Posts Tagged ‘The Revenant’

Blackpaint 581 – 2016 Review 2 – Films, Theatre, Museums, TV

December 30, 2016

Film

Behemoth (Zhao Liang) – by turns, brutally realist and astonishingly surreal; coal mining and steelmaking, riding and spitting up coal dust in hospital, poetry, empty cities with traffic lights changing in deserted streets.

behemoth-2

The Revenant – brutal fighting, bear attacks, staggering scenery shots, fantasy scenes.  I was interested to see how it resonated with “Jeremiah Johnson”, 70s vehicle for Robert Redford.

Julieta (Pedro Almodovar) – One of those infuriating stories where people do unreasonable, devastating things (walking out on loved ones) with no explanation – and demand that their actions be accepted, no questions.

julieta1

High Rise (Ben Whateley) – Whateley successfully re-creates a 70s film; that is, he has made a 70s film; the colour, the sex, the violence.  I must have missed that particular party..

I, Daniel Blake (Ken Loach) – standard Loach; righteous anger, nightmare (but real) situations, unthinking cruelty, pretension, mindlessness, destitution, prostitution, murder by stress; but I still think it’s optimistic.  It presents a rose-tinted view of working-class people.  They are all so nice; maybe they really are in Newcastle.  One for the metropolitan elite to weep over (see Peter Bradshaw’s Guardian review).

blake

Revolution – New Art for a New World (Margy Kinmonth) –  Not really in competition as  it’s a documentary about avant-garde – and more traditional –  artists, before, during and after the Russian Revolution.  Some amazing art, heartbreaking stories.

DVDs

Ken Russell drama docs – he pretty much invented it – from 60s.  The best are “Song of Summer” (Delius), “Always on Sunday” (Douanier Rousseau) and “Dante’s Inferno” (Rossetti, played by Oliver Reed).

delius 2

Embrace of the Serpent (Ciro Guerra) – Terrific; South American rain forest, German explorers, shamen, mind bending drugs, mad missionaries.

serpent

The Sun (Sokurov) – Hirohito in the “bunker”.  Brilliant.

Metropolis (Fritz Lang) – finally watched the whole of this; there are absurdities but it’s amazingly influential.

metropolis

TV 

Thrillers, serial killers and kidnappers – and the Napoleonic Wars.

War and Peace.  I loved it, especially Jessie Buckley, surely a descendant of Giotto’s favourite model.

Marya-Bolkonskaya

The Disappearance (French series, set in Lyon)

poisson

The Missing (British, but set in Germany.  David Morrissey again, and the ridiculously relentless and riveting French detective Baptiste).

Rillington Place.  Claustrophobic, shabby, creepy – those stains on the bed – Tim Roth doing Attenborough doing Christie, like Branagh does Olivier doing Archie Rice.

In Plain Sight – a restrained but terrifying account of Peter Manuel’s crimes in 50s Scotland.  He invaded homes and murdered whole families for fun, while at least one senior detective knew full well he was the culprit – but was unable to convince others.

Theatre

First two at the Wyndham, third at the Garrick.

Hangmen, Martin McDonagh.

Featuring David Morrissey, a strange, well-acted, but rather pointless play about Britain’s second-best hangman (after Pierrepoint) lording it in his northern pub, which is visited by a sinister character who seems to have wandered in from a Joe Orton play.  Was there a miscarriage of justice?

People, Places and Things

Starring Denise Gough, storming through the role.  Shouty, sweary, loads of special effects, dancing, rock music, multiple heroines on stage, that trap door bed that I last saw in “Ghost Story”, drug taking, mobile phones…

The Entertainer, John Osborne, Wyndham

branagh

My favourite.  Kenneth Branagh doing Olivier’s masterpiece justice, dancing comfortably and delivering Osborne’s (and Kipling’s) words beautifully.   “…when you’ve finished killing Kruger with your mouth…”  Osborne seems to have been obsessed with Bass beer.

Lazarus, David Bowie, Kings Cross Theatre

LAZARUS

Michael C. Hall (Dexter) as Thomas Newman, the Man who fell to Earth, years on from the film, living as a rich recluse, pining for Marilou…  It’s a jukebox musical, packing in lots of Bowie classics; the women sing impressively in those steely, LesMis tones, the men manage to sound Bowie-like.  The story is incomprehensible tosh – there’s a killing – maybe.. or maybe it’s all in Newman’s head; but the effects are great.  Amy Lennox writhing sexily against a large screen (all the characters resort to this screen periodically, which is good as it’s hard to see what they are up to on the floor and the bed; the seats are not sufficiently banked up to give a good view); a black “cloud” spreading rapidly like a visual fart behind Valentine, as he sings; a girl in white running in slow motion on screen towards the stage…  Good bands and backing singers too.

Museums

CoBrA Museum, Amsterdam

appel flute2

Fabulous – Karel Appel, Asger Jorn, and the other cobras; not to be missed, especially Appel’s “Magic Flute” stage furniture.

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

breitner nude

Rembrandt, Vermeer; they are there all the time – but the Breitner exhibition got my attention.  Also Appel and DK.

Stedtlijk Museum, Amsterdam

dk north

De Kooning, Appel

Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo

Polke, Kiefer,

Guggenheim, Bilbao

Louise Bourgeois exhibition and Paris, 1900 – 45

 

lvg4

August, Laredo

Blackpaint

30.12.16

Advertisements

Blackpaint 528 – Mondrian, de Keyser, Hoyland – and Leonardo (no, the other one)

January 17, 2016

Paintings, not Painters

In line with what I said last week, I’ve decided to put up three paintings I’ve nicked from the twittersphere because I like them.  I don’t think the artists are particularly famous – although I’ve heard of Terry Greene and seen his stuff “in the flesh”, so to speak – if they are, my apologies.  You can find more of their work online, of course.

michelle hold

Michelle Hold

She lives and works in Italy.

 

leyla murr

Leyla Murr

More stuff on Saatchi.

 

terry greene

Terry Greene

Lives and works in West Yorkshire apparently.  I saw some of his work a while back at the dalla Rosa gallery.

Hoyland, Caro, Noland, Pace Gallery, W1

Dropped in to see this exhibition yesterday – turns out it was the last day.  Lucky for us, but not for you if you’re in London – it was great.  Here are some pics:

pacehoyland2

Caro, Hoyland, Caro (behind column), Hoyland

 

pacehoyland3

Caro, Hoyland

 

kenneth noland1

Noland  (the surface is like suede)

kenneth noland2

Noland – touch of Diebenkorn here?

Raoul de Keyser and Early Mondrian – The David Zwirner Gallery, W1

The Mondrians are amazing – farm paintings, cows, trees and rivers; like Van Gogh without the inner fire.  De Keyser, as always, is strangely mundane – but strangely interesting…

de keyser 1

de Keyser – touch of William Gear?

 

de keyser 2

de Keyser – this one’s tiny.

The Revenant (2015), Alejandro Inarritu

the revenant

I saw this yesterday and I doubt I will see a better mainstream film this year.  The cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezky) is superlative; the shot of the snaking river, the party lost in the mountains, Glass walking across the snow river (see above), the fires, tiny points of light in the darkness (bit of Auden there), the woman floating on air, the Caspar David Friedrich dream sequence at the ruined church… it’s all just ravishing.  An inspiring film too; I was inspired to go for a run after yoga, in the snow this morning.

Now to get the film references out of the way, starting with the visuals: Aguirre, Wrath of God; Black Robe; Dersu Uzala; Dances with Wolves; Jeremiah Johnson; Gladiator (visits from deceased wife and family); The Shining (trivial I know, but still…); and anything with snow in it.  I’m not bothering with bear attacks in films, too many of them.

It also made me think of Redford in All is Lost and that climbing documentary, Touching the Void…  And literary reference; “Butcher’s Crossing”, John Williams.  And several Buffalo Bill, Kit Carson  and Wild West Annuals from the 1950s.

Ridiculous article in the Observer by Carole Cadwalladr, who described it as “pain porn” and associated the film and its audience – us – with Isil burning that poor Jordanian pilot in a cage and putting it on the internet.  I thought the film’s “message” was never give up while there’s breath in the body – in fact, it was openly stated.  The revenge was fully justified, if not fully taken and most of the men, apart from the French trappers, behaved reasonably, given the time and place.  I could even see Fitzgerald’s point of view – apart from killing Glass’s son, of course.

In any case, there’s a world of difference between watching the actors killing each other in a film and watching the actual murder of real human beings.  As for the rape scene, it was ugly (properly), brief, in no way titillating and its inclusion was justified with regard to both history and the narrative.  The reaction of the Native American woman, judging by her expression during the ordeal, was portrayed as defiant, stoical and unbowed.

Last word on the film – the bear’s acting was brilliant and Leonardo was very brave to take her on; I understand they can be unpredictable, no matter how well trained..

Readers in London may wish to come to the private view for my partner’s exhibition, as advertised below – but please carry on to the bottom to see MY  new picture…

cloisters

 

playing card woman1

Playing Card Woman

Blackpaint

Jan 17th 2016