"When you're with someone, it's like a mirror."
Dir: Michael Almereyda
Prod: Michael Almereyda, Robin O'hara, Bob Gosse
Starring: Barry Del Sherman, Isabel Gillies, Bob Gosse, Elina Löwensohn, Paula Malcomson
Since it's available nowhere else - online or off - I've uploaded a rip of my VHS of Another Girl Another Planet from director Michael Almereyda. I picked this up in an Aberdeen Global Video bargain bin back around 2004 and watched multiple times. The ghostly image and quote of praise from David Lynch on the front of the box was all it took.
The film is a dreamy, conversational drama about Bill and what he learns through a succession of women in his life who have all been touched in some form by the death of another. Starting with its feet planted in New York indie realism, it moves step-by-step into more surreal territory. Most remarkable for being shot on a Fisher-Price PXL toy camera, it also succeeds through immersive use of sound and music, and absorbing dialogue that manages to mostly skirt pretension despite concerning itself with lofty themes of spirituality and death. Seeing it again now, for the first time in 8-or-so years, it still holds up. Apologies for the less-than-perfect quality of the copy, but it's an old VHS player dealing with an old VHS and couldn't be helped. Call it extra texture.
"I have the feeling Michael Almereyda is one of the best American New Wave directors" - David Lynch
From the box blurb:
"Filmed entirely on a Fisher-Price PXL 2000 toy camera Another Girl, Another Planet goes way beyond most uses of this camera and hits its mark in the impressive form of a full-blown feature film. Almereyda (of recent HAMLET and past NADJA and TWISTER fame) has virtually always included the use of the Pixel camera in his films, but this was his first time committing to it exclusively.
Using a clearly defined narrative form and excellent scripting, director Michael Almereyda has enticed superb performances from the whole cast. The striking almost ghostlike visuals created by Pixelvision only enhance the films dreamlike atmosphere. The simple but richly crafted story concerns the relationship between East Village neighbours: Nick, anxious and married, and Bill, whose life appears to be a constant stream of encounters with strange females. The ghostly monochrome results work best on an intimate scale, giving Almereyda's Lower East Side drama a dreamy intensity as it's boho participants float through a late night haze of romantic pessimism and aching longing." (Trevor Johnston, Time Out)
Copyright seems to be held by Nabu Productions, but a US Copyright Office search found no record. If anyone with an interest wants me to take it down, I'll happily do so. I just think it needs to be seen and there is no current or expected release.
An analysis of Iranian cinema and it's relationship to poetry, looking particularly at the connections between Mohsen Makhmalbaf's A Moment of Innocence and Rumi's poetry on the nature of reality and human perception
When film critics outside of Iran reacted to the new wave of Iranian cinema produced after the 1979 Islamic revolution, they often attributed the distinctive poetic realism of Iranian cinema, expressed through codified imagery and allegorical stories, to the requirement to circumvent the varying censorship regulations of the post-1979 Islamic theocracy. Gilles Jacob, director of the Cannes Film Festival:
"...artistic revolution often takes place in those countries weighed down by restrictions, where artists are not free. Art is often born from constraint. On the other hand, when liberty is rediscovered, there is sometimes a diminution in quality because choice becomes immense, posing new problems."
From the Iranian perspective, however, the foreign critics had arrived late and their lack of long-term historical perspective resulted in an exaggerated concentration on the effects of the state censorship. Although the effect of censorship and state control on shaping Iranian cinema is not to be ignored, the forces of poetic and cultural heritage largely formed the Iranian cinematic identity and contextualising Iranian cinema as 'art born from constraint' is to paint an art-form that organically evolved from a poetic inheritance as myopic.
The Passion of Joan of Arc is a remarkable classic of the silent era by the Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer, depicting the trial and execution of Joan of Arc at the hands of the English. The film is frequently listed today as one of the greatest ever made, but has suffered numerous spates of bad luck in its lifetime and come perilously close to the dustbin of history.
Dreyer's version was the eighth attempt to film the story of Joan of Arc, but was far from a simple retread of the well-known story. Dreyer believed that the key to a film depicting the dreadful fate of Joan of Arc was to be found in humanising the deified through realism, immersive dimensionality in composition and an honest conveyance of emotion. As Dreyer himself explains:
“All of these pictures express the character of the person they show and the spirit of that time. In order to give the truth, I dispensed with ‘beautification’. My actors were not allowed to touch make-up and powder puffs and, from the first to the last scene, everything was shot in the right order.”
Art & Design
All contributions by Kieran Gosney unless otherwise stated.
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