Thursday, December 27, 2007

Radio, Live Transmission.

A few weekends ago, I saw Control directed by the legendary Anton Corbijn (2007). I was a bit apprehensive about seeing this movie because I'm a pessimist by nature, but was happily surprised.

The film seems to be incredibly accurate. It portrays Ian Curtis in a very human light and separates the man from the musician. Perhaps this is largely due to the fact that the film drew upon Deborah Curtis' book Touching From a Distance.

Sam Riley as Ian Curtis in Control

Anton Corbijn really shines as a director. His shots are perfectly framed and allow the viewer to see the dismal place where Ian Curtis lived, breathed, thrived and died. The black & white film adds a nice effect as it adds to the emotion of the movie. The soundtrack is obviously outstanding and the actors who played the band members of Joy Division are actually playing the songs in the movie (mise-en-scene at its finest).

You can view the trailer here:

Anyway, it's still playing at Cinema Village on 12th Street and 2nd Ave. Go see it and bring tissues. I haven't stopped listening to Joy Division since.

You Are Not Your Landing Strip

Photo Credit: Mario Testino for Gucci

Digging Deep

A few weeks ago my brother and I were engaging in one of our favorite activities, which involves going to Barnes and Noble, picking up as many books that seem like they might be of interest, walking around the store with them for a while and then deciding to not buy anything. This particular instance, I was clutching a book by Francesc Torres about the fosas in Cataluña called Oscura es la habitación donde dormimos or in English Dark is the Room Where We Sleep. It's glossy pages were filled with moving and disturbing images, reminders of the brutality of the Spanish Civil War with text in both Spanish and English (I would like to translate things of that nature, by the way, any takers?).

For whatever stupid reason (probably the fact that I have pretty much no money after I pay rent, bills and loans), in one hasty motion of slight indecision, I put the book down. Unfortunately, at the time I didn't take note of the author, nor did I write down the title of the book ni nada in my notepad. All I knew was that I had seen an amazing book about fosas, which is like trying to find a book about Terry Richardson and googling "softcore hipster porn."

To my surprise, The ICP is (and has been) showing Francesc Torres' project (along with the Other Weapons: Photography and Print Culture During the Spanish Civil War.


International Center of Photography presents a project by Francesc Torres: Dark is the Room Where We Sleep

On the night of September 14, 1936, forty-six supporters of Spain's Republican government were killed in the village of Villamayor de los Montes, and buried in an unmarked mass grave. As it does in this small village outside of Burgos, in northern Spain, the violent history and legacy of the Spanish Civil War remains buried throughout the country, in both metaphorical and concrete ways. In 2004, Barcelona-based artist Francesc Torres joined forces with a forensic anthropology team as they uncovered the mass grave. Torres photographed the work of forensics team, as well as the participation of local townspeople who became involved in the project. Torres has created an installation of black-and-white photographs from this documentation that poignantly and forcefully examines the relationships between war, violence, memory, and photography. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue, published by Actar press in Barcelona, and will be presented at the Center for Contemporary Culture in Barcelona after its ICP showing.


From the author:

About seven years ago I started working with the idea of the recovery of the memory of Spain's recent history. First I considered an archaeological project centring on the material sediment of the Civil War in the old battlefields, specifically the Ebro front. At the same time, the Spanish Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory (ARMH) had begun to locate, excavate and exhume the mass graves from the Spanish war and post-war. After a protracted struggle with two successive Catalan regional administrations of opposing ideological signs who thwarted my project in Catalonia, despite my having funding from two US foundations (Fulbright and American Center) and the support of two Catalan universities, I ended up doing it in Burgos in collaboration with the ARMH. This book documents an exercise in citizenship by a group of Spaniards determined to rescue a part of their history which had been sequestered.
-Francesc Torres

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I'll bring the HOT SAUUUUCE

It's been a minute since I last updated PUBLIC WITNESS PROGRAM. In between Hannukah, Christmas (my first ever!) and Festivus, the shopping, the wrapping and crafting have subsided and I can finally resume blogging, a verb I'll never be completely comfortable with.

Wheelhouse Pickles in Brooklyn have something they call Minor Threat Hot Sauce. Though I'm not really that interested, I have to admit that I like their proposed logo for the sauce:

Minor Threat shot that shit down, obviously.

I like the idea of vacation. Two days off and I got to leave early today. At my old job I only had Christmas off, at the new spot I got Christmas Eve, Chirstmas, and New Years Eve (Day? Does this even belong here?). I have been fantasizing about vacation but these two little puentes* give me just enough time to do nothing but indulge in hobbies I have almost forgotten (shopping) without really doing damage to my bank account like a real vacation would.

Optimism is a hell of a drug.

*The word puente is Spanish. In Spain, there are very few national holidays; they celebrate on a more local basis (on Christmas, you can see people beating themselves with metal chains in some processions in Madrid). If one of these holidays falls in the middle of the week, Spanish students typically get a day or two to link the holiday to the weekend. End explanation.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Forever 21, John 3:16

I recently noticed that the bottoms of Forever 21 shopping bags say "John 3:16." Apparently, according to reliable sources (aka Wikipedia), it's a reflection of the owners' faith.

Does it go along with the Christian faith to steal other people's designs and use sweatshop labor?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Spanish Cinema Now and The (Spanish Civil) War on Film aka Thank God I Live In New York

Beginning December 7, Lincoln Center will be hosting three Spanish film series: Spanish Cinema Now and The War on Film (La guerra filmada) alongside Remembering Pilar Miró. As if December wasn't already busy enough, New York City got hit with some more.

The film Caótica Ana directed by Julio Medem (2007) is something I'm really looking forward to seeing. Below is the trailer:

Also, this Thursday December 6th at Lincoln Center is a showing of Welcome to the Dollhouse by Todd Solondz (1996) at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $25 a piece and there's a Q&A with Heather Matarazzo, Brendan Sexton III and Daria Kalinina.


Film Society of Lincoln Center webpage.