Beyond The Black Rainbow, Panos Cosmatos, 2010 (110 min.).
Cosmatos declared that his “modernist” use of color was influenced by Michael Mann’s Manhunter (1986) and The Keep (1983). The blue hue cinematography – the “night mode” as Cosmatos dubbed it – was inspired by the freezer room scene in John Carpenter’s Dark Star (1974). Norm Li cited other references: Daft Punk’s Electroma (2006), Dario Argento’s Suspiria (1977), and George Lucas’ THX 1138 (1971). A number of reviewers noted similarities between the film and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and A Clockwork Orange (1971). “I love Stanley Kubrick, and have seen, and probably internalized, all of his work, but any similarity was not my intent“, explained Cosmatos. Critics have also compared Beyond the Black Rainbow to Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris (1972), Ken Russell’s Altered States (1980) and Gaspar Noé’s Enter the Void (2010).
Barry Nyle descends into the black liquid as he starts his 1966 psychic journey.
The 1966 flashback segment of the movie was inspired by E. Elias Merhige’s experimental horror film Begotten (1990). Begotten was entirely shot in high-contrast black-and-white, which for Cosmatos “was a perfect look for the flashback because I wanted it to feel like a fading and decayed artifact.” The young Barry Nyle’s acid trip in that segment of Beyond the Black Rainbow was inspired by the “Battle of the Gods” sequence in Jean-Luc Godard’s Contempt (1963).
Cosmatos also takes influence from other visual media. The director declared his love for Heavy Metal magazine and the work of French comics artist Jean “Moebius” Giraud. Fantasy art was also an influence, especially Frank Frazetta’s paintings. Norm Li stated that both he and the director “also looked at abstract paintings, photographs, and architectural design books” for inspiration.
One of Beyond the Black Rainbow’s notable characteristics is its deliberately slow, hypnotic pace. According to Cosmatos, Beyond the Black Rainbow belongs to what he dubbed the “trance film” subgenre. Cosmatos mentioned Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979), Alain Resnais’ Last Year at Marienbad (1961) and Saul Bass’s Phase IV (1974) as cinematographic blueprints for his debut film. Cosmatos explained the rationale behind his screen-writing, which downplays the “very concrete story at the heart of it” in favor of an “atmospheric” approach:
I decided to just write as straightforward as possible, then let the visuals and the look of the film bloom around something that was pretty straightforward. At the end of the day, I decided to bring down the story elements to allow the visual and the story elements to come more into the foreground, to make it more dream-like and less story-driven.
Jeremy Schmidt, keyboard player for Vancouver-based rockers Black Mountain, was invited by Cosmatos to compose the film’s soundtrack. “Evil Ball”, a track from Schmidt’s solo project, Sinoia Caves, was used by the movie’s director on a private screening held for Schmidt. A mutual appreciation for Tangerine Dream, John Carpenter soundtracks and Giorgio Moroder’s music for Midnight Express (1978) and American Gigolo (1980) cemented their bond. Schmidt also pointed out the background music from The Shining (1980) and Risky Business (1983) as musical blueprints for the Beyond the Black Rainbow score.
Regarding the impact of The Shining’s soundtrack on his score, Schmidt singled out the compositions by György Ligeti and Krzysztof Penderecki as sonic touchstones. Their music had already been featured the sci-fi and horror genres, two of Cosmatos main cinematic obsessions when young. Ligeti pieces “Lux Aeterna” and “Atmosphères” had been featured in 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Penderecki’s “Polymorphia” and a portion of “The Devils of Loudun” was used in The Exorcist (1973).
For his analogue synthesizer score, Schmidt used the following equipment: a Prophet 5, two Oberheims, Moog Taurus bass pedals, a Korg CX-3 organ and a Mellotron. An extensive use of the Mellotron can be heard on the flashback sequence, where Cosmatos had been using Pink Floyd’s “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” as a temp track. All in all, “the chosen palette of sounds definitely harkens back to ‘The New Age of Enlightenment'”, said Schmidt. The music was mixed by Joshua Stevenson at Otic Sound, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Shot on Panavision GII and Panastar 2-perf 35mm and Panavision Ultra Speeds and Primos. Fuji Eterna 400T.2 hearts
It is a commonplace of present educational theory to say that letters of the alphabet are symbolic representations of the sounds universally possible to the human vocal organs. It is hardly as generally known that in shape they are more than mere algebraic x’s or sheer onomatopoetic imitations. They are in fact evident forms shaped to picture basic ideas. They are true ideograms. The capital letter A, for instance, is obviously the cardinal letter I, the symbol of primordial unity (since it is also the number 1), split apart from the top into the creative duality of spirit and matter, the cross-bar indicating the interrelation which dynamically subsists between them. The U (V) symbolizes, exactly as it is drawn, the descent of spirit into matter and its return above. The W pluralizes it, and we find, not strangely, the W to be the letter that pluralizes words in the Egyptian hieroglyphics. The O readily symbolizes the endlessness of matter and of eternity. So that the Gnostics, when they named the unit of deity in the cosmos the IAO, had condensed in the triadic name a sermonette in full, 5 signifying the initial bifurcation of the first unit divine consciousness, the I, apart into the duality, A, and running the round of an eternal cycle, O. And so even Revelation has it: “I (am the) A (and the) O, the beginning and the end, the first and the last,”– IAO.
What Remains of Edith Finch follows the titular character, a young woman revisiting her old family home as she recalls or discovers the stories of deceased family members.
The game was met with very positive reception from critics, who praised its story and presentation. It won British Academy Games Award for Best Game 2017, and won the Best Narrative category at The Game Awards 2017.3 hearts
Fallen Roses + Audio Dope + Haux + WILDES.
… while in theory digital technology entails the flawless replication of data, its actual use in contemporary society is characterized by the loss of data, degradation, and noise; the noise which is even stronger than that of traditional photography.
Mind Game, Masaaki Yuasa, 2004.
A psychedelic self-discovery experience.
Mind Game is an explosion of unconstrained expression – gloriously colorful mages ricochet in rapid fire associations, like Masaaki Yuasa’s brain splattered onto the screen in all its goopy glory. Audiences will begin to grasp what they are in for early on as loser Nishi, too wimpy to try to save his childhood sweetheart from gangsters, is shot in the butt by a soccer-playing psychopath, projecting Nishi into the afterlife. In this limbo, God – shown as a series of rapidly changing characters – tells him to walk toward the light. But Nishi runs like hell in the other direction and returns to Earth a changed man, driven to live each moment to the fullest.4 hearts
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