Sat. April 30
(Le Grand Mix, Tourcoing)

Sun. May 1
(The Pit's, Kortrijk)

Thu. May 5
Awesome Tapes From Africa dj set
(Treehou5e Open Air, Ghent)

Fri. May 6
Invisible Hands / Neil Michael Hagerty & The Howling Hex / DSR Lines
(Vooruit, Ghent)

Sat. May 7
(De Ruimte, Ghent)

Tue. May 10
(De Pit's, Kortrijk)

Thu. May 12
(DOK, Ghent)

Fri. May 13
(Het Bos, Antwerp)

Sun. May 15
THRONEFEST (Taake, Inquisition, Mgla, Batushka, Inferno, Dysangellium, Wiegedood & The Commitee)
(Kubox, Kuurne)

Thu. May 26
(Den Trap, Kortrijk)

Fri. May 27
(Trix, Antwerp)

Wed. June 1
(Botanique, Brussels)

Wed. June 8
(Vooruit, Ghent)

Wed. June 22
(Het Bos, Antwerp)

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Day Ten : Fri Oct 21, 2005



** MANDERLAY (LARS VON TRIER - 2005 – Denmark)

*½ THE CITY OF THE SUN (MARTIN SULÍK - 2005 - Czech Republic/Slovakia)

Day Nine : Thu Oct 20, 2005

**** ANGEL'S FALL (SEMIH KAPLANOGLU - 2004 - Turkey)


***½ BE WITH ME (ERIC KHOO - 2005 – Singapore)

Day Eight : Wed Oct 19, 2005

**½ 2 GIRLS (KUTLUG ATAMAN - 2005 – Turkey)

**** APRIL SNOW (HUR JIN-HO – 2005 - South-Korea)



Day Seven : Tue Oct 18, 2005


*** BIPEDALISM (YEVGENI YUFIT - 2004 – Russia)



Day Six : Mon Oct 17, 2005

**½ GARPASTUM (ALEKSEY GERMAN JR. - 2005 – Russia)
Garpastum is a Latin word meaning a ball game, and contests were played as far back as ancient China and Sparta. Set in 1914 in St. Petersburg, the capital of the collapsing Russian Empire, World War I has already begun. The handsome brothers Andrey and Nikolai are passionate about the amateur matches they play on the streets of St. Petersburg. With their friends Shoust and Fatso, they hatch a scheme to buy a playing field. In order to finance it, they start playing for money with workmen, seminarians and anyone else they encounter. Andrey engages in an affair with a wealthy actress from Belgrade, Nikolai, an aspiring doctor, becomes infatuated with her sister Vita. Soon all of their lives and their world will be shattered and ruined by the Revolution of 1917. But there is still some time left for them to cherish their dreams and indulge in their passion for soccer. The film, which tells about tragic events, has a light breath and relaxed cinematic language and I liked it although most of my companions didn’t. Beautiful cinematography and stylish anti-drama nonetheless.

***** A WORKINGMAN'S DEATH (MICHAEL GLAWOGGER - 2005 – Germany/Austria)

This stunning five-part documentary is about heavy labour, about the most gruelling physical labour imaginable as it is carried out in different places and under different social and economic conditions. Men who work life-threatening jobs—and as the settings jump from Java to China, Nigeria to the Ukraine, so does the subtle music by John Zorn. Steaming sulphur mines, the bloodbaths of a brutal slaughterhouse… Glawogger's spellbounding visuals leave you breathless. The unique soundtrack by John Zorn is an added bonus. A monumental film!

A surprisingly conventional film from the normally more adventurous David Cronenberg about a prototypically normal Middle American family put to the test by crime and a disruption of its very identity. In the beginning, Cronenberg tries too hard to portray a perfect family, including the most ridiculous bed scene I have seen in ages. Ridiculous! The tale of a top mob gangster who turns into a local diner employee isn’t very convincing too. Although most of the action scenes are fun to watch, I couldn't stop thinking : "Is this all there is Mr. Cronenberg?"

**½ NEWS FROM AFAR (RICARDO BENET - 2005 – Mexico) Mexican director Ricardo Benet's first feature film, is a a gloomy picture about a teenager who lives with his troubled mother, resentful stepfather, and reverential younger brother on a homestead in a deserted, waterless area that doesn't even has a name – the settlement is simply known as No. 17. The first half of the film is about their futile attempts to make a go of it. In the second part, Martin moves to the capital for work, living in a flophouse and getting involved with a psychologically disturbed woman. He returns to his family, only to find that the neighbours have all moved away, his mother is catatonic, and his stepdad is inflexible about her fate. Tragedy ensues when Martin ultimately asserts himself. An interesting debut.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Day Five : Sun Oct 16, 2005

0 LOST CHILDREN (OLIVER STOLTZ & ALI SAMADI AHADI - 2005 – Germany). This documentary about child soldiers in the civil war in Northern Unganda is a complete disaster. Not only does it look very messy but the tragic dialogues are dubbed in English. So you get to see for example a mother and child who talk about the war in a mud hut but you hear silly American voices. I left the theatre after 20 minutes, not shocked by the picture but pissed of by the retarded dubbings.

Guillermo Arriaga, the Mexican screenwriter of “Amores Perros” and “21 Grams”, is the author of the grandiose **** THE THREE BURIALS OF MELQUIADES ESTRADA (TOMMY LEE JONES - 2005 – USA).

Tommy Lee Jones, the actor-director plays the role of Pete Perkins, foreman of a Texas ranch. His best friend, Melquiades, a "wetback," is found dead in the middle of the desert. Because the local police have no plans to pursue his murderer, Melquiades is given a summary burial. But Pete decides to investigate the crime himself. He eventually catches the culprit and forces him to dig up Melquiades's body and take it to his native village in Mexico, to give him a burial worthy of the name. This majestic contemporary western complete with chapter headings ("The First Burial," etc.) won the Grand Prix for Best Movie at the festival. Dwight Yoakam is godlike as local Sheriff Belmont and the Mexicans actually do speak Spanish which is a true relief for an American movie.

A moronic coming-of-age comedy about a teenager who hates the idea that his mother might be pregnant and fiercely resists the prospect of a new sibling. The Vivialdi score proofs that Reggiani has nothing to offer besides very boring and infantile cinema. Awful.

Although *** BRIDES (PANTELIS VOULGARIS - 2004 – Greece) is an old-fashioned film in both tone and virtues about 700 young mail order brides crossing the Atlantic from Greece to North America in 1922, I found the film charming and visually elegant. The story is captivating and dramatic and though we are talking about a very conventional film, I was moved by the very poignant end. Martin Scorsese was executive producer of this satisfying melodrama, sentimental but heartfelt.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Day Four : Sat Oct 15, 2005

***½ ODETE (JOÃO PEDRO RODRIGUES - 2005 – Portugal). João Pedro Rodrigues’ first feature, the 2000 Venice competition entry ‘O Fantasma’, was one of the most original debuts in recent years. This second feature doesn’t really life up to the first one but it is still an intriguing piece of cinema. It tells the story of a girl sinking into madness when crossing paths with a boy mourning the death of his gay lover. Another dark & twisted tale by this Portugese enfant terrible.

2005 - Germany – Turkey)
is the follow-up to Fatih Akin’s overwhelming Golden Bear-winner ‘Gegen Die Wand’ and another proof of the director’s contagious enthusiasm and efficiency. Akin takes us once again to the melting-pot Istanbul to paint a unique portrait of the city’s vibrant music scene. He follows Einstürzende Neubauten bass player Alexander Hacke who fell in love with the city sounds and seeks out its musicians. The range of Akin’s film is amazing : Hacke explores everything from classical music to noise-rock, hip-hop and street music. The changes from one musical genre to another are never abrupt and the interviews never become boring. A winner from start to finish!

Based on a popular Korean novel, but cast entirely with Japanese actors and written with predominantly Japanese dialogue, *** BLOOD AND BONES (YOICHI SAI - 2004 – Japan) covers 61 years of familial tyranny by an ultra-violent patriarch called Kim Sun-pei who, in the 1920s, attempts to build a fortune in Japan. This Korean migrant (an amazing Takeshi Kitano, under his acting moniker Beat Takeshi) literally blows everybody else off the screen. The story is told by Kim's son Masao who reveals at the beginning that he was born after his father raped his mother with his sister looking on. Treating his wife, children and fellow members of the Korean migrant community in Osaka with disdain, Kim drinks and womanizes, establishing multiple mistresses, siring several bastards and acquiring great wealth. Bullying his way, he develops a fishcake business into a loan-sharking and property empire. The stylish art direction and the smooth pace at which the movie flows makes BLOOD AND BONES a ruthless but interesting family drama.

*** ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW (MIRANDA JULY - 2005 – USA), the first feature by multimedia performance artist Miranda July, is a fresh & inspired observation about love, loss and loneliness. The film opens with an act of lovelorn desperation as shoe salesman Richard (John Hawkes) responds to the news that his wife is leaving him by setting his own hand on fire. It immediately sets the absurd tone of Miranda July’s highly original script. There are some very funny moments like when 7-year-old Robby conducts a chat room flirtation with an over stimulated adult female on the Internet, seducing her with the romantic promise: "You poop into my butthole, I poop into your butthole, back and forth forever." A featherweight film, entertaining but – let’s be honest - far from unforgettable.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Day Three : Fri Oct 14, 2005

*** BEFORE THE FLOOD (YAN YU & LI YIFAN - 2005 – China)

China's Three Gorges Dam, the largest ever built on earth, is expected to be completed in 2009. Until then, millions of local residents will have to be relocated, because hundreds of towns and villages — including countless natural monuments and historically important places — will be flooded. Yan Mo documents the relocation of Fengjie, a 1,000-year-old city on the Yangtze River, a bustling centre of commerce and a community of considerable social vitality

BEFORE THE FLOOD follows the inhabitants who are chased out of their houses and feel betrayed and abandoned by the local officials. Directors Yan Yu and Li Yifan observe without comment, focusing mostly on an aging innkeeper and the staff of the parish church. Some scenes are too long and would have been more effective had they been edited down to the essentials but overall, this is an enthralling piece of cinema.


Hailed internationally upon its release as a masterpiece of feminist filmmaking, "Jeanne Dielman" today stands as a landmark in film history. Thanks to Jem Cohen, I finally got the chance to see this 1975 experiment in film form which minutely details the three-day routine of a widow living with her son. The endless sequences of household chores performed in silence before a static camera look somehow dated in 2005, but the importance in film history of “Jeanne Dielman” is still omnipresent when watching the movie. A resolute marathon session of 225 min. that becomes an unforgettable experience. A true piece of art.

Day Two : Thu Oct 13, 2005

*** DALLAS PASHAMENDE (ROBERT ADRIAN PEJO – 2005 – Hungary) is part of the ‘Official Competition’ that focuses as usual on the impact of music on film. It is also selected for a section called “Plus-Parcours” that presents a couple of movies to the elderly. Consequently, I was surrounded by hundreds of 80-year-old grannies and gramps in wheelchairs. Pretty funny, since the movie was nicely shot, but the “sluts” and “stupid bitches” kept on rolling out of the mouths of the gypsies who tried to make a living on a massive garbage dump by humiliating each other. On the occasion of his father’s death, Radu, a native Gypsy, returns to the shanty town of his childhood where he meets Oana, the sweetheart of his youth. What follows is an entertaining movie, somehow like a Kusturica film without the hysteria and hyperactivity. Nothing to write home about, just a decent movie..

Another film selected for the “Official Competition” is * FIRST PEOPLE ON THE MOON (ALEXEI FEDORCHENKO – 2005 – Russia). This pseudo-documentary mixes authentic b&w archival footage with newly shot full-colour footage to create some kind of history of the Soviet conquest of space. The collage however failed to hold my interest so I was rather pleased that it only lasted for about 75 minutes. File under ‘Boring’.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Day One : Wed Oct 12, 2005

This year's Flanders International Film Festival-Ghent offers over 200 films and you'll find my impressions on some of them right here the coming days. It's a hell of a job to make a selection of 32 movies (32nd edition, right?) out of 200 but the first two movies I saw turned out to be top choice.

**** WINSTANLY (KEVIN BROWNLOW - 1975- UK) is a genuine authentic historical film about Britain's great neglected revolutionary Gerard Winstanley's non-violent actions to reclaim land for the poor during the British Civil Wars in the late 1640s. The screenplay was based on Winstanley's writings which are often quoted literally without sounding too artificial. As a consequence of the low budget, there's some very inventive camera work especially during the battle in the beginning and the destruction of the forest village where a series of close-ups are mixed with fighting scenes and flashes of fire. The movie is very convincing in the way it depicts Winstanley's struggle for justice and equality. On release in 1976, WINSTANLEY demonstrated Brownlow and co director Andrew Mollo's estrangement from both Britain's mainstream and independent cinemas. The film did not fit the costume drama pigeonhole, nor did it pursue the Greenaway path towards elaborate games with form and content. Today, it was shown as a part of the section "Memory of Film - Fuse Box", a programme compiled by experimental artist Jem Cohen whose 'Instrument', a musical document from 1998 on Fugazi will also be shown at the festival.

Another highlight was ***** LITTLE FUGITIVE (RAY ASHLEY, MORRIS ENGEL & RUTH ORKIN - 1953 - USA). This unforgettable film about a seven-year-old boy's adventures in the fantasy-world refuge of Coney Island was one of the first independent films to attract a wide audience. François Truffaut even claimed it was an inspiration to the French New Wave. The b&w photography is outstanding and the story keeps the audience enthralled for the whole 80 minutes because of the perfect balance between humour and emotion. The copy we got to see came directly from LA and throughout the film, I couldn't stop thinking what a bunch of lucky devils we were that we got the chance to see this rightly honoured landmark of the early American indie movement on the big screen after all those years.

More updates this Monday...

Friday, October 14, 2005

Film Puts a New Focus on the Master of 'Ethiojazz'

In Jim Jarmusch's latest movie, "Broken Flowers", a graying former ladies' man played by Bill Murray has a strange companion with him as he searches for some old girlfriends, one of whom may have borne his son. He's gloomy but intrigued by the quest, and his mood is matched by the passenger in his rental car: a CD of brooding and mysterious music, a little funky and a little slithery, a bit like a 1970's blaxploitation soundtrack and a bit like dense modal jazz. He never seems to know what to make of it, but he clearly likes it.

The music is a particularly obscure vintage made in Ethiopia in the late 1960's and early 70's by a jazz innovator named Mulatu Astatke, and thanks to "Broken Flowers" and an acclaimed series of CD's, his music has enjoyed a little renaissance lately. A prominent figure in Ethiopia but barely known to Western listeners, Mr. Astatke makes a rare United States appearance tonight at Joe's Pub with the Either/Orchestra, an avant-garde jazz group that has championed him.

From the moment Mr. Jarmusch first heard it, about six years ago, the music got under his skin, he said, and he began seeking it out wherever he could find it. "When I was writing 'Broken Flowers,' " he said by phone from his home in the Catskills, "I was listening to a lot of his music, and I was thinking, 'How do I get this music into a film that's set in suburban America?' It even led me to make the character of Jeffrey Wright of Ethiopian descent." In the film, Mr. Wright's character, Mr. Murray's next-door neighbor, gets him started on his journey and hands him the disc. Several songs by Mr. Astatke are used prominently in the film, and are on the soundtrack album, released by Decca.

Mr. Astatke, a vibraphonist and bandleader, had a suitably cosmopolitan upbringing for a music that blends jazz with funk, Latin music and traditional Ethiopian five-tone scales. Born in 1943 in the western Ethiopian city of Jimma, he was one of the few musicians of his generation to be educated abroad. He went to the Trinity College of Music in London, where he studied clarinet, harmony and theory, and in the early 60's attended the Schillinger House of Music in Boston, now the Berklee College of Music.

"My whole idea," he said by phone the other day from his home in Addis Ababa, "was sort of fusion with Ethiopian and jazz and modern music. I started at Berklee this idea of the 'Ethiojazz' business. From there I came to New York and I had this group, and what I wanted to do, I did it there."

His group in New York, the Ethiopian Quintet, was mostly Puerto Rican. He recorded two albums in the 60's on a small New York label, Worthy. He jammed with Dave Pike, who was Herbie Mann's vibraphonist at the time, and remembers his time here fondly.

"We had all these big bands," he said. "And the Village Gate, the Village Vanguard, the Palladium - there were all these clubs around at that time." He was surprised and delighted to learn that the Vanguard is still in business. "It's still around?" he said. "Fantastic! Wow!"

Mr. Astatke returned to Ethiopia in the late 60's and took part in a fertile musical scene there in the waning years of Emperor Haile Selassie, who was deposed in 1974. Establishing himself as a jazz ambassador, he brought the Hammond organ and vibraphone to Ethiopia. "I changed the whole Ethiopian music," he said without shyness, "combining jazz and fusion with the Ethiopian five-tone scales. Since then my name has been on the very, very top of the Ethiopian musical scene."

The music of that period, influenced by American funk and soul, is being collected in "�thiopiques," a series of albums on the French label Buda Musique, which since the late 90's has run to 20 volumes. Mr. Astatke's disc, Vol. 4, is its best seller and has seen a bump in sales since "Broken Flowers" was released in August. It is now selling about 1,800 copies a week, said a spokeswoman for Allegro, the albums' American distributor; that is equivalent to the sales of a new album by a world music star like Youssou N'Dour.

Last year the Either/Orchestra, led by the saxophonist and composer Russ Gershon, performed in Addis Ababa and met Mr. Astatke. The group has since brought him to the United States for concerts twice, the first times Mr. Astatke had performed in New York in many years. After performing at Joe's Pub tonight, they will go on a brief Northeastern tour, traveling to Boston, Philadelphia, Washington and Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y.

Mr. Astatke said he had been following news of "Broken Flowers" by e-mail ("I'm very far away") but had not yet seen them film in its entirety. He added, with a laugh, "I'm going to see it in New York."

By BEN SISARIO - The New York Times - Published: October 13, 2005



Sunday, October 09, 2005

"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)