26 February 2010

Vinni Puh II

This short animation film, Vinnie Puh Visiting, is the second in the series of three short movies about Winnie the Pooh. In the first animated short from 1969 (as posted here earlier this week), Khitruk closely followed the first chapter of the book. In this second animated short from 1971, Khitruk closely followed the second chapter of the book. The book in question is of course Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne (1926).

25 February 2010

Sidorov Vova

Pro Sidorova Vovu, a brilliant Russian animated short inspired by the poem of Eduard Uspensky and directed by Eduard Nazarov (1985).

24 February 2010

221b Baker Street

Sherlok Holms i Doktor Vatson, a short animation film by Alexander Bubnov (2005). If interested to follow The Murder of Lord Waterbrook to its end, press here.

23 February 2010


This is Ish you, Maslenica! (Ишь ты, Масленица! in original Russian), an Armenian short animation film directed by Robert Saakyants (1985).

22 February 2010

Vinni Puh

Vinni Puh, a legendary animation short from Russia directed by no other than Fyodor Khitruk (1969).

19 February 2010

Rabbit in your headlights

A music video for the Rabbit in Your Headlights, a song performed by UNKLE and co-written by Thom Yorke (Radiohead). This highly acclaimed and awarded video was directed by Jonathan Glazer (1998).


A music video of Björk's Bachelorette (BachalaÞið in the Islandic language) from her album Homogenic (1997). Directed by the excellent Michel Gondry, who went on to direct, in 2004, the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

17 February 2010


A Wolf at the Door is the last track on the Hail to the Thief album by Radiohead (2003). The alternative title of this song is It Girl. Rag Doll.: each song in this album (and the gloaming album itself) has two alternative lifes.

16 February 2010

Bat for lashes

A fantasy/fairy tale video for What's A Girl To Do, a song from the Fur and Gold debut album by Natasha Khan aka Bat For Lashes (stage name).

15 February 2010


An animated video for Bedshaped, a song by Keane from their debut album Hopes and Fears (2004).

12 February 2010

Cold souls

A series of edited clips from Cold Souls, an independent film from the United States and a debut directing feature by Sophie Barthes (2008).
According to Sundance, "the film presents Paul Giamatti as himself, agonizing over his interpretation of Uncle Vanya. Paralyzed with anxiety, he stumbles upon a solution via a New Yorker article about a high-tech company promising to alleviate suffering by deep-freezing souls. Giamatti enlists their services, intending to reinstate his soul once he survives the performance. But complications ensue when a mysterious, soul-trafficking “mule,” transporting product to and from Russia, “borrows” Giamatti's stored soul for an ambitious, but unfortunately talentless, soap-opera actress. Rendered soulless, he is left with no choice but to follow the trail back to bleak St. Petersburg."
The clips are set against Pá Llegar A Tu Lado, a song by Lhasa that is also featured in the film.

11 February 2010


Daughters to a Maxican-American hippy couple with 9 kids and a nomadic lifestyle tied only to the road, Ayin De Sela, Myriam De Sela and Sky De Sela in their adulthood formed a nomadic Cirque Pochéros.
Lhasa de Sela, their sister, joined them in 1999. By then, two years had passed since she delivered her magical album La Llorona.
The second album, The Living Road, came out as late as 2003 and it largely consisted of material that Lhasa created for the circus acts. It is her most dreamy and most surreal album that can be best associated with tales, magic and circus.
The song here performed for the circus act (1999), La Marée Haute, later appeared as the second track in The Living Road album.

10 February 2010

That leaving feeling

In the 90s, Lhasa joined forces with a British pop noir group Tindersticks that enjoys a similar cult following as Lhasa. This eventually led to this beautiful and deceptively simple duet between Lhasa and the front man of Tindersticks, Stuart A. Staples. The sound of the song itself is one of longing, and the video - a true one-off gem, is itself a moving image of that feeling that you may feel, and I invariably shall feel, when faced with a certain future. To pack your little suitcase with the pieces of your heart..., to pat your kids and to kiss your dog goodbye... In the shadow of the sound and the image, words seem almost like a second (if not third) take on the same theme.
That Leaving Feeling appears on The Leaving Songs album by Stuart A. Staples (2006, on the Beggars Banquet label).

09 February 2010

Green grass

This song, Green Grass, is a song by Tom Waits from his Real Gone album (2004). Here the song is performed by Cibelle, a young singer who emerged from the magical São Paulo scene (2007). Should you prefer Tom Waits's croon, press here.

08 February 2010


This year began, sadly, with Lhasa De Sela dying. Rising is a song from her last album Lhasa (2009). During her short life, she gave us but three albums. Each of them is magical, original and precious.
Rising, according to Lhasa herself, is essentially a crisis song. It depicts "somebody being caught up by a storm, pulled up into the air, like a wave rising up and down, and rising again. For over a year, I could not make head or tail of it and then it fell into place. The images are violent, even chaotic, but there is something simple and serene there too."

07 February 2010

Parting hommage

Gloria Swanson, as photographed by Edward Steichen somewhere at the beginning of the 20th century.
We didn't need dialogues in those days.
We had faces.

06 February 2010

A rainbow of characters in a witch

There are many female (evil) villains to choose from. It is more difficult to find (what else to create) female characters that we fear on the one hand and are fascinated by on the other hand.
How different does the tale of Snow White seem if the evil witch is imagined as Norma Desmond? An aging grand-dame whose gaze is frosted to the past image of her youthful self in the mirror?
Is the tale still the same, when the jealous witch is a Fury with eyes ablaze standing behind Snow White's back, slowly approaching and resolving as she proceeds to push Snow White through the magic mirror in order to imprison her there, forever, as a doriangrayish mirror image of the witch?
And what twist does the same tale get if we imagine the witch with a dæmon? Surely the tale in which the witch's dæmon takes the shape of a family of bees is completely different from the tale in which the witch's dæmon is a harpy?
How about exploring in more detail the part of the tale where the hunter returns with what the witch believes to be the heart of Snow White, and she irmavepishly draws all blood from it?
Yet again, one may focus on the part of the story where the witch brings a poisoned apple and watches Snow White eat it and die. In one of Agatha Christie's novels, Poirot is puzzled by a painting of a beautiful woman. It turns out that the depicted woman poisoned the painter. The painter, the lover of the murderess, grows more paralyzed by the minute as he continues to paint and as she continues to pose. All the while the model stares, and all the while the painter is drawn to, and draws, the intensity of that stare.

05 February 2010

I am ready for my close-up

Norma Desmond is a forgotten silent star, who lives in her grotesque mansion together with Max von Mayerling, her butler. Max von Mayerling is himself a forgotten silent film director. He also used to be Norma's husband.
Max screens for Norma the films from their grand past.
When a young writer who takes refuge in the mansion recognizes Norma, he tells her that she used to be big.
I am big, she retorts. It's the pictures that got small.
Gloria Swanson's performance in the role of Norma in Sunset Blvd indeed makes an impression as if pictures are too small for her. In the last scene of the film (as posted above), Norma irreversibly descends out of the mansion into her own mind.
There's nothing else. Just us, and the cameras, and those wonderful people out there in the dark. All right, Mr DeMille, I am ready for my close-up.
Those wonderful people are us, and we cringe back in our chairs, terrified, as she reaches for us.
Sunset Blvd is a superb film noir directed by Billy Wilder (1950). It stars Gloria Swanson, herself a faded silent star at the time, and Erich von Stroheim (by then a faded silent film director). There is a touching moment in the film when Norma and Max are watching Queen Kelly, a silent film also in reality directed by von Stroheim and starring Swanson (1929).
By 1950, von Stroheim could as well have been forgotten to the point of a butler. His caricature appearance in a sound film about a silent film director directed by Wilder also resonates of Max von Mayerling who, showing the young writer to his guest room, explains: "It was the room of the husband."

04 February 2010


Kathleen Byron in the role of the scariest of nuns in Black Narcissus, a British film directed by Michael Powell (1947). Sister Ruth belongs to the furies. Fury possesses her. Fury will consume her.
If you are interested in the scene of furies from this film, press here. The bedazzling setting is the remote Palace of Mopu high in the Himalayas.

03 February 2010

Mrs Coulter's dæmon

In Northern Lights, Philip Pullman uncovers a parallel world where each person is born as a pairing of a human and a dæmon. Each will be given a unique name. A dæmon takes the shape of an animal of the opposite gender from that of its companion human. The human is not able to choose the shape of his or her dæmon. In childhood, a dæmon can shapeshift at will or at the companion human’s bidding. Then, in puberty, the dæmon loses the power to shapeshift and settles in the shape that best reflects the personality of the human.
The dæmon and the human are one being. A dæmon fades out when the human dies. The human and the dæmon suffer excruciating pain whenever they are not within each other’s grasp. A dæmon is such an intimate part of the being that any form of touching someone else’s dæmon is an absolute no-no. This law may exceptionally be breached in intimacies between lovers. Friendships and trust between humans are unthinkable without corresponding friendships and trust between their dæmons. Interpreting a human’s reaction cannot be correct without investigating into the simultaneous reaction of the dæmon, and the two will more often than not be divergent.
This then leads us to the mesmerizing character of Mrs Marisa Coulter.
An extraordinarily beautiful woman with fair skin, light eyes and sleek black hair, Marisa Coulter enchants everybody with her disarming personality. She is charismatic, brilliant, charming to no end.
All that being said, the dæmon of Mrs Coulter does not take the shape of a unicorn. Ozymandias - mirroring the charisma and the sharp curious mind of Mrs Coulter – is a monkey with beautiful and shining golden fur. One may flirt with the coy Mrs Coulter. One will, however, avoid Ozymandias’s malevolent black eyes and horny black fingers. When bored, Ozymandias tears wings off live bats to pass the time.
The symbiosis between the two - for they form a single being - is one of black, black magic.

01 February 2010

Irma Vep

Irma Vep (aka Musidora) is a character from Les Vampires, a landmark French silent movie serial (1915). The 10 silent shorts were directed by Louis Feuillade. In case you haven't spotted it, IRMA VEP is an anagram of the word VAMPIRE.