Sunday, May 26, 2019

The Souvenir 2019




                 So for some this is the film of the moment, maybe the month or according to A.O.  Scott for him,  so far  it’s the film of the year.  I saw it the other day at the BAM and I have mixed feelings for it. I certainly found it intriguing and a challenge on many fronts and the director Joanna Hogg has made a film rich with visual treats and complex characters some of whom are difficult to like. The film is about a young woman, Julie played by Honor Swinton Byrne, who is Tilda Swinton’s  real life daughter and in the film they play mother and daughter. Julie is a lovely young woman, kind and giving and you are immediately taken with her. Tilda who is dressed down in tweed, sensible shoes and graying hair appears in only a few scenes but she is as usual mesmerizing especially in the close up of her near the end of the film as she tells her daughter some dreadful news.                    
           Julie is set up in a nice duplex in shinny bright London by well to do mom & dad and is going to  film school also financed by the parents. She wants to make movies about the real people, the down trodden and I thought that is noble, but naive of her, she wouldn’t know one of the down trodden if they came storming through her apartment and in a sequence one actually does. Hogg who has made a few other little movies sets her autobiographical memory movie in the early 80's and you know the period immediately upon seeing Julie tap tap taping away on her portable typewriter or talking on her land line.  It’s very clever and well played as is the look of the film.
           Each frame is tight, beautifully conceived and pretty, with intelligent use of space along with cropping of characters and objects, which play important secondary parts in the film, especially silly stuffed animals and monogrammed bedroom slippers. Hogg gives the viewer only so much information like the sequence where Julie and her lover (more about him later) take a quick trip to Venice and Hogg sets the scene using a beautiful foggy night shot of the city that just might take your breath away.
           In another scene in Venice Hogg only shows the train of Julie’s elegant gown as she climbs the stairs to a night at the opera. I know that the gown is elegant because I’ve seen a still of Julie and her Lover (more about him later) with her wearing the golden gown that must have been cut from the film. Hogg has a great eye for place and architecture whether it be a detailed room in her apartment or a cropped image of a building across the street or a fussy old fashioned dinning room in Harrods or the fabulous estate and surrounding land of her parent’s or a cracked wall length mirror.  
                When she’s not at school Julie hangs out with her hip friends at her duplex and even allows a few of them to live upstairs rent free. That's her nod to helping the poor I guess. A lot of the dialogue is muddled and low, the dense Brit. accents don't help either, maybe this was done on purpose to make us pay close attention to what is being said and done.   Julie is shy, needy and sweet and takes up with a guy, the wrong guy which is the big crack in the film and her life. I half expected a neon sign to start flashing “No good Julie big problem.”

SPOILER ALERT
We know early on that Anthony played by Tom Burke is no good, he is unappealing in every way including his looks, but more important than his looks is his lack of honor. He is a liar, a thief and a drug addict which Julie should have seen a mile away but she falls for him anyway, and I kept thinking why?  Their affair moves from casual to intense and the sense of dread and doom hangs over it in sad and irreversible ways, it ends badly. As I said I didn’t love the film, but I would recommend it anyway because it is demanding and calls out for attention.  I might have to see it again when it comes to DVD, as It has stayed with me, so maybe that is better than my loving it.


 


Friday, May 17, 2019

May 2019. mixed on cardboard


Thursday, May 16, 2019

I.M. Pei 1917-2019




Monday, May 13, 2019

Doris Day 1922-2019

1922-2019
My youth is really over. Ms. Day was my favorite movie star as a kid, I kept scrapbooks on her and saw her movies over and over again. I outgrew her when I reached my late teens but that didn't stop me from adoring her from a distance. She was one of the great pop singers and many of her performances were memorable. She could have done more and better, she turned down some challenging roles, The Exorcist and The Graduate come to mind, and passed on South Pacific which could have turned that so so musical into a classic. She inspired (New York, New York is based on her life) and as I said my childhood is colored by her.










Thursday, May 09, 2019

Thomas Nozkowski 1944-2019

This marvelous painter is gone, but trump still walks this earth. unfair



Tuesday, May 07, 2019

May 2019 Collage


Sunday, May 05, 2019

David Winters 1939-2019


Saturday, May 04, 2019

Man was that surreal






The other night I was watching “Vice” which pleased and surprised me much more than I was expecting. Yes it’s another one of those “make up” movies but Christian Bale filled his fat suit and jowls really well and nailed it as the still walking this earth monster Dick Chaney. Meanwhile in the oval office another fat suit with jowls takes up valuable space. The problem with these bio pics is that they tend to make nice with these creeps; Dick was such a good dad.  Instead of putting these creatures on trial and in jail for crimes against humanity Hollywood turns out fun movies and comedy skits about them. Suddenly as I was laughing on the other side of my face, as my mother use to say when I was acting up “Ira Joel you’ll laugh on the other side of your face if you don’t behave, I started to think of surrealism and how often that art movement is brought up in our everyday lives. Was “Vice” surreal? No of course not. It was a farce, smart and sassy and rooted in recent crappy reality. It was more like real sur, than surreal. I had also just seen the very good and surprisingly poignant documentary about the queen bee of surrealism Ms. Peggy Guggenheim so my thoughts started to play games with art movements especially the one that has been hijacked by all those stupid celebrities
who use it over and over when they are picking up an award or posing for selfies on the red carpet.

      How many times have we heard them say “wow this is so surreal as they thank this one and that one, and look upward to the top of the auditorium and with tears in their eyes and on their cheeks thank and bless their long gone grandmas’ and pops’ who are floating around up there looking down on them. I hear the term surreal more and more as I flip through the crap that passes for entertainment these days on the tube, especially on the big network channels. On those dopey so you think you have talent and think you can dance shows with tacky has been hosts who get me nauseous, you often hear the contestants howl out that this is such a surreal moment, as if they know about the movement and the differences between Max Ernst and Magritte let alone even know who they were. Even the New York Times is getting in on the Surreal moment using an Yves Tanguy painting in one of their op-ed pieces a week or so ago. Guess they ran out of anti-Semitic cartoons to use.  The non-celebrities use surreal with as much frequency as the “you know” phrase “you know”. These twits probably think Andy Warhol is a surrealist. Personally I find everything these days to be more Dada than Surreal. I find myself having Abstract Expressionist moments a lot along with some Arte Povera experiences mixed in. Like you know on the nightmare in black and white subway trips I have to take to get from Brooklyn to Manhattan  I sit there and think this is so Arte Povera or this is such a Pattern and Decoration moment I’m feeling as we pull into the Union Square Station and all the cubist looking people rush here and there to get on with their lives knocking into me with minimalist abandonment.     

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

May 1, 2019 Collage


Monday, April 29, 2019

John Singleton 1968-2019


Thursday, April 25, 2019

End of April 2019 Collage


Saturday, April 20, 2019

Some photographs from 2013











Nothing to add to this


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Oddball Magazine April 2019

Monday, April 15, 2019

Susan Harrison 1938-2019, Georgia Engel 1948-2019



Sunday, April 14, 2019

Bibi Andersson 1935-2019


Tuesday, April 09, 2019

April 2019 collage.


Monday, April 08, 2019

Seymour Cassel 1935-2019


Thursday, April 04, 2019

April collage


Wednesday, April 03, 2019

oddball Magazine april 2019

Friday, March 29, 2019

Agnes Varda 1928-2019

A great filmmaker has passed but donald trump still walks this earth. UNFAIR

Friday, March 22, 2019

Interiors of notebooks covers 2014-2019











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