Kikuji Kawada and the current mood [Read more…]
Archives for December 2016
Anselm Kiefer at White Cube Bermondsey, London Audio commentary by Rachel Reid Wilkie
Rachel Reid Wilkie examines Anselm Kiefer’s exceptional exhibition, Walhalla. The five audio tracks below address the five main rooms of Kiefer’s sprawling underworld. Press play and imaginatively amble through the halls of this dark yet deeply affecting show. [Read more…]
In 2012 Justice David Souter anticipated an “invasion of ignorance” which a mere four years on, at the close of 2016, bares its unsightly teeth. RIOT MATERIAL, lacking all the foresight of the good judge, holds out its own prognosticatory lens and aims it four years further. That lens, naturally, peers through art, and though art has the timeless ability to show the way forward, it can equally enlighten as to which way we should not go.
Below is one scenario of a nation, 2020, gone prophetically grate.
Many thanks to the great artist Roger Ballen for this apocalyptic short, Outland.
Justice David Souter foresees this day in history, 19 December 2016; the portentous American Electoral College votes are in.
In Bone Tomahawk (2015), an old-timer, an invalid and a gunslinger set out across the blistering desert to rescue three innocents from a band of savage cannibals. Their mission seems beyond futile, but don’t count them out too soon: Their leader is Kurt Russell.
Yet Mr. Russell is far from the only reason to see this unexpected low-budget treat, a witty fusion of western, horror and comedy that gallops to its own beat. That rhythm is dictated entirely by the writer and director, S. Craig Zahler, a novelist and musician who flips genre conventions upside-down and cares more about character than body count. As a result, he has given us a horror movie whose monsters are withheld until the tail end of its 132 minutes, and an action movie whose longest section involves mostly walking and talking. [Read more…]
CHRISTOPHER HASSETT: There seems to be an explicit call to action in much of your work, or at the very least the demand that one take note of some supreme injustice in the land or amongst peoples. Yet what I appreciate about your work is that, more than it being mere critique or some one-dimensional, stop-action capture, it instead offers a way forward, and in my mind that way forward is dependably the right way forward. I’m thinking of, as an example, a new work of yours titled American Women (Dismantling the Border). Can you speak more to this idea of there being a constructive framework or, rather, this inherently optimistic baseline level of production which seems not only to shape but lay a distinctive stamp across your entire arc of expression? [Read more…]
WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS: Have you ever met Warhol?
DAVID BOWIE: Yes, about two years ago I was invited up at the Factory. We got in the lift and went up. When it opened there was a brick wall in front of us. We rapped on the wall and they didn’t believe who we were. So we went back down and back up again till they finally opened the wall and everybody was peering around at each other. That was shortly after the gun incident. [Read more…]
Russian hackers strike twice, then twice more in what officials describe as an orchestrated campaign. Incoming American president said to be in receipt of “goods.” [Read more…]
One of the great pleasures of international horror films is uncovering what is considered scary in other countries. Even a quick glance at some of the most memorable titles of recent years highlights how diverse these offerings can be: Sweden’s sublime vampire tale Let The Right One In; South Korea’s psychological chiller A Tale of Two Sisters; France’s visceral Martyrs; and Serbia’s controversial A Serbian Film. But if we dig a little deeper, we find the same threads woven into the entire horror landscape. We fear the unknown, the dark, the grotesque, but most of all we fear pain and death. Our fears are primal and universal; horror regularly serves as the great unifier in a way most genres can’t match.
It should come as no surprise then, that much of what we see in Baskin (2015), the first feature length offering from Turkish director Can Evrenol, feels familiar. [Read more…]
A father and his son, a boy of twelve or so, go into a wood. They are out hunting, armed with a gun. As they walk, they engage in one of those ordinary, man-to-man chats that arise on a country stroll. “Canst thou tell me what thy corrupt nature is?” the father asks. “My corrupt nature is empty of grace, bent unto sin, only unto sin, and that continually,” the lad replies. Clearly, he has learned the words by rote, yet they don’t sound tired or hollow in his mouth; he means them. His next task is to help with the traps that have been laid in the undergrowth. We watch his small hands slowly easing wide the iron jaws. These scenes are from The Witch (2015), a film written and directed by Robert Eggers.
“The horror! The horror!” The terminal valediction of Kurtz in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is deconstructed with a raging eloquence in the Colombian director Ciro Guerra’s majestic, spellbinding film, Embrace of the Serpent (2105). Is the unspeakable savagery evoked by his dying words really beyond the reach of the civilized imagination? I doubt it. [Read more…]
The nameless, shape-shifting horror that stalks the blond, 19-year-old Jay (Maika Monroe) in David Robert Mitchell’s cool, controlled horror film, It Follows (2014), might be described as the very incarnation of paranoia. The menace, which only she can see, takes any number of forms, from a naked man standing on the roof of a house to an unsmiling old lady heading purposefully in her direction. When it appears, it is usually first glimpsed from a distance, walking slowly toward her like an expressionless zombie. Although Jay repeatedly flees, she can never shake the sense that it is out there somewhere and knows her precise location. [Read more…]
By the time the vampire in the chador is skateboarding down a dark, desolate street, the director Ana Lily Amirpour has ensured that A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) will roll on in your memory. The vampire, a Persian-speaking waif called the Girl (Sheila Vand), also wears a striped fishing shirt and an occasional smear across her mouth that isn’t lipstick. She’s taken the skateboard from a nameless tyke (Milad Eghbali), whose indomitable quality and threadbare clothes evoke the children populating Abbas Kiarostami’s early films and, in turn, those of Italian neorealism. Whatever the inspiration, the kid is just one of a number of character types drifting through Ms. Amirpour’s cinematic fun house. [Read more…]
Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin (2013) is a film with the courage of its silences and ellipses. Most easily categorized as a species of science fiction, it deftly evades verbal explanation and explicit continuity. It is in fact based on a well-received science fiction novel by Michel Faber, concerning an alien being who has been sent to northern Scotland in the guise of a woman to pick up and trap men for consumption by other aliens. But Glazer seems to have ended by omitting most of the narrative content of his source, taking away backstory and motivation bit by bit until what is left is deliberately fragmentary and open-ended. [Read more…]