Gett Film Review
Set almost exclusively in a tiny courtroom, Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, is an Israeli-French film about a couple's lengthy battle for divorce. Simple from its get-go, the film's major strengths lie in its tense appeal and multiple layers of meaning, which build slowly through use of seemingly trivial gestures. Director-siblings Ronit Elkabetz and Shlomi Elkabetz use the limitations of space, time, and color to give viewers a glimpse into Israeli society, where religious views and patriarchy can dominate female rights.
This film was seen as a part of Portland International Film Festival (PIFF) 2015.

 

The Tribe Plemya Film ReviewCalling to mind controversial films like Gaspar Noé's Irreversible (2002) or Harmony Korine's Gummo (1997) and Kids (1995), The Tribe can be construed by some as a film of senseless depravity. Over the course of two hours, it is unrelenting as it bleakly follows the lives of an isolated group of deaf-mute schoolchildren that perpetuate a hierarchical system of bullying, violence, and prostitution within the confines of their school and its adjacent living quarters. The film boasts proudly that no spoken words and no subtitles are necessary to convey its themes of love and hate -- and in this regard, The Tribe is, from the get-go, unlike any other. Bold and polarizing, it wordlessly pulls one deep into its trenches, fictionalizing teenage depravity in the cold, rough climate of post-Soviet Ukraine.
This film was seen as a part of Portland International Film Festival (PIFF) 2015

 

Philosophy and spirituality intertwine in this amazing three-part narrative for How To Dress Well's latest record, What Is This Heart?. Directed by Johannes Greve Muskat, this three-part trilogy for "Repeat Pleasure", "Face Again", and Childhood Faith In Love" touch upon dramatic themes of "how to live and love and die right, in a world that makes these things so difficult." Read on for a compare and contrast interview between How To Dress Well's Tom Krell and Muskat, as they speak about the videos themes, symbolism, and more. REDEFINE will be co-presenting a night with How To Dress Well at Portland's Holocene on August 25th, 2014. Click the poster at right for details!

How To Dress Well - "Repeat Pleasure" Music Video (Part 1 of 3 of What Is This Heart? Trilogy)

You have an extensive scholarly background in Philosophy. This intellectual pursuit might at first glance seem incongruous with the deep mysticism of a shamanic figure like the one you play in “Face Again". How do you reflect on and make peace with your own relationship between the mystic and the intellectual, the cerebral and the spiritual?
“Whoa this is like 100% right on; I've always been interested in how to navigate these two modes, mystical-musical and the controlled-rational-philosophical. Not sure I have a full-blown answer yet. I think they are on the one hand incongruous modes and then on the other hand, I think they can contribute to each other obliquely." - Tom Krell, How To Dress Well

How To Dress Well - "Face Again" Music Video (Part 2 of 3 of What Is This Heart? Trilogy)

Speaking of Philosophy, your video for "Childhood Faith in Love" seems to point to an understanding of the child almost more akin to that "child" of Nietzsche's in Thus Spoke Zarathustra -- the Child as the final stage in a number of metamorphoses, as an advanced state of self-legislation and freedom that is only attained after a good deal of hardship and deep inner searching. Are we on the right track here? If so, why is this theme to be important to touch upon at this point in your life?
"I love you, you just so totally get me :) I've spoken before about a 'second naivete' as well -- something along precisely these lines." - Tom Krell, How To Dress Well

How To Dress Well - "Childhood Faith In Love" Music Video (Part 3 of 3 of What Is This Heart? Trilogy)

 

Class Enemy Film Review
Nusa (Masa Derganc), every student's favorite teacher, goes on maternity leave and is replaced by Robert. Robert is everything that Nusa isn't -- a man who believes in rigid authority and an older style of teaching. A private meeting with a struggling Sabina (Dasa Cupevski) sends her out of Robert's office in tears, and it is the last memory her classmates have of her. Sabina later commits suicide, and the class, left struggling to comprehend their own emotions, squarely places the blame on Robert. Rok Bicek's debut feature-length film, Class Enemy, is an interesting exercise in grief, and Bicek undertakes the painstaking task of showcasing how it hits the cast of characters differently. Luka (Voranc Boh), who has just lost his mother, uses Sabina's death as a way to shield himself from his own pain. Mojca (Doroteja Nadrah), Sabina's best friend, blames Robert as a way to avoid the reality she had no idea her friend was in such a spot. Spela (Spela Novak), sees Sabina's death as a symbol of everything that is wrong with the school. As pressure starts to mount from his rebelling class, Robert has to wishstand even more from the school's administration, who feel that he is losing control of the people he doesn't really know in the first place.

Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) 2014 is here, which means another few weeks of impressively-curated film-going madness for everyone in the Puget Sound Region. Below, we've once again given you our top selections for the year, grouped by world region. Stay tuned in the weeks to come, as we offer updates throughout the festival's progression, with general thumbs up and thumbs down summaries of the films we will painfully and enjoyably slog and float through, as well as one-off full-length reviews. Happy SIFFing!

Sometimes words can take on more profound meaning when spoken by complete strangers, and regardless of whether this is the intention behind the music video for Cloud Boat's "Carmine", this is indeed the effect. Directed by Chris Toumazou, this video is executed in a simple laundromat setting and carried by the lipsyncing of a number of ordinary yet expressive characters, which seem to lend weight to the emotional gravitas of Tom Clarke's vocals. Cloud Boat consists of Sam Ricketts and Tom Clarke, and their upcoming record, Model of You, comes out July 8th on Apollo Records.

This audio-visual collaboration between Portland-based avant-garde metal outfit, The Body, and NYC mixed media artist Alexander Barton has been a long time coming, a homage to an enduring friendship. Combining their mutual shared interest in intensity, abstraction, and religious themes, the music video for "To Attempt Oneness" pits The Body's guttural, distorted screams and noisy, rumbling guitars against Barton's bleeding ink painting -- an extension of his earlier performance which used real pig's blood. The final product holds a viewer's fascination with its impressively slow and minimal unfolding, the most entertaining way possible to watch paint dry. To celebrate the very recent release of The Body's Christs, Redeemers on Thrill Jockey Records, we offer you a side-by-side interview with artist Alexander Barton and The Body's drummer Lee Buford, as they speak of music, aesthetics, and the world. The Body are currently on a nation-wide tour; dates at the bottom of this post.

V V Brown has released three albums since 2009 -- but it is only now that she is making a foray into the independent music world. Freshly divorced from her former major label home, Capitol Records, V V Brown has recently found renewed strength in herself as an artist with her latest record, Samson & Delilah. Themed around the Biblical tale, which mirrors the themes of vulnerability, slavery, and freedom that led to her massive career change, Samson & Delilah also presents a sonic change into moodier and darker territories, where hints of The Knife echo through, replacing previous tendencies towards mainstream pop appeal. A bold new audio-visual approach accompanies the record as well, in the form of a dramatic, carefully-plotted fifteen-minute short film directed by Jessica Hughes. Comprised into three separate music videos, the film bears similarity to mesmerizing black and white Japanese classics by Akira Kurosawa or Masaki Kobayashi, while catching a mood not unlike that of Ingmar Bergman films. They're transportive from part to part, leaving viewers wondering about the terrains to be crossed next. In this Q&A interview about the creative process of the short film, V V Brown speaks of being inspired by geishas and noir, Biblical stories and archetypal characters -- and the feeling of finding one's own artistic voice.
"Samson and Delilah is a story about strength and weakness. It's about the pendulum between the two. The story for me conjured up the idea of empowerment and fragility. When Samson was deceived by his love and was in the wilderness discovering and finding himself, waiting for his hair to grow back, this represents times in my life I have felt lost creatively. Hair clipped and [with] a sense of vulnerability. Delilah was the deceiver. Samson represents the artist and Delilah represents the cooperation. The Artist can often loose the strength of their messages in the corporate arena, and my own record label exercises my freedom and new strength." - V V Brown

Try as I might, it was hard not to see every artistic choice that surrounded the first Portland appearance by Body/Head as a reaction to the divorce of Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore. There was the steadily unrolling video - directed by longtime Sonic Youth collaborator Richard Kern - that accompanied the hour-long performance. The slow motion clips cut between a man (actor James Ransone, best known for his work as Ziggy in season two of The Wire) and a woman who draw closer and closer in the space of an art studio. At one point, Ransone is on top of the young woman, straddling her as he takes her photograph. But by the end, the woman is alone, making art of her own creation, spreading black paint on a canvas by way of a nylon stocking.

Devon Welsh isn't just looking for applause at the end of a Majical Cloudz song. He'll gladly accept it, nod his head a few times, and give the audience a hint of a smile, but for Welsh, the Majical Cloudz live set is about much more than that.Majical Cloudz "When you play a show, you want people to feel something," Welsh told Pitchfork's Jenn Pelly in a recent interview. "It's much better to communicate something than for people to just be like, 'Oh this is cool.'" As Welsh performs -- he's strictly the lead singer of the two-piece group that includes Matthew Otto on synth and sound mixing -- he slowly rotates his gaze throughout the crowd, moving at a snail's pace from left to right and then back again. You won't see him shutting his eyes or staring off into the distance, because his priority is ensuring that each word coming out of his mouth is fully digested by the crowd. He doesn't just casually look out into the crowd to gauge his audience, either. He stares into the eyes of every onlooker, and when his pupils fall on you, it feels like an intimate and intensely personal performance.
August 27th, 2013 @ The Echo in Los Angeles, CA