In beautiful dreams...
Dorothy’s back to the camera evokes a switch from second to first person, I tell you, because there I am, stranded in hallway somewhere between Jeffrey and Dorothy, in one of the very saddest moments in Blue Velvet. And if you loved this movie, perhaps that was because you only wanted to destroy it, literally. For real, man. To crush it beneath your heel (in the spirit of the SRL video) to wipe out the terrible truths it whispered in your ear, and when you found yourself at the unmarked Alley Bar in Ann Arbor, with an old friend, and the lights cut out suddenly in an electrical storm for just a few seconds and then when they came back on everyone’s face, bathed in red light, had changed slightly, but enough for you to notice. Shit, you said to your friend, look what’s happened! But of course his face had been transformed too (is that why he pretended not to notice, because he was one of them now?) and who knows, maybe even your face too was altered now. You needed a mirror, to see for yourself, to hold it up to the room like some sort of act from the myths and legends of vampire and zombie films, to see if all the faces had changed, had reversed themselves–in those few moments of darkness–into the image of Frank.
An excerpt from Sinatra: An American Original, originally telecast on CBS in 1965, in which Frank Sinatra is seen recording "It Was a Very Good Year." The conductor is Gordon Jenkins and the narrator is Walter Cronkite.
And the way he deals with the corpse of the taxman is to plaster it into a wall—and immediately upon doing so, the same man now disguised as a workman then pounds a nail into a precisely chosen spot in that wall so that blood rains out of the crack, revealing the body inside.
House: After Five Years of Living, is a 1955 documentary about the Eames' self-designed California home. The score is by Elmer Bernstein. [via]
Three covers designed by Eric Skillman for films I first saw in 1995. [via]
Space Coast ghost
We shot for a total of maybe ten weeks on the Cape, and through Mary met the other people who appear in the film. We stayed in one of Papa John’s cinderblock apartment units, and wove ourselves into the texture of the community. We had no particular agenda, did no formal interviews, and for the most part just filmed things as they happened around us. For me, it was a full-fledged dive into cinema verite – the last I would attempt. There was much I loved about this style of filmmaking, but ultimately decided I wanted to try something different.
En route to a rustic inn, the two perform a screwball routine, complete with slapstick action and fast-paced repartee, which reaches its apogee when Hannay holds Pamela’s sandwich while she removes her stockings. The blocking in this farcical romantic scene is not only thrilling, but — thanks to the sandwiches — very British indeed.
From Chris Marker’s collection Bestiaire aka Petit Bestiaire (1990), consisting of three ‘video haikus’:
Chat écoutant la musique – 2:47 min, color, sound
An Owl is an Owl is an Owl – 3:18 min, color, sound
Zoo Piece – 2:42 min, color, sound [via]
Seconds (1966) directed by John Frankenheimer - Saul Bass title sequence, OST Jerry Goldsmith
The titles were designed by Saul Bass and shot entirely with reflective mylar. [via]
This entry by Hoi Lun Law borrows its unedited footage from Martin Arnold's short film Alone. Life Wastes Andy Hardy — which itself borrows footage from MGM's Andy Hardy films of the 1930s. For more information on the career of Martin Arnold, click here. If you would like to view the original short film, click here. [via]
Ever thought you'd have 40,000 historical images, curated by the New York Public Library, from which to create GIFs? Dreams really do come true! [via]
"Giacometti, for instance, told me it took him a long time to realize that what he saw in the movies looked quite different from things as they appeared on the street. One day he went to the movies four times, and each time he came out he looked around and verified he was in a different world."
Harold Rosenberg, "The Case of the Baffled Radical"
STATE OF THE ART
THAT FESTIVAL, IN THE MOUNTAINS. YOU KNOW.
Whatever the opposite of world-beater is, it'd describe the cinetrix today. Instead, some free associations.
Welcome back to the fight. This time, I know our side will win.
David Kalat continues his exploration of cinema's creation myths, arriving now at La Ciotat Méliès:
With Nightmare, in 1896, many of the fanciful visions and witty use of stagecraft are already in place, less than a year after he sat and watched the Lumière’s premiere screening. Has there ever been a learning curve steeper?
A broken machine. Nightmare! [via]
...Méliès admitted that he built his films around the tricks. He’d think up some crazy image, some outlandish stunt, and design a film to showcase it. If Méliès lived today, he’d be cranking out mindless CGI nonsense with the best of them. He was so many things: an artist, a magician, an engineer, a mogul—but as a dramatist he was a dilettante. Even the most narrative of his films are strings of grand illusions, not compelling stories on their own merits....
...By 1914, it was over. Méliès had run out of money and had to stop. Meanwhile, the entire French film industry was poised to collectively flush itself down the toilet, sacrificing their 16 year-long domination of the form. World War II had arrived, and the French government decided it had better uses for silver than wasting it on celluloid, and much of the country’s existing library of film creations were destroyed to salvage the silver for the war effort. Broke and desperate, fearful of losing his films to his creditors and rivals, Méliès burned his own films, watching his life’s work crackle and smoke into oblivion.
Central Services: We do the work, you do the pleasure.
From the Guardian:
Terry Gilliam, of course, was born in America, although he has been a British citizen since 1968. He escaped the tyranny of the British schooling system but he certainly seems, by the atmosphere in his short film The Wholly Family (which was financed by Italian pasta manufacturer Garofalo), to have caught a funny relationship with food off those Pythons. Or maybe it was a similar attitude to food that drew them together.
And food in The Wholly Family is undeniably nightmarish. Giant men-dollies cram rubbery spaghetti into their mouths, shaking strands aloft while making ghoulish noises. As the little hungry boy, sent to bed with no supper for being a brat, sits down at a table to get stuck in to some dream food, plates are snatched from under his nose before he can get any on his fork.
Huge silver domes are lifted off a platter to reveal, horrifyingly, the little boy's parents' heads, surrounded with parsley. At the height of his hysterical dream, the boy appears as a broken puppet and puppets, of course, don't need to eat. Food is thrown around and played with, the men-dolly waiters dance about carrying plates of this and platters of that, but the food is almost never seen – not even the apology breakfast feast the little boy rolls into his parents' bedroom in the morning (unless you count the chocolate smeared on his face) – and barely eaten.
Who knows, maybe this disrespect to food is, truly, Gilliam's idea of a nightmare; maybe he is the most terrific gourmand in his personal life and employs a Michelin-starred private chef to make him tricky little titbits for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. But I doubt it. Like so many tortured by desperate mid-century catering (he is also a workaholic and therefore permanently in a hurry), he will love and eat, mostly, pasta.
[The whole of the wholly fucked-up The Wholly Family is viewable here.]