Wednesday, February 23, 2011

another valentine's day poem for my wife

lovely. simply lovely. & still
i look for all that passion
submerged, to rise to the surface
& flood over me, passion

voiced & unvoiced, hands
all aflutter, lips atwitter, bodies
nesting places for our hearts

voiced & unvoiced, words
lingering upon the skin, deepening
images of our desire. this love
erupts into the slumbering world,
this passion the song i sing to you.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

have you seen these films?

a little while ago, art&faith released its 2011 list of top 100 spiritually significant films. you can find the list here, along with links to a more detailed synopses.

1. The Passion of Joan of Arc (La Passion de Jeanne D'arc), 1928
2. Andrei Rublev (Andrey Rublyov) 1973
3. The Word (Ordet), 1955 
4. The Decalogue (Dekalog), 1989
5. Au Hasard Balthazar,1966
6. Make Way for Tomorrow, 1937
7. The Gospel According to Matthew (Il vangelo second Matteo), 1964
8. The Son (Le Fils), 2002 
9. To Live (Ikiru), 1952
10. Babette’s Feast (Babettes Gaestebud), 1988*
11. The Mirror (Zerkalo), 1975 
12. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, 1927
13. The Seventh Seal (Det Sjunde Inseglet), 1957
14. Three Colors Trilogy (Trois couleurs), 1993/1994/1994*
15. Stalker, 1979
16. Magnolia, 1999*
17. Winter Light, 1962
18. The Searchers, 1956
19. Tokyo Story (Tokyo monogatari), 1953
20. La Promesse, 1992
21. Tender Mercies, 1983
22. The Apostle, 1997*
23. The Diary of a Country Priest (Le Journal D'un Cure De Campagne), 1951 
24. Bicycle Thieves (Ladri di biciclette), 1948
25. A Man for All Seasons, 1966
26. The Miracle Maker, 2000*
27. Paths of Glory, 1957
28. Grave of the Fireflies, 1988
29. Wild Strawberries (Smultronstallet), 1957
30. Into Great Silence (Le grand silence), 2005
31. Munyurangabo, 2007
32. Apu Trilogy (Pather Panchali, Aparajito, Apu Sansar), 1955/1956/1959
33. Flowers of St. Francis (Francesco, Guillare de Dio), 1950
34. Nights of Cabiria (Les Nuits de Cabiria), 1957
35. The Night of the Hunter, 1955
36. 2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968*
37. Chariots of Fire, 1981*
38. The Straight Story, 1999
39. Touch of Evil, 1958
40. It's a Wonderful Life, 1946*
41. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days (4 Luni, 3 Saptamani, 2 Zile), 2007
42. Apocalypse Now, 1979*
43. Code Unknown: Incomplete Tales of Several Journeys, 2000
44. Black Narcissus, 1947
45. Day of Wrath (Vredens dag), 1943
46. The Child (L'Enfant), 2005
47. Close-Up (Nema-ye Nazdik), 1990
48. Yi Yi: A One and a Two, 2000
49. Ponette, 1996
50. The Burmese Harp, 1956
51. Stroszek, 1977
52. Places in the Heart, 1984
53. The New World, 2005
54. Still Life (Sanxia haoren), 2006
55. Jesus of Montreal (Jesus De Montreal), 1989*
56. Death of Mr. Lazarescu, 2005 
57. Eureka, 2000
58. Heartbeat Detector (La question humaine), 2007
59. Summer Hours (L'heure d'été), 2008
60. Playtime, 1967
61. Ran, 1985*
62. Rashômon, 1950*
63. The Double Life of Veronique, 1991*
64. My Night at Maud's (Ma nuit chez Maud), 1969
65. Becket, 1964
66. Silent Light (Stella Licht), 2007
67. Wings of Desire (Der Himmel über Berlin), 1987
68. A Man Escaped (Un condamne a mort s'est eschappe ou Le vent soufflé ou il veut), 1956
69. Faust, 1926
70. Lawrence of Arabia, 1962*
71. Koyaanisqatsi, 1982*
72. Paris, Texas, 1984
73. My Life to Live (Vivre sa vie: Film en douze tableaux), 1962
74. How Green Was My Valley, 1941
75. The Return (Vozvrashchenie), 2003
76. M, 1931
77. The Island (Ostrov), 2006 
78. Days of Heaven, 1978
79. Crimes and Misdemeanors, 1989*
80. Paprika, 2006
81. Floating Weeds (Ukigusa), 1959
82. Born Into Brothels, 2004
83. Vertigo, 1958*
84. Syndromes and a Century (Sang sattawat), 2006
85. After Life (Wandafuru raifu), 1998
86. Spirited Away, 2001
87. The Trial, 1962
88. The Rules of the Game, 1939
89. Sullivan's Travels, 1941
90. Schindler's List, 1993*
91. Dogville, 2003*
92. There Will Be Blood, 2007*
93. The Spirit of the Beehive (El espíritu de la colmena), 1973 
94. Early Summer (Bakushû), 1951
95. Amadeus, 1984*
96. Fiddler on the Roof, 1971
97. Sophie Scholl: die letzten Tag (Sophie Scholl: the Final Days), 2007
98. Ratcatcher, 1999
99. The Iron Giant, 1999*
100. The Story of the Weeping Camel, 2003

i've only seen 22 of these (i've marked them with asterisks*). i definitely want to track down a number of these films (and the above synopses tell me enough to intrigue me as well). how many have of these you seen? are there others you would recommend?

Monday, February 14, 2011

a valentine's day poem for my wife

(memory can be a weight. measure it.
 you’re not finished yet. breathe.)

linger here, remembering
in the quiet of the day;
stop all that thinking
about what if? & what next?

victory continues to whisper in our ears,
around corners; we speak out hope in a
never-ending call & response,

violently seizing the kingdom,
leaving behind ghosts & bones
in the pursuit of that true voice
emerging into the light, & out of
the wild, dry desert.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"nothing is original"

i've always been bothered by the notion that the goal of an artist (or of any person, really) is to be "original". as if that's possible, what with nothing being new under the sun and all. over the years, it has accumulated meanings more reflective of western individualism, until it now signifies the creation of something unique and hitherto undreamt of. in many ways, it is the golden calf of the [immature] artist. such hubris. such pride. too much pressure. please - let us determine in our hearts to die to this particular notion of "originality".

instead let's embrace this idea of originality (he said as he raced to his OED): authenticity, or genuineness. "original" is from the late 14c. from the latin originalis, from originem, meaning "beginning, source, birth" (from orori "to rise"). the use of the word in the 1430s denoted something being derived from something - it grew out of, or from, an original source. think of it involving an ancestry, or parentage. there is the idea that an original work reflects the individual's own personality, style, etc., but that it is also part of a larger tradition i.e.  it is a derivation of an already existing thing (whether style, subject, trope, etc.). the sense of novelty, of something being new and never before seen or thought of is a more modern idea. and it can be crippling.

so let's embrace originality in a way that more accurately reflects its original sense. let's embrace our own originality - let us pursue authenticity, and genuineness. let us be convinced of what we're making and why. let us leave the vicissitudes of economics and fashion to their own devices, and trust that what we make will speak to those it must. let us hold fast to the stories we must tell, and the songs we must sing. let us give up novelty. originality means that we are unafraid of influence, that we use the past and the present as foundations upon which we can build. it means we bring ourselves to the old, old stories. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

community (and intimacy) is not hyperbole to suggest that art, when applied at the community level, can be a powerful tool for re-establishing individual and community identity through a process that acknowledges the existence and fosters the development of local culture.
it's a splendid and logical role for art, given that it is so poorly suited for the creation of mass culture. whether we're talking about painting or dance, theatre or poetry, we're talking about something that is intimate in its scale and ability to accommodate an audience. this intimacy is tacit permission for artists (whether trained professionals or amateurs inspired by the presence of a professional) to deal with the specifics of the immediate world around them. it is this intimacy that gives a voice to a local culture.
-steven durland
i guess another way to say this is: serve. while i enjoy my arts with a healthy dose of spectacle, i believe that the artist's purpose, as well as their art's, purpose is to serve. self-expression in and of itself isn't the point. nor is therapy. it's about communication. connectioncommunion.

the arts give voice. what song shall we sing? choose your words (and images. and gestures. and sounds.) carefully. what is your art giving shape to?