Limitless Cinema in Broken English

September 30, 2007


Filed under: Uncategorized — celinejulie @ 11:30 pm

This is my comment in Jesse’s blog:

What you wrote about BEFORE I FORGET (2007, Jacques Nolot) in DVD Verdict makes this film seem very interesting for me. You wrote that

“A film more fascinating to ponder after the fact than while actually watching, I walked out of the screening not liking it much, but my feelings have become much more favorable in the days that have since passed.”

I haven’t seen any films by Jacques Nolot, but your description intrigues me. I would like to have this kind of experience—seeing a film for which my fondness keeps growing stronger after watching it.

Talking about the experience of liking the film during or after watching it, I would like to share my own experience.

1.Many times I see a film which excites me very much when I’m watching it, but my excitement fades away very quickly after that. Most of the films in this category are Hollywood thriller films.

2.Sometimes I saw a film which I thought was just ok, but after a few years, I have a chance to see it again, and now think that it is truly great or a masterpiece. I think this kind of films demands that the viewers must have had some kind of life experience before the viewers can truly enjoy it or understand its greatness. I have this kind of feelings with the films of Maurice Pialat and Claude Sautet.

3.Sometimes I see a film which I don’t enjoy in the early part, because the film seems to be in a different wavelenght from mine. But after a while it seems as if my wavelength is attuned to the film, and then I start to feel the film is very very great. I had this rare experience when I was watching THE BIRTH OF LOVE (1993, Philippe Garrel, A+). It was the first Garrel’s film that I saw.

4.Sometimes I saw a film from a certain director for the first time and didn’t enjoy it much because the styles of the film is not what I’m accustomed to. But after a few years, I see another film by the same director and fall in love with it completely. I guess this kind of thing happens to me because now I know what to expect of that director when I see his/her second film, and thus can attune my wavelength to the films of that director. I have this kind of experience with the films of James Lee (from Malaysia) and Youssef Chahine.

5.As for your experience with BEFORE I FORGET, it reminds me of the feelings I have with CALM PREVAILS OVER THE COUNTRY (1976, Peter Lilienthal, West Germany, A+). I saw it the first time in 1996 or 1997, when I hadn’t seen many European films yet. I didn’t like it at all during the time I was watching it. The film is no entertainment, no-nonsense, without an ounce of sentimentality. I couldn’t follow the story. The film is truly uncompromising. I think I gave it C+ after I just finished watching it. But after a while, I found that I couldn’t shake this film out of my mind. I think this kind of film makes me truly grow as a filmlover. It really broadens my viewing experience. It really makes me feel that I have experience something “new”.

However, I saw DAVID (1979, A+), another film by Peter Lilienthal, and it is a straightforward, though well-done, film. So I don’t know if other films by Lilienthal would be like. I hope I can see CALM PREVAILS OVER THE COUNTRY again.



Filed under: Uncategorized — celinejulie @ 9:34 pm

–Tintin Cooper, an artist whose installation show YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE was held in Bangkok early this year, forwarded me this link to sign a petition to stand with the Burmese protesters. I have to thank Tintin a lot about it. Please sign the petition if you agree with the Burmese protesters.

–What happens in Myanmar saddens me very much. I hope its people will win soon.

–What happens in Myanmar also makes me ask myself if my hands are clean from the blood of the Burmese people. It is because of the film THE BANGKOK BOURGEOIS PARTY (2007, Prap Boonpan, A+) which makes me ask myself this question. If I don’t remember it wrongly, this film talks about the fact that Thailand buys some electricity from the Burmese government, thus Thai people who use the electricity indirectly support the Burmese government. I don’t know if what is said in the film is true or not, and I don’t know the current details about the Thai-Burmese electricity projects. But if what the film said is true, I hope the Thai government will stop buying the energy or electricity from this evil Burmese government soon.

–What happens in Myanmar also reminds me of some films. One of them is CEASE! FIRE! (2003, Saw Eh Doh Wah, Scott O’Brien, A+), a documentary about the suffering of some ethnic minorities in Myanmar. I have been told that the democracy struggles and the ethnic struggles in Myanmar are different, but I just hope that all the problems will end soon. I also hope that more and more people can see the film CEASE! FIRE!. This is the kind of film which might not have many aesthetic values, but it was surely made to serve the good purpose of the filmmakers—to show the world the suffering of the ethnic minorities in Myanmar.

More information about the film can be read from the link below:


Filed under: Uncategorized — celinejulie @ 1:58 am








Filed under: Uncategorized — celinejulie @ 1:35 am

This is my comment in Filmsick’s Blog:


In alphabetical order

1.DREHORT BERLIN (1987, Helga Reidemeister)

2.GERMANY IN AUTUMN (1978, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)

3.GHOSTS (2005, Anocha Suwichakornpong)

4.GOLDEN SAND HOUSE (2005, Chulayarnnon Siriphol)

5.THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MATTHEW (1964, Pier Paolo Pasolini)

6.HOMEMADE SAKE (2001, Satoshi Ono)

7.IMAGES OF THE ABSENCE (1998, German Kral, Argentina)

8.ITALIANAMERICAN (1974, Martin Scorsese)

9.LITTLE PLANT AT THE OLD HOUSE (2007, Sasikan Suvanasuthi)
The mother in this film is not the biological mother, but she is the one who really deserves the word “mother”.

You can watch this film (in Thai) from the link below:


12.ONE TRUE THING (2007, Vichart Somkaew)

13.OUR FILM (2004, Atthasit Somchob)

14.SHIT HAPPENS (2006, Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit)

15.TARNATION (2003, Jonathan Caouette)

–Of all the films above, I think I’m impressed with the presentation of mother in TARNATION the most, because it is the most hurtful. I haven’t seen GERMANY IN AUTUMN, though.


–NEWS FROM HOME (1977, Chantal Akerman, A+)
The mother never appears in this film, but the voiceover in this film talks about the letters Akerman wrote to her mother.

–NO PLACE TO GO (2000, Oskar Roehler, A+)
The film is about the real mother of Oskar Roehler who committed suicide.

–As for the films in which the female director presents her son, I think the one which impresses me the most is KUNG-FU MASTER (1987, Agnes Varda, A+), because it is very daring.

Images of BLUE BLACK PERMANENT (1992, Margaret Tait), in which the director deals with her own mother:

September 26, 2007


Filed under: Uncategorized — celinejulie @ 11:38 pm


–DVDs I hope will be available in Bangkok soon:

RICA (1972, Ko Nakahira)


“Half-breed Rica was born under a very bad sign. Her mother was raped by American GIs and Rica was the result. Rica herself was raped by one of her mother’s johns at an early age. Scarred for life from Day One, Rica was practically raised with a knife in her hand and hate in her heart for all men! Soon Rica is mixed up in a world of trouble, running with gangs, scrapping with hoodlums and excelling in the ways of the underworld. But no matter how many times she ends up in jail or gets manhandled by thugs, nothing can stand in the way of her ultimate goal: Revenge!”

You can read more about this film from



–I just learned from Zach Campbell’s blog about another film of Philippe Grandrieux (SOMBRE, LA VIE NOUVELLE). Grandrieux and Thierry Kuntzel directed a film called LA PEINTRE CUBISTE in early 1980’s. You can read more about it from

Zach Campbell’s blog

Electronic Arts Intermix


–I just learned from Peter Nellhaus’ blog that THE VICTIM (2006, Monthon Arayangkoon) has been released as a DVD in USA.

You can read Peter Nellhaus’ review of THE VICTIM in the link below:


–Personally, THE VICTIM is one of my most favorite Thai horror films of all time, and one of my most favorite feature Thai films of 2006. The reason why I love this film so much is just because a scene in this film—the scene when the ghost dances with the amateur actress–keeps on haunting my memory until this day. I mean this scene has so much seductive power over me that I enjoy thinking about it from time to time, replaying it in my head, and feeling great when I think about it.



–But don’t ask me to explain anything in THE VICTIM. I have seen this film only once and still feel confused about the second half of the film. If I don’t remember it wrongly, I guess THE VICTIM is about an obsessed fan (whom I’m not sure is a girl or a gay boy), who wants to become a famous actress, but that famous actress is playing in a film in the character of an ambitious amateur actress, who has to play murdered victims, one of which was a traditional Thai dancer, who might be a lesbian and obsessed with plastic surgery (which means she is also trying to “become another person” or not satisfied with herself). To put it another way, THE VICTIM is about the first person who strongly wants to become the second person, who plays the third person, who tries to imitate the fourth person, who is also obsessed with changing herself.

The first person, the third person, and the fourth person seem to be obsessed with “being another”. The second person gets possessed by the ghost of the first person, and the third person gets possessed by the ghost of the fourth person. The second person “performs” the third person, and the third person “performs” the fourth person. Hahaha. I don’t understand what I wrote. For those who can read Thai, you can read Filmsick’s review of THE VICTIM here.

Personally, I think THE VICTIM is also overly ambitious like the first and the third person. I guess it tries to convey the messages about celebrity obsession, obsession with being famous, obsession with improving one looks, or something like that. But what I love about this film is not its messages, but some scenes which are very haunting.

THE HOUSE, which is also directed by Monthon Arayangkoon, shares many things with THE VICTIM. In THE HOUSE, a female journalist is so obsessed with the murder of three women and the ghosts of them that she might be psychologically and mentally changed and “performs” as one of the ghosts. I’m not sure about the messages of THE HOUSE, but what I love the most about this film is not its messages, but some scenes in it which are very haunting.

Images from THE VICTIM

September 25, 2007


Filed under: Uncategorized — celinejulie @ 11:02 pm

This is my comment in Girish Shambu’s blog:

Thank you very much, Girish.

Girish, since you wrote in August that Lucia Bose is an arresting presence in STORY OF A LOVE AFFAIR (1950, Michelangelo Antonioni), I would like to tell you that Blaq Out has released a DVD of NATHALIE GRANGER (1972, Marguerite Duras), starring Lucia Bose, Jeanne Moreau, and Gerard Depardieu. I don’t know if you’ve known it already or not. But this news makes me feel very glad. The website of Blaq Out says it has English subtitles, and the special features include the interviews with Benoit Jacquot and Luc Moullet.


–Vespertine, my friend, told me this news about the DVD of NATHALIE GRANGER. I have to thank him a lot for this news.

–For those who love Lucia Bose, you can read the reviews of her films in the following links:

1.STORY OF A LOVE AFFAIR, reviewed by Jesse Ataide

2.DEATH OF A CYCLIST (1955, Juan Antonio Bardem, Spain), reviewed by Peter Nellhaus

–I also commented on NATHALIE GRANGER in in 2000.

–For those who have seen NATHALIE GRANGER, and want to read a great review of this film, I recommend you read the book NEW NOVEL, NEW WAVE, NEW POLITICS: FICTION AND THE REPRESENTATION OF HISTORY IN POSTWAR FRANCE (1998), written by Lynn A. Higgins. You can buy the book from

This is an excerpt from the book NEW NOVEL, NEW WAVE, NEW POLITICS. The writer compared the film NATHALIE GRANGER with TOUT VA BIEN (1972, Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Gorin). The full article also talks about the aftermath of May 1968 :

“This is where NATHALIE GRANGER comes into the picture. While the two films share the project of constructing counterdiscourses that might prolong the contestation of May without necessarily recounting it, in many ways they move in opposing directions. TOUT VA BIEN and NATHALIE GRANGER can be contrasted according to a distinction between proliferation and erasure. Everywhere that Godard’s contestation takes a dialectical form that brings into play more elements—more discourses, more (and more contradictory) points of view, more color and noise, and a surfeit of meanings—Duras proceeds to reduce, to minimize, to evacuate meaning. The two films contrast as active struggle and passive resistance can both disarm an attack; as direct address and no address at all can both frustrate cinematic voyeurism and specular identification; as noise and silence (or music) both repel the imposition of a dominant language. Both films systematically disorient the spectator by avoiding subjective shots and the spatial logic of shot-countershot alternation, but while Godard achieves this through multiple and split points of view, Duras tries to eliminate points of view entirely; her camera wanders through the house like an anonymous intruder. Both are exquisitely self-conscious filmmakers as well, but where Godard subverts narrative and visual conventions from within, making the evidents of their construction evident, Duras evacuates narrative altogether. Both deny the pleasures afforded by mainstream spectacle, but where Godard conceives of revolution as an act of murder and challenges the identification offered in commercial cinema by showing the reality of class struggle, Duras undermines the pleasure principle by going beyond it, to suicide and extinction of narrative, point of view, and speech itself. In short, where Godard disrupts by means of explosion, Duras proceeds implosively. Or perhaps it is the difference between Mao and Zen.”

–I learned from the website of Blaq Out that this company also released the DVDs of 8 films of Jean-Paul Civeyrac with English subtitles. I hope one day all these DVDs of Jean-Paul Civeyrac will become available in Bangkok.

Some images from the films by Jean-Paul Civeyrac

Images from THROUGH THE FOREST (2005):

Images from NEITHER EVE NOR ADAM (1996):


Filed under: Uncategorized — celinejulie @ 9:52 pm

Apichatpong Weerasethakul wrote a great article in BANGKOK POST today.

I copied the article from the link below:


A hidden agenda that deems us morons

The folly and future of Thai cinema under military dictatorship

Earlier this month, I took part in a seminar at Government House to discuss the content of the new Film and Video Act, which has been drafted to replace the existing Film Act of 1930 that miraculously continues to be in place today.

Participants at the seminar included representatives from the Ministry of Culture, Committee of Proper Media, Federation of Film Producers Association of Thailand, Thai Film Directors’ Association, cineplex operators and industry observers.

Since the proposed draft would soon be submitted to the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), the seminar was intended as a last-shot attempt from those who perceive the elements of unfairness and impracticality of the new bill, to convince the government to make corrections.

I had perused the draft of the new Film Act after the censorship board, in April, requested me to cut “just four scenes” from my latest film Syndromes and a Century. That incident convinced me that the fate of Thai cinema would be irrevocably doomed if the power to censor remained with the police, and I was enthusiastic to read the draft of the new law, which was supposed to represent our new hope for freedom of artistic expression.

But my first impression on studying it was that the draft appeared to have been written in a great hurry and had many holes in it.

The Ministry of Culture often cited the fact that filmmakers and producers had walked out from preliminary meetings with state officials, and thus the lawmakers didn’t receive necessary input and couldn’t properly accommodate their demands in the draft. To me this seemed like crude finger-pointing which failed to consider why there had been a walkout in the first place, and whether the views of filmmakers had been given any due consideration.

There are a number of issues in the new Film Act that disturb me, and which I had brought to the attention of several round-table seminars in the past few months.

Chiefly is the clause that spells out: “Filmmakers must not make films that undermine social order or moral decency, or that might have an impact on the security and pride of the nation.”

At first glance this may sound sensible, but what has always caused major conflicts between filmmakers and the authorities is the definition of “moral decency” and “pride of the nation”. At the end, what is decent or indecent, or what will disrupt social order, will be decided by government-appointed “arbiters”.

Because we are living in a nation that still refuses to believe that prostitution exists in this land _ there’s no need to list all the vices that exist everywhere in the world, most of all in this country _ my view is that the new Film Act is not a step forward.

The underlying mentality of the law remains to exert control over our thoughts, the only difference being that this power to decide what is acceptable and what is not will be transferred from the police to a new agency to be set up under the Ministry of Culture.

I’d like to remind you that this is the ministry that never fails to come up with comical campaigns _ from encouraging citizens to dress in traditional Thai costume, to the promotion of Thai-sounding nicknames.

I understand that these campaigns might have had their origin in Unesco’s urge to preserve the world’s cultural heritage. But what the ministry has been doing is just the icing on the cake and a waste of our national budget, as if they still haven’t quite fathomed what the word “culture” really means.

By using our tax money, they propagate empty morality and dispense “national pride” as an excuse, when in fact what they are doing is simply force-feeding what we may call “a facade culture” upon us.

At the seminar this month, participants also discussed Article 26 of the new bill, which stipulates Thailand’s first-ever film rating system. As written, a movie will be classified into one of the four categories: fit for all age groups; viewers under 15 must be accompanied by a parent; not allowed for anyone under 18; and not allowed to be screened in the Kingdom at all.

In my view this last category _ which basically reads “banned!” _ is the crux of the problem.

The basis for a ban order concerns our three fundamental institutions: chart, sasana, phra mahakasat_ the nation, the religion, the monarchy.

At the seminar, representatives from the Federation of Film Producers and cineplex operators pledged that they would not permit anything “sensitive” that might harm the the three institutions, and by making that pledge, they accepted the right of the state to ban movies.

I, however, would like to take a different view and oppose the “ban” category. The measure may be effective in some countries, but it will fail here and will betray our claim of being a democratic country.

Thailand has been plagued with double standards and nepotism, and we do not want the government to stick their head in and complicate matters by using the hollow claims of “protection” and “good will”.

Naturally, it is unacceptable to do anything that might tarnish the image of the King _ that is out of the question _ and there is already a law to punish people who behave thus. But the readiness of certain parties to swear to the powers-that-be that they won’t touch “the nation” and “the religion” is a mark of our utter weakness; it is a testament to our fear and cowardice.

It shocked me that the Federation of Film Producers and theatre owners voluntarily dropped the subject. Instead of questioning the authority and the people who use it, instead of promoting constructive debate for the sake of development, we are so ready to let the state silence us.

Will we ever see a movie about Field Marshal P Pibulsongkram and his dictatorial rule? Perhaps Thai people do not care about “the nation” and “the religion”, and we’re so willing to look away from them the same way as we look away from the existence of prostitution.

What if I called my new film My Beautiful Life Under Thaksin and the Military Junta? Would they deem it a disruption of social order and ban it? Or should I simply copy one of those films that contain scenes of Buddhist monks running away from ghosts and falling into a toilet, because that’s not actually bad publicity for Buddhism? Or maybe one of those movies with a lot of homosexuals shouting dirty expletives, because that’s acceptable in our moral standards?

Things cannot be improved if we continue to have state-appointed “arbiters” to judge a movie. I am not a legal expert, but I believe it is possible for the government to allow the film industry to become self-regulated. An independent body can be set up to be run by professionals from the film community. Free from state influence, this agency would be responsible for monitoring and assigning rating, and it would bear direct responsibilities towards the audience, who in turn would monitor the performance of the agency. This way, the film industry will be liberated from the state’s shackles and begin to have a dialogue with the public.

As the audience’s tastes grow and social values change, this agency will develop accordingly _ I believe this is an index of our society’s intellect.

Right now, a writer need not let the police approve what he/she will publish, likewise with painters or performing artists. But movies continue to be controlled by Big Brother (even though the high ticket price automatically limits the exposure). Filmmakers have ethics and moral codes, too, and we are always open to criticism and objection from the audience. In case a movie happens to violate a person’s right or integrity, there is already a system of fair trial that will bring us to court. I believe that this is the way we exercise freedom in a democratic society.

An officer from the Office of Cultural Surveillance once quoted research that claimed Thai people as having an average education of Grade 6, and thus they are not ready to be exposed to certain materials. In my view, this claim is an insult to the intelligence of the people and an allusion that most Thais are morons. By deciding for them that they are not “ready”, by playing their uncalled-for protectors, the agency is simply denying the chance of young people to grow up and develop their own judgement.

The insistence of this agency to keep the right to ban movies means they do not believe in the age-classification system. They also do not believe in allowing the people to learn from experience, because they are afraid youngsters will be addicted to pornography (which doesn’t exist in this country, of course).

In short, the discussion on the rating system is not necessary if the agency still insists on the ban order. Judging from their attitude, I am not sure if this new Film Act is only a sham designed to transfer the power to control from the police to the Culture Cop.

I strongly believe that government intervention must be removed from the activities of filmmaking and screening in Siam. I am ready to be bullied by the “arbiters” picked by the people in the industry, but I refuse to be bullied and raped by the so-called “protectors” appointed by the government.

By the end of the seminar, a Cultural Ministry officer insisted that every party should support the new Film Act for now and corrections could be made later. This sounded like a cover-up, and I feel apprehensive at the state’s unusual haste to rush this draft through the NLA, despite the fact that the election date has been set.

Filmmakers have always been invited to round-table seminars hosted by the government, but after a few times I began feeling like I was being used as a Referendum puppet: the invitation was a mere formality and my presence was used to justify the “democratic” process of writing a law.

The new Film Act will remain with us for a long time (the existing one has lasted 77 years and still counting), and although we’ve been fighting for it for many years, I know I’d rather wait another few decades for a complete, fair and sincere law, than to accept something that promises us nothing but a fake kind of freedom. Despite our protest, the final draft of the new Film Act is likely to be the Ministry of Culture’s version. We, the filmmakers, the Federation of National Film Producers, and theatre owners will in this life never see the promised Film Centre or Film Funding. This government will never give freedom to the people. We are making a pact with the devil. If you’re reading this, prove me wrong and I’ll kiss your feet.

Director Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s films, “Sud Sanaeha” (Blissfully Yours) and “Sud Pralad”(Tropical Malady), have won awards at the Cannes International Film Festival. “

September 24, 2007


Filed under: Uncategorized — celinejulie @ 5:42 pm

This is a part of an e-mail I sent to someone:

–I have seen only two feature films by James Lee—THE BEAUTIFUL WASHING MACHINE (B+) and BEFORE WE FALL IN LOVE AGAIN (2006, A+). I’m not sure if he’s a great director or not, but I think he’s a very interesting director, because his films has some distinct styles of his own. In my opinion, BEFORE WE FALL IN LOVE AGAIN seems like an antithesis of romantic Korean films. BEFORE WE FALL IN LOVE AGAIN share many elements with normal romantic films—handsome actor, very good male character, love triangle, some humour—but turns out to convey the opposite feelings of normal romantic films. I think one reason why l love this film very much is because I normally hate romantic films. BEFORE WE FALL IN LOVE AGAIN presents love life as very un-romantic, boring, and fake. And that’s what I like about this film.

Another reason why I like BEFORE WE FALL IN LOVE AGAIN very much is its lack of romantic music soundtracks. After seeing this film, I found that I couldn’t bear the use of mood-buidling soundtracks in many films I saw later. BEFORE WE FALL IN LOVE AGAIN has made me understand the fake feelings created by that kind of soundtracks.

–I have seen DORM (2006, Songyos Sugmakanan, A+), but I haven’t seen THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE. I like DORM very much, because it turns out not to be a horror film. In fact, I like some Thai films which are about ghosts, but the films are not standard horrors.

Some films in this sub-category


2.THE BANGKOK BOURGEOIS PARTY (2007, Prap Boonpan, A+++++)

This film is about some bourgeois people who kill a Thai person who has different political opinions from them. The dead person became a ghost and keeps haunting those bourgeois people. This is not a horror film, but this film makes me feel the most scared in my life, because this film seems to anticipate some civil wars which might happen in Thailand in the near future. In my opinion, the ghost in this film functions as the good conscience of those Thai bourgeois people. Those Thai bourgeois people can live their happy lives only when they can get rid of the good conscience in them. They must forget the suffering of the poor and the oppressed in order to live happily.

3.KHON HEW HUA (2007, Ping Lumpraploeng, A)

This is a story of a man who was beheaded, but refuses to die until he can make his wife and son live happily. It’s a comedy, but I think Ping Lumpraploeng makes comedies like no other persons. Many people hate his films, but I like them.

4.COLIC: DEK HEN PEE (2006, Patchanon Thammajira, A+)

This might be a standard horror film, but it dares to talk about an important political event in the past which most Thai films dare not talk about.

September 22, 2007


Filed under: Uncategorized — celinejulie @ 11:41 pm

This is a part of an e-mail I sent to someone:

According to my personal taste, current feature Thai films that I like a lot include

1.THE HOUSE (2007, Monthon Arayangkoon)
This looks like just a cliché horror film, but I think there are some interesting aspects in this film, such as the psychological complex of some characters, the question why some women are happy to see the torture of other women (or why some persons are happy to see the torture of other persons), the questions about family values, about the power of love or the futility of love, and about the use of medium, etc. This film might not be as scary as other horror films, but it really succeeds in leaving some shadows in my minds. I don’t know why I feel as if my heart was darker after seeing this film.

2.ASUJAAK (2007, Taweewat Wantha)
This is a hilarious cult film.

3.ONE TRUE THING (2007, Vichart Somkaew)
This is a documentary about the director who was coming out of the closet. He told his close friends and his mother that he was gay, and recorded their reactions.

4.THE SPECTRUM (2006, Yanin Pongsuwan)
This is a documentary about students who had to practice very hard in a marching band for the competition.

5.FINAL SCORE (2007, Soraya Nakasuwan)
This is a documentary about the lives of some high-school students before they took the entrance exam for university.

6.THE TRUTH BE TOLD (2007, Pimpaka Towira)
This is a documentary about a female activist.

7.KHON FAI BIN (2006, Chalerm Wongpim)
This is an entertaining action film.

Images from THE HOUSE (2007, Monthon Arayangkoon, A+++++)

September 20, 2007


Filed under: Uncategorized — celinejulie @ 11:13 pm

This is my comment in bioscope webboard

Reply to merveillesxx

I feel very glad that you like EUROPA 2005 – 27 OCTOBRE (2006, Jean-Marie Straub + Daniele Huillet, A+), so I would like to provide you some information.

1.Michael Sicinski wrote a review of this film here:

I know about this review from Girish Shambu’s blog:

2.One thing that surprised me a lot in Sicinski’s review is this sentence—“ Europa 2005 looks at first like an actual repetition of a single two-shot sequence five times. In fact, the exact same camera movements are repeated at five different times of day. Close examination of the shadows and tint of the walls and trees reveals the subtle differences in light quality.”

I have to admit that I didn’t notice anything at all about this light changing. Reading a review like this really “opens my eyes”.

3.From Sicinski’s review, I also got to know that Straub likes Cezanne. In fact, Straub and Huillet once made a film called CEZANNE: CONVERSATION WITH JOAQUIM GASQUET (52 min, 1989). You can read more about this film here:

4.There’s a barking dog offscreen in EUROPA 2005 – 27 OCTOBRE. I have heard that there is also a barking dog offscreen in THE DEATH OF EMPEDOCLES (1987, Jean-Marie Straub + Daniele Huillet)

5.The film “THESE ENCOUNTERS OF THEIRS” (2006, Jean-Marie Straub + Daniele Huillet) can be watched online, but unfortunately, there is no English subtitle.

You can watch the film here:

6.I just learned from reading Doug Cummings’ website that you can read the book LANDSCAPE OF RESISTANCE: THE GERMAN FILMS OF DANIELE HUILLET AND JEAN-MARIE STRAUB, written by Barton Byg, for free online!!!!!!

Doug Cummings’ website$3671


or you can buy this great book fromèle-Huillet-Jean-Marie/dp/0520089103/ref=sr_1_1/103-4544025-7933420?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1190300012&sr=1-1

7.There is a lot of interesting information about the Straubs in Barton Byg’s book, so I would like to quote some information here.:

Excerpts from the book LANDSCAPE OF RESISTANCE, written by Barton Byg:

7.1 Byg wrote about what he thought of NOT RECONCILED OR ONLY VIOLENCE HELPS WHERE VIOLENCE RULES (1965, Jean-Marie Straub). I think some of his thoughts are similar to what I think about EUROPA 2005 – 27 OCTOBRE.

“Not Reconciled was the first Straub/Huillet film I ever saw, and I remember the shock vividly to this day. The breathtaking frustration the film provoked can only compare to my first reaction to Kafka’s German: How can anything so simple be so incomprehensible, so threatening? How can anything so short seem so long? And, like Kafka, the film kept drawing me back with its ability to crystallize the burden of the past and the impulse to resist in just a few seconds of film time.”

“In films that are simple in their visual construction, restrained in their camera movement, and precise in their editing, there are always brief points at which the reality of the world outside the film explodes with a violent, utopian force. In Not Reconciled , for instance, a tragic love affair is summed up in a single two-second shot of a young woman turning her head as she says, “They’re going to kill you.” An old woman shoots a Nazi sympathizer at the end of the same film, and another avenging woman shoots a gangster at the end of The Bridegroom, the Comedienne, and the Pimp , yet in each case the camera looks away. The “action” is always elsewhere, spilling out of the film.”

“When one begins to think about a Straub/Huillet film, one inevitably confronts subjects outside the film itself—questions of reality and history, of the “look of the world” that has become so vulnerable.”

7.2 I like this quote of Daniele Huillet

“Furthermore, Huillet does not see her work as part of a countercinema that simply destroys the pleasures of the conventional narrative by reversing the system: “I don’t believe that one can replace one oppression with another, and I also don’t believe that one can fight one system with another, because then a thing becomes simply too rigid.”

7.3 Their favorite films

“In 1982 at the most recent U.S. retrospective of their films at the Public Theater in New York, they requested screenings of Glauber Rocha’s Antonio das mortes (1969), Carl Dreyer’s Day of Wrath (1943), Charlie Chaplin’s A King in New York (1957), D. W. Griffith’s A Corner in Wheat (1909), Luis Buñuel’s Land Without Bread (1982), John Ford’s Civil War (from How the West Was Won , 1962), Sergei Eisenstein’s Alexander Nevsky (1938), Erich von Stroheim’s Blind Husbands (1918), Jean Renoir’s This Land Is Mine (1943), Kenji Mizoguchi’s The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums (1939), and Luc Moulet’s formal Western satire A Girl Is a Gun (1970). Straub/Huillet refer to cinematic forerunners in regard to the two areas in which they are the most original, in the treatment of space and the treatment of sound. They have consistently stressed that each of their films begins with a place, a location, and is built from there.”

7.4 Their style

“Straub/Huillet attempt to simplify each shot to the point that it conveys one idea clearly; it becomes an empty frame, devoid of all expression. Only an “empty” frame can capture the invisible textures of the surface of the world that were the essence of cinema for Kracauer and a poetic salvation for Holderlin. Straub refers often to Griffith’s statement of 1947: “What the modern movie lacks is beauty—the beauty of moving wind in the trees, the little movement in a beautiful blowing on the blossoms in the trees. That they have forgotten entirely”

7.5 Straub talked about his conflicts with Alexander Kluge

“Kluge always goes on about the film which is created in the minds of the spectators; I don’t believe it. Then I react like Rivette and state that film—let’s not quibble over the words—is only based on fascination, and that it only touches people, and touches them deeply, when it is based on fascination, i.e., the opposite of distance or participation or some such thing, that the traditional attitudes of people . . . one never invents very much, Renoir said, not like Kluge, with whom I quarreled in Mannheim. He climbed onto the stage and said, well, what we are doing is new. We make films which are going to be created in the minds of the spectators. That is completely new and nobody has done it before. My films are like—and then he saw me down in the audience—my films are like those of Straub, for instance—then I was furious and stood up and said, the things I do are not new at all, they are traditional.”

7.6 Rainer Werner Fassbinder talked about Straub

“What was more significant for me was that Straub directed a play, Krankheit der Jugend (Ferdinand Bruckner) with the Action-Theater, and even though his version was only ten minutes long, we rehearsed it for all of four months, over and over again, for only two hours a day, I admit, it was still really crazy. This experience I had with Straub, who approached his work and the other people with such an air of comic solemnity, fascinated me. He would let us play a scene and then would say to us, “How did they feel at this point?” This was really quite right in this case, because we ourselves had to develop an attitude about what we were doing, so that when we were acting, we developed the technique of looking at ourselves, and the result was that there was a distance between the role and the actor, instead of total identity. The films he’s made that I think are very beautiful are the early ones, Machorka-Muff and Not Reconciled , up to and including Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach , though Othon and other films since then have proved to me that what is most important to him is not what interests me in his work.”

7.7 Their ideas about films

“STRAUB: . . . I think the deception comes about when one gives people the impression that something is happening in the moment the film is running, something they call “action.” It isn’t true; when a film is running which doesn’t rest on deception, nothing is happening, absolutely nothing. That can only happen in the spectator, whatever happens. And that can only come about through the combination of the images and sounds . . .

HUILLET: That is, of forms . . .

STRAUB: . . . of forms that go through the ears and the eyes and through the minds of the spectator and into his [sic ] reflections”

7.8 Serge Daney on the Straubs

“With their well-oiled war machine, their sacred egoism, their fine vitality, too, and the clear ideas they have concerning their work, the Straubs are probably the last to create a cinema for loners that can nevertheless be brought into regular theaters. They are squarely in cinema and I would have given up on them long ago with their garbled political ideas, had I not understood that they were the last great film-makers of the history of modern cinema, perhaps of the history of cinema, period. I harbor no illusions about the receptability of their work; they set out to teach people something and people will always hate them for that”

I hope all of you enjoy reading this great book by Barton Byg. Having this great book available for free online makes me believe in the saying “THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE”.

8.I have heard that Yervant Gianikian + Angela Ricci Lucchi, the directors of OH, UOMO (2004), BALKAN INVENTORY (2000), and FROM THE POLE TO THE EQUATOR (1987), sometimes are called “the nice Straubs”. What does this mean about the real Straubs?

In the book WEST GERMAN FILMMAKERS ON FILM: VISIONS AND VOICES (1988, published by Holmes & Meier), there are two interesting letters concerning Straub. So I would like to quote them here:

“Dr. R. F. Goldschmidt, Delegate of the Board of the Export-Union of the German Film Industry, had written Richard Roud, Director of the New York Film Festival, on 9 July 1975, in English:

Thank you for your letter of June 30, 1975, regarding the German participation at the New York Film Festival.

We are sorry to tell you that we are in no position to help you with airfares for Daniele Huillet and J. M. Straub to come to your festival as both are French nationals and therefore the German authorities will not give any funds for such a trip.

The airfare for Werner Herzog will be paid so that there is no problem that he will be present at your festival.”

Then Straub wrote a letter. I love his letter very much

“July 28, 1975

You Fascists, you Ignoramuses, you Hypocrites,

Richard Roud sent me a copy of your letter from July 9, 1975 (DR. G/E1). I wouldn’t think of accepting a penny from you pimps (Roud had written you without my permission), but I want you to know that I am registered as a German film director in the West German Office of Employment, and will—with your letter in hand—make every possible publicity against you.

With hate,

Jean-Marie Straub”

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