Tag Archives: Film

Memories of Memories

With Memories of Overdevelopment the young Cuba film-maker Miguel Coyula has made a remarkable sequel to one of the classic films of the Cuban Revolution, Memories of Underdevelopment by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea. Intriguingly, the new film, like the old, is based on a novel by the Cuban author Edmundo Desnoes—who settled in New York after quitting Cuba in 1979—which itself is a sequel to the first novel. Coyula himself is one of the new wave of independent Cuban film-makers, born in Havana in 1977, graduate of Cuba’s international film school in San Antonio de los Baños, who went to show his highly experimental digital shorts in New York in 1999, where he was offered an acting scholarship and stayed. This would seem to place him closer to Desnoes than Alea, who remained in Cuba where he died in 1996, but it’s still surprising: an avant garde film by a 33-year-old in collaboration with an eminance grise of 80.

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Showing at Riverside Studios, Monday 22 Nov 2010

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Vertov remade

Michael Nyman’s Palimpsest of Man With A Movie Camera

In a new work called NYman With A Movie Camera, Michael Nyman has conducted a really interesting experiment by taking the music he wrote a few years ago for Vertov’s Man With A Movie Camera, and employing it again, this time for his own remake of Vertov’s original using his own visual archive as source material. Nyman’s archive largely consists of footage he has filmed himself since the early 90s in different parts of the world he has visited to give concerts. This produces the first difference between Vertov’s film and his own version. Where Vertov’s film is a utopian pre-Stalinist vision of the Communist city, Nyman’s becomes a dystopian vision of global post-communist capitalism. Continue reading

Reality Effects in London

Over on ‘Open Spaces‘, Patty Zimmerman recently wrote about the vitality of cinema studies south the Rio Grande. She talks about attending a conference in Mexico and how she ‘heard brilliant analyses of films I didn’t know about. I listened to debates that never migrate al norte. I met passionate scholars mining the theoretical complexities of Mexican and Latin American cinemas beyond the confines of national identity formation. It was exhilarating. I loved being thrown into a place where I didn’t have any of the usual coordinates.’

Here in London we have been fortunate over the last few days to enjoy the same thing on a smaller scale at a conference attended by scholars from Brazil and Argentina, brilliantly devised and organised by Jens Anderman at Birkbeck, in the second of a series of three events in the three countries under the general title of Reality Effects, which included screenings of three recent films which all challenge the conventions of documentary. Continue reading

End of the BFI as we know it?

Let’s have no illusions. It was probably inevitable. The government has announced plans for a merger of the BFI and the Film Council [UKFC]. As The Guardian has it, ‘The British film landscape could be facing its biggest upheaval in almost a decade…’ That is to say, since the Film Council was set up in 2000, to oversee and administer UK film policy, including responsibility for providing the BFI’s grant-in-aid. In all likelihood, what will happen now is the final subordination of the BFI’s cultural remit (which dates back to 1933) to the commercial interests that the Film Council effectively represents. Time Out has described the Film Council as ‘‘heavily geared towards optimising conditions for the commercial success of the British film industry’ (8-14 August 2007). As Ian Christie told the Independent Film Parliament, held in Cambridge in 2003, ‘The people running British cinema are not perceived as having a cultural stake in cinema at all, let alone a vision of British cinema per se. Rightly or wrongly, they are perceived as being in the pockets of the American majors, or at least their boutique divisions.’ Continue reading

Another film on Che Guevara

Here comes another film on Che Guevara. This time it’s a documentary with the somewhat naff title of Chevolution, directed by Trisha Ziff and Luis Lopez,  opening at the ICA in London on 18th September. In fact there’s been a constant stream of films, both dramas and documentaries, about el Che for several years now, and the only other twentieth century historical figure who has possibly had more films devoted to him over the same period is Hitler. Which makes you think. Continue reading