Friday, December 20, 2013

Flamenco and Filth



This happened.

Galore has been invited to screen at Berlinale 2014. One of my most memorable festival experiences (except perhaps for this little foray into the middle of the pacific with murundak) was screening my short film Love This Time at Berlinale 2006. My mind was blown by the intensity and passion of the cineastes there. The discussions we had, in the freezing fucking cold, in between incredible screenings, made my film nerd eyes roll back in my head with bliss. So, to go back there, with our crew, and with Galore in our pocket to throw up on a screen seems like something truly extraordinary. I know I am going to be wigging out.

So, there's that.

And then, to add to that, The Turning has also been invited to be a part of the festival. Fucking madness. So, without any other real plans for 2014 - except to do more, be more, make more which is the usual mantra around the year's end - I'll be heading off to the middle of winter, hiding inside heavy, ill-fitting coats, misting up the night air with hot breath and laughter, and running from bar to cinema to bar with a rolling entourage of actors and crew and stupid excitement.

And, to make things even more insane and overwhelming, I just read that two of my favourite filmmakers Claudia Llosa and Tsai Ming-Liang will be premiering their new films at Berlinale. I'm gonna be such a fanboy stalker hanging outside the cinemas to see them in the flesh. (I saw Tsai Ming-Liang and Lee Kang-Sheng hanging together at Rotterdam Film Festival some years back and I just stared at them like some schoolyard creep. I hope I can be slightly more composed this time.)

With all this in mind, we announced the Berlin news a few days back and finally got to release our trailer onto the world at the same time. Here it is. Hope you dig it. And if you dig it, pass it on to a friend to see if they dig it, too.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


You ever have those days when all you want to do is ditch it all, find some hole in the wall and dance til you ache?

You'll be at your desk, dying a little bit with every static muscle. Or your mind will be hovering around some little pocket of darkness or itching you about some dream you've got throwing stones at your windows.

You'll be drunk, talking about the kinds of things you buy or hold in your hand or that break or that you need to talk to a bank teller about, and you'll be dying a bit with the stasis of the conversation and your emotions, and you'll hear the music from next door and it will be impossible to think straight as long as you hear it and feel the resound in your feet of other people stomping over the floorboards.

You'll open that dark door and the wall of music will punch your neck and the soft skin above your hips and you'll actually feel the pulse of air that comes with the drumbeat and it will smell of sweat and booze and sex and you don't know how long you have to wait before you can walk across and start adding to that smell yourself.

And you'll hear that song and your heart will literally lift; you'll feel it push on your ribs, on your throat.

You won't care about how you look. Even a glimpse in a mirror in a club made only for fighting, fucking and fistpumping won't bother you. Hair plastered down. Your back a triangle of sweat. Moving in a reflection to whoever is closest to you. Or dropping into the sway of someone else's body.

And the day will break. And your calves will hurt like you've hiked a pilgrim's trail. And you'll realise that sweat is a rolling rivulet down the small of your back. And you know you'll do this for ever. Maybe you won't be able to stay up as late or move as loosely or drink as much or dance without drinking or do it alone or do it with so many friends you lose track of who is where and why but you'll know you'll still find a way to do it forever. Dropping it all and opening that door and dancing til you ache.

images: Patrick Zachmann (lord)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Wanderings #2

“Everything is held together with stories. That is all that is holding us together, stories and compassion.” 
Barry Lopez

Wanderings #1

One of the blissful things in writing new scripts or disappearing into the dissection and resection of old ones are the places you end up trawling and looking for new ways of thinking. Films, records, photo collections, long lazy walks, dumb drunken nights, new sensations. It's the good stuff of writing.

I'm working on a 'financing' draft of a script that has, at it's heart, the intoxication of the senses; heat, drunkenness, desire, jealousy, grief, love. But it is also about wanderers, young characters drifting over the surface of the world as they travel from place to place. So, I've been listening to records that evoke the wandering spirit or the visceral quality of sweat and light and life, reading excerpts of journals and old classics by Barry Lopez, Kerouac, Geoff Dyer and other wanderers; and, of course, trawling through films that evoke the visceral wandering and immersion of getting lost in place - both viewed new and rewatched oldies and goldies - as diverse as Madame Satã by Karim Aïnouz, Lower City by Sergio Machado, Vertical Ray of the Sun by Tran Anh Hung, My Marlon and Brando by Huseyin Karabey, Chungking Express by Wong Kar Wai, Motorcycle Diaries by Walter Salles, Y Tu Mama Tambien by Alfonso Cuaron, Badlands by Terrence Malick and Millenium Mambo by Hou Hsiao Hsien. Something about youth and idealism and loss and desire and rage and wandering keeps them all lingering inside.

I've also been looking through the well thumbed photography of Alex Webb and Raghubir Singh and David Alan Harvey, the three masters of sweat and light, and been looking and discovering new photographers. Two whose works I've been digging on in this weird time stooped over the keyboard are Colombian American photographer Juan Arredondo and Mexican photographer, Eva Villaseñor.

This work below by Juan Arredondo is from his series Barrio Triste, focusing on a small lost neighbourhood in Medellin that has not quite been dragged into the recovery much of the remaining city is experiencing. It is the same neighbourhood, as far as I understand, that a lot of the kids in the Colombian classic La Vendedora de Rosas came from... and there is a similar grinding beauty to the photographs.

Beneath, are the works of Eva Villaseñor whose images were introduced to me by another photographer film compañero Jensen Cope. Like Arredondo's work above, there is something of the lightness and way of seeing, a whimsy and sexiness, that keeps me agile when I'm dribbling over the keyboard trying to find some semblance of life in words and ideas.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Heartbreak Dissected

Stumbling around the internet is not always just about surfing the debris riddled tsunami of funny cats, fail GIFS, freaked out music videos and people showing their bits. This clip found me during a youtube binge and I was surprised I'd never searched for it in the first place. It's a simple voice over explanation by my-lord-and-master Claire Denis of one of my favourite scenes in cinema: the bar at night dance scene in '35 Shots of Rum'. I'm not sure how the scene plays out of context, but in the film it's a heartbreaker. All looks and glances that conceal and reveal the world of the film (and who knew The Commodore's 'Nightshift' could be so achingly heartbreaking?). Thanks internet. You are wise and kind and benevolent when you want to be.

Pain of Intimacy

all images: Guillaume Simoneau

I've got endless admiration for artists, photographers and filmmakers that place themselves with profound vulnerability into the centre of their work. It's a strange and delicate dance, especially in an age of confessional living. The meeting of fiction and lived reality is a fragile balance. Intensely difficult, also, to experience on the other side of the artwork unless there is true emotion and complexity concealed within the confessions being shared by the artist. If it works, you feel the pain of intimacy. If it fails, you feel the pain of humiliation.

We live in this strange era when, at once, so many artists, writers, photographers are making confessional work that purports to reveal so much of who they are and how they live through a kind of endless stream of their curated daily experience. Strangely, this very candour seems to linger only on the surface and not reveal an inner life. It's like getting naked and spreading your legs but keeping your face hardened and your eyes downcast. 

Sometimes, though, artists manage to render themselves truly vulnerable with the emotional complexity that we all nurse inside of us, exposing all the layered madness of experience and sensation that is impossible to distil into party snaps or photos of flares at night, friends making out or empty parking lots. This, when it works successfully, is usually achieved with the artistic equivalent of the evasion, secrecy, bluffing, subterfuge and accidental poetic connectedness with which we express emotion in our day to day lives. People like Wolfgang Tillmans, Sophie Calle, Nan Goldin... These people open their world up with intimacy and lyricism and there is a direct connection with heartlines despite their divergent approaches. One younger artist whose work I recently discovered, and who I think has revealed this confessional intimacy from deep within in his work, is Quebecois artist Guillaume Simoneau and his project 'Love and War'.

(Go to Guillaume's site and click through to 'Love and War'. There are other slide shows of this work at other sites but it's worth considering the project as he arranges it.)

This specific work is strange and beautiful and achingly raw. It, as I understand it, an emotional and visual narrative of the period in which Guillame's girlfriend at the time, Caroline Annandale, enlisted in the US Army after the events of "9/11" and went to war. We learn, without ever understanding the details or events or chronology, that their relationship subsequently broke down and she married another man. We don't get a 'story'. What we get is yearning and desire and love and absence and mystery. Although the photographs reveal little of raw experience, it somehow feels far more intimate and exposing... You might think otherwise, but I'm pretty crazy for it.