Monday, April 30, 2007


"Eight Millimeter" is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). Though it includes profanity, partial nudity and ugly violence, its depictions of pornography are relatively discreet.
I watched this move more than twice, so it is time to writ about it. It is movie that closed my eyes for many times. Similar movies are Hardcore (1979), Stonestreet: Who Killed the Centerfold Model? (1977), Snuff (1974), Mute Witness (1994), Frisk (1995), O Fantasma (2001). All those movies are hard to watch, and they had problems to prove that some inserts of movies are not for real. The theme is hard and it exist in real world , no matter how hard we try to tell ourselves it is fiction. It is in human nature to show our power upon others. As many of us living we share this small world with sick people too. Some of them are a private eye that enters a horrific world of degrading sex and bottom-feeding pornographers. It exist no matter how we hide the truth from our lives.
There are some others, even there is few of us who love this film.
Director Joel Schumacher born in New York 1939 into Jewish family is gay and film director. He had crashed down with Batman and Robbin, and he puled him self out of directing misery with Nicolas Cage, best man to do the role.
Andrew Kevin Walker Joel Schumacher's "Eight Millimeter" delves into the perverse underworld of the pornography business, shocking audiences with the realization that sex and violence can be so dull. Though the film moves, according to production notes, "from the lurid sidewalks of LA's Hollywood Boulevard to the squalor of New York's meat-packing district," it's also a story that ends with leaf raking on a suburban lawn.
Short synopsis:
Tom Welles (Nicolas Cage) is a surveillance expert on the rise. He's living the American dream with a wife, Amy (Catherine Keener), infant daughter, and a house in the suburbs of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. After the completion of an assignment for a U.S. Senator, Welles is summoned to the house of a recently deceased captain of industry. His widow, in settling his estate, has discovered an 8MM film in her late husband's private safe. The silent short depicts the apparent murder of a young woman by a large, masked figure, what is known as a "snuff" film. Greatly disturbed by the film's contents, the widow hires Welles to find the identity of the woman and determine if she is still alive. Welles finds the girl's identity and follows her trail from the time she ran away from home to Hollywood. Once there, Welles meets adult bookstore clerk Max California (Joaquin Phoenix) to act as Virgil to Welles' Dante. As the two begin their descent into the world of underground pornography, the detective grows more and more distant from his family, as if he cannot shake the taint of the world in which he now walks. Tom and Max eventually meet pornographers Dino Velvet (Peter Stormare) and Eddie Poole (James Gandolfini). By this time the detective finds he can no longer walk out of the inferno. This finally takes the film where it wants to be: in the midst of sleaze and shady characters, including Joaquin Phoenix as a scene-stealing porn shop clerk who becomes Tom's sidekick and helper. Advised to wear a leather jacket and start asking for the hard stuff, Tom throws himself into this research and encounters an assortment of sinister miscreants.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Paparazzi serve us!

The term paparazzi comes from the Federico Fellini film La Dolce Vita (1960), a tale of the decadent movie business in Rome. In the 1950s, many Hollywood companies flocked to Rome, and this combined with the native Italian film industry caused Rome to be briefly called "Hollywood on the Tiber".

La Dolce Vita ("The good life") chronicles the decadence and hedonism through the eyes of gossip columnist Marcello Rubini (Marcello Mastrioanni ). His partner in crime is a photographer named Paparazzo (Walter Santesso), who specializes in capturing celebrities in compromising positions. The film, not to mention the real life scandals which inspired the movie, did much to bring public attention to the celebrity pursuing writers and photographers.

The name is actually an Italian family name, and is probably a corruption of papataceo, a type of mosquito.

La Dolce Vita
This major artistic biography of Federico Fellini shows how his exuberant imagination has been shaped by popular culture, literature, and his encounter with the ideas of C. G. Jung, especially Jungian dream interpretation. Covering Fellini's entire career, the book links his mature accomplishments to his first employment as a cartoonist, gagman, and sketch-artist during the Fascist era and his development as a leading neo-realist scriptwriter. Peter Bondanella thoroughly explores key Fellinian themes to reveal the director's growth not only as an artistic master of the visual image but also as an astute interpreter of culture and politics. Throughout the book Bondanella draws on a new archive of several dozen manuscripts, obtained from Fellini and his scriptwriters. These previously unexamined documents allow a comprehensive treatment of Fellini's important part in the rise of Italian neorealism and the even more decisive role that he played in the evolution of Italian cinema beyond neorealism in the 1950s. By probing Fellini's recurring themes, Bondanella reinterprets the visual qualities of the director's body of work--and also discloses in the films a critical and intellectual vitality often hidden by Fellini's reputation as a storyteller and entertainer. After two chapters on Fellini's precinematic career, the book covers all the films to date in analytical chapters arranged by topic: Fellini and his growth beyond his neorealist apprenticeship, dreams and metacinema, literature and cinema, Fellini and politics, Fellini and the image of women, and La voce della luna and the cinema of poetry.
La Dolce Vita was a three-hour, panoramic view of contemporary Italian society as seen from the perspective of a journalist, played by Fellini's alter ego, actor Marcello Mastroianni. A savage if subtle satire that exposes the worthless hedonism of Italian society, La Dolce Vita provides a wealth of unforgettable images, from its opening-a parody of the Ascension as a helicopter transports a suspended statue of Christ over rooftops with sunbathing women in bikinis-to its signature scene of bosomy Anita Ekberg bathing in the Trevi Fountain. The film was a scandalous success, a worldwide box-office hit that was condemned by both the Catholic Church for its casual depiction of suicide and sexual themes and by the Italian government for its scathing criticism of Italy. Celebrated as a brilliant social critic, Fellini now found himself under careful scrutiny by the international community, which anxiously awaited his next film. 8 1/2 represented a brilliant gamble: as a filmmaker who did not know what film to make next, Fellini decided to make a film about an internationally acclaimed director who does not know what film to make next, thus confronting his personal confusions head-on; Mastroianni played the director's alter ego. Having directed six features, co-directed another (counting as one half) and helmed episodes of two anthology films (each one also counting for a half), one of which was Boccaccio '70 (1962), Fellini realized he had made 7 1/2 films and hence chose 8 1/2 for his most reflexive film. For the first time, surreal dream imagery clearly dominated, with no clear demarcation between fantasy and reality in this groundbreaking and exceptionally influential film.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Message and Manipulation

In psychoanalytic theory, films are supposed to touch our unconscious and connect to our deepest fears and hopes. That so few do is probably less because of the inadequacies of Freud’s theories than the incompetence of most filmmakers. Most of the time we just cannot believe what’s happening up there on the screen, so we can hardly be moved by it.

CHINATOWN disturbs us. It penetrates many psychic defenses, surrounds us, and in a sense, places our heads under its bell jar. From the opening sequence—a series of semi-pornographic pictures of a couple screwing in the woods—it arouses our curiosity and totally involves us. We are like children trying to figure out what these adults are doing sexually, what is happening in this primal scene, what are these huge figures up to? We are confused—the photos turn quickly, the couple are clothed but are screwing—and even a little frightened. We are also informed, on almost a subliminal level, of Polanski’s political point. The last picture is of the woman being penetrated from the rear—a sexist image Polanski uses to say: in this world, everyone takes it in the ass.

Polanski’s plot in CHINATOWN, on its surface, is about political corruption, a Water Department (Watergate?) scandal in Los Angeles in the 1930s. But his real story concerns human corruption, so deep and extensive as to be terminal. And his message, for all its apparent topicality, is finally so pessimistic, really nihilistic, that although Polanski exposes the corruption of capitalism (the sexual as well as the financial), he does not offer even the wisp of a political alternative. Everything turns to blood (or water or money) in this world. Polanski’s talent is such that for the length of the film he can almost convince us of his vision. He can tap some very deep fears and pessimism in our psyches. Thus he turns Chinatown—the place as well as the idea—into a symbol of human corruption, chaos, and immorality unimaginable to most straight Westerners. It is possibly even a symbol of early sexual mysteries, primal scenes, about which, he suggests, it is best not to inquire.

Polanski totally controls the film. He is a master craftsman, meticulous and inventive, so careful and so in control that you have to admire his work as you would the product of a great Baroque jewelry maker. We see his control in the following touches:

·the 1930s titles
·the intricacies of the names (J.J. Gittes: will he get it? Noah Cross: no one crosses him, etc.)
·the references to other films (MALTESE-FALCON-like shadows on the detective’s glass door, etc.)
·the photographic composition (the titles framed in black, most shots framed in black—even when it means looking through binoculars or rearview mirrors or front windshields—an entire world framed in black)
·the photographic color (suffused, golden browns or navy blues: almost every shot is filmed in the late afternoon, early morning, or night—the white heat haze of Los Angeles is turned into an autumnal death-bed darkness)
·and even the music (late 1930’s deep, tenor sax; Bunny Berrigan’s “I Can't Get Started with You,” a longing there’s always a party out there, somewhere else).

His pacing is slow, at times languid, almost boring. Polanski tries to convince us that so was life at this time, at all times. Even his violence is subdued—a mutilation of the hero (done by Polanski himself, in a white suit), a few punch-ups, and a bloody ending. Nothing to compare to the overt violence of ROSEMARY'S BABY or MACBETH. But it’s as if he were trying to take violence to a lower stratum of the psyche and permanently plant it there. Polanski does not attempt to thrill or even terrify us by CHINATOWN’s violence. Rather, he attempts to get us to accept its permanence. As an actor, Polanski appears a second time. He is coming up the driveway of the Mar-Vista rest home when Gittes escapes. He is the man that the thug, Mulvahill, refers to when he says, “Someone wants to see you.” He is in charge of violence for Noah Cross. He is both physically and psychically in control of the violence in CHINATOWN.

Polanski is less visible in his manipulation of the plot and of the viewer. When Gittes in the opening scene is tricked by the phony Mrs. Mulwray, so are we. Throughout the film, when we think Gittes is really on to something and we find out that he has been tricked, so have we. He sees the pictures of Mulwray and Cross arguing outside The Pig and Whistle. (Cross is a pig, Mulwray was about to blow the whistle? But it was also a real restaurant chain.) Gittes scorns the pictures, says they're useless and tells his assistant, “This business requires some finesse.”

And, of course, the photos are a key to the entire plot. We sort of know that and when we see the picture of Cross on the Water Department wall, we make the connection before Gittes does. But in the end, we're not very much ahead of him and we are as manipulated by Polanski as Gittes is by Noah Cross.

Polanski gets us to identify with J.J. Gittes. He makes the detective a recognizable type: the lone gun, wise guy, private detective. Polanski also gives Gittes a streak of romanticism (that girl Gittes hurt long ago in Chinatown). Gittes is shrewd, corrupt (except he draws the line at extortion), crazy and convincing. (Jack Nicholson plays him perfectly: Nicholson’s on the screen almost constantly and his very lack of emotional range—which makes him so tedious in other films—works well here.)

Polanski also wants us to identify with Gittes’ bravado and basic confusion. We quickly realize that Gittes has been fucked over so many times that he’s only looking for a little edge, just enough to keep going and stay a little ahead. Even his rage is somehow muted, tired. He fills his life with small-time tricks (the watches under the wheel; the Assistant Water Commissioner’s business cards; the page torn out of the deed file in the Hall of Records; etc.). We cheer as he triumphs over officious clerks and dumb cops. But he can never get far enough ahead to figure out what is going on, to get on top of it. Nor, once inside Polanski’s plot, can we. Gittes is the petty-bourgeois. He’s always telling his secretary to “draw up the papers.” But just as she is gum-chewing and bubble-headed (versus the Water Department’s efficient man-woman), Gittes is only competent within his small-time world, or as he says, “matrimonial work.” Finally he is no more able to understand the upper classes, the people like the Crosses who control things, than, Polanski implies, are we.

Polanski presents Gittes with Evelyn Mulwray. She is a Cross, and just as she confuses Gittes, she perplexes us. Faye Dunaway, in the part, is authentically looney. According to Polanski, in a recent interview in Rolling Stone (July 18, 1974) crazy off-screen as Faye Dunaway is, she also is mad as Gittes’ erotic dream and the murdered Water Commissioner’s wife. (The Commissioner, the one honest and apparently good man in this entire world, is thin, ugly, wears thick glasses and is soon killed: he’s too much a cartoon. Polanski takes the easy way out with this character, as he does with other political figures: the fat, cigar-chomping and corrupt Coroner, listening to his racing results and not asking questions; and Police Lieutenant Escobar, confused, worried, promoted by a system that knows he won't inquire too deeply.)

Polanski has Gittes tell Evelyn Mulwray that he’s pursuing the case because “I'm not supposed to be the one caught with his pants down.” This connects to the opening photos of the man whom Gittes caught with his pants down and the later affair with Evelyn and the bewilderment throughout. Also Gittes’ petty-bourgeois sense of himself has been challenged (just as it was in the barber shop by the banker’s jibe). Gittes is so intent on not losing his status as a private detective (later, he’s afraid of losing his license), that he can never really figure out what’s happening. He tells Evelyn that her husband’s girl friend “was pretty in a cheap sort of way.” He could not be more wrong. She wasn't the husband’s girl friend and she hardly appears cheap. She is always in expensive white clothes and she is young and virginal.

Evelyn pronounces his name as “giddies” and she makes him light-headed. She reveals a small confidence—that she has had lots of affairs—and he takes it as a major confession. She is playing for much higher stakes than he (or we) can imagine. Even when she finally tells him the truth, he’s uncomprehending, unable to fully understand such a thing. (“He raped you?” he asks. “No,” she shakes her head.)

Polanski presents their romance as tired, doomed, and not very romantic. But most of all, Polanski tries to confuse us. When they kiss for the first time, he circles the camera around as Hitchcock did in the most sexual of all 1940s kisses—Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in NOTORIOUS—but we are most aware of Gittes’ scabby nose. In bed, Evelyn is made to look very oriental, especially her eyes and yellow skin color (Chinatown?), and her feelings are only revealed later, and then flash by. After Gittes follows her to her daughter-sister’s house and confronts her outside, she asks, as he starts to get out of the car, “Aren't you coming back with me me?” “Don't worry, Mrs. Mulwray,” he says with full crassness, “I won't tell anyone.” She answers, and seems hurt, “That’s not what I meant.” But he does leave. In that moment her look says: Men are pigs after all. She has finally started to reveal herself, and Gittes can only fall back into his small-time trap.

Controlling all events in the movie is Noah Cross. When first encountered, Cross seems mainly a rich old crank. Over lunch with Gittes we have little sense of his venality and total power. He’s Evelyn Mulwray’s father, he’s the man who owns Los Angeles, he’s also John Huston. (This is truly a star movie: from its opening Hollywood studio titles to its use of Nicholson, Dunaway and especially Huston. Because John Huston is an authentically great man, it helps us believe that he is more than a character actor playing a man who supposedly owns L.A.. Cross/Huston really might own L.A..) Cross also looks a little like President Roosevelt, and Polanski fills the movie with portraits of FDR (who in public, was kindly and straight but, in fact, was aristocratic, manipulative, and rather careless about bourgeois sexual standards).

Cross is found at the Albacore Yacht Club (Gittes’ assistant thought that he had heard Cross and Mulwray arguing about “Applecore” ). Cross is a biblical patriarch, a kind of first man, and he makes it with Evelyn-Eve (git-it?). He pronounces Gittes’ name, “Gits,” and his contempt for and manipulation of the detective is total. Cross owned the Water Department, he put holes in Hollis Mulwray (we actually see them in the corpse), and he is hardly satisfied with ten million dollars, he wants to own the future. He also can stop a speeding bullet—Evelyn fires at him point blank and there is no blood, only a stiff arm. In the end, he gets exactly what he wants, and because he owns the police, he is invulnerable. He is the true Lord of the Earth, a man tempted to do what other men, like Gittes, can hardly imagine. Polanski both admires him and seems pleased to be his hatchet man.

Polanski is a true cynic. He enjoys manipulating people—thus Cross might be the real hero of CHINATOWN. In the climactic scene of the movie, where we identify with Gittes and his attempt to help Evelyn escape to Mexico, Polanski has Gittes confront Cross with the incriminating glasses. Gittes actually thinks—and we hope—that Cross will somehow crumble. But Gittes is disarmed like a child. Polanski’s point is that we should accept Cross’s mastery as total and inevitable . Thus we should accept the pessimism of the film’s conclusion as equally inevitable.

Gittes has been had, we've been had, and Polanski can retire behind his work of art, smiling at the folks out there, assuming that he has gotten us to accept his vision of corruption and nihilism.

Polanski is like a great Baroque artisan, coming at the end of an artistic tradition—the Hollywood movie. He is content to carve a final, over-wrought product out of it (and possibly, he establishes his film character’s obeisance to Noah Cross as a parallel to his directorial relationship to John Huston). This is a highly Baroque film. Those viewers who like to get inside Baroque puzzles will enjoy it most: Did you notice the counterpoint between the aristocratic Spanish architecture of the Mulwrays’ and Cross’ mansions and the imitation hacienda style of the petty-bourgeois homes? But California Spanish architecture is Baroque to begin with. Did you see the the overheated car through the window of the barber shop? Did you notice the 30s hats shading eyes, making people blind and sinister? Did you hear Gittes’ assistant phone up and say, “Duffy here,” like in the old radio show, “Duffy’s Tavern”? Did you notice ...? Enough, the game is endless, trivia overwhelms content and meaning.

Baroque art is also decadent art: the end of a tradition. CHINATOWN is a decadent movie, both in its artifice and its meaning. Those people who see the world as decay and shit will get inside CHINATOWN and enjoy it most (the Rolling Stone interviewer gives you a whiff of this). Those people who enjoy being led up mysterious alleys and fed false clues (what possible meaning can the Mexican boy on the horse have?) will get inside CHINATOWN and ignore or approve its basic cynicism and audience-manipulation. And those people who see the world as inevitably corrupt and controlled by alien and dark forces will chant the movie’s final line like a mantra, “Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown.” But Baroque art, because of its very intricacy, finally excludes all but the artist. Thus if you ever meet a CHINATOWN freak, you are probably confronting an aspiring elitist, and a Roman Polanski manqué (missed, failed, lacking).

Polanski and Robert Evans (not coincidentally, the producer of THE GODFATHER, possibly the key film of the declining United States), are among the masters of the Hollywood Baroque. Polanski, particularly, makes such competitors as Altman and Hill look very thin indeed (compare the density and control of CHINATOWN to the superficiality and wandering about of THE LONG GOODBYE). Polanski, a despicable egomaniac (read his interviews) can touch a psychic stratum, can break through rational optimism, can show that our deepest fears really exist and cannot be banished as easily as we might have thought.

“Do as little as possible,” Gittes says at the very end to Escobar, but also as a final truth to himself, part in anger and sarcasm. Apparently, that’s Polanski’s recipe for declining United States. Lean back and don't fight it, enjoy its decadent art (and be sure to bring $3.00 for a ticket to CHINATOWN). Forget about beating the system, however, because it’s controlled by the Noah Crosses of this world, with the Polanskis as their hatchet men.

There is a pessimism, a darkness in everyone that might be tempted—however briefly—by this formula. But can anyone really consider it a worldview, a life script? Bullshit. And anyway, how would we get the $3.00 to make Robert Evans and Polanski rich if we did “as little as possible.”

from Jump Cut, no. 3, 1974, pp. 9-10
copyright Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media, 1974, 2004

Monday, April 16, 2007

passion for odd film making

Pasolini’s passion for film.

Pier Paolo Pasolini is described as “Italy’s most passionate filmmaker” by Mark Cousins in The Story Of Film not only show the Italian’s mastery of filmmaking but also his great prose. Volume 1 contains his tome A Violent Life, written in 1959 and detailing the immigrant experience, while Volume 2 includes his excellent first novel, Ragazzi Di Vita, about the street urchin Riccetto.

Pasolini first came to prominence as a novelist in the 50s and started his film career with a bang by helping write Federico Fellini’s Nights Of Cabiria. In 1961 he made his first film, Accatone, which is where the first of these box sets starts. Using simple camera techniques, similar to those used by Carl Dreyer, which made faces look like skulls, Pasolini told the story of a pimp who tries to change vocation.

Making films that exposed the underbelly of Italian society, he was thrown into jail for four months for making La Ricotta, a short film about a director (played by Orson Welles) who makes a movie about the Passion. It was part of a collection of four shorts (Jean-Luc Godard, Roberto Rossellini and Ugo Gregoretti were the other directors) that were released as the 1963 compendium movie Ro.Go.Pa.G. Completing the box set is his documentary, Love Meetings, which questioned Italians about their private lives. Pasolini himself was homosexual and that always put him at odds with the Italian establishment.

Volume 2 of these box sets displays Pasolini’s development as a mischievous filmmaker looking for more and more challenging topics, and his increasing use of fantasy to tell stories. The films, Hawks & Sparrows, Oedipus Rex and Pigsty, feature narratives that jump thousands of years (from pre-WWII to antiquity), cannibals, talking crows and a German who decides that life with pigs is better than living with humans. Sheer genius.

It’s important to remember the words of Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson when watching Pasolini’s films: “If an Italian says it’s pasta, I check underneath the sauce.” Pasolini was the master of making artistic sauces that uncovered hidden truths.
Pier Paolo Pasolini was among the most controversial and provocative filmmakers ever to impact the international cinema community. Emerging during the 1960s, Pasolini broke from his New Wave-inspired peers, drawing influence for his work not from other cinematic sources but from art, literature, folklore, and music. He was also among the few directors of his era to focus less on the process of filmmaking than on his subject matter, bringing to the screen the gritty desperation of life on the fringes.
Pasolini was born in Bologna, Italy, on March 5, 1922. The son of an army officer, he grew up at various points throughout the country, and began writing poetry at the age of seven. While studying art at the University of Bologna, he published his first book of poetry, Poesie a Casarsa, in 1942A year later, he was drafted to serve in the armed forces during the waning months of World War II, and after Italy's surrender his regiment was captured by the Germans. Pasolini soon escaped and fled to the small town of Casarsa, where he remained for several years. He joined the communist party in 1946 but was expelled three years later in the wake of an arrest for "moral indignity." Regardless, he remained under the sway of Marxist doctrine, finding particular inspiration in the writings of Antonio Gramsci and his belief in the revolutionary power of the Italian peasantry.
In the late '40s, Pasolini resumed his university studies, and in 1950 he relocated to Rome, living in the city's slums while working as a teacher. A homosexual, he fell in with the local underworld of prostitutes, hustlers, pimps, and thieves. Pasolini himself was often arrested in their company -- he once attempted to rob a filling station and later helped a wanted criminal flee the police -- and in 1955 these experiences converged in his first novel, the scandalous Ragazzi di vita. The book's publication prompted the Italian courts to prosecute Pasolini on obscenity charges, the first of many such run-ins with the authorities. Regardless, Roman criminal culture remained at the forefront of his later work, and his second book, 1959's Una Vita Violenta, also detailed the life of a slum child. At much the same time, Pasolini was also earning notice as a poet, and his 1957 collection Le Ceneri di Gramsci earned the Viareggio Prize. From 1955 to 1958, he also edited the avant-garde magazine Officina, which was later forced to cease publication following a Pasolini poem attacking Pope Pius XII on his deathbed.
Pasolini's involvement in the cinema began rather quietly, with the 1954 screenplay for Mario Soldati's La Donna del Fiume. Over the next several years, he also collaborated on scenarios for projects by Federico Fellini, Mauro Bolognini, and Luis Trenker, but in light of his other, more scandalous work his film material earned little notoriety. By the early '60s, however, the cinema became Pasolini's central focus. After scrapping the completed screenplay for a project titled La Commare Secca (which he then passed along to Bernardo Bertolucci), he wrote another script, Accatone, which he directed in the slums with a non-professional cast in 1961. As with his literary debut, his film debut became the subject of much controversy, with moralists holding up the picture as proof of the need for stricter censorship guidelines. Abroad, the feature garnered honors at the Montreal and Karlovy Vary film festivals, and with his sophomore feature, 1962's Mamma Roma, he won both the International Critics' Prize at the Venice Film Festival in addition to Italy's Silver Ribbon.
Pasolini next joined forced with Roberto Rossellini, Jean-Luc Godard, and Ugo Gregoretti for the 1962 anthology RoGoPaG. His segment, "La ricotta," starred Orson Welles as a filmmaker directing a movie on the life of Christ. While intended as an attack against the vulgarization of spirituality, the piece was prosecuted for "publicly maligning the religion of the state" and banned, with Pasolini receiving a four-month suspended prison sentence. He next completed 1963's La rabbia, a compilation of newsreel footage compiled at the behest of Opus Films' Gastone Ferrante. Comizi d'amore, a series of interviews investigating sexual mores in Italian society, followed a year later. Though an avowed atheist, Pasolini next began work on Il Vangelo Secondo Matteo, another retelling of the Christ story shot in the arid foothills of southern Italy. As the international film community braced for controversy, the film's premiere revealed perhaps the director's most shocking artistic statement yet: a solemn, sincere illustration of the Gospel which many touted as among the greatest Biblical adaptations ever created. The worldwide critical response was highly favorable, and in addition to a pair of awards at Venice it also won the grand prize from the International Catholic Film Office.
The 1966 comic fable Uccellacci e Uccellini followed, featuring the comic actor Toto. Le Streghe and Capriccio all'italiana, a pair of comedic shorts also starring Toto, followed; originally intended for a feature-length picture, they were recut by Pasolini following his star's sudden death. Edipo Re, a deeply personal adaptation of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, was Pasolini's next major work, and premiered in 1967. After filming "La Sequenza del Fiore di Carta," an episode in the anthology Amore e Rabbia, he began work on 1968's Teorema, the most talked-about of all of his films. Originally intended as a verse tragedy for the theater, the sexually provocative tale of a mysterious stranger (Terence Stamp) whose influence leaves a bourgeois family forever altered was originally honored by the International Catholic Film Office, but their award was rescinded after the picture was denounced by the Vatican. Secular authorities also charged the film with obscenity and attempted to block its distribution, but upon Pasolini's acquittal its release was allowed. Although many critics hailed Teorema as a masterpiece, harsher judgments came from more unlikely quarters: Many Marxists, for example, denounced the film for showing "a certain compassion" toward bourgeois society.
Upon completing 1969's Porcile, Pasolini mounted the next year's Medea, a straightforward retelling of the fable which led into 1970's Il Decamerone, a richly textured medieval tale which won the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. Two more medieval-flavored works, 1972's Racconti di Canterbury and 1974's Fiore delle Mille e una Notte -- the winner of a special Cannes jury prize -- followed, and suggested that Pasolini had begun to move away from the mordant outrage of much of his previous work. However, his next film, 1975's Salo, o le Centoventi Giornate di Sodoma, was in many respects the most disturbing of all of his films. An adaptation of the de Sade novel set at the tail end of World War II, it depicted the atrocities suffered by a group of kidnapped boys and girls at the hands of their Nazi captors. Deemed one of the most disquieting motion pictures ever filmed, Salo was Pasolini's final work. On November 2, 1975, he was brutally murdered. After bludgeoning the director to death, his killer then repeatedly drove over the corpse in Pasolini's own Alfa Romeo. While the murderer was later speculated to be a male prostitute -- one of the many street dwellers whose kind Pasolini brought to the screen with so much conviction -- speculation on the mysteries of his demise continue to run rampant, and it has been noted that his death served as a tragically appropriate coda to his art.

Monday, April 9, 2007

hypnosis in movies

(Plot overview) Prot is a patient at a mental hospital who claims to be from a far away planet. His psychiatrist tries to help him, only to begin to doubt his own explanations.)
This is a wonderful movie about a charming fellow who calls himself Prot (Kevin Spacey) who claims to have come from the planet K-PAX. Upon his arrival in New York City, it doesn’t take long for Prot to wind up in a mental hospital with Dr. Mark Powell (Jeff Bridges), who seems to want to believe him, but would rather find a more Earthly reason for his rather eccentric notions about himself and the Earthlings who seem to amaze and confound him.
Then hypnosis enters into the plot. Dr. Powell gets Prot to agree to a hypnosis session so that he can uncover the truth about Prot’s condition, and reveal his more human side, if indeed he has one. Then the movie proceeds to reinforce many of the Hollywood myths about hypnosis, such as hypnosis is a truth serum, hypnosis requires that you tell your subjects that they are going to sleep, that they must wake up from the sleep and that the subject will remember nothing afterward, completely unaware that the session was ever conducted!
There are two hypnosis sessions conducted during the movie. In the first session, Dr. Powell merely counts back from 1 to 3 and his patient goes into into deep somnambulism and able to experience a complete revivification of an experience that he is told to "remember." From a hypnotherapist's point of view, the session is pure Hollywood! While I suppose it is possible to induce somnambulism with such an induction method, it is extremely unlikely that any trained hypnotherapist would attempt it. It just would not be reliable, even with the prestige factor that a psychiatrist may have with a patient. The "1,2,3" induction used in the movie could easily be accomplished on a second session, if a post-hypnotic suggestion for re-induction was installed during a previous session, such as, "The next time we want to do hypnosis together, all I will have to do is count from 1 to 3 and you will return to this level of hypnosis or deeper." On the other hand, I long for the day when I will see a movie which uses the very fast and simple Hand Drop Instant Induction (a la, Dave Elman) that I teach my students, which takes about 6 seconds and reliably creates a deep level of hypnosis!
A well trained hypnotherapist would catch the error of using the word, "remember," when doing a hypnotic age regression. Such a therapist would know that using the word “remember” is a definite “no-no,” because it suggests remembering rather than a re-experiencing of the event. The session is filled with technical errors like this, such as leading the client and mixing tenses. Unfortunately your future clients (assuming that you are a hypnotherapist) who may have seen this movie might expect you to conduct their hypnosis sessions in this fashion (which of course would likely result in a hypnotic dud of a session).
This movie underscores the need for a good pre-talk before you conduct a session with any new client. It is vitally important that you de-program your clients. If you use the word “sleep” (for example) in your sessions you need to tell you clients that you don’t really mean that they go into a normal natural sleep, but that they relax as if they were asleep, and so on.
Now, back to the movie… I liked the movie. And, I was surprised when I spoke to my wife after the movie to find that she had an entirely different take on whether Prot was really an alien or merely mentally ill. The end of the movie leaves room for personal interpretation and discussion, which I like very much. I recommend the movie to hypnotherapists, hypnotists and people interested in hypnosis. But, don’t believe everything you see in the movie, especially when it comes to hypnosis!
Now go and enjoy the movies,
It’s not surprising that much of the public is wary of hypnosis. Hypnosis in films is often presented as scary, dangerous and occult. Unscrupulous hypnotists control and take advantage of people, especially young vulnerable women.
One of the most well-known offenders is “Svengali” based on Daphne du Maurier’s novel. A creepy hypnotist takes control of a girl who can’t sing and transforms her into a fabulous singer.
There have been remakes of the original 1931 movie but who could possibly match the brilliant performance of John Barrymore as the evil, terrifying hypnotist?
It is ironic that the power of movies proves what hypnotists often claim -- that the imagination will outdo reason every time.
It's useless, for instance, to tell a prospective client that she is in control while in hypnosis -- the images in her head of Svengali-like sinister manipulation of the hapless girl outweigh whatever a modern hypnotherapist may say. Only actual experience of being hypnotized will change that.
A generation before Svengali a silent movie "The Cabinet of Dr Caligari" depicted a travelling hypnotist who kept an easily hypnotised man in a coffin-like cabinet. The vile Dr Caligari sent this man on missions of murder.
Deviating heavily from the original Dr Caligari film the 1961 remake, written by respected horror writer Robert Bloch (PSYCHO), retains only the themes of somnambulism from its predecessor.
Dead Again (1991)
An odd shopkeeper hypnotizes a woman and regresses her to a supposed past life which ended when she was murdered by her husband. The movie revolves around the mystery of who is trying to kill the woman in the present, hence the title "Dead Again" although that should end with a question mark.
Stir of Echoes (1998)
Even more preposterous, though undeniably entertaining is this murder mystery in which an ordinary man discovers -- after being hypnotized by his sister-in-law -- that he is able to see spirits and glimpse past and future happenings.
On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970)
A type of Bridey Murphy tale in which Barbra Streisand plays the part of a girl whose psychiatrist uncovers that she supposedly lived before, in 19th century England.
The Three Faces of Eve (1957)
One of the most famous movies to present hypnosis. And fortunately for a change, the inductions are realistic as a psychiatrist treats a woman who exhibits multiple personalities.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

One of the most spiritually powerful films I've ever seen is The Bad Lieutenant. It is also one of the most disturbing. This may seem like a paradox to some Christians: a film that is equally powerful and disturbing-most people, Christians and non-Christians alike, separate the two: a film is usually either powerful or disturbing. Rarely do these attributes coexist.
Click to enlargeHarvey Keitel's character in The Bad Lieutenant may be one of the most grotesque characters ever seen on screen-he's a compulsive gambler, drug addict, absent father and husband, and he's a dirty cop too. So dirty that in one unsettling scene he pulls over two young girls on a traffic violation-they are out in daddy's car and will do anything to avoid being caught-and verbally rapes them. But it is clear that he lives a tortured life, uncomfortable even with himself; he is desperate for salvation but doesn't believe someone as immoral as him can ever receive grace.

Click to enlargeBut when a nun is raped and forgives her rapists-she knows the two young men but won't give up their names because she has forgiven them-Click to enlargeHarvey Keitel's character realizes that perhaps there is hope of salvation for someone like himself-if the nun is capable of forgiving her rapists, surely God can forgive someone like him. During the film's climax he has a vision of Christ at the altar of the nun's church. He sobs and begs for forgiveness: "I tried to do the right thing, but I'm so f*cking weak!" He then crawls over to Jesus and kisses his feet.

Roger Ebert has this to say about The Bad Lieutenant: "The film has the NC-17 rating, for adults only, and that is appropriate. But it is not a 'dirty movie,' and in fact takes spirituality and morality more seriously than most films do."

Shot on location in Manhattan and the Bronx, New York, and Jersey City, New Jersey. The film was photographed in a mere 20 days.

The film is based on a song written by director Abel Ferrara called "The Bad Lieutenant" that, in turn, is based on an incident in which a nun was raped in Spanish Harlem in 1982. Bo Dietl, the policeman who caught the real-life rapists, plays a bearded cop in the movie.

The screenplay was cowritten by Zoë Tamerlis (under the alias Zoë Lund). Tamerlis also plays the lieutenant's drug-shooting mistress and debuted as an actress in Ferrara's 1981 rape-revenge cult hit, MS. 45.

The part of the lieutenant's daughter is played by Harvey Keitel's real daughter, Stella Keitel.

Keitel has a full-frontal nude scene in this film. In 1993 he appeared in Jane Campion's THE PIANO, in which he also had a full-frontal nude scene. This was a highly succesful period of Keitel's career, thanks to these two critically praised films and RESERVOIR DOGS. Around this time the press began to pay homage to his fearlessly "naked" style of acting.

Director Abel Ferrara says of his star: "Harvey Keitel is a national treasure. His performance is just awesome." Rap star Schoolly D's "Signifying Rapper" originally appeared on the soundtrack in the film but was later removed for video releases after legal disputes resulting from Schoolly's unauthorized use of a Led Zeppelin sample in the song.

There are R and unrated versions of this film available, with the unrated version being substantially more powerful and disturbing.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Marilyn biography

I'm not interested in money, i just want to be beautiful. MM

I decided to start writing blog about her , because my friend introduced me to blogging. Check her out.
Marilyn Monroe's career as an actress spanned 16 years. She made 29 films, 24 in the first 8 years of her career.

Born as Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926 in Los Angeles General Hospital, her mother, Gladys, listed the fathers address as unknown. Marilyn would never know the true identity of her father.

Due to her mother's mental instability and the fact that she was unmarried at the time, Norma Jeane was placed in the foster home of Albert and Ida Bolender. It was here she lived the first 7 years of her life.

"They were terribly strict...they didn't mean any was their religion. They brought me up harshly."

In 1933, Norma Jeane lived briefly with her mother. Gladys begin to show signs of mental depression and in 1934 was admitted to a rest home in Santa Monica. Grace McKee, a close friend of her mother took over the care of Norma Jeane. "Grace loved and adored her", recalled one of her co-workers. Grace, telling her..."Don't worry, Norma Jeane. You're going to be a beautiful girl when you get important woman, a movie star." Grace was captivated by Jean Harlow, a superstar of the twenties, and Marilyn would later say..."and so Jean Harlow was my idol."

Grace was to marry in 1935 and due to financial difficulties, Norma Jeane was placed in an orphanage from September 1935 to June 1937. Grace frequently visited her, taking her to the movies, buying clothes and teaching her how to apply makeup at her young age. Norma Jeane was to later live with several of Grace's relatives.

"The world around me then was kind of grim. I had to learn to pretend in order to...I don't know...block the grimness. The whole world seemed sort of closed to me...(I felt) on the outside of everything, and all I could do was to dream up any kind of pretend-game."

In September 1941 Norma Jeane was again living with Grace when she met Jim Dougherty, 5 years her senior. Grace encouraged the relationship and on learning that she and her husband would be moving to the East Coast, set in motion plans for Norma Jeane to marry Dougherty on June 19, 1942.

"Grace McKee arranged the marriage for me, I never had a choice. There's not much to say about it. They couldn't support me, and they had to work out something. And so I got married."

Dougherty joined the Merchant Marines in 1943 and in 1944 was sent overseas. Norma Jeane, while working in a factory inspecting parachutes in 1944, was photographed by the Army as a promotion to show women on the assembly line contributing to the war effort. One of the photographers, David Conover, asked to take further pictures of her. By spring of 1945, she was quickly becoming known as a "photographers dream" and had appeared on 33 covers of national magazines.

In the fall of 1946 she was granted a divorce...later saying, "My marriage didn't make me sad, but it didn't make me happy either. My husband and I hardly spoke to each other. This wasn't because we were angry. We had nothing to say. I was dying of boredom."

On July 23, 1946 she signed a contract with Twentieth Century-Fox Studios. She selected her mother's family name of Monroe. From this point on she would be known as Marilyn Monroe to all her fans. She had a minor part in the movie "Scudda-Hoo! Scudda-Hay! and was dismissed as a contract player in August. Rehired in 1948, Marilyn sang here first song in the movie "Ladies of the Chorus".

Johnny Hyde, of the William Morris Agency, became her mentor and lover in 1949. Also, in 1949, Marilyn agreed to pose nude for a calendar. A fact that was to stir controversy later in her career as a superstar.

"Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul"

Her first serious acting job came in 1950 when she had a small but crucial role in "The Asphalt Jungle" and received favorable reviews. "Clash By Night" in 1952 earned her several favorable notices...Alton Cook of the New York World-Telegram and Sun wrote..."a forceful actress, a gifted new star, worthy of all that fantastic press agentry. Her role here is not very big, but she makes it dominant." Monroe's first leading part in a serious feature was to be in "Don't Bother to Knock", also filmed in 1952.

Marilyn met Joe DiMaggio in early 1952, she was 25 and he was 37. DiMaggio, recently retired from baseball, had expressed a desire to meet this famous star. By February the romance was in full bloom.

"I was surprized to be so crazy about Joe. I expected a flashy New York sports type, and instead I met this reserved guy who didn't make a pass at me right away! He treated me like something special. Joe is a very decent man, and he makes other people feel decent, too!"

Sunday, April 1, 2007