Category Archives: Film

Peter Schrank: Is that a check, mate?

From the editorial cartoonist for the Independent:

BLOG Ebolatoon

The acknowledged reference for the cartoon is this scene from Ingmar Bergam’s brilliant 1957film, The Seventh Seal [and if you haven't seen it, do]:

BLOG Bergman

Sculpture al fresco: Vanished public art

Our heart is utterly doffed to 3 Quarks Daily for evoking a chain of memories from the 1960s and ’70s from the years we first visited then lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, first briefly in Mountain View and Menlo Park, and then in a house at the very apex of the Oakland Hills.

One of our favorite sights sprouted from the tidal flats of Emeryville, on the Oakland side of the Bay Bridge to San Francisco.

There, rising from the mud in exuberant irreverence erupted a tumultuous profusion of sculptures erected by whoever the hell wnated to throw something up where it would be seen, twice a day, by commuters creeping along in rush hour congestion.

In other words, an art gallery to relieve the frustrations of countless thousands of commuters daily.

Writing in a well-illustrated feature for Boom magazine, Robert Sommer captures one notable quality of the works:

Art museums exhibit sculpture in a consistent light. It doesn’t make any difference whether one visits in the morning, afternoon, or evening, or in winter or summer; the art will look the same. A changing visual panorama awaited the visitor to a mudflat gallery. The appearance of the sculpture changed as the sun set and color disappeared. Pieces that were relatively invisible during the day, due to the predominant gray-on-gray quality of wood against bay, become vivid silhouettes against a pink-hued sky. The flowering plants at ground level added color and verve. A first visit to a mudflat gallery brought home images of impermanence and mortality. Most of the wooden creatures still standing were in stages of decrepitude. Arms and legs missing, heads fallen off, everywhere was rubble where now-unrecognizable figures had stood erect until brought down by wind and tide. The center post embedded deep in the mud with a few dangling boards was the last to fall.

Needless to say, the politicians of Emeryville, busily engaged in trying to shore up tax revenues in an industrial barrens rightly dubbed Emptyville saw all that anarchic artistic adventuring as a negative when it came to hustling big buck developers, so they had to go.

And gone they were, by the late 1980’s.

Imagine our delight, then, when we paid a visit to 3 Quarks Daily and found French filmmaker/photographer/multimedia artist Chris Marker‘s 1981 short Junkopia, filmed while he was in the Bay Area to shoot scenes for another film.

From the Criterion Collection:

Junkopia – A Short Film by Chris Marker

Program notes:

Codirected by Frank Simeone and John Chapman, JUNKOPIA was filmed at the Emeryville Mudflats outside of San Francisco while Chris Marker was also shooting the Vertigo sections of Sans Soleil.

More images of the sculptures may be found here.

And now for something completely different. . .

This time, it’s Roman Polanski’s latest film, a short created for Prada featuring Ben Kingsley and Helena Bonham Carter. And, as might be expected, it’s delightfully perverse.

We’ll say no more.

Roman Polanksi: ‘A Therapy’

And now for a word from our sponsor. . .

BLOG Kubrick

Actually, we don’t have sponsors [other than those ads WordPress inserts to to pay for the costs of giving sites free to folks like esnl. . .

What caught our eye over at Boing Boing was an art show inspired by one of our favorite filmmakers, Stanley Kubrick.

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb was an almost life-changing experience for us on its release in 1964, as we wrote in a post which also includes the film itself:

We recall our own first impression of the film as a college student in Colorado. First we felt a momentary sense of outrage, quickly followed by the first of very many outbursts of cathartic laughter.

The poster image is drawn from 2001: A Space Odyssey, the enigmatic 1968 film that captured so well both the aspirations and the fears of a cultural revolution then at its peak.

A brilliant, exacting, and often exasperating director, his filmography covers a wide range of human experience on which to draw.

According to the gallery’s website [their dates in the text are wrong, with the right dates (September rather than August) on the poster]:

Spoke Art is proud to present: KUBRICK – An art show tribute to the films of Stanley Kubrick. Over 60 artists were invited to re-imagine their favorite characters, scenes and thematic concepts from one of the world’s most prolific directors. Spanning a plethora of mediums from sculpture and painting to limited edition prints, the show seeks to honor one of the 20th century’s most significant directors while also reinterpreting his impact in a contemporary context.


All the artists were allowed to select the film of their choosing, there were no guidelines on subject matter or content. Each artist was given free reign to re-interpret and render their take on Kubrick’s entire cinematic collection. Resulting in a variegated display, KUBRICK is an experiment in modernity, a cross-section between film and art.

We certainly hope to have a look, health willing.

The best exit line ever for our first move star crush

Farewell to Lauren Bacall, that most magnificent of Hollywood stars during our earlier years, and what better war to say farewell than this clip from To Have and Have Not, pairing her with real-life love Humphrey Bogart and featuring the best exit line ever:


Quote of the day: Obama’s choice of enemies

From Glenn Greenwald, writing at The Intercept:

For those who ask “what should be done?,” has the hideous aftermath of the NATO intervention in Libya – hailed as a grand success for “humanitarian interventions” – not taught the crucial lessons that (a) bombing for ostensibly “humanitarian” ends virtually never fulfills the claimed goals but rather almost always makes the situation worse; (b) the U.S. military is not designed, and is not deployed, for “humanitarian” purposes?; and (c) the U.S. military is not always capable of “doing something” positive about every humanitarian crisis even if that were really the goal of U.S. officials?

The suffering in Iraq is real, as is the brutality of ISIS, and the desire to fix it is understandable. There may be some ideal world in which a superpower is both able and eager to bomb for humanitarian purposes. But that is not this world. Just note how completely the welfare of Libya was ignored by most intervention advocates the minute the fun, glorious, exciting part – “We came, we saw, he died,” chuckled Hillary Clinton – was over.

It is simply mystifying how anyone can look at U.S. actions in the Middle East and still believe that the goal of its military deployments is humanitarianism. The U.S. government does not oppose tyranny and violent oppression in the Middle East. To the contrary, it is and long has been American policy to do everything possible to subjugate the populations of that region with brutal force – as conclusively demonstrated by stalwart U.S. support for the region’s worst oppressors. Or, as Hillary Clinton so memorably put it in 2009: “I really consider President and Mrs. Mubarak to be friends of my family.”

How can anyone believe that a government whose overt, explicit policy is “regime continuity” for Saudi Arabia, and who continues to lend all sorts of support to the military dictators of Egypt, is simultaneously driven by humanitarian missions in the region?

Which reminds us, naturally, of a song — specifically, “Kill for Peace” by the Fugs, that merry band of 60s misfits who brought devious delights to counterculture types [including, we must note, a young esnl] by their subversive lyrics and style.

In this clip from the 1971 film W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism, Fugs cofounder Tuli Kupferberg cavorts around Wall Street and environs, alarming banksters and brokers as the Fugs classic plays out:

Via vlogger The Redemption Songs:

The Fugs: Kill for Peace

In waging cover war on Syria and overt war on Iraq. we have sown dragon’s teeth and reaped the whirlwind, leaving the United States to either fight an endless series of brushfire wars or [dare we hope] seek some way out of the mess that doesn’t involve endless slaughter and misery for those who we professed to help.

And whuile we;re at it, via vlogger Dn310 , another appropriate Fugs classic:

The Fugs: CIA Man

Program notes:

The Fugs is a rock/protopunk group formed in the 1960’s. This song is featured on their debut album “The Fugs First Album”. Most recently the song can be heard during the end credits on the movie “Burn after Reading” by the Coen brothers.

UPDATE: Just found another clip, an excerpt from a 14 July 1968 appearance on Swedish television featuring surreal autobiographies of the band members and a performance of “I Couldn’t Get High”:

From vlogger Johan Cederblad:

The Fugs: I Couldn’t Get High

And now for something completely different [II]

It ain’t just the babies who love that music.

Nope, in esnl‘s native Kansas, farmer Derek Klingenberg plays it til the cows come home. Indeed, it’s the music that makes them come home, as he demonstrates by plopping himself in a lawn chair, grabbing his ol’ trombone, and sliding out a version of Lorde’s Grammy-winning hit, “Royals.”

From Farmer Derek Klingenberg:

Serenading the cattle with my trombone

H/T to Open Culture.

But sometimes it’s the cows themselves who make the music, or so it would seem in this 1942 theatrical short, a film that cracked up our daughters some years back when it aired on PeeWees’s Playhouse:

Cow Cow Boogie 1942