On Cinema

Month: May, 2010

When people ask me why we are preserving these Singapore films, I will explain how moving images are usually on fragile mediums (film, tapes, data) that require special care so it can last; how we take for granted that some things are here forever, but they disintegrate and decay. Like us. Like life. Every minute, it dies a little.

At a conference that I spoke recently, I realised they might have meant something else but were too kind to put an idealistic young man down. They meant to ask so what if they rot?


The Friday Girls were only together for one year in 1967. They cut a couple of records, appeared on television, and also performed at the National Theatre, accompanied by The Boys.

We will go to the sea

Chaisiri Jiwarangsan, lover, student, photographer and artist to Apichatpong, wrote on his facebook:

Joe decided to leave for Cannes at the very last minute. He asked me if he should go or not, with concerns about his family and his lover. I said, “Please GO FOR US”.

He got a new passport with help from the Ministry. The Italian embassy was the last place left opened in Bangkok to request the EU visa, just two hours before an infinite closing.

On the way to the airport hotel, Bangkok was burning. Dark smoke covered the sky, with sound of gunfire. Both the city and people were dying.

The silent night of curfew passed so slowly. We talked about shooting sets, about people we met and about ourselves; the future mixed with the past.

At the airport, Joe was going to Cannes while I came back to the North. I said, “Don’t come back if it is too dangerous here. He said “No, we will go to the sea”.

Joe never lied, but to say the truth, someone could kill him here.

We believe in art, film, poetry and freedom. Worth dying for.

An Ideal Distribution

(Godard when asked what’s his ideal mode of distribution)

“I really would have liked to have a boy and a girl be involved, a couple who had the urge to show things, who were kind of involved with the cinema, the sort of young people you might meet at small festivals. They’d be given a copy of the film on DVD, then be asked to train as skydivers. After that, places would be randomly chosen on a map of France, and they’d parachute down into those locations. They’d have to show the film wherever they landed. In a café, at a hotel… they’d manage. People would pay 3 or 4 euros to get in — no more than that. They might film this adventure, and sell it later on. Thanks to them, you get a sense of what it means to distribute a film. Afterwards, only you can make the decision, to find out whether or not it’s able to be projected in regular theaters. But not before having investigated everything for a year or two. Because beforehand, you’re just like me: you don’t know what the film is, you don’t know what might be interesting about it. You’ve gone a little outside the whole media space.”

http://cinemasparagus.blogspot.com/2010/05/jean-luc-godard-interviewed-by-jean.html

Are you one of those young people, the kind one meets in festivals, willing to parachute down with dvds to organise screenings?

For Lubtchansky and Angell

If I were in New York last month for Orphan, I would have seen her present the newly restored Warhol films. Her works were truly illuminating and inspiring. Any filmmaker will feel most honoured knowing an angel has taken such tender loving care of  their works.

This is a moving tribute to Angell and her monumental work – http://www.movingimagesource.us/articles/callie-angell-19482010-20100514

I’ve been teaching Asian Film History for almost 3 years now. That’s about 6-7 semesters of about 60 students each. Every semester, I’ll have at least one student who would fail the module. Usually, they are also people I’ve hardly met. This semester is no exception. Of course, I do not think that school or passing exams is top priority to everyone. There were probably reasons why they did not turn up for class. Something happened to their families; to them; break-down; disinterest; relationship problems; money woes; etc. I wish I can do more. I hope they are okay.

Mizoguchi on Ozu

One day, a journalist asked Mizoguchi if he liked his colleague Ozu’s films, and he replied: ‘Of course.’ ‘Why?’ ‘Because I think that what he does is much more difficult and mysterious than what I do.’ (3)

It’s Mizoguchi who says: what that gentleman does with these doors is more difficult than what I’m doing. There are the doors, once again!

Mizoguchi is the director of mysteries, of secrets, while Ozu is the director of doors, or windows, of entries and exits, of marriage, of very basic things. It’s as if Mizoguchi said: I who spin mystery with all of this fog, I’m nothing next to a fellow who films doors and back streets. That, that’s much more difficult and mysterious. That’s a statement of genius. That, to me, is the greatest compliment that one director can make to another, and the most beautiful definition of documentary, of fiction, realism, and the imagination.

–  A Closed Door That Leaves Us Guessing by Pedro Costa

3. See: Round-table Talk attended by Mizoguchi and Ozu, in Masazumi Tanaka ed, Ozu on Ozu 1933-1945 (Tokyo: Tairyusha, 1987), pp. 185-186 and Hideo Tsumura’s comment in Shindo Kaneko, The Life of a Film Director: The Chronicle of Kenji Mizoguchi, (Tokyo: Eijinsha, 1975), p. 368.

ne day, a journalist asked Mizoguchi if he liked his colleague Ozu’s films, and he replied: ‘Of course.’ ‘Why?’ ‘Because I think that what he does is much more difficult and mysterious than what I do.’ (3) That’s an enormous compliment because you know better than I that Mizoguchi is considered a poetic and mysterious director, and Ozu a very down to earth, very realistic director. It’s Mizoguchi who says: what that gentleman does with these doors is more difficult than what I’m doing. There are the doors, once again! It’s beautiful because Mizoguchi is the director of mysteries, of secrets, while Ozu is the director of doors, or windows, of entries and exits, of marriage, of very basic things. It’s as if Mizoguchi said: I who spin mystery with all of this fog, I’m nothing next to a fellow who films doors and back streets. That, that’s much more difficult and mysterious. That’s a statement of genius. That, to me, is the greatest compliment that one director can make to another, and the most beautiful definition of documentary, of fiction, realism, and the imagination.