Erasure Poem: I Would Like to Know

During the last winter months, I dedicated the majority of my time to the creation of my bachelor thesis, which concerned the enigmatic oeuvre of the Argentinian director Lisandro Alonso. Due to a remarkably minimalist and contemplative style, as well as the foregrounding of ‘time’ and ‘duration’ rather than ‘action’ and ‘motion’, his films are most often labeled as ‘slow cinema’. Almost all of his feature films portray the solitary quests of taciturn men through rough and desolate landscapes, and contain very little dialogue and contextual information. Just like the travels of Alonso’s protagonists, writing and completing my thesis proved to be an arduous and challenging, yet also stimulating and rewarding journey. As a final farewell to this intellectual labour, I have created a sort of belated foreword to my thesis in the form of an erasure poem. Based on the director’s note accompanying the DVD of Alonso’s great film Liverpool (2008), in this poem I’ve incorporated reflections on my general fascination for film directors, my thesis process, my interest in Alonso’s characters, and my curiosity for the cinematic medium. Continue reading “Erasure Poem: I Would Like to Know”

Advertisements

An Alternative Christmas Playlist

It’s that time of the year again: Christmas Eve is nigh! However, this doesn’t only entail the annual return of naughty mistletoe kisses, decadently decorated fir trees and ridiculously expensive ice cream cakes. Alas, it also signifies the umpteenth revival of Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas Is You and Wham!’s Last Christmas. So, isn’t it time to step up that musical Christmas game? Sure, significant singer-songwriters like Bob Dylan, Sufjan Stevens and Mark Kozelek have released solid Christmas albums during the past years, but why don’t you infuse this year’s holiday soundtrack with some distorted guitars, lo-fi melodies and witty lyrics? Here are ten alternative Christmas songs that, just like that ugly sweater you’ll be wearing on December 24, will keep you warm, giggly and celebratory. Continue reading “An Alternative Christmas Playlist”

Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy? An Animated Conversation with Noam Chomsky

What happens when one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century and one of the dreamiest film directors of the 21st century meet each other? That is the starting point of the quirky documentary Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?, in which director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)) employs wonderful animations to depict the conversations he had with world famous linguist Noam Chomsky some years ago. Expect a whimsical confrontation between scientific concepts and saccharine creativity. Gondry visited Chomsky in the postmodern office buildings of the American MIT university, edifices that are described by Chomsky as a 3D version of a Mondriaan painting. If Chomsky’s workplace is reminiscent of a Mondriaan, then this documentary is the audiovisual equivalent of an Escher lithograph: playful and intriguing at first, but after a while you get somewhat lost and weary in a slippery universe. Continue reading “Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy? An Animated Conversation with Noam Chomsky”

Erasure Poem: Dream Actually Happened

A couple of weeks ago, I read the short story Traumnovelle for an elective course on the various interplays between literature and film. Also known as Dream Story, this novella was written in 1926 by the Austrian Arthur Schnitzler, a kindred spirit of Sigmund Freud. In 1999, the acclaimed director Stanley Kubrick turned Schnitzler’s book into a film called Eyes Wide Shut. In what turned out to be Kubrick’s final film, former Hollywood lovers Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman give an electrifying metaperformance by portraying a distinguished, yet troubled married couple. The entire story can be understood as an exploration of the human psyche’s hidden corners, where an abundance of erotic fantasies can be found. My erasure poem is based on one of the book’s last pages, describing a final confession scene in which the main characters try to come to terms with each other’s guilty conscience. Continue reading “Erasure Poem: Dream Actually Happened”

Are You Really Here, or Are You a Figment of My Imagination: The Poetry of Sarah Chapman

As a preparation for what most definitely will become an awesome year at the Writer’s Block editorial board, I ventured into some unknown literary territory during the last summer holidays. I never read much poetry, so I decided to finally do something about that and ended up reading an anthology published by the British Black & BLUE collective. The literary collections of Black & BLUE do not merely consist of poems, but also feature music lyrics, textual art and even sharp-witted Facebook statuses. Furthermore, all anthologies are delightfully well-designed. So, needless to say, I ended up really enjoying this varied collection of creative writing. Continue reading “Are You Really Here, or Are You a Figment of My Imagination: The Poetry of Sarah Chapman”

La Ciénaga

These are hard times for an Amsterdam-based film buff like me. With the socially charged and inexplicable recent evictions of Amsterdam’s Slangenpand and Maagdenhuis, the city centre has also quickly lost two nice venues for interesting and unusual film screenings. Let’s just hope this will never happen to the alternative Filmhuis Cavia, which, in order to chase this year’s first summer vibes, I recently visited to see a remarkable Argentinean movie.  Continue reading “La Ciénaga”