So today while going through the motions of my meaningless artistic life… I stumbled upon a tweet that at first, filled by my usual skepticism, I thought to be the project of my vivid and wild imagination… “@CynthiaBsl hey, congrats on saberspick!.. I knew your art would be mention, good luck on your endeavors :)” I was just finishing my long overdoo afternoon workout, feeling guilty as usual about all the carbs I ate this weekend. Watching CNN breaking news I tweet “#RIP Dick Clark” and I realize I might just be on my way to a massive heart attack as well so I decide to slow down and stretch. Still too dizzy to check my twitter account I decide to control my ADD and finish my workout. The artwork I posted to the Juxtapoze Magazine’s contest picked by renown Los Angeles Street artist SABER, was merely an attempt to keep my sanity during these much difficult unemployed days… I embraced the #saberspick trend and was literally glued to my feed. The artwork being posted was incredible! It inspired me to keep trying after so many years infected by a virus I now call “Fashion”… it also allowed me to connect with a whole new community of artists who I would have never met otherwise. Young, unknown, raw talent… nice people, who shared comments and appreciation for each other’s effort. At no point during these six weeks did I ever think I had a chance against the tough competition… there were artist painting surfboards in Australia, Egyptian inspired skateboards, photorealistic landscapes, amongst others… But it didn’t matter, what mattered was to be involved, to participate, to keep trying, and having a mobile art gallery of all these unknown artists to brighten up my day. And of course getting “favored” by Saber, one of the old school graffiti artists from my city… I remember seeing his work on the 110 fwy bridge est. 1999 while I was still in College and being somewhat jealous he was a boy and had made it into CAL ARTS “experimental Animation Program” which I was politely refused twice though I was pretty much born at the Disney Animation Studios… Nonetheless still it was something to tweet about other than fashion, what else can a recovering fashionista ask for? Still after the second tweet “@CynthiaBsl congrats on being in the final #saberspick nice to be mentioned. The winner was picked, did you see the blog post by@Saber ?” and a much deserved glass of wine with my bff… she told me ok “we need to check this out!” we decided to investigate the subject. And to my complete euphoria this is what I found: http://saberone.com/blog/2012/04/17/saberspick-juxtapozmag-contest-via-twitter/ Saber’s blog… So maybe I didn’t win, or get any publications, or any additional followers on twitter… but this shit made me fucken’ happy. YES! I screamed at the top of my lungs with my best friend and her seven-year-old daughter who had no idea what was going on… but yes we cried, we laughed, we cheered! And I remember looking at Paloma, the young daughter of two amazing artists and telling her “Yes baby just don’t give up and one day you will be recognized too…” Being one of the only two female artists mentioned amongst 20 male artists amongst hundreds of submissions… Yeah it made my day. And I could care less if it means anything to anyone else, because it meant a whole world to me. Thanks @Saber and Juxtapoze Magazine for bringing artists together. Much love.
Words can hardly describe how I feel after watching this movie… Though my blog primarily focuses on foreign films I feel compelled to make this young filmmaker an exception. What I love about independent cinema is how “human” it makes you feel once the screen goes black to indicate ‘the end.’ It is such a powerful feeling that you need a moment to gather all the emotions that came pouring out of you as the credits roll by. Lena needs little introduction as she is now one the youngest self-made actor/directors in the business, most of you will know her from her new HBO series called “Girls” which managed to capture my attention despite my usual skepticism. How can one blame me? I refuse to have cable to avoid seeing how our slutty and wealthy upcoming generation wastes their youth wearing “pret-a-porter” fashions and tweeting their fabulous useless lives around town… Yes I am talking about the ‘Gossip Girls.’ Finally someone brave enough to tell the truth about the life of a creative person, the ambiguity and its brief moments of real human interaction between the constant disappointments and failures, which after all these years I’ve come to realize it’s the true beauty of being alive. What is exciting to me as a former generation X young adult, is to see how generation Y has embraced our previous failures and now celebrate it instead of wasting time feeling guilty or ashamed about it. They are able to understand at such a young age that there is no finish line, no red flag to be waived, and have instead shared with one another and satirized each other’s downfalls as a natural growing process of their future selves. No other filmmaker other than Woody Allen has ever made me feel so content and complacent after watching one of his films. Somehow I feel I paved the road of failure and self-consciousness for these young girls, and that alone makes it all worth it. As I tweeted my best friend in a frenzy after watching the movie “I guess we are the new heros of our generation and didn’t even know it.” I salute Miss Dunham for her uncanny ability to write engaging and at times quirky dialog, for her innate ability to make fun of herself and let her characters be free to shock or disappoint, to let the narrative take the viewer in its own journey without waiving a red flag in their face. I look forward to seeing her first feature “Creative Nonfiction” and her online series “Delusional Downtown Divas” and all I ask in return is that she stays true to herself and RT me as I always wanted to say this: “Fuck Carrie and all the Sex she is having in the city!”
One of the most beautiful films ever made, “Los Viajes del Viento” as it is originally titled, carries a man’s journey across the Columbian landscapes. Filmed in nearly 80 locations, the scenery is intoxicating, to the point of keeping one glued to the screen in fear to blink and miss another breathtaking wide shot. Directed by thirty one year old Actor Ciro Guerra, the film depicts a man’s journey of redemption, after loosing his wife to a Devil’s curse he carries with him in the form of an accordion. The legend says the accordion in question, which belonged to the protagonist’s master, was cursed by the Devil himself after loosing a challenge to the latter. The one who played this accordion would be cursed to a life of a troubadour. What touched me the most about this movie was the honest depiction of humanity, in its uncanny mercy to help one another in times of great sorrow. Mysticism, superstition, loyalty, pride, honor and grief help this simple accordion player reach the Guajira Desert to return the cursed instrument to its original master an end this wretched curse. Accompanied by a young boy who promises to help him in the hopes of becoming a skilled musician, the two set out to face any obstacles that may come along the way. The imagery of this simple man riding in the back of a donkey through the desert set out to save another man’s soul from the same horrible fate is powerful and humbling, reminding me of Jesus as he fled from Nazareth. I give this film a five star rating for it’s cinematography alone, the narrative and the mournful soundtrack are a mere bonus to this marvelous tale.
Another brilliant film directed by South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook, “Thirst” is the most groundbreaking and erotic Vampire film I’ve seen since Bram Stocker’s “Dracula”. The story evolves around a guilt driven priest who volunteers his body to a medical experiment in order to save others from a deadly disease. The experiment turns the priest into a blood thirsty Vampire, who in the other hand is considered a Saint for being the only survivor of the 50 volunteers. Still trying to hang on to every bit left of his humanity he falls in love with a married woman that has no faith in God. Forced into an unhappy marriage this orphan girl lives like a household pet and jumps at the opportunity to engage in carnal sin with the tormented priest. They live an intense romance until she manipulates her Demon to commit murder, an act the evil priest was not yet in the custom of doing, while still battling with his Faith. The surreal set design and flawless make up effects make the movie believable to the point of keeping the audience focused on the romance between these two condemned souls. Overall I give this movie a five star rating for the director’s ability to maintain its taste level, and for not infesting our screens with another meaningless gory vampire film. I am looking forward to reviewing his next top rated film “Old Boy” considered to be another cult classic. I read somewhere that there is a sequel to “Thirst,” but don’t worry I’ll keep you all posted.
This dark comedy illustrates the struggles of a once famous German wrestler who fled his country to escape the communist regime and now travels through South America with his manager Osiri organizing wrestling exhibitions. The somewhat gentle and innocent giant falls into the elaborate scams of his manager, an experienced gambler and professional scam artist. They travel from town to town making a living off the Wrestler’s title of Strongest Man in the World challenging the common people to wrestle the Champ for a cash prize. The pair fall short of luck once they reach the town of Santa Maria where they run into the antagonist, which in this case comes in the form of a pregnant 26 year old shop keeper named Adriana, who is willing to sacrifice her husband for the sake of money. This film originally from Uruguay with a Spanish Cast was directed by Alvaro Beckmer, a novice in the business, the director falls short in its satire making this film a bit too sad to enjoy fully. If it wasn’t for its musical and visual similarities to one of my all time favorite movies “Nacho Libre” with Jack Black, I probably would have not endured its tragic undertone. I give it a three star rating for the cast and the overall efforts of the film to motivate the audience to have faith…though I do look forward to seeing the future efforts of Mr. Beckmer.
This South Korean film to me feels like a parody of “Amelie” the french film directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet which explores the fundamental question of the meaning of life, through the eyes of a schizophrenic young girl who believes she is a cyborg. Director Chan-Wook Park is widely known for making films that “focus on pain and fear,” originally a philosophy student he decided to become a director after watching Hitchcock’s Vertigo. The story is quite humorous and tragically romantic, the director’s careful use of special effects helps him transition smoothly between its zany characters and helps the film maintain its appeal to a more contemporary audience. The writer uses religious symbolisms such as the seven deadly sins (Gluttony, greed, vanity, envy, etc) to portray the many obstacles of human existence in reaching a state of total Nirvana. I enjoyed his choice in leaving the question of the meaning of life up to the audience’s interpretation. I give it a five star rating for reminding me of one of my all time favorite movies “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” in which writer Ken Kesey, explains, was narrated through the eyes of it’s Native American character and not by McMurphy as the film is made out to believe.
This movie could only come from the gutsy filmmakers in Scandinavia, perhaps it is a reminiscence from their brave days as Vikings, their eagerness to challenge one’s righteousness and make movies that are so difficult and uncomfortable to watch, our masochistic nature cannot resist but to suffer all the way through it. Directed by Eric Pope, award winner Norwegian director (better know for Directing Peter Gabriel’s music video) this powerful drama manages to stir up those sometime cheesy feelings that there is hope for humanity after all. How strong we are as human beings to overcome the darkest of times, even when our vision becomes blurred with hatred, sorrow and anger and we fail to recognize the beauty that surrounds us. The major themes of the movie are extremely controversial and might be a bit much for some believers, yet the careful and skillful cinematography make it almost poetic in its tragic build up, depicting a journey of a young man convicted of murdering a young child. The director’s choice of organ music as the key to this antihero’s only road to salvation is breathtaking, explaining why so many indirectly find comfort in it, earning the film several awards at the Hamptons international Film Festival in 2008, including the Audience’s Award for Best Narrative. Overall I give it five stars for it’s intriguing and powerful plot, for those who like to mix suspense with an intellectual and moral challenge.
Is a Dark Comedy written and directed by Gabriel Medina, no not the young brazilian pro surfer, but an unknown 36 year old Actor/Director from Argentina. Nearly impossible to find any additional information on the guy, other than he is also a character named “Vagina Face” on an upcoming B horror movie called “Bong of the Dead.” My theory is after reviewing his IMDB profile, is that here is a guy who loves to make films that he would like to watch… Nothing wrong with that. I actually enjoyed the film which focuses on the shortcomings of our misguided youth. In this case our Anti-hero Luciano, a twenty something year old film school graduate, with a mild case of social anxiety and some hypochondriac tendencies, who makes a living as a children’s party entertainer (he dresses up as a furry cartoon character) and has no problem with his shortcomings until he’s successful college buddy comes to town with his girlfriend Sofia. A renown movie writer/director, his friend Manuel fails to tell him Luciano is the main character of his film. Feeling somewhat betrayed, Luciano is surprised once Sofia comes to stay with him while Manuel is away closing down another movie deal. The scenery is powerful, and his inner struggle almost attractive in a lot of ways. The director though not very clear makes references about loneliness, fears of failure, and abandonment… Topics we are all familiar with but uncomfortable talking about. The musical references in the film are awesome and opened my mind to the electro punk scene in Argentina. Overall a three and half star film I recommend to those who enjoying not knowing how the movie will end and who don’t mind subtitles of course…