Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Moving House?

I'm giving Wordpress a spin. Please bookmark my new blog:


Well, it's not really a new blog. Just an extension of this one. Will check back here from time to time though.

See you all later.

Friday, January 26, 2007

In Remembrance of Film Past


Decasia Home page

The New Yorker, 2004

From the New York Times, 2002:

''I wasn't just looking for instances of decayed film,'' Morrison recalls of his two-year excavation. ''Rather, I was seeking out instances of decay set against a narrative backdrop, for example, of valiant struggle, or thwarted love, or birth, or submersion, or rescue, or one of the other themes I was trying to interweave. And never complete decay: I was always seeking out instances where the image was still putting up a struggle, fighting off the inexorability of its demise but not yet having succumbed. And things could get very frustrating. Sometimes I'd come upon instances of spectacular decay but the underlying image was of no particular interest. Worse was when there was a great evocative image but no decay.''
Hua Yang De Nian Hua

From Wikipedia:

Hua Yang De Nian Hua is a 2000 short film by Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai that was shown at the 2001 Berlin International Film Festival.

It consists of a 2m 28s montage of scenes from vintage Chinese films, most of which were considered lost until some nitrate prints were discovered in a California warehouse during the 1990s, set to a song from the soundtrack of Wong's In the Mood for Love (2000). It is available on the Criterion Collection DVD release of In the Mood for Love as an extra, as well as various bootlegged VCD releases of Wong's features.

Rose Hobart

From Senses of Cinema:
Rose Hobart consists almost entirely of footage taken from East of Borneo, a 1931 jungle B-film starring the nearly forgotten actress Rose Hobart. Cornell condensed the 77-minute feature into a 20-minute short, removing virtually every shot that didn't feature Hobart, as well as all of the action sequences. In so doing, he utterly transforms the images, stripping away the awkward construction and stilted drama of the original to reveal the wonderful sense of mystery that saturates the greatest early genre films.

An except is on Youtube:

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Making the World a Better Place... with a Singaporean

I haven't been paying attention to The Authority for a while, so I only just found out that it was restarted last Oct. Say, doesn't that girl's shirt look familiar?

Yeah, that's Jenny Quarx. Leader of The Authority, 14 years old, the Spirit of the 21st Century, with unlimited (albeit undiscovered) powers and gay superhero foster parents. Damned cool. Time to start reading The Authority again.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

"Samurai", by BBDO and Three Legged Legs

GE called upon BBDO and Three Legged Legs to create an animated fable for their Imagination Theatre campaign. Our answer: Samurai. It's a tale of a pint-sized samurai faced with a seemingly impossible challenge as proposed by a behemoth Emperor and his wicked minions

Cute. Take a look.

Ryan, by Chris Landreth

Table of Malcontents posted, via Google Video, Academy Award-winning animated short Ryan by Canadian animator Chris Landreth. Watch it before it gets taken down by lawyers.

Now this is what 3D animation should be used for. To reinforce characterisation and storytelling. Enough with creepy photorealism and talking animals!

Time to start saving

Holy OSX -- the iPhone! Engadget coverage

Let's see, by 2008 the bugs should be ironed out, and Asia might get a 2G iPhone too :)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


The history of man can be written with objects. - Eduardo Paolozzi

Joseph Cornell
Review of Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell
An online gallery of Cornell's work

Jan Švankmajer
An interview
A Commentary: Animated Anxiety

Download his videos at http://www.eatpes.com/

Kris Moyes:

“The clip took 14 days to shoot and was all mapped out from the beginning. I notated the whole song and used that as my bible. The words and musical sections were divided equally allowing 7 days each. We were shooting about 25-30 words a day and working 9 hour days, (about 1 word every 15-20 minutes) which ended up being too much for my art director who pulled out halfway through. For the word section the more solid ideas were executed in the first few days allowing the others to ferment. Naturally there were a few that didn’t go exactly to plan so I had to treat them on a case to case basis. I think the results from the ones that needed lateral thinking are my favourites, especially “and” which was spelled out of the laptop, external drive, wacom tablet and ipod speakers.” (from Motionographer)

Download a high-res version here

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Reason to be in London #425

Fellini at the Barbican this month. And Bunuel in Feb and Mar!

Fellini's World

Guardian Film Blog

He sounds like a nice boss

WSJ.com carried an interview with Frank Gehry:

Considering that Mr. Gehry's buildings appear almost completely indifferent to conventions, I expected Mr. Gehry to be something of an egomaniac. Instead he turned out to be surprisingly modest. Describing a hotel in Spain that he just completed, Mr. Gehry said, "the rooms are comfortable," and when talking about the Guggenheim in Bilbao, he said that he was relieved that the people of the city liked it. The only time Mr. Gehry showed strong pride was when he was discussing being a good employer.

Most architects of Mr. Gehry's stature can staff the lower rungs of their office with volunteers and interns. "I am very proud," he says and sits up at the conference table. "Everybody gets paid. Everybody here is paid. There's no freebie interns. I've never done that. A lot of my colleagues do that, but that offends me so I've never done that." Like only one or two other topics in our conversation, this issue of how he cares for the people who work for him is something that seems to get him excited. "I am very proud," he says, again referring to his employees, "that they always get cost of living index raises and bonuses and more.

Another aspect of Mr. Gehry's old-fashioned virtue is his concern for what will happen to his employees once he dies. When I ask him if his age adds greater urgency to picking projects and finishing projects, Mr. Gehry says, "No. I am not that megalomaniac. No, I think the day will come and . . ."

Read the full interview here

I don't like his proposed design for the IR btw (you can view it here) Looks like a heap of raw fish in a dish of yu sheng, ready to be ravished by hungry diners. Then again, maybe that's not a bad concept for a casino...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Economics and the British B-movie

British B-movies, unlike their American equivalents, were the result of a quota, as The Guardian explains:
The quota quickie was an unlooked-for consequence of a state attempt to give British film a shot in the arm - the 1927 act, which obliged exhibitors to screen a greater percentage of home-made films. A guaranteed market was created overnight, and muscular Hollywood outfits such as Paramount, Warners and Fox set up British subsidiaries to supply the demand for as little cash as possible. (read more)

Looks like a case of unintended consequences. But the objectives of those policymakers were achieved to some extent, since a generation of filmmakers honed their craft under the twin pressures of low budget and little time. Useful experiences.

Starting the year right

Caught Pan's Labyrinth and got my Paprika OST from a friend who recently returned from Japan.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year everyone.

The iBook died again shortly before the New Year. I suspect HD failure. Can't fix it through either Disk Utility or fsck. Can't reformat the disk either. Repairs at Ang Mo Kio will be expensive -- the alternative is to replace the HD myself. There're instructions online -- I just have to find the time to do it.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Back to basics

The germ of my plays? I'll be as accurate as I can about that. I went into a room and saw one person standing up and one person sitting down, and a few weeks later I wrote The Room. I went into another room and saw two people sitting down, and a few years later I wrote The Birthday Party. I looked through a door into a third room, and saw two people standing up and I wrote The Caretaker.

--- Harold Pinter

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Tell it like it is

From "Philip Yeo moving to PM's Office", Today, 23rd Dec 2006:

Singapore's strength lies in execution — not ideas, nor strategic planning, said the fast-talking Mr Yeo.

And prowess in execution is easily learnt by other countries.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

365 films in 365 days

Jonas Mekas, veteran of the American underground art scene, is going to combine new footage with footage that he's been recording most of his 85 years.

While most of those friends -- Andy Warhol, Stan Brakhage, Allen Ginsberg -- have departed for that rent-controlled loft in the sky, Mekas continues to create and innovate.

On Jan. 1, a week after his 85th birthday, Mekas launches a yearlong film-a-day series. He'll post a new poetic short at his website each afternoon until the end of 2007. He hopes film buffs will watch them on their iPods.

Read on for his thoughts on using different formats, the essence of art, and the relationship between content and the technology used to record it.

Wired News: Short films from a Long Life

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Saatchi and Stuart

Charles Saatchi, owner of Saatchi Gallery, is a smart man:

In May Mr. Saatchi, famed for spotting young unknowns and turning them into art-world superstars, created a section on his Web site for artists of all ages to post their work at no charge. It is called Your Gallery, and now boasts contributions by about 20,700 artists, including 2,000 pieces of video art.

Everything there is for sale, with neither the buyer nor the seller paying a cent to any dealer or other middleman. About 800 new artists have been signing up each week.

And since Stuart (shorthand for “student art”) went online last month, some 1,300 students (including 450 in the United States) have created Web pages there. No one vets the quality or style of the art.

With dealers and collectors scouring student shows for undiscovered talent and students hunting for dealers to represent them, Mr. Saatchi has tapped a vein that can’t stop gushing. If Stuart gains anything like the cachet of MySpace, it has the potential to morph from a nonprofit venture into a gold mine for Mr. Saatchi. (More from the NYT)

Now why didn't someone else think of that first?

David Bowie x Bing Crosby

Yep, strange but it happened in 1977.

The Washington Post explains:

The notion of pairing the resolutely white-bread Crosby with the exquisitely offbeat Bowie apparently was the brainchild of the TV special's producers, Gary Smith and Dwight Hemion, according to Ian Fraser, who co-wrote (with Larry Grossman) the song's music and arranged it.

Crosby was in Great Britain on a concert tour, and the theme of the TV special was Christmas in England. Bowie was one of several British guest stars (the model Twiggy and "Oliver!" star Ron Moody also appeared). Booking Bowie made logistical sense, since the special was taped near his home in London, at the Elstree Studios. As perhaps an added inducement, the producers agreed to air the arty video of Bowie's then-current single, "Heroes" (Crosby introduced it)


The original plan had been for Bowie and Crosby to sing just "Little Drummer Boy." But "David came in and said: 'I hate this song. Is there something else I could sing?' " Fraser said. "We didn't know quite what to do."

Fraser, Kohan and Grossman left the set and found a piano in the studios' basement. In about 75 minutes, they wrote "Peace on Earth," an original tune, and worked out an arrangement that weaved together the two songs. Bowie and Crosby nailed the performance with less than an hour of rehearsal.

And that was almost that. "We never expected to hear about it again," Kohan said. (click for more)

(From Boing Boing)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Delicious Library

Discovered via the Penguin Blog: Delicious Library!
Get your Mac, a webcam, and Delicious Library and rediscover your home library. Just point any FireWire digital video camera, like an Apple iSight®, at the barcode on the back of any book, movie, music, or video game. Delicious Library does the rest. The barcode is scanned and within seconds the item's cover appears on your digital shelves filled with tons of in-depth information downloaded from one of six different web sources from around the world.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Tan Pin Pin on film school

Tan Pin Pin, speaking from considerable experience, on the benefits of film schools and what prospective film students may want to look out for:

In the best case scenarios, film schools (or education for that matter) allow you to find your voice and they also provide a supportive enough environment to help you develop it. That was why, although I enjoyed my time making Under One Roof, I had to leave Television. The harsh daily grind of TV-making was killing my own filmmaking voice I had and I had leave to save it. I decided to enroll myself in film school, to not just learn the technical side of things (that you can learn as an apprentice), but to set time aside to help me define, refine my filmmaking voice in a structured environment. I knew I had that voice, but had trouble articulating, accepting it and I needed a little help.

Read the rest of the post.