Category Archives: Film

John Waters Talks About Contemporary Art

David Lynch, Pop Star?

David Lynch is releasing a solo album.  Coming out on UK label Sunday Best this November, it’s called – wait for it – Crazy Clown Time, and features guest vocals by Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ frontwoman, Karen O.

This isn’t Lynch’s first foray into music.  He’s created atmospheric numbers for several of his films, as well as writing and singing two songs for Inland Empire and contributing to Dark Night of the Soul, a collaboration between Lynch, Dangermouse and the late Mark Linkous (a.k.a Sparklehorse).

The filmmaker credits his love of music to longtime collaborator/composer Angelo Badalamenti.  Lynch says: “I just love musicians. They’re not all super-happy all the time, but when they’re playing they’re happy, and it’s such a beautiful thing. I also like them because they sleep late in the morning; they’re more like children.”

(Directed by Arnold de Parscau, the video above for the album’s  single Good Day Today  was selected by Lynch following an open call for submissions).

The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes

Above: an excerpt from ‘The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes’
(WARNING: not for the squeamish – seriously)

Leg of Lamb recently attended the IMA’s screening of  ‘The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes’.  Made by Stan Brakhage in 1971, the half hour experimental film is comprised entirely of autopsy footage recorded in a Pittsburgh morgue.  To say it’s not for the faint hearted is an understatement, so be careful watching this – you have been warned.

Despite the subtly toned film stock and oblique camera angles – in part utilised to protect the identities of the cadavers – the film is confronting. One scene involves the removal of a corpse’s brain.  In so doing, romantic notions of imagination, memory, intellect – things we conceive of as infinite – are grounded in an inanimate mound of white flesh.  To witness this is humbling.  Brakhage’s film is a potent examination of mortality that, in all its gore, is curiously life affirming.  We’re all meat, we’re all going to die – so enjoy it while it lasts.

La Dolce Vita – The Original

Lindsay Lohan stands around with her mouth open

Lindsay Lohan is the subject of painter Richard Phillips’ first foray into film. Debuting in Venice as part of Commercial Break, an exhibition curated by Neville Wakefield for The Garage, the 97 second mini-film, imaginatively entitled Lindsay Lohan features the freckled one in close up, her plumped mouth expertly parted. For Phillips, the vacuous Lohan ‘bring(s) forward an existential presence that speaks to the isolated self’. Right…

Jim Henson’s Time Piece

Before The Muppet Show made him a household name, Jim Henson made commercials and short films.  Time Piece (above) was nominated for an Academy Award in 1966.  Look closely and you’ll discover that the protagonist is young Henson himself.

So long, Ira Cohen

Ira Cohen, 'Jimi Hendrix', pigment print, 76 x 102 cm, from the 'Mylar Chamber' series, 1969

Ira Coen died last month aged 76.  A member of the 1960s counterculture, Cohen was a poet, publisher, artist and film-maker best known for his Mylar Chamber photographs.  Made in the late 1960s, the series featured the likes of William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and Jimi Hendrix photographed by the artist in his New York loft.  Cohen created the works’ whirling, surreal effects by covering the walls and ceilings of his apartment with sheets of mylar and photographing the reflections, producing images that Hendrix described as ‘like looking through butterfly wings’.

The mylar chamber also featured in The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda (excerpt above), a 22 minute film made by Cohen in 1968 with an improvised soundtrack care of Angus MacLise, original drummer for the Velvet Underground.  In true Cohen style, the film is seriously psychedelic.  You can find it in its entirety online here.

David Lynch Signature Cup Coffee

David Lynch has his own line of organic coffee – David Lynch Signature Cup.  To promote it, the film-maker and avid coffee drinker recently released the above advertisement via his Vimeo account.

John Waters announced as Venice jury member

John Waters is a member of the international jury for this year’s Venice Biennale. Selected by Biennale Director Bice Curige, Waters and fellow jurors are responsible for awarding this year’s Golden Lion, along with other prizes associated with the event.  When he’s not making trashy films, collecting art, or performing stand-up, Waters teaches ‘Film and subculture’ at the European Graduate School in Switzerland.

(Above: an excerpt from Female Trouble, 1973, directed by John Waters)

The Cremaster Cycle – again.

Matthew Barney’s Cremaster series has been around for a while now.  The 5 feature-length films (named after the muscle that raises and lowers the testes) were released between 1994 and 2002.  And they’re no mean feat – each film is a highly complex spectacle that involves a motley crew of characters played by the likes of Norman Mailer, Ursula Andress, Richard Serra, Steve Tucker (then-vocalist for Morbid Angel), double amputee athlete and model Aimee Mullins and others.  Vaseline – Barney’s signature material – appears throughout.

While ‘The Order’, a small segment of Cremaster 3 is available on DVD, Barney made these films for the big screen and Melbournites have the opportunity to see them all this Sunday (July 11th) at the Cremaster  Marathon, screening at ACMI from 3pm.