Saturday, December 29, 2012

Michael Haneke's "Amour" at Landmark Theatres: Dec 21 - Mar 14

Finally opening at the Landmarks! Michael Haneke's Cannes Palme d'Or winning newest, "Amour" arrives in theaters some 7 months after it's premier. This film being notable for not only winning the most prestigious award in Global Cinema, but that win making Haneke one of history's few multiple-winners, putting him in the exclusive company of Shohei Imamura, Alf Sjöberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Bille August, Emir Kusturica and the Dardenne Brothers. The September issue of Film Comment featuring a particularly powerful plumbing of the creative urge, life, history and the will to live, with the film's lead Jean-Louis Trintignant, and another interview with him the following month for the New York Times. The interviews describing not only the rigor that Haneke has become known for, but also a deeper empathy and consideration of the character's tribulations, even of the subject matter itself. If these two articles aren't sufficient catalysts in inspiring you to brave the film (ha), there's always the critical outpouring it's met with in the pages of the New York Times from Manohla Dargis & A.O. Scott, Catherine Wheatley for Sight & Sound, Peter Bradshaw for the Guardian UK, James Quandt in the pages of Artforum and Robert Koehler for Film Comment. Just to name a few of the many won over by the depth, power and sincerity of it's casting a unflinching gaze on a subject from which many of us would prefer to avert our eyes and mind.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Thrones, House of Low Culture, Mamiffer, Dead in the Dirt, Earth & SUNN O)))
- West Coast Tours: Dec 1 & 14 - 20

The west coast finally plays host to a couple of quality tours from the fringes of Doom, Drone and Experimental Metal! Beginning tonight at the Highline with a night of heavy sounds from Earth and Melvins bassist Joe Preston, as Thrones along with Hydra Head Records main man, Aaron Turner and his Mamiffer and House of Low Culture projects - the latter including SUNN O)))'s Stephen O'Malley and Luke Scarola of Old Man Gloom. Opening the night's bill, are Seattle's own dynamically heavy three-piece, Great Falls. If like me you've been bemoaning the lack of quality Metal tours coming through this city in the past year, well, December - often the most culturally desolate month of the year - is going to deliver. Deliver in even bigger ways come the 16th when the genre's premier practitioners, the aforementioned SUNN O))) play the Neptune Theatre along with Dylan Carlson's seminal low-end heavy rockers, Earth. O'Malley has been in overdrive this past year with solo and collaborative works, touring internationally and of great historical, cultural import, establishing his Recollections GRM imprint. Having already released some of the most significant works of Early Electronic Music from the French studio INA-GRM such those by it's founder Pierre Schaeffer and Italian visionary Bernard Parmegiani. That in the midst of this all O'Malley still tours/performs with his main collaborative vehicle, amazes. It's been a good few years since I saw them last, so this is going to be overdue tectonic onslaught, for which I've accumulated pretty massive anticipation. That 2007 Halloween Northwest show/tour wherein they played a secret 'enhanced' performance in Olympia, has yet to be matched. That period also contains what for me, are their greatest recorded works to date, "Black One" and the oddly magisterial "Monoliths & Dimensions" explored to the core of their depths in this 2009 interview for The Wire featuring Mayhem's vocal leviathan Attila Csihar, electronic/noise contributions from John Wiese, Seattle electric violin maestro Eyvind Kang and Australia's foremost experimental guitarist, Oren Ambarchi.
Photo credit: Frédéric Minne