Posts Tagged ‘documentary’

Gza – Wu-Tang Revealed Trailer

August 18, 2010

Trailer for the new ‘Wu Tang Revealed’ documentary, made by the GZA, showcasing what life is really like on the road with the Clan. Should be a sick film!

James

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Lights, Camera, AÇÃO!

July 29, 2010

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During the making of ‘O Divino, De Repente’ (2009)

Brazilian cinema, as an artform, is known for experiencing large fluctuations in terms of frequency of releases, due to the industry’s reliance upon the State for funding and incentives.

Despite this, the country has been responsible for some incredibly evocative and moving content over the past few years. Several key films have done much to lift the profile of Brazilian cinema overseas, showing the world an urban lifestyle far removed from the glamorous beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana.

In the 1940’s American genre films were very popular and many Brazilian production companies began to emulate them. The Cinematográfica Vera Cruz was one of the most prolific; established in 1949, Vera Cruz cinema represented the highly commercialized content that was beginning to characterize mainstream Brazilian cinema. Significant investment was made to these production houses, leading to large scale Hollywood-style studios that many felt produced films with high budgets but low on content.

As a result, many film-makers began to feel disillusioned and started experimenting with independent cinema. In the 50’s and 60’s a group of Brazilian directors began to practice a particular style and technique of film-making which became known as Cinema Novo.

Characterised by the Portuguese phrase ‘Uma câmera na mão e uma idéia na cabeça’, or ‘A camera in the hand and an idea in the head’, Cinema Novo was a retort, inspired by Italian Neo-Realism and French ‘Nouvelle Vague’ movements, against the output of the Vera Cruz, and aimed to authentically represent Brazilian life. Even today, with Brazil’s rise as a global economic power, the distribution of wealth is tremendously unbalanced; rich playboys party in the clubs of Rio de Janeiro while slums filled with the poor cover the hills overlooking the city.

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Cinema Novo addressed this by using Brazilian poverty as a main focus of the story-telling; a focus which, although the movement ended in the early 1970’s as a result of political oppression, can still be seen in contemporary works such as Carandiru (2003) and the Academy Award-nominated City of God (2002).

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Scenes from City of God (2002)

Brazil’s varied and engaging artistic output means that the country is constantly recognised as being a unique and rich cultural hub; for example, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, (MoMA), held a film exhibition between 15-29 July entitled ‘Premiere Brazil!’

Held every year in conjunction with the Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival, the event provides a platform for both new and established Brazilian film-makers to have a chance to premiere their works to American audiences.

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An image from Waste Land (2010) Directed by Lucy Walker. Image courtesy of moma.org

Over on the West Coast, the Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival (LABRFF) has just finished its third edition, running from 27th April – 2nd May. LABRFF aims to provide a link between Brazil and Hollywood, raising the profile of Brazilian film-makers in the industry and promoting their films to a wider audience.

February saw the 2nd annual Hollywood Brazilian Film Festival, held over three days in the heart of Hollywood. HBR FEST is, according to their website, ‘a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting the cultural and commercial exchange between Hollywood and Brazil.’

Much like LABRFF, the aim of the festival is to raise the profile of Brazilian filmmakers in Hollywood and elicit production and financing opportunities for international filmmakers; the first edition of the show in 2009 was held at the Egyptian Theatre and Mann Chinese 6 Cinemas, and was reportedly a great success for those involved. A total of eight feature films, documentaries and shorts are all given an enviable platform from which to air, many of them premieres.

Such cultural exchanges are very important; with the majority of the world’s cinema emanating from Hollywood it would be very easy for content to become homogenised and repetitive. By bringing in influences from countries such as Brazil, the industry can be sure of plenty of inspiration from a variety of global cultural capitals.

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With a landscape such as this, it is little wonder that Rio de Janeiro has inspired generations of Brazilian film-makers

In London earlier this year, Nike Sportswear premiered the release of Cadência, a major new film documentary and exhibition by director Daren Bartlett at Shoreditch’s Rich Mix exhibition centre. According to a review in Don’t Panic magazine, “Cadência sets out to articulate the ambiguous essence of Rio de Janeiro’s symbolic identity through its people, passions and traditions by exploring the underground phenomena of traditional kite culture, the masquerade of Clovis and of course, football.”

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In addition, an exhibition inspired by the film took place across the road at Nike’s 1948 store, featuring large-scale visual and audio projections taken from the film, a selection of art stills by Jiwon Park and catering by Brazilian restaurant Raizes.

Elsewhere in London, the HSBC-sponsored ‘Festival Brazil’ at the Southbank Centre runs from 19th June – 5th September, and celebrates Brazilian heritage in a vibrant and dynamic way. Although the event does not specifically feature cinema, it is an incredible celebration of Brazilian culture, from food and dance to literature and art.

Brazilian culture is unique in that its inclusive nature makes it feel accessible by people all across the world; the energy, vibrancy and richness of picture-postcard beaches and festivals juxtaposes with the gritty romance of the Cinema Novo favelas, providing beauty for those of all tastes. Given the ‘A camera in the hand…’ philosophy that underpins independent Brazilian cinema, there are arguably fewer places in the world where you’d rather be holding a camera.

James

Barcelona Pt. 2

December 22, 2009

I took so many snaps I had to split them up. Here’s part two:


Yes that is blood she is pouring.

Kristian

Barcelona 2009

December 20, 2009

Went to Barca for my birthday a week ago. It was nang. Here are some pics.

Chris Rock – Good Hair

November 2, 2009

New comedy/documentary starring the man, the legend that is Chris Rock, looking at the trials and tribulations of black women when it comes to hair. Relaxer, weaves and a $9 billion a year industry… who’d have thought it?

James

Autumn

November 1, 2009

RaNdOm SoUtHaMpToN!

October 22, 2009

A wacky selection of shots from my hometown in no particular order, and of no particular relevence.

Kristian

Bishopstoke Carnival 2009

October 7, 2009

Kristian

Southampton Boat Show Pt. 2 – Pics

September 29, 2009

Pretty self explanatory really. Enjoy.


Look! A Chuckle Brother!

Same Time Next Year Soton!

Kristian

Citizen Camera – Sabina House, Uganda

September 29, 2009

As media communication becomes ever more sophisticated and influential in the development of Western societies, the disparity between first and third worlds has never been starker. Economic wealth has divided the globe for centuries; solutions to solving debt and poverty mired by politics, colonialism, religion and corruption. However, there is no such reason as to why the technological gulf cannot be stemmed.

Post-based ‘Cash for Mobile’ schemes enable unused handsets to be reused in the third world. Why can’t the same principle be applied to computers, monitors, motherboards, mice, keyboards, digital cameras and wire? Without these parts and tools, any chance of real technological infrastructure being implemented in developing countries seems all the more unlikely. It’s a simple case of supply and demand.

To be able to create ‘meaning’ that can be quickly shared and duplicated across the globe (I.E. media products such as photography, film, art and writing) people of the third world have little chance of competing economically in the future.

Therefore, it warms my heart to see organisations like Winchester-based Citizen Camera going to Uganda and teaching children there photography and film-making methods. As the video below details, their brief, but ultimately beneficial workshops enable these Ugandan children – many of whom have never even touched a camera before – to create their own meaning, to tell their own story.

This short piece by the children of Sabina House, is an enriching watch. The material within is not completely alien to me, after all, I’ve seen comic relief appeals many times. However, it is refreshing to imbibe their world, their experiences and life without emotionally-charged charity messages blurring my understanding.

So as I sit here in Southampton, blogging on my Dell workstation, I can watch and appreciate Ugandan life through the eyes of the children who live there. I only hope for more initiatives like this.

Watch the Sabina House film here

Many thanks to Mr Karin Stowe.

Kristian