donkey hero

to tell a story through the absence of the story looking at an unintentional, sense refusing center, like an animal for example, or just the change of weather. setting the story in a circle around that seemingly empty spot.
harutyun khachatryan´s film border focuses on an armenian cow, who accidently crosses a border.
robert bresson´s au hasard balthasar focuses on a donkey.
the story is strong, but happens on the side, in the details, coming in and out of the doors, passing like life, just like that, without any need of proving, demonstrating, peripeteias, great dramaturgic logics.


i have been a fan of abbas kiarostami for quite a while and quite a number of reasons.
the day before yesterday,i saw his latest film "shirin" at a small film festival in berlin and had a really interesting talk after the film with my friends and some other people.
abbas kiarostami himself says:
"I had a very radical feeling and wanted to watch the audience in private. To me watching people is more interesting than anything else. This is a very old feeling. It has nothing to do with directing. It is a deep and bold gaze; similar to that of children in the cradle, quite straightforward. There are moments in this film which are just like a gift to me. It is a blessing to be able to look at someone so closely to detect feelings on their faces."
"...not showing is a kind of objection, an objection to that amount of showing. Pornographic films are not the only representation of porn. When an open heart surgery is on your screen, it is pornography. Watching things which are not supposed to be watched amounts to the experience of pornography."
the film consists of simple close-up shots of iranien women watching an old legendary iranien melodramatic fable.
it is such a brilliant and postmodern idea to show a film by it´s absence and through it´s mere effects and of course evokes many fine moments of film history: anna karina in "vivvre sa vie", crying while watching a dreyer film, nicole kidman in a state of shock watching an opera in "birth", tornatore´s "cinema paradiso", nolot´s "porn theatre", erice´s "the spirit of the beehive", -so many shots of the effects of films on the human face.
but what really disturbed me while watching kiarostami´s film is that all these faces are so false.
first, i didn´t know what is was about these endless close-ups of partly melodramatically make-uped faces, until i figured pretty soon, that none of them were "real" people and all of them were actresses. and all of them playing. there is almost no genuine expression or emotion in their faces and the parable of this film to me is quite the opposite of kiarostami´s intention of showing a "pure", simple film, by "pure" simple facial, emotional reactions. the film demonstrates that even feelings and faces, the last suspected domains of "truth", are fictional and we cannot at all trust what we see in a face to be true. not even an emotion.
it was kind of funny, how all of my friends noticed the extreme eyebrow plucking designs of all of the iranien actresses and only one young woman, who really stuck out, seemed to have a "natural" face with bushy eyebrows. you could see so much surgery in the faces, false noses, false lips, false tears and false feelings.
kieslowski once said, one of the reasons he turned to fiction films coming from documentary films was because he couldn´t stand watching real tears on celluloid and thought it was barbarian and pornographic, but to me watching the actor´s false tears is just as unbearable.
the film is really to a great extent pure kitsch.
the faces are just as melodramatic and intentional as the old fable they are seemingly watching. -which is another delusion of this film, because you never see reflections in the actresses eyes. you only see a white little dot, like a lost little planet in the black universe of the globe of the eye.
the women are not even watching a film, but pretending to watch. and they are so aware of being watched, you can´t even say they are watching at all, they are much more posing infront of us who are watching them like models in a foto shooting.
one of the watching women is juliette binoche, which i really liked as a kind of ironic comment (at least i read it this way), that this film is about all the male, iconic, cinematic representations of weeping women. when i think of binoche, i always see her crying like dreyer´s jeanne d´arc in kieslowski´s "blue". it is always this crying, big, female face. -kieslowski in fact didn´t want this shot in the film and had so many discussions with binoche about not wanting to show her crying, but she really insisted and fought for the shot and in the end won. it is a beautiful shot for sure, but i think i would have stayed tough, if i had been kieslowski, because what is beautiful is certainly not necessarily good and often lacking a quality i´d describe as the rigor of genuineness and a little less of self-centered vanity.
after the film, one girl said she simply didn´t like the way women were being portrayed and i was defending the film all the time, talking about it´s meta-reflections about us (as audience) watching women pretending to watch, alluding to our pretense (and the actual impossibility) of really watching them, like a great postmodern negotiation about the impossibility of unmediatedness. but when i read what kiarostami himself said about the film and his choice of filming only women, i changed my mind.
"Because women are more beautiful, complicated and sensational. A combination of these three qualities makes them perfect candidates for movies and for being looked at. To develop an insight into such complexity, there is no other way than watching, which is the first step on the path to research. Besides, women are more passionate. Being in love is part of their definition."
the girl was so dang right! kiarostami, i never thought i would say this, but you are such a reactionary macho. just imagine a girl making a film about weeping men watching a movie and then saying: Because men are more beautiful and sensational and being in love is part of their definition.
what a stupid thing to say.
marguerite duras once said, men who say "i love the women" are the worst and most full of shit, because they talk about women the same way they talk about cars.
how could you define "women"? and isn´t it a little simplifying to speak of such a great, heterogenous group in this presumptuous way?
some people said, kiarostami´s film would have been better as a video installation and i have to say, i kind of agree, although i like the concentration and duration you experience when sitting in a movie theatre.
it´s a really intrigueing film definitely worth seeing, but as so many things, it is more than the will of its creator and it tells a different story than what it pretends to tell.
go see it.



the red planet with two moons, phobos and deimos.
the planet with a face. the mars face.
the father of all romans and the son of juno and jupiter.
first the etruscan god of agriculture, fertility and vegetation, later the greek god of war.
the male gender.
his bird is a vulture.
his animal a dog.


the crystal kit

lavinia schulz

in hamburg in the twenties of the past century lived a girl who was a dancer named lavinia schulz with her boyfriend, who was a dancer too, named walter holdt.
she made "costumes for artistic dances" and futuristic performances with walter. they were relatively well known in hamburg in the twenties in the expressionistic art scene and they were even more well known for persistently refusing to earn money with their art. they just said no to it.
when they were so broke they couldn´t afford to buy food any longer, lavinia pulled a gun and shot walter dead and after that herself. she was 27 then.
left behind were these fantastic ethno-ubu-future-collage-mashup-body masks.


the dumbo octopus

way down in the sea, between 3000 to 4000 meters under the surface in the darkest, blackest night of the ocean there lives an animal called grimpotheutis who can flush his skin and who flies with his ears and eats all kinds of strange foods he sucks inside him when he dances through the dark.
like this for example:
a copepod.

they really named a clueless octopus after walt disney´s comic figure.

kunstformen der natur

art forms of nature. a stunning book illustrated by the german biologist ernst haeckel.


dripstone caves

i love dripping, i love stones, i love caves.
i have to love dripstone caves.
there was once a gay german prince in bavaria who loved them so much too, he built one inside his castle next to his bedroom and you can still visit it today at the castle neuschwanstein in the south of germany in the mountains. it´s a very bizarre castle by the way. it was the model for the disney castle in disney world. and it is just really very bizarre.
dripstone caves have this lovely science fiction-60ies-lsd-aesthetics. and inside there are often so many bats that they can easily get caught in your hair which happened to me once because the ceilings are so low and they fly right above you. kind of nightmarish a little, but i like bats. they look like evil little devils so you have to like them.


the lost and found

i don´t know why we always need progress.
at least not all the time.
flusser said about marx and all marxists that they were all reactionists. not because they were against capitalism, but because they believed in progress at all.
today it was impossible to get those little vacuum cleaning bags for my vacuum cleaner because of progress.
the nice old bald man at the drug store in berlin told me, when i couldn´t find the right bag size because they aren´t being produced any longer, "i have an old cleaner too. i just cut and paste the bags you know".
now isn´t that progressive?
so i just cut and pasted the wrong bags too. it doesn´t really work, but there´s this peculiar charme to brokenness that i like, so i kept it.
a philosophy of brokenness.
a philosophy of glueing.
against the stubburnness of the new and fetishized electronic products that are not better than the ones they replace.
against the new.
for the found.
for the lost and found.
for all the lost and found things in this world.