Blackpaint 315 – Splat!! on the Windscreen


Holmes; a Game of Shadows

With Robert Downey Jr as Holmes and Jude Law as Watson, the latest Guy Ritchie film was almost fast-moving enough to counter the graveyard cold of the Streatham cinema in which I saw it on Christmas Eve.  As there were only eight customers, including myself, I assume that the only way the cinema could operate was by eliminating overheads – such as heating. 

anyway, the film has the predictable joke Germans and Frenchmen, a French gypsy camp at which Irish fiddle music is played, and a My Fair Lady version of London.  The fight scenes are those loud ones which are too fast to see what’s going on, but in Martial arts tradition, blows are occasionally slowed to stop time and then concluded in a sort of sucking rush.  The same happens with bullets passing through sleeves or the bark of trees.  there is a wonderful set piece in the Paris Opera – Don Giovanni – and another in a snow-bound forest, involving artillery and mortar fire.  There are shades of the Saragossa Manuscript trick that he used in “Snatch”, with the milk carton splattering the car windscreen, at least once.  Basically, an unexplained event happens and is explained later.  In the Saragossa Manuscript, it is a man falling through a ceiling into a trunk; in Ritchie’s film, it is Holmes flinging Watson’s new wife from a train into the waters of a lake far below.

There is a hint of Chronos in the clinking and closing of metal breeches and hinges, and the disguises Downey uses are presumably taken from theart of Liu Bolin, the camouflage artist – by the time the credits came up, I was too chilled to notice whether he got a credit.  Great film, anyway (not Bela Tarr, though).

Liu Bolin

Albert Oelhen

Got a really expensive book on Oelhen from the Whitechapel Gallery, and was surprised to read that he used a computer to generate basic images in some pictures and then painted on top of them.  He calls the process “educating” the pictures.  An Oelhen painting may include collage, computer generation, Ab-Ex style gestural painting, airbrushing and elements of surrealism.

Oelhen

Best Picture

Best picture I have seen in the flesh this year was Asger Jorn’s “Green Ballet” at the Guggenheim Bilbao.  Best pictures in books recently were in the Vitamin B2 collection, by Vaida Caivanho and Amy Sillman. 

Here is my last picture this year:  Figures in a Landscape 2.

Blackpaint, 27.12.11

 

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