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Author Archive for Signe Kassow

Curio #1

A list of curiosities.
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“Jamie Roberts delves into the archive of dance documentarian Dick Jewell, featuring Vivienne Westwood, Neneh Cherry, Boy George and more.”

Interesting documentary about moving images on Dazed Digital’s video site.
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“James Chororos enchants with his photographs of Peru.”
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YouTube Preview Image Here is Martin Scorsese talking about Roberto Rossellini, Ingrid Bergman, and the birth of the modern movie presented by the Criterion Collection.
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Amazing photos by Gianni Berengo Gardin
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From February 2012 – February 2014 Mubi shows films by the Belgian-born auteur Agnès Varda who has always bounded forward with a restless, inspiring joy for filmmaking.
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“Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty.”

A lovely film By Yann Pineill & Nicolas Lefaucheux.
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YouTube Preview ImageDid you know that you can take a free film course on ‘The Language of Hollywood’ plus several other subjects on Coursera?
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And here’s a podcast from BBC’s Desert Island Disks with Lauren Bacall.

Tears

Do you know that our tears of hope are different from our tears of cutting onions? Rose-Lynn Fisher has explored 100 different tears in “The Topography of Tears“.

Tears of hope.

Onion tears.

Tears of release.

CPH:DOX 2013 Lessons

CPH:DOX 2013 ended a week ago, and I’m still gathering my impressions from the record breaking festival. Here are some of my learnings, inspirations and curiosities from this year’s festival.
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YouTube Preview ImageIt’s possible to see a film about the greatest film that was never made
Jodorowsky’s Dune by Frank Pavich presents to us the story of the greatest film which was never made. It’s the story of how the epic Science Fiction director Alejandro Jodorowsky with a unique ambition who attempted to adapt and film Frank Herbert’s fiction novel Dune in the mid-1970s. For this project he recruited, amongst others, Pink Floyd, H. R. Giger, Salvador Dalí, Orson Welles and Mick Jagger. He accepted to pay Dali 100,000 dollars per hour, well knowing that he would only be acting in one hour, the remainder, he would film with his double robot. Unfortunately, but not surprising the investors balked when the budget was used and they realised the script would account for a meandering 14-hour film, and it was ultimately shelved.
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YouTube Preview ImageMatt Berninger from The National has a brother
and he thinks Indie Rock is pretentious bullshit.
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Action speaks louder than words
Marie Rømer Westh’s short film ‘In a Brief Moment of Optimism’ is dialogue-free but definitely not silent. It’s an improv performance with a man, a skateboard and an empty room. By trimming it down to these things, the film becomes a powerful portrait of frustration, sadness and loneliness.
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The new ‘groundbreaking online video series’ has lauched
Dazed & Confused Magazine has just launched ‘Visionaries‘, which they modestly describe as ‘a landmark new online series that leads the way in groundbreaking, original video content.’
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Natpwe, The Feast of the Spirits
Natpwe is the name of a euphoric annual trance ritual that has been held in Myanmar since the 11th century. This has been filmed in grainy and black/white images on 8mm and 16mm by Jean Dubrel and Tiane Doan na Champassak. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________
When the Western world sends their old technology to Ghana
a mysterious practice called ‘Sakawa‘ is performed. This is uncovered in Lettres du Voyant by Louis Henderson which also features this amazing soundtrack by Tic-Tac: YouTube Preview Image
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A new distribution platform for films in-between art and cinema
Vdrome is an online platform that offers regular, high quality screenings of films and videos directed by visual artists and filmmakers, whose production lies in-between contemporary art and cinema. Each screening is presented during a limited period, as in a movie theatre.
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If you give yourself the time
to take this trip, you will be rewarded with a rare experience, which will come back to you again and again.
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YouTube Preview ImageSome Italian people dress up as trees
In the south Italian village Satrino an ancient ritual is performed which encourage the men of the village to go into the forest and dress up as trees. They then all return to the village this way and perform some kind of fertility ritual. This was filmed and installed at Den Frie by the Italian artist Michelangelo Frammartino.

Birds of September – Review


The title of lebanese-born Sarah Francis’s film-debut suggests that the main theme of the film is movement, evoking thoughts about migratory birds searching for warmer territories in the cold Autumn months. Quite possibly a familiar wish of the CPH:DOX spectators, who’ll instead begin to search in the farthest parts of their dressers for their warm winter coats.

Birds of September is also the title of an Arabic novel from 1962 by Touyour Ayloul describing the saga of village people in Beirut who witness their loved ones depart for far away more promising lands and countries.

The film is, like the novel, set in the streets of Beirut. We are introduced to the city through a slow moving camera, passing buildings and shopfronts that look neglected, while equally sprawling with life. We see the city through what initially appears to be a car window, which for someone unfamiliar with small advertising vans often used in the streets of Beirut, seems like an unusual mobile, glass bubble, protecting us from the outside world.

The ‘bubble’ turns into a confession room for random locals who bluntly speak about their life experiences, while ‘floating’ through the city in the vehicle. It seems like Francis’ camera is constantly searching for something, lurking behind the window, zooming in on different people outside. It’s like the camera wants to get to know these people, while at the same time keeps a distance to them. Maybe this is Francis’ experience of living in a big city, where you can live next to people for several years, without really knowing who they are?

Inside the ‘confession bubble’ outside noise fades, creating a very intimate, isolated environment. The confessions create a closeness between you and the locals as you get to know them and their lives. The confessions are desynchronised with the images of the people inside the confession bubble, challenging us to synchronise them in our imagination. The film’s poetic logic portrays the architecture of Beirut and random people’s movement as a story of a city, the story of a people and the personal story of Sarah Francis. Francis’ story seems to be one of longing for change, being afraid of standing still, and a comment on the swifts of time while people move in different paces.

You are left with a feeling of familiarity to the city of Beirut, but distance to it as well. Maybe this is symbolising Francis’ own feelings toward her home, and how she’s travelled to the point of no return – being close, yet far from it. You also sense a fear of getting stuck in a city, but also in life. As we float through the city, we feel like floating through life. The film is beautiful and poetic, while at the same time very real. It deals with modern issues such as stress, death and self-discovering. It’s a personal journey that translates to everyone who have a longing for exploring new places — spiritual as well as physical ones.
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Contemplation on life

Here is a ‘Wunderlist’ for this years CPH:DOX. Today, London and Copenhagen is experiencing stormy, rainy Autumn weather. Therefore, I’m in an autumn-mood where all I need is a warm cup of tea, fire by the fireplace and a film about the contemplation on life. The films on this list all have contemplative elements and poetic storytelling methods. I highly recommend you to book tickets for, at least, these films at this years CPH:DOX. The quotes are taken from CPH:DOX‘s own notes on the films.

Manakamana
by Stephanie Spray

How can a film that is exclusively shot in one-takes with a static camera on a cable car in Nepal also be one of this year’s most celebrated cinematic achievements, especially considering that it is only three months old?

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My Love Awaits Me By the Sea
by Mais Darwazah

In her poetic travelogue film, inspired by the artist and poet Hasan Hourani’s dreams and visions, the filmmaker Mais Darwazah sets off for the first time to her homeland Palestine and to the beach-front esplanade in Jaffa, where Hourani lost his life in a drowning accident.

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The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear
by Tinatin Gurchiani

With an open invitation to come to the casting for a film, the director Tinatin Guarchini gathers a group of aspiring youths in a small Georgian village. Hopeful, but still… Filmed flat against a wall and confronted by Gurchiani’s questions, the aspiring actors share their views about the future and about themselves with a striking level of honesty.

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The Real Life
by Arnaud Gerber

A philosophical film work based on the French philosopher Simone Weil’s thoughts, beautifully translated into grainy 16mm footage from early modernism’s absolute center, Paris, and divided into chapters like stations on a night-time ride with the metro.

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After You
by Marius Dybwad-Brandrud

The silent drama of life and death has rarely been treated in such a stylistically consistent way as in the unmistakably Nordic ‘After You’ – and it hits you with all the more force that the film’s director has far more personal matters at stake in his film than the bright and crystal clear images at first suggest.

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Belleville Baby
by Mia Engberg

An unexpected phone call from a former lover becomes the starting point for a tale of love, nostalgia and bygone days. After a long time without any contact, the Swedish film director Mia Engberg receives a phone call from her former lover Vincent.

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In Focus

One of my favourite sources of news has to be Alan Taylor’s blog In Focus featured on The Atlantic. Here, Taylor curates photography of current and historical, global events. Often, I find that the photos he selects, build an even stronger connection with what’s going on in our world than many newspaper articles. Here is a selection of photos from a post about The Broken Lives of Fukushima.

More than two and a half years have passed since the massive 2011 earthquake and tsunami struck northeastern Japan, wrecking the Fukushima nuclear plant and claiming nearly 16,000 lives.

Waves break on barriers as a typhoon hits the area near Iwaki town, south of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, on September 16, 2013. Almost all the beaches in Fukushima prefectures remain closed since the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami. In July this year, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), a company that runs the crippled Daiichi plant reversed months of denials and admitted that hundreds of tons of groundwater that has mixed with radioactive material may be flowing out to the sea every day.(Reuters/Damir Sagolj)

A table is still set for customers at a restaurant in the abandoned town of Namie, on September 14, 2013. (Reuters/Damir Sagolj)

The decaying control panel of a public address system, inside damaged primary school in Namie, on September 22, 2013. (Reuters/Damir Sagolj)

Messages of support are written on a blackboard in a science class in a primary schoolin Namie, on September 22, 2013. (Reuters/Damir Sagolj)

Copies of Fukushima Minpo newspapers with headlines “M(magnitude) 8.8, largest in the country”, dated a day after the devastating 2011 earthquake, sit stacked inside an office in the evacuated town of Namie, on September 14, 2013. (Reuters/Damir Sagolj)

Crane.tv

Crane.tv is a perfect site if you want to be inspired. They call themselves a “contemporary-culture video magazine, focusing on arts, design, style, food and travel around the world”. Here is a selection of some of their video portraits.

Kate Moross, Art Director.

Marcio Kogan, Architect.

Jo Ratcliffe, Art Director, Illustrator and Animator.

Maria, Head Sommelier.

Hush

Betty Compson in The Docks of New York

Sometimes you don’t need sound. You just need the glamorous world of film noir, it’s excessive use of soft light and cigarette smoke. This is one of those times. The Docks of New York (1928) by Josef von Sternberg starring George Bancroft and Betty Compson is a silent film noir drama about stoker Bill Roberts who gets into trouble during a brief shore leave when he falls for Mae, a dance-hall girl. The film comes together in the combination of cinematography by Harold Rosson, expressionist set design by Hans Dreier, and the sensual performances by Bancroft and Compson.YouTube Preview ImageYouTube Preview Image

Betty Compson and George Bancroft in The Docks of New York

The Dante Quartet

Imagine an eye unruled by man-made laws of perspective, an eye unprejudiced by compositional logic, an eye which does not respond to the name of everything but which must know each object encountered in life through an adventure of perception. How many colors are there in a field of grass to the crawling baby unaware of ‘Green’?
— Stan Brakhage

Stan Brakhage is known for his experimental films created by painting or glueing images directly onto celluloid. This way he opened up a different way of seeing, challenging our perception and bringing us back to a child-like way of seeing unruled by man-made laws of perspective. The Dante Quartet is one of his experimental short films from 1987 it was inspired by Dante’s The Divine Comedy, and took six years to produce. The effect of the images being painted directly onto the celluloid is both meditative and challenging for the viewer.
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Storytellers

My lovely friend, Natalia Podgorska just graduated from photography at London College of Communication, and I want to show you her final project, which I really like. It’s called ‘Storytellers’ and as she describes on her page it’s ‘an attempt to combine the act of performance and the post-performative body of art through the photographic medium.’

The project consists of a video piece and a series of photographs where the four storytellers, create, share and destroy a piece of reality  given to them, all at once.

Sam

Meiwei

Rab

Yulong

For me, the photographs work really well together with the video as they become an extension of the story and expand it because we mix it with our memory of each person’s story and the aesthetic of the photographs. The photographs are highly sensual and the texture and colour of the food mixed with the dirty table possess an energy of something forbidden, like when your parents told you to stop playing with your food.

Check out Natalia’s other work here. I will also do an interview with her in the coming future.