Tuesday 30 April 2013

Joel Walden's director tributes

Of all the director tributes I have seen, those by Joel Walden stand out as the best and most creative. This Canadian guy, 2 years older than me, truly has talent- he doesn't put together scenes from different films in a random way, but everything has meaning and significance, matches the music well, and combines beautifully. 

The best one so far is "Martin Scorsese- The Works":

Some other excellent tributes:

I wouldn't be surprised if in a next few years seeing him make some films, and in some decades at most, seeing him receive some important awards. 

Monday 29 April 2013

Steven Spielberg's "Obama"

I can't help sharing this hilarious video.

Daniel Day-Lewis is a legend. And Obama's so cool.
PS: Today's Daniel's birthday. 

Bonus- updated on 30/4/2013:

Saturday 6 April 2013

"De rouille et d'os" and "Happy together"

Within a short period I've watched and loved 2 films about love that are totally different, or perhaps even opposite. The 1st one is "De rouille et d'os", aka "Rust and bone", a French film. The film starts with an unemployed single father, who is very physical, interested in 1-night stands rather than relationships, and in fighting. While working as a guard as a nightclub he meets a woman, a killer whale trainer. Which seems rather random. How they meet, and how they attach to each other, seems rather random. Shortly after the meeting the woman has an accident at work and has both legs amputated. "De rouille et d'os", different from most films about love I've seen, thus tells the story of these 2 characters, how they fall in love and develop their love, quietly, through patience and understanding. A love story without romance and all that glittering thing. They don't even say "I love you" to each other. They understand each other, care about each other, and express their love quietly, tenderly, like the love and understanding between the woman and the killer whales, a perfect communion without any need for words. Marion Cotillard is wonderful as always, having been my no.1 favourite French actress since "La vie en rose", she helps us feel how the character feels, and she does it beautifully, convincingly. Another thing that makes the film great is the attention to details- notice the difference in the way the man makes love to her and the way he has sex with other women. In short, "De rouille et d'os" touches and moves me in a quiet way. 

The 2nd one is the Hong Kong film "Happy together". It impresses me, strikes me, overwhelms me, haunts me. I watched the film the other night, and about 2 nights later, watched it again. Looking almost like a documentary, "Happy together" for most of running time focuses on a tiny, messy apartment, which may be said to symbolise the situation the 2 main characters are stuck in, their fierce, torturous relationship. Well, not that my view is really negative. I like that relationship. They love strongly and deeply and make each other suffer, and in the end, I personally don't like them to part, but it's inevitable. I notice that lots of reviewers seem to put the blame on Leslie Cheung's character, describing him as "playboy" and having a "destructive personality", and I don't deny him being destructive and self-destructive, tempestuous, unstable, sometimes like a big kid, spoilt, selfish, immature. But they probably don't realise that Tony Leung's character, albeit loving, tolerant, patient, more stable and committed in the relationship, is also jealous, possessive and controlling, and anybody forced to stay in such a small room with nothing to do would get bored and try to break free the same way Leslie's character does. In this film, both Leslie and Tony are wonderful. And I like both characters. If I like Tony's character as someone I probably need, in spite of his flaws, I like Leslie's character as someone very similar to me- unstable, destructive and self-destructive, and in need of being taken care of. And in the end, what will happen? We don't know. "Happy together", like other films by Wong Kar-wai, leaves me melancholy and nostalgic, with a feeling of belonging nowhere, feeling uncertain but not hopeless. 

Anyway, having sat here and stared at the screen for 15 minutes without knowing how to end this entry, I guess I should simply say "fuck it" and stop here. 

Tuesday 2 April 2013

Arnold Newman's environmental portraits

Arnold Newman, American, "the first photographer to use so-called environmental portraiture, in which the photographer places the subject in a carefully controlled setting to capture the essence of the individual's life and work. Newman normally captured his subjects in their most familiar surroundings with representative visual elements showing their professions and personalities. A musician for instance might be photographed in their recording studio or on stage, a Senator or other politician in their office or a representative building. Using a large-format camera and tripod, he worked to record every detail of a scene.
"I didn't just want to make a photograph with some things in the background," Newman told American Photo magazine in an interview. "The surroundings had to add to the composition and the understanding of the person. No matter who the subject was, it had to be an interesting photograph. Just to simply do a portrait of a famous person doesn't mean a thing."" (wiki)


Marcel Duchamp

Jean Arp

Aaron Copland

Piet Mondrian

Milton Avery

Man Ray

Igor Stravinsky

Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Stella

Georgia O'Keeffe

Josef Albers

Roy Lichtenstein

Woody Allen

O'Keeffe and Stieglitz

Richard Lindner

Roman Vishniac

Alfried Krupp

Bill Clinton

Claes Oldenburg

Max Ernst

Emperor Haile Selassie I

Harold Pinter and Tom Stoppard

Yasuo Kuniyoshi

Sir Cecil Beaton

Otto Frank, father of Anne Frank

Marc Chagall

Manuel Alvarez Bravo

Louise Nevelson

Leonard Bernstein

Joan Miro

Jean Dubuffet

Jacob Lawrence

Isamu Noguchi

I. M. Pei

Eleanor Roosevelt

Diana Vreeland


Arthur Miller

Ansel Adams

Alexander Calder