Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sion Sono's new Film "Love Exposure" UK Release & New York Screening

Time to break out those All-Region DVD players! Sion Sono's most recent get's a British release and a New York
screening thanks to the Japan Society this summer/fall! Near-impossible for me to give a proper synopsis of this
one, it's truly a cinema experience like no other. Which I realize, immediately sounds hyperbolic, but "Love
Exposure" is that rare film that lives up to the 'incomparable' tag. Part Boy/Girl love story, part Catholic inverse
-moral play ("I Need To Sin!"), part Tokyo Yakuza/ Japanese Religious Cult underworld tale, part modern-day
(Panty-Shot) Grail Quest, part an exploration of the extremities and diversity of the definitions of Love itself (in
all it's forms, both 'healthy' and NOT). As the film progresses and all these elements converge ...and they do,
it's in ways initially comedic and pulp-like (think Manga, Japanese Anime High School dramas) and later as
a EPIC and deeply, deeply effecting Tragedy. ...But even all of that doesn't really do "Love Exposure" justice.

Review from the January issue of Sight & Sound: "It's almost impossible to imagine that a over four-hour-long film
featuring castration, transvestism, religious cults and catholic guilt complexes originating from Japan could be so
darn passionate, so uplifting, so edge-of-the-seat engaging and entertaining. A one-off, indescribable experience"
--Jasper Sharp (Midnight Eye), 2010.

Link to official "Love Exposure" site

Link to Japan Society's "Love Exposure" New York Screening

Link to Third Window Films UK release of "Love Exposure"

Saturday, January 2, 2010

:::: FILMS OF 2009 ::::


Terrence Malick "The New World" Extended Cut - Rerelease (United States)
Nicolas Winding-Refn "Valhalla Rising" (Finland)
Nuri Bilge Ceylan "Three Monkeys" (Turkey)
Michael Haneke "The White Ribbon" (Austria)
Claire Denis "35 Shots of Rum" (France)
Jim Jarmusch "Limits of Control" (United States)
Kiyoshi Kurosawa "Tokyo Sonata" (Japan)
Steve McQueen "Hunger" (United Kingdom)
Ulrich Seidl "Import / Export" (Austria)
Jia Zhang-Ke "24 City" (China)
Laurent Cantet "The Class" (France)
Anders Østergaard "Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country" (Denmark)
Matteo Garrone "Gomorra" - (seen together with the film below) (Italy):
Paolo Sorrentino "Il Divo" - (as a double-bill socio-political portrait)

Though not consistent enough to warrant whole-hearted inclusion in the list
above, these two films are deserving of a notable mention. Distinct for both
their adherence and total defiance of both the director's known work and content
they both, in distinctively differing ways brought to modern narrative storytelling
and reinvented what we should expect from these directors (one the mischievous imp
of European cinema, the other a rare creative young voice in Hollywood, who somehow
was once again given a budget by the industry to realize one of his visions) and
brought the audience along on absurd, mind-bending, twisted, fantastical rides:

Lars Von Trier "Antichrist" (Denmark)
Richard Kelly "The Box" (United States)

Again this year, the unseen films by a few directors of note that never made it over
here distributed stateside. I suspect a number of these would have made the list, if
I actually had a chance to see them:

Lav Diaz "Melancholia" (Philippines)
Jacques Audiard "A Prophet" (France/Italy)
Sion Sono "Love Exposure" (Japan)
Tsai Ming-Liang "Visage" (Taiwan)
Gaspar Noe "Enter the Void" (France)
Claire Denis "White Material" (France)
Corneliu Porumboiu "Police, Adjective" (Romania)
Bong Joon-Ho "Mother" (South Korea)
Pen-Ek Ratanaruang "Nymph" (Thailand)
Brillante Mendoza "Kinatay" (Philipines)

Respect and appreciation (again!) go out to the Northwest Film Forum and SIFF (both
the festival and the theatre) for bringing many of these to the states, and making
Seattle one of the major cities in the country for catching the best in global film as
an aspect of our urban cultural experience!

:::: ALBUMS OF 2009 ::::


Leyland Kirby "Sadly, the Future is No Longer What it Was" (HAFTW)
V/A "Open Strings: 1920's Middle Eastern Virtuoso Recordings" (Honest Jon's)
Iannis Xenakis "Orchestral Works" - Box Set (Timpani)
Thomas Köner "La Barca" (Fario)
SoiSong "qXn94" (Soisong)
Black Dice "Repo" (Paw Tracks)
Mountains "Choral" (Thrill Jockey)
Hildur Gudnadottir "Without Sinking" (Touch)
Alva Noto/Ryuichi Sakamoto "Utp_" (Raster-Noton)
Jim O'Rourke "I'm Happy & I'm Singing..." - Rerelease (Mego)
Broadcast & The Focus Group "Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age" (Warp)
Nadja "When I See the Sun Always Shines on TV" (End)
Bohren & Der Club of Gore "Dolores" (PIAS)
Black to Comm "Alphabet 1968" (Type)
Sunn O))) "Monoliths & Dimensions" (Southern Lord)
Kreng "L'Autopsie Phenomenale De Dieu" (Miasmah)
Max Richter "Waltz with Bashir - Soundtrack" (Virgin France)

Continuing from the films list above... like cinema, the year in sounds
there was the curious repeat theme; 2009 was again a year for diggers.
Wherein, many of the great recordings of the year appeared from otherwise
unknown origins and artists that some years ago were just establishing
themselves, often under other monikers. That much more reason to 'keep
the ears to the ground' as it were and be that much more looking out for
the new and unheard.

Overall again, this was another pretty darn explorative year in sound.
There were many works that took the ears to exciting places, (some, from
new totally unknown sources) that did so in distinct, expressive and
adventurous ways. In particular appearing again in the strange crossroads
where Modern Classical, Musique Concrete, Improv, Metal, 'Noise', Ambient
and academic Avant traditions all meet. Some of these were even witnessed
out in the world in a 3rd Dimension kind of way, performed live, loud and vital.


Frank Breatschnieder - Decibel Festival, Seattle
Mountains - Decibel Festival, Seattle
Benga - Decibel Festival, Seattle
Echospace - Decibel Festival, Seattle

As an aside, once again this year Dubstep & Hip Hop filled in as my musical
candy/junkfood of choice, offering a less 'nutritional' but highly flavorful
counter to the more brainy culinary type sounds listed above - and an ideal
soundtrack to public trekking/transportation in the urban 'scape:

King Midas Sound "Waiting For You" (Hyperdub)
Anti-Pop Consortium "Fluorescent Black" (Big DaDa)
V/A "5: Five Years of Hyperdub" (Hyperdub)
Goth-Trad "Law/The Clown" (Deep Medi)
King Midas Sound/Flying Lotus "Cool Out" (Hyperdub)