Thursday, 28 February 2013

Death: Photography 1994-2011

Death: Photography 1994-2011
Death: Photography 1994-2011 is a collection of images by Japanese photographer Tsurisaki Kiyotaka. Since 1994, Kiyotaka has specialised exclusively in photographing corpses, and the book contains photos of accident victims, crime scenes, mortuaries, and funerals.

Most of the images were taken in South America, which has a long cultural association with death, from the traditional Dia de Muertos festival to the exploitative 'prensa roja' tabloids. The book begins, however, with a series of grisly photographs from Thailand, mostly depicting fatal car crashes.

Kiyotaka's photographs are remarkable largely for their shocking subjects rather than for their artistic quality. The single exception - Kiyotaka's only manipulated image - is a double-exposure depicting a foetus being removed from its mother's body in Colombia. Aside from this self-consciously artistic composition, most of the photographs resemble those in the book Death Scenes.

Other photographers have also produced works examining the taboo surrounding death, notably Andres Serrano's aestheticised Morgue images and Joel-Peter Witkin's tableaux of dismembered bodies. Kiyotaka's work is perhaps most similar to Sally Mann's recent series What Remains. (Serrano and other death photographers were profiled in a Channel 4 documentary, Vile Bodies: The Dead, in 1998.)

Sunday, 24 February 2013

House Of Cards (Netflix)

House Of Cards
House Of Cards, the Netflix drama series, was inspired by the BBC mini-series of the same name broadcast in 1990. The Netflix version, adapted by Beau Willimon, transposes the setting from Westminster to Washington DC. The central character, Frank Underwood - retaining FU ('fuck you') initials of the original's Francis Urquhart - is played by Kevin Spacey. Underwood is as Machiavellian as Urquhart, and both characters deliver direct-to-camera asides to the audience; Underwood even repeats Urquhart's most famous line, "I couldn't possibly comment." The first two episodes were directed by David Fincher (director of Seven and Fight Club).

The series is even darker and more gripping than the original, though it's most significant for its distribution model: all thirteen episodes were released simultaneously, available to stream or download either individually or all at once. Viewers could binge-watch multiple episodes, instead of waiting for a weekly broadcast schedule. Netflix streaming now accounts for around a third of all North American internet traffic; House Of Cards marks its first significant move from distribution to original content production, as it transitions (along with competitors such as Amazon) from a technology company to a media company.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Bioscope Theatre

Bioscope Theatre
Amour
Bioscope magazine will present a preview screening of Michael Haneke's Amour next Tuesday. The film will be shown at Paragon Cineplex, Bangkok, as part of the Bioscope Theatre project. Tickets are free for Bioscope members, though they must be reserved in advance. Amour was shown previously at the Clap! French Film Festival.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Clap! French Film Festival 2013

Clap! French Film Festival 2013
Clap! Cine-Picnic
The Artist
Amour
The Clap! French Film Festival opens in Bangkok next Wednesday. Most screenings will be at SFX Emporium, though there'll be a Valentine's Day outdoor showing of The Artist at Museum Siam. (A Trip To The Moon and Monrak Transistor were screened there in previous years.) The closing film, on 20th February at Emporium, will be Michael Haneke's Amour.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Visual Project: Woody Allen

Visual Project: Woody Allen
Annie Hall
Manhattan
Midnight In Paris
TCDC in Bangkok is currently screening a mini season of Woody Allen films as part of its Visual Project series. His masterpieces Annie Hall and Manhattan, and his recent commercial success Midnight In Paris, will be shown on alternate days for the whole of this month.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Forever Young

Forever Young
Fashion photographer Leslie Kee was arrested in Japan today, and has been charged with distributing pornography. His new book Forever Young: Uncensored Edition contains, as the title suggests, uncensored images of male nudity.

The book had been on sale during Kee's current exhibition, which opened on Saturday at the Hiromi Yoshii gallery in Tokyo. Under Japanese law, genital images are illegal, and they are routinely pixelated to avoid obscenity charges.

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