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Monday, 4 December 2017

A couple of Tweets about Menashe (2017)

This is a couple of Tweets about Menashe (2017)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2017 (19 to 26 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


4 December

This is a couple of Tweets about Menashe (2017)

Despite the old, old mistake of being bitten by watching a trailer, one fell for what that of Menashe (2017) had to show one of the named principal character and his relations with his son and views on life and marriage - it just is not representative, and this film is not, as one might imagine, some sort of more genuine response or retort to the world that John Turturro and Woody Allen show us in the former's Fading Gigolo (2013)...








Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Friday, 1 December 2017

Elle parle que d'elle¹ ~ Eve

Some responses (by Tweet) to Happy End (2017), as seen on opening night

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2017 (19 to 26 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


1 December

On opening night at The Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge, some responses (by Tweet) to Happy End (2017), as seen on Friday 1 December 2017 at 8.50 p.m.





What connects screenings of these new films : Sally Potter's The Party (2017) and Michael Haneke's Happy End (2017) ?



With Happy End (2017), which was on general release from Friday 1 December 2017, perhaps (as alluded to in the Tweet above), it is not just the title, but also the folded A4 lobby-material [i.e. a card that is A5 and presents in landscape format], which has the (edited) image that appears above, occupying the front - under the caption A handy guide to Calais' favourite dysfunctional family². [Can we honestly conceive of this as Haneke's caption³... ?]

The shot has been edited in that, by removing the intervening window, it relocates an indoor scene (as shown, in context, in the Tweet below) to a balcony, which then, perspectivally, appears not just to overlook the sea, but also to give directly onto it.










End-notes :

¹ Abbreviated for texting-type communication, the words translate as She only thinks about herself. [Starting with several annotated video-sequences, at the top of the film, there are more examples, but this phrase is taken from the first, and turns out, read alongside the others, to be the most significant.]

² Judging by this lobby-card³, could one not be forgiven for thinking that there is going to be a comical take on a family and its oddities - in the style, perhaps, even of The Addams Family... ? (As, also, with The Party : is the clue, surely, to expect a party in respect of which it is readily apt to invoke, ironically (the film's plot and script are so weakly conceived), Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party ?)

³ As with trailers, they are almost never the work of the people who made the film. (Even if, when trailers are made, they clearly use footage (including deleted scenes or other images that you will not see, if you watch the film), and re-order it to suggest a story - not unusually, quite misleadingly.) Trailers and other publicity are, rather, largely the handiwork of the film's distributors (with, obviously, some assistance from the film's producers) : a special knack for making good films look bad (and vice versa) is required ? !




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Truly, this man was the Son of God ! ~ Mark 15 : 39

This is a review of The Joyful Mystery : Praetorius, Biber and Schütz at St John's

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2017 (19 to 26 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


28 November

This is a review (first part complete, as an uncorrected proof) of a concert of works by Praetorius, Biber and Schütz, given under the directorship of Graham Walker and as a programme under the title The Joyful Mystery*, at The Chapel of St John the Evangelist, St John’s College, Cambridge, on Tuesday 28 November at 8.15 p.m.




Personnel :

* St John's Voices

* Newe Vialles

* Combined Conservatories Cornett and Sackbutt Ensemble

* Kinga Ujszászi and Persephone Gibbs (violins)

* Anthony Gray and David Heinze (chamber-organ)

* Graham Walker (director)





The initial draw to hear this concert had been the so-called 'Rosary’ Sonatas* of Heinrich (Ignaz Franz von) Biber (of which the first three were to be played). However, it soon became clear that the whole programme in which they had been set was attractive and well proportioned, with one half pairing them very relevantly and sympathetically with Motets by Michael Praetorius, and the other – after a breather of an interval – led up to in Die Weihnachts-Historie of Heinrich Schütz.



Programme


First half :

1. Michael Praetorius (1751-1621) ~ Wachet Auf à 7

2. Praetorius ~ Ingressus Angelus

3. Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (1644-1704) ~ Mystery Sonatas*, No. 1 - The Annunciation

4. Praetorius ~ Übers Gebirg Maria geht

5. Biber ~ Mystery Sonatas, No. 2 - The Visitation

6. Praetorius ~ Uns ist Ein Kindlein heut’ geborn

7. Biber ~ Mystery Sonatas, No. 3 - The Nativity

8. Praetorius ~ In Dulci Jubilo à 8



At the start of (1) the Motet Wachet Auf (1607), from [according to the ChoralWiki catalogue] Musae Sioniae, Part V, and set for choir in seven parts, Michael Prateorius has them enter in very quick order - with a text that we may know very well from Bach's Cantata, BWV 140 (and the Chorale Prelude, BWV 645). We were soon luxuriating, in the chapel at St John’s College, in the sound of around thirty voices plus, from their Ensemble, the now more familiar ‘Christmassy textures’ of sackbutts and cornetts (with chamber-organ continuo, variously provided by Anthony Gray and David Heinze).

Not for the last time in the evening, these forces were well blended with those of Linda Sayce (on theorbo, who elsewhere plays viol as part of Newe Vialles), the bowed strings of the remainder of those present from that group (Henrik Persson and Caroline Ritchie), and of violinists Kinga Ujszászi and Persephone Gibbs [from whom we would hear in the first half as soloists in, respectively, (3) the first, and (5) the second and (7) third, of Biber’s Mystery Sonatas*].


In its introductory role, this was a lively rendition, but perhaps just one slight thing was lacking : in the part of the Motet that starts with the words Wohlauf, der Bräut’gam kömmt (‘Indeed, the Bridegroom [i.e. Christ] comes’), did we miss more sense of apprehension of and excitement at this mystery ? Uninterrupted (as the whole first half was) by superfluous applause, it was followed by (2) the Motet Ingressus Angelus (1607), a short a capella setting in five parts, in which St John's Voices, under Graham Walker, creditably brought out the reflectiveness of a text on The Annunciation, ready for the first, so entitled, of Biber’s Mystery Sonatas :


Amongst (3) Biber's Mystery Sonatas, No. 1 (The Annunciation) begins with a strikingly sustained pedal-note from the organ, plus, initially, the violin (before the theorbo momentarily joins them). In this first Sonata*, the violinist is not directed to tune differently from normally (E-A-D-G, unlike the ones that were performed later, where scordatura is used – please see below), and Kinga Ujszászi played with graciousness and a perfect sweetness, as well as virtuosity. (One can therefore credit the programme-note, which says that Biber was 'regarded as one of the finest violinists of his time'.)

Despite the conventional tuning here, the combination of instruments, which included Caroline Ritchie on viol, at some moments still seems pregnant (even threatening ?) – as if enacting the moment of overshadowing, by the power of the Most High, that Luke 1 : 35 talks of ? [The verse when Mary has questioned what has been announced (i.e. giving birth not only to a son (Luke 1 : 31), but also to a most remarkable one (Luke 1 : 32-33)), because she is a virgin, and the angel (Gabriel) replies.] Though, from Linda Sayce (on theorbo), there then emerged a delicate joy that, as in a round, passed to the violin, before developing into what resembled a passacaglia - with the delicacy of the lead Instrument and of its accompanying voices. At the end, these clear sounds disappeared into nothing – as if Gabriel (or the Holy Spirit ?) just vanishes**.


The next work by Michael Praetorius, (4) Übers Gebirg Maria geht (1609) [from Musae Sioniae, Part VI], is the first of two in German (rather than Latin), and sets two paragraphs (with a four-line Chorus) that deal with Mary, visiting her relative Elizabeth** [The Visitation, treated of afterwards in (5) the second of Biber’s Mystery Sonatas]. Hence the title, which refers to Mary, having to cross the mountain into Judea (although even The King James’ Version of Luke 1 : 39 only refers to ‘the hill country’).

Certainly compared with the style of (1) Wachet Auf (1607), its four-part setting is very different, and lightly metrical, as Graham Walker and St John’s Voices showed, minutely dividing the title-line into half-lines, i.e. ‘Übers Gebirg’ and ‘Maria Geht’ (as we were also to find in (6) Uns ist Ein Kindlein heut’ geborn, from the same year (and collection)).

Having the background timbre of the sackbutts and cornetts here, in the closing couplet, was lovely, expressing a mood that was both festal, and displaying the solemnity of restraint. At the end of the second paragraph, Praetorius repeats the couplet, to underline the importance of this element of fearing God, but also of looking to God for mercy and as a saviour [from the text of the Magnificat, Luke 1 : 46-55] – before the sound falls away into the acoustic :

er ist mein Heiland, fürchtet ihn,
er will allzeit barmherzig sein




In (5) No. 2 from the Mystery Sonatas, there was a different approach to and in the violin part, which (as part, again, of a well-balanced ensemble) this time was played by Persephone Gibbs (as, also, in the third / final Sonata) : straightaway, she was sounding 'full on' in a way that Kinga Ujszáski had not done, and – as if to accentuate the effect of the scordatura tuning – somehow more rounded. (The strings that, from top down, are normally tuned E-A-D-G become E-A-E-A in this scordatura tuning, so the lower two strings are both tuned up, by a whole tone, for this Sonata - each, apart from Nos 1 and the Passacaglia at the end, has its own scordatura.)

Biber gave us another circulation of melodic / rhythmic material, but seeming not to rely, now, to the same extent on virtuoso violin-writing, but on sound-painting – so, a tone of quiet jubilation in phrases and responses between the violin and Henrik Persson’s lower-pitched (bass ?) viol, perhaps representing the dialogue between Mary and Elizabeth ? We also heard the quieter sounds of the organ and theorbo, and the material more gently inflected to suit its character. Almost gigue-like, a short and more lively final section (not a movement as we would know it*) concluded this wonderfully atmospheric work.


Praetorius' (6) hymn Uns ist ein Kindlein geborn was another excellent collaboration between St John's Voices and the other performers, with a glorious opening brass chorale. As we had heard (4) in the preceding setting (Übers Gebirg Maria geht), there is a light metricality, but the choir gave emphasis to Gott mit uns ('God with us' [the meaning of Emmanuel, one of the names given to Jesus]). It appears on its own in the second line, and then, for further effect, repeated as two accented half-lines in the fourth line, making a pattern, for the whole four stanzas, that concludes more lyrically with wer will sein wider uns ? ('Who would want to be against us ?').

As Ujszászi provided a prominent melody-line for the second stanza, Graham Walker brought out the light beat of the opening of the first line, i.e. Auch ist gegeben, and showed how it makes a half-line with uns ein Sohn (the sense runs on to read 'We have also received a Son [...] From the heavenly throne'), reminding us from where the Christ-child came to Earth – so that the remaining stanzas can be in glory and praise of the crucified and risen Jesus. Another chorale of cornetts and sackbutts for the next stanza illuminated All sein Herrschaft und Majestät ('All his dominion and majesty'), and, in the final stanza, we heard the choir at a triumphant full volume. After a momentary pause – to stress the closing pair of lines one final time – so finished this joyfully resounding performance :

Gott mit uns, Gott mit uns,
wer will sein wider uns ?




(7) The Nativity, No. 3 of the Mystery Sonatas, has a slow and thoughtful introduction, which also gently serves to get us used to the new scordatura timbres of the violin (now tuned quite differently***) against those of the other players. Then, after a faster section (where the violin is slightly jarring with Caroline Ritchie's viol), another with dance-like rhythms, but they are held back, and where the principal line is brought around to show a different aspect, before a return – but not exactly to where we started.

In another faster passage, gorgeous multi-stopped miniatures from Persephone Gibbs, with a content purely heavenly and divine, and with light accents. The Nativity does not quite drop away to nothing here, but ends with a telling closing reflection, which may be on the humanity and frailty - even unto death ? - of the Christ-child. As with all of the Mystery Sonatas that we heard, this was a fine performance ! It showed, in how it was executed, that performance of the piece had been conceived (or even choreographed) as a whole.


Again, to close the first half, there was a nice match between what could be heard of the voices and the other musicians with (8) the Motet In Dulci Jubilo à 8 (1607) [from Musae Sioniae, Part II]. With the gentle sounds of Linda Sayce (on theorbo), and the gorgeous tone-colours of the Combined Conservatories Cornett and Sackbutt Ensemble, it was especially pleasing to hear this very familiar music by Praetorius at this point :

Not only in the context of his preceding works and with Advent approaching (starting on Sunday 3 December), but as he might have known it. (Rather than, say, in a modern choral arrangement at Christmas, e.g. that by Robert L. de Pearsall and familiar to us from Nine Lessons and Carols, from King’s College.)



Second half :

9. Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672) ~ Historia der Geburt Jesu Christi, SWV 435



End-notes :

* The Rosary Sonatas are also called, as in the programme for this concert, Mystery Sonatas (as well, it appears, The Copper-Engraving Sonatas - since it appears that, in MS and taken from the Lives of Christ and of The Virgin Mary, each is introduced by an appropriate engraving). With titles from the devotional practice of the Rosary, they are from the first cycle of five Sonatas, depicting 'Joyful Mysteries' (the second set of five being 'Sorrowful Mysteries, and the third 'Glorious Mysteries', plus a closing Passacaglia).

For the work's time of composition, we should not expect Sonata to mean what it does later, i.e. a work for one or two instruments, and with a distinct musical form, divided into a three- or four-movement structure – the notion of a ‘movement’ as such, at this time, may even be wholly anachronistic.


** For Mary, one imagines that the experience must have been at least ‘troubling’ (Luke 1 : 29-30), as well as not, until confirmed, seeming utterly real : for her, part of that confirmation (Luke 1 : 36-37) is her kinswoman Elizabeth becoming pregnant (the visit to see whom was the subject of the following piece by Praetorius, (4) Übers Gebirg Maria geht).

[For Mary's betrothed Joseph, as (in the second half) the libretto to Weihnachtshistorie by Heinrich Schütz makes clear, the first of several dreams (Matthew 1 : 18-21) fortunately offers him reassurance and guidance about Mary and Jesus - though this one occurs before the scope of what the work tells.]


*** The usual tuning of E-A-D-G is transformed into D-B-F#-B, which is the first of several uses of scordatura technique where all of the strings are tuned differently - the upper string is tuned down, by a whole tone, the next one up (by the same interval), and the remaining two also up (but both by two whole tones, i.e.a major third).




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Richard Brody [@tnyfrontrow] is spot on about Call Me by Your Name (2017) for The New Yorker

Tweeting about Call Me by Your Name (2017) - to which #UCFF gave scant time*...

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2017 (19 to 26 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


29 November


Some Tweeting about Call Me by Your Name (2017) - which #UCFF did not have the will to watch much of*...






Armie Hammer (Oliver) and Timothée Chalamet (Elio), after Elio has taken him on a cycle-ride to town for the bank (a town that Oliver already seems to know pretty well... ?)


End-notes :

* Walking out of the film after around 30-35 minutes was a gut feeling that it was set in its path, and one that Richard Brody's review for The New Yorker well puts, for #UCFF, into words : The elision of the characters’ mental lives renders “Call Me by Your Name” thin and empty, renders it sluggish ; the languid pace of physical action is matched by the languid pace of ideas, and the result is an enervating emptiness.







Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Jazz in Cambridge - November 2017

These are responses to some gigs at Cambridge International Jazz Festival 2017

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2017 (19 to 26 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


21 November


These are responses to some gigs at Cambridge International Jazz Festival 2017

Black Top at the Unitarian Memorial Church, Emmanuel Road - Wednesday 15 November at 7.30 p.m. :






Camilla George Quartet (supported by Cj-Pbs) at Fitzwilliam College Auditorium - Tuesday 21 November at 7.30 p.m. :






Get The Blessing at The Mumford Theatre, Anglia Ruskin University - Wednesday 22 November at 7.30 p.m. :





Trish Clowes, leading Cambridge University Jazz Orchestra at West Road Concert Hall on Friday 24 November at 7.30 p.m. :




New Generation Jazz - The Music Marathon at The Corn Exchange from 12.00 to 11.00 p.m. :







Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Music is a thing of togetherness ~ Nik Bärtsch

This is a review of At Lunch One, with Britten Sinfonia at West Road Concert Hall

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2017 (19 to 26 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


21 November

This is a review of At Lunch One, with Britten Sinfonia at West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge, on Tuesday 21 November 2017 at 1.00 p.m.


Programme :

1. Sarah Kirkland Snider ~ Pale as Centuries

2. Mark Bowler ~ Deep Green

3. Nik Bärtsch ~ Module no. 5

4. Judd Greenstein ~ City Boy

5. Bärtsch ~ 9_3_7



1. Sarah Kirkland Snider (1973-) ~ Pale as Centuries (2011)

(1) Pale as Centuries begins with what sounds like a riff, on electric guitar (James Woodrow), which, after the other instruments have made their introductions, re-enters. Flute, clarinet, piano and double-bass are all heard with varying degrees of attack in the piece, and, in time, that difference in attack passed to Woodrow, too, and – via some use of effects-pedals – some very vigorous sounds. A circular work, but one that feels obliged to end explosively (although Mark Bowler, composer of the next work on the programme, made a different choice with his OPUS2017 composition).



2. Mark Bowler (1980-) ~ Deep Green (2017)

Written for clarinet, flute and double-bass, (2) Bowler’s Deep Green, when the woodwind players are at the height of their pitch in the opening section, draws out the similarities in their timbre (with Joy Farrall on clarinet, and Thomas Hancox on flute). When Roger Linley (double-bass) starts the next one, he is playing – unusually for this instrument - sul ponticello, and leading into a passage with open chords that seemed reminiscent of Debussy (or of early Stravinsky ?). After an episode of faster writing, a deliberately drawn-out rallentando to close (after a very low note on the bass) on solo flute.



Tim Watts (pictured upper), from the Faculty of Music at University of Cambridge, hosted the post-concert event with Mark Bowler (lower) (and Nik Bärtsch – pictured below)


Asked, in the post-concert event, about whether it is fair to hear those other composers' sound in Deep Green, when his programme-note had referenced a Ligeti Etude, Bowler did not seem to engage with the question, but to state where he had quoted the source-material to which he was alluding : co-curator Nick Bärtsch commented that he liked the exchange for showing the contrast between what the composer wants to point to as in and influencing the piece, and what the listener may otherwise hear in it...



3. Nik Bärtsch ~ Modul 5



Nik Bärtsch seemed to be referring to (3) Modul 5 in the post-concert talk (with Mark Bowler and Tim Watts - pictured above), appearing to say that he had been playing the piece for ten to fifteen years before learning how to realize it in, and play it in, public : did this fit with his comments about the use of prepared piano, and with one's having wanted to ask – if there were such a thing ? – whether this had been ‘a typical performance’ ? It felt as if (as with the famous Cologne concert of Jarrett, and another case of the piano that one arrived to find at the venue and ended up having to play) it might have begun in improvisation…

Whatever quite this work is, it begins in fascinating analogue sound-manipulation, and – exploiting the semi-tone – with over-tones and bell-like fringe-effects. As, though, its sound-palette broadened, one’s attention luxuriated in the assurance of, as Bärtsch described afterwards, the piece being presented to us at its best*, and stopped concentrating on exactly what sound one was hearing (or the mechanics of its production - as one did when Maggie Cole performed Ligeti's Continuum (1923-2006)), and very glad that this work – which was not included in the printed one – had been part of the programme.



4. Judd Greenstein (1979) ~ City Boy (2010)

Scored for the quintet of Instruments, and - after Quiet City (1939), and despite an ostentatious ostinato on electric guitar - not implausibly referencing a near-mid-twentieth-century American tradition, (4) City Boy sounds quite Coplanesque : when one looks to form, and beyond the actual individual Instruments, bass and guitar stand, in a way, for the typical harmonic lines of a symphony orchestra.

Initially, in the second section, there is a ‘jazzed-up’ treatment, and, when those elements recur, they just subside : hence the composer’s programme-note to the effect that, with the work’s rapid movement from idea to idea, relatively – fans of Zappa, Brittelle, Babbitt, or Brian Wilson will be disappointed. When we hear the original material on Woodrow’s guitar, it is via the effects-pedal-mediated world of reverberation and distortion. At a signal, and after Copland-like rain-drop effects on flute (whilst the piano has the ostinato), the players all come off together.



5. Bärtsch ~ 9_3_7 (2017)

Maybe (5) 9_3_7 seemed like a punked-up (?) iteration of what preceded it, to which Bärtsch was explicitly responding. He employed some interesting writing for the bass versions of the standard orchestral clarinet and flute, which were also less aurally ‘defined’ than the bass or the guitar. To his own part, Bärtsch brought both jazzy intonations and intelligence in deploying the sound of the held piano notes. Ending, after a slow introduction, with a slow, fumry?? coda, he used the space to work over the four-note motif (with its longer, final note).


Introducing works from the stage, as well as talking afterwards, Nik Bärtsch had been at pains to say how the works had been programmed, including leading to the choice of Mark Bowler's piece as the OPUS2017 award-winner : Britten Sinfonia (@BrittenSinfonia) is, of course, renowned for its novel and thoughtful approach to programming, and here, in works that (in two cases) one could only have heard before by being at Wigmore Hall (@wigmore_hall) on the preceding Friday, was a set of pieces where they 'talked to each other' and had their place, and quite apart from the customary exemplary playing (the hard work that goes into which we should never take for granted) !


End-notes

* Bärtsch told us that he has heard the notated work played twice by two other pianists and not – he did not use this word – related to it, and thereby throws up the larger question – before there was an established performance-practice (unless that was through Ralph Kirkpatrick's monograph, or in the encores of Vladimir Horowitz ?) – how, say, we know what Domenico Scarlatti’s sonatas do, or should, sound like, i.e. from where do we now derive what we think is how Scarlatti played (or heard his royal pupil play) these pieces ?

Relatedly, if Leon McCawley plays, for example, the whole of a set of Rachmaninov Preludes (Opus 32) in the chapel at King's College (@ConcertsatKings) – or Joanna MacGregor a set of four Chopin Nocturnes at The Fitzwilliam Museum (@FitzMuseum_UK) - we know [what] ‘the famous one(s)’ ['are meant to' sound like] (with which no pianist can thus take many liberties), but how do we relate to the surrounding compositions, which may - despite such family-groups - very much feel like strangers to us ?




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov at Tate Modern : Some Tweets


More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2017 (19 to 26 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


4 November

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov at Tate Modern : Some Tweets about
Not Everyone Will Be Taken Into the Future



As in the #CamFF-screened documentary The Desert of Forbidden Art (2010) [at Cambridge Film Festival in 2010 (?)], those who made and / or concealed non-Soviet-Realist art in the USSR de facto 'got away with' it, and so tend to underplay telling how it was done : it largely seems to take the form of avoiding activity in the metropolitan centres. (At the time of first viewing the exhibition, many of one's fellow visitors clearly had Eastern European accents, and could be heard, seeming to question what they were being told about the USSR by the exhibits and / or its curation.)


We are told by the exhibition¹ that Ilya Kabakov drove for an hour to get to his studio, and is that all that it took (and sharing only with friends – in an era of denunciations) ? As in Barbara (2012) (set in East Germany – or, likewise, The Lives of Others (2006)), do authorities such as the Stasi then either seem too trusting to have been as harsh and cruel as we know that they were, or the subterfuges adopted to deceive them too naive to work ? [Actually, one must correct oneself, on having re-visited the exhibition (on 25 November 2017) : that element of driving an hour to an attic is from the fictional (wholly so ?) biographical narrative that is part of Objects of His Life (2005), but, in works that patently transmute and translate real and fictional stories, who cannot be forgiven, if the artist succeeds in implanting something, as if it were so, from the imagined creator of what is exhibited² in Objects of His Life... ?]





Detail of one part of The Coral Reef (2000)





An accreting list of useful reading (by order of title) :

* Asya ~ Michael Ignatieff

* Bricks to Babel ~ Arthur Koestler

* Darkness at Noon ~ Arthur Koestler

* Der Verschollene (Amerika) ~ Franz Kafka

* Martin Kippenberger ~ ed. Doris Krystof and Jessica Morgan (with Susanne Kippenberger and Gregory Williams) (Tate Modern, London : Exhibition Catalogues)

* Mira Schendel ~ Tanya Barson (Tate Modern, London : Exhibition Catalogues)







End-notes :

¹ The life that was the real Franz Kafka's springs to mind, as against what the mental combination of a text such as 'The Judgment' ('Das Urteil') with a perhaps never-delivered 'Letter to my Father' ('Brief an den Vater') might make one believe about the father-and-son relationship (and then there is Alan Bennett, with Kafka's Dick...)

² Loosely exhibited, in that everything that is strung from the ceiling in this installation has a label attached that (at goodness knows what effort³) is parallel to the plane of the viewer : except that the inaccessible inner space that has been realized extends back seven or more feet, and so few captions can be read at the distances involved (which are not, anyway, descriptions of 'the object' - e.g. a piece of polystyrene wrapping, or the lid of a disposable coffee-cup ?). Yet, unlike the work (seen in other Tate exhibitions) of Francis Alÿs, or of Alighiero Boetti, Kabakov often seems quite serious, and not trying to play with several layers of meaning multiply and simultaneously.

³ As with Labyrinth (My Mother's Album), one dare not imagine the work involved. (Then again, with fourteen rooms of works by Paul Klee, the transport, insurance and other costs must be huge.)




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

The only thing that I can think of that's close to Justice

This is an accreting series of responses to The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2017 (19 to 26 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


3 November


This is an accreting series of responses to The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)




Yorgos Lanthimos and his co-writer Efthymis Filippou love presenting universes where x obtains (or x and y do = given..., find a value for...), and that just is so : in The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017), they have surpassed the self-imposed and serial strictures of The Lobster (2015), but, in these English-language films, they have barely caught up with the power of Alpeis (Alps) (2011)...









Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Why 'psychiatric challenges' (or 'nervous breakdowns') are just like chucking your mobile down the hall...

A series of Tweets and links to other #UCFF postings on Blogger on Madness

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2017 (19 to 26 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


1 November

A series of Tweets and links to other #UCFF postings on Blogger on Madness


Prologue :









Which, maybe neatly, brings us to 'Psychosis' :

Does 'psychosis' really mean much more than I, as your 'nearest relative' (or other family member, etc.) or employer or doctor, etc., don't think that you should think what you think ?








[...]




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

#UCFF's quick Tweet-style guide to MPs, being employees, and conduct when drunk, etc., etc.

#UCFF's quick Tweet-style guide to MPs asemployees, conduct when drunk, etc., etc.

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2017 (19 to 26 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


1 November


#UCFF's quick Tweet-style guide to MPs, being employees, and conduct when drunk, etc., etc.









Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

We’ll soon warm it up and get it feeling like a home - Pandora’s box, with a twist or two… (work in progress)

This is a response to Hellraiser (1987), shown on 35mm at The Arts Picturehouse,

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2017 (19 to 26 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


31 October

This is a response (work in progress) to Hellraiser (1987), shown on 35mm at The Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge (CamPicturehouse), on Tuesday 31 October 2017 at 10.30 p.m.


Hellraiser (1987) was released thirty years ago, so this was a pretty impressive 35mm print from which it was projected at The Arts Picturehouse (CamPicturehouse) – photography, even when it is with moving images (cinematography), not still ones, remains about how light falls on the subject :




Some sundry observations (an accreting list) :

* Ten years before Event Horizon (1997), the same pre-occupations with pleasure mixed with pain, and with oblivion : Julia (Clare Higgins), whose nature we know rather better by the time that she brings the first man (Anthony Allen) back to no. 55, probably does not belie the truth when she explains the room to which she has led him with I’ve always preferred the floor

* As to knowing natures better, it has been suggested, of Shakespeare’s The Rape of Lucrece , that Tarquinus Sextus (the rapist) and Collatine (the husband) are aspects of the same person : never was a truer word spoken of Larry (Andrew Robinson) and Frank (Sean Chapman)

* This is sure some stylish various on Rubik's Cube (first seen in 1974)...


Needless to say, we dare not show a real Lemarchand's box


* Jane Wildgoose, credited as ‘Cenobite Costumer Designer’, is clearly channelling less fetishwear than queer fashion and gender fluidity (before it was so called)



* Are there not also more than little hints, here, of Doctor Who, or Sir Gawayn and The Green Knight... ?

[...]




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Spank me ! (work in progress)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2017 (19 to 26 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


31 October

This a spoilery, post-Freudian, would-be LGBTQ+-informed consideration (work in progress) of what is sub-textual in Etage X (2016) - here is a link to the non-spoilery account ['What happens on the inside of transgressions...']



Some assertions / assumptions (which are probably in inferential order) :

1. As with – in conventional terms – ‘going through’ a man’s pockets (and so his not being pleased, and saying so by questioningly using these words), a hand-bag denotes a private, inner sort of space that one ought not look into (and, although security personnel do, they will ask if one minds their opening it / one’s taking the contents out, etc.)

2. Of a kind, the hand-bag and the [trouser or jacket] pockets are both receptacles (maybe the hand-bag more obviously so* ?) on the level of the personal – do the receptacle and its contents feel inviolate or sacrosanct to the one to whom they belong (more so than one's unlocked desk-drawer ?) by virtue of the nature of the latter... ?

3. Dentists (and doctors) put things in our mouth – with our permission, and then may reassure us that they can and should continue (i.e. do they, formally, act to seek a renewal of the permission ?), even if we react badly to it and / or what they are doing is painful

4. Of all sorts of objects (a tunnel, for example), we talk of their having ‘a mouth’ – so, Pour it carefully into the mouth of the bottle - and this includes a bag : Please open the mouth of the bag more widely




[...]


End-notes

* However, in German, eine Tasche is a pocket, and eine Handtasche a hand-bag (or a purse)… [And it goes on, with ein Taschentuch being Tuch (‘cloth’) + Taschen (‘pockets’, a seeming plural for an item that can only occupy one pocket) - a little as in English, except that we keep with hand, and not pocket).]



inner

An agreed or negotiated transgression of the norms, acceptable because invisible, but still – even if pleasurably – to be punished.




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Monday, 30 October 2017

At Cambridge Drawing Society : Some that caught the eye - and looked likely to linger on longer looking

Cambridge Drawing Society : What caught the eye* - and would linger much longer

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2017 (19 to 26 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


28 October


At Cambridge Drawing Society : Some that caught the eye* - and looked likely to linger on longer looking




In (except in one case) order of finding (the names of artists new to #UCFF's active consciousness are underlined - those are not links, whereas CDS, after a name, should take you - where one exists - to that member's entry in the list of members) :


* Valerie Pettifer CDS ~ Heavenly Vision (£350) [archive images at Present show at The Tavern Gallery, Meldreth : Royston Arts Society]

* Andy Dakin CDS ~ Lisa, Unportrait (540) + [hung elsewhere] Emily III (£320)

* Louise Riley-Smith CDS ~ Teacup (£295)

* Yuxin Yang CDS ~ Hills Road, Impression (£90)

* Dan Walmsley CDS ~ Daymer Bay, Cornwall (£450)

* Lyudmila Sikhosana ~ Dusk at the Meadow (£280)

* Francesca Gagni CDS ~ Stardust II (£325)

* Sue Eaton CDS ~ Inky Waters (£290)

* Yvonne Jerrold CDS ~ Zoe (£285)

* Cathy Parker CDS ~ Vineyard II (£290)

* Melanie Collins ~ Earth (£300)

* Surinder Beerh ~ Boat Yard (£150)

* Lee Browne ~ Summer, Waresley Wood (£95)

* Svetlana Baibekova ~ Composition I (£125) [archive images at Svetlana steals the show]



End-notes :

* For once, not a list with thirteen items... However, three or four titles that have a comma ?




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)