The Revenant (Alejandro Iñárritu, 2015) and The Hateful Eight (Quentin Tarantino, 2015) revise the western genre. Where The Revenant takes us back to the real pioneering beginnings of the nation, The Hateful Eight looks at the 'Wild West' from a contemporary perspective and current gun violence. The Revenant is sublime in making us feel the bare life of the pioneering beginnings of the American West. No saloons to have a drink after a shoot-out, just the harshness of nature full of enemies of all sorts. Breathtakingly filmed; Leonardo DiCaprio deserves an Oscar.
After his revisionist western Django Unchained (2012) with The Hateful Eight (2015) Tarantino gives again a biting commentary on the racial relations in the US. While Django Unchained is empowering, in The Hateful Eight there is no redemption of revenge (as is also the case in Kill Bill and Inglorious Bastards). The fetishistic Lincoln letter that the Samuel Jackson character keeps in his pocket, containing a promise for the nation, has appeared to be worthless. Only hate remains. Not even the love for cinema’s widescreen can compensate for this tragic message of violence.
Another gem from the International Film Festival Rotterdam: Melvin Moti's Eigenlicht (2012), part of the programme Out of Sight: People are generally blind to their own way of looking. These short films heighten our attention to light, darkness, flickering, mechanical rhythm and imaginary projections. About Eigenlicht: Certain minerals convert absorbed UV light into visible colours of unearthly beauty. Shown in sacred, cosmic silence. Eigenlicht (intrinsic light) refers to the visual interference the human eye sees in complete darkness.
Only seen a sliver of the 300+ films of the International Film Festival Rotterdam, so this selection is very partial. But Laurie Anderson's Heart of A Dog, Charlie Kaufman's Anomalisa, Andres Duques' Oleg e las Raras Artes and Beyond Sleep by Boudewijn Koole (based on the famous Dutch novel Nooit meer slapen) are all very beautiful and very remarkable.
Lucebert's Dutch poetry and Post Second World War paintings are still so powerful. See here a website (made by Rocco ter Haar as school assignment) dedicated to two of his poems: De Visser van Ma Yuan en De Gebroken Rode Draad. Image: 'Drama thuis' Lucebert 1961.
The Urban Millenium Project of photographer Bas Losekoot takes you accross the world in sharply observed and meticulously framed image. Visit The Urban Millenium Project website for photographs of New York, Sao Paulo, Seoul, India and other cities that will be added as the project continues. Image The Urban Millenium Project, Seoul, Bas Losekoot, 2014.