Thursday, December 12

Akerman 2 by Keifer Taylor

Akerman 2

As we tread deeper into the Promethean vault of Chantal Akerman’s vast filmic corpus the director’s personal vision seems to be taking shape. Already six films into the retrospective we are miles away from the brisk energy of Saute Ma Ville as Akerman tenaciously grips to a more emotionally restrained, pared down approach with numerous stylistic ventures.

In the article before this I referred to Hotel Monterey as an experimental film. At this point, however, it is clear that Akerman’s stylistic choices weren’t tentative exercises in cinematic expression. La Chambre, Le 15/8 and Je, Tu, Il, Elle all retain the themes and aesthetic principles of the previously screened films: lonely, anxious figures who yearn for excitement beyond the tedium of their confined spaces, loneliness and, of course, broken barriers where documentary and fiction conflate in a series of precisely framed shots governed by a uniquely hypnotic rhythm.

Thursday, December 5

Spot Light on North Korea, Part One by Eve Marguerite Allen and Ella Harris

Spot Light on North Korea, Part One: Film and Propaganda in North Korea

Since the death of Kim Jong-il in 2011, North Korean cinema has received a surge of interest. The facts and fictions surrounding the North Korean cultural propaganda industries are as dark as they are bizarre. This three part article interrogates the construction and the function of  North Korea’s global image by examining the film produced there. 

Prisoners of Film

In 1978 Kim Jong-il orchestrated the unusual and high profile kidnapping of two South Koreans who he brought to his personal compound in North Korea. A North Korean kidnapping alone is sadly unremarkable. Political kidnappings are an expected, if undesirable aspect of many coercive regimes. What is unusual, however, is that these particular South Koreans, Choi Eun-hee and her ex-husband Shin Sang-ok, were not threatening political figures, but film makers. They were taken by Kim Jong-il not, as might be expected, because their films challenged the North Korean regime from across the border and he wanted them silenced, but rather because Kim had admired their film making so much that he was determined to have them make films for him. Kidnapping the pair was just the most efficient way to go about this.