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Watch | New Adam Curtis Documentary

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One of the most important film makers working today has released another documentary which aired on BBC 1 in the UK  on Sunday 25th January.

Bitter Lake is a new, adventurous and epic film that explains why the big stories that politicians tell us have become so simplified that we can’t really see the world any longer.

It tells a big historical narrative that interweaves America, Britain, Russia and Saudi Arabia. It shows how politicians in the west lost confidence – and began to simplify the stories they told. It explains why this happened – because they increasingly gave their power away to other forces, above all global finance.

But there is one other country at the centre of the film.

Afghanistan.

I have got hold of the unedited rushes of almost everything the BBC has ever shot in Afghanistan. It is thousands of hours – some of it is very dull, but large parts of it are extraordinary. Shots that record amazing moments, but also others that are touching, funny and sometimes very odd.

These complicated, fragmentary and emotional images evoke the chaos of real experience. And out of them i have tried to build a different and more emotional way of depicting what really happened in Afghanistan.

A counterpoint to the thin, narrow and increasingly destructive stories told by those in power today

Read Adam’s own thoughts on the piece here.

Essential viewing. If you’re not in the UK install one of those plug-ins and get access to the iplayer. It’s available for 28 days.

This is the trailer

See more of his work here

 

Read | Faith as Addiction: Reviewing Steve McQueen’s Shame

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Faith as Addiction

In a week in which addiction is being much discussed, due to the sad death of talented actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman, this article looks at faith as addiction. Reviewing Steve McQueen’s film Shame and written by a professor of religious studies, it tackles the idea that religious faith can be regarded as an addiction

S. Brent Plate is visiting associate professor of religious studies at Hamilton College. He is the author of Religion and Film: Cinema and the Re-Creation of the WorldBlasphemy: Art that Offends

 

Read | The Cosmogony of David Lynch

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First let’s start with a definition of Cosmogony from Wikipedia:

Cosmogony (or cosmogeny) is any scientific theory concerning the coming into existence (or origin) of either the cosmos (or universe), or the so-called “reality” of sentient beings. Developing a complete theoretical model has implications in both the philosophy of science and epistemology. The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model of the early development of the universe. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmogony

http://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/sight-sound-magazine/features/remain-light-mulholland-dr-and-cosmogony-david-lynch

This article examines the Vedanta inspired spiritual philosophy that underpins David Lynch’s work.

Read | The Origins of Django Unchained

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Read this article written by a professor of history to find out which films Tarantino borrowed from this time. It provides an intriguing history of the origins of the black “bad man” figure which still exists in some form in popular culture today.

http://chronicle.com/article/Django-Untangled-the-Legend/136643/

Art of the Title

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“At Art of the Title, we are the leading online resource of title sequence design, spanning the film, television, conference, and videogame industries. Featuring title design from countries around the world, we honor the creators and innovators who contribute to the field, discussing and displaying their work with a desire to explicate, facilitate, and instigate.” – —Ian Albinson, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Art of the Title

This is a good find – a site that collates and celebrates the art of film title sequences. We all know that they are pieces of art on their own. This site gives us an opportunity to enjoy them singularly or in collections which are put together under themes, such as the title work of the celebrated illustrator Saul Bass or the films of David Fincher. Most interestingly there are collections such as tension in title sequences and single shot sequences.

I really like Saul Bass design so I’ve included it above – be sure to check the site.

www.artofthetitle.com

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