“On a chilly January morning 24 years ago, Corydon optometrist Jack Moss raised his new video camera to the sky over central Florida and captured one of the darkest moments in American space exploration the explosion of the shuttle Challenger.
In the videotape, a stream of white smoke behind the climbing shuttle shoots into view but Moss, his wife and a neighbor noticed immediately that More..something was amiss when the channel separated into two streams.
‘Thats trouble of some kind’, Moss can be heard saying. ‘That didnt look right.’
Moments later, someone is heard telling Moss that the Challenger had blown up.”
Henry Jenkins is the director, Comparative Media Studies Program at MIT. In this viral-info-snack he discusses the power of media in a 21 century trans-mediated world. A world where converging technologies and cultures give rise to a new media landscape.
Made shortly before his death, this moving portrait of renowned photographer Fergus Bourke was first shown in May 2007. It introduces us to his life and work and the wide array of Irish life captured through his lens, including Dublin street scenes, pioneering photo-journalism, remarkable portrait photographs and classic images of Connemara and the Irish countryside.
Robert, William, and Alec Day photographed their native Cork for over 100 years, creating a unique and unsurpassed photographic record of the city and its surroundings. This new documentary tells the story of an unusual family and the images they produced, from visiting kings and streetscapes to naked ladies and departing liners.
First broadcast in April 1994, ‘The Day Before Yesterday’ looks back at Ireland in the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, as shown through the lens of Jesuit and photographer Fr. Francis Browne. Scripted and narrated by Michael Ryan, over 2,000 photographs from Fr. Browne’s collection of 40,000 are seen onscreen, a fascinating account of the birth and growth of independent Ireland record, of the people and the times.
David Farrell is the only Irish photographer to have won the European Publishers’ Award for Photography, for his hugely successful exhibition Innocent Landscapes, dealing with the searches for the so-called “disappeared” from the conflict in the north of Ireland. Shot in Dublin, Wicklow, Cork, Italy and Paris, Elusive Moments follows two years of his working life, taking photographs, editing and printing his pictures, preparing them for exhibitions, and dealing with the marketplace.
The Côte D’Azur in the 1950’s was the most glamorous place on the planet, where high society, big business, art, music and literature gathered to play. And Irish photographer Edward Quinn (1920 – 1997) was there to record it, producing exclusive photos of Grace Kelly, Federico Fellini, Pablo Picasso, Audrey Hepburn, Marlon Brando, Kirk Douglas, Sophia Loren, Edith Piaf, Max Ernst, Frank Sinatra, Brigitte Bardot, Orson Welles, Marlene Dietrich, Miles Davis and so many more.
Sweet Cork Of Thee – Edwardian Cork On Camera
RTÉ One, 7.30pm on Wednesday 12 August 2009
Some 15 years before Tomas MacCurtain and Terence McSwiney defined Cork’s republican credentials, English cinematographers Mitchell and Kenyon observed an altogether more ‘loyal’ Cork than that portrayed in the Rebel Cork story. In this RTÉ Archive Unit documentary, first shown on Christmas Day 2005, Pat Butler casts a wry eye on the Citizens of Cork, as they sport and play and go about their lives on the Banks of the Lee in 1902, spiced with Victorian and Edwardian ballads.
First shown in February 2003, Dark Room looks at the life of the famous Irish photographer, Harry Thuillier, Jnr. Born in Dublin in 1984, his subject matter was noted for its particular darkness, including ancient skulls, limbs decorated with opium pods and flowering nudes. He survived an attack on a Dublin street which left him with only 80% vision in his right eye, and went on to make very distinctive and beautiful work, until his unexpected and mysterious death in Milan in December 1997.
The Man Who Shot Beckett
RTÉ One, 11.05pm on Thursday 13 August 2009
John Minihan is probably the most important Irish photographer alive today, his subjects ranging from Francis Bacon to John Hurt, Princess Diana to William Burroughs, his acclaimed pictures of Athy, and the famous series of photographs he took of Samuel Beckett in London and Paris. This profile of Minihan was first shown as part of RTÉ Beckett 100 in April 2006 and celebrates the friendship between Beckett and the photographer, a friendship that produced some of the most remarkable images of the great writer.
Townlands: Not Fade Away
RTÉ One, 8.30pm on Friday 14 August 2009
In the wet and windy summer of 1913 two young women arrived in Ireland from France. Marguerite Mespoulet and Madelaine Mignon were women on a mission – to document what they regarded as the dying remnants of a great Celtic culture. During May and June 1913 they made a total of 75 colour photographs, stunning images, many with the delicacy of paintings, which together with their travel notebook, form a unique and fascinating record of an Ireland that, even then, was quickly fading away. (First shown in August 2004.)
The official site for ‘The Look of the Irish’ is here:
The film follows the physical structure of a novel: is divided in prologue, four chapters, and ended by an epilogue, all these introduced by visual queues and the temporary halt in the narrative. Most definitely, we are been told a story. Do not forget that.
What are the reviews like?
Breaking News: This film is not for everyone. Well, it wasn’t made for everyone and it hasn’t been rated as a PG, rather as an 18 certificate in Ireland. It does contain violence, nudity, explicit sex, but also some of the most astonishingly beautiful sequences I have seen in long time.
First of all, go and watch it: Is the only way to make your own mind, and who else do you need to make yours? At the end of the day, you made the effort to watch ‘Bruno’ though you knew it was going to hurt, so why not doing it for a film made by someone who at least has done more than one great film?
Also, if you are going to bitch about it, go and watch it first.
Dont do like a number of Inquisition-styled critics that are complaining almost of it being blasphemic, thought they haven’t even bother seen it! And don’t let the voices that claim it is too violent, too perverted, the sickest film ever made, etc. dampen you enthusiasm in finding out for yourself. Just beware: it is a story for adults.
I watched ‘Antichrist’ at the IFI, on a half-full room, sitting in the last row, dead centered, and managed to get two empty seats in each side for extra silence. Unfortunately, all the annoyed people in Dublin that couldn’t get a ticket for U2 that day decided to ruin my film and annoy me with their snacks noises, loud comments, and at some point when an animal speaks in the film, their laughs.
Honestly, I was following people’s reaction as much as the film – I had no choice -, coming to the conclusion that definitely this film is not for everyone. The girl in front of me was even stretching her arms, body-yawning, incidentally blocking my view. The over 60s couple on my right were talking as if the world was a giveafuck away from them. The two guys on my left were constantly overreacting, screaming. And someone a few rows far away was messing with a plastic package. The usual at Cineworld, a pity for IFI.
Well, it is ok; I learnt to control myself and to breathe a long time ago. Although I thought about requesting silence, the movie was actually grabbing their attention at times. But why were they so not into the film? Why so altered and uneasy? Was it cause they were missing U2’s gig? Not sure, not sure. I was truly getting interested in the film myself, despite all that drama in the room, and was threading in my head my way back to its message.
Says Slavoj Žižek, that “the paradox of cinema,[is] the paradox of believe. We don’t simple believe or do not believe, we always believe in a kind of conditional mode: ‘I know very well is a fake, but nonetheless I let myself be emotionally affected’ […] “. Yes, suspended disbelief. That is exactly how and why you enjoy a film, a story, a legend, by temporarily setting aside some questions and letting your empathy follow the trail laid in front of you. The question remains when do you start to make the questions?
Too early: One of the most irritating things that happen while watching the film was when a good few in the audience laughed hysterically and out of rhythm (I mean, clearly not laughing cause it was funny) at the speaking animal scene. Hard to explain, but my feeling is that there is a lack of maturity in those who laughed. As if they were letting loose and infecting each other with a reason to underline their sanity – cause explaining themselves what the film was exposing was just to hard a calculation.
I was imagining their thoughts: ‘Ha, animals dont speak! This is ridiculous!’. Yes, animals do not speak. Unfortunately, we have had a rain of films in the last decade of speaking animals, that you have enjoyed and never questioned. (And there are more coming) Cause they were films and you suspended your disbelief, as the message wasn’t buried too deep. But they were films for kids, so it was easy not to laugh – we all know films for kids are fantastic and require not to be taken literally. It is a pity that when the same effort is requested for grownups films, the audience fails to give. Remember ‘Dogville‘? Now that was disbelief.
“This strange status of believe, accounts for the efficiency of one of the most interesting characters […] in staging as such, the character of prologue” (Žižek). Each time the film stops to introduce the next section, we are reminded of the artificiality of the experience, ‘it is a film’, yet some wish to remain offended or disturbed. Lets say that some people, including a load of critics, have become too conformist to look only anywhere else but in the surface and are neglecting to see whats underneath.
This is what I call the ‘6th Obstruction’.
But wait. Look at these stills.
Do they look to you as those of an abominable movie?
No. Certainly not. And there are even more elaborated scenes for which I couldn’t find stills. It has been very carefully produced, with very high technical standards, far away from Dogme 95. Your true feelings about this film have been obstructed by someone elses interests. First, those of the Director’s PR machine, that surely are enjoying the benefits of the bad publicity. And then, the media, those newspapers, magazines, radios, TV channels, that have NOTHING to say, cause they have lost the power and will to analyse and now merely repeat.
Excessively sexual? What, more than Caligula, Nine 1/2 Weeks, Emmanuelle, etc? Not. Perhaps they need to learn more about sex in film. The film starts with a purposely beautiful slo-mo sex scene interweaved with other non sexual narrative elements. Yes, you can see his dick in profile slowly thrusting into her vagina, for like 5 seconds. And? Oh, for fucks sake, grow up! If this offends you, where do you look at when you are making love?
Excessively violent? As in more than Final Destination 3, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, American Psycho, Misery, etc? Not. And by the way, you cannot get more violent than in catastrophic films like Armageddon, Die Hard, and the like. Or is it dying collectively that removes pain? This film has only 4 scenes of those that make you look away. And even then, they are not narrated to disgust, they are rather underlined with a straight view; a way of saying this is it, a prick in your eye so you understand the consequences of her mental disorder.
In any case, dismissing the whole film because of certain scenes is plainly ludicrous.
The strength of this film may well be that there are two conflictive narrative layers: that of the reality that is external to the film (the PR marketing, the reviews, Cannes, what you heard, etc), that critiques how excessive and irrational this film is; and that of the film itself, that warns us about how an uncritical mind can end up putting believes above reason, dominated by unruly passions, to the point of loosing its mask of sanity, becoming schizophrenic.
The 6th obstruction is your mind.
After all, this is a story for adults.
* * * * *
If you still need to read more, here are a few reviews, good and bad:
East Timor, 1975. As Indonesia prepares to invade the tiny nation of East Timor, five Australian based journalists go missing. BALIBO is a political thriller that tells the true story of crimes that have been covered up for over thirty years.