April 29, 2009

rhapsody of a life-extra

Thanks to DG and gaston for the input.
Here is the final sound version. It's not very good.
Here it is, silent. I prefer it that way.

April 24, 2009


More Fejos please.

April 19, 2009

compare & contrast

Justine did it wrong.

The Man with a Movie Camera (1929) and Moscow (1926).
Theatre Square.

April 18, 2009

johann the coffin maker

[I need to be working instead of goofing off, but wanted to post about a film I haven't seen as in p_rouge and gaston; a film I have not seen, nor will ever see.]

Johann the Coffin Maker (1929)

Brian Taves writes:
"Having received an order for a child's coffin on Christmas Eve, old Johann induces a few of the dead to return from their graves. He offers a bottle of wine to a murderous Apache, a soldier, and a prostitute, asking them to relate how they met their deaths. When they return to their homes beneath the sod, the coffin maker hears a knock at the door. It is his own bride -- Death. Together they climb into a casket he built for himself. And he closes down the lid."
As a passionate lover of Florey's surviving shorts, my imagination riots with this description. But the best I can do is cross this

with this

Inadequate. This might require dramatic action, if my curiosity is to be satisfied.

April 16, 2009

vertov and nature docs

"We therefore take as the point of departure the use of the camera as a kino-eye, more perfect than the human eye, for the exploration of the chaos of visual phenomena that fills space."
"Kino-eye plunges into the seeming chaos of life to find in life itself the response to an assigned theme."
"How is the ordinary, naked eye to make sense of this visual chaos of fleeting life?"
Vertov was primarily interested in revealing social/political/economic realities; but other realities can still be explored. Although it is possible to read Vertov's philosophies into natural documentaries, as far as I know nobody has explicitly taken the kino-eye method into the natural realm.

This documentary would be highly formal. Its focus is on visual/aural observation; importantly, it has no non-diegetic sound (voice-overs/narrators, music, etc.). It uses technique -- like montage -- to discover underlying principles behind the "chaos" of natural life. Not only the natural world -- there's a lot to be revealed about humanity's relation to the natural world. And probably some poetry, too.

Don't have enough time now, but I would like to explore this idea in the future.

April 07, 2009

nail in the boot

Clip: An eager soldier volunteers to run a few kilometers to get some help for his ambushed comrades. [Making videos YouTube friendly really hurts quality. Sorry.]

I wanted to show this clip because the reputation of Kalatozov's later, famous films is centered around his cinematographer Urusevsky. The formal daring of Nail in the Boot and Salt for Svanetia however make his later visual style seem positively restrained. His camera, his lighting, his themes, his rhythm, especially his editing were all boldly forged decades before The Cranes are Flying and The Unmailed Letter. Kalatozov deserves a bit more attention than he receives -- not just for his later films, where he is overshadowed by Urusevsky, but for his earlier films, which are overshadowed by the heavyweight Soviets who had been playing in this formal arena for years. Nail in the Boot was banned, and I don't believe anybody had seen it for years (decades?) after it was made. I haven't seen anything from his middle period yet (between Boot and Cranes), but I am a willing explorer waiting for the means.

Kalatozov discussion open. Please submit your comments.

April 04, 2009

dream log, 4/4

gaston and I were talking about dreams. It's just past 5am, and thanks to suffocating under my blanket I have awoken and want to get this concept down before it's gone. It has inspired in me a movie idea.

In my dream I had thought I was watching Marie, a Hungarian Legend, although this obviously wasn't the case. The film starred Douglass Montgomery, Frank Morgan, and Rose Hobart. It's about a man who looks back on his life and, in particular, a woman he had loved 34 years earlier and the part she played in all his crucial life events since then (psychologically -- he has not seen her since).

This wasn't in the dream, but I thought of it immediately after waking up: it was moderately reminiscent of Kalatozov's The Red Tent, and perhaps the man was putting himself on trial and felt guilty for a number of complex emotional reasons about his life and the part his lost love and the various people since then have played in it. Not sure how well this would work, but it would be cool.

I have no idea why I would mash so many different movies together in my mind and think it Marie and, further, think that it got better with each viewing. Now it's another idea I would like to see made.

I am going back to sleep -- will discover if this is grammatically correct tomorrow.