Saturday, July 31, 2010

Found Footage - Part Three

Part One; Part Two

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Shuchikar is busy compiling the unreleased filmography of his recently deceased mentor Andy Umbrage. Unbeknownst to him however, we have managed to find a cozy little corner wherefrom we can secretly spy on him, view the avant-après garde never before seen films pushing-the-medium-up-to-its-maximum-stretchable-limit-till-the-medium-tears-apart-noisily-and-reveals-an-inside-out-perspective-on-the-vacuousness-of-the-aforementioned-pushing-the-medium-up-to-its-maximum-stretchable-limit approach and record the impressions that these works of art have on our troubled, tortured, self doubting, potential genius-in-the-making protagonist.

It is notable how the new works of the late filmmaker incorporate settings, themes and concerns of science fiction, previously dismissed by him as adolescent fantasies of socially inept, autistic geeks. In fact, Shuchikar still cannot ascertain if this new fascination that the director showed was a parody ridiculing the ascendancy of the geek squad or a genuine late appreciation of the genre, for his science fictional tropes are often awkward, irrelevant, idiosyncratic and often totally orthogonal to the subject matter in his films.

His unreleased filmography includes the following films:

Soliloquy : Umbrage's first digitally shot venture. The film credits indicate only one name - that of Jenny Nosecondname in what would be her fifth collaboration with the director. 1

The scene shows a dark room, so dark in fact that one can't make out anything at all. There is a vague appearance of someone sitting in a couch or a recliner, speaking in a monotone. From the voice, it can be ascertained that the figure is a woman and Shuchikar remembers the voice well enough to know it's Jenny's.


You claim that crudely speaking, music is for the head or for the feet. So I come along and ask you what does it mean and you respond with a smirk on your face (which I can't see now since it's so dark) that The Who, Marvin Gaye, Dick Dale, Cream, Rolling Stones, Peter Frampton, Deep Purple, Hendrix etc. - these are for the feet. Okay, I say and you continue with your 'for the head' brand of music - The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, Neil Young, Frank Zappa, you say and give me a smug smile. Ha! I laugh. Where does Pink Floyd go? And you fall off your high chair, tumble down, roll about, pick the katana and commit harakiri.

Yes, where indeed does Pink Floyd go?


The lighting in the room is not back, but the room seems to have been bathed in some sort of strange glow. Blacks are becoming slowly, oh so slowly, greyish; the change in luminosity is barely enough for Shuchikar to make out the outlines of the couch and Jenny's figure. The grey scale manipulation of the image seems slow, deliberate and displays a mastery of technical aspects of film technology and image processing/editing that Umbrage wasn't known for. Greyness seems to be seeping into the image, at the expense of the black parts - as if blackness were being drained off/greyness was pumped in slowly. Meanwhile, the soliloquy of the unnamed female protagonist continues and the camera, excruciatingly slowly, in a long, slow take begins focusing on what seems to be the outline of the face of speaker.


Take the example of progression of, say, rock music. You start off with certain basic set of themes - guitar based music for example, with easy, singable, likeable, short pieces. Then slowly you see complexity set in. The bands become more ambitious since they see that the competition warrants them to be different from the herd so that it's cooler for the fans to proclaim themselves as their fans and thereby appropriate from the bands the 'differentness' from the herd. So now mainstream rock music (which started off itself as a 'rebellion') begins to exhibit aversions to its own popularity and crumbles under its own weight and branches out as different 'kinds' of rock music. Some of these new forms are more mainstream friendly, some are rabidly otherwise. So you see critics coming up with taxonomy programs for labeling these movements with weird, sometimes funky names that in a sane world should make no sense at all. What does technical death metal mean, or indeed jazz punk? Is it that one is at liberty to take the basic building blocks (Blues, Jazz, Punk for example) and combine and permute them in any arbitrary order to label that which passes for music these days?


The pitch of the delivery has steadily been climbing, mimicking the monotonous increase in the greyscale level of the scene. The face of the protagonist is somewhat visible now. It's a beautiful, beautiful face that bears marks of supreme erudition and thoughtfulness. Even though the soliloquy steadily descends into a rant, the beauty, intelligence and profound sincerity of the face creates a deep impression on the viewer.

The camera begins to zoom out now and the image is more than well lighted to make the objects in the room visible. As the rant continues and becomes harsher, for the first time, the viewer gets to see the entire figure of Jenny Nosecondname.

She is dressed badly, skimpily and her overly exposed body bears the marks of numerous tattoos - most of them extolling the virtues of living fast and loose and championing the fulfillment of all carnal desires. Her legs are spread out wide and on the insides of her right thigh can be seen a huge pink tattoo proclaiming "I heart sex", with the heart being the somewhat angular cardoidish, red symbol so commonly referred to as the heart shape. The walls of her room has pictures of Justin Bieber, Paris Hilton, Backstreet Boys and Lindsay Lohan. The rant has become a full fledged shriek against the lack of quality and intelligence of modern music and the greyscale level of the scene has reached whitish proportions so much it hurts the eye and in one final, continuous swoop of incomprehensively loud noise and glowing white light so harsh that one can't make out anything in the room, the screen goes totally white and all activities cease.

And then comes over a badly cutout figure of an astronaut who takes off his helmet, winks at the camera and flashes a corny thumbs up sign on which is tattooed "The End."

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1. A promising undergraduate in the Cinema Studies department of the University at the time of her first collaboration, Jenny was also once the big, great, larger-than-life, true love of Shuchikar at the time when he was a devoted disciple of Umbrage. In fact, it was he who had suggested to Umbrage to cast Jenny as the actress after the sad demise of the director's wife for the film "No Obfuscation, No Prevarication" for which he was the Assistant Director.

No sooner did her voice fill the room, than Shuchikar experienced a sharp, painful pang. He hadn't seen her in over two years now and as her monologue occupied the enclosed space aided not in small measure by the surround sound equipment, her suppressed memories took form and flooded his mind.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

See Film, Will Review



It has been suggested and not without reason if you care to ask, that little girls are the closest approximations of actual angels we humans deserve. So when such an angel decides to just break, break your heart and ask with actual, unfeigned, utter matter-of-factness "Okay you cunts, let's see what you can do now", "Show's over motherfuckers"; hack through limbs and mercilessly rip apart bodies of unfortunate cocksuckers who get in her way (her words, not ours) with Joan Jett in the background urging her to not give a damn about her bad reputation, what is it that we can do?

What we can do and indeed, what we should do is to weep out loud without fear of looking ridiculous and rue her loss of innocence, hold her close in our arms and just plant a big, fat, sloppy kiss on her blood stained, squeeze-worthy cheeks and promise to become her abject, abject fans, for Chloë Moretz as Hitgirl is the sweetest, most wonderful thing to have happened to cinema in recent history.1

She was the only saving grace of the unbelievably pretentious and manipulative crap of a movie called (500) Days of Summer and single-handedly takes what-would-otherwise-have-been-yet-another so-called postmodern take on the done-to-death genre of superhero movie to a wonderful, entertaining, often very violent, yet at the same time hilarious, delightful experience.

Fuckin' A. Anybody not pathologically averse to some healthy dose of violence has to love the film.



Having delved rather deeply into the emergent field of extreme cinema for the past year or so, NF had naïvely come to think that there's only so much that can now catch him by surprise, only so much that can even remotely tickle his nerves - jaded, hardened in the extreme, toughened by a series of weird, ultraviolent, nonstandard, bizarre films from the far east. And frankly speaking, if there were a danger of ever finding more mindfucking films, the threat had to come from Japan or South Korea. Hungary was more of a Bela Tarr territory - slow, epic, deep, brooding, suffering from long, exquisite shots and acute melancholitis.

That NF was woken from his dogmatic slumber and not just woken up but shaken hard and slapped tight and plunged into subzero, icy cold water was what Taxidermia did. The film is obsessed, simply obsessed with the human body and the sundry fluids that are inputted in and outputted out from it. From it, is derived the film's odd sense of beauty, dazzlingly slick cinematography, pervasive grotesqueness and a very subtle, very dark and very often, very bizarre sense of humor. Most humans that walk, talk and populate this earth will at least at one point of time, simply feel disgusted, perhaps recoil in horror and yet find themselves laughing crazily - all within the unfolding of a single scene. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is highly, highly, highly non trivial. To compare the experience of the film and György Pálfi's vision to that of Cronenberg or to Terry Gilliam or to both combined and high on acid is just plain missing the point, for there is striking originality in the director's vision that is flat-out awesome just because such purity and singularity of vision is so fucking rare.

The movie is not for the faint hearted, not for those with weak stomachs, not for prudes, not for those who're turned off by secretions of bodily fluids and definitely not safe for work. The film is covered in vomit, sweat, piss, semen and bucketfuls of blood. And yet the sense of humor that permeates the atmosphere is not just scatological or sophomoric/slapstick but more preoccupied with irony and tragedy.

It is unfair and just plain obscene to see such scorchingly original a movie have such a small following. Perhaps the trailer might help. If not, you're all just a bunch of philistines.




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1. The only thing that comes even close is Ivana Baquero as little Ofelia in del Toro's brilliant Pan's Labyrinth.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

T'has been brought to our attention

...that Sami (a.k.a. Somnath) saw the film Inception with director Anurag Kashyap and gave him a very sweet, heartfelt, personal blowjob at the end.

Sami - the man, the machine.



Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Oh the irony!

That the Dutch - the land of players like Johann Cruyff, Marco van Basten and Dennis-fucking-Bergkamp (what a man!) - were beaten by the very same tiki taka/Totaalvoetbal brand of football they pioneered and passed on to Barça in favor of a rough, street fighting, trench warfare game epitomized by the spectacularly dirty killer-on-the-loose van Bommel.

Three cheers for our Paul the Octopus!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Found Footage - Part 2

Part 1 here.

...

We see Shuchikar in the recently deceased Andy Umbrage's office located on the sixth floor of the Arts and Cinema Studies department. He was informed of his late mentor's bizarre suicide by a call from Umbrage's lawyer who let him know that it was the express wish of the late artist that his one time protégé Shuchikar be informed of his demise wherever and whenever it comes to pass and that his many unreleased (and some of them incomplete) films, still housed in his office in the University be made available to him and that Shuchikar be the sole custodian of the same and decide on whatever he thought was appropriate vis-à-vis their release to the general public/art/film/academic community.

So we see our hero in the environs he hasn't visited in quite a while and we watch him sympathetically - indeed somewhat admiringly as well (he's the hottest underworld filmmaker these days) - as he lazily casts a glance around the office that used to be such an important part of his life a few years ago. The place is stacked with books that lie around somewhat haphazardly not just on the shelves but also on tables and the floor. The walls in front of him are bare except for a giant poster of Takahiko Iimura playing chess with Michael Bay who's dressed in black cape as Death, recreating the iconic scene from The Seventh Seal by Bergman.

The table in front of him carries on it a sealed box with Umbrage's unreleased films. He's decided to take them home and watch them on his projector and write short reviews of the same before deciding their fate as regards their release. He's also decided to not participate in the discussions on and regarding the death of his mentor and the symbolic significance/interpretations of the particular manner in which he killed himself, the latest of which is that Umbrage's head-in-the-sand-legs-in-the-air suicide was supposed to mirror the ostrich's cowardly behavior. As a dyed-in-the-wool symbol-minded artist, Umbrage would have been thoroughly amused at this turn of events, Shuchikar thought. Indeed, nobody in the present art world championed Duchamp's art semiotics more than Umbrage who's first major performance was opened by the following lines:


The creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act.


Interestingly, the aforementioned first major performance of Umbrage had ended in disaster (for him personally) as he, just after quoting Duchamp had jumped off a small cliff, all naked but for a quill in each of his arms and had fallen down thirty feet or so directly and had broken every major bone in his body. This piece had created a sharp rift in the art community where some praised the artist for his extraordinary courage, some praised him for symbolizing man's eternal quest for flight which in turn was interpreted as progress, some praised him for choosing ostrich quills as symbolic feathers (since quills also stood for 'the pen' which is not only mightier than the sword but metaphorically represents all creativity itself and in having chosen an ostrich quill, Umbrage had underlined the inevitably tragic nature of all such creative, artistic endeavors) and the remainder praised the act and its dénouement (or the lack of it, as some commentators quipped) as standing for the personal danger to bones and (remaining) limbs that artists the world over have to face up to alone, singlehandedly, notwithstanding the collaborative nature of art and the jaded spectator's as-important-as-artists role of bringing out the art in art.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Found Footage - Part One

After having lived a rich and fulfilling life, Andy Umbrage took his own life last night. As a cross platform, multi faceted artist (he was a celebrated painter, poet, filmmaker, musician, art theorist, performance artist and socialite), his suicide comes across as a major shock to his not-so-many-in-terms-of-sheer-numbers but small-but-rabidly-devoted-and-deeply-influential trendsetting powerful artist and patron fans across the world. Expect festchrifts and tributes in plenty and obscure and often very subtle homages in the form of jump cuts interspersed with sickening footages of tigers eating humans in graphic detail and a brown, long haired boy pleasuring himself in the shower - a sly wink to Umbrage's now notoriously famous film "The Revenge of Mowgli" - by arthouse filmmakers across the globe.

Umbrage is not survived by his wife and children. They died seven years ago while protesting against tree felling in the jungles of Amazon. They had bound themselves to immense redwood trees with metal chains and although this was sufficient to deter the tree fellers, it certainly wasn't enough for the creatures of the night who were seduced by this grand gesture on the part of the Umbrage family and secretly paid them a visit to thank them for this magnanimity. The following day, Mrs. Umbrage's face was found chewed off and the body of Master Umbrage was nowhere to be found, metal chains notwithstanding. As this news traveled, a visibly perturbed Andy Umbrage declared this the Ultimate Performance Art of the century.

When the police arrived to the scene of the suicide this morning in Mr. Umbrage's house, they found the tiling on the floor destroyed and dirt all over the house. They also found a shovel near the deceased Mr. Umbrage's corpse. A copy of the novel The Tunnel by William H. Gass was also found. Umbrage had dug out a pit and had committed suicide by putting his head inside it and had covered the space with dirt. Presumably the cause of death was due to asphyxiation. As rigor mortis had set in, the police found the head and neck stuck into the ground and the torso and legs stiff and erect and pointing towards the ceiling. In the outstretched, clenched hands of the deceased, the police found a suicide note with only a few words etched on it in red ink - "Who's your daddy now?"

Critics are already claiming that the suicide was part of another profound piece of performance art. They are basing their claims on the terse suicide note and interpreting this act as a revolt against the recently-in-vogue tendencies of the neo-bourgeois artists who've been committing suicide painlessly and are claiming that by dying in such a grisly fashion, he reminded everyone that committing suicide ungrislyly is seriously uncool and such people are better off existing which in turn (the existence, that is) can only be either horrible or miserable. His detractors on the other hand simply point out that this was another attempt on his part to one-up his dead wife (with whom he had a long standing rivalry) and by the suicide note, he simply wanted to remind her who her daddy was.

The obituary is brought to halt by noting offhandedly that Andy Umbrage had many gifted disciples and that Shuchikar was once his protégé who'd rebelled against his style. Hearing the sad demise of his teacher, however, he decided to open up some windows into his past and pay a last visit to his dead mentor.