Sunday, March 23, 2014


New remarks on Djinn have sneaked in surreptitiously in the new Senses of Cinema, Issue 70 of the online film journal.  They come from learned film scholar, historian, critic and educator Bérénice Reynaud, whom it just so happens I've been privileged enough to see speak and attend lectures of a number of times, and whose opinions I find I always value greatly.  What are the odds, and how often does the universe conspire to deliver presents to you so expertly?  The thoughts are of a glancing but positive-leaning (and somewhat spoilery - be careful!) bent, and Reynaud also gives over some valuable type to outline Hooper's career, including serious mention of his 90s work, which is goddamn heartwarming.

"The Gleaners and Varda: 2013 AFI FEST and American Film Market"

The article is firstly about the 2013 AFI FEST in LA and the presence of Agnes Varda as honored visitor and guest programmer - the great French New Wave filmmaker and the very one I rank so highly, responsible as she is for a great sort of blemishless humanist filmmaking of a truly humanist ethos.  One should not skip Reynaud's coverage of the sheer artistic presence that is the outrageously personable, adventurous Varda, plus of her obscure "California Period" in the late 60s, but if one has yet to gain their valuing of the vital Agnes Varda, or can leave it to just watching her films and not needing scholarly background on the art that inspires you, then you can scroll further down (also past evocative reviews of Clio Barnard's The Selfish Giant, Hayao Miyazaki's The Wind Rises, and Alain Guiraudie's solid existentialist thriller Stranger by the Lake, of which you can read my thoughts here) to the 2013 American Film Market coverage, where Reynaud speaks of Tsui Hark's Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon, then Djinn, then Juno Mak's Rigor Mortis, then the Indian debut film Monsoon Shootout.  The latter two being filmmaker debuts, she pointedly groups the former two together as works of veterans, both who have maneuvered a ghetto of genre by adding their own personal touch of master class.  Hark working with the mainstream co-producing of China, and Hooper essentially the Hollywood superintendent hired to chaperone a unique nation's identity-less film industry into being, then there's much to analogize between the two films as product of national cinemas (or non-cinemas), and between the two and a global movie-making business in which our cultural entertainment has essentially merged with the big market world: our sense of globalized competition and economic national identities.  Djinn, of course, seems the more explicitly compromised, a venture by both filmmaker and production company that proved somewhat contentious, being a journey toward something new and unprecedented.

Anyway, find at the the Annex the spoilers-excluded excerpt of her comments on the "[not organically produced]... grafted," "... therefore interesting" Djinn.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

ANNEX POST: "Bask in Hooper and the Art of Pleasantry," and A Personal Taking Down a Peg of 'Texas Chain Saw Massacre'


Find a collection of Tobe Hooper's SXSW 2014 Festival interviews, promoting the unveiled Texas Chain Saw Massacre 4K remastering, and also, I confess my hidden critical feelings on The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, as a film I find almost irritatingly apolitical.  This post would be the place to argue with me about it, as I do acknowledge the strength of the film's outraged atmosphere and its rail against the perfidies of a meat-based society.  I'd say my favorite description of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is as a vegetarian tract, rather than a post-Watergate response.  Hooper's more poignant political (to the particular degree to which a Tobe Hooper work is "political") work would be to come.

Here's a taste, then you can follow the link or click-through picture above:
Hooper’s interviews are always a kick in the way of a pleasant formality: one knows what to expect, and they always abide.  Thus the kick of amused self-satisfaction.  Always a series of half-memories, amiable sound bytes bent over backwards for, small fallacies - unintentional - and pleasant affirmations (intentional).  The friendliest sort of self-deprecation… an endearing, thoughtless frankness; redaction-free self-confessions worthy of much admiration.
Texas Chain Saw is the sort of vague artistic attempt of a green filmmaker, as Hooper was at that point.  "A film about a very bad day" (in extension, the world), indeed, is the sort of somewhat poetic but largely pithy and rank polemic that would be compromised by a promising but not-quite-there artist, only at the beginning of peeling away the more basic levels of pretension that prop up his great artistic mind.

Friday, March 7, 2014


Hate to keep on twisting the knife, but I feel partly it's why I'm here.  Here's a Japanese trailer for DJINN's March 29th single-theater Tokyo release.  It is being released under the name (approximate translation): "Origin of Satan: Jin"

DJINN is also set up for a release in Turkey in May after also being bought in Berlinale.

 And here's some fresh imagery while we're at it:

And another simultaneously creepy/adorable baby (the creepy Older World baby in the previous festival trailer is cuter, though).

And, as you may have heard, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre has gotten a 4K overhaul super-restoration by passionate people over at Dark Sky Films, which will premiere March 10th at the SXSW Festival in Austin, then reportedly will get a theatrical run in the summer.  Outside the flip-sided coin that is getting to see a remastered Texas Chain Saw in theaters again before getting to see Djinn, good news indeed for us Stateside, that are absolutely obsessed with bigger and better technologies and watching things we like over and over again.