Monday, February 18, 2008

The Genius of Jodorowsky

Alejandro Jodorowsky (b.1929); film maker, iconoclast, poet, magician, actor, philosopher, scholar in comparative religion, playwright, director, producer, composer, mime, comic book writer, tarot card reader, historian, and psychotherapist.
Jodorowsky began his artistic activities at a very young age inspired greatly by film and literature. He began publishing his poetry in Chile when he was 16. At this time he worked alongside the Chilean poets, Nicanor Parra and Enrique Lihn. He developed an interest in puppetry and mime. At 17, he debuted as an actor and a year later he created the pantomime troupe, Teatro Mimico. In 1953 Jodorowsky wrote his first play, El Minotauro. That same year he traveled to Paris to study pantomime with Etienne Decroux, the teacher of Marcel Marceau. The next year he joined Marcel Marceau theatre troupe; the performances realized during this collaboration toured worldwide. After performing in Mexico in 1960, Jodorowsky decided to continue his stay in order to pursue other theatrical endeavors.
In February 1962, in Paris, Jodorowsky with Fernando Arrabal and Roland Topor, initiated El Panico, an artistic movement centered around three basic elements: terror, humor, and simultaneity. These acts combine layers of physical postures inspired by the imagination and integrate artistic elements. Acts of this movement include Cuentos Panicos, Teatro Panico, Fabulas Panicas and Efimeros Panicos.
Throughout the 60’s and 70’s, working in Paris and Mexico, Jodorowsky created over one hundred theatrical productions. He directed works of his own in addition to those written by Leonora Carrington, Samuel Beckett, Ionesco, Strindberg and others. El Acto Efimero, or ephemeral performances were acted out in public spaces drawing attention to the quotidian while promoting critical awareness in both participants and audience. During these ephemeral acts the public is often unaware that an act of drama is being performed. Jodorowsky once stated "the Panic man is not, he is ever becoming " to reference Alfred Korzybski's influence on his thought.
Beginning in 1966, Jodorowsky created comics relating to El Panico. These comics were made independently and in collaboration with illustrators including Jean "Mœbius" Giraud. In the course of his comic career Jodorowsky has created approximately 21 series including Fabulas Panicos, Los Ojos del Gato and El Incal. All translated in over ten languages.
Jodorowsky first experience with film was in 1957 in Paris where he adapted Thomas Mann’s Las Cabezas Trocadas as La Cravate. He next created Fando y Lis in Mexico in 1967. Two years later Jodorowsky created his most renowned film, El Topo. In the following years additional films were realized including La Montana Sagrada in 1972 .

Sunday, February 17, 2008

e2 design

e2 design II — The Druk White Lotus School — Ladakh podcast
e2 is an ongoing PBS series about the economies of being environmentally conscious. Shot in high definition with cinematic lenses, e2 chronicles global efforts to solve pressing ecological challenges. From energy consumption to design efficiency, policy to industry, the series documents the innovators whose work is reducing humans' impact on the environment. Interviews with experts, policymakers and pioneers across a variety of disciplines offer a firsthand account of the complex environmental challenges that we face, as well as the possibility that pragmatic solutions are within reach.

Watch all 6 videos from the II series here.

e2 design — Deeper Shades of Green podcast
This is the final video podcast from the new PBS series e2 design. The podcasts take you beyond the episodes and deeper into the world of sustainable design. This episode introduces Cameron Sinclair, the founder of Architects for Humanity and a visionary leader in the green architecture movement.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Stanley Kubrick: The Last Movie

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Australian Film

Some excerpts from some popular Australian films from the last 30 years. Can you guess which ones?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Gallipoli (1981) Ending

Gallipoli by Peter Wier
When Australian film director Peter Weir, perhaps best known to American audiences for Witness and The Truman Show, was planning his next film after completing Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), he wanted a story set in France depicting the big battles of 1916-1917. A friend suggested he make a film about the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) attack on Gallipoli. Unconvinced, he nevertheless traveled to Istanbul in 1976. After spending two days climbing the hills and wandering the trenches, Weir was struck by what he found: buttons, old leather belts and other items left behind by ANZAC forces. He decided then and there that he would indeed make a film about Gallipoli, saying, "I felt somehow I was really touching history."
His original idea was to tell a comprehensive story from enlistment in 1914 though the evacuation of Gallipoli near the end of 1915, but after several drafts, he was unhappy with the results. Instead, he decided to write a tale about two friends and their journey to war. The result is the outstanding anti-war film Gallipoli (1981).

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Ayahuasca, tourism vs tradition

Talk given at the 3rd Amazonian Shamanism Conference, addressing the commercialization and banalization of "shamanism". Sorry if I get a ... todos » bit emphatic at times, some of the things I had seen that week had gotten me pretty worked up.
The talk was rather hastily prepared, most of it improvised on the spot, so I made a few factual mistakes. Here´s a few corrections:

Pastoral poetry began with Teocritus in 300 bc, not 3000 years ago as I said.

Tenochtilan was conquered by the Spaniards with the help of 20,000 Tlaxcalans, but most importantly, of a huge smallpox epidemic which decimated the Aztecs

I'm not sure ukelele's feature prominently in cowboy music, and although there is a polka influence in maricahis there are lots of other elements in its very diverse origins, that example which I made up on the spot, doesn't really hold close scrutiny, same goes for the argument about the preservation of the blues..let me know if you hear any more!

If you want to know more about the topic of new age plastic shamans here

they have some very interesting forums

"Who owns native culture",

deals with every aspect of the appropriation of traditional knowledge, not just spiritual and religious practices.

Monday, February 11, 2008

modern mass media manipulation and risks for democracy

UK movie maker Peter Watkins talking about modern mass media manipulation, democracy, education, history, social movements, neoliberalism, communism and consummerism. 30 minutes, french subtitles.
Peter Watkins (born October 29, 1935) is an English film and (once) television director. He was born in Norbiton, Surrey, lived in Sweden and Canada for many years, and now lives in France.
After studying acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Watkins began his television and film career as an assistant producer of short TV films and commercials, and in the early 1960s was an assistant editor and director of documentaries at the BBC. All of his films have either been documentary or drama presented with documentary techniques, sometimes portraying historical occurrences and sometimes possible near future events as if contemporary reporters and filmmakers were there to interview the participants. Watkins pioneered this technique in his first full-length television film, Culloden, which portrayed the Jacobite uprising of 1745 in a style similar to the Vietnam War reporting of the time. In 1965, he won a Jacob's Award for Culloden at the annual presentation ceremony in Dublin.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Aleister Crowley - The Wickedest Man In the World (2002)

Aleister Crowley, born Edward Alexander Crowley, (12 October 1875 – 1 December 1947), pronounced /ˈkroʊli/) was a British occultist, writer, mountaineer, philosopher, and mystic. He was an influential member in several occult organizations, including the Golden Dawn, the A A (Argenteum Astrum), and Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), and is best known today for his occult writings, especially The Book of the Law, the central sacred text of Thelema. He gained much notoriety during his lifetime, and was infamously dubbed "The Wickedest Man In the World."
Crowley's other interests and accomplishments were wide-ranging—he was a chess player, mountain climber, poet, painter, astrologer, hedonist, drug experimenter, and social critic. Crowley had claimed to be a Freemason, but the regularity of his initiations with the United Grand Lodge of England has been disputed.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead

The Bardo Thodol (Tibetan: bardo "liminality"; thodol as "liberation", Liberation through Hearing in the Intermediate State, is a funerary text that describes, and intends to guide one through, the experiences of the consciousness after death during the interval known as bardo between death and rebirth. It also includes chapters on the signs of death and rituals to undertake when death is closing in or has taken place.
It is the most internationally famous and widespread work of Tibetan Nyingma literature.
The Bardo Thodol is recited by lamas over a dying or recently deceased person, or sometimes over an effigy of the deceased. This a sign of the influence of shamanism on Tibetan Buddhism[citation needed]. The name means literally "liberation through hearing in the intermediate state".
The Bardo Thodol actually differentiates the intermediate states between lives into three bardos (themselves further subdivided):

the chikhai bardo or "bardo of the moment of death"
the chonyid bardo or "bardo of the experiencing of reality"
the sidpa bardo or "bardo of rebirth".
The chikhai bardo features the experience of the "clear light of reality", or at least the nearest approximation to it of which one is spiritually capable.

The chonyid bardo features the experience of visions of various Buddha forms (or, again, the nearest approximations of which one is capable).
The sidpa bardo features karmically impelled hallucinations which eventually result in rebirth. (Typically imagery of men and women passionately entwined.)
One can compare the descriptions of the Bardo Thodol with accounts of certain "out of the body" near-death experiences described by people who have nearly died in accidents or on the operating table - these typically contain accounts of a "white light", experienced as, somehow, a living being, and of helpful figures corresponding to that person's religious tradition.

The Bardo Thodol also mentions three other bardos: those of "life" (or ordinary waking consciousness), of "dhyana" (meditation), and of "dream". Thus together the "six bardos" form a classification of states of consciousness into six broad types, and any state of consciousness forms a type of "intermediate state" - intermediate between other states of consciousness. Indeed, one can consider any momentary state of consciousness a bardo, since it lies between our past and future existences; it provides us with the opportunity to experience reality, which is always present but obscured by the projections and confusions due to our previous unskillful actions.
According to Tibetan tradition, the Bardo Thodol was composed by Padmasambhava, written down by his primary student, Yeshe Tsogyal, buried in the Gampo hills in central Tibet and subsequently discovered by a Tibetan terton, Karma Lingpa.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Subway by Sesame Street

When I was a little kid I watched Sesame Street. This was despite having a life that in no way resembled the urban muppets that were on the screen. The was no subway where I lived, no busy streets, no highrise buidlings, and certainly no frogs dressed like Sam Spade.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

BBC Documentary "Wonderland: Virtual Adultery and Cyberspace Love"

Documentary series about everyday dramas. Carolyn is a 37 year-old mother of four in the midst of a passionate affair. She's spending up to 18 hours a day with her lover online on Second Life, the website. She has never met him, but, to her husband of nine year's dismay, she is abandoning her family and flying 5,000 miles to London to start a new life with her lover, Elliot. What makes this website, which has three million members, so compelling?

Saturday, February 02, 2008

From Bruno Bozzetto's "Allegro Non Troppo" (1977)

Part One

Part Two

Allegro non troppo is a Bruno Bozzetto animated film released in 1977. The film is a parody of Disney's Fantasia, though possibly more of a challenge to Fantasia than parody status would imply. In music, an instruction of "allegro ma non troppo" means to play "fast, but not overly so". In the context of this film, and without the "ma", it means Not So Fast!, an interjection meaning "slow down" or "think before you act" and refers to the film's pessimistic view of Western progress (as opposed to the optimism of Disney's original).