Sunday, July 16, 2017

plato's cave thirty one (being a film journal) it is happening again

david lynch and mark frost - twin peaks - 2017*
opening credit sequence

the opening credit sequence for part one** varies slightly from later parts as it has the i'll see you again in 25 years intro (see images one through seven) which is accompanied by a drone undercurrent. the intro begins in the black lodge with a rather psychedelic filming of the floor's "chevron pattern" and the red velvet curtains. it then shows agent cooper and laura palmer with her message of i'll see you again in 25 years, a backwards finger snap, and the meanwhile hand gesture. there is some conjecture on the meaning of the meanwhile hand gesture. the intro then shows a montage of the saw mill, the twin peaks school, and a young female student running and crying in slow motion seen through school windows. there are some subtle yet hair-raising orchestral flair ups in the soundtrack during the running, not unlike something you would hear in the shining, then back to laura palmer's picture prominently featured in the school's trophies display window.

in addition, the opening credit sequence for the first part (or episode) does not have laura palmer's face multi-exposed over the waterfall as it does in later parts, as it would have been redundant to her face seen at the end of the intro.

the remainder of the title sequence is consistent with the rest of the series***. it begins with a dazzling aerial shot of the twin peaks waterfalls, or snoqualmie falls, then a very slow dissolve to the red curtains, followed by a very slow dissolve to the chevron floor. the floors and curtains dissolving and shifting is quite mesmerizing. the sequence ends with a dissolve to black.

to my ear****, the badalementi track twin peaks theme is a shortened version from the first and second season (and the ost) of twin peaks. it sounds to me to be a new recording which is very close to the original, but it might just be a goosed up version of the original.

variations from the original are the beautiful drone introduction,  reverberant cymbals which begin around the time the camera starts tracking the falls, distant water sounds which are heard as the falls descend, and lastly a doom-laden drone that fades up around the time the chevron pattern appears.

all these variations from the original have something of a dramatic effect on the viewer, and warn of what is to come in the next 18 hours.... less soap opera business that dominated much of the first two seasons (especially the second), and more abstractions and mysteries that will dominate this season.

the beauty that is this title sequence has much to do with, i assume, the editing brilliance of duwayne dunham. the slow dissolves are so unlike much of what one sees in narrative film or television, and are more commonplace in avant-garde and european film. dunham also edited blue velvet, wild at heart, and parts of season one and two of twin peaks. his work throughout this 18 hour work is groundbreaking and has much to do with the effect this work has.

*this series on twin peaks aims to mainly look at visual and sonic mysteries happening in the series.

**in an interview with dean hurley, music supervisor for lynch, he stated lynch saw the new twin peaks as a single movie with sections or "parts", rather than episodes: "the whole thing - remember - was one giant script shot as one long movie. that’s why he is calling these “parts” and not “episodes” - because they weren’t designed to have arcs between each bit like a normal television show. he (lynch) was interested in the giant story and slicing the pie up."

***up to part nine when i did this post

***if anyone has more information, or hears it differently, i would be interested in more info.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

plato's cave thirty (being a film journal) it is happening again, preliminary words on television

before devoting the art of memory for an indeterminate amount of time to twin peaks, here are some preliminary words on where the author stands in relation to telvision.

i watched twin peaks season 1&2 as it aired on television when i was in high school (1990-1991). i remember watching with my father, who was the first person to get me really excited about film (when i was around 10 we watched the exorcist together and my life was changed forever). viewing twin peaks had an extreme impact on me. the years after, i rented the vhs tapes and purchased the dvds and rewatched numerous numerous times. i had the laserdisc of the film and watched it many times and loved it (still do). of course the majority of season 2 is quite meaningless, the ones directed by lynch are worth watching more than once, and the last one is a masterpiece.

in college and for many more years, i was only interested in the movies, and with the exception of lars von trier's the kingdom from 1994 (which i saw projected at the castro theatre in about 1997 in sf), i didn't watch any television with the exception of rewatching twin peaks which was always my favourite lynch work.

sometime around 2002-2004 i started watching david chase's the sopranos (1999-2007) and david simon's the wire (2002-2008). both shows had a huge impact on me and renewed my interest in television. over the years i have rewatched these two shows 3-4 times. the sopranos came about because goodfellas was a film i watched over and over and this somehow seemed to be a truly original extension of it. also i was bored in a way with film, couldn't related to what was happening at that moment, like wes anderson.

around the time of season 2 of vince gilligan's breaking bad (2008-2013) my good friend recommended i give it a go as it was beyond words and as good as the two previously mentioned, in his estimation. the program knocked my socks off (and still does). the four shows together remain a standard for the potential of tv (twin peaks, the sopranos, the wire, and breaking bad).

in addition to these fine programs, i have enjoyed the following shows or mini series over the years :
  • bbc's tinker tailor soldier spy (1979) and smiley's people (1982)
  • alastair reid's traffik (1989)
  • alastair reid's armistead maupin's tales of the city (1993)
  • allan cubitt's the fall (2013-2016)
  • chris carter's the x-files (1993 - 2016)
  • jane campion and gerard lee's top of the lake (2013-)
  • paul feig's freaks and geeks (1999-2000)
  • david milch and michael mann's luck (2011-2012)
  • ann biderman's southland (2009-2013)
  • ann biderman's ray donovan (first season only, 2013)
  • fargo (first season, 2014)
  • rod serling's the twilight zone (have only seen various, 1959–1964)
  • todd haynes' mildred pierce (2001)
  • alan clarke's work for tv. saw much of it when living in boston, beautiful work
  • frank darabont's the walking dead (2010-) not the best quality but a guilty pleasure
  • sean durkin's southcliffe (2013)
  • dennis potter's the singing detective (1986)
  • lynda la plante's prime suspect (1991-2006)
  • jimmy mcgovern 's cracker (1993–1996), have seen only part, but enjoyed
  • steven spielberg and tom hanks's band of brothers (2001) & the pacific (2010)
  • joshua brand and john falsey's northern exposure (1990-1995), one of my wife's favs, have only seen some
  • louis c.k.'s horace and pete (2016), this show is truly profound
  • louis c.k.'s louis (2010-2015), another profound one
  • nic pizzolatto's true detective (2014), season 1 is one hell of a show. i personally think both vince vaughn's acting and character ruined season 2.
  • ray mckinnon's rectify (2013-2016), first couple of seasons
  • paul attanasio (and david simon)'s - homicide: life on the street (1993-1999), have only seen some, enjoyed.
  • terence winter's boardwalk empire (2010-2014), only liked the first couple/few seasons
  • larry david's curb your enthusiasm (200-2009) and of course seinfeld
  • richard price and steven zaillian's the night of (2016), one hell of a show
  • todd a. kessler, glenn kessler, and daniel zelman's bloodline (2015-), first season is quite good

these shows i feel ambivalent about or downright don't like. listed here to gives some clues of the viewer's taste and preferences :
  • game of thrones (some good moments and actorshippe, overall though i don't know....)
  • girls (the agony)
  • veep
  • the leftovers
  • lost (my wife always complains at what a waste it was to be addicted to this show.... it starts good)
  • westworld (i don't get it)
  • treme (lost interest when john goodman leaves)
  • six feet under
  • hannibal (i love mads mikkelsen and the books but this show just doesn't work)
  • the young pope
  • homeland (first season is good)
  • house of cards (i like the british version, us version is not bad, has some great actors)
  • better call saul
  • orange is the new black
  • stranger things (overfuckingrated, just popular because of the synth resurgence)
  • the office (uk & us, i like parts of it)
  • sense8
  • dexter
  • daredevil, luke cage, jessica jones
  • black mirror (couple of the brit ones are good like the pigfucker one)
  • love
  • the oa (good until it got ruined with the "movements" business)
  • lilyhammer (started good)
  • the strain (interesting for navigating nyc)
  • fortitude
  • narcos
  • sherlock
  • bosch
  • goliath
  • i love dick (listened to kevin bacon interview and show seemed interesting because of the donald judd element but could not get through the first episode)
  • the night manager
  • mad men (many good parts and actors, but overall not sure about it)
  • sons of anarchy
  • luther
  • broadchurch
  • marcella
  • river
  • happy valley
  • californication
  • fear the walking dead (started good, lost interest)
  • portlandia (some funny bits but mostly not funny)
  • miami vice (loved as a kid but not sure if it holds up)
  • many more i cannot recall

plato's cave twenty nine (being a film journal) it is happening again

gearing up for many in depth entries on david lynch and mark frost's twin peaks. i present forthwith number one with a selection from lewis and clark's journals and an owl-image. in preparation; reading mark frost's wonderful book the secret history of twin peaks: a novel (image above) and i listened to the informative jeff jensen and darren franich's a twin peaks podcast: a podcast about twin peaks, and watching each episode numerous times. plan on concentrating on music, cinematography, mystery, subtleties, sound design, story, actors & characters, and whatever else strikes me.

 lost in the beauty and mystery of the show, frames still reverberating through my brains as i walk and as i sleep.

on a side note, i received an annoyingly negative comment on a previous post. i don't often get comments so it is nice to get one but please leave the negative nonsense to yourself as it is not helpful and makes me want to quit this business. to quote the lord of the rings "be silent! keep your forked tongue behind you teeth. i have not passed through fire and death to bandy crooked words with a witless worm!"

Sunday, June 25, 2017


cd by javier hernando ‎entitled metalepsis 90​/​96
photos by the art of memory's matthew swiezynski

Thursday, June 22, 2017

satellite of love

satellite's gone up to the skies
things like that drive me out of my mind
i watched it for a little while
i like to watch things on TV

satellite of love
satellite of love
satellite of love
satellite of

satellite's gone way up to Mars
soon it'll be filled with parkin' cars
i watched it for a little while
i love to watch things on TV

satellite of love
satellite of love
satellite of love
satellite of

i've been told that you've been bold
with harry, mark and john
monday, tuesday, wednesday to thursday
with harry, mark and john

satellite's gone up to the skies
things like that drive me out of my mind
i watched it for a little while
i like to watch things on TV

satellite of love
satellite of love
satellite of love
satellite of

(first time i heard this was as a young wet behind the ear bugger, in the vu boxset peel slowly & see. i gravitated to it and listened repetitively. didn't take drugs, but found it as a suitable drug. finally heard the lou reed transformer version when i was closer to 30s. somehow never got into the solo work until i was clear of my twenties. such lovely music. i think the beck cover is quite nice too. those fuckers in the background sure can sing, same with the transformer version. unreal business it is)

Sunday, June 11, 2017

trains in cinema, part 11

- john carpenter - escape from new york - 1981

- walt disney etc - dumbo - 1941 (thanks andré cortines)

- atom egoyan - the sweet hereafter - 1997

- sidney j. furie - the ipcress file - 1965

- todd haynes - far from heaven - 2002

- todd haynes - carol - 2015

- john hillcoat - triple 9 - 2016

- john huston - wise blood - 1979

- ted kotcheff - wake in fright -1971

- yorgos lanthimos - the lobster - 2015

- mike leigh - high hopes - 1988

- mike leigh - another year - 2010

- joseph losey - the romantic englishwoman - 1975

- david mackenzie - hell or high water - 2016

- anthony minghella - the talented mr. ripley - 1999

- chan-wook park - the handmaiden - 2016

- alastair reid - armistead maupin's tales of the city - 1993

- wim wenders -  kings of the road - 1976

- billy wilder - some like it hot - 1959

Friday, May 19, 2017

plato's cave twenty eight (being a film journal)

recent films the last couple of weeks

peter yates - robbery - 1967
first time watching. one great film. white knuckle

jordan peele - get out - 2017
strange twist on the horror genre. not without interest. kill those wonder bread force feeders

denis villeneuve - arrival - 2016 & prisoners - 2013
second time for both of these films. i love them, and the jóhann jóhannsson soundtracks are just pure pleasure. i have watched sicario a few times in the last year as well, probably my favourite of the three. intense film. actorshippe is very strong in the three of these: hugh jackman, amy adams, benicio del toro

cohen brothers - no country for old men - 1996 & the big lebowski - 1998
watched both of these recently for the hundredth time. never gets old. especially pleased watching tbl under the spell of a g&t or two

mike nichols - working girl - 1988
those haircuts are painful. I like alec baldwin in it

john carpenter - escape from new york - 1981
another film i have watched endlessly over the years. not one of my favourites by him but there is some real magic to the film and a great cast

joshua marstan - complete unknown - 2016
i like the cast but the film was not quite there, something didn't work, maybe the story. after reading stories by folks like proust and melville, this kind of story seems a bit like old shite. the cast is good which is why i watched

Saturday, May 13, 2017

plato's cave twenty seven (being a film journal) two woodfords

anna boden & ryan fleck - mississippi grind - 2015

some loser night/exterior shots from mississippi grind. second viewing of this off/almost-masterpiece. typical of all gambling films; the viewer (or this one more specifically) is very uncomfortable from beginning to end. even when they win they are losers in the most poetic sense. 

reminds me of peter wright's tune song for the losers. this tune simply exemplifies something essential in understanding works like these: only losers can experience the dreary (3 film stills above) in a true sense. the way charles baudelaire's fleur du mal excites.  the occasional shot of a loser bar or a dreary part of town has more meaning in this film than just connecting it aesthetically with 70s cinema.  for this viewer, these shots tap into the vision of our two characters. they experience the world in a unique way. a life comprised of 80% depression/misery and 20% euphoria with 10% of that euphoria drowned out and forgotten from drink and the like.

another brilliant performance from ben mendelsohn. he is indeed one of the best living actors. what he gives to these films is something not easy to calculate. an extremely subtle almost non-performances. and in that way, virtuosic.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

plato's cave twenty six (being a film journal) le samouraï opening shot

jean-pierre melville - le samouraï - 1967

last evening at film forum : melville's classic le samouraï on a wonderfully/lovely worn 35mm print. the print had some evocative "ellipsis" as p. adams sitney explains when describing joseph cornell film oeuvre in the classic museum of modern art monograph published in 1980. i read it probably 20 years ago, but my memory is how sitney writes about the wear to prints as cornell constantly viewed and edited found-films in his collection, and the beauty of the ellipsis that were both necessary and non-intentional.

le samouraï i have seen many times. this was my third time on 35mm. i use to own the criterion dvd and would often watch it often. the opening sequence always reminded me of michael snow's wavelength from the same year. how very strange that they came out the same year, must have really been in the air that year to have a long take of a room, where there is so much "nothing" happening, that a viewer almost does not notice all that actually is happening. a lazy viewer of snow's film would not notice all of the activity in wavelength, and just see a slow zoom. people are coming and going, traffic sounds, the beatles song, electronic interactions... it is all very exciting. even more exciting to this viewer has always been snow's back and forth. almost like a popular 80s high school film (say fast times at ridgemont high from 1982) mixed with snow's severe mechanistic exploits.

the moment in le samouraï that has always fascinated me is about 30 something seconds into the opening static shot. the focus starts to slowly shift and there are tiny zooms in and out and we end up with a slightly wider shot that we began with, and a minimal shift in perception of the room occurs. yet this very minimal shift is like a bomb going off (at least for this viewer). i spent 20 plus years thinking about the reason for this strange business. recently found this article which has a sort of regular analysis of it. yet for me there has always been some kind of mystical experience in that slight shift. in a dark room your relationship to sound and images is drastically heightened. your perceptions change (think of james turrell's work, esp his meeting at ps1)... with the shot slightly widening, the main character becomes more apparent, but i think more than that a shift in the viewer's perception happens with that widening and something magical begins to happen, like in live music when the band hits a psychedelic crescendo that makes you feel like you are in another dimension (i recently saw supersilent and the necks live which was full of these moments).

elsewhere in the film similar shifts occur, like when jef costello is on the walkway bridge with the middleman (clip here, seen at 1 minute 8 seconds) and trouble happens.  a split second before shots are fired there is a hard cut, and the camera moves from the bridge to a distance and is moving parallel to it rapidly. again, this edit is light a bomb going off in the theater. i wonder if over-thinking these subtleties does harm to a true experience with the work?, and that one should simply accept them as a viewer and be ready to perish with the explosions?

michael snow - wavelength - 1967

Saturday, April 29, 2017

plato's cave twenty five (being a film journal)

wim wenders - kings of the road - 1976
seen recently at BAM. second viewing (first time on VHS)

cinematography in this film by the great robby müller (covered elsewhere on this website) and martin schäfer, in which roger ebert compared to the photography of john ford films. stunning. i love the image of them filming into the moving truck, serious guys.

music by axel linstädt, member of the german krautrock band improved sound limited. gets very heavy.

i can't say i like the other two films in the trilogy much, but this is one of wenders' best films, and one of the great films from the new german cinema.

it is a truly cinematic experience to watch the two male characther's relationship to one another progress over this three hour film. teaming up after what i saw as the hanns zischler character's falling asleep at the wheel (but read was a light-hearted suicide attempt), and spending much of the beginning of the film not speaking, to finally being very close to one another in an uncommon way.

in fact, the rüdiger vogler character seems to pass on a relationship with the beautiful lisa kreuzer (memorable in wenders the american friend), to be reunited with his traveling mate. very touching. 

living in a time and place where one must spend all of one's time working to pay expensive rents and groceries; seeing a film like this with two gentlemen and scholars vagabonding across germany makes one really displeased with the way the world is operating now.