‘Cave Talk’ talking again. Keeping you up to date about what happened and will happen in the dark recesses of THE CAVE. Last week a small but smart group took the time to expose themselves to a sleazy, B-Movie “Film Noir” experience. We watched, ‘The Big Combo’ (1955) one of the darkest (literally) and most ‘film-noiry’ of this style. This film contained all the elements that defined this genre, in spades, gritty, low budget, short on story or character development but drenched in expressionistic chiaroscuro, a doomed man stuck in the shadows of blinding lighting, corrupt women and the never-ending past The direction of Joseph H. Lewis and especially the cinematography of John Alton, makes this film a shiny, black pearl in film history. Those who sat through it last week will certainly never forget it. Those who stayed home missed it. Like they say, “ Why weren’t you here when I needed you?” “ Why didn’t you need me when I was here?”.
For anyone interested in a concise and lucid description of the Film Noir take a look at the Notes of Paul Schrader (http://www.literatureoftheamericas.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Notes-on-Film-Noir.pdf).
And if you want to slide even deeper into the darkness take a look at ‘The Big Sleep’, ‘Double Indemnity’, ‘Kiss me Deadly’, and ‘Touch of Evil’ among many, many others.
“ THE CAVE “ will regroup next Wednesday 1 March where we’ll most probably be looking at a film of Jean Luc Godard. Godard along with many of the directors of the Nouvelle Vague were huge fans and were largely responsible for renewed interest and admiration for the Hollywood low budget films of the 40’s and 50’s. To be honest I have never really understood the true significance of ‘why’ the films of Godard were so important to the development of a new film language. To me his films are as much concerned with ‘talking’ about film language and all its possibilities as developing a new one. But maybe I see it all wrong. Anyway I’m looking forward to try and figure out what these films are doing I do know that they are very relevant to those who are interested in video, digital photography, montage and cinematic language. EXPOSE YOURSELF TO IT.
Speaking of which at the start of last weeks CAVE we got into an interesting discussion about the relationship between video, digital photography and presentation strategies. We looked at ideas for installations and performance works using video and digital photography. How to create the proper contexts and exhibition forms for video, digital photo works and the internet. Investigating other possibilities for using these mediums in your own work and looking critically at why the correct presentation form/context is a material in itself. In other words what possibilities, responsibilities and limitations does digital ‘MATERIAL’ offer?
Moving on to the department, “OVER-RATED”, I visited the Ed van der Elsken exhibition, ‘De Verliefde Camera’ in the Stedelijk One thing that this exhibition makes clear is that Ed van der Elsken was mainly in love with himself. The manner in which van der Elsken used all the bohemians, street people, and woman for his photographic ego trip leaves you tired, uninspired and totally unsatisfied. Looking at old pictures, and old ideas that were even derivative when they were made. Even its potential interest as a documentary “tijdsbeeld” is unfulfilled mainly because you see that this aspect of the work was of absolutely no interest to him. The sincere and intense love and respect that photographers like Diana Arbus, or Nan Goldin had for their subjects is something you never feel in van der Elsken’s speedy ego trippery. Basically what he does is feed the narcissism of his subjects to feed his own his own ego, HET ZELFIE AVANT LA LETTRE. But don’t take my word for it, check it out yourself. At least You can always see the new Jordan Wolfson exhibition, and Loretta Fahrenholz film while you’re there.
Hope to see you all next Wednesday maybe with some work to look at but certainly a film to look at.