pop-culture references (from de Chirico's surreal landscapes to Hitchcock-shaped ice cubes!) impossible to spot in just one viewing, and not to mention the seamless blend of 2D and 3D animation for equally striking nightmare sequences and noirish reality!

18 Apr 2019

Investigating the Murder Case of Ms. XY. (Rouzbeh Rashidi, 2014)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼(☼) out of 10☼


When venturing into Rashidilandia, one has to be fully prepared to face the Unknown, firmly embrace it and eventually, get completely lost in it. Even then, there are no guarantees that one will be accepted by the strange forces in charge of the tingling audio-visual stimuli stemming from and returning to the Luminous Void. Investigating the Murder Case of Ms. XY. - a German-Irish co-production - makes no exception, with the inexpressible taking us to an unexplored terrain.

The single hint of narrative revealed in the title of 'this cosmically disconcerting film', as Maximilian Le Cain puts it, compels the viewer to believe that the leading duo of Mario Mentrup and Olympia Spanou portray the (interstellar?) detectives tasked with solving the murder of Ms. XY. They could be the predecessors to a couple seen (and most intensely played by Daniel Fawcett and Clara Pais) in Phantom Islands, and it's quite likely that they originate from the Moon which is given a prominent role in the mystery. However, what we are shown is not the police procedural, but rather a hypnotizing and somewhat unsettling portraiture of their Earth-selves caught by the ever-watchful eye of the camera and trapped in the victim's limbo. Essentially, this means that Ms. XY is the embodiment of Queen Cinema, so her death has to be a paradox, because she is immortal as long as there are filmmakers willing to break the rules in their search for her essence.


Whatever the case may be (no pun intended), one thing remains clear and that is Rouzbeh Rashidi's unfaltering love for and great understanding of (filmic) silence whose overwhelming power is strongly felt in almost every second of his stark, uncompromising exploration. Eschewing action in favor of observation, he goes on the hunt for Mentrup's and Spanou's thoughts via their penetrating gazes, subtle micro-expressions, superhuman concentration and deliberately muted words in four long, contemplative takes linked with the scenes of mundane ennui, religious procession and wintry landscapes, as well as with found footage of walking on the Moon and, why not, ballet dancing. Very much like the installments of Homo Sapiens Project, these 'bridges' - albeit grounded in our reality - appear alien and to a certain degree sinister, all by virtue of chilling drones accompanying oft-minimalist, austerely beautiful B&W compositions. A short sequence through which we are guided by a smiling nun, and the close-up of Mentrup's character bursting into laughter are the perfect reflections of the film's uncanny side (not to mention those phantasmal superimpositions).

Offering a false sense of calm is the melancholic finale which adds to the surrealism / idiosyncrasy of the atmosphere, and leaves us not only with many questions unanswered, but also with a unique, recognizably Rashidian experience.


(The film is available at Vimeo on Demand, for rent and purchase.)

14 Apr 2019

Syllabus of Joy / Dangerous Speed

Syllabus of Joy (originally, Slabikář radosti) is the title of the latest short, currently in post-production, by Czech filmmaker Petr Makaj. I can't reveal much about the project, but I can say that the author trusted me, inter alia, with a design for the poster of a fictious B-movie, Dangerous Speed, which plays a significant role in the (fantastical) story, and hangs in the company of various non-fictitious posters from the mid 20th century. Today, Makaj shared a bunch of production stills with me, so I'm presenting the print for the aforementioned design, and apologize to the readers of NGboo Art for the nine-day long silence (due to reasons I won't go into here).

5 Apr 2019

'Pear Crisis' Diptych

A smile under the caged skies
or a breath lost in concrete paradise?

 Is She a Secret Divine...


... or a Simple Dream of Mine? 

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3 Apr 2019

The Night Comes for Us (Timo Tjahjanto, 2018)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼(☼) out of 10☼

Following a simple story of redemption and revenge (or something along these lines), the latest offering by the Indonesian filmmaker Timo Tjahjanto (Headshot) eschews plotting in favor of the hyper-stylized cinematography and heavy doses of visceral, over-the-top action. Written in (ridiculous amounts of) blood, with a broken tibia used as a pen, The Night Comes for Us is a passionate love letter to John Woo's gangster flicks, ultraviolent anime and video games, best described as a spiritual sequel to The Raid movies. By virtue of deep bodily wounds treated as mere bruises and scratches, it savagely pushes the boundaries of suspension of disbelief, boasting the characters with superhuman stamina who keep fighting even after their guts are literally spilled. They may be cartoonish, distilled through the 'rule of cool' filter, however when it comes to kicks, punches and blades of various shapes and sizes, their 'eloquence' is unmatched. It will probably sound crazy, but there's a certain poetry - irreverent, yet morbidly alluring - in Tjahjanto's fetishization of flesh carving and bone crunching which brings forth a flawed, yet highly memorable martial arts B-movie, one thunder god short of being the best Mortal Kombat adaptation.

1 Apr 2019

Cinematic Favorites of March

The March edition of Cinematic Favorites encompasses ten films - five shorts and five features one of which is a weirdo blast from the past. The greatest viewing experience was provided by Rouzbeh Rashidi's latest offering, Luminous Void: Docudrama, which I described as 'a beautiful, genre-defying (and genre-redefining) chimera' in my pre-premiere review, with Ihor Podolchak's feverish cine-dream Las Meninas and Johnny Clyde's ambiguous eco-fairy tale Floralis coming very close to blowing my mind, so to speak. An honorable mention goes to the Love Death + Robots series, for being one of the b(old)est animated experiments in recent memory. Without further ado, here's the top 10 list.


31 Mar 2019

Floralis (Johnny Clyde, 2019)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼

"Birds broke their beaks for you. Wept real stars for you..."

Somewhat reminiscent of Juraj Herz's masterful rendition of Beauty and the Beast (Panna a netvor, 1978), Floralis takes the viewer to a strange place, simultaneously unrecognizable and as familiar and comforting as home. Part eco-parable and part fairy tale-ish fantasy, it brims with kaleidoscopic visuals and dense atmosphere of profound mystery. The forest where the lyrical story is set or rather, where an androgynous protagonist (gracefully portrayed by Nina Viola) gets spirited away is rendered in all of 'the forgotten colors of dreams', with the ethereally evocative score and whispery voices serving as our guides into a sort of an inner sanctum. That darkly beautiful 'micro-universe' is protected by an enigmatic creature (the author himself, heavily disguised) who adds another layer of deep melancholy to the gloomily oneiric proceedings...

30 Mar 2019

They Lived in a B&W Film Until...

When Subject R disappeared from Neo-Heaven, he started to panic, whereas she remained calm, because she knew pretty well that the remnants of her Luna-C would soon become brighter. The last fragmentation of the Word wasn’t as successful as they hoped for, yet the mirror before them regained its ability to show them the worlds they had never seen before. Initially skeptical, they eventually realized that Nothing brought truncated salvation.

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28 Mar 2019

Out of Our Minds (Tony Stone, 2009)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼


An integral part of a conceptual multimedia project (album + film + comic) conceived by the Canadian musician Melissa Auf der Maur (ex member of The Smashing Pumpkins and Hole) and her filmmaker husband Tony Stone, Out of Our Minds pretty much justifies its title by providing the viewer with a bewildering, dialogue-free phantasmagoria (or rather, strange ecological parable?) in which the Vikings, bleeding trees and a car crash get mystically entwined, transcending the time barriers. Drenched in a dark, ambient rock score growing progressively heavier and venturing into a psychedelic territory, the meticulously composed widescreen imagery pulls us deeper into a bleak, grungy, Twin Peaks-esque dreamworld of an enigmatic protagonist - most probably, Ms Auf der Maur's alter ego - whose near-death / past-life experience opens the portal to a new, spiritual dimension of many secrets.

This fine example of personal cinema is available on Heathen Films' official Vimeo channel.


24 Mar 2019

'The Innate Mirror' Diptych

Down the path of severe and persistent irrationality, I often stumble across an entity which appears as an extremely blurry dream and no matter how long I look at it or how hard I try to decipher its immediate surroundings, this soft, abstract object doesn't become any clearer. In a way, it torments me, yet I find the torment irresistible, allowing myself to be completely submerged in it, regardless of the outcome. Sometimes while 'drowning', I find a lost piece of myself, but when I try to put it back where (I think) it belongs, I realize that it has already changed its shape along with the empty space that's supposed to be its 'slot'. So, I dissolve it and drink it, the honeyed poison of my own creation...

The Most Pleasurable Pain: N Pushes the Waves Away
 
 
A Dreamwalker's Deep Sway: H Invokes the Bitter Rain
 
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22 Mar 2019

Simulacrum: A Rule Is an Illusion (Post-Apocalyptic Bonus)

Our sadness evolves and mutates into a pearl.
If we break open the shell, it won't disappear.
It will only grow.

My latest and one of the longest series, Simulacrum: A Rule Is an Illusion, obviously refuses to die, so I guess it won't hurt to increase the number of pieces by 2... And who knows, maybe I'll play necromancer once again?


So Eager to Start All Over Again


Under the Watchful Eye, in a Jiffy

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17 Mar 2019

Las Meninas (Ihor Podolchak, 2008)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼(☼) out of 10☼


As whispery, disembodied voices engulf you in a thick, almost palpable miasma, the somnambulist-like protagonists - the members of a dysfunctional family or out-of-time manifestations of an aging couple - thread their ways through moldering memories, unquenched desires and unresolved feuds reflected in the absolutely mesmerizing chiaroscuro compositions worthy of comparison to the works of Baroque masters.

The inert, elliptical, highly lyrical, psychosexually charged and unapologetically hermetic 'narrative' swings you between the de-sentimentalized past and the unconscious, hallucinatory present, simultaneously pulling you into the quicksand of continually thwarted attempts to rationalize it. (Think being suffocated inside of the gelatinous embodiment of a recurring nightmare that, for some strange reasons, feels comforting... like the ultimate truth frozen in the moment of death.)

On top of that, Oleksandr Shchetynsky and Yuriy Yaremchuk provide a dissonant, haunting, disturbingly sensual score in which cello and piano act like lovers whose passion often borders violence, deepening the disorienting effect of inspired, yet tricky visuals. Soft focuses, elongated shadows, disquieting close-ups, distorted camera angles, and the brilliant use of mirrors create the atmosphere of inescapable claustrophobia and stark hopelessness, with only a few brief moments of (exterior) relief during the prologue and epilogue.

Certainly an acquired taste, Las Meninas is one of those films that will either frustrate you or plunge you into a state of ecstatic trance. It makes a great companion piece to Raul Ruiz's surreal fantasy-drama On Top of the Whale, Aleksandr Sokurov's period piece Mournful Unconcern, Oliver Smolders's brooding mystery Nuit noire or Daniel Fawcett and Clara Pais's alchemical phantasmagoria The Kingdom of Shadows.

The film can be viewed for free on Ihor Podolchak's official YouTube channel.


14 Mar 2019

Unicórnio (Eduardo Nunes, 2017)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼(☼) out of 10☼

In his (mighty impressive!) sophomore fiction film, Eduardo Nunes delivers a lyrical meditation on love, life, death and God, masterly blurring the lines between fantasy and reality, while providing the viewer with an immersive sensory experience. Based on short stories by the acclaimed Brazilian writer Hilda Hilst and told or rather, depicted from the perspective of an adolescent protagonist, Maria (an assured debut by Bárbara Luz), this fairy tale-ish psychological / coming-of-age drama eschews plot in favor of jaw-dropping visuals and dense, somewhat ambiguous mood. Leaving you with questions rather than answers, Unicórnio (Unicorn) progressively pulls you deeper into a dream-like state by virtue of its long takes, sparse dialogue and languorous pacing which surely demands an extra dose of patience. The awe-inspiring, ultra-wide screen imagery oft-bursting with highly saturated colors (many kudos to cinematographer Mauro Pinheiro Jr.) is nothing short of magical, transforming even the most banal of actions into a pure poetry heightened by Zé Nogueira's evocative score.

13 Mar 2019

God Ends Here (Njoroge Muthoni, 2019)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼(☼) out of 10☼

In his short debut which is dedicated to the Danish provocateur Lars von Trier, an up-and-coming Kenyan visual artist, Njoroge Muthoni (aka Njoroge Kelvin), competently portrays the last moments of a young revolutionary who is wrongly accused and sentenced to death. As the author notes in the official synopsis, the pour soul ‘reflects on the pain, vanity and the absurdity of the life he led fighting for justice’, with his words draped in the dense, oppressive darkness of minimalistic, impressively composed imagery. Although the protagonist’s thick English accent occasionally stands in the way of understanding his partly poetic and partly down-to-earth monologue, one can not help but admire the sheer power of Kiragu Wanjiku’s stark cinematography paired with the intense sound design. Chilling screams of social unrest fiercly penetrate the deathlike silence, as a fragmented narrative adopted from the essay Dead Men by Jante Juma leads us to a visceral denouement. The shocking found footage seen during the final seconds is stylistically out of sync with the rest of the film, yet it simultaneously feels like a logical conclusion of the irate tirade.

12 Mar 2019

Capharnaüm / Capernaum (Nadine Labaki, 2018)

☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼

A fine example of what one could dub as 'pamphlet filmmaking disguised as art', Capernaum explores or rather, exploits its sensitive theme of (extreme) child neglect in a 'bulletin news accompanied by weeping violins' manner, often appearing as banal, prosaic, impersonal, manipulative, on-the-nose, unintentionally toxic and not to mention sycophantic towards the occidental bourgeoisie craving for a 'poverty porn' fix, with some redeeming qualities found in the impressively nuanced performance by a young first-timer, Zain Al Rafeea, the presence of his sweet, one-year-old baby partner Boluwatife Treasure Bankole, as well as in Christopher Aoun's dynamic camerawork.

9 Mar 2019

NEKO-MIMI (Jun Kurosawa, 1993)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼(☼) out of 10☼

A provoking, sublimely anarchic post-Terayama cine-dream with hints of Beckettian absurd and Zwartjes-like psychosexual nightmare, Jun Kurosawa's first and only feature imposes itself as a bold, unapologetic, formally challenging exploration of the medium, with performative, ritualesque games of its four young and willingly ostracized protagonists (whose distorted utopia is disrupted by a suicidal woman, as the official synopsis notes) depicted in a dizzying series of peculiar images, both monochromatic and color-filtered, imbued with palpable energy and then drenched in alienating, ear-shattering noise that is periodically 'softened' by liquid, hauntingly ethereal ambient textures...


(At this point, the film can be viewed on YouTube.)

7 Mar 2019

Simulacrum: A Rule Is an Illusion (the Final 6)

Deeply immersed in our oldest thoughts,
We burn at the stake of the Sevenfold Dreams,
Their blood limpid and their matter black.
 
Countless and restless are our Sundays
And the hopelessness of our serenity enchants us. 
Who will sing about the end of this world?

The final six collages of the Simulacrum series (Part I / Part II) refuse to provide any resolution - instead, they deepen the enigma and reach for the most inaccessible recesses of the subconscious. What if the answer floats beyond death?
 
Innermost Forever: Indiscretion Guaranteed
 

A Second Prior to the Rose Opening


Switching the Roles / The Millennial Intermezzo


Like Walking on Water in Early Morning


Another Five Minutes of a Contemplative Nap


Yellow Omega or a Belated Apocalypse?

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4 Mar 2019

Luminous Void: Docudrama (Rouzbeh Rashidi, 2019)

 ☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼
 
“Let me take you by the hand, away from here to another land...”
(from Put Me Down by The Cranberries)


It may seem strange to begin the review of an EFS offering with the opening lyrics from one of The Cranberries’ earliest songs, but then again, why not? On the one hand, there’s the “Irish connection” between the band and the production, and on the other... well, it’s partly due to personal reasons and partly due to Rouzbeh Rashidi’s ability of invoking some unusual associations in his viewer’s mind. And besides, his works frequently take you – metaphorically speaking – to another land or rather, plunge you into another universe through a black hole where “you are not only pulled apart but also crushed from below” (Luminous Void: Experimental Film Society Documents, 2017).

The same applies to misleadingly titled Luminous Void: Docudrama – a meta-mutant-film which marks a significant milestone for both its own creator(s) and the contemporary experimental cinema. Teased with the stylized behind-the-scene stills, it initially subverts our expectations, only to exceed them by far, as the film evolves into a beautiful, genre-defying (and genre-redefining) chimera – a light-breathing monster with a documentary-turned-neo-noir head and anachronistic period drama body sporting expressionist wings, bizarre avant-horror scales and a stingy tail of an erotic, occult fantasy. However, this phantasmagorical description doesn’t do any justice to a unique (ineffable?) experience of watching it, all the while wondering if there was an alien or Raúl Ruiz’s restless spirit involved in its conception. So, it comes as no surprise that the film is dedicated to none other than the late Chilean master director.

But, make no mistake – despite many homages and references, as well as the priceless contributions by other EFS auteurs, LV:D is as idiosyncratic as it gets; “a mysterious object drifting in the void of deep space”, with “both the filmmaker and the audience as satellites floating around this strange entity, trying to decipher it in their own way”, as Rashidi himself notes in the abovementioned book. A new culmination of his practice, it appears to be a condensation of the Homo Sapiens Project and the logical continuation of a revolution that started with Trailers and has kept gaining momentum, pushing the boundaries of what one considers a piece of the seventh art should be.

Similarly to its predecessors, it acts as a medium between our world and the domain ruled by the specters of cinema; it is a session during which the ghosts of many film pioneers are simultaneously invoked, celebrated, communicated with and expelled. Existing on each side of the fourth wall, it could also be interpreted as a vivid, yet impossible cosmic dream, or even dubbed Phantom Islands’ deranged twin sister who’s actually a genius hermaphrodite embodying the Ultimate Elusiveness. Delirious and oblivious to any narrative conventions, it rips the fabric of time and space, imbuing its  characters with the enigma(s) of the Luminous Void, while turning them into arcane symbols which are meticulously woven into the lavish audio-visual tapestry. Replete with oneiric superimpositions, daring juxtapositions, unapologetic format changes and incessantly transmogrifying soundscapes, it comes dangerously close to perfection.

Transcendentally orgasmic, in equal measures abstract and organic, this performative docudrama burns brightly with passion and eventually becomes passion itself – an impressive result of having modus vivendi and modus operandi tightly knit.

3 Mar 2019

Simulacrum: A Rule is an Illusion (the 2nd Batch)

The abandoned planet vivisects the horizon,
Setting the Mechanism of Perfect Blemishes in motion.
When the Loop opens, the earth trembles.

As we lay completely forgotten by our gods,
Their murderous intentions become clear as a child's tear.
There is no higher truth than this Arcanum.

A continuation of the Simulacrum series brings six more pieces that obstinately defy clarification, plunging the couple of unnamed characters deeper into a feverish delirium of uncontrollable abstractions...

The Final Recognition of a New Dawn


Eons Later, Above the Sea of Undreamed Souls


Sailing the Clouds of Yesterday


Penetrating the Fabric of the Future


Instant Crystalization of the Now


Shadowless Hours in Full Bloom

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1 Mar 2019

Cinematic Favorites of February

The intensive collage-making and, to a certain degree, my first solo exhibition which ended yesterday didn't leave me much time for film-watching, yet I managed to check out twenty something features and a dozen shorts. When it comes to the latter category, the absolute winner is Czech filmmaker Petr Makaj whose densely atmospheric 'mystery dramas' (for the lack of a better term) gave me strong Lynchian vibes, whereby his 2014 debut Eleanor (shot in Sarajevo, with Béla Tarr as the executive producer) sent some serious chills down my spine. So, keeping my fingers firmly crossed, I'm looking forward to our collaboration on his next project.

As far as 'theatrical films' are concerned, Gan Bi's sophomore effort Long Day’s Journey Into Night (originally, Di qiu zui hou de ye wan) which is heavily influenced by Tarkovsky had me completely immersed in its oneiric, labyrinthine narrative, magical 'ruin porn' / pre-apocalyptic-like aesthetics, and hypnotizing hour-long single take which marks or rather, makes its second half. A meditative exploration of abstract notions such as time, space, (lost) love and memory, this extremely lyrical (not to mention melancholic) tour de force could also be interpreted as the quest for the essence of cinema.

On the following list (which focuses on recent titles), you'll also find the latest offering from the cult director Nobuhiko Ōbayashi (Hausu) - a weird, playful and colorful, if slightly overlong ode to youth affected by war, as well as an enigmatic and unapologetically disorienting stop-motion fantasy from Chile, The Wolf House (La Casa Lobo), which takes a lot of cues from the renowned surrealist Jan Švankmajer.


1. Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Gan Bi, 2018)
2. Where the Night Ends (Petr Makaj, 2018)
3. Empty Horses (Péter Lichter, 2019)
4. Wildlife (Paul Dano, 2018)
5. Green Book (Peter Farrelly, 2018)
6. The Wolf House (Joaquín Cociña & Cristóbal León, 2018)
7. Hanagatami (Nobuhiko Ōbayashi, 2017)
8. Last Sunrise (Wen Ren, 2019)
9. Alita: Battle Angel (Robert Rodriguez, 2019)
10. Braid (Mitzi Peirone, 2018)

27 Feb 2019

Simulacrum: A Rule Is an Illusion

A toxic bubble graces the skies with its presence.
We stare at it with our eyes touched by the Void.
For a moment, our breathing stops,
And then everything becomes the luminous absence.
A whisper in disguise denounces the alleviating pain...

 
A blend of vintage erotica, esoteric mystery, geometric magick, the elements of steam- and cyberpunk subgenres, as well as pulpy fantasy along the lines of Bakshi's Fire and Ice or Filmation's He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon, Simulacrum: A Rule Is an Illusion is my latest series of collages set in a fragile, continuously mutating world of frequent temporal disruptions. I present its first five pieces, and more will follow soon...

The Dayspring of Evanescent Eternity


Star Collectors Challenge the Nightfall


Just Before Midnight: A Time-Bending Ritual


Sudden Rupture During the Great Paranoia


A Transcendental Rest at Frozen Noon

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20 Feb 2019

6+6 preporuka za 47. FEST

Za par dana počinje 47. FEST iz čijeg programa izdvajam šest odgledanih filmova koje bih reprizirao na velikom platnu (ukoliko bi milošću distributerskom stigli do niških bioskopa), i još toliko neodgledanih koji su mi pažnju privukli trejlerom, zvučnim imenom ili recenzijom (za Variety).


Neznatno inferiorniji rimejk ili bolje reći 'reimaginacija' kultnog, hiperstilizovanog ostvarenja Darija Arđenta (koji, nažalost, već dugi niz godina nije isporučio ništa vredno spomena, a kamoli gledanja). Moj mini-prikaz možete pročitati ovde.


Glumac Pol Dejno se odlično snalazi iza kamere, po prvi put u rediteljskoj stolici, što se prevashodno ogleda u uspešnoj saradnji sa kolegama, Keri Maligan, Džejkom Džilenholom i mlađanim Edom Oksenbuldom (koji demonstrira raskošan talenat), ali i u izvrsnoj fotografiji pretežno hladnih boja, gusto protkanoj (Edvard) hoperovskom melanholijom. Njegovu socijalnu melodramu, odnosno (univerzalnu) priču o odrastanju u disfunkcionalnoj porodici, kao da opseda duh starog Holivuda, pri čemu je romantizovanje prošlosti vešto izbegnuto.


Uprkos intenzivnoj promociji i hvalospevima kritike, potencijalne dobitnike Oskara obično zaobilazim u širokom luku, ali mi je drago što sam u slučaju Zelene knjige napravio izuzetak. Iako didaktična, proračunata, politički (pre)korektna i krcata stereotipima, ova biografska dramedija, koja se da opisati i kao "feel-good road & buddy movie", osvaja nadahnutom vizualizacijom, izuzetnom glumom Maheršale Alija i Viga Mortensena, kao i šmekerskom režijom Pitera Farelija koji nas na krilima klasične i džez muzike vraća u živopisne šezdesete.


Svojim najpristupačnijim ostvarenjem, Jorgos Lantimos nastoji da pomiri ukuse glavnotokovske publike i poklonika "grčkog čudnog talasa", isporučujući elegantnu, feministički intoniranu kostimiranu dramu suptilno začinjenu iščašenim humorom i bizarnim detaljima. Snaga Miljenice počiva na ekstravagantnom dizajnu kostima i produkcije, fetišizaciji širokougaonog objektiva, ali iznad svega, na glumačkim bravurama Eme Stoun, Rejčel Vajs i posebno upečatljive Olivije Kolman.


Ukoliko Tajnu srebrnog jezera prihvatite kao film koji sebe ne uzima previše ozbiljno (a pritom gajite iracionalnu naklonost prema Southland Tales), zauzvrat ćete dobiti bestidno "stonerski" omaž Hičkoku i Linču, tj. klasičnom i neo-noaru, i biti postepeno uvučeni u hotimično haotični svet tajnih zavera i uvrnutih urbanih legendi, sa simpatičnim zgubidanom Semom (u tumačenju Endrjua Garfilda) kao jedinim vodičem.


Daleko konvencionalniji od Orteginih ranijih radova poput fantazmagorične misterije Monobloc ili postapokaliptične drame Prljavi sveci (Los santos sucios), ovaj krimi-biopik ne unosi revoluciju u žanr, ali je zato stilski gotovo neodoljiv, dok za debitanta Lorenca Fera u ulozi naslovnog "crnog anđela" označava sjajan početak karijere.

☼☼☼


Deluje kao najeksperimentalniji film u FEST-ovskoj ponudi, a predivan crno-beli zapis sa šesnaestomilimetarske trake sasvim sigurno ne može da škodi uživanju.


Ime Đerđa Palfija i razočaranje teško da mogu da se nađu u istoj rečenici.


Mađarska ima dugu tradiciju jedinstvenih animiranih filmova, a dugometražni debi Milorada Krstića, multidisciplinarnog umetnika rođenog u Sloveniji, izgleda kao prirodan nastavak iste.

"... His encyclopedic knowledge of art history and love for world cinema shines through every frame of the hand-drawn film. Close viewing yields numerous references, from Dalí to de Chirico, Eisenstein to Hitchcock (the suspense master’s iconic profile shows up in some unexpected places), and Elvis (à la Warhol) to Rocky. Most of the characters sport faces that would be right at home in Picasso’s cubist period and even the title character’s name references Rubens and Rembrandt." (Alissa Simon, Variety)


"Part loopily queer sci-fi thriller, part faux-naive political rallying cry, glued together with candyfloss clouds of romantic reverie, it’s a film best seen with as little forewarning as possible: To go in blind is to be carried along by its irrational tumble of events as blissfully and buoyantly as its empty-headed soccer-star protagonist." (Guy Lodge, Variety)


Moram da priznam da sa većim delom Helmerovog opusa nisam upoznat, ali mi je njegova "polunema" romantično-postapokaliptična dramedija Tuvalu jako draga, a glumačka postava koju, između ostalih, čine Miki Manojlović, Deni Lavan i Čulpan Kamatova, prilično obećava.


Sinopsis nagoveštava elemente magičnog realizma, a dodatnu dozu magije pružaju staklasto plave oči Brune Linzmajer u kombinaciji sa kompjuterski animiranim rojem leptirova...

 Kadar iz filma Tri pisma Polu Morisiju

14 Feb 2019

'Ancient Souls (Don't Wear Clothes)' Triptych

In continued defiance of the definitions, once again I step into the Vast Unknown, for another attempt to dream along the hushed voices of semi-divine entities. Surrounded by soft darkness of shapeshifting thoughts, I seek after the last swarm of fireflies... Will I turn into an illuminated abstraction?

Moving the Center / Looking for the Third Circle


Destroying the Monsters / Striving for Beyond the Words


Invoking the Spirit / Waiting for the Final Answer

(click to enlarge)

12 Feb 2019

Mitom do Istine - novi početak

Otvaranju moje prve samostalne izložbe „Mitom do Istine“ prisustvovalo je četrdesetak ljudi kojima ovom prilikom želim najiskrenije da zahvalim, a da sve zainteresovane obavestim da će kolaži moći da se pogledaju do kraja februara, svakog radnog dana u periodu od 7:30 do 19:30. Svečana sala je zaključana, ali će vam ljubazno osoblje Univerzitetske biblioteke izaći u susret. Ulaz je besplatan, tako da je dobra volja sve što vam je potrebno za dolazak.

Posebno hvala dopisnici Radio Beograda i predstavnicima lokalnih medija na interesovanju za ovaj skromni doprinos alternativnoj umetnosti, upravnici Snežani Bojović na ukazanoj ljubaznosti, i rukovodicu informativno-pozajmnog odeljenja Andrijani Stojanović na predusretljivosti i značajnoj pomoći oko organizacije događaja.

Prezadovoljan reakcijama publike, u nastavku prenosim tekst kojim sam se obratio prisutnima, a koji bi trebalo da baci bar tračak svetla na moje stvaralaštvo.

☼☼☼

U svom kratkometražnom dokumentarcu iz 1962. godine, čuveni francuski režiser Žan Kokto izjavio je sledeće:

„Oduvek sam više voleo mitologiju nego istoriju, zato što je istorija sačinjena od istina koje se vremenom pretvaraju u laži, dok je mitologija sačinjena od laži koje naposletku postaju istine.“

Iako sam sa ovim njegovim rečima tek nedavno došao u susret, u njima sam prepoznao sopstvenu paradigmu, budući da većina mojih radova, kako ranijih (kratke priče i stripovi), tako i skorašnjih (gotovo četiri stotine kolaža), pripada jednom stalno rastućem univerzumu koji počiva na dekonstrukciji starih i izmišljanju novih mitova, u nastojanju da se dosegne Neizrecivo, kao ideal istine.

Krivudav put do tog maglom obavijenog odredišta najčešće je oivičen simbolima čija se značenja neretko menjaju, podižući pritom zidove nedoglednog lavirinta iz kojeg ni ja, kao autor, nisam uvek u stanju da pronađem izlaz. Međutim, upravo u toj bezizlaznosti, u naizgled besciljnom lutanju dugim hodnicima i traganju za najčudnijim odgovorima na metafizička pitanja, pronalazim radost stvaranja.

Na izvestan način, moji kolaži predstavljaju sponu sa unutrašnjim detetom, iskonskim (ili bolje reći urođenim) haosom, kao i svetom snova i bajki koje obično ističem kao glavne izvore inspiracije, pa kao takvi pripadaju domenu magije, poezije i misterije, prkoseći racionalizaciji čak i onda kada se u njihovoj kompoziciji mogu uočiti geometrijske pravilnosti. Nastali u intuitivnom procesu, oni su senke i odrazi alternativnih stvarnosti, ali i ove prozaične koju većina ljudi prihvata kao jedinu.

Takođe ih mogu nazvati i vizualnim zagonetkama putem kojih želim da doprem do podsvesti posmatrača i podstaknem njihovu imaginaciju, a sve što je potrebno jeste prići im bez predrasuda, otvorenog srca i uma.

U svom oslanjanju na intuiciju prepoznajem uticaj jednog od mojih omiljenih reditelja, Dejvida Linča, koji smatra da je intuicija, kao spoj emocije i intelekta, ključ svega. Kao zvezde vodilje, moram istaći i reči velikana srpskog filma, Đorđa Kadijevića, koji u knjizi Više od istine nastaloj u saradnji sa dr Dejanom Ognjanovićem, filmskim kritičarem i vrsnim poznavaocem horor žanra, između ostalog, tvrdi i sledeće:

„... Kant je u pravu kada kaže da um nije u stanju da stvara svetove, on može samo da ih promišlja. Nešto drugo stvara svetove, jedna druga moć koju čovek ima. A ta moć je iracionalna, ona ostaje nedefinisana. Mi imamo razne izraze, čitav niz eufemizama za to o čemu se radi: kreativnost, stvaralačka moć, šapat muza, tu se ulazi u jedan gotovo bajkovit, iracionalni prostor.“

Nadam se da ćete u tom „bajkovitom, iracionalnom prostoru“ koji pokušavam da stvorim uspeti da pronađete deo sebe i da će vam slike koje su večeras pred vama reći ono što ja nisam umeo da kažem, pa makar u 100, ako ne u 1000 reči, i na jeziku koji možda nije sasvim razumljiv.

☼☼☼

Za kraj otkrivam i svoj najnoviji kolaž naslovljen Hrast i Spokoj, a završen juče, tokom poslednjih priprema za otvaranje izložbe.

6 Feb 2019

Üres lovak / Empty Horses (Péter Lichter, 2019)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼
 
"Fear makes everyone see the same things. Conscience is quite a boring projectionist.”
 
And for that reason, Péter Lichter (Frozen May, The Rub) ventures boldly into the subconscious territory, guiding us through the labyrinth of cinematic memories emerging from the 'found footage', i.e. the scenes borrowed from numerous classics. Being a collage film, his third feature will almost certainly earn some comparisons with the likes of György Pálfi's brilliantly tailored love story Final Cut: Ladies and Gentlemen and/or Guy Maddin's The Green Fog - a witty reimagination of Hitchcock's Vertigo. However, its essayistic approach may limit the audience to the most devout arthouse aficionados and well-versed cinephiles.
 
The driving force of Empty Horses is a casual, yet insightful conversation between the ghosts of two great Hungarian filmmakers - Mihály Kertész who's better known under his Hollywood moniker Michael Curtiz and Gábor Bódy who left this world too soon (aged only 39), under mysterious circumstances. Voiced by Pál Mácsai and Roland Rába, respectively, they discuss about their personal and cinema histories, touching upon their own differences, and of the stark contrast between American and European motion pictures. Delivered in a deadpan manner and punctuated by periods of profound silence, their posthumous chatter gets progressively 'juicier', as the inside details from the 'dream factory' are revealed by Curtiz. Whether his anecdotes are grounded in truth or gossip, the descriptions of Orson Welles as 'that giant hysterical baby' and of Jack Warner as 'a cynical fast-talking clown' remain wryly humorous.

In Welles's alleged urinal confession about stealing all of his ideas from Curtiz, during the Oscar afterparty in 1947, one can recognize Lichter's keen sense of brutal self-irony, considering that the great deal of Empty Horses is composed of 'borrowed' art. Later in the film, he slyly utilizes Bódy's opinion as a sort of an excuse for relying on visual quotes, without resorting to the aggressive modifications of the celluloid tape that he is recognized for. Speaking of visuals, the selected sequences, ranging from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to Alien, are always in tune with both the protagonists' words, as well as with the author's personal reflections on filmmaking, though at times they do slip into the 'phantasmal domain', to remind us of cinema's ghostly qualities and the fantastical dimension of this respectable meta-creation.


The review is based on the screener provided by Péter Lichter.
The official poster design by Nikola Gocić.

4 Feb 2019

Andriesh (Yakov Bazelyan & Sergei Parajanov, 1954)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼

Reportedly an expansion of Bazelyan & Parajanov's graduate film, Andriesh (Андриеш) is a typical product of its time and an early evidence of the famed director's interest in ethnography. Based on a Moldavian fairy tale (which also happens to be the title of the aforementioned student opus) by Yemelian Bukov, it follows a young, fearless shepherd Andriesh who embarks on a perilous journey to save his flock and faithful dog, Luthar, from an evil wizard, Black Hurricane.

Armed only with a magic flute given to him by people's hero Voinovan whose beloved Liana has been taken away as well, the boy is offered assistance by a weeping willow, a jester called Pakala, a tree-ripping giant, a talking river and a haiduk turned into an oak (and a suffering one at that). Filled with archetypal characters, the simple, linear story takes familiar turns until the very epilogue with a 'petrifying twist', and it feels antiquated, yet charming in its naivety. The same goes for the tight budget special effects and weirdly lit studio sets, still magical in their obvious artificiality - there's something purely cinematic about them that no CGI can match. A few scenes shot on location, including the pastoral prologue, entice the viewer with their highly poetic qualities, so the transition to the 'fake' steppe, forest and cave can be a bit jarring.

However, the overall visual package remains pretty pleasing, especially considering that the cinematographers, Suren Shakhbazyan and Vadim Vereshchak, were as inexperienced as the directorial duo back then. It can't be compared to Parajanov's best looking 'tableaux vivants', but it's certainly not something to be ashamed of. Accompanied by the sweeping, extremely melodramatic score by the first-timers Igor Shamo and G. Tirceu, both the folkloric and fantastical imagery leaves the lasting impression. Even more commendable are the performances by the cast of newcomers, with Robert Vizirenko-Klyavin serving plenty of unforgettable penetrating gazes as Black Hurricane.

3 Feb 2019

5 / 50 Artworks

The last five out of fifty collages I've created in 2019 so far represent the dreamworld inhabited by enigmatic, supernatural entities who make it crumble and rebuild itself simultaneously, as its mythical reality dissolves into the liquid void...

'Tis Just Another Doomsday


A Lucent Instant


Some Thoughts Burn Differently


Chaos Leads the First Attack


Telepathy Under Empty Skies

(click to enlarge)