In last month’s issue of Sight & Sound (November, 2015) Nick James details his relationship with the cinema of Andrei Tarkovsky in line with the season of films he’s curated for the BFI. Though the article is chiefly surrounding Tarkovsky’s (vast) legacy, one aspect in particular caught my attention whilst reading. He refers to a scene from Tarkovsky’s 1975 film, Mirror, which partly accounted for … Continue reading The Breeze In The Grass – Elemental Realisation in Tarkovsky’s Mirror (1975).
Nature is always present or at the very least contrasted against something in Gideon Koppel’s nostalgia portrait, Sleep Furiously (2008). In spite of the film being a very clear ethnographic postcard from the director’s past, having lived previously in the Welsh town of Trefeurig, it manages to underline its gentle portraiture with a sense of pervading nature and landscape; where even the most concrete of … Continue reading Emerson’s Nature and Sleep Furiously (2008) – Gideon Koppel.
More so than his relationship with painting, film, drugs or threesomes, Donald Cammell’s life and work seems to have been directly linked with mirrors. While all of the former aspects played huge roles and allowed access to knowledge of his obsessions in the first place through his work, it is the mirror and its hidden powers that seem to haunt Cammell as an artist and … Continue reading Mirrors, Donald Cammell and Jorge Luis Borges.
Few films are as explicit in their depiction of character relationships that are at the mercy of the fluctuating landscape than Roman Polanski’s 1966 film, Cul-De-Sac. Polanski had been to both ends of the environmental spectrum within his previous two films – the open waters of Knife In The Water (1962) and the cramped, claustrophobic London of Repulsion (1965) – and Cul-De-Sac sees him returning … Continue reading Isolation And Madness In Cul-De-Sac (1966) – Roman Polanski.
There exist volumes of academic research and work surrounding the role of repetition in religious and cultural practices. Repeated actions of any type, creating an easily recognisable mimesis, seems almost an aesthetic by-word for a normalised analytical framework of cultural activities, especially musically. From prayer to mantra, the idea of repetition is stretched to form (or conform) belief patterns, as if deliberately signposting theological culture … Continue reading Repetition And Occultism Of Invocation Of My Demon Brother (1969) – Kenneth Anger.
Within the British tradition of the “Chase and Pursuit” drama, there are several reoccurring themes. The idea of a lone individual being chased through different topographies by a group seems to have been popularised in Britain by the Second World War but was around far before then. The basic impetuous seems to be that an individual is wanted for some crime or misdemeanour (sometimes falsely) … Continue reading Fugitive Refuge In The Landscape – (A Cottage On Dartmoor, The 39 Steps, Hunted, Rogue Male).
Richard Lester’s film collaboration with The Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night (1964), has been attributed many aspects of foreshadowing modern culture. From the almost accidental invention of the surrealism-infused music video to the defining of pre-counter-culture 1960s Britain and London, the film acts as both a periodical bubble and an innovative audio-visual experience that is as prescient today as it was then. One segment in … Continue reading Ringo’s Dérive in A Hard Day’s Night (1964).
Scenes From A Marriage was Ingmar Bergman’s first successful attempt to work in the medium of serialised television. It signposts many of the changes that the director would make during his work in the decade of the 1970s from an aesthetic and a thematic position. Though a later cut was edited down and sold as a whole, cinematic artefact for American audiences, several changes to … Continue reading The Fårö Landscape and Relationships in Scenes From A Marriage (1973) – Ingmar Bergman.
Forever a cinematic alchemist – a sage that conjured and devoured celluloid before the eventual ritualistic sacrifice- Derek Jarman is the perfect suitor to Shakespeare’s The Tempest (1979); a play whose heart is bathed in the tragedy and power of magic. Of course Jarman isn’t the only person from the Brit-pack of avant-garde directors to remould the work but his is the most natural. Peter … Continue reading Alchemical Magic in Derek Jarman’s The Tempest (1979).
Much has been written about the stark comparisons between the cinema of Michael Haneke and the culture theories of the Frankfurt School of philosophy. In the 2010 book, A Companion To Michael Haneke, Roy Grundmann devotes a whole essay in the volume to Theodor Adorno and the “aesthetic fragmentation” of several of Haneke’s films whilst various articles and essays spend time drawing comparisons to Haneke’s … Continue reading Repetition, Adorno and 71 Fragments Of A Chronology Of Chance (Haneke).