Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Lewis Gilbert 1920-2018 Director

James Bond movies and Alfie
what's it all about Louie?

Monday, February 26, 2018

The Woman Who Left 2016

             I don’t know much about the Philippines. I do know that they have suffered at the hands of various conquering nations including the United States throughout their long history.  They have been pushed and shoved by various dictators and have been the victims of many kidnappings and much bloodshed including the on going murderous campaign against the drug trade lead by their current heinous dictator.
                   I also know nothing about their film industry which it turns out is strong, vivid and vibrant and at one time produced over 200 films a year. This brings me to this film and If you have a spare four hours you might want to jump at the opportunity to watch this small scale tremendous epic from the Philippine director Lav Diaz who happens to live in Queens and is known for his very long intimate intricate films.
             I watched this lush and strong film that is set in 1997 over two nights and that might be the way to go. The story is based and inspired by a short story by Tolstoy and concerns the harsh life of a woman convicted for a crime she did not commit and spends 30 years in a penal colony where she teaches and inspires the other female prisoners and their children who are locked up with their mothers. The film opens and closes with a tale she wrote and reads that symbolically mirrors her own life. 
              One fine day she is set free because the person who committed the crime confesses before she takes her own life and Horacia sets out to find her son and daughter and to find the man a lover who caused her this grief and get her revenge. Diaz who also wrote edited and did the beautiful wide screen black and white cinematography presents us with this complex and complicated woman as she crosses paths with many different people both in the daylight and the dark nights of lost souls.
              She is conflicted and angry with duo personalities one kind and giving, the other harsh and cruel and is played by the well known Philippine actress Charo Santos who gave up acting to work in the executive board rooms of the Philippine media world and came back to do this film and gives an extraordinary performance.
             Finding her daughter after 30 years is easy but she doesn’t pull up a stuffed chair and settle in for comfortable old age, instead she moves through the country side searching for her lost son, and her ex lover a rich powerful and corrupt power broker who betrayed her 30 years before. 
             During her days and nights she prowls the back alleys and dark streets sometimes dressed in men’s clothes calling herself Renata and offering kindness and mercy to a motley crew of beggars, street vendors and others including a mad woman who sees demons everywhere and who Horacia lovingly washes and cleans, no doubt cleaning her own troubled soul as well. The most intense relationship is between Horacia and an epileptic transvestite prostitute Hollanda played by one of the Philippines biggest heart throbs and idols John Lloyd Cruz who gives a remarkable performance. Their long scenes together are touching and riveting as Horacia nurses her back to health after a horrible rape and beating (not shown as is most of the violence which is kept off screen) and are among the most memorable and searing sequences I have ever seen in a film.  Diaz fills his large screen with images mostly with medium and long shots there is to my memory no close-ups and his sense of spaces both intimate and vast are stunning. He is an artist and as Meryl Streep said about his eight hour film “A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery” “This film, this director, changed the molecules of my brain.”  Granted his films are not for everyone, I give you that, but anyone interested in film should at some point give his works a look even if that look lasts a few days and nights.       

Saturday, February 24, 2018

February 2018 mixed

Friday, February 23, 2018


Nanette Fabray 1920-2018

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A few more drawings from my senior class

Saturday, February 17, 2018

February 2018 collage

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

February 2018 collage

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

5 new works on paper from my senior class

Sunday, February 11, 2018

God's Own Country 2017

Stunning debut film from Francis Lee who also wrote the screenplay about the tough life on a isolated Yorkshire sheep farm. The land is rough but beautiful as are some of the people especially Johnny played with frankness and vulnerability by Josh O' Connor. Johnny lives on the farm with his dad who has had a stroke and is difficult but not mean played by the veteran British actor Ian Hart and his Grandmother also strong but not given to much emotional showings toward her grandson, the role is played by the great Gemma Jones without one false note. Johnny is living a closeted gay life, he has brief but intense sexual encounters with whatever men pass his way. On to the farm comes a Romanian farm-hand Gheorghe, a short time hire played by the stunning Alec Secareanu who is tough but also kind and a hard worker and doesn't take any crap from anyone. The sparks are soon flying between the two young men, at first hostile and aggressive mainly on the part of Johnny but soon they are having sex which is very erotic and somewhat explicit. A loving relationship between the two start to flourish but there are problems mainly caused by Johnny. The film is also explicit in the birthing and skinning of the baby sheep which might cause some distress, but this is the life of these hard working minimal people. There is also some discrimination but not because of the gay life of the leads, but because of Gheorghe's being Romanian, and as I said he takes no shit from anyone. Of course Brokeback Mountain will come to mind, it can't but not come up. For gay men of a certain age it will no doubt remind them of those cheap erotic paperback novels about farmhands that were sold in racks on 42nd street, but this is a film to be enjoyed and treasured for its own voice, even though the thick Yorkshire accents make a lot of the dialogue difficult to understand. One of the best films of 2017 and a shame that it did receive the attention it deserves even though it got a 99% approval rating from rotten tomatoes.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Reg E. Cathey 1958-2018

John Gavin 1931-2018

Arguably the best looking actor to appear in movies in the 1950's has passed.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Nebo: A Literary Journal

I just got the print issue of Nebo journal in the mail, published by arkansas tech with 2 of my photos published. Actually the only art in the issue.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

new work February 2018 mixed on paper.

Monday, February 05, 2018

john mahoney 1940-2018

Vestiges & Verse Notes From The Newfangled Epic American Folk Art Museum

Another top notch show from this marvelous place which features art by a group of 21 self taught artists. Some I was familiar with like Henry Darger, Adolf Wolf & James Edward Deeds Jr., but most were new and exciting discoveries for me. I swim in this art, and I urge you to jump in the water with me and explore these complex beautiful works. Some of the artists I loved were Josep Baque's intricate beautifully drawn and colored sheets of animals and other strange beasts including some odd humans, that reminded me of the cartoons of Basil Wolverton or display sheets of a deranged tattooist or Aloise Corbaz's huge and tremendous theatrical scroll that is spread out in one of the galleries,or Jerry Gretzinger amazing map of a made up world that is made up of thousands of panels that could cover a basketball court. Some of the work is angry and downright mad which is to be expected since so many of these and other self taught artists spend their lives in hospitals including institutions for the "mad" and prisons. Another thread running through the show are the notebooks and journals that many of the artists kept, obsessive and unending and usually unreadable journey's into their minds and creative processes that are also heightened visual treats. The space is tight but it's nicely installed which is always the case with this museum. It's also free which is also nice. The show will be up until May 27th so there is plenty of time to see it.
Site Meter