Monday, August 31, 2009

the necessities of life

seal. caribou. geese... everything you need; all the necessities of life.

this is tivii's [natar ungalaaq; atanarjuat; the fast runner] world in ce quu'il faut pour vivre [2008] as explained to young kaki [paul-andré brasseur]. extracted from it unexpectedly & thrust into a culturally polarised world in a TB sanatorium in 1950s quebec far from where his value as a family provider in the tradition of the great hunters of his arctic people who run with the migratory birds is virtually castrated.

isolated in an alien place where language & custom provide inpenetrable walls, tivii's decreased desire to live gradually supercedes even the severity of his physical illness as returning home becomes increasingly less tangible... until in spite of the ironic god-fearing inanimity of the sterile environment one woman finds away to reach through.

this is a story of hope couched in enormous beauty. probably one of the most powerful intercultural demonstrations of acceptance of the similarities and differences which bind not just the aboriginal peoples of canada with whites but all creeds/colours, i've seen.

i had the great pleasure & honour to meet natar ungalaaq while he was in sydney for possible worlds canadian film festival to present both this film in which he stars and also before tomorrow as a representative of the arnait video collective. his performance on and off screen is incredibly inspiring with the gentle subtlety of a master painter.

an incredible amabassador for his inuit people on the back of two incredible films, i am proud to now call him friend & look forward to building an igloo with him in 45 minutes, and sharing the sights, sounds & stories of his breathtakingly beautiful people & country. someday soon.

[film photos courtesy of the wonderful interwebs]

Saturday, August 29, 2009

trawling memories

am about 12 blogs behind with innumerable food/film reviews to post but incredibly time-poor due to increased social dependency on the city nightlife & work enslavement. the manifestation of emotional turmoil must end about here. last time i was this irresponsible & lived as a professional social butterfly was about ten years ago. here is the photographic evidence.

taken in london circa 1999. the astoria hotel. daft punk or roni size. on LSD. my girlfriend K & i. my how we pwned that town... these days i just get drunk & fall over a lot. and am a lot more reliant on dim lighting & over-exposed film.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

two snow buntings

"grandmother, tell me a story..."

and so the wrinkled wise inuit woman begins yet another tale within a tale contextualised in the story-telling tradition of indigenous matrilineal societies with her young grandson, a captive audience. within the fleeced sanctity of a tundra tent, a cave offering shelter in the eye of a storm, or whilst searching for breathing holes in which to spear seals, the crone's spoken words, the handover of a long spoken custom of narrative knowledge hungrily feasted on in the realtime luxury of time & space the story takes to tell.

"an old woman shared a story with her grandson, they were alone much like us: there were baby lemmings.. and having no fur... their arms folded in for warmth harboring the life essence of their bodies... until off-balance they start to fall.

the boy was so startled by the story that he turned into a snow bunting and flew far out of the cave into the bright blue sky beyond. the grandmother cried until her eyes turned red but she could not find him no matter how hard she searched the sky, for her eyes could no longer see. with her magic ptarmigan around her neck she was able to cast a spell with her oil lamp and then flew off to join her grandson flying right out after him. they were no longer human but they were together. two snow buntings."

the transmogrification of the two snow buntings is metaphorical of the plight of the two central characters of the arnait video collective's [an inuit womens filmmaking tribe] breathtaking cinemascopic experience before tomorrow. this story is about diginity in the face of extreme social & environmental adversity and ultimately a journey of survival of the body & soul. the non-linear nature of the cycle of life.

to date the most powerful film i've seen this year in a similar vein to rolf de heer's, ten canoes but infinitely more beautiful. see it for the incredibly artic scenery which traverses all four seasons if not for anything else. another outstanding australian premiere at possible worlds canadian film festival.

[images courtesy of the film website]

pink bits

pink bits en masse & one enormous heat wave. this was the glory of tongue in, err, cheek; darryl's hard liquor & porn film festival playing in sydney in conjunction with the festivalists' incredibly successful possible worlds canadian film festival.

over the two nights that darryl took over bobbi's pole dancing studio, the sold-out crowd was treated to the handpicked finest that this infamous fun film festival offers audiences in toronto & montreal where humour and sex are fused into the ultimate light cheese package.

incorporate a bunch of local invited KINO filmmakers [featuring a couple of punk monks, me included] contributing risqué films on a similar theme, throw in some limbre talented performers on superlative search & seduce mode with the crowd in the burlesque tradition utilising steel pole phalli, giant feathered fans, an oversized martini glass, mix with an open bar featuring wine & never-ending bottles of canadian club whisky, DJs something 4porno, pole-dance-offs & you have yourself an evening cocktail which threatens to blast the mercury through the roof.

Monday, August 24, 2009

porn. Porn. PORN [now hit me with your spambots]!

a very sneak preview of the naughtier side of the possible worlds canadian film festival. two nights of sexy mayhem went down when darryl's hard liquor & porn film fest swapped toronto for sydney over this past weekend.

the more colourful version will be up in the next 24 hours or so... this is merely appetite whetting stuff.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

rattling convergent realities

so... still rendered almost incapable of speech & motion by my chocolate alchemy skills for last night's punk monk propaganda mushroom party at possible world's canadian film festival screening of ron mann's "know your mushrooms" & the incredible fusion of forces led by punk monk producer, kate taylor as she led our wonderful tribe most notably clare, dermot, ky, davey, alex, michelle, raen, andy and barry on a magical mystery sensory adventure through the red rattler playground for the night.

an incredible spectacular featuring a street carnivale & magical enchanted spaces the immediate entry vibe of the event was infused with a warm technicolor chill. specific events to note: liquid light show, street projections, fluro hoola hoop girls, fire twirlers, handmade zines and that minature luminescent world... not to mention the wonderful film AND the 'shroom crepes.

i am still at the fireplace in space warming my marshmallows slowly. but am happy to remotely post these pics by fellow punk monk, andy finn after he went happily AWOL with my camera into the pulsing red & yellow womb of the night.

the chocolate tin is now empty. but the hole in the roof of the corner shop [punk monk HQ] remains.

Friday, August 21, 2009

vicious circles

set in a template of the clichéd secular allure of the drug trade in sydney's outer west, serhat caradee's cedar boys is an exposition of racial prejudice & the blinding difference buried within sameness between east & west. where metaphor transposes the literal.

in a city divided by racial stereotypes none more visible than the integration issues of lebanese and australian cultures, this poignant tale from the POV of tarek [les chantery], a young lebanese man who eventually succumbs to the lifestyle pressures around him whilst motivated for the desire for an upward trajectory out of his atypical domestic environment & limited future prospects is a telling & sensitively handled perspective from the "other" side.

fueled by the need to break the crippling confines of his class when he desires the allegedly unattainable [an appeal for his incarcerated brother, love for a beautiful white uptown girl [rachael taylor], tarek eventually becomes embroiled with his friends [buddy dannoun & waddah sari] into the tangled self-woven snowballing web of drugs, deceit and a double life manifesting the tortured dichotomy of becoming everything that he & society most hates yet expects of him/them.

there's a wonderful relinquishment which occurs when one maintains separatism from the default line of misrepresentation but then finally surrenders into it. a tragedy of ethical release, a slow outward breath when resistence finally yields in spite of higher consciousness & lofty idealism that surroundings cruelly will not afford.

a beautifully crafted story, the journey at times is detracted from by some strange stylistic & editing choices but takes us through emotional terrain where character identification is unarguable. tarek's pain & temptation are very real.

his confusion tangible when finding his girfriend as a double operative complete with wig & stripper ensemble conducting private erotic dances for strangers behind a pole from her "interior design" office. the barrier of the projected screen & reality are diffused & rendered invisible. that bleeding heart was mine. his downward spiral is ours. and thus the cycle of violence is complete; for want of a nail the shoe was lost.

sadly when fellow punk monk, clare & i went to see this film, the cinema was virtually empty which is the sorry lot of most but the most hyped australian cinema.

this is a film perhaps more than all the beautiful kates, and australia's put together which should be granted a home audience. the moral & social fabric ring loud & true whilst deftly illustrating important cultural issues of marginalisation that are both locally & globally valid.

sydney film festival premiered cedar boys & both screenings were notably almost instantaneously sold-out. limited marketing resources for most australian films mean however that despite often being granted a theatrical release, they languish & disappear buried under the glossier campaigns for bigger budget films.

a must see reminiscent of scorsese's breakout "mean streets" with important issues brilliantly handled by a first time feature director who deserves more credit than what will probably be received from this gritty exploitation tale of a boy from the alleged wrong side of the tracks.

i cried. and will continue to do so when hoyts packs audiences into hollywood rinse repeat blockbusters whilst in the interim, empty cinema seats stare back at screens projecting stories of importance which justify soul searching patronage a thousand times more. see it now & support mainstream cinema houses actually showing a film worth seeing.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

hyde's hills on hasselblad

aaah, the joy of large format cameras meets a glorious day in the park. usually i shoot on my canon 40D, but these pics are shot on film on a friend's lovely hasselblad capturing the magnificence of these hills figs which the local council threatened to chop down for the longest time.

it all comes down to public liability issues related to potential instability of the trees due to a wave of soil borne disease.

what would hyde park be without the trees? so far the trees are winning & thus remain but are irretrievably damaged to the core. these beautiful statuesque guardians of the park loom at almost 25 metres tall having been planted in the early 1800s.

over the next fifteen years or so as many as 230 trees total may be replaced with specimans which are already growing elsewhere from weeping fig cuttings from the nearby domain.

perhaps tolkien's ents would approve?