At Film Space on Saturdays at 7 pm
August is “The Month of Reality” at Film Space. September, “The Month of World Smash.”
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 22: Pornography: A Secret History of Civilisation(1999) by Chris Rodley, Dev Varma – 150 mins – UK, Documentary/ History.
This presentation will consist of the last three episodes of this six-part television documentary mini-series, originally aired on British television in 1999. Each episode lasts about 50 minutes.
The complete series is a serious, non-titillating history of pornography, from the earliest days of erotic art right up to the present day's multimedia. Each of the six parts focuses 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.
Episode Four: Twentieth Century Foxy: Film
Covers the rise of the porn film industry. But porn on film, and the porn cinema was an interstitial time. At the end of the 70s the new vehicle for porn was video.
Episode Five: Sex Lives on Videotape: Video
Shows how the advent of video ended pornography's crossover dreams. Video re-made pornography in its own image, replacing the glamor and fantasy of the movies with a real documentary style. The most significant contribution of video was that it turned consumers into producers; the audience picked up cameras and started recording their sex lives on videotape.
Episode Six: Pornotopia: Digital
Future Schlock looks at the new era of digital manipulation and asks how digital technology has affected the pornography that we produce, and the way we consume it. Some people say that the Internet has dealt the biggest blow yet to the establishment. Pornography in physical forms - books, magazines, and videos - could always be seized and destroyed, but on the Net, pornography has shed its physical form and gone digital.
DVD verdict: [The site has a good discussion of this film] Pornography is pretty explicit for a made for television documentary. There is no actual penetration shown, but pretty much everything else is fair game. Female nudity is something that has almost become routine (and the documentary has theories as to why). But if too many penises give you the willies (I know, but I figured we needed to get that joke out of the way already), then you will not feel comfortable with this series. Pornography does not shy away from showing bodies and describing everything bodies do, right out in the open with good lighting. This is history, and the show treats every artifact with respect.
DVD available from Amazon.com.
At Film Space Saturday, August 29: Every Little Thing / La moindre des choses (1997) by Nicolas Philibert – 105 mins – France, Documentary.
During the summer of 1995, faithful to what has now become a tradition, residents and staff at the La Borde psychiatric clinic get together to put on the play that they will perform on 15 August. During rehearsals, the film retraces the ups and downs of this adventure. But over and above the theatre, it describes life at La Borde, everyday life, time passing, trivial goings-on, loneliness and tiredness, as well as the moments of merriment, laughter, and wit peculiar to certain residents, and the close attention which people pay to one another. NicolasPhilibert, director of the hugely-acclaimed Etre et avoir and In the Land of the Deaf, calmly and compassionately builds an experience that is less like watching a documentary and more like being enveloped in a book of breathlessly honest poetry. He delicately celebrates the work of La Borde and quietly makes us question the distinctions that society applies in the classifications of normal and abnormal.
About the director, Nicolas Philibert
Nicolas Philibert was born in 1951 in Nancy (France). After studying philosophy, he turned to film and became an assistant director, notably for René Allio, Alain Tanner and Claude Goretta. In 1978, with Gérard Mordillat, he co-directed his first documentary feature, His Master's Voice (La voix de son maître) in which a dozen bosses of leading industrial groups talk about control, hierarchy and power, gradually sketching out the image of a future world ruled by the financial sector…From 1985 to 1987, Nicolas Philibert shot various mountaineering and sports adventure films for television (Christophe, Trilogy for One Man, Go For It, Lapébie!, Baquet’s Come Back) then started directing documentary features that would all obtain a theatrical release: Louvre City (La ville Louvre, 1990), In the Land of the Deaf (Le pays des sourds, 1992), Animals (Un animal, des animaux, 1995), Every Little Thing (La Moindre des choses, 1996), at the La Borde psychiatric clinic, as well as a film essay pitched between documentary and fiction, with the students of the school of the Strasbourg National Theatre.: Who Knows? (Qui sait ?, 1998). In 2001, he directed To Be and to Have (Etre et avoir), about daily life in a «single class» school in a mountain village in the heart of the Massif Central (France). Screened as part of the Official Selection at the 2002 Cannes Festival, Prix Louis Delluc 2002, the film was a huge success in France and around forty other countries.
DVD available from Amazon.com.
September is “The Month of World Smash” at Film Space.
At Film Space Saturday, September 5: Redacted (2007) by Brian De Palma – 90 mins – US/ Canada, Crime/ Drama/ War. Rated R in the US for strong disturbing violent content including a rape, pervasive language, and some sexual references/images. Mixed or average reviews: 52/52 out of 100.
Amazon.com Editorial Reviews, Tom Keogh: Brian De Palma’s ferocious Redacted is one of a number of cinematic protests against the Iraq War and the withholding of information and images about the war from the U.S. public. But it is also shares De Palma’s perennial interest in the relationship between film and violence, a relationship that has changed significantly in the real world because of the Internet, cable news, and the ubiquity of camcorders on the ground in Iraq. In a world more intent than ever on watching everything, De Palma has fashioned Redacted to look like a daisy chain of found footage taken from disparate sources. These include an American soldier’s video journal (which, not insignificantly, is also supposed to be that soldier’s audition piece for film school), a French documentary, a security camera at the edge of an army compound, and streaming video online from insurgents and military families alike. Taken together, Redacted recreates the kind of Iraq War scenes we’ve heard about for years: soldiers kidnapped or felled by booby traps, pregnant women and children shot by American guards at military checkpoints because Iraqi drivers misunderstand orders, etc. With mood and setting firmly established, Redacted then tells the story of an atrocity ripped from headlines in 2006: the rape and murder of an Iraqi teen, as well as the murder of her family, by American soldiers who then proceed to cover up their crime. Meanwhile, other soldiers, well-meaning witnesses to what happened, implode with doubt and uncertainty about what to do. In a way, Redacted is really about the paralysis of ordinary Americans confronted by the horror of our collective misjudgment about Iraq. It's a work of fiction using actors, meaning that De Palma employs a verisimilitude which sometimes doesn’t sit well with anyone who has seen a lot of Iraq War documentaries featuring real troops and real Iraqis. But De Palma is trying to do something very difficult, i.e., make the case that in war, truth really is the first casualty.
DVD available from Amazon.com.