Monday, June 30, 2008

Trix and Flix

Surely if there was an award for mascot design, the creator of these two would win 1st prize. Err. Anyway: I've commissioned the two mascots of euro2008 to enact how I felt after Sunday night's game.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Munich Film Festival 2008-FRIDAY

I won the ticket to Princ od papira (The Paper Prince) by Marko Kostic when I participated in a survey about the film festival and I thought I'd give it a go. It was part of the children's film festival, and as previously mentioned I am a fan of films for and about children. Since it was for children, and not many Germany children speak English, the Serbian Film was dubbed life into German while also supplying English subtitles which took a little getting used to at the beginning. Not necessarily a must-see but it was a sweet story, though, and an impressive and charming performance by Milica Spasojevic, the little girl.

Phew, that's it. 14 films in just about 6 days. I will now retire from reporting and relax in the Bavarian country side.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Munich Film Festival 2008-THURSDAY

Back To Africa by Othmar Schmiderer. A documentary about some of the crew of Andre Heller's show Africa!Africa!. The film follows several of the artists back to their respective African home countries, interviewing them and their families. We gain an insight into how they grew up and developed their talents. How tough it can be for them to be so far away from their homes and families when touring for several months. I had not seen the show Africa!Africa! and found it a little difficult to follow the film, especially at the beginning–it seems to rely on you having seen the show. (Young@Heart which I saw on Tuesday does a better job at that.) However, it was nice to gain some insight into the artist's origins, see their great performances and listen to beautiful music.

Dirty Hands: The Art And Crimes Of David Choe by Harry Kim. Both artist (David Choe) and director were at the screening and Harry Kim's introduction "I think you guys don't know what you're in for" aptly summed it up. I really didn't know what I was in for and it was quite disturbing at times. This is a brilliant film about an incredibly talented by quite strange guy from Los Angeles who spends most of his time (or so it seems in the film) drawing naked women in disagreeable positions, upsetting feminist groups and so on. He also does very cool graffiti and maybe not so cool shop lifting, in this case upsetting police. Watching the film, I really started to like this guy when he recalls getting sent to prison in Japan. He comes back after 3 months with some legendary soy sauce drawings. (And his personality seems changed forever, too?). This is really a must-see so I wont give away too much.

This is funny. Somewhere in our ticket buying rush we ended up with La Matinee (about an Uruguayan carnival group) instead of La Maison (about a French father of three). Never mind. This film by Sebastián Bednarik tells the story of a group of carnival choir singers who are reunited after 20 years to play in the Uruguayan carnival scene again. They perform what's called a 'murga' (noise) which is a chorus that recites social and political themes with percussion accompaniment. They all wear make up and dress up, too. This documentary gives a rare insight into the lives of these men, all together real characters.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Munich Film Festival 2008-WEDNESDAY

Waiting for love by James Lee. Not an easy one, especially after the last film on Tuesday ('El cielo...'); again, really slow, really uber-realistic. A little boring I think. The picture above wouldn't tell, but if you have an aesthetic interest in cinematography, leave your glasses at home. The whole film is shot with what looks like a cheap digital camera, the lighting is bad and mean and the colours makes everyone look like they're having bad hangover, magenta sprayed skin. I'm allergic to that because it reminds me of try-hard-but-boring student films. However, I'm prepared to 'look' past the look if the story is capturing but even that wasn't the case.

Orz Boys by Ya-Che Yang, who was there on the night and had to face a smaller audience than deserved due to the overlap with the first half of Germany - Turkey. We decided in favour of the film and I have no regrets. This is a sweet film about two Taiwanese boys called only (liar) 'No. 1' and 'No. 2'. They spend their days trying to trick class mates into giving them small change, creating hyper-space atmospheres with the help of dozens of ventilators (only blowing the fuse) and saving up for a trip to the water park. I love films about and for children if they authentically dip into children's worlds and this one manages it very well.

Momma's Man by Azazel Jacobs with his parents Flo and Ken Jacobs and a stunning performance by Matt Boren. This might be my favourite of the festival. (I'll have to admit, though, that I missed the beginning due to an unlucky overlap with the vitally important last 10 minutes of the semi-final with Germany - Turkey. Filmed in a totally crazy and chaotic New York apartment in which his parents apparently really live (for 500$ a month). This is a story of a grown up son who visits his parents on a business trip from California and ends up finding it impossible to leave. Azazel Jacobs wanted to make a film to capture what is still left of his childhood home. It might soon disappear due to the fact that a banker has recently bought the building in the Tribeca neighbourhood where his parents have lived for the last 40 years. He did so well. Really, really, really brilliant!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Munich Film Festival 2008-TUESDAY

The Drummer by Kenneth Bi with Jackie Chan's son Jaycee who plays Sid, the son of a Hong Kong gangster. When he gets caught out with the girlfriend of another powerful mob leader he has to flee in order to save his hands which are demanded by the leader for revenge. He ends up in the mountains of Taiwan and joins a group of Zen drummers. Nice, but not a must-see.

Young@Heart by Stephen Walker. This documentary which was produced for Channel 4 follows the Young@Heart chorus, whose 24 members' average age is about 80. The choir from Northampton in Massachusetts performs songs from Jimi Hendrix, Radiohead and Coldplay and even goes on world tours. Great film, bring tissues!

El cielo, la tierra y la lluvia (The sky, the earth and the rain, imdb) by José Luis Torres Leiva is set in the south of Chile. Boy, this film takes a lot of time. It was extraordinarily beautifully shot, really almost like moving paintings. However, almost nothing happens, or you have to have a 6th-(cineast)-sense to appreciate it, I'm not sure. I like films that are hard to watch, I like films that take their time and I like films that try something different, but in this case it was all a bit much. I did like it but I'll also admit to leaving the cinema early, mostly due to the lack of air conditioning in the cinema (as in general in Germany) and the late start (22.30).

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Munich Film Festival 2008-MONDAY

My favourite film so far: O’Horten by Bent Hamer from Norway. I couldn't find an official website, only the imdb link and the youtube Trailer. The film opens with a beautiful and unusual title sequence following a train (the main character, Odd Horten, is a train driver). The camera dips into blacks and whites–from the dark tunnels into the bright snowy Norway. We then follow the protagonist on his last days before his retirement encountering one strange situation after another. This strange film speaks, I think, a language typical for 'northern' films (Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, I mean), similar to the genius of Aki Kaurismäki. Something I couldn't imagine in German or American cinema, which makes films like this so enjoyable and film festivals, where you get exposed to them, so great.
P.S.: Our usual 3 films a day quote was impaired by the need to attend the annual feast event of DelikatEssen. The magazine about fine Munich restaurants invites their writers, amongst them my parents, once a year to gorge on small portions of steamed asparagus, roasted wild board and cherry tomato and apple risotto etc. Tough ;)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Munich Film Festival 2008-SUNDAY

Time To Die (Pora umierac) by director Dorota Kedzierzawska was a beautifully shot b&w film about an old lady (Danuta Szaflarska) in an even older house. She spends the days sitting on the veranda with her dog, watching what's happening in the neighbouring houses.

The End
What an unusual film. Nicola Collins (director) and her sister (producer) interview a group of London's East End criminals. But it's their father who's the leader of the gang. This unusual documentary provides a rare insight into how the people who are involved in crime think and feel about their life. They tell a story of childhood poverty and striving for a better life which they found in crime. You cant help but feel charmed by their personalities though it's comforting to see them on screen, not in real life.

Ethan Hawke in Chelsea on the rocks.
Interesting documentary about the many inhabitants of the Chelsea Hotel in New York. Slightly weird use of life action material to tell some of the stories of the likes of Janis Joplin and Sid and Nancy. The director Abel Ferrara was present for a Q&A (his personality very much suiting the film, shall we say). Still definitely one to watch.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Friday, June 20, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Free Range

My exhibition corner at this year's Central Saint Martins Graphics 2nd year exhibition. This was part of Free Range, who host art school summer exhibitions in the Truman Brewery in Brick Lane. I exhibited a hand bound photography travel book and some screen printing work; wall paper designs and a free lance project about English breakfast.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Monday, June 9, 2008

View from AIGA's balcony

AIGA = American Institute of Graphic Arts (older post here)

Saturday, June 7, 2008