Category Archives: film

With the Nomads rides again

As Parmi les nomades at the Afrikabidon festival in Ardèche on the 26th.


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Filed under art, documentary, film, news

Machine art

Thanks to Unspoken Cinema for Casualty of Design‘s Lost in a moment – Tokyo.

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Filed under contemplation, documentary, film

School for rogues

Related, but more practical subjects, will be the art of lockpicking. Traveling on foot. The exhilaration of being shot at unsuccessfully. The athletic side of filmmaking. The creation of your own shooting permits. The neutralization of bureaucracy. Guerrilla tactics. Self reliance.

How to be the real thing. But which rogue would pay the fee?

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Filed under art, film, Werner Herzog

So much for my big idea

Abbas Kiarostami Rain

“It’s said that in the beginning was the word, but for me the beginning is always an image.”

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Filed under Abbas Kiarostami, art, film, Iranian films, writing

The production designer and the egg

The FT recites the commonplace observation that curvaceous, minimalist 1960s commercial designs look “space-age”, as if inspired by 1960s SF films, principally 2001: A Space Odyssey:

Furniture inside the space station in 2001: A Space Odyssey

which might indeed stand comparison with, say, Maurice Calka’s PDG Desk:

Maurice Calka's PDG Desk

The writer, Josh Sims, says there’s a similar “stripped back, wipe-down, germ-free” vision of the future in Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris. I think he might want to refresh his memory of this film:

Kris Kelvin in the rocket bay on the Solaris station

Gibarian's video message to Kelvin in Solaris

But more generally I think he’s missing the point I made rather eloquently in my last post. Isn’t it more likely that, rather than furniture designers looking at film designers, they were all looking at the slightly older generation of modernist sculptors?

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Filed under art, film, space, Tarkovsky

Barbara Hepworth in space

Barbara Hepworth 1
Barbara Hepworth 2
Discovery spacecraft from 2001: A Space Odyssey
Barbara Hepworth 3
EVA pod from 2001: A Space Odyssey
Barbara Hepworth 4
Death Star from Star Wars

Barbara Hepworth, unknown and Icon (1957); Discovery One spacecraft from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968); Barbara Hepworth, Oval Sculpture (No. 2) (1943); EVA pod from 2001; Barbara Hepworth, Spring (1966); Death Star from Star Wars (1977).


Filed under art, film, space


Shirin by Abbas Kiarostami
When I wrote about the pernicious fascination of images and the Islamic suspicion of them and how that might perhaps have influenced some Iranian films, I hadn’t been to see Shirin: a whole film that rests on denying the image. Not to say that there isn’t plenty of eye candy in all that raven hair, shining, almond eyes, chiselled cheekbones etc, not to say that watching emotions ruffle beautifully lit faces of any kind isn’t fascinating, but there’s no forgetting that we’re watching a film that is about not watching a film; if you want to really engage your imagination, the audience of which you are part is in the position of the screened film that the screened audience in the film you are watching is watching. The complications don’t stop there. The film whose place in space you share never existed except in your actualization of that place, behind your eyes and the eyes of other audience members like you, because the women on the screen were, reportedly, actors sitting in Abbas Kiarostami’s living room looking at dots above the camera, and the narrative they are apparently following so avidly was chosen afterwards. It goes to show what a great thing Lev Kuleshov‘s editing experiment was. I wonder if Kiarostami was also thinking of Salaam Cinema, made by his intriguing counterpart Mohsen Makhmalbaf, a film made of filmed auditions for a film that turns out to be the film we’re watching, in which the director is shown insisting that his would-be movie stars must be able to cry on demand. Makhmalbaf is already implicated in Kiarostami’s hall of empty mirrors in Close-up, about which it would be wrong to give too much away, except to say that it features an impostor and their impostee both playing themselves.

The comparison with Andy Warhol’s Blow Job

– what’s really going on down there? Does it matter? – and Screen Tests might be obvious, but I’m going to make it anyway: we just love looking at other people, that’s what nearly all paintings and photographs and films are for, and if you take away the frame of context and narrative we expect in a film, we still love it. On that subject, if you ever ever get a chance to see Tim Etchells performing Down Time, do. I wonder how he would now remember what he was thinking.

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Filed under Abbas Kiarostami, Andy Warhol, film, Iranian films, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Tim Etchells