Monday, July 30, 2007

passing through ruins...

... in Colossal Youth (Pedro Costa) and Still Life (Jia Zhang-ke).








9 Comments:

Blogger HarryTuttle said...

Very nice caps. Emmanuel Burdeau (Cahiers) also mentionned this "cinema of ruins" as a post 9/11 world view, associating Costa (Wanda's room, Colossal Youth), Nicolas Klotz (La Blessure, La Question Humaine), Tsai (I don't want to sleep alone), JZK (Still Life), World Trade Center...

11:42 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Great caps, although I think the Costa film is about living in ruins whereas the Jia film, for the most part, is indeed about passing through them.

3:30 PM  
Blogger Mubarak Ali said...

Harry, those are pretty great examples of this 'cinema of ruins'. I've yet to see WTC or anything by Klotz though. I hadn't thought of the Tsai in this way but, of course, it makes sense since it deals with a certain migration of bodies within urban ruins.

Daniel, I was going with the impressions certain images left on me since I just saw the Jia a few days ago - 'the ruins' standing in for a coexistence of past and present with characters and phantoms moving through them. I do need to see Colossal Youth a few more times though...

11:03 AM  
Blogger Zach Campbell said...

Colossal Youth also has those images of the new apartments, though, too--I've been keeping an eye open to do a screen comparison between it and some prime real estate interiors in Rain Dogs as, it turns out, the flipside to these ruins: sterile white environments, all for sale to those who can scrape up enough for a deposit; no wreckage, but no life or history either ...

1:47 PM  
Blogger M. Lieberman said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:28 PM  
Blogger M. Lieberman said...

It's interesting that I hadn't thought of how similar these two works are. I feel like someone is missing, however, in the "cinema of ruins" and it might be Ken Jacobs, though he constructs works out of ruined materials.

iraqdoc.blogspot.com

11:29 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Just having come back from a screening of Costa's In Wanda's Room, I was immediately struck by a scene where a building in Fountainhas was marked for demolition with a spray-painted X, much like the buildings are in Still Life

2:30 AM  
Blogger Mubarak Ali said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone.

Zach, I'll look forward to your screen comparison. Indeed, this post neglects the new Casal Boba apartments which are ruins of another kind - the sterile white walls, the chandeliers, the blaring television. And rooms "not big enough" to contain personal histories and mythologies...

Michael, I've seen too little by Jacobs but a strong case can easily be made on the basis of Star Spangled to Death alone. Another recent significant example: July Trip by Wael Noureddine, which captures images of post-war Lebanon in July '06. I'm sure there are many more (esp. when one considers - and for good reason - filmmakers working with materialistic explorations of celluloid 'ruins'), but for now, I just wanted to look at these two films in relation to one another (btw, just discovered your Livejournal page and I'm looking forward to catching up with your posts...)

Daniel, In Vanda's Room is, perhaps, more directly/physically about ruins than Colossal Youth? If I'm not misremembering, I think (the agents of) destruction is (/are) actually seen in the earlier film.

1:51 PM  
Blogger M. Lieberman said...

Well, I was thinking primarily of Star Spangled to Death, but also his recent Razzle Dazzle, which is a digital approach to a decayed analog medium (film).

I haven't seen July Trip, but it sounds promising. BTW, glad you found my blog. I'll post more soon.

8:10 PM  

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