Monday, May 22, 2017

Twin Peaks: the Return

David Lynch & Mark Frost
Snoqualmie WA, Las Vegas NV 
& Los Angeles CA 2017
Part 1: My log has a message for you.
Part 2: The stars turn and a time presents itself.

Last night I watched the first two parts of the new continuation of Twin Peaks, twice in immediate succession, and found much to admire both times.  I’m particularly pleased that the very first scene pays direct homage to Lynch’s two finest works prior to Fire Walk with me, Eraserhead and Dune, in image and dialogue respectively.  There are echos of all of his major projects to be found in these first two hours of his new eighteen hour film, but there is more than enough that is new and unexpected as well.  The evolution of the Arm into a sparkling and brain topped tree is an especially welcome development.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

I pirati di Capri

regia di Edgar Ulmer e Giuseppe Maria Scotese 
musiche di Nino Rota 
Taranto, Puglia, e Cinecittà, Roma 1949

Louis Hayward plays Count Amalfi, who Masquerades as Captain Sirroco the leader of the titular Pirates of Capri.  Under his aristocratic guise he also functions, within the story, as the chief advisor to the Queen of Naples.  His political rival (and his brother’s murderer) is the Minister of Police, Baron Holstein.   Set in 1799, the film concerns the inevitable ambiguity of role playing within a popular revolution and the inevitability of the compromises that result.  Given access to the greater resources available to him in Italy, Edgar Ulmer was able to produce his most visually elegant film.  While the story may recall popular Hollywood swashbucklers like the Mark of Zorro and the Scarlet Pimpernel, Ulmer’s artistry and understanding of history carries it fair beyond those more prosaic models.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Gordon Parks' Segregation Story

from The Restraints: Open and Hidden 
Gordon Parks 
Shady Grove & Mobile Alabama 1956

These are a handful of the photographs that have been shown extensively the last few years under the title: the Segregation Story, but some of them were originally displayed in the pages of LIFE magazine in the photo essay referenced above.  Parks wasn’t from Alabama.  He grew up in Kansas, also very much under segregation and eventually he would return there to document its persistence well beyond its supposed end.  It would be a mistake, however, to view these only as social documents, and this goes far beyond an appreciation of their formal perfections.  I think that they reflect a depth of experience few photographer could claim.