Short film: “The Horribly Slow Murderer With the Extremely Inefficient Weapon”

19 03 2010

Completely ridiculous short film worth checking out:

Thanks to paragraph films for the link.





A slight departure from film, kind of…

26 02 2010

I know that this is a film blog site, but I would like to make a quick post about something really interesting I discovered on the internet.  The name of it is Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries (yhchang.com).  I haven’t done my homework yet on the site,so I don’t know who is responsible for the links on it directly, but I do know that they are really cool.  Known as electronic media or hyper media, the works on yhchang.com are being looked at around the world as a new electronic literary art form.  In a way these pieces are like short films, but instead of using actual images the text becomes the image, its pacing, flashing and shaking all becoming devices that push the “plot” forward.  Punctuated with some really great soundtracks, these pieces are literally poems in motion, stirring up imagery in the viewer’s mind.  So much of the text go by so quickly it is interesting to, in retrospect, see what words or aspects of the text sticks with you by the time the piece is finished, inserting itself into your subconscious.  Here are a couple of my favorites:

http://yhchang.com/DAKOTA.html

http://yhchang.com/NIPPON.html

Hope this post wasn’t too far in anyone’s left field.  If it is, let me know and I’ll make sure to limit my weird artsy-fartsy speak!





Apocalypse Pooh (1987)

31 01 2010

Recently I have become increasingly interested in the mash-up (mainly because I am making my own), in both music and video.  While many of them are purely meant for entertainment (Lady Gaga vs. Christopher Walken), there is a unique ability of the mash-up to create powerful associations simply by overlapping and juxtaposing exceedingly disparate works.  For example, Apocalypse Pooh:

(I was originally going to post this version, which is much better quality.  But, I realized it is a remake, edited on newer technology.  The one above is the original.  Much of the original’s quality comes from its poor quality, attributed to the technology he had to use to create it.)

There is something incredibly surreal and disturbing about the combination of Winnie-the-Pooh with Apocalypse Now.  Something that is present in the original images/sounds, but that could only be brought out by the mash-up.  It is incredibly unnerving watching Pooh dancing to the sounds of Apocalypse Now, and something so perfect about Piglet’s performance of the monologue.

The short was made in 1987 by Todd Graham, using VHS tapes and linear digital editing technology (VHS decks).  It was illegal — since he used copyright material — and it was one of the new-avant-garde films of the late-80s/early-90s.  Breaking from what had become traditional experimental film (Stan Brakhage, among other “almost-dead white men”), this short helped fuel the interest in DIY remixing and mash-ups.  It was never officially released, only being shown underground, and until the Internet happened, it had to be shared through bootlegged VHS tapes.

I could go on and on, but there is already another essay out there which is much more articulate and researched than I.  So I will give you some quotes, and direct you here: “The Horror, Piglet, The Horror” by Scott MacKenzie.

In its eight minutes, Apocalypse Pooh successfully condenses the entire, allegorical, mythological and grandiose narrative of Coppola’s film and provides a critical meta-commentary on both Apocalypse Now and the Winnie the Pooh featurettes. … Not only is this surrealist vision an entirely appropriate encapsulation of Apocalypse Now, it is also one of the best Pooh films ever made, if not the best, as the détourned characters reveal not only the Ur-text to Coppola’s film, but also of their own animated images. Furthermore, Apocalypse Pooh invites one to revisit the Pooh films, which most viewers probably haven’t considered since childhood (after all, they are not a staple of ‘Introduction to Film’ courses), and read them against the grain, through the glass of colonialism, Coppola and Conrad. This project can lead to strange, yet interesting, results. (MacKenzie) Read More…

Which is exactly why I am attracted to the mash-up.

RATING: 10/10





Tokyo! (2008)

14 01 2010

Tokyo! is a collection of three short films all set in the city after which the collection is named.  The three directors include Michel Gondry, Leos Carax and Joon-ho Bong and each of them use their unique vision and interpretation of Tokyo to create these modern day fairy tales that ride the line between highly whimsical and incredibly frightening.  While each story is actually rather simple, their themes and universality render them incredibly complex at the same time.

"Interior Design"

“Interior Design” by Michel Gondry is based on a comic book titled “Cecil and Jordan in New York” and is centered on a couple who moves to Tokyo with no clear plans for the future.  While staying with a friend in her tiny apartment in the unfamiliar city, the woman in the relationship named Hiroko (Ayako Fujitani) struggles in her relationships with her boyfriend, the people around her and with the city itself as she is confronted with the need to find a sense of purpose in her life when she is told that she has no ambition.  This story asks us an important question: Are individuals defined by what they do or by what they love?  By the roles they play or the roles they choose not to play?  The ending of the short film, while quirky and wondrous, can simultaneously be seen as very sad.

"Merde"

“Merde” is the short film by Leos Carax.  This leprechaun-like “creature of the sewers” named Merde is seen emerging from a manhole to terrorize Tokyo senselessly and indiscriminately as the music from the movie Godzilla plays ominously in the background.  One scene is particularly horrific as he carelessly but purposefully bombs the city, killing many innocent people.  His strange demeanor and language goes unexplained, but the reasons for his actions once revealed point to an overwhelming theme of irrational racism.  Denis Levant is spectacular in his portrayal of this strange being who seems to embody the nonsensicalness of both racism and religion (although the very end of the short film may point to some justification of his actions?).

"Shaking Tokyo"

Finally there is “Shaking Tokyo” directed by Joon-Ho Bong.    This film examines the life of a hikikomori, or recluse, after having lived without stepping one foot out of his apartment for 10 straight years.  Every Saturday he orders a pizza, and when one fateful pizza delivery girl faints in his doorway forcing him into his first true human contact in 10 years the hikikomori is inspired to leave his delicate world he has established for himself in search of this strange and attractive woman.  Tokyo, as we know, is one small city that is populated by a vast number of people.  But does its large numbers mean that people there are any less lonely?  And what does it mean that there can be so many people populating one spot but that spot can remain devoid of true human interaction?

Tokyo! was a fantastic collection, and I hope that everyone checks it out.  The films are interesting and delightful, and they feel to me like a Haruki Murakami short story book come to life because of their dark fantasy approach that still feels so grounded in reality.

My rating: 8/10





The Cat Piano

24 11 2009

This is getting Oscar buzz for best animated short.  It also happens to be narrated by musician Nick Cave (one of the coolest people on earth).  It’s pretty awesome, give it a look:





“Stingray Sam” trailer

9 11 2009

Stingray Sam, by the makers of The American Astronaut. It is a musical space western, made up of 6 ten minute shorts. I’ve already seen it, but Cory McAbee will be coming to Seattle on the 20th of November for premier at the NW film forum, which I am very excited about and will definitely be going to.

Cory McAbee’s work definitely isn’t for everyone, it’s pretty surreal, intentionally “bad,” with really catchy songs, space ships, cowboys, and ridiculous dance numbers. However, I find his work to be some of the most interesting and entertaining work in contemporary, non-mainstream cinema (if you can call it that).

“Welcome to Mars. Welcome to life among the stars.”

 





Music Videos by Spike Jonze

20 10 2009

The Pharcyde – “Drop”

Bjork – “It’s Oh So Quiet”

Fatboy Slim – “Weapon of Choice”

Fatboy Slim – “Praise You”