August is “The Month of Reality” at Film Space.
Film Space is to the right and in the back of the CMU Art Museum, in the Media Arts and Design building across from the ballet school. Showings are in a classroom on the second floor or on the roof, weather permitting. A contribution is requested in the donation box at the entrance – you should leave 20 baht. Well worth supporting.
At Film Space Saturday, August 8: McLibel (2005) by Franny Armstrong, Ken Loach – 85 mins – UK, Documentary. Universal acclaim: 81/80 out of 100.
Rotten Tomatoes: McLibel is the true story of a postman and a gardener who took on McDonald's and wouldn't say "McSorry," in a legal battle since described as "the biggest corporate PR disaster in history." McDonald's loved using the UK's libel laws to suppress criticism. Major media organizations like the BBC and The Sun had crumbled and apologized. But then McDonald's sued penniless activists' Helen Steel and Dave Morris. In what became the longest trial in English legal history, the "McLibel 2" represented themselves against McDonald's USD$19 million legal team. Every aspect of the corporation's business was cross-examined: from junk food and McJobs, to animal cruelty, environmental damage, and the company's advertising to children. Outside the courtroom, Dave brought up his young son alone and Helen supported herself working nights in a bar. McDonald's tried every trick in the book against them. Legal maneuvers. A visit from Ronald McDonald. Top U.S.executives flying to London for secret settlement negotiations. Even spies. Seven years later, in February 2005, the marathon legal battle finally concluded in the European Court of Human Rights. And the result took everyone by surprise - especially the British Government. Filmed over ten years by no-budget Director Franny Armstrong (Drowned Out), McLibel features reenactments of key courtroom scenes directed by Ken Loach. McLibel is not about hamburgers. It is about the power multinational corporations wield over our everyday lives and two unlikely heroes who are changing McWorld.
DVD available from Amazon.com.
At Film Space Saturday, August 15: Black Sun (2005) by Gary Tarn – 75 mins – UK, Documentary. Generally favorable reviews: 65 out of 100.
Stunning visuals in a documentary about a painter gone blind.
Justpressplay: As director Gary Tarn floats the camera high above the rooftops of New York City’s bustling metropolis and people scurry far below like ants, it’s with a creeping sense of it-could-happen-to-anyone dread that we listen to narrator Hughes De Montalembert describe the brutal and senseless attack on his person that robbed him of his sight. One night, outside his home near Washington Square, two men forced him inside and demanded money. When Hughes informed them he didn’t have any the situation turned ugly and the men attacked him. While attempting to fight one of the men off with a poker from the fireplace, the other sprayed paint remover into his eyes, blinding him.
As an artist and filmmaker the sheer psychological devastation is almost beyond comprehension. But rather than give up and resign himself to the darkness, Hughes’ story is one of hope, triumph and a gentle hymn to the indomitable nature of the human spirit. With a quiet air of dignity, Hughes's gentle, warbling narration combined with Tarn's opaque cinematography act as a sort of lullaby to the senses as he at once captivates you with his soothing tones and regales you with his enlightening and empowering struggle. As Hughes describes the slow deterioration of his sight in the hours following the attack, Tarn fades us in and out with dark, grimy yellow filters and oblique tracking as slowly we too are plunged into darkness.
From there it’s a journey of rediscovery as Hughes begins his rehabilitation…
2006 Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival / Grand Prix Winner
"A work for all places and times; for anyone who seeks fully to live, to engage, it is indeed essential viewing" Time Out *****
Gary Tarn's remarkable film BLACK SUN, winner of many international awards and co-produced by Alfonso Cuarón (Y tu mamá también, Children of Men) and John Battsek (One Day in September), tells the story of Hugues de Montalembert, a French artist and filmmaker living in New York, who was blinded during a violent assault in 1978.
With this portrait of a unique man and his extraordinary reaction to a life-changing event, Tarn has created an expressionist film whose power lies in visualising a world from the perspective of the blind de Montalembert. Part- survivor's testimony, part- philosophical meditation on the nature of perception, BLACK SUN is a celebration of life that makes us see the world anew.
DVD available from Amazon.com.
At Film Space Saturday, August 22: Pornography: A Secret History of Civilisation (1999) by Chris Rodley, Dev Varma – originally 312 mins – UK, Documentary/ History.
A serious, non-titillating history of pornography, from the earliest days of erotic art right up to the present day's multimedia. This documentary mini-series, originally aired on British television in 1999, is a six-part series which examined many aspects of pornography. Each of these six parts focused on a different aspect of the history of pornography.
Ten years in the making, the series told for the first time on British television the history of pornography: it charts the changes in sexual imagery prompted by the advent of new technologies over thousands of years, from ancient times to print, photography, film, video and the Internet. With unprecedented access to the modern porn industry, interviews with pornography experts and historians, and an unparalleled collection of archival material, it is also the story of how these technological mediums influenced the development of pornography, who used it, how it was distributed, and how it was censored.
But the real story of pornography is also a secret history of civilization. Pornography, far from being some smutty sideshow on the margins of society, has in fact played a vital and central role in civilization and our cultural evolution.
Each program focuses on a different technology and how that new technology revolutionized pornography and made it available to new groups of people, however hard the authorities tried to control it.
DVD available from Amazon.com.