Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Greenaway's True Cinema Definition?

Back in February 2007, on a visit to Berlin, I had come across a public talk given by the British filmmaker Peter Greenaway. A Turkish blog entry for the event is available at the following link.
For the non-Turkish speakers, the following summary should suffice for the purpose of this entry:

Greenaway gave a lecture to a full house at the Audimax of the Humboldt University in Berlin on 9 February 2007. He was surprised to see a big auditorium packed as that fine, cold Friday evening was also the opening night for Berlinale 2007. He delivered a speech he has been delivering for a while around the world, about why he thinks 'cinema has died' and there was need for a new definition for cinema. He summarised the 4 major "betrayal" characters of cinema that resulted in the 'death of it' as such:

1. Betrayal of the text
2. Betrayal of the frame (the spatial dimension)
3. Betrayal of the actor
4. Betrayal of the camera angles.

Basically, he was saying that, cinema was too much constrained by the inflexibility of the written text, the limitations of the frame, the inability of the actors to convey a potrait independent of their real-life personalities, and the limitations of capturing wide perspectives due to quasi-static attributes of camera angles.

The way forward for the cinema's new definition was in interactivity. The Tulse Luper Suitcases series he has produced in the last few years was his own way of trying this interactivity. I have to admit I could never get what he meant, maybe due to watching only bits of the T.L. Suitcases series, but I leave that up to film experts. In conclusion, a Renaissance painterly-art fetishist Greenaway has believed that there has never been a filmmaker who ever did 'real cinema', only those like Eisenstein came close to it.

I would like to divert the attention here now to an event held by the Future Cinema, a creative group who "creates large scale cinematic experiences, fusing feature film with music, theatre and live performance". One of these events is called Secret Cinema, where the audience is sent SMS/email alerts a day prior to a film screening event that is to be held at a secret location in the UK.

Future Cinema has recently held a special screening of Watchmen by the SE1 club under the railway arches of London Bridge. I was not lucky enough to get myself a ticket, but you can watch the reviews, some videos and pictures of the event at the following links provided...

Could this be the new definiton of the cinematic experience Greenaway was talking about a few years ago? Maybe little wonder it comes from the UK...

BBC 2 Video on the Event

Photos from the Event

Some Press Releases

Saturday, March 07, 2009

cyclicus orgasmus

OK, I've said enough times already but, London does have the capability of giving you an orgasmic-phantasmic cycling trips (trip, by every meanings of it) on a fine day or on a fine evening, or basically by any fine weather accompanied.

Leave your work office on a Friday evening, cycle up to Regent's Park, go around it and pray for whatever god, karma, or etc.. you believe in that you can inhale some 'green' air with such a serene panorama at your sight, with the park on your left, the canal on your right and some random runners, nice mansion houses and a few flashlights of nearby cabs...

Go up towards Swiss Cottage and you're already overwhelmed with the hardcore aristocarcy of London... Now, OK, I have to admit I always felt there are things achieveable in life even for my super-ego from the worst end to some higher up, but the bloody palaces up on the Avenue Road in NW3, NW5 Camden are fucking devastating. You're considered lucky cycling with a £50 3rd hand bicycle if not hit by a passing-by Porsche or a similarly low-bottom end car cruising past you...

No, what's so great about this goddamn city is that as soon as some of these palace-replicas end (and there actually is a building on this avenue that resembles a medieval castle, a cheesy one rather) you already see the low-income housing estate blocks of Camden at your vista, a mile or two ahead... And then you think to yourself... what a mish-mash...

You come to an incredible complex of social amenities by Swiss Cottage, including the 50-year running progressive theatre hall of Hampstead Theatre. Designed as a sphere within a very classic late-modern building, you feel as if you're entering a hi-tech, contemporary IMax movie theatre, rounded-shape giving every single of the audience a good view of the theatre hall. Then you watch a brilliant tense story of an Irish Intelligence Service in the WWII stationed in Berlin.

Think about all the bare cruelties a WWII Berlin play can bring to you and leave the theatre with these feelings on a brilliant 7-degree Celsius clear-skies night to cycle from North London into the East End, where the buildings get higher and higher in terms of building height and lower and lower in terms of income per household. Think about the gentrifier young populations of newer East Londoners as they are abundant on the street screaming at each other with a 2.5 pints of beer down the throat on a fine Friday night and look deeper into the flats to see the struggles of generations, wealth of which has been ripped off by imperial armies that are dying in the deserts of far-away lands these days with democracy sold in Great Bullocks Pounds, a currency that is shrinking by each passing second.

Cycle over the canal, get home and pour some Polish vodka into your Shandy Brass and just think about how diverse a city can get, and cry all the German words you have learned from your mid 1980's VHS German porn films... Because, my friend, this city can give you a proper orgasm.