Sunday, December 6, 2015

Jacques Rivette's "OUT 1: Noli Me Tangere" at SIFF Cinema: Jan 8 - 13

Next month SIFF Cinema will feature one of the rarest screenings of the past 40 years, including a marathon presentation on January 13th! Those who live in New York were privileged to the premier of this new restoration of "Jacques Rivette’s 1971 Film, ‘Out 1: Noli Me Tangere’" as part of BAMcinématek's two-week engagement this past November. The Guardian's review, "Out 1: Noli Me Tangere: 13-Hour Art Film is a 'Buff's Ultimate Challenge" not only noting the film's scarcity, but the challenges of it's duration and narrative experimentation. This nearly 13-hour work has stood for decades as a kind of filmic holy grail. A cinematic soak both sprawling and intimate, which has been almost impossible to view in the more than 40 years since its ill-fated release in 1971. In testing the porousness of the border between narrative and experimental film, and sporadically injecting the work with galvanic shocks along the way, Rivette’s monstrous cinema experiment delivers an experience that is satisfying in-part for precisely the reason it is thoroughly exhausting. This duration-oriented film experiment by an artist without whom there'd likely be no David Lynch or Charlie Kaufman, the operator in the shadows of the French New Wave, Jacques Rivette. Best known in English speaking cultural spheres for his dreamy, non-sequitur, political, feminist, "Celine and Julie Go Boating" along with "Le Pont du Nord" of a decade later, which has seen a lot of press in the subsequent year since the rerelease of a new restored print in theaters, like that of Max Nelson's "Rep Diary: Le Pont du Nord" for Film Comment. The parallels between Rivette and Lynch's work made explicit in Dennis Lim's "A Winding Trip Reverberates in Cinema" and the rediscovery off his film seen as a path forward for all of contemporary cinema in David Thomson's "Come and See" in the pages of Sight & Sound.

For many cineastes though, certainly fans of the New Wave, Rivette's "OUT 1: Noli Me Tangere" has always been THE holy grail. A nearly thirteen hour loose adaptation of Honoré de Balzac’s "L'Histoire des Treize" from his "La Comédie Humaine", one like "Celine and Julie Go Boating" and "Le Pont du Nord", the film centers on Rivette's central obsessions; conspiracy, community, theater, games, multiple personifications, illusion and madness. The extended duration, oblique themes and non-linear dreamlike construction no doubt working against it's larger release, even in the more conducive cultural/cinema environs of the early 1970's. So much so that "OUT 1: Noli me Tangere" has been screened in it's totality on so few occasions, that they previously could be counted on two hands. When French television turned down the complete thirteen hour version, Rivette created a four hour reconstruction, "OUT 1: Spectre" which focuses more intensively on the intertwining tales of the two featured rival theater companies and central mysterious Cabal. Literally one of the only chances to see it that decade, (on home video, online, in the theater, or otherwise), this shorter reconstructed version screened at Northwest Film Forum as part of their "Lighter Than Air: The Films of Jacques Rivette" retrospective in 2007. The mythic, ultra-obscure, 'unviewable' status of this rare, significant work in the totality of the New Wave, will end for most viewers in January with Kino Lorber's deluxe box set release of "OUT 1: Noli Me Tangere".

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Kiasmos' new EP "Swept" & West Coast Tour: Dec 8 - 12

The 2007 launch of Robert Raths label Erased Tapes began auspiciously enough with several incendiary debuts by the likes of Rival Consoles and Codes In The Clouds. Within a year the imprint had become home to the growing electronic neoclassical and contemporary chamber music culture shepherded by Ólafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm. The two artists supplying the label's breakout albums, "And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness" and "Felt", bringing a new global audience to their grandiose, unabashedly sentimental evocations of life in a temporal world, the beauty of nature and mortality's inevitability, themes touched on in "Escaping the Darkness: An Ólafur Arnalds Interview". More than just the strength of it's releases, the label became known for it's attention to acoustic and production process, as detailed in The Quietus, "The Listener is the Key: The Nils Frahm Interview". Further distinguished by a defined visual aesthetic with a special focus on psychical packaging and design, realized in collaborations with FELD, Supermundane and Gregory Euclide. It's been a year of collaborations for the label's Ólafur Arnalds. 2015 saw the release of his rendition of Chopin sonatas and etudes with Alice Sara Ott herself an established pianist of the repertoire of Liszt, Beethoven and Mussorgsky for Deutsche Grammophon. In their realization of the material, Ott and Arnalds' "The Chopin Project" sourced vintage instruments from various locations around Reykjavik, and selected spaces with distinguished acoustic character as the venues of performance. With the placement of mics accentuating these characteristics, lending the recordings their natural ambiance. Nils Frahm returned again as a regular sounding board and fellow improviser, their deeply intuitive dialog heard on the Decibel Festival night at the Nordstrom Recital Hall from their shared tour in 2013. "Trance Friends" describes a meeting at Frahm's Durton Studio in Berlin, wherein the two improvise throughout the night, documented over the course of 8 hours with no overdubs and no edits, as part of the assembled "Collaborative Works". Next week sees the first Seattle performance of Arnalds' project that strays the farthest from his neoclassical center. Over the course of a full length album "Kiasmos" and two EPs, "Swept" and "Looped" the year and a half of activity from his Kiasmos project with Byrta's Janus Rasmussen, has produced a sweeping, cinematic body of ambient techno that's as much spacial as it is propulsive. Their methodology taking on an equal dualistic quality. Divided between two studios, the two musicians describe a back-and-forth between hardware and software, the precision of digital and the slippery alignmnets of analog, detailed in Headphone Commute's "In the Studio with Kiasmos".