lunes, 27 de octubre de 2014

End of Summer SOID Galore!

3/4 of the scenes are shot. Yeah!

September was a great SOID month. All exterior scenes are done and we are closer and closer to our goal. Thank you all as always for your incredible work, it's been fun!

We are going to re-start shooting in November. Stay tuned.

miércoles, 22 de octubre de 2014

The Terrific Madman in Medem's Tierra

The madman is an archetypical cultural character. We can find his everlasting presence in literature, and from the 20th century on, in cinema as well. Madmen incarnate the fluidity between the absurd/fantastic/poetic/mystic worlds and the logical/utilitarian/lawful ones. Julio Medem as a filmmaker has a constant concern over the conflicts of subjective imaginative realities and so, uses freely this madman archetype in his film Tierra (1996) to “create a cosmic fable of metaphysics and mundanity” (Smith, 146).

In Tierra Medem present a “madman” narrative in which a hyper imaginative man with split personality, Ángel (Carmelo Gómez), arrives at a nameless Euskadi town, a “spatial and temporal interzone” (148), to eradicate a beetle plague. After “falling to earth”, Ángel -who describes himself as a half-dead, half-alive man having a mystic experience with his own angel- craves for company, everyday simplicity and domestic bliss. He is searching to placate his cosmic anxieties and in Medem’s words: “accept human smallness, to hold tight to the earth”. A once mental patient, Ángel find partial solace in his fumigation job, but he’s soon in crisis when meeting two women that attract different aspects of his desire. Both, Angela (Emma Suarez) and Mari (Silke), ground and humanize him, but in contrasting ways: Angela by openly sharing her domestic life and Mari by feeding his carnal urges and escapist impulses.

The title “Tierra”, implies many things within the film, from the “red” wide landscape; the void beetle-full soil (representing the economic and moral instability of the town); Ángel’s earthy needs (to have a home; to fuck); to a possible mental space where he can resolve his duplicity. Paul Julian Smith reads the film title/theme as part of the post-nationalist debate, as an “allegory of a Basque nationalism brought down to earth” (152). Smith elaborates that Medem shows an abstract Basque region where the Earth-House-Family is dissolve “dislocating the links with which abstract nationalism so violently binds them together” (Ibid).

Certainly Medem is not interested in providing connections between insanity, politics and/or the repressions of the state apparatus as, for example, Terry Gillian. Ángel madman discourse (and final escape), allows Medem to precisely flee those nationalistic constraints and immerse into his own idiosyncratic cinematic territory.

miércoles, 8 de octubre de 2014

Meta-Cinema in 2 Almodóvar Movies

It is now common to associate Pedro Almodóvar with the post-modern discourse in cinema especially regarding pastiche, pop imaginary, genre and gender playfulness, self- referential moments and meta-cinema. This last element has become one of the writer-director most recurrent trademarks. Almodóvar’s filmography, as complex as it is, could be also seen as a study on filmmaking. Beyond the many references to melodrama, film noir, Hitchcock’s thrillers, advertising, trashy TV, and exploitation movies, Almodóvar tends to recreates his own practice as a filmmaker via characters that work in the film industry. Even the way he portraits that referred gender fluidity, has to be seen in context of this self-referential cinematic frame.

In Mujeres al borde de un atáque de nervios (1988) and Átame (1990) for example, females characters are presented first as part of the “movie machinery” they belong. We learned from Pepa’s heartbreak when she is dubbing Joan Crawford in Johnny Guitar (1954) while listening to her colleague and former lover’s already recorded voice. On the other hand, Marina is introduced as an object of tumultuous desire to the male characters and the spectators, as she gets ready to shoot a complicated scene in the horror movie she is working on. Both Máximo, the director, and Ricky are obsessed with her too because of her career as a porno actress. The diegetic filmmaking process aides Almodóvar to develop narratives within narratives: in Mujeres, the Johnny Guitar dubbed dialogue is appropriated by the director and becomes an important symbolic exchange (absence/presence) to understand the back story, psychology, and ultimate dynamic of the former couple. Their love history is embedded within the discourse and sensibility of Nicholas Ray’s film. Likewise, the horror movie scene in Átame establishes Marina as a final girl or victim hero (Smith 115).

This common Álmodovar practice allows him to create- along with his actresses- a “cinematic artificial” female identity far from quotidian. Or in any case quotidian in reference to the supposedly drama infused life (neurosis; overwhelming passion; drug addiction; masochism) of cinema players. As Paul Julian Smith argues: “Almodóvar targets the cinematic mechanism… as the designing force of women: of their pleasure and pain.”

-Smith, Paul Julian. Desire Unlimited The Cinema of Pedro Almodóvar Verso. London/New York, 2014

jueves, 18 de septiembre de 2014

The Thriller Genre in Amenabar's Thesis

As Barry Jordan and Ricky Morgan argue in their book Contemporary Spanish Cinema, genres operate as systems of “orientations and conventions which circulate between the film industry, the film text and the spectators assumptions and expectations.” (1998:62) To discuss some topics in Alejandro Amenabar’s Thesis, I will like to add to the previous idea, the influx of Film Studies.

With Thesis, writer-director Amenabar wanted to insert himself into the thriller genre and create a film text within those codifications. All the necessary thriller elements are consciously present in his film: the irruption of a crime mystery, female victims, (an informal) duo of detectives, Angela and Chema, instances of murder and kidnaping, sexual anxieties, marginal urban settings and claustrophobic interiors (97), but also the pace of the mise en scene, the camerawork and the soundtrack appropriates the conventions and meet the spectators’ expectations of the genre.

The originality of Amenabar’s proposal isn’t only that the film takes place mostly in a communication/audiovisual department (a less probable setting before the 1980’s), but that the detection of the crime -a “snuff movie” circuit- the investigation and the eventual resolution are articulate through the cinematic insight that the characters have because of their film education. The analysis of shots, editing and the important clue of the camera used to shoot the snuff movie are instrumental to solve the mystery and to discover the identities of the implicated.

Even the casting choice of having iconic actress, Ana Torrent, in the lead is referential to Spain’s film history in specific to ominous masterpiece: Erice’s El espíritu de la Colmena (1973) and Saura’s Cría Cuervos (1975), in some aspects precursors of the psychological thriller in the country.

.Jordan, Barry, and Ricky Morgan. Contemporary Spanish Cinema (1998)

miércoles, 17 de septiembre de 2014

Mito y cine en El espíritu de la colmena

Es bastante común que se analice El espíritu de la colmena (1973) de Víctor Erice como una alegoría sobre los efectos de la guerra civil y el régimen Franquista. Temas como el aislamiento, el trauma y la perdida de la inocencia se suelen conectar con los eventos históricos que rodean la narrativa ubicada en un pueblo castizo en 1940.

Aunque con suficientes guiños dentro del filme para articular interpretaciones políticas, de igual manera se puede analizar como un estudio del cine en tanto creador de mitos. Digo mito entendiéndolo desde la teoría de Roland Barthes, como un “habla despolitizada” que produce la “pérdida de la cualidad histórica de las cosas” (p.238). Luego de ver la película de James Whale, Frankenstein (1931), a la niña Ana (Ana Torrent) se le transforma su realidad externa recreando y utilizando como modelo la relación que vio entre la niña de las flores con el monstruo. Siguiendo al psicoanálisis el espectador atestigua la escena originaria del trauma así como el momento primario de identificación y transferencia. En su caso, ella se transforma en esa niña compasiva y un “fugitivo”, posiblemente un makis, en su Frankenstein. El asesinato del proscrito detona una fantasía terrorífica en su mente frágil infantil.

En el filme de Erice la contextualización en el tiempo y el espacio funciona igualmente para mostrar un período de inocencia colectiva en el cual ver cine era un evento cultural novedoso de connotaciones casi mágicas. Impactada y vulnerable luego del filme, Ana se obsesiona con los personajes. Aunque en una primera instancia su hermana mayor trata de desmoronar el mito aludiendo a la falsedad del cine, ella termina exasperando la imaginación de Ana, creando un mito mayor al mezclar a Frankenstein con el relato del espíritu que habita la casa abandonada y el pozo. Erice se dedica a mostrar la evolución interna de esta fantasía que encubre unos eventos terribles en el pueblo y en la propia familia de la niña.

miércoles, 10 de septiembre de 2014

The Sound of ILL Days 9/6/14- An astronaut boy visits Teresina

Mucha alegría interplanetaria: Teresina (Veraalba Santa) recibe una visita imaginaria de Sasha, el niño astronauta (Azul Camilo Coss Del Valle).

The Sound of ILL Days
Un film escrito y dirigido por Rojo Robles
Producida por El kibutz del deseo & This Wave
Fotos por Isamar Rosado

sábado, 23 de agosto de 2014

A SOID Book Lover Shoot- 8/19/14 McNally Jackson Books

Monica Vitti (Rachael Fox) visita la librería y descubre algunas verdades de Patrick (Michael Barringer), gracias al co-worker boca suelta de Esteban (George Stavro).

Pete (Pedro Leopoldo Sánchez), no recibe ayuda del empleado Patrick y Esteban habla de mapas.

Joni Michelle la manager (Tania Molina), confronta al infeliz Patrick

The Sound of ILL Days

Escrita y Dirigida por Rojo Robles
Producida por El kibutz del deseo & This Wave