Monday, 28 December 2009

Playing the truant: my education

When I wrote a post more than a year ago proclaiming that truanting is more educational than attending school, I made this statement: "Get out of school and go to the library and borrow some Faulkner or some Kafka and read them and be astounded by the infinite possibilities of a real education." When my dear follower Doug read this statement, he wrote back "Hardly constitutes a real education" without elaborating.

What constitutes a 'real education'? Doug is the sort of person who pedals the word 'subjective' around incessantly, and I think that if he were to reconsider what he said, he'd more than find that a 'real' education is indeed what he calls 'subjective'.

Now that I'm attending college, my A-level teachers seem to be rather befuddled by how my target minimum grade is a D, considering the fact that I'm obtaining top marks. How can a student leap from a D to an A? Everything that went towards getting these grades was not culled from what was taught to me during GCSE period, but derived from my own introspection and independent study that I underwent for a two year period prior to attending college.

During GCSE period I was depressed by the tedious manner everything was taught, and by the conformity and lack of inquisitiveness from my fellow peers. I started truanting at the end of year 10, and I went to the woods/countryside instead of attending many of the lessons. This, I realised then, was a real education... my education.

After school ended, and after I flunked out of school with poor grades, I withdrew myself from others and read a lot of books - relentlessly. Prior to this period I wasn't a particularly avid reader, but I soon became a voracious one. I developed a strong affinity and understanding of literature and literary themes that seem alien to most other teenagers. After I had experiences with psychosis (read previous posts in this blog to get a small glimpse of these experiences, or read a novel I will soon write about these experiences), I ended up in an intensive care unit. The doctor there read some of my writing and he described it as 'advanced'. When we had a short conversation, he asked me "What happened with your GCSEs?", somewhat perplexed. He suggested that I should re-enter the education system.

Many artists also happened to be truants when they were younger - Francois Truffaut, George Gershwin, Frank Zappa and Iannis Xenakis to name a few - and these people didn't acquire their talents by attending school and being studious, but they developed their own unique craft in accordance to their personal vision.

I used to be strongly against the idea of being part of an education system, but academia can provide useful tools for the autodidact. But I wouldn't have entered it and have made a start at it (I will start a university education soon) if I hadn't played the truant... The conventional notion of an education is that of academia, but there are far more paths to perception/information/knowledge than just that.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Favourite You Tube videos 2/2

Film (Continued)
Nosferatu, Phantom Der Nacht



I take back what I said about Isabelle Adjani in 'Women I'd like to fuck #2'... She looks far more beautiful when she's older and with make-up. Kinsky is really impacting here, too...

Burden of Dreams



Werner Herzog is a unique visionary, and here he gives extremely insightful and articulate assertions right in the middle in the tumultuous shoot of Fitzcarraldo.

Annie Hall



funny lol

Scanners



Cronenberg's films are mindblowing..... literally.

Literature

Julio Cortázar



Cortázar talking about his penchant for nocturnal walking which, like his writing, doesn't succumb to third-rate cheap romaticism. You need to understand either Spanish or French to get anything out of this video.... otherwise, you're fucked.

Jorge Luis Borges



This is historical! But you need to have a grasp of Spanish to understand it. :p

J. G. Ballard



Ballard is probably the british novelist to have had the most accurate understanding of 20th century British psychopathology.

Football

Chile 2-1 Italy



This is when Chile went 2-1 up against Italy in the '98 world cup, with a goal of Marcelo Salas. Chile proceeded to piss all over Italy throughout the rest of the game, but in the 90th minute the referee gave Italy an inexistant penalty and they equalised 2-2! The ball went straight onto the defender's hand and he conceded it as a penalty! More than ten years later, I still cannot get over this.

Colombia 2-4 Chile



Here Chile eviscerate Colombia in an exciting match that qualifies them to South Africa 2010. You need to understand Spanish to understand the emotional outpouring spewed out by the tv presenter... Chile finished second place after Brazil in these qualifiers, and they are arguably the greatest Chilean team of all time... I'm hoping they're not going to implode and fuck up in the world cup itself.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Favourite You Tube videos 1/2

In two posts I shall go across my favourite videos on youtube. These videos range from music to film to literature and... football. I decided to divide this post into two separate parts as it would get a bit too draining in all one big post...

Music


I'm Gonna Booglarize you, Baby - Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band



This is Beefheart at his most accessible while remaining defiantly uncomprising and strange at the same time.

Blindness - The Fall



I've watched this about 500 times and am equally captivated by MES on repeated viewings as I am when I first saw it... Mark E. Smith is such a unique individual.

Symphony of Wind instruments - Igor Stravinsky



This is a gobsmacking performance of one of the most important pieces of the modern repertoire...

Amsterdam - Jacques Brel



Words can't do justice to this...

Dupree's Paradise - Frank Zappa



Zappa at his best.

Harry Partch



If you've never heard of Partch before, I suggest you watch this video to discover one of the most iconoclastic and awe-inspiring composers of all time.

Ionisation - Edgard Varese



This isn't actually an accurate rendition of the piece, but I find it more exhilirating performed this way than how Varese actually intended it to be like.

Film

Jean-Luc Godard :

Week End



"Tracking shots are a question of morality." - Godard

Vivre Sa Vie



"One of the most extraordinary, beautiful, and original works of art that I know of." - Susan Sontag

Alphaville



My favourite Godard film... a melange of many luscious things...

----------------------------

Second part will come tomorrow... The second part will contain more film sequences, a few writers I admire & scenes of Chile doing well at football.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Awesome book covers


'Coz it recreates what's in the book.


'Coz it recreates the Burroughs mystique.

'Coz of the Bosch

'Coz it does what it says in the title.

'Coz it recreates the images Borges conjures up...


This isn't an accurate representation of the book - it only picks on a small moment in the book... but it is still fascinating to look at.

'Coz it's just as surreal as the book.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Q & A

Who do you write for?

I don't have a specific designated audience in my mind. I write for myself, but I think that it is also a tentative step to share my discoveries regardless of the reaction. I think it is somewhat elitist to narrow down an artform/object to one particular type of person. All perceptions are accessible to everyone. I also find it terribly boring when an artist sits down and writes specifically for the audience - it dilutes meaning, and it lacks substance.

What books do you read?

In English I read modern classics: Dostoyevsky, Kafka, Nabokov, Huxley etc. etc. In Spanish I read Latin-American literature: Cortázar, Borges, Rulfo, Onetti and many more. I also have an interest in cult authors who don't fit into any style and avoid categorisation. These authors range from Paul Auster to J. G. Ballard to Thomas Pynchon etc. etc. etc.

What is your fiction about?

My fiction either tends to be centred around dream-like vignettes or deliberately provocative and satirical. To provoke I write about the most gruesome sex you can think of... I also write quite straighforward narratives about solitary characters who encounter difficulties with peculiar situations.

Where are you from?

I was born in Chile... I grew up in a city called Concepción. I moved to England when I was 11 years old. My father is Chilean but of British descent, and my mother is English. I still keep up with my Spanish by reading in this language, and my patriotism is generally geared towards Chilean traditions than British traditions.

Why do you think anyone would be interested in your blog?

I don't care whether anyone is interested in my blog - it's open to everyone, and anyone can read it. There are people who like to read things which aren't generic, and it's good to have a space on the net which isn't generic and doesn't churn out the same boring shite most people seem to be interested in.

What are your addictions?

My addictions are sour sweets, lesbian porn, Coca-cola, Mark E. Smith, oddball music and literary fiction of many sorts.

What are your views on reality?

That it isn't credible... There is far more to things than how you see them at first glance, there is so much beneath the surface. The human body is a complete mystery to us, so we know very little about ourselves. There was so much within me that it exploded, and I had a psychotic episode... Reality doesn't necessarily have to be distorted, but it needs to be questioned.

Why are you so angry?

I'm not as angry as I used to before my episode... The reason for this anger was a grief against the world for going against me, and a fury against the complacency everyone seemed to opt for... I seemed to be the only one right while the rest of the other cunts were wrong... and 'flawed'.

Why are you reclusive?

I love spending time alone... I can pass a vast amount of time on my own without human contact of any sort. Even when I'm with someone who's similar to me, I feel out of place... It is also possible to get a lot done when you're on your own. Parties and vast congregations of people make me feel nauseous. The only solace left are my books... and my walks to the woods. Mind you, it is pretty difficult to be completely reclusive as I go to college, but I look forward to returning to this completely in my year off... which is next year.

Who are your favourite directors?

Jean-Luc Godard, Werner Herzog, David Lynch, David Cronenberg, Coen Brothers, Robert Bresson, Luis Bunuel, Stanley Kubrick, Akira Kurosawa, Orson Welles.

Favourite painters?

Hieronymus Bosch, Willem De Kooning, Monet, Edvard Much, Mark Rhotko.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Review #7


On The Corner - Miles Davis

Every watershed moment and turning point in Miles Davis' career has been acknowledged. The Birth of the Cool signalled the departure from be-bop, Kind of Blue saw the birth of modal jazz and Bitches Brew was one of the first fusion records. I'd say that the logical progression onto a new territory after Bitches Brew was On The Corner in 1972, but it's only now been rightly recognised as this. Regarded as a huge misstep at the time by critics, On The Corner is now being rightfully assessed as a masterpiece.

This record is incredibly prescient. Its use use of phasing and looping is what was later used in hip-hop music. Miles could see this new music developing in the street, and he brought out this record just at the right time. Whereas the minimalist phasing is superimposed with vocals in rap music, here you get jazz solos spliced along with the rock rhythms and structures Miles was already pursuing with his fusion music.

Despite all the experimentalist, this music is way funkier than Bitches Brew and far more danceable. It's fun and entertaining as well as being experimental and boundary-pushing. It's a rhythm track repeating incessantly like a loop, which has now been acknowledged as being 'minimalist' or 'trance'.

Additionally, Miles culled ideas from Karlheinz Stockhausen with tape manipulation as well as drawing from free jazz visionary Ornette Coleman. The record is a melange of styles spliced together in a fun, approachable way.

One has to admire Miles for constantly reinventing himself, or adapting jazz to the prevailing fashion of the time. He could have settled for renditions of 'So What' again and again, but he chose to find new ways of redefining what jazz can be. At the same time, he doesn't indulge himself in pointless dissonance nor did he welcome the excess of free jazz. He pursued his vision regardless of the controversy.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

My state of mind #8

At the beginning of the month I was disappointed as the Germany-Chile match was cancelled because the fucking German goalkeeper committed suicide... You deserve to be dead, you cunt. Both my dad and I had tickets for the match, and I was eagerly anticipating to see the Bielsa team play - arguably the greatest Chilean team of all time. The good thing thing about the trip, though, was the game was going to held in Cologne, a city renowned for its art galleries... Another disappointment was that the Arditti Quartet, one of the most prominent string quartets known for playing the modern repertoire, were playing the day we left! I missed two monumental events! Nevertheless, the trip to Cologne was splendid and made up for these two huge disappointments.

When were waiting for the plane at the terminal we met a Chilean person, and we wandered around Cologne with him to look for our hotels around 12 PM. The next day, we wandered around Cologne and drank coffee. We went to the Wallraf-Richartz Museum as I had read that they have a painting by Bosch, but the people there could hardly speak English and they were really vague ("I think we may have Bosch in safe at the cellar"). Despite not having Bosch painting, this museum was truly spectacular, especially the early renaissance section. These paintings, like Bosch, depict the depths of 'hell' in a somewhat surrealist manner. A painting I think was called 'A wager between God and the devil' was particularly eyecatching. Going up the stairs, I saw their 20th century selection which was mainly impressionist stuff. I liked the Monet and Van Gogh, but the painting which impressed me the most was by Max Burch, and I bought a small print of it to put on my wall. Then at about 3 went to the cathedral were all the Chilean fans congregated to celebrate, waving flags and dancing and shouting ("CHILE VA AL MUNDIAL! CHILE VA AL MUNDIAL!"). I felt a bit out of place with them, and wandered around them nervously while drinking water - mimicking Bielsa himself without any conscious self-awareness. Afterwards I went to the Ludwig museum on my own, which has a selection of modern art... It's truly flabbergasting the selection they have: Ernst, shitloads of Picasso, a truly remarkable painting by Dali, Miro, Pollock... Incredible. I was quite captivated by the discovery of Max Beckenmann, an artist I was truly impressed by. After spending about an hour of wandering around the museum and intently looking at the paintings, I went down to the cafe to keep reading Roberto Bolano's Los Detectives Salvajes, drink a latte and wait for my dad. Around 6 we went back to our hotel where I kept reading my book... It was around this time that the fucking football match would have taken place...

Max Beckmann
There are some changes to some of my coursework titles... For the English language research I'll studying "How does William Faulkner re-create the characteristics of Southern USA dialect in The Sound and the Fury. My film studies research has now been made more specific and is entitled 'The film aesthetic of Jean-Luc Godard's auteurial signature during the French New Wave period'. For English Literature I will be comparing Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest with William Burroughs' Naked Lunch as well as applying critical ideas of aesthetics to T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land for another essay.

This college work is becoming really fucking daunting... I spend every night getting myself geared up to do it, but end up procrastinating... I'm not making life easy for myself with these over-complex coursework titles, either... Presently, I should be working on a presentation script for my Jean-Luc Godard project, but have ended up going on the fucking laptop to wank and write this fucking state of mind post.

Reality, as has always been the case recently, is not credible... I find myself incapable of engaging with 'real life'.

Fucking Lovefilm is wrecking my film year. They were extremely reliable last year, but this year they refuse to send me the Tarkovsky film I want to watch. I had to wait 2 weeks for Solaris and have now been waiting a whole month for Stalker. I've had to watch six films I haven't wanted to watch... I've had to watch Lynch when I'm not in the mood for it as well as Woody Allen and Cronenberg... The worst thing is that I wanted to save these films for later.

At the beginning of November I finished One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest which, as mentioned before, I will compare with Naked Lunch. I've had so much off-the-wall stuff before that Cuckoo's Nest wasn't as shocking as it was to the other students. Plus, I've been in a psychiatric ward. Finishing Cuckoo permitted me to finish the wonderful existential novel Zama Antonio Di Benedetto. Now I am well into Roberto Bolano's Los Detectives Salvajes, and I can see why it has been acclaimed as one of the greatest Latin-American novels of all time. I try to read this novel as much as I can, which isn't unfortunately that often. I am at around page 200, and I'm really glad that I've got 400 left to go - I hope to make the most out of them.

While I read my books at break time (which is 2 hours + a half long), a person my age sits next to me to read his book... There are many possible friendships like these, but nothing will happen unless I take the initiative.

I am no longer in love with that girl who catches my bus. About 2 weeks ago, she sat next to the most stupid, irritating student in the whole college and talked about "VODKA AND CHOCOLAT LOL AND DVDS"... She is, it seems, a cunt.... like the rest. The fact that she has turned out to be a cunt makes me feel even lonelier... I'm still full of this obsessive love, and I'm trapped with and I'm anxious to find a woman I can apply it to...

I'm not very good at articulating myself orally... I keep fucking up whenever I talk to others... I never get any practise, so I fuck whenever I do talk. When writing fiction, there's a chance to create my own sense of 'coherence' no matter how disjointed it is...

I look forward for my year of unmitigated freedom... I aim to make the most out of it... In my year off I'm hoping to indulge myself in solitude, commence my novels... and my extensive Chile trip.

I'm really fucking anxious for this year to end. It's already been 3 months... Yet, at the same time, I want this year to end but I've got to put a lot of fucking effort to obtain the grades in.... I can't wait for it to be over for my year of 'unmitigated freedom'.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

So what do I look like, anyway?

After years of clinging to the belief that I want the words speak to themselves, I am now rather inevitably going to post a photograph of myself on my blog...

I am not self-conscious of my image... I am just as surprised as you are when you see this photograph... This is the only photograph I have of myself.

I don't have some sort of fetish for the colour yellow... The room I moved into happened to be yellow and I happen to be wearing yellow in this photograph... I usually wear black.



Saturday, 21 November 2009

Words to describe myself

- Introverted

- Distant

- Holographic

- Impenetrable

- Shy

- Reserved

- Contradictory

- Silent

Friday, 20 November 2009

Ignored

I mentioned elsewhere that, although being quite antisocial, I wouldn't necessarily mind having occasional contact with other people... The thing is that the only way I can create a friendship is when someone approaches me, not when I approach someone... No-one seems to approach me. I am ignored.

There is something about my aura that automatically differentiates me from the rest, and there's something in my character that's different from everyone else's. I don't have basic skills of communicating with other people. People choose to ignore me; I choose to ignore people. And if people don't choose to ignore me, they will never get anything out of me as I am impenetrable.

I love anonymity. It is wonderful to withdraw oneself from others and immerse oneself in solitude... Next year I look forward to return to this completely instead of the painful solitude: being in a room with other people and going to a building with people roughly the same age as you and being completely ignored.... Yes, next year will be fantastic... Next year this pain will be over, and I'll be able to return to my own little world.

Anything remotely interesting, new, exciting and innovatory will always be ignored; anything casual, derivative, common-place and predictable will be eulogised with praise and admiration.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

World cups

I went to Cologne last weekend excited by the prospect of the Chile-Germany match, but the game was cancelled because the German goalkeeper commited suicide! You chose just the right time, dickhead! If hell exists, I hope you are suffering there... I will write about the Cologne trip in the forthcoming State of Mind post. To alleviate the lack of football, I shall devote a whole post to football... I am going to go through every world cup to evaluate which was the best team... because the best team doesn't always win... I have all this knowledge of football after having obssessively read about it during my childhood.....

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1930

Best team: Uruguay
Winner: Uruguay

1934

Best team: Checkoslovakia
Winner: Italy

1938
Best team: Italy
Winner: Italy

1950
Best team: Brazil
Winner: Uruguay

1954

Best team: Hungary
Winner: Germany

1958

Best team: Brazil
Winner: Brazil

1962

Best team: Brazil
Winner: Brazil

1966

Best team: England
Winner: England

1970

Best team: Brazil
Winner: Brazil

1974

Best team: Holland
Winner: Germany

1978

Best team: Argentina
Winner: Argentina

1982

Best team: Brazil
Winner: Italy

1986

Best team: Argentina
Winner: Argentina

1990

Best team: Germany
Winner: Germany

1994

Best team: Argentina
Winner: Brazil

1998

Best team: France
Winner: France

2002

Best team: Brazil
Winner: Brazil

2006

Best team: Argentina
Winner: Italy

2010

Best team: Chile
Winner: Chile

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Women I'd like to fuck #2

I am deliberately writing another version of this post to infuriate the 'sensible' women who read my blog and find this sort of thing 'offensive'.

Everything that appears for my blog is written for my amusement and satisfaction/fulfilment. I find art, in particular, terribly boring when it's specifically designated for an audience. Anything that takes my fancy will appear in this blog. I am, after all, the universe.

Isabelle Adjani

(She looks far better when she's younger and without make-up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_i78R9I9t_o)

Catherine Deneuve

Elena Poulou


Mia Matsumiya


Jeanne Moreau

French women are the best...

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Review #6


Aguirre, The Wrath of God - Written and directed by Werner Herzog


Werner Herzog is a director who will go through anything to obtain the end result; he will subject himself to anything in order to bring his vision to fruition. The process which he goes through to get his films done can often be just as captivating and remarkable as his fiction films. Little wonder, then, that he consequently has made documentaries of him pushing himself to the limit.

Out of all his films spanning a long, tumultuous and fruitful career, Aguirre is Herzog's finest achievement. One of the main themes imbued into most of his films is often that of obsessives with impossible dreams or men with peculiar talents in specific fields. All these themes reach their culmination in Aguirre.

A quote that sticks in my mind from Herzog comes from the wonderful documentary Burden of Dreams, a documentary made about the ardous shoot of his film Fitzcarraldo: "If I were to leave this project, I'd be a man without drems. I don't want to live like that. I live my life or I end my life with this project." These words echo Aguirre's own who self-describes himself as the "wrath of god" who will conquer the mythic city of gold, El Dorado.

An expedition to El Dorado is to be led by Don Pedro de Urua, with Aguirre second in command. The soldiers encounter difficulties in the Peruvian rainforest and Urua reaches the decision to turn back, but Aguirre raises a mutiny against him and plunges into a doomed, hectic journey into the heart of darkness.

This is Klaus Kinsky's best performance ever. His acting skills border on the genius, and he has a magenetic impact on the viewer. I can't think of any other actor as absorbing or impacting as Kinsky. His incredible talents are best demonstrated in Herzog's films. In his film he is very restrained, because allegedly Herzog would infuriate him prior to filming so that by the time the cameras rolled he would be far more calm and subdued... But the fury is present and seething beyond this restraint.

Towards the end of the film, the character's state of mind begin to crumble and they verge into insanity. They see a boat on top of some trees, and they continuously begin to lose their sanity. Kinsky at the end of the film is left on his own on the remains of their raft, and continues to declare his intentions of conquering the whole of South America in despair.

The film is full of astounding images that linger in the mind. From the shot in the beginning of the film showing a whole army of soldiers and native Indians descending down a hill to the ending scene of Kinsky in the raft with the camera majestically tilting aroud him, you know that you're in the presence of something beyond description. Herzog utilises a minimalist approach throughout most of the film, but there is an intrinsically complexity present in the film. Many people attempt at putting a meaning on it, such as calling it a satire on colonialism, but like many great works of art Aguirre, The Wrath of God defies any potential meaning by its inherent complexity put across by an appropriate minimalist approach.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

The remote edges #7

These photographs could have been far better, as the sun got in the way this day and affected them...

My camera broke in my latest visit to the woods, and I'm hoping to get it fixed or I may have to buy another one... The good thing is that I'll be going to my weekly walks without any preoccupations of having to photograph.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

My state of mind #7

I have a lot going on this year....... Here's a list of the stuff I'm doing, both in terms of college work and leisure:

  1. English literature coursework (I've got to read Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest which, although being an excellent book, is interfering with what I read for leisure. I've had to put my Latin-American novel Zama by Antonio Di Benedetto aside because of it.
  2. English Language research coursework. I'm researching 'The translation of latin-american literary texts into English'.
  3. English Language exam work... We're studying 'Language Acqusition in children' and 'Language Development'. It's far more interesting than the dull, dry language analysis we did last year, but I can't really be bothered to process any of the information.
  4. Film studies research coursework. I'm studying 'The Auteurial signature of Jean-Luc Godard'. I'm collecting lots of essays and articles as well as reading a book about him. Really interesting stuff.
  5. Work for film studies exam. This year is far more interesting than last year as we are watching 'world' cinema, as opposed to last year's film which were from English-speaking countries. I got to see the excellent Mexican film 'Amores Perros' again last lesson.
  6. Piano lessons. Now I am finally getting beyond 'baby music' by starting to play more challenging pieces which require hand co-ordination... I'm getting to the end of the first book of Bartok's Mikrokosmos.
  7. AS Spanish. I've got to attend this as an evening lesson on Tuesdays, which makes my Tuesday 12 hours long! I'm doing this at another college becuase Chesterfield College doesn't fucking have a languages department. I'm doing it because I want a thrid A grade which may permit me to apply to the most prestigious universities of the country. Mainly, the course consists of the 'baby' stuff, but I can't really concentrate after having had a full day at the other college.
  8. Creative writing. I finished my short story 'Dream Stairs' yesterday, and I'm going to type it up on the computer soon. I'm quite satisfied with it... After this I'm going to write a short story called 'My Wife's twin'.
  9. Leisure books. I really want to get back to reading Zama, but can't because of college... After this I want to read Roberto Bolano's Los Detectives Salvajes, but I'm worried that this may also get interrupted by books I've got to read for lit.
But am I doing any of this stuff? No! I just keep procastinating and procastinating and procastinating. I can't just expect to get the same results last year in A-level just like that! I've got to work at it to repeat last year's glories!

Good news, though, is that Chile qualified to the world cup in style... They finished second place one point behind Brazil, and they got 6 points in the games I was worried about in the last state of mind post.

-------------------

Thank you, Pahprint, for the highly extensive replies to my blog posts! I will take the time to reply to them soon, but I've got to do other stuff now... I look forward to your 'reader's digest' thing, if you do ever send it to me...

Thursday, 29 October 2009

People

Similarity

Wherever you go, you will find that people are, in essence, similar. If you take a person away from a certain community and place them in a new one, you will find that they will adapt and create new friendships. You do get, however, certain individuals who defy this pervading similarity by thinking in different ways. Because they think in these ways, these individuals struggle to integrate themselves into society. Wherever you place these people, they will never function in the manner society requires them to function in.


Friendships

Most people don't have an intimate need of companionship - they merely can't stand the thought of spending time alone. From what I can gather, most friendships exist due to certain conditions - people happen to live around the same proximity, so they socialise. A social life is often merely a mental equilibrium to prevent you from going insane, or it can be a way of keeping up with trends. I'm not saying that this true to all cases, and you do certainly get genuine friendships, where there's a real contact between two individuals. An interplay between two (or more) human minds can be astonishingly beautiful. I do find, though, that most friendships are hollow and that there's little understanding between the two individuals. I say this out of my own experiences with other people.

The underlying character of a person

Most people aren't aware of their underlying character. People always tinker and tamper with themselves so that they can conform to the prevailing norm, elite or clique. People will often never remain true to themselves, and their actions will never follow accord to their own true desires. I find that children tend to be rather introspective, and that they are often full of character... But this distinctive personality soon wanes, and the person will inevitably conform and lose their signature character after the passage of time.... I think that there is so much inside us about ourselves, but we are so reluctant to find it...

Ponces/snobs/elites

You get certain people who will look down on others for not being 'intellectual' enough, but these people don't realise that they're doing the same on another level. Snobs/ponces will prostitute art to make themselves seem highbrow to other members of their elite. These elites will have a criteria to join them, and anyone who doesn't follow this criteria will be vilified... This is all exactly like the social games in the 'philistine' groups these snobs despise, but is intellectualised.

The crowd

I have cultivated an abhorrence for 'the crowd' ever since been very young... When I first attended school in Chile I'd sit in a corner miserably while all the other little brats would scream and shout incessantly... In my early/mid teenage years I'd stay at home and hear Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa records instead of going to parties and get pissed (I even made a point of not attending the school prom - I still think this was an excellent decision). I don't like generalising, and if you take a person aside from the 'crowd' you might find that they're quite interesting, but the general inbred attitude of these people is to deny anything different.

The outsider

The embodiment of anything different is 'the outsider' who, although not always by choice, finds himself on the fringe... I think that these people will have a far more insightful grasp of human psychology than 'the crowd' because they are observing from a distance and don't partake in most of society's activities. I love archetypal existential characters like Camus' Mersault or Dostoyevsky's Raskolnikov who find themselves, inevitably, victims of society due to their indifference and negligence to compromise.

Solitary solace

I think that the only solution to all this is to pursue solitary solace by self-constructing one's own little world which has nothing to do with academies, trends, art-fag counterculture or the rest of what I attacked about the characteristics of people... This solace can block out the rest of the world, and one can feel all the better for it...

Monday, 26 October 2009

Top 10 films

Recently, cinema has become one of my main passions. I'm gradually becoming more of a cinephile, but I'm still not all the way there, so this list is far from complete or definite. This list, I must make clear, is a personal selection from what I've encountered and what I've liked the most. Other directors I will be looking into this year are Ingmar Bergman, Tarkovsky, Jean Renoir, Sam Fuller, Eisenstein, Louis Malle and many, many more. I'm rather pissed off at LOVEFILM as they were extremely reliable last year, but they're not sending me the Tarkovsky movies I want to watch..... Anyway, here's the list...

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10

Psycho


Written by Joseph Stepfano and Samuel A. Taylor; Directed by Alfred Hitchcock


No matter how endlessly emulated or talked-about, you can never escape the sheer brilliance of that shower scene and the scintillating Bernard Hermann score... The neurotic protagonist is brilliant and disturbing, and Hitchcock's psychological revelations towards the end of the film are subtly suggested throughout the rest of the film.

9

The Producers

Written and directed by Mel Brooks


Mel Brooks insists that the horrors of the holocaust can be meliorated and alleviated through comedy and satire. He may be right, considering how downright hilarious the song-and-dance 'Springtime for Hitler' routine is. An accountant and a producer realise that they can make more money with a flop than a hit, but if backfires! The script they chose eulogizing Hitler turns out to be a monster hit! Along with The Big Lebowski and Brooks' even sillier outing Blazing Saddles, this is a film I know entirely off by heart.

8

The Second Heimat

Written and directed by Edgar Reitz


Recently reviewed in my blog, this film has the claim of being the longest picture ever made - clocking in at about 25 hours. But you can also digest it in its television format which is divided across 13 episodes. Set from 1960 until 1970, it follows the young musical prodigy Hermann trying to pursue a career as a composer, meeting several characters in his university studies. The film, like its predecessor, alternates from black and white to colour to achieve a lush and unprecedented artistic effect.

7

The Big Lebowski

Written and directed by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen



Endlessly watchable, this film follows the life of ageing hippie Jeff 'The Dude' Lebowski who, after getting his rug soiled by some goons, embarks on Chandler-esque plot roughly ignited by the hostage of a pornographic actress by some nihilists, and so much more which is, frankly, confusing and irrelevant. But this film is meant to be confusing, and the underlying storyline is merely a pretext for the highly charismatic central characters to interact. The Coens splice everything in their signature style: Chandler, post-modernism, dream sequences and so much more. A cult classic.

6

Bicycle Thieves

Written by Vittorio De Sica, Cesare Zavattini, Suso Cecchi D'Amico, Gerardo Guerrieri, Oreste Biancoli and Adolfo Franci; Directed by Vittorio De Sica



One of the central films of Italian Neo-realist cinema, this a truly heart-wrenching portrait of poverty and a struggle to survive. Using amateur actors, it is greatly involving and deeply moving. It is no surprise that the Academy Awards felt compelled to award it with 'Outstanding foreign film' seven years before the existence of the category.

5

A Man Escaped

Written and directed by Robert Bresson


Quiet, sparse, contemplative, minimalist.... You know the ending by its title and everything else that occurs in the film, but Bresson manages to overwhelm the viewer with a magnificently restrained style... not to mention the sublime Mozart score.

4

Aguirre, The Wrath of God

Written and directed by Werner Herzog


Herzog's riches achievement, this is a hectic journey into the heart of darkness. Aguirre is a crazed obsessive searching for a futile, doomed quest neither he nor any of his followers are capable of obtaining. Not only is it astonishing to look at in terms of framing, but this is the most important film starring the unforgettable narcissist Klaus Kinsky.

3

Alphaville

Written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard


Lemmy Caution enters the topsy-turvy world of Alphaville, where everything is seemingly different. The concept of the individual has been lost, and anyone speaking up is murdered in strange ways. Also, dictionaries are bibles, love is replaced by sensuality, women are bar-coded and words are replaced.... Far stranger than anything in1984. There are allusions to everything under the sun, although these can go over your head and won't hinder the enjoyment of the film. The best segments from the film are often the confrontations the protagonist has with Alpha 60, a computer which gives Borgesian monologues about time and space.
2

Blue Velvet

Written and directed by David Lynch


This is a film which shows the underlying darkness fervidly thriving beneath the superficial calmness and tranquility of suburbia. The gateway into this underworld is a severed ear...

1

2001: A Space Odyssey

Written by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke; Directed by Stanley Kubrick


Astounding sets that awe the viewer as much now as they did in 1969; astounding classical music, both modern and romantic; an astounding ending which is open to interpretation; and the monolith.... This is far more than a mere science fiction movie, this is dazzling.

Runners-up: Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino; Branded to Kill by Seijun Suzuki; A Clockwork Orange by Stanley Kubrick; Citizen Kane by Orson Welles; Annie Hall by Woody Allen; The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie by Luis Bunuel; Videodrome by David Cronenberg; Vivre Sa Vie by Jean-Luc Godard; Barton Fink by the Coen Brothers.

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For some fucked up reason, I can't get the font I want when I list the directors for each film... It appears correctly when I type it up as a draft here, but when I post it it keeps fucking up! Frustrating....