Weekend links 491

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The Weirdness is Coming, an illustration by Robert Beatty for an NYMag feature about the near future.

• I’m slightly late to this news, but better late than never: The Doll’s Breath is a 22-minute animated film by the Brothers Quay, shot on 35mm film and with a soundtrack by Michèle Bokanowski. It may take a while before it’s available to view outside the festival circuit but it’s good to know it’s in the world. Related: Filip Lech on the Polish inspirations of the Brothers Quay.

• More from Swan River Press: Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s disturbing horror tale, Green Tea, is published in a 150th anniversary edition, with an introduction by Matthew Holness, two essays and a CD containing a theatrical adaptation of the story by the Wireless Mystery Theatre.

• Luca Guadagnino, Olivia Laing and Sandy Powell, Tilda Swinton and John Waters choose favourite pieces of writing by Derek Jarman. Related: Protest!, a Jarman exhibition at the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

Fairport [Convention]’s revolutionary impact came in doing precisely the opposite of what the folklorists had intended when they began collecting the songs. By taking the old songs and setting them down on paper, they had largely believed they were preserving them in the form in which they must remain, ignoring the fact that songs passed through generations orally will always evolve. Fairport, though, played extremely fast and loose with the source material, matching tunes from one source with lyrics from another. As Rob Young put it in his book Electric Eden: “It threw into question the spurious ‘authenticity’ of the folk versions studiously set in stone by the Victorian and Edwardian collectors. Fairport’s electrifying act preserved and restored the guts and spontaneous vigour to the folk continuum.”

Michael Hann on the 50th anniversary of Fairport Convention’s Liege & Leaf

• More Patrick Cowley: PC’s megamix of Hills Of Kat Mandu by Tantra. And the mix of the week: a Patrick Cowley tribute from 1981 by DJ Jim Hopkins.

• The seventh edition of Wyrd Daze—”The multimedia zine of speculative fiction + extra-ordinary music, art & writing”—is out now.

5 Mishaps: A 32-page hardbound handmade book of short stories by Tamas Dobozy, with collage illustrations by Allan Kausch.

• At Dangerous Minds: Lovely Bones: The transfixing skeletons and dreamlike nudes of Belgian painter Paul Delvaux.

• From 1979: a very early TV appearance by Virgin Prunes (their first?) on Ireland’s The Late Late Show.

• Fists of fear: Anne Billson on 10 films featuring severed (and frequently vengeful) hands.

Adrian Curry at MUBI selects his favourite film posters of the 2010s.

Tea For Two (1956) by Duke Ellington | Tea For One (1976) by Led Zeppelin | Tea In The Sahara (2001) by Simon Shaheen & Qantara

Weekend links 284

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Les Hanel I by Pierre Molinier. There’s more at The Forbidden Photo-Collages of Pierre Molinier.

• Western anti-hero Josiah Hedges, better known as Edge, was the creation of prolific British author Terry Harknett. The famously violent Edge novels, credited to “George G. Gilman”, were ubiquitous on bookstalls in the 1970s. They were Harknett’s most successful works, and are still collectible today; if you’re interested there are 61 of them to search for. Amazon Originals have just launched Edge as a new TV series although anything for a mass audience is unlikely to retain the exploitative qualities of novels that often sound like pulp precursors of Blood Meridian.

Related: Terry Harknett discusses the creation of the Edge series at Drifter’s Wind; Ben Bridges on Harknett’s career, including a look at the writer’s many other Western and thriller novels; Bill Crider on Edge, Harknett and the British group of Western novelists known as “The Piccadilly Cowboys”.

• Boyd McDonald’s queer-eye film guide, Cruising the Movies: A Sexual Guide to Oldies on TV (1985), has been republished by Semiotext(e) in an expanded edition. Related: True Homosexual Experiences: Boyd McDonald and Straight to Hell by William E. Jones.

• “Zdenek Liska’s music thrived in unrealities,” says David Herter in a lengthy appraisal of the great Czech film composer (whose name would be accented if the coding of this blog would play nicely with diacritics).

• “…a film that plumbs the dark recesses of all our imaginations: dangerous, glorious, absurd, vivid and terrifying by turns.” Charlotte Higgins on her favourite film, The Red Shoes (1948).

Art Forms from the Abyss, a new collection of illustrations by Ernst Haeckel for the report of the HMS Challenger expedition (1872–76). Related: Silentplankton.com

• “The biggest kick I ever get is to find myself pursuing some group of images without knowing why,” says M. John Harrison in conversation with Tim Franklin.

• “Plots didn’t interest him much. They were just pegs on which to hang characters and language.” Barry Day on Raymond Chandler.

• At Dirge Magazine: S. Elizabeth delights in the dark decor of Dellamorte & Co.

• Nabokov scholar Brian Boyd selects his ten favourite Nabokov books.

• Mix of the week: The Ivy-Strangled Path Vol. XIII by David Colohan.

Take me to the cosmic vagina: inside Tibet’s secret tantric temple.

• Pour Un Pianiste (1974) by Michèle Bokanowski | 13’05” (1976) by Michèle Bokanowski | Tabou (1992) by Michèle Bokanowski

Battements solaires, a film by Patrick Bokanowski

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Actually a video piece rather than a film, Battements solaires (2008) is the last official release to date by Bokanowski. Silhouettes of people and animals are laid over more abstract imagery to create another of the director’s moving paintings. As usual with Bokanowski’s films, the music is by the director’s wife, composer Michèle Bokanowski. There’s a DVD of this and other short films available here.

Previously on { feuilleton }
La femme qui se poudre
Patrick Bokanowski again
L’Ange by Patrick Bokanowski

La femme qui se poudre

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The DVD collection of films by Piotr Kamler turned up last week so I’ve been alternating viewing of that with shorts by Patrick Bokanowski. The latter is less an animator than a filmmaker who uses animation or film effects to achieve his aims, together with masks and very stylised performances. Bokanowski’s early film La femme qui se poudre (The Woman Who Powders Herself, 1972) runs for 15 minutes, and is as remarkable in its own way as his feature-length L’Ange (1982). La femme qui se poudre has the same masked figures engaged in activities which often lack easy interpretation; in both films the atmosphere can shift from absurdity to the edge of horror and back again. For me what’s most remarkable about this particular short is the way it anticipates both Eraserhead and the early films of the Brothers Quay yet still seems little known. The Quays are on record as admiring L’Ange but I’ve yet to see any sign that David Lynch knew of this film in the 1970s. I’d be wary of assuming that Lynch was imitating Bokanowski, artists are quite capable of finding themselves working in similar areas independently.

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Films of this nature always benefit from well-matched soundtracks: Piotr Kamler uses recordings by different electronic composers; Eraserhead had Fats Waller and the rumblings and hissings of Alan Splet; the Quays have unique compositions by Lech Jankowski. La femme qui se poudre and L’Ange have outstanding soundtracks by Michèle Bokanowski, the director’s wife and an accomplished avant-garde composer. Her work is as deserving of further attention as that of her husband. DVDs of L’Ange and a collection of Patrick Bokanowski’s short films may be purchased here.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Le labyrinthe and Coeur de secours
Chronopolis by Piotr Kamler
Brothers Quay scarcities
Patrick Bokanowski again
L’Ange by Patrick Bokanowski

Patrick Bokanowski again

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“A prolonged, dense and visually visceral experience of the kind that is rare in cinema today. Difficult to define and locate, its strangeness is quite unique. That its elements are not constructed in a traditional way should not be a barrier to those who wish to cross the bridge to what Jean-Luc Godard proposed as the real story of the cinema—real in the sense of being made of images and sounds rather than texts and illustrations.”—Keith Griffiths

It was only two months ago that I enthused about Patrick Bokanowski’s extraordinary 1982 film, L’Ange, after a TV screening was posted at Ubuweb, and ended by wondering whether a DVD copy was available anywhere. Last week Jayne Pilling left a comment on that post alerting me to the film’s availability via the BAA site; I immediately ordered a copy which arrived the next day. So yes, Bokanowski’s film is now available in both PAL and NTSC formats, and the disc includes a short about the making of L’Ange as well as preparatory sketches and an interview with composer Michèle Bokanowski whose score goes a long way to giving the film its unique atmosphere. I mentioned earlier how reminiscent Bokanowski’s film was of later works by the Brothers Quay so it’s no surprise seeing an approving quote from the pair on the DVD packaging:

“Magisterial images seething in the amber of transcendent soundscapes. Drink in these films through eyes and ears.”

If that wasn’t enough, there’s another DVD of the director’s short films available. Anyone who likes David Lynch’s The Grandmother or Eraserhead, or the Quays’ Street of Crocodiles, really needs to see L’Ange.

Previously on { feuilleton }
L’Ange by Patrick Bokanowski
The Hour-Glass Sanatorium by Wojciech Has
Babobilicons by Daina Krumins
Impressions de la Haute Mongolie revisited
Short films by Walerian Borowczyk
The Brothers Quay on DVD