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The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Philippe Grandrieux Day *

* (restored/expanded)

 

‘The films of Philippe Grandrieux pulsate. They pulsate microcosmically: in the images, the camera trembles and flickers so violently that, even within a single, continuous shot, no photogram resembles another. And they pulsate macrocosmically: the soundtrack is constructed globally upon unidentifiable, layered, synthesised, ambient noises of breath or wind, sucked in and expelled, which underlie the entire film and constitute its disturbed heartbeat, returning to our ear when all other sounds have disappeared. In the very beginnings and endings of his films, over the credits, there is nothing but this strangely bodily sound.’ — Adrian Martin, Kinoeye

‘There is something profoundly new about Grandrieux’s plastic exploration of violence, but also something very contemporary. His approach is not based on such editing and framing effects one finds and admires in Hitchcock and Ray, nor in an exploration of excess as in Tarantino. He works on the inside of an image, on the special relation between the luminous content and the vibrant and fragmentary representation.’ — Christa Bluminger, Parachute

‘Grandieux’s films carefully try to understand the exact inner-working of one’s psychic, and more especially the part that deals with desire and transformation. How does desire work? What are the elements that this energy-matter is using to expand its empire? What are the social repressions that desire has to face? Unlike Pasolini who is really interested in the way that society is theatrically transforming the ceremony of predating into a show, there is here an experimental cinema; it is true; that is trying to register, thanks to the camera, what humans eyes would never be able to see in order to deconstruct and analyze reality. Grandrieux’s films are analytical films, like a microscope, that give the viewer the possibility to see more accurately what is movement, emotion, sensation, colour, darkness and the emergence of the image (either material or thought). What is the process that enables something to become an image in the dark? Why can this process only be seen as a threat?’ — Jean-Claude Polack

‘In his films, Philippe Grandrieux has revealed his startlingly corporeal vision of a world in which the body and its drives remake cinematic form and content alike. Often compared to the work of Stan Brakhage, Grandrieux’s films similarly reject representational cinema in favor of a mode of filmmaking that, in Brakhage’s famous phrase, realizes “adventures in perception.” In Grandrieux’s case, this approach entails a radical reworking of the frame, offscreen space, lighting and even focus, at times edging the image towards the barely perceptible. No less radical is Grandrieux’s approach to sound, which is often distorted and accentuated, with dialogue kept to a careful minimum and music alternately ambient and blaring. Grandrieux’s is a cinema of vibrations and tremors in which image and sound seem to pulsate with a kind of furious life.

‘The subjects of Grandrieux’s first two features, Sombre and New Life – a serial killer and sex trafficking, respectively – quickly gave him the reputation of being something of an enfant terrible. Yet, while Grandrieux’s vision is very dark – literally and figuratively – it is never gratuitous but rather an extension of the French fascination, from Sade to Bataille to Genet, with the body’s potential to undo subjectivity in the gaps between social order and animality, where the body/corporeality itself becomes radically refigured not as the vehicle for consciousness but as flesh with a life of its own. Even those who, like Jonathan Rosenbaum, have reservations about the sexualized violence of Grandrieux’s first two films will appreciate the originality and gravity of their formal audacity.’ — Harvard Film Society

‘Grandrieux’s reflection belongs to the body’s modernity – the modernity of Sigmund Freud, Antonin Artaud, Gilles Deleuze and Michel Foucault, to name only a few – and thus returns the anthropological need for representation to a state of immanence. The image is no longer given as a reflection, discourse, or the currency of whatever absolute value; it works to invest immanence, using every type of sensation, drive and affect. To make a film means descending, via the intermittent pathways of neuronal connection, down into the most shadowy depths of our sensory experiences, to the point of confronting the sheer terror of the death drive (Sombre), or the still more immense and bottomless terror of the unconscious, of total opacity (La Vie nouvelle).’ — Nicole Brenez

 

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Stills

































































 

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Further

Philippe Grandieux Official Website
PG @ IMDb
PG @ Wikipedia
PG interviewed by Nicole Brenez
Magick Mike on PG’s ‘Sombre’ @ EEP
PG’s ‘Un Lac’ reviewed @ Screener
PG @ Facebook
PG @ the Harmony Korine Website Forum
Video: PG interviewed (in French)
PG Torrent Search
PG interviewed @ Rouge
‘Film Comment Selects: Philippe Grandrieux Films’
‘Malgré la nuit’ page @ Facebook
‘PHILIPPE GRANDRIEUX HAPPILY BRINGS HIS DARK VISIONS TO LINCOLN CENTER’
‘La caméra haptique de Philippe Grandrieux’
‘Propos de Philippe Grandrieux’
‘Entretien: Philippe Grandrieux [critikat.com]’
‘Dans une langue étrangère” Un lac de Philippe Grandrieux’
‘ARTIST IN FOCUS: Philippe Grandrieux’

 

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Extras


Philippe Grandrieux / films by / extracts


Alan Vega ‎– Philippe Grandrieux’s “Sombre” Soundtrack


Cápsula 04 – Philippe Grandrieux


Oscuro – Philippe Grandrieux


MARYLIN MANSON / Putting holes in happiness // Directed by Philippe Grandrieux


Cinéastes par eux-mêmes – Philippe Grandrieux

 

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Interview

 

I was wondering about the dimension of politics in your work. In former films like SOMBRE or LA VIE NOUVELLE you have political references and now with portraying Masao Adachi, one of the most radical and well known activists and filmmakers in Japanese history, of course you created a very explicit context. Do you consider the film as a political film?

Philippe Grandieux: Well, it’s trivial to say that, but all our acts involve politics. You couldn’t be here without thinking about politics. It is much more than ideology; it’s decision in fact. Politics means making decisions about your own life: How you act in the world and how you want to be. So it’s really something very important. In SOMBRE for instance there wasn’t any morality – no good, no bad. It is a decision, a very political decision to let the audience face their own desire, their own unrest. LA VIE NOUVELLE was more or less the relationship between the chaotic historical post-communism in Bulgaria and the chaotic psychic world. You drive inside of it. So ADACHI is politics but a very sensual movie at the same time, I hope. It’s based on emotion and sensation, as my movies generally are. Making movies, like life, is a path. So you’re following your own path as much as you can. Sometimes you’re weaker and sometimes you feel energized. This is always more or less the same question I’m working on.

I noticed as well that you link, in a very interesting way, the portrait of Adachi itself and the formal strategies of the feature films you did before, for example the dissolution of the images which are mirrored in the landscape of Tokyo that you depict repeatedly. I have the impression that the connection of this real political background with your artistic style gives your work a new layer.

PG: You’re right, yes. It’s true.

Do you intend to further follow this direction?

PG: The movie I’ve just finished now is called WHITE EPILEPSY and it’s supposed to be a kind of a tryptich on the question of unrest. This movie is very particular, because for me it’s a feature film, but it’s done out of a very radical position: the frame is vertical. The question of storytelling also became very important to me, in order to understand how I want to work with it. In WHITE EPILEPSY there are no more questions of characters and the psychological map of the characters throughout the movie, of how the story grows out of these characters – instead the question is more about the event: something happens. Questioning the event is rather in the centre of the movie itself compared to the development of the story. This is something that I really want to work on. I also want to further pursue the relation between sensation and emotion. They are two different issues, but not so far from each other. I try to explore the same possibilities over and over through cinema.

I’ve heard that after Masao Adachi you and Nicole Brenez are planning to portray other radical filmmakers as well? Will you be directing?

PG: No. We try to provide the possibility for making other movies but I’m not going to do the other ones myself. Other filmmakers will. We have a project on René Vautier, a french filmmaker. A very strong guy: at 15 he was a part of “La Résistance” in France, after which he fought against the colonization, in Algeria too. Now he’s old, maybe 80-82, but he is an incredibly strong filmmaker. We also plan a project on newsreels in America. Well, we’ll see, because for this series we haven’t got any money yet. We don’t want to write things to get money so we try to keep it very, very free. Because I think this is very important. This movie – ADACHI – as I went to Tokyo, I was facing the possibility that there might have been no movie at all in the end. So it was not necessary to finish something. This gives you a lot of freedom.

Since you were mentioning the money aspect: This is of course closely linked to the fact that depending on your work it is not easy to reach an audience. I have the impression that you’re a filmmaker who seeks to address people through cinema and move something in their way of perceiving the world. Being fairly well known now, is it easy for you nowadays to reach new audiences? Are you actively trying to reach out?

PG: I would like to try to expand the possibilities of cinema with my next feature film. It’s not necessary to reach huge audiences. Maybe the audience will be more important than the other movies had, but I can’t think in terms of that. I really try to follow my own steps.
I’m very interested in actors, stars. I think it could be very interesting to make a movie with no money at all but with very well known actors. Because this is also a part of what ‘cinema’ is. It’s about political problems, agents, lawyers, distributors and sellers. About these very well formed industrial systems and I think they offer a huge possibility for working. I would like to try something alike next.

I’m interested in the relationship between emotion, sensation and intellectualization. How has it changed over the years in your personal view and in the reception of others, in their approach of others towards your work?

PG: I think it depends on where you are, because when you are making movies – as Adachi says at the end of the movie – there is an intellectual aspect, but in the end it must be about the sensation itself. Because sensation is life in a way: something you couldn’t control, that you couldn’t put inside any kind of system. Even if the systems are very, very clever and very powerful. Think of Leibnitz or Kant – even with all these very strong philosophers we couldn’t reach the real point of knowing what life is. Maybe ‘odd’ is a possibility. Maybe it’s the only one. Sometimes I think like this, when I am in a positive mood.

To answer your question: When you do a movie, you organize things, you write, you scout, you cast, you think a lot, you take notes, you write the script, you prepare everything, it’s a very intellectual process. But when you shoot it’s something else. It’s really back to sensation, pure sensation, pure feelings, and pure intuition. A beautiful aspect is that time is an editing process, an intellectual process. You cut things and put them together, and after a while sense appears. But sensation is something else. It’s intuition, pure duration. It’s not any more the time that you can cut into discrete seconds; it’s an eternity inside of yourself. It’s a big question. Maybe the same question as: If you are thinking too much in terms of intellectuality and sense, you’re thinking in terms of immortality. If you’re thinking in terms of duration you’re thinking in terms of eternity. It’s two different ways to be and to me art is really part of these eternity feelings, which are a part of us.

What about the reception that comes from the outside, from theorists or critics? Do you still find something useful, when they interpret your work in a highly intellectual way?

PG: Well, it’s not helpful at all to make movies. It’s helpful for me to be inside of the world. I mean to be with my… I don’t know what to say. It’s helpful, because you see that what you are trying to do is not just ‘nowhere’. Of course it’s important. But after a movie is done, one can write a thousand pages. It’s strange; it’s really something completely different.

And what about beauty? Is this something you are searching for? Have you got a concept of beauty or is it pure instinct? For example Bruno Dumont says that he tries to avoid beautiful images, but that is something I can’t believe.

PG: It’s not beauty at this level; it is not the question of beautiful images. The beauty is something much stronger. When Dostojewski says that the beauty saves the world, the question is not about doing beautiful things. Beauty is a political decision in a way. It’s to be alive with your own self, strongly alive. I mean not under submissions. Beauty is the possibility to feel ‘la force’, the strength of the things, the reality and the real. So beauty is very important of course, but it’s not at all about beautiful pictures.

What about melancholy? When I saw UN LAC it seemed to me that for the first time in your work appeared a very strong sense of sadness. Do you think sadness is a proper way to react to this world?

PG: I think it’s impossible to be untouched by melancholy. We are dealing with time, memories and our childhood. We can’t escape from this and I think these melancholic dimensions are very important. It’s also in terms of politics: All the organizations are transforming more and more into paranoid systems in which you fit in. You fit in via computer, cell phone or Facebook – it’s a paranoid organization of our feelings. Melancholy is something else. Melancholy could be dangerous too, as a tendency you may incline towards. But it’s very important.

Maybe it’s kind of subversive to be melancholic.

PG: I think so, yes. You know these systems to control the streets? If somebody stops walking, after two or three minutes, the computers signal that somebody stopped walking. Something happened. Someone stopped in the middle of the street, but the person shouldn’t be immobile. This is a very interesting conception of your destiny [laughs].

You mentioned that you try to dive further into this field of pure sensation. Now you did WHITE EPILEPSY. I heard it is very focused on bodies. I wonder if it is very important for you to find a certain body. Would you cancel a project if you couldn’t manage to find a certain professional or non-professional?

PG: Absolutely. For this project I worked with a dancer, Hélène Rocheteau. We worked together on what we can call choreography, although I’m not a choreographer. It was a piece of twelve minutes; it was shown in Metz in France and was very interesting. It was a cycle and featured a loop of Joy Division music: a ceremony. We worked on insect movements, on the way insects are completely limited to their instinct. For them there is no possibility to escape their instincts at all. There are very few needs, but these needs are accordingly intense, there is no doubt. We tried to work on these kinds of movements and I was very impressed by her body, how she can move each muscle with such intense possibilities, like Butoh dancers. An when I was thinking about WHITE EPILEPSY I had this idea of this naked body, that I can be with her in this kind of very, very strong relation: very strange way of movement, human but not completely human.

Being a critic and writing about film, I’m more and more doubting that people take out a lot with them, when they leave the cinema. I’m a bit pessimistic about film and the way that it fails to activate something in audiences. Many seem to use these two hours in order to separate themselves from their lives. I would love to contribute to them connecting more to film and I’m trying to do my part through writing. Since we talked about bodies, do you think that using the body and its physicality expands the possibility of cinema to reach people more intensely?

PG: That’s an interesting point of view, the question how cinema is moving inside of us. We never know; it’s strange. Maybe cinema is less powerful than years ago. But I couldn’t really think in those terms, because I don’t like glorifying the past. We are here, just here and now, and we are dealing with our reality. This is nice and it’s strong and I like it. I have no regrets about anything – no regret about the 35mm, no regret at all. I like numeric cameras and if tomorrow there are no more cameras, ok. Then there are no more cameras; who cares. But the question you rose, how the movies are inside of us, or what we can call movies today, I think this is very important. Because I’m sure it is still operating, it is still strong. I mean you are still undergoing a certain experience when you go see a movie. If it’s pure entertainment, you get a good moment with your friends, you have a beer and that’s it. Why not? We shouldn’t be dogmatic in this aspect of the things. But you know, there are some kinds of movies that move you very deeply and sometimes even influence all of your live. Of course, this is what I would like to try to catch with my work. I don’t know if I have success. I would like to put one human being in front of these pictures, inside of this sound, inside of this world to get the possibility to feel something within itself. No words, just the feeling of being alive and of the complexity this situation achieves.

 

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8 of Philippe Grandrieux’s 11 films

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Sombre (1998)
‘Philippe Grandrieux’s first full length cinema film has unleashed a storm of controversy since its showing at the Locarno initernational film festival in 1998. It had critics solidly divided into two camps – those who regard it as an obscene, unwatchable mess, and others who rate it as a sublime masterpiece of the psychosexual thriller genre. It is clearly a film which is acceptable only to certain tastes, and many will find the film very hard to stomach. Certainly, Grandrieux’s extremely minimalist photography, much of which involves jerky camera movements and hazy out-of-focus images shot in virtual pitch-blackness, makes few concessions to traditional cinema audiences. To his credit, this unusual – and frankly disorientating – cinematography serves the film well, heightening the menace in the killer and the brutality of his murders by showing little and prompting us to imagine much more than we see. The idea presumably is to show the world as the obsessed killer sees it, through a darkened filter with periodic loss of focus.’ — James Travers, filmsdefrance


Excerpt


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La vie nouvelle (2002)
‘Since its premiere screenings in late 2002, Philippe Grandrieux’s second feature La Vie nouvelle (The New Life) has been a cause célèbre. On its theatrical release in France, it was savaged by a large number of prominent newspaper and magazine reviewers. But the film has many passionate defenders. Grandrieux’s work plunges us into every kind of obscurity: moral ambiguity, narrative enigma, literal darkness. La Vie Nouvelle presents four characters in a severely depressed Sarajevo who are caught in a mysterious, death-driven web: the feckless American Seymour (Zach Knighton), his mysterious companion (lover? friend? brother? father?) Roscoe (Marc Barbé), the demonic Mafioso Boyan (Zsolt Nagy), and the prostitute-showgirl who is the exchange-token in all their relationships, Mélania (Anna Mouglalis). Eric Vuillard’s poetically conceived script takes us to the very heart of this darkness where sex, violence, betrayal and obsession mingle and decay. Grandrieux feels freer than ever to explore the radical extremes of film form: in his lighting and compositions and impulsive camera movements; in the bold mix of speech, noise and techno/ambient music (by the celebrated experimental group Etant Donnés); and in the frame-by-frame onslaught of sensations and affects.’ — Adrian Martin, Kinoeye


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Philippe Grandrieux, à propos de La Vie Nouvelle

 

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Un lac (2008)
‘How to sum up Un Lac? It’s no easier than with Sombre or La Vie nouvelle, the two last films by Philippe Grandrieux. Suffice to say that Grandrieux has been hotly acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic as one of Europe’s most innovative and uncompromising filmmakers, his visionary films testing the very limits of screen language. This minimalist new work is at once Grandrieux’s most accessible film and his most abstract. The vestigial narrative takes place in a frosty Northern landscape of forests and mountains, where young woodchopper Alexis lives with his sister, their blind mother and a younger brother. Then one day a younger man arrives on the scene… Grandrieux doesn’t make events easy for us to follow, often shooting in near-darkness, with sparse dialogue sometimes pitched barely above a whisper. But narrative apart, the film is distinctive for the unique, self-enclosed world that Grandrieux creates with a palette reduced almost to monochrome: a world of stillness and near-silence, of forbidding yet alluring landscapes whose affinities are as much with the Romantic paintings of Caspar David Friedrich, as with the cinematic ilk of Alexandr Sokurov, Bela Tarr and Fred Kelemen.’ — Jonathan Romney


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Making of Un lac

 

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Il se peut que la beauté ait renforcé notre résolution – Masao Avachi (2011)
‘This tribute to the radical Japanese writer-director Masao Adachi is the first in a series of documentaries that Philippe Grandrieux wants to dedicate to deeply political filmmakers. For decades, the eccentric Adachi was a member of the extremist Japanese Red Army. French director Philippe Grandrieux (Sombre, 1999; A Lake, 2009) wants to make a series of portraits of politically committed filmmakers. His film about Japanese avant-gardist Masao Adachi (1939) is the first in this series. In the 1960s and 1970s, Adachi was a prominent film critic and underground filmmaker, with experimental films such as Sain (1963) to his name. He often collaborated with his contemporary and ally Nagisa Oshima, wrote scripts for Koji Wakamatsu and made films in the pink genre. Disappointment with the political direction of Japan made him join the the extreme left-wing Japanese Red Army in the early 1970s and he started making films in Beirut. Grandieux engages in sometimes cryptic conversations with him about film, art and politics and films him in his characteristic style: sometimes out of focus, sometimes under or over- exposed. With a few clips from Adachi’s work, such as The Red Army/PFLP: Declaration of World War from 1971.’ — IFFR


the entire film

 

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White Epilepsy (2012)
‘Philippe Grandrieux’s work has often invoked the world of Francis Bacon, but in this almost purely experimental piece it is even more pronounced, as he takes Bacon’s fascination with the triptych and the body and insists on utilising only the middle section of the frame. Here are bodies in primordial states, fully formed as muscle and flesh, but as if unformed in the nature of their desires and subsequently somehow closer to nature. Utilising a dense soundtrack that both suggests the internal organs (lungs, larynx and heart) and the extended sounds of the forest, Grandrieux has made a film that isn’t easy to watch but equally not easy to forget. It is a strategy that has worked wonderfully well for him in the past with moments from Sombre (for example, the Punch and Judy contest), La vie nouvelle (the scenes filmed with a thermo camera) and the misty lake in Un Lac all examples of the cinematically unforgettable. Perhaps the images here are too abstract and sculptural to fascinate us fully, without that soupçon of story that can make Grandrieux’s work maddeningly suggestive, but this is is still a film by a modern master.’ — List Film


Trailer

 

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Meurtrière (2015)
‘The film opens on the body of a naked woman, lying on her back. Only her flesh, muscles, curves and hollows are thrown into relief against the surrounding darkness. Her face remains invisible. Slowly, to a rhythmic soundtrack of muffled, raspy breathing, other bodies appear, their faces also masked and their nudity on full display. In slow motion, arms, legs, bellies and breasts intertwine, collide, latch together, submit or hold still in a resolutely static and vertical frame. As each scene flows into the next, throbbing and relentless, the atmosphere grows threatening and disquieting. Cinema in its most stripped-down form becomes a pure sensory experience, the stock-in-trade of French director Philippe Grandrieux (Un lac). The second movement of his performance triptych Unrest after White Epilepsy, Grandrieux’s exploration of worry, Meurtrière is a striking tableau vivant reminiscent of Goya and Francis Bacon and populated by the bodies of four dancers: Émilia Giudicelli, Vilma Pitrinaite, Hélène Rocheteau and Francesca Ziviani. Graceful yet ruthless, obscene yet mystical, monstrous yet sublime, the film fascinates by virtue of its hypnotic, unsettling tone.’ — Festival du nouveau cinéma


Trailer


Behind the scenes

 

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Malgré la nuit (2015)
‘Early in Philippe Grandrieux’s Malgré la Nuit, Lenz (Kristian Marr) encounters a friend (Lola Norda) in a dark, abstract space illuminated only by a faint copper-toned light as smoke billows around them. They call each other out in diaphanous whispers enhanced by the absence of any diegetic noise, until their hands touch. She asks him what he’s doing back in Paris, to which he plaintively responds, “I’m searching for Madeleine,” crystallizing the film’s axis of conflict: the regaining of a lost love. It’s an unusual start coming from a filmmaker who routinely eschews anything that so much as resembles plot markers or sentimentality. Then again, no one accustomed to Grandrieux’s penchant for disruption should be too surprised by this. Since his startling debut feature, Sombre, Grandrieux has become one of cinema’s most audacious chroniclers of society’s underbelly, maybe even its best articulator of heightened sensations; despair and ecstasy erupt from the fabric of his films with a blistering, almost physical intensity. While Grandrieux’s fourth fiction feature continues his usual investigation into the limits of experience and range of cinematic possibilities, there’s also a strong willingness here to work along a more traditional narrative scheme. Not that Grandrieux has totally softened up. Malgré la Nuit still plays out like a sordid nightmare straight out of Georges Bataille’s imagination.’ — Film Comment


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Critics’ Talk: Philippe Grandrieux (Malgré la nuit)

 

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Unrest (2017)
‘In a career spanning more than 40 years, Grandrieux has interrogated the power of images and presented us with every possible permutation of love, violence and life itself, often in its most extreme forms. His latest short film ‘Unrest’ is the final part of a 10 year project, a triptych of short works (with ‘White Epilepsy’ and ‘Meurtriere’) grouped together under the collective title ‘Unrest’.Here Grandrieux strips back his vision to its most minimal form yet to present us with a vision of bare life that evades enclosure within fixed form and meaning. As Grandrieux has written, ‘No narrative link unites the three parts of the triptych, what we have is rather three stages of bodily presence, three affective intensities, three events that we are able to access only via what they make us experience inside of us, our own disquiet’.’ — QAGOMA


Trailer

 

 

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p.s. Hey. ** Wolf, Wolf!!!! Hey there, pal. NY and Washington, whoa, that’s a real trip. Nice. Your feel and take re: Washington is so refreshing. I kind of felt that way the first time I visited. Yeah, Liars are down to one, but it’s a cool record. Favorite? Hm, hard. Mm, Either ‘They Were Wrong’ or ‘Drum’s Not Dead’, I think. For the film shortie version, we ended up just trying to preserve the quality of the film we made and let it be problematically rushed and too vague. Going the other direction, the cut was way too talky because there’s a lot dialogue in the film. Anyway, it’s crap-like, and I hope it will serve its purpose and get buried forever. As of Wednesday, the film will be completely, totally, forever finished! I’m starting to work on the script for our next film. And a bunch of Gisele projects. Stuff is good. Buddy, so good to see you. Do squeak out as much non-stranger time as you can manage and find interesting. Love, me. ** David Ehrenstein, Ha ha, yeah. How about dem apples? Excellent Mary Woronov (and many other fine people) news! Very cool! ** Steve Erickson, Hi. Well, it’s nice that they’re letting you control the piece’s presentation, hassle notwithstanding, I think? Nope, haven’t heard the Kamasi Washington EP. Contemporary jazz is a giant thing to venture to get to know, and I too just fish around basically. I’ll watch for the Travis Wilkerson film and go read your Facebook thing. I have seen ‘The ABBA Movie’, you bet, so I do get the picture. I’m super excited because the new Godard film opens here on Wednesday. I thought his last film was a masterpiece, so I’m very psyched. ** Bill, Hi. Yeah, the New Narrative conference is why I’ll be there. I haven’t got my tickets yet, yikes, but I think I’ll probably just get there the night before the conference (so, on the 12th) and head out the morning after my reading (so, the 16th). Ideally I’ll go to LA for some Halloween afterwards if I can manage it. Is the reading venue’s name a piece of poetry or a description of what it normally is? Hoping for the latter obviously. Wait how was your gig?  ** Joseph, Hi. Yep, practicalities. I wish they were easier or more fun to fetishize. So far so good on my alarm-free morns. Yours? ** Alistair, Hey, bud. Nice chilling you’ve got going on there. Well, yeah, no work on ‘PGL’ this weekend, but I started writing the script for our next one, so film still dominated in a way. I get pumped when I hear you’re working on your new novel. Yeah, I mean aiming for really different is always good, no? ‘Cos that way any resemblances will be things you can’t and shouldn’t yet abandon. Or that’s my rule of thumb. Sweet Monday to you and the environs. ** EAW, Hi. Curve, of course! Yes. I think Garbage even copped to a big Curve influence at some point. Anyway, glad you found that. I was still scratching my head. Take good care and, of course, please come here anytime. ** Jamie, Hi *trumpets*, Jamie. My weekend wasn’t too bad, thanks. I started working on the new film script. I saw two great (older) films in the theater (Wiseman’s ‘Titicut Follies’ and Thom Anderson’s ‘LA Plays Itself’ with the great Mr. Anderson there in person). Sunday was ‘no cars allowed in Paris’ day, so the city was quiet and ghosty. All in all, not bad. Awesome, thank you, about the art post. And the slaves. Yeah, it was kind of an eerie bunch for me for some reason. And eerie is, you know, good and appropriate even. As far as I know, only the grant committee will ever see the short cut, and then it will disappear forever. My neck and shoulder are better-ish but not great. I think I’m doing something wrong re: them, but I haven’t figured out what that is yet. Hm. May Monday tone itself down until you and everything you do are its only notable features. Invincible love, Dennis. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi, Dóra! Thanks! Yeah, I’m just trying to pretend the short version was just a bad dream that Zac and I were having. And, yes, as of Wednesday, our film will be utterly finished and untouchable forever! Oh, damn, moving time has arrived. Having had the scary ‘having to move’ situation a while back, yeah, it’s not too early to really get that figured out. Is Budapest really just un-doable financially? That really sucks. It’s like NYC, I guess. You don’t have friends you could or would want to apartment share with, I guess? Well, you know what it’s like to live where you do, so at least you know it’ll be okay if that’s the result. But, yeah, sorry, my pal. My weekend was good and not stressful, strangely but happily. I told Jamie the scoop just up above. Hopefully we’ll both simultaneously get relaxing, productive days today. Did you? ** Chris dankland, Hi, Chris. Yeah, I think the slave posts are pretty emotionally epic if you let yourself sink into them. I have not yet heard the new Ariel Pink. It’s in my ‘to download’ list. That sounds good. I liked his upper-sound quality records, but I kind of really prefer the early stuff. Like everyone, I guess. I’ve so rarely dressed up in costumes, which sounds weird given my Halloween thing, but, yeah, I don’t think I’ve worn a costume since, I don’t know, the 70s? Weird. And I can’t think of any that were good. The only one I remember was that, when I was in college, I dressed up as myself as a teenager, so basically as me a few years before. But I don’t remember what I wore. Sorry, bad answer. Good question, though. What about you? Best costume that has adorned you? A fair amount of church bells in the air, yeah. The cathedrals here are famously pretty good. Come visit! ** Matthew, Hi, Matthew! Welcome to here! Thank you. Well, there are a handful of master-slave hook-up/fantasy-share sites that I know of. The biggest are Recon and Fetlife. If you go looking there, be forewarned that the interesting, almost literary profiles in those posts are quite extreme rarities, and you have to hunt through tons of really basic profiles to find them. Take care. Obviously, come back and say hi or anything anytime you like. ** Ferdinand, Hi, man, Nice. I’ve seen things akin to that video, but not that one. That’s a goodie. Thanks a lot! ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Ah, hm, so the gang is not on board with the business model idea? Shit. Do their reasons make sense at all, or are they just being very/overly cautious? Okay, well, the only thing to do is get pragmatic, you know? Move forward, and, really, their wishes might well change when things start progressing. ** Misanthrope, Oh, thanks, George. I don’t know who Jeff Seid is. Wait, hold on. Ah, gotcha. That slave did seem a little too … quality (?) to want his nuts removed, but you do never know. So, okay. Paris = grand old time! ** Shane Christmas, Hi, man. Yeah, right. Total gut punch. And that one actually felt real to me. ** James Nulick, Hi, James. Apparently that ex-nuts guy is actually some kind of celeb, or I mean the guy in the stolen photo is. D.l. is an eternal status. Look, working on and finishing your book … there is no better excuse. Well, I guess if you had been in a coma or something, that would have been a good reason too, but … Exciting news! Nope, we haven’t done a trailer. I guess we will have to do that before too long. God knows what it’ll be. Ours is not a trailer-friendly movie. We’ll be completely finished with the film on Wednesday unless something weird happens. No, I’m very in love with the film and attached to it. I think I will be until people start seeing it, and since you’re forced to roll a film out through the festival circuit for probably a year, it’ll be a while until most people can see it, I guess. Which really sucks! As a book-writer, I’m not used to that. I want everybody to be able to see ‘PGL’, like, next week. Grr. Your #1 and #2 re: Vollman are my #1 and #2 re: Vollman! What were the odds? Good to see you! Hope to see you more often. ** Armando, Hi. I’m so sorry about the ongoing horrors from the earthquake. Uh, no, I was saying it was no doubt easier to make our film here because it’s in French and because Zac is French than it would have been to make … well, ‘LCTG’, which was in English, got no French funding at all, for instance. Wow, that’s quite a Tarantino dossier there. Okay, I think I better understand where your problems with his work lie. I get how his personal opinions could matter, or I understand that people don’t want to separate the art from the guy. None of those texts change my opinion of him at all. What his politics and stuff are don’t matter to me, or not unless there’s something blatantly heinous about them. I just look at the films and base what I think on what are in the films, and I’m not interested in agreeing with films, I’m interested in uniquely, well done films regardless of whether their world view has any relationship to mine, I guess. But yeah, thank you for filling in your opinion on him so interestingly. Have a good one. ** Okay. I restored and expanded Philippe Grandrieux Day because I think he’s great and because not enough people know his work. See you tomorrow.

13 Comments

  1. Not a single Grandrieux film has been released theatrically in the US, although SOMBRE came out on DVD here. This may have something to do with the fact that I got into an argument with a friend who claimed he’s basically a pornographer. When I pointed out, for instance, that the rape and murder scenes in SOMBRE are so dimly lit that Grandrieux doesn’t directly depict most of what’s going on and uses off-screen space brilliantly, he said that Grandrieux is just trying to give himself an escape hatch. I was going to see MALGRE LA NUIT with him, but at the last minute he bailed and I wound up going with a more open-minded friend. But many people feel the same way about Gaspar Noe, and all 4 of his features have been released in the US.

    I posted the Wilkerson comments to my blog: https://steeveecom.wordpress.com/2017/10/02/did-you-wonder-who-fired-the-gun/

    The person I sent my film to is very busy, so I’m going to see if I can show the rough cut to another friend and see what he thinks of it, technically.

    I knew Godard was working on a new film, but I didn’t know it was finished and going into French release already! I figured it would probably premiere at the Venice or Berlin Film Festival first.

    Tomorrow, I’m seeing a documentary about the infamous Japanese cannibal Issey Sagawa, CANIBA, at the New York Film Festival. I’m not engaging in hype to say that when this played the Toronto Film Festival recently, it was the festival’s most controversial film. A Toronto newspaper ran an interview with the directors which was quite positive, but the comments were almost uniformly negative and said things like “this is violent pornography {that word again} which the festival never should have programmed.”

    LOS ANGELES PLAYS ITSELF is one my favorite documentaries ever. TITICUT FOLLIES is very good, but not my favorite early Wiseman – I prefer HOSPITAL & WELFARE.

  2. Speaking of Thom Andersen – he has a book of his essays out that is a fantastic read. Published by Visible Press out of London. He’s doing an event at Skylight Books and I’m going to have a public chat with him about his book. That will take place on October 12 at 7:30. I can’t wait for that!

    And I know nothing of this filmmaker Philippe Grandrieux. A new discovery! Thanks!

  3. Hi!

    That’s probably for the best. If everything goes well, you won’t ever have to see or deal with the short version again, right? Wednesday is the very final day of ‘Permanent Green Light’ works, then! Wow. Even from the outside, it feels so incredible. How it was “just” an idea not even too long ago and now it’s here, almost, almost finished!
    It’s incredible, really! I mean, I knew Budapest was expensive but I didn’t expect this. I thought about sharing with a friend but Anita’s abroad and though she comes back this month, she’s planning to move to Denmark as soon as she finds a job there and it’s pretty difficult to find anyone else I’d happily share a small space with. I shouldn’t be so picky, I guess. Another great difficulty is that I have a dog and most rentable apartments don’t allow any animals. Gah. It’s a frustrating situation. But it’ll settle, one way or another, surely.
    But today was both relaxing and productive, indeed. I could finally start writing again which feels extremely energizing! And I also got a call about the job opportunity with the troubled teens so I’ll have an interview next Monday!
    How was the day on your end? Were you working on the new script today, too? Did your new laptop arrive finally? And I certainly hope your arm/shoulder gets better now!!

  4. I’m shocked by the massacre in Las Vegas but I know nothing will happen politically to prevent further gun violence in the US. The NRA can go fuck itself, but America needs a massive systematic effort to reduce its power. I fear that the 2nd Amendment installed gun culture in our national DNA.

  5. David Ehrenstein

    October 2, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    I’m not shocked at all. And here’s why

  6. Have you checked out the Bandcamp page for Gqom Oh!, the South African label that released Dominowe’s album? Last summer, they released an album by a group/producer called TLC Fam. TLC Fam’s music suggests a South African take on footwork, with artificially stuttered vocals at times, although they also use whistles as lead instruments much of the time. They have the same futuristic/dystopian vibe that attracts me to most of the electronic dance music I’ve liked recently. Gqom Oh! will be releasing an EP by Emo Kid (whose music hopefully does not actually sound like emo) later this month.

  7. Hey Dennis – Great to see this expanded Grandrieux day. I first discovered his work on the blog ages ago and it had a huge impact. I love his first three films – though that’s all I’ve been able to see. I hope more of it makes its way onto DVD or streaming soon.

    How does ‘Malgre la nuit’ compare to his earlier work? And have you seen all the shorts collected in ‘Unrest’?

    I’m getting close to the finish line with novel edits. That’s been absorbing almost all my time. Hoping to be done before I leave in mid-October for 3 weeks at a artist’s residency in Virginia, a place I’ve gone a few times.

    I did manage to see a newly restored print of Rivette’s ‘The Nun’ which is streaming on Filmstruck. I’d only seen it in a truncated version from a ragged VHS tape and this pristine full version was a revelation. Maybe not top tier, but close – and it felt more aligned with his other work, not the outlier it seemed on first viewing.

    • It seems to me that if any Grandrieux film could be his American breakthrough, it would be MALGRE LA NUIT. It’s probably his most accessible film since SOMBRE, and without compromising, it could appeal to genre fans. It’s also full of sex and violence in a New French Extremity way that’s theoretically commercial – some critic described it as a very depressed Noe film.

  8. I never knew about Philippe Grandrieux until now, and have just ordered Despite the Night from my new DVD rental supplier.

    The thing about Yuck ‘n Yum is, I’d not given any thought to starting anything up as a business until just a couple of weeks ago. It was only after talking to the Fleet Collective that I could see a chance, so it’s not really a surprise that others hadn’t considered it. For now I’m happy to work on these few short-term projects and then we can all discuss constitution, long term visions etc in the new year. I want YNY to be the biggest it can possibly be, and I’m willing to go outside the lines when colouring anything in.

  9. Dennis, A grand old time is always welcome.

    I like Tarantino. I like his films. My favorite ever? No. But I do enjoy his stuff.

    I saw this really bad film last evening called “Why Him?” with James Franco and Bryan Cranston. The only good thing was that Griffin Gluck is cute.

    James Franco is actually cute too. I’m not gonna pretend otherwise. I’d let him stay for dinner.

    My niece is trying to get my mom into “Game of Thrones.” I think she might be successful.

  10. Here’s my essay on Dario Argento: http://kinoscope.org/2017/10/02/dario-argento-a-dip-into-the-inferno/. This is the second longest piece I’ve ever written. I think it’s one of my best, although I know I’m not the best judge of this.

  11. these films look so interesting, thank you very much for clueing me to them. i really want to watch some, especially La Vie Nouvelle and Meurtrière. i’ll try to buy some dvds of them, do u think that’s the best way to see them? do u have a favorite of the bunch?

    that Unrest trailer is in. tense. such a hellish, powerful image. damn.

    best halloween costume was in college when i randomly found a giant cardboard box for a refrigerator or something, and i cut holes in it for my face and arms, and set up an inside rig so it kind of perched on my shoulders, and spray painted it silver and drew a bunch of cell phone looking robot buttons on it and wrote LOVE MACHINE on it, lol. plus it was just the right size that my girlfriend could slip into it with me, and we could turn it into a little private makeout booth.

    take care !!

  12. Hello, Dennis! Are you still feeling unwell with your arm/shoulder? I’m so sorry to hear it. Hm, I should start praying for the speedy recovery to your way right now. Yes, I would. Today I’m brief, but thanks for the Grandrieux Day — did you get a chance to read a relatively new book (Sonic cinema?) on his films. I haven’t but wanted to ask your thoughts about it. I’m much less thrilled about PG’s films nowadays, (probably just because I spend time in watching work by other directors and just enamored by them) but really interested in reading the book for its focus on haptic/sonic aspects of PG’s work, I mean, if you’d recommend it.

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