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Michael Haneke, a Cinema of Disturbance

"... we are sweeping everything under the carpet, but the oddness is cropping up all over the place. And then, the carpet starts to move…".
Michael Haneke, "le manipulateur" who introduced his latest film, Caché, at Cannes with a half-amused “I wish you a disturbing evening”, is the proponent of a "cinema of disturbance". A cinema of loving self-mutilation, where time is non-linear and everything happens in long take shots; in Haneke's world, guilt destroys lives decades after the original sin. All his male characters are "Georges" and his female characters are either "Evas" or "Annas", "because I lack fantasy". Unsurprisingly, he is a Bresson and Tarkovsky fan. He'll direct "Don Giovanni" at the Paris Opera in early 2006: "In 20 years of working in the theater, I only staged one comedy, and that was my single failure".
posted by matteo on Nov 18, 2005 - 19 comments

What I learned from Sergiu Celibidache

Music is nothing.
Sound could become music.
The end must be in the beginning,
and the beginning in the end.
I am here because I am not here.
Music lives in the eternal now.
Music is the now becoming now.
What I learned from Sergiu Celibidache, by Markand Thakar. More inside.
posted by matteo on Oct 14, 2005 - 6 comments

Italo Calvino, 1923-1985

"If time has to end, it can be described, instant by instant," Mr. Palomar thinks, "and each instant, when described, expands so that its end can no longer be seen." He decides that he will set himself to describing every instant of his life, and until he has described them all he will no longer think of being dead. At that moment he dies.
In memoriam of Italo Calvino, who died exactly 20 years ago.
"Calvino's novels" by his friend Gore Vidal. Calvino's obituary by Vidal, il maestro William Weaver's essay on Calvino's cities, Jeanette Winterson on Calvino's dream of being invisible, and Stefano Franchi's philosophical study on Palomar's doctrine of the void. More inside.
posted by matteo on Sep 18, 2005 - 18 comments

Jesse & Celine & Nina Simone

Just in time, you’ve found me just in time. Richard Linklater, like Wong Kar-wai, is a lyrical and elegiac filmmaker. In many of his films, as in many of Wong's (and as in Ming-liang Tsai's What Time Is It There?), the subject is time -- the romance and poetry of moments ticking by, the wonder and anguish of living through and then remembering an hour or a day. In 1995 Linklater made Before Sunrise, the story of the chance encounter of two strangers (an American young man and a French young woman) on a European train and their sleepless night in Vienna. Now ten years have passed, and they meet again in Paris: they -- and the audience -- only have 80 minutes to make up for the time they lost, Before Sunset. Linklater's new film, shot in uncut Steadycam takes (the longest clocks in at 11 minutes), in a sense is about how we create selves just by talking. But it’s also about how we become prisoners of time. Towards the end of the movie, Celine, sitting in the backseat of a car with Jesse, starts to caress his head while he isn't looking, then suddenly pulls back, and that simple curtailed gesture carries in it a sense of tragedy, the consequence of the weight of time... (more inside, with Nina Simone)
posted by matteo on Jul 20, 2004 - 22 comments

Night Windows

"Time passes, or rather doesn't pass. It is just there, solid as a coffee mug on the diner's counter. Time hangs like the reek of old tobacco in the hotel furniture". We all think we know Edward Hopper's images, even if we've never seen his paintings. Somehow the solidity of the world -- even the sky is like a wall -- is at odds with the transience of the people in it, however long they sit and stand and wait. Hopper's people, like Manet's figures, often appear consumed by the irreducible business of being. Hopper, too, would descend into his own silences, would delay himself in self-doubt... (more inside)
posted by matteo on May 25, 2004 - 19 comments

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