Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Olafur Eliasson's "360 Room for All Colours"

A circular room with a wall of changing screen lights. It changed in different colours and was supposed to make us feel like witnessing evolving landscapes.

I had a different experience. For me, it felt like I was inside an empty UFO, or inside an empty room inside a space station floating somewhere in space. I felt like I was in a 2001: A Space Odyssey. That was when it emitted white light.

Then it turned red. A dark room, a horror movie. The room felt evil. The guy in the striped shirt looked suddenly
similar to Freddy Kruger. The blonde girl, on the other side of the room suddenly looked like Carrie. My mood was fear.

Then it turned blue - underwater, drowning, panic.

Then it changed into the lighter, less severe colours. I felt calm again. That thing was like a mood generator or a teleporter.

Photos from: Red, Blue, White

Friday, April 23, 2010

Olafur Eliasson's "Room for One Colour"

It's basically an empty room bathed in bright yellow light. Like Beauty it's a very simple concept but being inside that room was an experience I cannot quite describe. Or words may have failed me this time.

You stand in the middle of the room and look around, all you see is yellow. It's like being sucked inside the sun. My friend described it like being inside a tanning salon.

You're deprived of seeing other colours other than yellow and black. It's almost fascist in a way, taking away your right to see naturally.

We didn't spend too much time in the room as the light was suffocating and became increasingly unbearable it was almost torture. Like a gas chamber but with light. We were helpless in there and my primal instinct that triggered was: Get out.

Photos from:1, 2, 3

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

FILM REVIEW: Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky

Directed by Jan Kounen

The movie picks up from where Coco Avant Chanel left off. I haven't seen that one but I have a feeling I'm going to prefer that Chanel movie over this one.

The film begins with the opening in Paris of Stravinsky's highly controversial Rite of Spring. It was controversial because it was cosidered to be too modern for the audience who saw it. Most were clearly angered by it, shouting their insults mid-show. While some were mesmerised by it with a scattering of bravos and cheering. The opening was spectacular.

There was so much tension and energy in that room. There was this intense passion that flooded that theatre both from the artists who were performing in the show and the shocked audience members who were viewing it. That scene left me literally breathless.

Then it went downhill from there.

Unfortuantely the focus of the film was the "love" affair between Chanel and Stravinsky. It wasn't even love, it was just an affair. There was zero chemistry between these too and I didn't understand why they were so attracted to each other in the first place. It was meaingless sex scene after another. There were so many scenes that were just unnecessary, those long close-ups of the characters staring deadpan towards the camera was utterly futile and served no purpose at all and it happened roughly ten times in the movie (yes, I counted).

I would have preferred scenes showing the vast amount of  hard work both Chanel and Stravinsky put in their art. I liked the subplot of Chanel creating the legendary No. 5 perfume - I wanted to see more of that.

The other thing they should have focused more on was Stravinsky's wife and children. The affair destroyed their family and their lives and there wasn't enough screen time to really feel the drama. I wanted the camera to stay in that car that took the family away. I didn't want to be stuck with these two again, they were just so dull.

To be fair, the set design and costume design were brilliant, really captured that Chanel vibe - clean yet edgy, with a neutral colour palette. Anna Mouglalis' performance is worth the admission price alone, her portrayal was exactly how I imagined the real Chanel to have been like.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Film Buff Survival Kit

I came across a collection of clips in youtube promoting Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF). The 2008 videos each centered around certain film festival-goer types, for example there's the "Overanalyzer"

Then there's the "Seat Saver"

Finally the clip that inspired this post, the "Die Hard"

The last line in the Die Hard video: "A die hard (film festival) machine always comes prepared..." got me wondering about the things found in my bag when I attend film screenings or festivals. So I compiled a list of things that HAVE to be with me during any screening.

1) Jacket, cardigan or scarf - No matter what time of year, the air-conditioning in a cinema is always turned up too high, and it's always cold. So I always have a second layer prepared when the mercury drops. Plus they're also useful as "seat savers" for friends who are late.

2) Moleskine notebook + pen - For taking down notes either during or after the movie. Extremely useful for jotting down memorable quotes and scenes. I don't always use this during the movie because most of the time I'm too absorbed with the story and forget to write down anything plus it's hard to write in the dark. (Hint: sit near the aisles if you want to note-take as the lights near them are usually bright enough and do not even think about bringing a pen light, unless you want your face punched)

3) Coffee/Vitamin Water - particularly handy during festivals when you see 3 or 4 movies a day and during any late night screening when you feel mentally fatigued or sleepy. Coffee should be consumed before going into the theatre as they're not usually allowed. Vitamin Waters are useful too, preferably the Revive or Focus. I drink Focus when I find my head wandering and I lose concentration, Revive when I feel like I'm about to die.
4) No-Doz tablets - I use this when I don't feel like drinking any of the above and I need something to wake me up, also when a particular movie is long you don't really want to drink too much liquids or else your bladder will burst. (Note: only use occassionally)

5) Systane Eye Drops - now we move on to items that maintain comfort. I use eye drops when I feel my eyes drying up, usually due to the air-conditioning. Also, when a film is particularly engrossing I sometimes forget to blink.

6) Travacalm Natural Tablets - highly recommended when about to see a film that uses the "shaky-cam" technique excessively. Movies like Cloverfield. It calms down the stomach so you won't have to barf and miss out on the movie.

7) Lucas Papaw Ointment/Chapstick - because that damn air-conditioner gives me dry lips.

8) Palmer's Shea Butter Formula - because that damn air-conditioner gives me dry hands.

9) Sukin Hydrating Mist Toner - because that damn air-conditioning makes my face dry.

10) Aspirin/Paracetamol - when watching migrain inducing films like Transformers, so basically all Michael Bay films.

11) Bottle of water - for taking all those tablets or just for quenching thirst.

12) Packet of tissues - when it gets "dusty" in the theatres, usually during a Nicolas Sparks film.

13) Book (I usually like to carry the Popular Penguins because they're light and they have an awesome looking cover) - used for reading (duh!) while waiting in line or when a projector breaks down.

So that's basically what you'll find in my "kit" when I'm out and about watching films. Do you have a list of things you MUST have with you in the movies? If there are things you think I need to add, please let me know in the comments.

Now, back to those funny videos. There's seven of the VIFF videos in total and they can be found here. Also check out their 2009 trailers which are as equally funny.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Olafur Eliasson's "Beauty"

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney recently showcased Olafur Eliasson's past works and I was lucky enough to pay a visit. I'll be doing a series of posts focusing on some of the pieces I saw.

The works included the hypnotic and dreamlike "Beauty", a light sculpture/installation consisting of a spotlight shone on a slow descending spray of fine mist. Think of the Northern Lights. The piece creates haunting images of the supernatural, the light becoming representations of the spirit and the soul, the faint colours of the rainbow showing the diversity of the people whose the spirits once inhabited.

But then you stand on the other side of the room, and we lose all of that, instead we see more of the mist, the light is more white and the black more black. Feels like being underneath a floating waterfall somewhere in space.

Then you start interacting with the mist. You walk underneath it and instant flashback to childhood - playing soccer during an autum drizzle. Carwashing for pocket money. Waiting for mum to pick you up at school because you forgot your umbrella at home.

This is one of my favourites, because it feels so surreal yet real at the same time. It's nature turned on its head, becoming man-made. Humans playing Mother Nature.

It's such a simple idea yet an ingenious one.

Pictures from : 1

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sydney Film Festival 2010 program

SFF just announced their first part of the 2010 program. Unfortunately, Animal Kingdom didn't make it as one of the opening films but the rest of the lineup is making me do cartwheels across the room.

What I'm excited about:

The Loved Ones

I've been anxiously waiting to see this film ever since it garnered buzz at the midnight screenings at Toronto International Film Festival last year. It was supposed to be re-released in Australia earlier this year but was moved up closer to the end of the year (to be included in the festival, perhaps?). I've been stalking their official website for months now, waiting for some release news but I won't have to wait much longer after the film's inclusion in this year's lineup, unless it sells out straight away and I miss out again. Like Paranormal Activity last year...but let's not think about that.


The Duplass brother's comedy starring Jonah Hill, John C. Reilly and Marisa Tomei. The trailer looks really good and I'm currently in desperate need of a good comedy fix. I've been watching too many serious films at the moment.

Exit Through The Gift Shop

The Banksy documentary. I'm actually more excited about the fact that Banksy himself/herself will be attending this year's festival. Of course, no one know who he/she really is but I'm pretty sure he/she is going to be leaving behind some really cool graffiti art in the streets of Sydney.

Beautiful Darling

Andy Warhol and New York. That's all you need to convince me to see this.

The Messenger

I just want to see Woody Harrelson's performance.

What I want to see in the full program:

Animal Kingdom

Yeah, yeah I know that it's going to be released theatrically the day after the festival's opening. But (I can't believe I'm saying this) can they just schedule the release on a later date. Just to include it in the program.


An hour and a half in a coffin? Yes please. Plus it stars Ryan Reynolds. This is probably the most intriguing film to come out this year and I'm not waiting for a theatrical release. I want to see it NOW.


Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Enough said.

Enter the Void

Looks pretty trippy. Plus it's made by a controversial French director. And controversy is always good to have in a festival.

I'm Here

A Spike Jonze thirty minute short. Judging from the screenshots, I'm guessing this film will be easy on the eyes. The concept is brilliant too.

Some of the stars attending this year include: Dakota Fanning (The Runawas) Ewan McGregor (The Ghost Writer) and Gerard Depardieu (Mammuth). Tilda Swinton is also attending, does that mean her film Julia will be playing in the festival too? I sure hope so.

Photos from: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Irrational fears and the movies that started them

(SPOILER ALERT for Inglorious Basterds, Paranormal Activity)

I have a number of fears, all of them irrational. I can handle spiders, heights, creepy clowns and the dark but I freak out everytime I'm carrying a pot of boling water, because I always worry that one day I will randomly have a seizure and suffer from third degree burns.

Apart from that one, all of my irrational fears stem from movies. For example, everytime I get on a plane I worry that the person sitting next to me is going to turn out like the guy from Red Eye who will seem normal at first but as time passes becomes less normal and I find out he is actually a psychopath killer.

Thanks to Inglorious Basterds, I now have a fear of being locked in a burning cinema while being shot at by gun-wielding crazy people. This is highly unlikely to happen and extremely irrational, but considering the amount of time I spend inside a cinema, my chances are higher compared to an average moviegoer.

After seeing Paranormal Activity, I had a fear of sleep. I didn't want to be dragged out of bed or wake up in the middle of the night and find a family member hovering over me in a catatonic state.

When I was younger I was paranoid that my whole life is actually a TV show and somewhere out there, people where watching every single thing that I did. Like Jim Carrey from The Truman Show.

A year ago I saw Blindness and from then on I was scared of crossing the road fearing that I might randomly go blind, then get run over by a semi-trailer.

I avoid old, gypsy women after seeing Drag Me To Hell and always made sure that I was nice to weird looking people who look like they know how to perform a curse.

Because of Death at a Funeral I always made sure before attending a funeral, that I do not take any pills or tablets just in case I mistakenly take something else. If I had a headache. Too bad. No paracetamols or aspirins, I just had to deal with it.

I never play any unlabeled VHS tapes or DVDs in fear of accidentally watching the weird Ring video, then dying seven days after.

Of course these fears are not intense, sometimes I don't even think about them and thankfully, they don't take over my life. I actually find them amusing, but the thoughts are always in the back of my head. So is there anyone out there who develop some sort of fear because of a movie? Or is it just me?

Photos from: 1, 2, 3


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