Tag Archives: Film

Opposite Ends

Super excited to share two recently published articles – on opposite ends of the content spectrum no less!

I had a lot of fun writing for Yeity because their style is sarcastic and cheeky. Site tagline? Travel that will put hair on your snatch. Ha! It felt good to vent about my experience jogging in Kampala and share some pics. Here’s a peek at what running through town looks like:

A little bit hectic, a little bit rock n' roll...

A little bit hectic, a little bit rock n’ roll…

And now for something completely different…

My favourite Kampala-based publication, Start Journal, is an arts and culture magazine a bit outside the box in terms of content. It publishes many local Ugandan writers’ work on happenings in the art scene here, The criticism in it is meant to question the social-political context in which art (all types) are created.

 And yet, like so many other dictators, not only was Amin a frightening, deeply disturbed man, but he was also effortlessly capable of ineffable charisma and charm. The president clearly enjoyed putting on a show.

The Bad and the Beautiful is my review of the filmic portrayal of former president and mass-murderer Idi Amin Dada in The Last King of Scotland and General Idi Amin Dada: A Self-Portrait. The piece is the result of a discussion on this topic with some of my fellow cinephiles here at 32 East. My essay ended up also being influenced by David Foster Wallace’s brilliant write-up of his experience on the set of David Lynch’s Lost Highway. That is – literally – a topic for another post.

“Art film is essentially teleological; it tries in various ways to “wake the audience up” or render us more “conscious.” (…) An art film’s point is usually more intellectual or aesthetic, and you usually have to do some interpretive work to get it, so that when you pay to see an art film you’re actually paying to work (whereas the only work you have to do w/r/t most commercial films is whatever work you did to afford the price of the ticket).” -D.F. Wallace

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Yangon Calling

A few months ago I wrote an article on the documentary Yangon Calling, a film about punk in Myanmar.

You can read the article via South East Asia backpacker here. Scroll to page 58, under Arts. Here’s a brief excerpt from the interview..

Over the years, hundreds of documentaries have been made on colourful chaotic punk life. The best ones give us a look at the vulnerable, passionate people behind the hard-edged exterior. Penelope Spheeris’ The Decline of Western Civilization does this for LA’s early 80’s hardcore scene, while Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten shows an intimate view of the complex person behind one of the most influential punk bands ever. Yangon Calling, a film by German-based filmmakers Alexander Dluzak and Carsten Piefke, now adds to the list, offering a look at the challenges faced by punks living in the capital city of Myanmar. Filmed in 2011, just before the country began undergoing significant socio-political change as it switched to an open economy, the documentary explores this lesser-known side of the country…

Cindy

One of my all-time favourite artists, Cindy Sherman, on Art21.

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People think because it’s photography it’s not worth as much, and because it’s a woman artist, you’re still not getting as much – there’s still definitely that happening. I’m still really competitive when it comes to, I guess, the male painters and male artists. I still think that’s really unfair.

Century of the Self

My argument with so much psychoanalysis is the pre-conception that suffering is a mistake, or a sign of weakness, or a sign even of illness, when in fact possibly the greatest truths we know have come out of people suffering; that the problem is not to undo suffering or to wipe it off the face of the earth but to make it inform our lives instead of trying to cure ourselves of it constantly and avoid it, and avoid anything but that lobotomized sense of what they call happiness. There’s too much of an attempt, it seems to me, to think in terms of controlling man, of defining him rather than letting him go and it’s part of the whole ideology of this age, which is power mad.

– Marilyn Monroe’s ex-husband Aurther Miller on psychotherapy, after her suicide:

The BBC documentary series The Century of the Self talks about the link between consumerism and Freudian psychoanalysis in the US, showing the latter to be a repressive form of societal control. I found the series incredibly informative and learned some new things about two of my favourite topics, societal constructs and consumerism. Filmmaker Adam Curtis has made a ton of other quality docos, too. Next on my list is a series called The Power of Nightmares. Happy watching!

Pulp Fiction

Walking along the beachfront strip of stores that line the shore, I spot a man sitting cross legged on the floor in one of the shops. Wielding a paintbrush, he fastidiously renders highlights and shadows of the Fab Four on a piece of stretched fabric. Another boy in the shop sees me lingering by the door and greets me, inviting me in. I can’t, my feet wet with sand.

I survey the array of graphic t-shirts hanging outside on the display portraying characters or quotes from films. One reads, “We will control you one day” overtop of, of course, the outline of an ape. This elicits a laugh from me and I instantly feel a connection to ‘home’. ‘Home’ in my vocabulary has become anything that conjures a sense of familiarity mixed with nostalgia. At my laughter the boy, Raju, comes out to chat face to face. We make small talk about our favourite movies associated with the drawings on the T-shirts. Pulp Fiction, Big Lebowski.. the usual suspects.

Our conversation veers into other mutual interests, namely painting and art. I’m invited to join Raju and his partners to paint graphics on the T’s. We talk some more about my photos and drawings and our dreams of going to Europe. Raju’s never been outside India and yet we share the bond of American pop culture – familiar films and characters that some of my closest girlfriends don’t understand.