Saturday, 23 April 2016

THE ILLNESS OF THE TIMES






















TOP OF THE HEAP, d. Christopher St. John (1972)

In hindsight, the Blaxploitation era was mixed blessing, not least because of the somewhat limited opportunities given to black stars and directors to express themselves outside of a narrow range of crime and action tropes. Christopher St John*, however, bucked the trend by writing, producing, directing and starring in Top Of The Heap, proving once and for all that disjointed and self-indulgent self-discovery art films were not just the preserve of well-heeled white directors. 

St John plays a Washington cop struggling with rage and relationships and his place in the world as a ‘black pig’. His everyday grind is supplemented by fantasy sequences in which he plays an astronaut, a political activist, and a back to basics naturist. It’s a strange film with some unusual sequences but, ultimately, is neither interesting or compelling enough to make up for a basic lack of point.  

* Not his real name.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

WOULD YOU ADAM AND EVE IT?



















COMENICHINO: The Rebuke of Adam and Eve (1626)

At first glance, there’s something quite comical about this picture. And at second, third and fourth glances. I think it’s the facial expressions. That said, it’s quite a tense situation. God turns up, on a cloud, wearing a shorty dressing gown, with his retinue of putti (the chubby babies who are often mistakenly called cherubim. Cherubim are much more powerful and sinister entities), and angrily asks what the heck is happening, apple wise. Adam shrugs and gestures to Eve, Eve points to the serpent, the serpent says ‘who me?’, while a gammy looking lamb and a misshapen lion look on with ‘ohhh shit’ expressions. It may be slightly daft, but I think it sums up the circumstances and emotions of The Fall perfectly.

Friday, 15 April 2016

THE WISDOM OF SANTO









































Santo isn't just a big hunk of beefcake with a nose for trouble and fists of iron, he's also a very sensitive guy with a well-defined personal philosophy. In this new series, we look at some of the key tenets of his teachings.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Thursday, 7 April 2016

THE PRESENCE OF PLEASENCE



















In William Klein's rambunctious pop art protest film Mister Freedom (1969), Worksop born Donald Pleasence plays Dr. Freedom, a cross between the American president, a televangelist and Baron Frankenstein. He was always good at mad authority figures, perhaps because his most prevalent characteristic is a menacing blandness: he seems innocuous, but you never really know where you are with him. Only ever seen on a flickering TV screen, here he talks passionately about democracy and liberty and decency whilst overseeing the violent overthrow and destruction of anyone who disagrees with him. Freedom, like peace, is clearly worth fighting dirty for.  

Sunday, 3 April 2016

FANTASTIC PLASTIC



















LE CHANT DU STYRENE, d. Allan Resnais (1958)

Who knew plastic could be so beautiful?

If you like odd, pretty, abstract things, why not take a look at my friend Nick Taylor's blog The Dream Machine? It's well worth the trip. 

Friday, 1 April 2016

2016 FILM DIARY, PART THREE



















From Equinox

01.03.2016 - 31.03.2016

Batman Begins, d. Christopher Nolan (2005)
The Dark Knight, d. Christopher Nolan (2008)
The Dark Knight Rises, d.  Christopher Nolan (2012)
Let Us Persevere In What We Have Resolved Before We Forget, d. Ben Russell (2013)
Nat Pwe: Burma's Carnival of Spirit Soul, d. Alan and Richard Bishop (2003)
Guyana: Cult of the Damned, d. Rene Cardona, Jr. (1979)
Legacy of Satan, d. Gerard Damiano (1974)
Precautions Against Fanatics, d. Werner Herzog (1969)
Nobody Wants To Play With Me, d. Werner Herzog (1976)
Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan, d. Nicholas Meyer (1982)
Star Trek 3: The Search for Spock, d. Leonard Nimoy (1984)
The Woman With Red Boots, d. Juan Bunuel (1974)
The Lickerish Quartet, d. Radley Metzger (1970)
The Telephone Book, d. Nelson Lyon (1971)
The Tattooed Lady of Riverdale, d. Tom Palazzolo (1967)
The Woman With a 100 Heads, d. Eric Duvivier (1967)
Kusama's Self Obliteration, d. Jud Yakult (1967)
The Invasion of the Thunderbolt Pagoda, d. Ira Cohen (1968)
Isan: Folk and Pop Music of Northeast Thailand, d. Hisham Mayet (2004)
Human Lanterns, d. Sun Chung (1982)
Children of the Stars, d. Bill Perrine (2012) 
Moonraker, d. Lewis Gilbert (1979)
For Your Eyes Only, d. John Glen (1981)
The Cremators, d. Doug Berwick (1972)
Terror Circus, d.  Alan Rudolph (1974)
The Centerfold Girls, d. John Peyser (1974)
Crash!, d. Charles Band (1977)
Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn, d. Charles Band (1983)
Mad Warrior, d. Wilfredo Milan (1985)
Equinox, d. Jack Woods (1970) 
Mister Freedom, d. William Klein (1969)
Murder In A Blue World, d. Eloy de la Iglesia (1973)
The Witch, d. Robert Eggers (2015)
The Forest, d. Jason Zada (2016)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, d. J.J Abrams (2015)
Octopussy, d. John Glen (1983)
Santo and Blue Demon vs The Monsters, d. Gilberto Martinez Solares (1970)
Santo and the Vengeance of the Mummy, d. Rene Cardona (1971)
Santo and Blue Demon vs Dracula and the Wolfman, d.Miguel M. Delgado  (1973)
A View To A Kill, d. John Glen (1985)
Prisoners of the Lost Universe, d. Terry Marcel (1983)
Who Is Poly Styrene?, d. Ted Clisby (1979)
Bitter Lake, d. Adam Curtis (2015)
Solaris, d. Andrei Tarkovsky (1972)