Starting Over

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Wild Creatures - Collected Stories of Sam D'Allesandro

Rave, rave, rave, rave, rave!
Loved this collection of stories by the tragically late Sam D'Allesandro - taut, powerful writing in a laconic, reflective style I wish I could emulate. Did I say I loved this book? It even looks good from cover hrough to end pages and full of beautiful words! Sigh!

The Pansy Project

One of the enjoyable parts of the recent London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival was seeing the pansies that had been planted around the Southbank and the striking images used in the festival programmes and publicity.
These were part of the Pansy Project - which at the Southbank comprised of an installation of 3000 pansies lining the Southbank, a special event hosted at Southbank Centre and 1000 pansies handed out to passers by as part of the installation dedicated to David Morley. The Pansy Project is the work of artist Paul Harfleet who revisits locations planting pansies as close as possible to where homophobic abuse has been experienced. These self-seeding pansies act as a living memorial to this abuse and operate as an antidote to it; some pansies wither whilst others thrive in car park borders and windswept road verges. Each pansy's location is named after the abuse received.
For me the plantings at the Southbank extended the reach of the festivals celebration of gay and lesbian cultures and lives into the surrounding geography - taking over and placing their own mark on the architecture and public spaces surrounding the NFT.

Rag Tag

Rag Tag (the last film I saw at the LLGFF) was surprisingly good. I say that only because I had read some critical reviews. Centred on a relationship between two young black men (one Nigerian and one Caribbean) some elements didn't ring quite true (for example a very forgiving, especially considering the way she was treated, ex-girlfriend) but this was a romantic and moving and very enjoyable movie.
A first feature - with a limited budget and some non-professional actors - some of the weaknesses in the above reviews were there, although I thought overall these were minor and as a whole this film was well made and had some great comic moments, some great acting and a real sense of style.

Monday, April 02, 2007


Jean Cocteau's "Orphee" is just a stunning visual and symbolic journey of the imagination. The film, set in 1940's Paris tells the tale of a poet, Orphee, famous but stuck for ideas, captured under the attention of the Princess/Death, leading to both him and his wife entering and escaping the Underworld. Beautifully shot and acted it was a delight for all the senses and the imagery sticks and returns post-viewing.
"Orphee" is a true classic and I'm so pleased to have seen it.

A Bigger Splash

Fos some reason this year at the LLGFF I've got a mixture of mainly UK films and classics - another here from the 1970's - Jack Hazan's "A Bigger Splash" follows David Hockney and his circles of friends over a two year period, and produces a visually interesting and a key movie of its time.
In 1974 one can see how this very revealing, fly on the wall, stylish film broke new barriers. And theres some wonderful imagery, its a very beautiful film and not just when Peter Schlesinger is on screen! There are some great scenes which examine Hockey's methods and a funny scene where he is criticised by his dealer, Paul Kasmin, for working too slowly and not producing enough to meet the demand for his work.
The film focuses on a period of Hockney's life while/after he and Peter Schlesinger break up, and Hockney's inability to finish the large-scale painting he was making of him, but this is dealt with obliquely and after 106 minutes a stronger sense of narrative would have been appreciated. Mo McDermott's (Hockney's assistant and ex-model) commentary again hints at a bitterness but its not clear in what way he feels betrayed.
It was an interesting movie despite its (for me) flaws and already I know others feel more strongly in its favour.