First and Final Frames
by Jacob T. Swinney.

I love cinema. My main interest goes to independent movies whether they come from Iran, China or Japan. Yes, you are right: American blockbusters are not my friends… While watching movies, I always try to learn as much as possible. What is the opening scene? What about the final shot? Who composed the soundtrack? How is it framed? I find a lot of inspiration, which I try to apply in my photography.

Jacob T. Swinney posted this interesting video on Vimeo: “First and Final Frames”. This five-minute sequence plays the opening and closing shots of 55 films side-by-side. After watching this, I am sure your attention during a projection will be changed forever!

Charles Dead or Alive – Charles Mort ou Vif
Directed by Alain Tanner, 1970.

Today, I would like to present you « Charles, Dead or Alive », a 1970 Swiss drama directed by Alain Tanner. Directors from Switzerland are pretty rare in the film industry: Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Goretta or Alain Tanner are the very few I could name.

“Charles, Dead or Alive” depicts the life of Charles Dé, who runs a small family business, a factory of watch parts he inherited from his father and his grandfather. In his fifties, Charles is questioning his life and achievements. But instead of being satisfied with his bourgeois life in Geneva, he only feels sadness and emptiness. One day, without any notice, he disappears. A few days later, while he is having a drink in a café, Charles meets a young couple Adeline and Paul. Thrilled by his quest of change, he decides to accompany them and to follow their bohemian lifestyle. Charles becomes Carlo. Sadly, the daily life catches his hope of freedom…
Simple scenes and short dialogues compose this black and white movie. There is joy, sadness, anger and pain in Charles’ odyssey: A touching approach of the human condition. I like particularly the scenes when Carlo teaches Paul his daily quote. Paul has to learn it by heart. What a great idea! I immediately applied it to my daily routine. Every morning, I write my quote of the day on a small piece of paper and learn it by heart. I keep them in big glass candy box.

Here is the selection from last week:

“Je n’avance qu’en tournant le dos au but, je ne fais qu’en défaisant.” Alberto Giacometti
Roughly translated: “I move forward only by turning my back on the aspiration, I make only by undoing.”

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Albert Einstein

“My trade and my art is living.” Montaigne

“Choisir ! C’est l’éclair de l’intelligence. Vous hésitez ? Tout est dit, vous vous trompez.” Honoré de Balzac
Roughly translated: “Choose! It is the flash of intelligence. Are you hesitating? Everything is said, you are wrong.”

“Worry makes you old before the time.” Ben Sira

“Tout le malheur vient de l’immobilité.” Jacques Brel
Roughly translated: “All grieves come from immobility”

“Nothing is permanent in this world, not even our problems.” Charlie Chaplin


 Charles Dead or Alive by Alain Tanner Movie Poster

Charles Dead or Alive by Alain Tanner Movie Poster

17 March 2016

Moloch – Молох
Directed by Alexander Sokurov, 1999.

Storyline from Harvard Film Archive
Moloch is an absorbing reconstruction of the last days of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun that attempts to comprehend manifestations of evil and power. Set in the Führer’s spectacular mountain retreat just before the German defeat at Stalingrad, the film focuses less on clichés of evil than on the vacuous boredom of absolute power: a naked Braun prances on the clammy battlements, Goebbels and Hitler dance to music together, and Nazi officials raid Hitler’s liquor cabinet like frat boys while somewhere, a country burns. Hallucinatory visuals and a sense of suspended time heighten the claustrophobic aura that surrounds the characters like a fugue.

The film is the first in Sokurov’s tetralogy of power. It was succeeded by Taurus (2000), about Vladimir Lenin, The Sun (2005), involving Japanese emperor Hirohito, and Faust (2011), based on the old German legend Faust.

How to part with absolute evil? How to demystify it?
In this movie, Sokurov attempts to show us a worn down and hypochondriac Adolf Hitler taking a break from his political duties at the Eagle’s Nest. The movie is an oneiric huis clos, sealed off on the top of a mountain by clouds and fog, far from the happenings of history. This bubble in time and space forces the viewer to dig into his own historical knowledge to associate the characters with the tragical World War II, giving to the movie its whole dimension. If all characters were replaced by anonymous people, the films plot wouldn’t really change and would remain an analysis of human interactions.
I was amazed to read that the movie was partly filmed at the real Eagle’s Nest in Austria and that the dialogues were authentic, drawn in from Picker’s “Hitlers Tischgespräche im Führerhauptquartier”. These dialogues bring a certain ridicule to the Führer’s character and part with the general image of a strong and firm leader or worse, the incarnation of absolute evil.
The green and gloomy, sometimes distorted and blurry images convey a strong discomfort and aguish throughout the whole movie.


24 February 2016

Jheronimus Bosch
“Triptych of Temptation of St. Anthony”

Since I was a child, I always had great interest for art, particularly painting. I was maybe 9 or 10, when I saw an ad in a magazine selling a collection of 100 postcards of the most renowned painters. Each one depicts a painting and behind was the description of the work and some elements of the author’s life. It was very cheap and my parents allowed me to order it. When I received the box of cards, it was a revelation. I spent hours and hours looking at them, reading the comments; I must admit, my favorite game was to learn the title and the name of the painter by heart. I was really proud to ask my dad to pick 10 of them and to ask me: “Who painted this? What is the title of this painting?” This is how I discovered the works of Rembrandt, Kandinsky, Cézanne or Vasarely.
I think, I still have these postcards in a drawer, somewhere at my parents’ home.
This passion and need to study never really left me. That’s why today, I’m learning the different artistic movements in painting. My main resource is this very interesting French website: Histoire de l’Art.

2016 marks the 500th anniversary of the death of Jheronimus Bosch, one of the most imaginative painter of all times.
I’m just fascinated by the creativity, irony and sense of moral of this Dutch painter. There is symbolism in each of his characters, and certainly thousands of hidden gems. His monsters and chimeras, are still today very contemporary and reflect the human condition.
Through this interactive documentary “Jheronimus Bosch, the Garden of Earthly Delights”, you can discover the work of this painter: A story about moral and sin.


Screen grab of the interactive documentary.

Screen grab of the interactive documentary.

21 February 2016

Festival Circulation(s)

The 1st edition of “Livre Circulation(s)”, which was organized by Fetart Association and the Fund of Subsidy agnès b., will be held during Circulation(s) Festival in CENTQUATRE-PARIS, from March 26th till June 26th, 2016. The selection was made to pursue the action of the Association in the promotion of young artists. At once, the list of the prize-winners, come to discover their works during the Festival.

Bravo to them!!!

Antonini Graziella, Baldazzi Nicola, Borcard Stéphanie et Métraux Nicolas, Bouley Vincent, De Lapierre Alexandra, Delcourt Charles, Feige Jonas, Fromont Bérangére, Gardini Francesca, Graziosi Andrea, Grignet Brigitte, Gruhne Sabrina, Heiderich Matthias, Imloul Sara, Krivich Yulia, Litt Matthieu, Méndiz Vicky, Moreau de Bellaing Frédéric, Morkevicius Visualdas, Mortarotti Vittorio, Nikouline Nathacha, Palermo Michela et Deprit Alvaro, Proux Constance et Philippine, Renaud Cousin, Roc Herms, Rosso Marina, Selbert Adrien, Sobolewski Kamil, Tagliaferri Michele, Tikhomirova Yulia, Tirler Myriam, Tixier Sabastien, Tomoko Kikuchi, Van Turtelboom Cedric, Vannucci Clara, Walzer Sarah, Zobel Charlotte.

More infos about Circulation(s) Festival HERE.

So happy that Grey Skies Black Birds is presented at Festival Circulation(s)

So happy that Grey Skies Black Birds is presented at Festival Circulation(s)

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