Zero Dark ThirtyJune 29, 2013
Half A Weekend Of AngerJuly 31, 2013
Editorial by Diarmuid Hester
11 – its form familiar and predictable, but alien to the work of this magazine’s writers: one, one. Its repetition, that of the same without alteration, a recurrence without modulation. Without affirmation: not a Derridean yes, yes but a “yeah, yeah” (whatevs). So predictable – is this a re-run? No invocation of the monstrous outside, no addition of something new through the middle: no conjunction here. Just two parallel lines (of thought, behaviour, creativity) that never intersect, carrying us, swaying, toward some known destination, determined in advance.
Put the eyeball on a dolly though; come around and a little below, and the two bars of 11 look like they intersect (the left one is in fact tilted back at an angle of about 30 degrees and is much longer than it appeared from the front). Better: just shove them together, spin them round so they’re perpendicular. The articles assembled in One+One Filmmakers Journal do just this: approaching their subjects askew, turning old ideas around, combining them with new ones.
James Riley’s “Capitalist Breakdown: Gumball 3000 and the road movie,” opens this issue at breakneck velocity. Combining Marx’s theory of the commodity form and Situationist Guy Debord’s analysis of the automobile’s symbolic function within late capitalism, Riley identifies some salient features of Gumball Rally’s development from offbeat interest to phenomenon of the global elite over the course of a short decade. His article is swiftly overtaken by “Excess and Austerity: The Films of Kōji Wakamatsu,” in which Ben Noys critically re-assesses the life and work of this obscure, wilfully abrasive Japanese filmmaker. Offering a bold riposte to the reactionary response to early Wakamatsu films like Violent Virgin (1969), Violence without a Cause (1969) and Ecstasy of the Angels (1972), and to attempt to affirm their transgressive frisson, Noys argues that “[Wakamatsu’s] films operate in a tense negotiation with the limits of a genre that is already misogynist, and they demonstrate how a filmmakers ‘independence’ might also stake out a highly ambiguous space.” This ambiguity is particularly important for Noys’ analysis, which sketches the outlines of Wakamatsu’s singular, controversial intermingling of radical politics, sexuality and filmmaking.
Meanwhile, in his “Horror Film Hong Kong Style: Dr. Lamb,” Garrett Chaffin-Quiray conducts a compelling and detailed commentary on Danny Lee and Billy Tang’s Dr. Lamb (1992), regarding it within a context of exuberantly subversive Hong Kong filmmaking. For Chaffin-Quiray, what distinguishes Lee and Tang’s film is the mastery with which they toy with this tradition: utilising masterful shifts in tone, their film becomes by turns dramatic, horrific, and absurd. This is followed by professional actor Vito Maraula’s piece, “Actors: a work in progress,” which contributes a fascinating personal reflection on his work. Maraula illuminates the various demands made upon the actor such that a portrayal will appear transparent and effortless in its verisimilitude, and here asserts the necessity of film theory and criticism that focalises the craft of acting. Relying upon the theories of Phillip B. Zarrilli and Jerzy Grotowski, and considering the work of filmmakers like Wim Wenders, Maraula argues that any consideration of performance should begin with the body, and acting’s attempt to negotiate the intersection of corporeal and linguistic codes, of body and text. William Powers’ “Infinite Riches in a Little Room: Animation, Puppetry, Manipulation, and the Films of Karel Zeman,” however, recasts the admittedly anthropocentric terms of Marula’s essay by considering the role of puppetry and animation as it functions in the work of Zeman, a neglected Czech film director, artist and animator. According to Powers’ account, “instead of the traditional approach of blending effects to appear as part of reality, or at least to appear as real as possible, Zeman chose instead to alter reality to suit his effects” and films like his Vynález Zkázy and Baron Prásil thereby constitute a veritable corrosion of the tenets of conservative realism.
Earlier this year, in association with Brighton’s favourite new queer film night Eyes Wide Open, One+One Filmmakers Journal presented a screening of Derek Jarman’s dazzlingly baroque 1990 film The Garden, followed by a Q & A with the film’s producer James Mackay. James Marcus Tucker’s report on the event offers excerpts from the discussion with Mackay, in which he talks candidly and often movingly about the making of the film, his relationship with Jarman and the latter’s truly queer cinema.
Bringing the curtain down on this issue is Bradley Tuck’s “Adventures in… Bigotry.” A virtuosic piece of criticism, equal parts filmic analysis and politicised commentary, Bradley’s essay exposes manifestations of so-called bigotry in contemporary film and confronts the hypocrisy that orbits their intrusion into popular discourse. Considering a range of examples, from Lars Von Trier’s divisive post-Dogme films, John Waters’ outrageous transgressions, and works by Todd Solondz, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and Quentin Tarantino, and utilising critical insights drawn from writers like Wu Ming, Alain Badiou, Slavoj Žižek and Edmund Husserl, Bradley palpates the structurally bourgeois conservatism, racism and misogyny that courses beneath contemporary film production and its reception. Only by attending to the cracks in a politically correct façade that these artists make visible, Bradley suggests, can we begin to excavate and confront bigotry in its multifarious and mutable forms.
A game of Nim: a taciturn Frenchman in a dinner suit arranges a fistful of matchsticks on a table – more ones now swimming before your eyes – and says “take one…” Fuck em. We say you’ll never win their game. We say, if you have to, strike a match and burn the place down.
Capitalist Breakdown: Gumball 300 and the Road Movie by James Riley
Excess and Austerity: The Films of Kōji Wakamatsu by Ben Noys
Horror Film Hong Kong Style: Dr. Lamb by Garrett Chaffin-Quiray
Actors: A Work in Progress by Vito Maraula
Animation, Puppetry, Manipulation, and the Films of Karel Zeman by William Powers
Vanished Pleasures: The Garden at Eyes Wide Open by James Marcus Tucker
Adventures in… Bigotry by Bradley Tuck