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To try to squeeze a little film-video stuff in here, a few random notes.

A young friend of ours (21 yrs of age), Dahci Ma, Korean filmmaker, was off to New York to pick up her first prize in the Dance Film Festival held last week at Lincoln Center.  Her film, Mysteries of Nature, is a weird kind of dance film, a stunning piece of cinema, far beyond what most people her age are doing.  She has another I saw, about a very crippled man having sex.  Again, stunning and well done.  She stayed with Marcella’s family a bit in Italy when she went to see if Benetton’s Fabrica (a kind of school cum production facility) would have her stay but they passed on it.  She had a good time though with Marcella’s sisters and friends.  Anyway pursuant of this I wrote Jim Stark, once producer for earlier Jarmusch films, thinking he should meet her – little future something.   He responded that sure he could meet, but cautioned he isn’t taking on anything new these days because “the market for my kind of films is gone.”   His kind of film of late included Factotum (Bukowski story, Bent Hamer director, Matt Dillon lead), i.e., a relatively accessible art house movie with commercial qualities, done well.   I had to write back that, as he well knew, the mini-market for my kind of film had disappeared a decade and more ago.

[Note: a quick glance at the trailer seems to show that this “indy” production like most Hwd or otherwise, doesn’t seem to have a clue how the characters in it actually live, dress – all set decorated, de-dirted, etc. – for Bukowski, an LA skid-row low-life.  And from the Dargis review, evidently critic dunno either.]

Meantime looking at a new cut of Toshi Fujiwara’s new documentary, Fence.  Saw Part 1 (over an hour) two nights ago, and was pleased with the changes since seeing earlier version.  It is a low-key, meandering film about a small city in Japan in which a former Japanese Naval Ammunition dump is now a US Naval facility, with a nice piece of mountain forest in the middle of it, and no longer accessible to its once-owners and residents.  Toshi lets the facts come out at their own pace, following the threads of a number of diverse stories, weaving together a casual tapestry of social-political reality.  Nothing is forced and we are given space to piece together a sense of the whole.  The changes made since I sent him thoughts on earlier version have worked well and its a much better film now.  I will look at Part 2 tonight.   Though, sadly, I imagine this film is also destined for the “no market” basket.  As evidently his earlier We Can’t Go Home Again, a very wonderful, dense and rich improvised ensemble piece that showed 2 years ago in the Berlin Forum.

Of Home and Munyurangabo, by Lee Isaac Chung, I am hoping to write something for Senses of Cinema‘s next issue.

And of course, Sundance is just starting.  I am curious to see how Leighton Pierce’s installation there fares.

And now back to the two (of 3) time-lines looming on my desk.  See my blog for more on that.

[Next day:  got to see Pt 2 of FENCE and though I found it ran on just a bit too much (he could readily drop the last 12 minutes or so of 80 or so), it was fascinating as the threads of the first part expanded, a critique of American imperialism intertwined with a critique of the Japanese government, all done in a completely natural and organic manner, arising out of the characters in the film who gain in interest as we know more of them.  A very nice film, but unfortunately lacking the gotcha-by-the-balls bombast which those in the “business” think is required to sell.  So alas, Fence will get fenced off into the arty-thinky-you-wouldn’t-wanna-see-it corral.]

[If anyone is interested in seeing either of Toshi’s films, or Isaac’s, contact me and I imagine we can arrange a modest purchase or direct you the right way.]


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