Saturday, July 30, 2016

Crossing the Line (2006)

The story of US soldiers deserting and going to live in North Korea. Interviews and follows the lives of the former soldiers who discuss their daily lives and reasons for changing sides.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Ben: Diary Of A Heroin Addict

The full horror of terminal addiction. In life, whatever you feed, will survive. Be careful what you feed.

Ben had already edited his footage while alive into a rather incoherent 45-minute film. There was a story in a local newspaper that was later picked up by the BBC about this film, and Gecko Productions, a small independent production company, got in touch with Anne and asked her if they could make a proper documentary out of it.

She was ready by then – and Gecko employed Lambert to do the job. Lambert’s previous documentaries had been set predominantly in war zones – Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza – but he instantly saw the compelling nature of the very different material he’d been handed here.

Though he flinched at some of the footage – over 30 hours, it repeatedly shows Ben injecting heroin into his groin, since his veins were too damaged. “I thought it was too dark at first,” says Lambert. “But by the next morning, I thought the fact that I’d had such an emotional response to it is probably exactly why I had to do it.” Lambert ended up making a film that was very different from the one Ben had hoped to make.

“He wanted to film his recovery from drugs,” Lambert explains. “He wanted to be a romantic hero.” Lambert’s film instead presents the sad story of a man fighting a losing battle. It has won Ben’s mother’s approval. “I think the documentary is absolutely amazing,” she says. “I think they’ve really honoured us as a family. They’ve not dumbed it down. But they’ve not sensationalised it either.”

If Anne Rogers now hopes this film about her son’s suffering will achieve some social good, her son’s relationship to the footage he left will remain a more tortured one. Lambert believes that Ben became almost as dependent on his camera as he had been on heroin. “At the end, the camera was the one person he could talk to in the middle of the night,” he says. “That camera was in and out of Cash Converters all the time. He had to pay up to £200 every time he got it back. That’s a lot of money when you’re really desperate. But he always went back to get it. It was the one thing he hung on to.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

David Bowie: Sound and Vision (Documentary 2002)

The genius of Bowie. A documentary, which takes you on a journey of Bowie's revolutionary career, struggle with his personal life and his achievements and successes. Features interviews with Bowie, Iman his wife, his musical contemporaries including Iggy Pop, Moby and Trent Reznor. Exclusive footage of live performances of the showman's best and music and film to showcase 30 years of his career. Highlights Bowie's interests, passions and involvement with the arts.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Buddhist Science of the Mind

"Our understanding (of the meaning of Being) is an understanding that we share understanding between us and, at the same time, because we share understanding between us: between us all, simultaneously — all the dead and the living, and all beings." JEAN-LUC NANCY, BEING SINGULAR PLURAL (2000) p99
The film is unusual in that it is not a ethnological report by an outsider as is usually the case, but the story of one man’s entry into religious experience.

The film was made as part of his seven part series The Light at the Edge of the World, which was about remote communities around the world.

The film is shot mainly in Nepal, and follows Davis’ journey to Thubten Choling to meet Trulshik Rinpoche, who was one of the main teachers of the Dalai Lama.

He also meets up with Matthieu Ricard, who comes apparently to help with the translations, and ends up as one of Davis’ best guides to the tradition.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

High Anxieties – The mathematics of chaos (2008)

The documentary looks at the modern advances in mathematics and how they affect our understanding of physics, economics, environmental issues and human psychology. In the 20th Century mathematics has affected our view of the world, and particularly how the financial economy and earth’s environment are now seen as inherently unpredictable.

The film examines the work of Henri Poincare and Alexander Lyapunov and its influence on later developments in mathematics. It includes interviews with David Ruelle, about chaos theory and turbulence, the economist Paul Ormerod about the unpredictability of economic systems, and James Lovelock the founder of Gaia theory about climate change and tipping points in the environment.

As we approach tipping points in both the economy and the climate, the film examines the mathematics we have been reluctant to face up to and asks if, even now, we would rather bury our heads in the sand rather than face harsh truths.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Hetty MacLise 1931-2011

Hetty MacLise (pictured right with her late husband Angus) speaks about ironing and 'those ghastly catalogues' in this video from 2007.

Hetty had a much greater story to tell. She was literally at the centre of the American avant gárde in the late 1960s and early 1970s as an artist, musician, poet and muse. She inscribed a brief memoir of the time on a blog that was updated in 2008 and 2009; -  from living with The Grateful Dead, performing in the underground art music scene of the time, early work with tape recorders, as a staff artist on The San Francisco Oracle (as Hetty McGee), traveling to India, Nepal, London and all over the USA and Canada, to the communes, city collective, working with the Velvet Underground, Andy Warhol and as a mother to a recognized incarnate tulku lama. You can download a PDF of the full 73 pages of writing by Hetty about her life. There is music featuring Hetty here (along with her husband Angus (1938-1979). Hetty died in London on the 10th June 2011, aged 80.

Hetty played organ, tampura, and other instruments in the Universal Mutant Repertory Company, which played psychedelic drone trance music with an Indian flavor. One track by the Universal Mutant Repertory Company, "Heavenly Blue Pt. 4 & 5," appears in The Invasion of the Thunderbolt Pagoda, a collection of musical endeavors in which Angus MacLise participated between 1968 and 1972. The 39-minute title piece, a live improvisation while Ira Cohen's Invasion of the Thunderbolt Pagoda film played at St. Mark's Church in New York. It is not explicitly credited to the Universal Mutant Repertory Company, but the five musicians listed, including the MacLises, are the ones that comprised that group. The MacLise's work has made them bona fide legends among vintage psychedelia enthusiasts! Hetty and Angus produced a magickal child, a son by the name of Ossian. The couple moved to Kathmandu, Nepal where Ossian was later 100% recognized as a Tulku (an incarnation of Sang gyes Nienpa Trulku Rinpoche) at the Swayambu Buddhist Monestary by His Holiness, The Gyalwa Karmapa! A Tulku "literally means, an emanation body; a term used for the incarnations of Buddhas, Arya Bodhisattvas and Bodhisattvas, as well as for the reincarnations of spiritually achieved practitioners or Lamas"

Invasion Of Thunderbolt Pagoda
Film by Ira Cohen. (1935-2011)

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Little Ashes (2008)

A romantic adaptation of the friendship and love between Salvador Dali and Fredrico Garcia Lorca.  

Battleship Potemkin (Movie with Pet Shop Boys Score)

Sergei Eisenstein's 1925 masterpiece, with a soundtrack done by Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe from Pet Shop Boys in 2005.

Monday, July 04, 2016


Afterlife, Ishu Patel, National Film Board of Canada

This animated short film attempts to answer the eternal questions, What is dying? and How does it feel? Based on recent studies, case histories and some of the ancient myths, the afterlife state is portrayed as an awesome but methodical working-out of all the individual's past experiences. Film without words.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Soul Survivor - The James Brown Story

This documentary explores the life and work of soul singer James Brown.

The Great War (BBC 1964) Part 1 of 26 - On The Idle Hill Of Summer

This documentary shows the full insane carnage that was the First World War. Made at a time (1964) when many veterans were still alive to tell their stories, this series strips away the mythology that has come to dominate much of the contemporary discourse around the war. Pointless battles, failed strategies and massive slaughter were the consistent factors in this truly horrific episode in human history. We owe it to the poor unfortunates that were swept up by this unimaginable conflict to remember their sacrifice and to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again, even thought the present day conflict in Syria resembles conditions on the Western Front in many ways. 

Friday, July 01, 2016

The Battle Of Algiers

The Battle of Algiers (Italian: La battaglia di Algeri; Arabic: معركة الجزائر‎‎; French: La Bataille d'Alger) is a 1966 Italian-Algerian historical war film co-written and directed by Gillo Pontecorvo and starring Jean Martin and Saadi Yacef.