Quite damaged ropes

This is a story about a ladder. One which we borrow on occasion, when we need to hang the rings in the Alte Kantine from the beams we once drilled through to. We borrow this ladder from the sculpture studio in the centre of Uferhallen, behind the café. One day, a couple of weeks ago, while walking it to the Kantine, we were told of someone coming shortly to Berlin who was planning to suspend 60 or more people for a film in the biggest hall.

We’d been meaning since then to ask again for the person’s name, as the only Swiss photographer with that name seemed to not have made a history of hanging up large masses of people in dirty machine halls. And as we’ve been slowly working on mass suspensions in such places, it seemed unseemly for such a thing to happen in Uferhallen without us. Sunday though, the ladder was required once more.

Dasniya returned with ladder and with someone I thought might be a extra for our rehearsal.

Actually, he was that Swiss photographer, and the ladder had neatly intervened to arrange our meeting precisely as we began our own rope installation. We talked briefly, and perhaps twice during the rehearsal (once amidst ‘responsible/unhelpful 30 second shibari’) he returned to watch.

Some talking, some phone calls made to Dasniya. Leading to this afternoon in Matthias’ studio with a score of people here to film Michel Comte’s Madame Butterfly – The little girl from Nagasaki, and some buckets of clay. Massive sculptures and friezes fill the space, into which dancers shall be dressed in gauze kimonos, tied (yes, in our beloved anarchic unshibari), and suspended.

An attempt was made on Dasniya after lunch, using our dear Parsifal ropes, and the vats of clay, draped across a work-block and more than smothered in the slippery sticky goo. Embedded in handfuls rubbed and squeezed into the ropes until hands, feet, torso were rough, unshaped clumps. The ropes have never been so surprised, and for the first time no amount of delicacy could extract them – if they could even be found in the benthic geology – and so scissors were resorted to.

Which is to say, Dasniya and I have found ourselves working with Michel and a large group on his film for the next week or so. So much for going to Paris, and all because of a ladder.

(I have photos and even video, but perhaps I am becoming responsible, and shall confer before uploading.)

love this time and other berlin gems

The 56th Berlin Film Festival has just finished, and major yay! for Jasmila Zbanic’s Grbavica and Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross’s The Road to Guantanamo. There’s no time like now to be making serious and confronting documentaries, and the directors of Road to Guantanamo must be doing something very right if they and the actors get arrested for no particular reason on return to the UK. My favourite Trotsky-ist enclave (haha) Lenin’s Tomb (that China Miéville occasionally writes for) does a great line in righteous pissed-off-ness at the the use of the bogeyman of terrorism to justify encroaching on civil liberties here and a follow-up here.

And wicked and huge applause to Melbourne’s Rhys Graham for Love This Time, which got a special mention by the International Short Film Jury (and he apparently has some of my Guangzhou DVDs) and I got to see it last week in a special late-night session with the film’s editor and pirate Captain Blood Paul Williams (and I’m writing this from the poop deck of his editing brigantine). And boo! to the local and national media for zero coverage.

天邊一朵雲 – The Wayward Cloud

Taiwan film-maker 蔡明亮 Tsai Ming-liang’s porn musical 天邊一朵雲 – The Wayward Cloud opened un-cut though with an adult rating in Taiwan a couple of weeks ago, pulling a hot weekend total of NT$7 million. The film earlier had won a Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival for outstanding artistic contribution. But who cares, we just want to see the all-singing all-dancing blow-jobs.

“Some people say I seem to enjoy provoking my audience,”Tsai said in his cluttered studio in a suburb of Taipei.

“To me, being provoked is also a reaction. I want them to respond to my movies. Either they are provoked, moved, feel uncomfortable or relieved,”

“I don’t want them to feel just entertained or relaxed like they watch most movies and don’t even remember which one they saw yesterday,”said Tsai, sitting in front of a giant pink poster featuring the film’s controversial oral sex scene.

— Screen India

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harisu at the berlin film festival

The Hong Kong Gay and Lesbian Film Festival came and went last month and I didn’t even notice. oops. But over the other side of the world at the Berlin Film Festival, Hong Kong filmmaker Yonfan is about to see Cherry Blossoms premiere in the Panorama section. Korean transsexual Harisu is playing Madame Umeki. If Haruki Murakami’s novel Kafka on the Shore ever gets made into a film maybe she will play Oshima, the librarian’s impressively literate, transsexual assistant.

Last month the Hong Kong Film Critics Society named “Colour Blossoms” one of nine “recommended films” of 2004 – others were Wong Kar-Wai’s moody drama “2046” and Stephen Chow’s comedy “Kungfu Hustle” – and Berlin is an affirmation for the complex filmmaker and for the kind of original storytelling that he has devoted his life to.

When “Colour Blossoms” opened in Hong Kong in the autumn, it had very modest box office results, making nothing like the $2 million (of his own money) that it had cost.

The less-than-warm reception was in no small part because Hong Kong’s powerful tabloid media laid on the negative publicity in the months leading up to its premiereThe papers criticized the film for its supposed pornography, and slammed its star, a once-much-loved socialite now fallen from grace named Teresa Cheung.

— International Herald Tribune

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