Mar 31, 2012

The Opening Monologue to 'Manhattan' (1979)

I am late for many things. For this I am well known for. Many things include great classics, like Woody Allen's Manhattan which I have finally (emphasise - finally) seen tonight.

There is nothing dishonest about Allen's films from what I have known - I have only seen this, with his newer films Match Point, Vicky Cristina Barcelona and possibly something else I fail to remember at this stage. He is so honest and self-deprecating that he is so enjoyable to watch, especially in a film like Manhattan. I have always seen him as the kind of director and writer who will make anything he chooses, and will not care to hear about what you think of it because in fact he already knows. For this, I really admire him for that.

So, next on my to-do list, or 'homework' - forget about the cultural industries and practices readings, see Annie Hall (1977).

By writing so here, I will feel much more obliged and willing to do it. I should try it out some time on readings - it might work.

Christian Marclay's 'Telephones', 1995

A multitude of characters, one single phone call, many different emotions. This great little clip is a 7-minute long 'compilation' of snippets from scenes that involve a phone call - from dialing a number to hanging up - from films that span the history of Hollywood as far as interests go.

I love the moment when every conversation becomes silent, as each character listens back into the earpiece and react in their own way. We might not necessarily know the contexts of these films to completely understand what is being said and felt, but I feel therein lies the magic of this piece.

Mar 30, 2012

Adolescence in 'Beginners'

I recently revisited Mike Mills' second feature film Beginners (2010) after giving in to my quite embarrassing reignited love of Ewan McGregor (I saw Perfect Sense (2011) over the weekend, more on that next time) and thinking about Mike Mills' interesting graphic design and slightly quirky, dislocated style. (That is not to say his films are not cohesive in any way!)

A film seen twice is an entirely different film all together. I love Mike's playful and awkward take on the innocence within every one of us, older, old or young. We lose and we have lost - still it makes us no less of the adolescent we were in our past, and we are still beginners this way. We love and find happiness, yet it makes us fearful. We fear our future, yet it makes us more of who we are.

It's interesting to see that even in Mike's first feature film Thumbsucker (2007) he explores this idea of adolescence and a sense of 'coming of age'. I love this idea of everyone no matter how old is still 'coming of age' - whether they are falling in love again at 38, or dying of cancer. Beginners has a sort of honesty that says 'Y'know what? It's okay to grow up and still be scared'. These ideas are something I'd really like to explore somewhere. I'm always reminded to look back on my childhood for inspiration, and seeing this again has brought me back to this idea.

Mar 11, 2012

'What is the film that made you want to continue exploring Korean cinema?' (Part 2)

To continue on from my entry on how I discovered Korean cinema, I've decided to talk about another film that really changed the way I looked at Korean film and the different ideas in cinema. My previous entry highlighted my first Kim Ki-duk experience, and it was the beginning of what I am today.

I raved about 3-Iron (2004) and how much I loved it to Kieran not long after that. I had already, by then, heard about a few big names in the Korean film world. Bong Joon-ho, Kim something or rather, another Kim this and that, and then - Park Chan-wook. I heard much about Old Boy (2003) throughout film school, here and there in pockets throughout the interwebs and still did not rush to see it. It was kind of like the hype around Kill Bill (2003). It's awesome, It's epic, It's amazing. Or so I had heard. Kieran had a couple of Park's films in his gargantuam of a DVD collection, one of which was J.S.A.: Joing Security Area (2000), a film I had not heard about and had little interest to see at the time. The title alone was uninteresting - that and I had little concrete knowledge of the DMZ and the current situation between the North and South. I looked past all of this and decided to give it a go.

I'll be absolutely honest with you: I could not and did not get through the first 20 minutes of the film in my first viewing. It was all talk, no substance to me. I wasn't paying attention to the lengthy discussions between Lee Young-ae's character and Mr Tall Swiss man, who to me seemed like an excuse of a 'white' man in an Asian film. I fell asleep, and looked no further past the beginning. Kieran had told me what a great film it was, and I simply could not see it. And that was that.

Mar 7, 2012

'What is the film that made you want to continue exploring Korean cinema?' (Part 1)

After writing a piece on genres in Korean Cinema for last year's Korean Film Blogathon, I decided to take part in the challenge again. This year I am writing a short series based around the question 'What is the film that made you want to continue exploring Korean cinema?' I felt it would be a good way to reflect on the last few years and where I am today, an assistant film programmer at Cinema On The Park and being heavily involved in the coordination of the first Korean Film Festival in Australia over the past 2 years.

This entry is also available on the KOFFIA Blog. I highly recommend that you have a read of some of the other great entries taking part in this year's blogathon.

Hope you enjoy the next few entries. Do come back in the next few days for my next entry.