Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Man From Nowhere


I have regular conversations with my Melbourne-based brother. When he asked me what I thought of The Man From Nowhere, I didn't hesitate: "Fuckin' fantastic!" We have similar tastes in films. My tastes are perhaps a bit more extreme, and I'm probably more partial to the sex and violence mix than he is, but, sure enough, our tastes aren't far apart.

I think we'll be in perfect sync with The Man From Nowhere, a belting, relentless, beautifully realized revenge yarn that also manages to be very emotional. It had me by the balls and brain stem.

The Koreans have been slamming home the brutal revenge material for several years now. I've loved A Bitterweet Life,  Breathless, I Saw The Devil, and Dirty Carnival. This joins that esteemed group.


Director Jeong-beom Lee rapidly concocts a brutal scenario in which a young girl (a stellar performance by Kim Sae-ron) becomes the subject of the hero's (Won Bin) mission. What plays out over ninety tight minutes is a bloody, balletic, emotion-fueled hunt for an army of bad people and the people behind these people.


What distinguishes The Man From Nowhere from other revenge efforts is the refreshing clarity of complex action sequences and the obsessive focus on the hero's journey. Won Bin turns in an exceptional, physically demanding performance which never becomes one-note and adheres to the character's emotional trajectory. Nobody's going off on irrelevant tangents here. 

This is disciplined, rousing filmmaking that does not miss a step.



There are so many unique individual scenes worthy of praise. One I'll single out here is an amazing chase through a building that ends in a stunt involving a broken window, a diving camera, and parkor-like acrobatics. It's a jaw-dropping accomplishment, and all the more effective because it's not slowed down or overemphasized. Like much of this film, its greatness lies in its humble creative ethic.


See this without pause.


The Well Go USA presentation of this film (on Blu-ray) is exceptional

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sucker Punch


There was a time when good storytellers were considered the best filmmakers. Afterall, filmmaking combines many art forms to produce a story interpreted by the brain through the eyes and ears. At the core of good storytelling is a story worth telling, a story clearly and concisely told. Accomplishing that requires great discipline and a large, steaming cauldron of intuition.

Then along came pseudo-directors like Zach Snyder. Canonized for being some sort of filmmaking genius, Snyder made Dawn of the Dead (his best film), 300 (unwatchable!) and Watchmen (I liked it). Two of them made money. He was lauded -- and still is -- for his "incredible visual style", so Warner Bros., caught up in this commercial cocksucking of the ADD-ridden "auteur", tossed him piles of money to come up with something "original". Well, Sucker Punch, a soup of a hundred influences, is that beast. Trouble is, it's about as original as fornication.

Its growing dung heap of bad reviews have compared it to Kill Bill. To be fair, Kill Bill is also a beast of many fathers, but Tarantino's strength is that he can take his influences, chew them up, and spit them out as something much closer to an orginal synthesis. Snyder can't do that. Snyder has difficulty doing anything beyond creating pretty pictures.


Sucker Punch is a dreadful, multi-layered mess. Every image is processed to the point of banality. Every sound is reprocessed, sweetened, and hammered to pancake flatness. If this guy were presented with a real vagina, I reckon he'd cut away the clit, remove the lips, and create a perfect Barbie crotch.

Sucker Punch is the Barbie crotch of action movies. It has no taste. It doesn't kick or moan when you stroke it. It doesn't get wet. It doesn't get nasty. And when you suck it, it tastes like plastic.

Once again, here is proof that video game action doesn't work in a feature length movie. When you're a passive observer, you need more than endless, mindless motion that signifies nothing, but thinks it's the second fucking coming. Movies require involving stories with interesting characters. Movies are not and will never be giant versions of video games. Video games are played and interacted with. Movies are watched. There's a difference. A big fucking difference. Why is that so hard to understand?

For mine, the film's only saving grace is the fetishistic representation of the film's young and fresh fighting femmes. They're a very sexy lot and they acquit themselves well under the circumstances. For a film rated PG-13 by the MPAA, the eroticization of the ladies goes about as far as studio influence will allow.


Snyder, interviewed yesterday by the LA Times, was keen to point out that the fetishization of his actresses was an "empowerment" statement, not "exploitation" disguised. I'm keen to respond to that with: "Save your bullshit for the suits, sunshine. Liars buy the bullshit of other liars, but I dont."

Why do we continue to pretend that nothing is actually about sex when almost everything is about sex? Especially anything that influenced this rotten marriage of a thousand superior influences.

Why are depictions of anybody's sexual bits automatically assumed to be exploitation? Exploitation of whom? The adult actress who was forced to perform at gunpoint? Give me a break! Humans are sexual creatures. We're all here because of sex. Sex is fun. Sex is natural. If you have a problem with that, then let's look at your upbringing... or your religion. Just get your hang-ups out of my face.

At least real porn is honest.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Marital Bliss Nikkatsu-style


If you're ever teetering on the brink... If you've come to what seems like a dead end and suicide is looking sweet... If you truly believe that you have nothing to live for... at least live for this...

This amazing Japanese poster for Newlywed Hell (Nizuma jigoku; '75) is truly one of the most beautiful I have ever seen.

It evokes a world, a feeling, a milieu, that fills me with wonder and optimism.

The Japanese maiden is a true beauty, of course, so there's no mystery as to why she plays a major role in the transporting process of this image... but it is the graphic addition of her in the boat that sends my senses into hyperdrive..

 Why? I'm not so sure. But I do love lakes and rivers and islands and small, human-powered watercraft.
 
Place a partially bound beauty in one of these and you have erotic nirvana.

Released in 1975 by Nikkatsu (of course!), the film, which is a little too protracted for my tastes, stars Naomi Tani as a young wife who leaves her husband and travels to the town where she was born. There, she is educated in the ways of the rope by an eager miscreant (several actually), and begins a relationship with a gentleman who is already spoken for. Despite the off-kilter pacing, it's a rich erotic treat. And...there is a river, and a boat, and the film is very nicely shot.

Based on a story by Oniroku Dan, whose work is always S/M-oriented but not (usually) story-focused, it is a step up on previous works based on his novels. Director Akira Kato built a substantial filmography with Nikkatsu and demonstrates a deft hand with the erotics.

Unfortunately, the Geneon disk does not use this artwork and has no English subtitles, but the quality of the film transfer is above par.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bedevilled a Korean 'The Beasts'


 Talk about a film with its heart in the right place! Jesus. This shoots the ducks down and goes back to wring their necks.

If you've never seen Dennis Yu's The Beasts (aka Flesh and Bloody Terror; '80), you may not appreciate the virtues of this Korean sleaze- and blood-fest quite as much as I did. The Beasts, a very rough diamond,  was inspired by flicks such as I Spit On Your Grave, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes, and Deliverance.

My imdb review went thus:

There's plenty to like in Dennis Yu's vicious little shocker. You can cite many references (Deliverance being one), but my guess is Wes Craven's The Hills Have Eyes influenced Yu most.

I love stuff like this -- the nastier the better. I'm not apt to whine if the film rolls around in its own filth like a fat, bloated pig. I'm not prone to taking issue with gloriously violent, misogynistic behavior if the only reason given for it is the inherent badness of the characters.

"Entertainment" has many faces, and the face of this putrid piece of vile celluloid is slashed with a shit-eating grin.

In The Hills Have Eyes, Craven used the deformed Michael Berryman as the face of savagery. In The  Beasts, Yu casts an equally disturbing, ugly, toothless actor who grunts and screams and lashes out at every obstacle like a venomous snake. He perfectly embodies Yu's vile little world.

A small party of men and cute women are attacked by some local miscreants ("beasts"). One of the women is brutally raped and the police are called. The miscreants, referred to as "disco boys" by one observer, are rounded up by the inept cops, but the cops fail to make a case against them. A local man, upset that justice has not been served, decides to exact his own -- in deep scarlet.




Although some of the film's scenes of graphic violence are a little sloppy, there are enough cinematic atrocities on parade to forgive Wu his occasional aesthetic misstep.

Again mirroring Hills, two ferocious dogs make an appearance in The Beasts -- this time, however, they're on the side of "evil".

The atmosphere of sleaze and dread is well maintained and encouraged by Yu. The climax, taking place during a vicious rainstorm (at night) is surprisingly effective and beautifully shot by Bob Thompson.

Editing is tight and Tony Au's art direction is vivid and gloriously ugly.

A murder with a rope tossed to a drowning man is a showstopper, as is a scene where a character plunges head first into a box of rusty blades.

If you have a soft spot for this disrespected genre, you'll find a place in your heart for The Beasts.


 While watching Bedevilled (2010) unspool, I was heartened by the fact that someone -- a Korean first-time director named Cheol-soo Jang -- had decided to make a film that, for me, recalled the best aspects of nasty exploitation flicks from Hong Kong's golden age.

Mr. Jang weaves other influences into this potpourri of gory nihilism also. The film's musical choices are pure Kim Ki-duk -- gentle piano pieces suggesting brewing violence. The visuals, which are very impressive, recall the vistas of Ki-duk's The Isle, his purest, most surreal work. One of the film's final images is a direct steal from that film... a woman's body becomes an island.

A little research reveals that Cheol-so Jang was second unit director on Ki-duk's Samaritan Girl. There is a distinct Ki-duk flavor to this film, and the violence (mostly directed at women) is as brutal as that seen in Ki-duk's Address Unknown, Bad Guy, and Crocodile.

Another title that this film bears many similarities to, at least thematically, is Kim Ki-young's quite extraordinary and little seen Leodo ('77), a bewitching tale of an island of mysterious women who harbor a terrible secret.  


 Leodo's focus is on a search for a missing man who lived on the island,  and the influence of a witch-like woman/shaman on the all-female island's residents. The film is so fascinating and multi-layered that I have started, deleted, and re-started numerous blog posts about it over the past couple of months. Until my words can do it some justice, I'll take a powder. Although it (Leodo) has more in common with the original The Wicker Man than Bedevilled,  I can't help suspecting that its theme did influence many aspects of Bedevilled.

The set-up is basic. 'Hae-won' (Seong-won Ji), a frustrated, somewhat selfish businesswoman, travels to the island where she grew up to spend a week with an old friend,  'Kok-nam' (Seo Yeong-hee). Kok-nam is a simple, loving, earthy woman married to a total cunt ( Yeong-hie Seo) who beats her up constantly and screws mainland prostitutes in front of her (the arrival of prostitutes by boat recalls similar scenes in The Isle).

Even worse than any of the above is the not-so-hidden secret that hubby is also screwing his daughter, a shy girl who couldn't be more than nine or ten. His heinous actions are condoned by a nasty old woman (played with chilling conviction) who is her husband's greatest supporter. This old crone virtually encourages the man's abuse and even attempts to cover it up when the worst thing you can possibly imagine happens.


 The island is home to a very small group of women who seem to accept the wholesale mistreatment of the younger woman. They share an old-fashioned view that women are useless without  men and only necessary for procreation and mothering. Although this view is somewhat at odds with the matriarchal society of Leodo, it is presented with similar visual and literary flourishes.

Bedevilled reminded me of The Beasts because its presentation of perversion and violence is just as unrelenting -- although not quite as trashy. Technically, it is a much more polished piece of work.

The brutal husband is just one of several ghastly men the film presents to us. The husband also has a brother who drugs and molests Hae-won, and there is a boat captain and cop who are equally morally bankrupt. Virtually every male in the film is a rotten sod.

Another film presenting all men as animals is Koyu Ohara's White Rose Campus... Then, Everybody Gets Raped!


Because the film is so dedicated to its bleak world view, there is little room for shading. That's fine, though; it is what it is. And director Yang does a good job slowly piling on the atrocities until the victims and audience reach a breaking point.

If I had any problems with the film, it was with the slightly protracted wrap-up that feels a bit rushed. There seemed to be some bridging shots missing that might have smoothed the transition to the last major location.

Bedevilled is a fine achievement, though, another feather in the cap of Korean cinema. Who would have thought that Korea would become the new Hong Kong of the 70's and 80's? Hats off to them! 
 
The Blu-Ray from Optimum Releasing UK presents the film beautifully.
 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Beatle Who Supped With Devils



Who Sups With The Devil, by P. McCartney, was the focus of a childhood obsession for me.

Published in 1975 and priced at OZ$1.25, I found this New English Library paperback -- an original publication -- in Melbourne's 'The Bookshop of Charles Dickens', a favorite book nook of mine alongside 'Space Age Books' (on Swanston St.).

For some stupid bloody reason, I was convinced that this book was written by Paul McCartney of The Beatles. I guess I had a mind back then that invented ridiculous crap like that.

Closet horror writer Paul McCartney; behind that smile is pure evil
and a future fetish for one-legged, Gold-digging wives


The reason the book was credited to "P" McCartney and not Paul was that Paul didn't want Beatles fans (especially easily frightened girls) knowing he wrote horror. He wanted to keep that side of his life secret. So, the best way to do that was abbreviate his first name because nobody would ever figure that "P. McCartney" was, in fact, the famous Paul McCartney. Clearly the Beatle was hiding in plain sight. That's why he didn't call himself Billy Gravestone or Lionel Blood. The "P" was brilliant because it skirted so close to the truth that it couldn't possibly be true.

Further proof, I reasoned, was that the book was published in England. Now, that's where Paul lived. Back then, my comprehension of the world must have been that you could only do business in your own backyard.

McCartney's story involves black masses, Satanic rituals, scary, subterranean tunnels, and a school for girls. I always liked anything set at a school for girls because you got to imagine them changing for bed and experimenting with lesbianism. Mix Satanic rituals AND girls and you've got a winner.


I did many ludicrous things as a child, but what I did in an effort to expose Paul McCartney as the "P. McCartney" behind Who Sups With the Devil? truly established a new benchmark for my early teen nonsense. I sent a photocopy of the book's cover to the head honcho of Paul's UK record company, Apple Records, and included a letter informing him that one of his Beatles was writing horror books... and I knew it. He wasn't fooling me. I don't have the letter, but I asked the following question: "Did you know that Paul McCartney, a Beatle (it was shrewd of me to include that fact in case he needed reminding), is writing horror books for New English Library under the secret name P. McCartney?"


I waited about two years for a reply before concluding that my letter had been "too hot" to warrant a response. I had exposed Old Blighty's favorite musical son as a closet horror writer, a purveyor of Satanic fiction involving secret caves and boarding schools for girls -- no wonder they didn't want to talk to me. I could have ruined everything for them.

Now I'm older and marginally more sensible. I'm not so focused on exposing musicians as horror writers these days... although I'm a little suspicious of those horror books on my shelf by B. Bacharach. And who the hell is K. Richards? Probably not the bloke I'm thinking of. This book's about boarding schools for drunken girls... and the men who love them... nah, wrong Richards.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I Saw The Devil...Perhaps You Should, Too


I Saw The Devil, by Jee-woon Kim, impressed me greatly. It initially appears to be a fairly straightforward revenge yarn with a high level of brutality and superb production values. By the time it reaches its bloody climax, it has revealed itself to be something much more than that.

The film focuses on the price one pays to exact retribution on another. It's no surprise that the price is high. Byung-hun Lee, who appeared in the director's A Bittersweet Life (2005), plays the film's angry man. Min-sik Choi, who headlined Old Boy, is the villain. Both hold in their own in challenging physical roles and deliver layered emotional performances.

I Saw The Devil is not standard fare by any means, and if you're easily offended by extreme violence and vivid depictions of perversion, try Rango instead (it's also good).


The Korean countryside is a haven for perverts and killers in this grim tale. Although Choi is an unstoppable force, his actions are well matched by a violent cannibal and a traveler who expresses a great deal of rage with a sharp knife.

For some, the film's relentlessness may minimize its virtues. Some reviews have argued that it is too long. For mine, it was just long enough, thanks to the endlessly creative concepts dreamed up by its creator.


 The Good, The Bad, The Weird, the director's previous work, did not ring bells for me. It was well made, but it bored me to death. I Saw The Devil, on the other hand, is comparable with A Bittersweet Life in terms of quality, although it is somewhat more beautiful while also being more brutal. Few marriages of disparate elements consummate as successfully as they do here.

***


The film, seen by me at Landmark's Nuart Theater in Los Angeles, is currently touring the country.
Distributor is Magnet.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Beauty is Porn Deep

 



 These are simple but striking.

Color Climax Corporation (CCC), once the largest producer of pornography (photos and films) in the world, published thousands of hardcore magazines from the mid-60's to the late 90's.

The Denmark-based company usually featured explicit or suggestive photographs on the covers of their magazines. The quality of their photo sets was first rate, and set a standard for the burgeoning Euro sex business.  Fortunately, the company also issued magazines with illustrated covers. The content of these was still photo-based, and predominantly explicit, but these cover treatments were often used to trick international censors and custom officers into believing that the material behind the covers was soft.








Though subtle, these illustrations cleverly separate the respective subjects covered in each magazine.

One thing Color Climax could never be accused of was taking the soft route. At one time or another, they covered every kink known to man and woman. In addition to vanilla topics such as straight sex, group sex, watersports, anal sex, oral sex, schoolgirl and excrement fetishism, they dabbled in bestiality and slave-themed pornography, and even took advantage of ultra-liberal censorship laws (and, ultimately, damaged their reputation) by publishing dozens of issues of a handful of child porn titles between '74 and '78.

In David Hebditch and Nick Anning's monumental tome on the Euro porn industry,  Porn Gold (Faber and Faber; 88), CCC's English-language editor Rupert James described the situation at the time:

"Yes, we did publish a couple of child porn mags in the mid-70's. We also did animal sex -- mags and films. I suppose we must have started around 1974 or so and it was all over by 1978. One of them was called Children Love -- I think that was the first -- and it went to about thirty issues. The original issue was that everybody else was doing it... and, in any case, it was supposed to be the softer, affectionate kind of child sex -- not rape and brutality and that kind of thing.

"Originally, we were publishing stuff mostly from the enthusiasts. But, of course, we were publishing it commercially as was everyone else at the time. That encouraged people to actually make the photos and films commercially. That meant we were commercially encouraging the abuse of children. That couldn't go on.

"In my opinion, we shouldn't have started. That was irresponsible. And we still have problems as a result. For example, the French customs and police always give us a bad time because we are down in their files as child pornographers. They don't listen when we tell them that all that stopped a long time ago. They don't care."











Despite the company's serious flirtation with the world's most taboo subject, they transitioned smoothly into the video age by transferring hundreds of their "legal" Super-8 movies onto videotape and eventually DVD. But with the advent of the internet, interest in hardcore magazines declined, and the company's original founder, Peter Theander, sold the business.

Now, CCC's back catalog of magazines and movies can be accessed on-line for a reasonable monthly fee.

Their "questionable" content is, of course, not available on the website --  or legitimately available anywhere.

 

***

Please not that all covers above are from Color Climax's ADULT pornography. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Gift of Wakamatsu


blaq out, a French distributor, has recently released three DVD box sets containing a dozen films by legendary Japanese director Koji Wakamatsu. I say "legendary" because his legend does precede him and he is a truly original filmmaker who has produced a huge body of work over a fifty year period. Unfortunately, most of his films remain unseen in the West and many are not even available in Japan.

The features comprising the first volume of this sensational venture -- Violated Angels, The Embryo Hunts in Secret, Secrets Behind the Wall, and Go Go Second Time Virgin -- are subtitled in French only.

The features in the second volume -- Ecstasy of the Angels, Sex Jack, Running in Madness,Dying in Love, and Season of Terror -- have English as well as French subtitles.

The third volume's films -- Naked Bullet, Violent Virgin, Violence Without a Cause, and Shinjuku Mad -- are also subtitled in French and English.



The cause of the violence in Violence Without A Cause is frustration. Isn't it always?! The title is deliberately provocative. It's difficult to argue that violence has no cause. It's always an expression of something. In this strange, flawed work, three sexually frustrated men spend their days wishing life were different. They bemoan the fact that handsome men get more pussy, and rally against the limited options they see down the road.

In typical Wakamatsu style, these men begin a very informal "revolution" against the state of things by raping any girl they see and awkwardly propositioning those they have some association with. Their efforts don't bring much happiness, and they usually end up where they started -- in a tiny apartment with porno pictures for company.

The trio are a sorry, homely, and mostly unsympathetic lot. They whine constantly and botch every opportunity to get laid that comes along. Two survive on handouts from parents and one has a factory job. I couldn't quite decide what exactly Wakamatsu was saying about youth in this film. Was he criticizing their lack of drive? Or criticizing the rigid structure of Japanese society? Perhaps both. And both criticisms seem valid.



I couldn't help contemplating the human brain's lack of invention while watching this film. Yes, society is rigid and we are herded about like cattle from an early age, but aren't there ways to subvert the norm? Must we accept everything placed in front of us as absolute? Any situation can be changed if you're willing to chuck what's familiar to you.

The sad thing is, most people just accept the norm and complain occasionally.

Clearly, Wakamatsu doesn't accept shit!


This brave filmmaker and provocateur made many, many films about personal and political revolt and railed against the often moronic society we help shape with our sickening desire to conform.

As fascinating as the film is, it's handicapped by some unfortunate script contrivances. Out of the blue, a girl the boys went to primary school with just turns up at their apartment. Angered by her "haughty ego", they set out to rape her and "teach her a lesson". Of course, they screw up. A second contrivance involves the boys stalking a porno model who, unbelievably, invites them into her apartment without a care, leaves them alone while she goes shopping, then agrees to bed them all. Naturally, this seemingly perfect scenario comes undone and the boys take a beating from some local yakuza.

The conclusion is downbeat.


Exploring similar themes, but executed with greater dash and daring, is Season of Terror.

In this, two detectives camp out in a pretty girl's living room so they can observe a suspected terrorist in the  building opposite. Placing a listening device in the suspect's apartment allows them to listen in on his daily routine.

The routine of the suspect, a young man living with two gorgeous women, involves sleeping, eating, and fornicating in creative positions with the two lovely women. Sometimes the group romps as three, sometimes as two. When the women are working, the man (known affectionately as "Idle Sod") even romps on his own.

The detectives, who live ordered, traditional lives, become fascinated, then bored, then angry with the suspect. One constantly suggests they go around and beat the hell out of him simply because he's not living a "productive" life. The other is convinced that the suspect will eventually say something to convict himself.

How the suspect got two women to become his slaves is never explained. When he says "Beer!", the women bring him one. When he takes a crap, they wipe his butt. This guy has built himself a personal utopia where he's serviced like a king. When the women raise the subject of having a baby, he gets angry and broods like a teenager.

Wakamatsu doesn't let any cats out of the bag about the suspect until he gets a visit from a former colleague. The colleague preaches revolution and invites the suspect to join him in a protest, but the suspect tells him that revolution is pointless, and makes it clear that living with two pretty sex slaves is better than the end result of any revolution.

This fascinating tale is resolved in an unexpected way, and Wakamatsu's perspective on "Utopia" is thought-provoking.



Both films were surely made for next-to-no money and shot in confined spaces. They are black and white, although color is employed occasionally and very effectively.

Sex is a constant in Wakamatsu's world, and it is often depicted as something to chase when you're bored or in need of a temporary fix -- not unlike drugs. Ultimately, it doesn't deliver anything lasting or deep. It's just a very attractive and powerful narcotic.

Naked Bullet, from the third set, is the most interesting of this trio.  A yakuza flees from his boss with a young waitress and is tricked into returning to the fold. For his efforts, he is tortured and beaten, and she is raped and discarded like trash. Five years later, a similar scenario presents itself -- only this time, the ex-yakuza has learnt from his mistake. The director employs a subtle, documentary style and switches between color and black and white. The women in this film are gorgeous, and there is a plethora of nudity. Structured much more conventionally than many Wakamatsu pictures, and feeling more like noir than pink, it's a humble little gem from a truly maverick director.

The above paragraph, taken from my imdb review, doesn't touch on the fact that Wakamatsu made a number of brutal yakuza dramas that wouldn't have been out of place on the recent Nikkatsu Noir compilation from Criterion.




As usual, even this yakuza pic is stylistically adventurous and Wakamatsu-esque in every way. The director/writer's empathy for desperate, outmoded, lowlife characters is strong, as is the ever-present sexual component. Sex and rape are tied together and one always seems to lead inevitably to the other. The filmmaker's world is a world without guarantees where rebellion is fraught with its own consequences.

Upcoming from Wakamatsu, and already released in some parts of the world, is the highly praised Caterpillar. Beyond that will be a film based on a novel by Japanese political thriller writer Yoichi Funado. I can't wait for either of these.

These three Wakamatsu's volumes are highly recommended, as is supporting legitimate versions of them. If you're going to download them via torrents, then you have nobody to blame but yourself when the well for unseen cinema like this runs dry.

Distributor blaqout deserves much praise for stepping up to the plate and investing in this massive restoration and distribution of Wakamtsu titles. I hope many more volumes come to fruition.



***

Please note that some of the graphics accompanying this blog entry are
not directly associated with the discussed content.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Feels Like Forever


 As a filmmaker -- hell, as a human being! --  I believe in exploring possibilities.

In addition to my on-going TV, doco, and feature work, I recently worked on this very interesting web series, Feels Like Forever.

Produced and written by Stephen Groak, a dear old pal from New Zealand (now LA-based), it was an opportunity to collaborate (as director/DP/editor) on a subtle genre piece aimed at older pre-teens and young teenagers (girls mostly).

I've selected three segments here of which I'm particularly proud.

This is a lot lighter than my usual fare, but, hopefully, my experience and comfort with uneasy subject matter has rubbed off on these telesodes.


 Casting was at least a six month process, as was scripting, fine tuning, and set design.

For mine, our cast (Trista Robinson, Fanie Garcia, Paul Fanning, Michael Stoltzfus, Steven Segura) have delivered beautiful performances. Talented production designer Merici Tello and ace composer Craig Jordan also excelled in their respective roles.

Even when funding is low, something special and creatively fulfilling can be produced.

I'm not sure if internet distribution is the future of filmmaking, but it sure represents a great avenue for sharing the work... and showcasing talent.





                                                                                                    
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