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Peter Greenaway


8 1/2 Women (2000)

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In memory of the memories of W. G. Sebald

A great man and a haunting and evocative writer died Dec. 14, 2001. W. G. Sebald wrote books like no one else before or after him. His books involve a melancholy prowl through the wreckage of the 20th century and his own sometimes bewildered fragments of memory. They are always described as fiction, yet take the form of memoir and are illustrated by photographs that uncannily and exactly match his words. They are real beyond real. You can do no better than to read him. RE

The entry on Sebald in Wikipedia.

Photographs representing his face, subjects, moods and vision. The Sebald Pool on Flickr.

Analogue." "Inspired by the writings of W.G. Sebald and Arthur Conan Doyle and the early films of Peter Greenaway, Analogue attempts to re-imagine the sublime in the 19th century romantic landscape."

"A visual/verbal poem in memory of WG Sebald."

Sin contra, "without counting"

An architectural history class project in relation to "Topographical Stories" by David Leatherbarrow and "Austerlitz" by WG Sebald. Widgets

From the Sebald photo pool on Flickr:


Fear of fauna: Of horses & men & ZOO

View image From the poster for "Zoo."

"Zoo," tagged unfairly at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival as "the horse-f---ing movie," is pure artsploitation. Although labeled a "documentary" by some, it's really more of a pristine horror-fantasy about sex -- that doesn't quite have the nerve to face the sex or the horror, and only barely scratches the surface of the fantasy. It starts off almost as if it could become a Val Lewton movie ("Cat People"), but keeps at a distance. Its shadows are viewed as atmospheric effects rather than dark, unknown regions in which a body could get lost. Warily, the movie circles the sexuality of its subjects as if terrified of getting its hands (or whatever) dirty.

It's based on the Enumclaw Horse Case. In 2005, a man in Washington State died from "acute peritonitis," internal wounds from having intercourse with an Arabian stallion on a farm where social-sexual gatherings were sometimes held for such purposes.

"Zoo" exploits this sensational, scandalous death with ravishing visuals and an ominous score (like Michael Nyman's work with Peter Greenaway, minus the wit), but steers away from close examination of the physical, emotional, sexual, political, ethical or spiritual ramifications of zoophilia -- the movie's Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name. The name is spoken, of course, but apart from a few brief, provocative voiceover comments about animal "consent," or humans who really love their animals wanting to take that love further, to fuse with (or become) other mammals, "Zoo" contemplates man and beast from a cool remove. It's all nicely theoretical and abstract. And yet we can't honestly grapple with the implications (moral or otherwise) of what zoophiles do if we avoid confronting what they do, to and with the animals. I expected a little more raw emotion -- or, at least, passion -- here.

No doubt the movie's reticence comes in part because the three zoophiles who allowed their voice interviews to be used in the film are understandably hesitant to discuss their sexual activities and what drives them -- perhaps especially now that bestiality has been officially outlawed in Washington. "Zoo" could have gained some credibility from a little honest (or even dishonest) eye contact, but almost all interviews take place off-camera, including those with people who were not involved in the case, and not at all in the practice of inter-species sex.

Festivals & Awards

So many films, so little time

I have before me a schedule of the 2007 Toronto Film Festival, which opens Thursday and runs 10 days. I have been looking at it for some time. I am paralyzed. There are so many films by important directors (not to mention important films by unknown directors), that it cannot be reduced to its highlights. The highlights alone, if run in alphabetical order, would take up all my space.

Festivals & Awards

Best films change perspectives on life

I was there before the beginning, young fellow. And now it's after the end. -- Mr. Bernstein in "Citizen Kane" TORONTO--This is a meditation on mortality. "I made a conscious decision to work all the time while I was growing up," Christina Ricci told me. "I didn't want people to see me in a movie and be shocked that I wasn't a kid anymore. I wanted to grow up onscreen."

Festivals & Awards

Cannes winners a strange crew

CANNES, France -- The survivors of the 52nd Cannes Film Festival met at the Nice airport on Monday like applicants for an emergency airlift. The carnage of the awards ceremony was still fresh in our minds. A jury led by the Canadian director David Cronenberg had produced a list of awards so peculiar that it is safe to say no one understood it except Cronenberg -- and perhaps some, but not all, of his jury members. "Perverse," Variety called the verdict.

Festivals & Awards

Gold on hold

CANNES, France -- The Cannes Film Festival heads into its second weekend, still without a likely Palme d'Or winner, unless we have already seen it, and it is Pedro Almodovar's "All About My Mother." We have been here a week, and that entry, first screened Saturday, is the film most people mention when you ask them what they liked the most.

Festivals & Awards

Candid Cannes

CANNES, France -- One year I arrived in Cannes a little early, two days before the festival was scheduled to begin, and watched the waiters on the famous terrace of the Carlton Hotel as they loaded the good furniture into trucks and unloaded the weather-beaten rattan that I had come to know and love.

Festivals & Awards

Cannes all winners

The Festival International du Film, held annually in Cannes, France, has become the world's most prestigious film festival—the spot on the beach where the newest films from the world's top directors compete for both publicity and awards.


Director works 'magick' with Bard in 'Books'

He is a most precise man, choosing his words with care, saying exactly what he thinks and letting you know he has thought about it a good deal. And with precision and great intellectual clarity, Peter Greenaway makes films that shock, infuriate, confound and bedevil his audiences.


Interview with Helen Mirren

LOS ANGELES -- Helen Mirren remembers that she took a deep breath after she read the screenplay for "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover," and then she thought, "Well, yes, it is a dangerous film. It's deep and complex and we're not skating around any issues. It's on the cutting edge, quite apart from the content -- look at the style of the filmmaking, the artificiality of it, the strangeness of the dialogue. I knew it was dangerous, but I didn't think it was that dangerous. You know, that X-rated thing, because that's a different kind of thing altogether."