Sunday, March 27, 2011

"Patricio Guzman's Chile" series at Northwest Film Forum : Apr 1 - 7

Patricio Guzman's "Nostalgia for the Light" a philosophical investigation (rather than a straight 'documentary') connecting the farthest reaches of the Cosmos, the Astronomical Observatory at Atacama, the Desert itself, Salvadore Allende's Socialist Revolution and the following nightmares of Pinochet's dictatorship in Chile. Made many, many 'Films of 2010' lists from notable sources, (Sight & Sound, Film Comment, Cineaste) expecting something pretty richly contemplative and exceptional here. Along with the intensely investigative (and rarely seen) documentary in 3 parts, "The Battle for Chile". From the Northwest Film Forum: "Veteran Chilean director Patricio Guzmán continues to find new and extraordinary ways to never forget the harsh brutality of the Pinochet regime. Using the vast Atacama Desert, its astronomical musings and its archeological and anthropologically pristine treasures as the latest entry, Guzman’s Nostalgia offers up the most varied discussion of Chile’s haunted past yet. While astronomers at the nation’s finest observatories examine distant galaxies in search of probable extraterrestrial life, at the foot of the observatories, the women of Calama are digging through the desert soil in search of their disappeared relatives. A blend of science, philosophy, and politics, this urgent documentary is about the act of looking, which after all is the foundation of cinema."

Link to NWFF "Nostalgia for the Light" site

Link to NWFF "Patricio Guzman's Chile" site

Sunday, March 13, 2011

How 'Fixing Everything' Will Break the Universe: Parallel Realities, Probability Engines
& Family Values in Jonathan Hickman's Fantastic Four

Having found at the Emerald City ComiCon the last remaining issues of Jonathan Hickman's Jack Kirby-loving, time hopping, multiple-universe, science/ethics/society/family? tale that is his run on Fantastic Four I finally got to do the last of the reading. And boy-golly, what we have here is a piece of fiction that not only pays homage to the traditions withing comic/pulp writing, but knows it's contemporary literature and cinema enough to inherit their best qualities and discard the soul-less sensationalism and bombast of our times. Somehow, he's crafted a 'family' tale that crosses generations, worlds, eras, realities, time, potentiality, and the cosmos ...ha, what comes to mind for me is Terrance Malick. Yeah, really. This thing may very well end up being the "Tree of Life" for the Marvel Universe. For me, as a guy who's not given a damn about most anything published by Marvel since Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men of some years ago, this imagining by Hickman of Marvel's 'World's Greatest Comics Magazine' seriously comes as a nice surprise.

Link to Marvel Comics Jonathan Hickman "Fantastic Four" - Vol.1

Link to Marvel Comics Jonathan Hickman "Fantastic Four" - Vol.2

Link to Marvel Comics Jonathan Hickman "Fantastic Four" - Vol.3

Link to Marvel Comics Jonathan Hickman "Fantastic Four" - Vol.4

Jonathan Hickman, who went straight from political indie comics like "Nightly News" is now writing a lengthy, multilayered, cross-time tale that begins with a probability engine called The Bridge created by Reed Richards that samples from various parallel universes, outcomes different from our own, designing at getting at compiling a 'ideal' reality (read; imminent disaster). ...after which, it then goes all cosmic. The only real criticism here is that the book was far from needing the gimmick that Marvel chose to conclude the first chapter of the many-year tale with. For such an inventive, sincere adventurous penning of a long standing comic book franchise, to end the chapter with the most-cliche-of-the-cliche, was confounding. I'm holding out hope that Hickman's going to go all pseudo-meta on us with this and reveal later some reversal of the expected that's a smart wink-wink/nudge-nudge as the traditions of this storytelling cliche and resolve it in ways totally unread/seen for the form. The book is that good, and deserves as much. Don't give a damn about comics? Unfortunate, because you're missing out on the rare exceptional storytelling reinvention of the pulp form like this and some of the better explorations of 'high concepts' to be had in all of sci-fi.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Nick Cave's "Meet Me at the Center of the Earth" Exhibit & Performances at SAM
: Mar 10 - Jun 5

Visual/performance artist Nick Cave's Soundsuits finally arrive in Seattle as a full exhibit at SAM! A mindboggling composite of household, clothing arts, organic and post-consumer waste objects into total EXTRATERRESTRIAL bright, bold, surreal, assemblages of anthropomorphic forms. Seriously, it's as though peoples from another world thought to create 'clothes' as to better fit in with the populace here on earth. These are vibrant, aural, textural, otherworldly constructs by this US performance artist where the 'Sound' aspect of the 'Soundsuits', was a unexpected bi-product discovered in his wearing/performing in the early incarnation of these pieces. Finally here for a complete exhibit after showing at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco in 2009 to stellar reviews. We got a smaller exhibit of his work at SAM last year (4 pieces) but this is now the complete 'Meet Me at the Center of the Earth' exhibit. Have I said 'Finally!' enough?

Link to official Nick Cave site

Link to SAM "Meet Me at the Center of the Earth" Nick Cave exhibit site