Holy cow! It’s been quite some time since I posted something on this godforsaken blog of mine so let’s catch up with 5 personal highlights of recent times:
1. THE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL ROTTERDAM 2011
Another year full of surprises and discoveries! I had never heard before of Spanish filmmaker in focus Agustí Villaronga but both films I saw in Rotterdam – TRAS EL CRISTAL from 1987 and his latest PA NEGRE - turned out to be fascinating masterpieces. The opening shots of PA NEGRA alone justify the price of admission! Two other films I really enjoyed (rather to my surprise) were the latest films by Miiki Takashi. Although both very different in style, ZEBRAMAN 2: ATTACK ON ZEBRA CITY and 13 ASSASSINS delivered exhilarating adventures of pure cinematic joy! Other films I really loved were COLD FISH (from Sono Sion, the Japanese filmmaker of the frenzied four-hour cult drama LOVE EXPOSURE from 2008), Jerzy Skolimowksi’s fascinating ESSENTIAL KILLING, Kelly Reichardt’s powerful low budget western MEEK’S CUTOFF, the radical but fascinating 3-hours documentary THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF NICOLAE CEAUSESCU, the upsetting AURORA (from the maker of THE DEATH OF MR. LAZARESCU) and King Hu’s LEGEND OF THE MOUNTAIN from 1979. But the real highlight for me this year was the screening of all 6 episodes (330 min) of Chilean master Raúl Ruiz’ breathtaking MISTERIOS DE LISBOA (Mysteries of Lisbon). This elegant and fascinating costume drama is based on a 19th-century epic novel by Camilo Castelo Branco and tells about the bastard son Joao who wants to know who his parents are. A cinematic revelation of the highest order!
2. NEUROTIC DEATHFEST
Now that it seems like the whole garagepunk scene is dying a slow death, I thought it would be a good idea to check out some extreme metal music. Little did I know that I would see over 5 brilliant shows in 2 days! MAGRUDERGRIND from example - a trio from Washington DC that plays the kind of furious grindcore that sets every place on fire - is a band that the much-missed John Peel would have cherished! Maltese death/grind formation BEHEADED celebrated their 20th anniversary in style (I myself had never heard of the band before ;-)) with a truly merciless & massive set: power where you need it! Don’t think because the festival calls itself ‘Europe’s Premier Indoor Extreme Metal Event’ that the scope is very narrow. Swedish BIRDFLESH for example could best be described as ‘The Dwarves of Grindcore’ (including crazy stage antics and stoopid lyrics) while MASTER (formed way back in 1983 (!)) sounded like ‘Motörhead Going Death metal’. Most bands however had one thing in common: they were mean, merciless and very powerful! Add other great shows by a mean-as-fuck PROSTITUTE DISFIGUREMENT (!), Italy’s furious CRIPPLE BASTARDS and excellent headliners OBITUARY and AUTOPSY and you have a terrific festival. Count me in next year!!!
3. BUYING A JUKEBOX + SELECTING THE SINGLES!
Yes, I finally bought one: dirt cheap and wonderful! (go ahead, call me a lucky bastard!). I will soon post some pictures and list my 80 jukebox ‘hits’! Oh, and did I tell you that I paid more for my 7-inches than for my Wurlitzer? Thanks to Norton Records, Crypt Records, Ernie B’s Reggae and various eBay retailers for delivering a great & quick mailorder service!
4. INDULGING MYSELF INTO MAYAN CULTURE
In preparation for my 4 and a half weeks family trip to Mexico & Guatemala this August, I am indulging myself into ancient Central American civilization by means of books (John Lloyd Stephens’ INCIDENTS OF TRAVEL IN YUCATAN, David Drew’s THE LOST CHRONICLES OF THE MAYA KINGS, Taschen's huge book on DIEGO RIVERA and Michael E. Moseley’s THE INCAS AND THEIR ANCESTORS), films (Werner Herzog’s FITZCARRALDO, Mel Gibson’s APOCALYPTO and Terence Malick’s THE NEW WORLD) and music of course. But more about that in another post!
5. RECORDS, RECORDS, RECORDS
I have been buying a shitload of records so far this year. I am sure you are really going to discover some essential music in an upcoming post so stay tuned!