Category Archives: film

What is soft and what is strong? IL CAPO, by Yuri Ancanari

IL CAPO by the Italian artist Yuri Ancarani.

This excerpt of the short film Il Capo (The Chief) makes part of the Trilogy La malattia del ferro (The disease of iron; 2010–12), where Ancarani portrays here labour instances where man and the machine ‘collaborate’. It is an ‘ode’ to precision, to silence, to repetitiveness, to the un-heroic, in effect to workmanship.

For this this specific part, the Il Capo, Arcani was shooting at the marble quarry of Carrara for a year. He got mesmerised by the refined and precise guidance his protagonist, his hero, gave to the big machines. And how they followed him, almost softly.

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Wonder(full) Rodriguez

This blog became two years old the other day. If it could take a voice, I imagine it would take the voice of Sixto Rodriguez and say, “Thank you for keeping me alive!”, in the same simple, clear and vibrato way as Rodriguez welcomed his fans at his ‘resurrection’ concert in S. Africa in 1998. 

So two years in, Thank you Escape for making some sense out of me. Thank you all. 

And yes, I Wonder. And I thank you for Wondering:

The first song I ever heard of Rodriguez was this very “I Wonder”. It was summer, I was in a bar above the sea, on a starry night. Its style and his voice amplified the evening breeze. Shazam, beautiful shazam app, helped me ‘tag’ the song and led me to Sixto Rodriguez’ limited discography. 

searching-for-sugar-man_no__11608

Then, recently, I watched the documentary film “Searching for Sugarman” (2012) about the weird story of Sixto Rodriguez. Rodriguez, living in Detroit, made a couple of albums as a young musician at the end of the ’60’s beginning of ’70’s that didn’t do well. With his music career not going anywhere, he spent his life working as a builder in constructions.

Parallel to his low expectations life, from the ’80’s onwards his records became popular and loved in South Africa. There, for the anti-apartheid white youth of South Africa, he became a symbol; he was actually considered bigger than Elvis. And although we are talking about the final years of the 20th century, Rodriguez was living in Detroit poor and unaware of his success in some other part of the world, while in South Africa he was believed to be long dead. The rumour had it that he had heroically committed suicide on stage. That was the case until he was ‘discovered’ alive in the 90’s, thanks to the internet, to an equally big surprise to his South African fans and to him and to his family and friends. As a S. African article put it during his first ‘resurrection’ tour there in 1998 that attracted more than 50.000 people: “The US zero – the S.A. hero”. How can you not ‘Wonder’?

Here is the ‘Searching for Sugarman’ documentary film (duration: 1hr 26mins):

 

And I wonder,

I want to keep wondering

and I want to keep on sharing my wonders and my wanderings with you on ‘Escape’

How wonder-full ..!

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Leonard Cohen: The Poet

leonard cohen

 “A heavy burden lifted from my soul,

           I heard that love was out of my control.”

                                                    Leonard Cohen

I started this day by watching a 1965 film about Leonard Cohen (via OpenCulture). A young Leonard Cohen. In the film, Cohen is portrayed mainly as a poet, as a literary man. So that got me going and I started looking on the web about his poems and his quotes and I bumped into plenty of interesting material.

“If you don’t become the ocean, you’ll be seasick everyday.”

Leonard Cohen

At some point in the film, at 20mins into it to be exact, Cohen explains how he got to move to Greece, to Hydra. He says he lived in London at the time. It was winter, it was gloomy, rainy, and he had a cold, when he bumped into the Bank of Greece, the title of which was etched in marble on the building facade. He walked in and the man behind the counter was wearing sunglasses. Leonard felt, and I am quoting him, that this was “the most eloquent protest against the entire landscape.” That was the beginning of his affair with Greece.

Here is a page from the Leonard Cohen Files website, an incredible database, with Leonard’s photos & poems from the island of Hydra (click on image to access the link):

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen Poems & Photos from Hydra

“Reality is one of the possibilities I cannot afford to ignore.”

Leonard Cohen

Then, at 26mins into the film, he recites from his poem/song “True Love Leaves No Traces“, where he beautifully says:

                        “As the mist leaves no scar

                         on the dark green hill

                         so my body leaves no scar

                         on you nor ever will

                         When wind and hawk encounter

                         what remains to keep

                         so you and I encounter

                         then turn then fall to sleep”

Leonard Cohen, “True Love Leaves No Traces”

Love and Leonard…. In this realm, it is an all together different song I wanted to share with you here, the ‘A Thousand Kisses Deep’:

“When you’re not feeling holy, your loneliness says that you’ve sinned.”

Leonard Cohen

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Il Postino: La Metafora

I have this scene in my head all day… This scene from the film Il Postino, where Massimo Troisi (the Postman) having discovered the ‘metaphor’ in language tries to capture all those things that move him into a sound recorder. That whole film is poetry….

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