Friday, August 14, 2009

Best films from an artist's perspective

Querelle Poster.
The poster shows Brad Davis, the main actor in the film Querelle, that inspired the ceramic sculpture featured below. The image below is one of the horses in the Ceramic Sculpture titled, The panoramic view of the end of the Age (see blog tile image above), the centaur like creature that runs off with human brides (the pale horse representing death, hell and destruction - one of the Four horses of the Apocalypse,described in Revelations in the Christian Bible). An apocalyptic ceramic statement inspired by the movies Querelle and Apocalypse Now; both films feature in my top twenty films listed below.

The Pale horse and the Bride (Detail of the Four horses of the Apocalypse (Earthen ware ceramic sculpture featured - as the title image for the blog).

My top twenty Films.
This blog entry features 20 of the most significant and influential films of my sculpting career to date. As mentioned in a previous blog entry, films, especially the screenplay, characters, costumes and props helped shape the creative manifestation of my ceramic concepts and ideas. The translation of meaningful text into forms and shapes (during the ballpoint pen drawing phase) were often spurned on by analogous material from the media, especially the visually enticing role of the cinema.

Many art classified films (banned for public and personal consumption) were granted limited and or special screenings at selected cinemas (under conservative apartheid rule) including the conveniently located Labia Cinema, straight across the road from the Michaelis School of Fine Art (UCT) in Cape Town, South Africa, where I enrolled as a Fine Art student from 1979 - 1985. These films were often very explicit and thought provoking and helped shape my creative worldview in sharp contrast to my Conservative upbringing. At the time there was no Internet and or DSTV. I am a very visual person, and films therefore, including documentaries and animation helped shape my expressive concepts. What follows is a carefully edited version of my top twenty films - selected in terms of the impact it had on my creative career.

As a Fine Art student at UCT from 1978 -1985.
  • A Clockwork Orange (1971), Stanley Kubrik, Crime &Thriller.
  • Caberet (1977), Bob Fosse, Drama, Music & Romance.
  • Midnight Express (1978), Alan Parker, Biography, crime, Drama & Thriller.
  • Apocalypse Now (1979), Francis Ford Coppola, Action, Drama & War.
  • Die Blechtrommel (The Tin Drum), Volker Sclondorff. (see images and poster below)
  • Hokusai-manga (Edo Porn) (1981), Kaneto ShBoldindo, Biography, Drama & History.
  • Querelle (1982), Rainer Werner Fassbinder (also Screenplay) Crime, Thriller & Drama


A scene from the film Qurelle (detail). Photography, Roger Fritz, Filmbuch 1982.

The attention to detail Fassbinder brings to the screenplay is just remarkable, each frame is an artwork, only truly visible in these images by the photographer on set, Roger Fritz. Fassbinder's voyeuristic approach, his sets often a labyrinth (scenes within scenes), is his unique contribution to cinematography. Closely observe the character staring though the symbolic sandblasted window (above), the layered image evokes deep emotions within the viewer.

The Commander, Film Querelle, Photographer Roger Fritz, Qurelle Filmbuch, 1982.
The image above is layered with symbolic meaning, the gun embodies phallic connotations of power, malice and domination.

Bar scene from the film Querelle. Photographer Roger Fritz, Qurelle Filmbuch, 1982.

Brad Davis, typically clad in a vest, does a Nazi salute before his sexual encounter with the barmen. He also starred in the Alan Parker directed film Midnight Express. He was one of the first actors to die of aids.

The Swine (detail) handbuilt Porcelain sketch.
This particular image was inspired by the characters (costumes and props) in the film including the poster by Andy Warhol (featured below).

Poster for the Film Querelle, Andy Warhol.
Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder.
This is the last film to be directed by Fassbinder, he also did the screenplay. The detail of which can only be appreciated on the big screen on as revealed on close examination in catalogues of the film.

As a lecturer at the Ceramic Department at the Technikon Wiwatersrand (Johannesburg) 1986 - 1991.
  • De Vierde Man (Fourth Man) (1983), Paul Verhoeven, Drama, Mystery & Thriller.
  • The Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985), Hector Babenco, Drama.
  • Mishima, A life in Four Capters (1985) Paul Schrader, Biography.
  • Blue Velvet (1986) David Lynch, Crime, Mystery & Thriller.
  • Drugstore Cowboy (1989) Gus Van Sant, Crime & Drama
  • The Cook, the Thief, his Wife & her Lover, (1989) Peter Greenaway. Comedy, Crime & Romance.

St George and the Dragon (Detail) (1989) Press-moulded Ceramic Earthenware Sculpture.
The liberating Saint's form and shape, including expression, was inspired by the main character, a boy, that featured in the film, The Tin Drum, the poster below.

The Tin Drum 1979. (Poster)
Director: Volker Sclondorff.

Films during 1991 -1996.
  • Delicatessen (1991), Marc Caro & Jean-Piere Jeunet, Comedy, Drama & Fantasy.
  • Jamon Jamon (1992), Bigas Luna, Comedy, Drama & Romance.
  • The Piano (1993), Jane Campion, Drama & Romance.
  • Underground (1995) Emir Kusturica, Drama & Comedy.
  • Less Feluettes (Lilies) John Greyson, Drama, Fantasy & Romance.
Films during 1996 - 2007.
  • Boogie Nights (1997), Paul Thomas Anderson. Drama.
  • American History X (1989), Crime & Drama.
  • Dancer in the Dark (2000), Lars Von Tier, Drama & Music.
  • Cidade de Deus (City of God) 2002, Fernabdo Meirelles & Katia Lund, Action, Crime, Dramma & Thriller
  • Sa som I Himmelen (As it is in Heaven) 2004, Kay Pollak, Music & Romance.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hi eugene... i hope the show went well. very interesting list of movies and i've never thought to compile one. i admit a dearth on some of the "foreign" (to an american) ones but i've seen all but "hokusai-manga" and "querelle" in the first list. never even heard of "querelle" but it must have had a big impact on your work. didn't see "de vierde man" or "mishima" in the second list or "delicatessen", "jamon jamon", "less felluettes", "dancer in the dark" or the last 3. maybe i need a list of ones i need to see. i haven't been able to actually go to the theater for years and we've been renting but blockbuster doesn't have any of the foreign titles and we've been thinking of going to netflix (not sure if they have that where you are) but i've heard that they have just about every movie.