Many of my favourite films of recent years have been classified as documentaries (The Fog Of War, Cave Of Forgotten Dreams, Inside Job, Beware Of Mr Baker, Nostalgia for the Light, Stories We Tell….) but the one that won the Bafta in that category last year takes the genre into brave, new territory.
In The Act Of Killing, filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer puts in front of the camera a handful of the gangster* paramilitaries who helped the Indonesian army torture and kill around a million ‘communists’ in 1965/66. He then encourages them to create fictionalised versions of their acts. Being still highly-regarded by the current regime, they are keen to do so and, being fans of Hollywood films, they use the language of the Western, film noir, the musical and the gangster film.
The result is a devastating, upsetting, mesmeric, often surreal, portrait of corrupted humans who are celebrated and still valued by a corrupt government. It is now available on DVD/Blu-ray and I urge you to see it.
*The label ‘gangster’ is worn as a badge of honour, as it is understood to mean ‘free man’. Hence the use of Born Free in the film.
The nominations have been collected, scrutinised, tabulated, analysed and stared at with a blank expression for half an hour; my, aren’t we an eclectic, not to say completely random, group of people? Considering that we all read the same paper and visit the same music blog, there’s an astonishing lack of unanimity on more or less every topic under the sun except for the ghastliness of the current UK government – and even there we can’t agree on which individuals deserve the greatest degree of loathing. Over fifty different albums were suggested for Record of the Year, and the five shortlisted are the only ones that received support from more than one person.
So, time for the voting. We’re keeping things simple: one vote in each category. even if you haven’t heard any of the records or seen any of the films, feel free to vote according to any other criteria you like, as it’s only a bit of fun and the more the merrier. Polls will remain open until the end of the month, and the award ceremony will take place some time in early January once I get my act together – in response to overwhelming public opposition to the idea, not on Twitter…
Ali’s photo for Earworms reminded me of two fantastic videos – The Hidden Camera’s video is so powerful it takes over the brilliant song. Based on an old comic Joel wrote – it’s been a live favourite for a while. The short film has been shown at festivals in Berlin and Canada to much acclaim. The freedom of the birds over the field at the start is rather significant.
Another film that uses the flight of birds as a metaphor for escape is Leonard Cohen’s – First We Take Manhattan, their flight is deliberately juxtaposed against the songs beat to discombobulate.
I just came across this excellent short film online, it’s worth seeing. The cities you see are LA and SF, beautifully shot, edited and to the perfect piece of music. Hit play, HD and full screen, raise the volume.
I happened to notice that today was the 69th birthday of the contemporary British composer Michael Nyman, so I thought I would take the opportunity to pay a small tribute to the great man and draw attention to a few of my favourite pieces of his music…. Continue reading →
Heard that a few times haven’t you? Talk about damning with faint praise.
I’ve paid good money in to see quite a few stinkers: vanity projects, over-hyped and massively over-dubbed. I’ve seen one or two reasonable efforts. But are there any great ones?
Now you may hold views on the concert movies which might be too withering in their honesty for publication over on RR. Here, however, you may choose to pay homage to your favourite such flick, delight in cruelly exposing ambition/narcissism interlaced with a bewildering lack of talent, or diss the concept of the concert movie and yes, even a considered meh is fully acceptable. Any stance should be supported with some form of evidence or justification.
If you like films that have such an effect, go and see Holy Motors.
Monsieur Oscar bids goodbye to the children, they wish him a good day at work and he gets into a stretch limo to fulfill nine appointments around Paris. In the limo is a sophisticated make-up table, which he uses to play different characters when he steps out of the car.
So, it’s about films? Acting? Playing roles in life? Memory? Who we are? And, more concretely, what exactly are the Holy Rollers? And, for bish, can a barely-recognisable Kylie be singing a distinctly non-Kylie Neil Hannon song among the Paris rooftops without a nod to Moulin Rouge?
I’d love to get others’ opinions so, as I say, go and see it. This is the trailer, which seems to have a different opinion to me.