Existere: Metrophilia: Peking

May 13, 2008

My metrophilia story Peking has just been published in the Canadian magazine Existere.

Ken (1964)

May 12, 2008

This is most definitely the best kendo movie you will ever see.

The story is about the preparation of a kendo club for the national championship and the training and rivalries within the club.

Full of scenes of clattering bamboo swords and young men screaming and lunging at each other, director Kenji Masumi, who is probably best known for his entries into the Zatoichi and Lone Wolf series, manages to create significant tension out of very simple situations. In some ways this film reminded me of some of Kurosawa’s lesser efforts. Which is of course a good thing.

The lead is played by Raizo Ichikawa, who is known for his Sleepy Eyes of Death films. Here however, he far surpasses all the other roles I have seen him in. He really does a marvellous job as the club captain whose only purpose at life is to win at kendo.

剣 - Ken (1964)


Seen Films Recently

May 11, 2008

Lust, Caution: This was a decent film, but left me sort of cold. I wish Ang Lee would stick to comedies, because I think his skills are better served in that area. Few film-makers can make good comedies. He can. On the other hand, there are more than enough depressing films to go around. So why make more?

The Hunting Party: I liked this film. It is not incredible, but certainly worth taking a look at.

Il Lupo e l’agnello: A funny comedy with Tomas Milian and Michel Serrault, who plays a hen-pecked hair dresser who has to pretend to be gay in order to please his mother in law. There is definitely a touch of La Cage aux folles in this one.

The Bank Job: Not bad. If they had only chosen a more normal looking actress for the leading female role it would have been a very good film. As it is, women with their cheek bones protruding just make it hard to forget that you are watching a film.

Interview with Ivo Soldini

May 5, 2008

This is an interview I did several years ago with Swiss artist Ivo Soldini. It was done for a Canadian magazine called Espace:

For several years now the works of the Swiss sculptor Ivo Soldini have been drawing more and more attention throughout Europe, and for good reason. His work is sophisticated, while still maintaining a level of ritualism and humanity that does not exclude a large public.

Born in Lugano, Switzerland in 1951, Ivo Soldini has been exhibiting his sculptures, paintings and drawings since 1973, the year he graduated from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan. His fame however primarily rests on his giant bronze heads, which appear almost masked, and his mummy-like figures, which give the impression of people tied up, or constrained. Extremely texturised, yet almost sado-masochistically rigid, Soldini’s work has continually been referred to as “Romanic” and “Egyptian” and critics are always quick to refer to primitive art movements in their discriptions.

The following interview took place in his house/studio, in the small village of Ligornetto, Switzerland:

Brendan Connell. What first made you interested in sculpture?

Ivo Soldini. Well, sculpture is natural, automatic. Even children, when the use their hands and touch things, make sculpture. Of course, as time goes by, this simple way of touching becomes more elaborated. Read the rest of this entry »

Dr. Black Offer

May 1, 2008

As per the post below, where Jeff Vandermeer recommends my book, Dr. Black and the Guerrillia, I would like to offer a few copies for sale. In the U.S. $15 shipping included. Anywhere else in the world $21 shipping included. Simply paypal me at: storyofthefifthpeach at hotmail dot com.  

Dr Black and the Guerrillia