The Sky Turns


Spain / 2004 / Spanish

Directed by Mercedes Álvarez

Still from 'The Sky Turns'The painter stands at his vacant canvas, in a studio in the city, mapping, with his fingertips, where the lines will go. He peers closely at a color palette, straining to discern the differences in pigment. It could be that this man painting a specific moment in time, inimitable and not to be replaced. Or perhaps he is rendering, across the canvas, the most elemental and immutable attributes of this scene, this landscape – which is to say, the camouflage of the Eternal that overlays its gray and wispy lines inherently. Read the rest of this entry »


Spiritual Voices


Russia / 1995 / Russian

Directed by Aleksandr Sokurov

Still from 'Spiritual Voices'What does it mean to bear witness?

Sainthoods and resurrections require it.

Here the air is thin, the flies are singing

These stones smile, spit, pace – surefooted walking in creaking leather – light cigarettes with flares,

Occasionally dreaming of yeast Read the rest of this entry »

Radio On


UK & West Germany / 1980 / English & German

Directed by Christopher Petit

With David Beames, Lisa Kreuzer, Sandy Ratcliff

Still from 'Radio On'

At the start of Radio On we see a handwritten note tacked to a wall that surmises, “our reality is an electronic reality.” This is less a statement about an imaginary similacrum than it is a comment on the modern way of relating to things. The phrase is part of a short but grandiose tract that seems inappropriate for the scrawled-off letter whose significance (or, at least, meaning) will gradually materialize. Robert, a squarish, clean-cut man, inserts a cassette into his car radio. The computer voice from Kraftwerk’s Radioactivity comes on immediately, an unsettling spectre breathing away the comfort of the enclosed space. He leaves the cassette playing and gets out of the car. Read the rest of this entry »

Nothing but a Man


USA / 1964 / English

Directed by Michael Roemer

With Ivan Dixon, Abbey Lincoln, Julius Harris

Still from 'Nothing but a Man'Duff Anderson is with a traveling ‘section gang’ of workers who install railway sleepers along the endless tracks of the southern United States. He is a man who has put an incomplete life on hold, favoring a lifestyle of constant motion over having to stop and reflect on things. In his hometown of Birmingham, he has a deteriorating father with whom he never connected, and a seven-year-old son in the care of a woman he has never met. Meanwhile the mother of that boy is long gone to a northern city and still using the money Duff sends her. His life follows the rails in slow motion, like a passenger who never disembarks, consisting of expectant waiting and bored male bonding – chess, cards, drinks with drab prostitutes, and rabbit-hunts. Read the rest of this entry »