Friday, the prémiere for Hans’ new piece, Celestial Commute in the church of Les Brigittines in Brussels. The lighting of Giacomo Gorini, impossible for me to capture on camera. Anyway, some pictures:
Right, well, that’s ruined my plans for the forthcoming days. I’d got all ready to go climbing tomorrow as it seems finally the grey grey greyness and damp hovering-around-zero has broken, and I was itching to get back on my local wall and yes, also rehearsing today, and even going out to Unbezahlbar tonight. Ruined. Ruined and awash in blood. My blood, that is.
And how fucking sharp can a kitchen sink be? Really, who’d ‘a thought a kitchen sink could slice through a finger like a gritty butcher’s knife? Conceptualise a kitchen sink in your mind, and the words ‘razor sharp’ don’t spring to mind as a synonym, do they? No one ever said, “Sharp as a kitchen sink”, or “Cut like a hot kitchen sink through butter”. But oh, yes, Frances will find the one scalpel-like edge on said kitchen sink and attempt to sever fingertip from rest of said finger.
And for a small cut it really went totally Slayer Raining Blood from a Lacerated Sky just everywhere. New shoes are probably required because one of them was, “I’m a Sponge! Drinking Blood from a Lacerated Sky”, and I think that doesn’t come out in the wash.
Anyway, I went all “First Aid! Compress the wound! Where’s a fucking bandage? Ah these clean underwear will do until I find the bandages!”, then found the bandages and soaked them in blood – it’s comically difficult to do anything dextrous when it’s your left index finger that’s doing an impression of a tap and you happen to be left-handed. Then had a look, all the while swear-laughing, and it was grinning right back at me, and I thought, “Ooo! That’s going to need tailoring.”
So I jumped on my bike and rode to the hospital.
And took a book because I was expecting to be there a while, you know, emergency rooms tend to be long, drawn-out affairs. But I barely got through one paragraph and was off to get taken care of, by two very lovely and friendly doctors.
I’ve been watching a lot of Vin Diesel films lately, and they get bashed and shot and barely a spritz of the red stuff, and yet here was I, half an hour or more later and my finger was still intent on painting any near surface red. It was leaking like the mouth of a drowned person exhaling water. Well, it was probably not more than a couple of tablespoons worth, but it was attempting the elevator scene from The Shining for all it was worth.
So it was washed, and examined and decided a sewing kit was needed, and fuck do anæsthetic injections hurt. I got to lie down, even though I wanted to be all Vin and get stitched up without anaesthetic and swigging on beer. Lucky the anæsthetic only worked properly on half my finger so I got to act all stoic while the tiniest of tiny needles bored through the most superficial depths of my finger tip and I just went “Ow! Fuck!”.
So now my finger looks like a white clown’s nose with its dressing, and has Four! stitches. And hopefully no infection because it was nasty dirty what I was cleaning when my kitchen sink went all meat cleaver on me. Which I had to finish reassembling the drainpipes on when I got home; it smelt like a swampy trench down those pipes.
And no climbing with this finger for at least a couple of weeks either.
Not to worry, I have Vin Diesel films. I’m watching The Fast and The Furious series in reverse, which I think would be a good name for one of them, “Fast Reverse”, and they do all their stunts going backwards, and have swapped over their rear difs so they have five reverse gears, and pop their back wheels when they hit the nitro doing 300 on the Autobahn.
Bladerunner is about the most influential film for me, I’ve seen in more times than I can recall, usually once a year, and I’ve never grown tired of it. Something I miss though, since the Director’s Cut came out is the original with Deckard’s voiceover, a dirty noir monologue, and all the attendant obscurity. The later version is far less ambiguous, but along with the implication Deckard is himself a replicant, and the coherence of the narrative, I still would love to see that first version again, with all its Kubrick stock footage. And Vangeles … one of the most sublime and appropriate scores ever composed for a film. So, happy birthday today for Bladerunner, 25 years old and still transcendental.
A bit slack lately blogging about my favourite city, Guangzhou. Yes I do love it that much. 曹斐 Cao Fei, who is now living in Beijing wrote a few days ago about the 2006 Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival running from 4th till 9th December. The theme of this year’s festival is 关注贫困 Facing Poverty and films are screening at 天河电影城 Galaxy Cinema in Teen Plaza and 华纳金逸电影城 Warner Jinyi Cinema in Pearl New Estate Plaza, the latter of which does the whole teeth-vibrating surround sound and hallucinogenic peripheral vision filling screens. Also there’s films on at 蓝宝石展艺馆 Sapphire Art Space in the Holiday Inn which I’ve not heard of and for the scummy students stuck out in University Town at the 广州美术学院大学城校区 Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts that’s further from Guangzhou than most migrant workers’ home towns.
As for the films, they come from all over the world with a lot from Netherlands, Portugal, Poland and Germany, and a stack from and about China including 秦始皇：中国的缔造者 The First Emperor: The Man Who Made China, 贫困线的挣扎——中国造 A Dollar A Day – Made in China, and a huge number of entries in the Festival’s competition, embarrassing there for all Australians is 太平洋解决方案 which is more usually referred to as the Pacific Solution, and there’s so many docos I’d love to see I think I’ll be blogging about them a bit more.
Naturally though the only one I really, truly care about and am hanging out for, and I know was only programmed because everyone thought I’d be back in Guangzhou and was sort of a welcome home, and I know I’ve disappointed you all by not being there, but as I was saying, I only really, truly care about Heavy Metal In the Country. Ja! Über!
Having exchanged vituperative asseveration for untrammelled glee in participating in the on-going carnival that marks the return-of-the-real and death-to-betrayal-of-authenticity that is the scandalised aftermath of JT LeRoy’s literary hoax, I was both surprised the film adaptation of The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things hadn’t been inhumed in quicklime, and quite salivating at what would be a pack of deranged hounds eviscerating the quivering marrow of a defenseless Bambi. I wasn’t disappointed.
So, the short version: This “not at all autobiographical” “fiction” is, and I’m putting this as delicately as I can, in close competition for the title of “Most Egregiously Ridiculous Piece of Shit the Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Have Ever produced.” Hell!! It may be the most egregiously ridiculous piece of human culture ever created, though I’m sure there’s some pretty bad cave paintings out there.
As such, Deceitful really should blow Showgirls out of the water as the ideal drunken-screaming-queen date movie, and in many ways is just begging for the Rocky Horror Picture Show treatment. I, for one, spent the last half of the movie sketching out my Halloween costume.
But there’s a categorical difference between Deceitful, Showgirls, and Rocky. Care to guess what it is? THAT’S RIGHT!! Nobody would have ever taken this pathetic piece of tragedy tourism even remotely seriously — not even Joe Esterhaz! — if it hadn’t been promulgated as the “real” story of a “survivor.”
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.
Part of me likes the great simulacrum of the media endlessly recreating its own reality until it is all simultaneously real and fake, until it doesn’t matter that an author I really admired for personal reasons in fact is an elaborate publishing hoax perpetrated on exactly the set of media/information-whores who always are so quick to pick up on and decimate an advertising technique by corporate monsters that tries to appropriate the signifiers of the world which surrounds me for the express purpose of making a buck from me out of some apparent loyalty to the sign. The other side of me thinks, “JT LeRoy, you fucking cunt”. No, actually, JT LeRoy doesn’t exist. In the glorious sphere of literary hoaxes occupied by such geniuses as Helen Demindenko, LeRoy is actually an old slag named Emily Albert, with public appearances by sister-in-law, Savannah Knoops.
The dirt is heaving all over the literary world, so I won’t belabour crappiness too much. The New York Times have the killer title The Unmasking of JT Leroy: In Public, He’s a She, Susie Bright who published LeRoy does a bang-up job of recounting her relationship in You’re No J.T. Leroy— Thank God, and has a link to the pdf of New York Magazine’s blow-up piece Who is the Real JT LeRoy? A search for the true identity of a great literary hustler. Finally, it all began at now-daily reading of BARISTA in monumentally mean, the scam rolled on…
Mr. Leroy’s tale was harrowing in its details and uplifting in its arc. He was a young truck-stop prostitute who had escaped rural West Virginia for the dismal life of a homeless San Francisco drug addict. Rescued as a young teenager by a couple named Laura Albert and Geoffrey Knoop and treated by a psychologist, he was able to turn his terrible youth into a thriving career as a writer. JT Leroy has published three critically acclaimed works of fiction noted for their stark portrayal of child prostitution and drug use.
Along the way Mr. Leroy gained the friendship and trust of celebrities and noted writers, who supported his career financially and offered him emotional support when he declared that he was infected with H.I.V. Sales were good, and his books were published around the world. Shy and reclusive, Mr. Leroy, now 25, appeared in public often disguised beneath a wig and sunglasses.
But the young man in the wig and sunglasses, it turns out, is not a man at all. The public role of JT Leroy is played by Savannah Knoop, Geoffrey Knoop’s half sister, who is in her mid-20’s.
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.
Julien Seri, the director of Yamasaki – les samourai des temps modernes which is not much of a samurai film is back with Les Fils du vent – The Great Challenge, which sounds like a straight-to-dvd number about a group of guys who jump around the outsides of buildings for a kick and get into serious trouble while slumming it in Bangkok.
I would explain the plot, but it would immediately expose a series of seemingly contrived plot devices in order to get the Yamikasi (the young troupe of French acrobatic building jumpers) to Bangkok, and into, well a whole heap load of trouble. But this film should not be analyzed in such a manner. Whilst puncturing your cornea with highly graded, much stylized Manga – esque images, Mr Seri has evidently immersed himself in Asian contemporary comic book and film culture, and the essence of marshal arts. Brief moments of spiritual enlightenment, racial tension and a love for one of the most exotically beautiful women to grace our screens in a long while (look out for Elodie Yung) puncture blistering scenes of fights a top bamboo scaffolded buildings, grim darkened steel warehouses, and a breath taking final denouement of ridiculous scale. Without a computer generated figure in sight. This is one for DVD replay buttons as mind boggling stunts are brushed aside with yet more bone crushing jumps, spins and kicks.