Cochochi [2009)

Long ago.

When I went to Spain.

I was amazed to find.

Not everyone speaks Spanish.

Primarily.

In Catalunya, with Barcelona, they speak Catalan.

In the Basque Country, with Bilbao, they speak the fascinating Euskara (or Basque language).

And in Galicia, where clothing giant Inditex (Zara) is located, they speak Galego (or Galician).

[Even Google Translate recognizes Galician now.]

And that’s all in Spain!

But how was I to know this?

Being a boy from Texas.

Well, I did my research…

Let me tell you:  it’s not easy finding a Basque language guide here.

Even in a diverse city such as Austin!

But now I am in San Antonio.

And here we have another Mexican film.

But it’s not in Spanish.

Yes, Mexico is linguistically rich too.

This film is in Tarahumara.

Yes.

That’s a language.

Spoken by about 85,000 people.

AND…it’s one of 63 “national languages” of Mexico!!

Other sources count 69 languages in the country (including Spanish).

Tarahumara is one of four languages in Mexico which fall under the Taracahita branch of Uto-Aztecan languages.

And when you watch this wonderful film (currently available on Netflix in the U.S.), you will see the distinctive, beautiful faces of the child actors who carry on this “Aztec” heritage.

But don’t be confused.

The Uto-Aztecan languages stretch as far north as Idaho (Uto, as in Ute language, as in Utah).

And as far south as El Salvador.

But suffice it to say.

Even Mexicans might be hard-pressed to understand the dialogue of Cochochi.

Thank God for subtitles!

Our film is directed by Israel Cardenas and Laura Amelia Guzmán.

And they do a fantastic job.

The film is sparse.

Quiet.

The child actors evoke the magic of Víctor Erice’s masterpiece El espíritu de la colmena.

And while Cochochi seems to emanate from another planet (kind of like that “Martian” language Basque…[or, for that matter, Welsh]), there are faint glimmers of cinematic quotation here and there.

Perhaps a sudden splash of color…some sunflowers…in an otherwise bleak, earth-tone color palette…à la Kiarostami’s Taste of Cherry.

Or even the delicacy of time passing…perhaps what Deleuze meant by the “time-image” all those years ago…but what I instinctively associate with Ingmar Bergman–that eerie silence which characterizes nature in its most remote regions.

The Rarámuri people depicted in this film (our Tarahumara speakers) live (in this case) in the state of Chihuahua.

Northwestern Mexico.

[The Rarámuri people are also found in the states of Durango and Sonora]

Our actors have the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains as their backdrop.

Places like Copper Canyon.

But this is no Bogart film.

Each and every movement and bit of dialogue which our directors elicit from their players is an act of loving capture.

Priceless moments which convey a multitude of new thoughts to those unfamiliar with the Rarámuri people.

Our main actors play themselves in the movie.

Yes, in much the way you would expect Robert Flaherty to make a film.

But keep in mind that the French title of Blue is the Warmest Color is La Vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1 & 2.

As in Adèle Exarchopoulos.

As in, the actress (Exarchopoulos) was playing a character which bore her name:  Adèle.

[at least her first name]

But the stars of our film are two young actors who don’t even have Spanish Wikipedia pages.

Luis Antonio Lerma Torres plays Tony (short for Antonio).

His full name is utilized for that of his character.

Tony is great in this film.

But the real star is Evaristo Corpus Lerma Torres.

Evaristo gives a performance which is unforgettable.

Quiet.  Understated.  Real.

But don’t be fooled…

These two film brothers (real life as well?) need each other.

Their personalities play off one another.

To call this a road film would be slightly inaccurate.

There aren’t really roads here.

At least with paving.

And while there are a couple of rusty pickup trucks which transport members of various communities around…creeping along the dirt roads (gratis, of course)…the real drama involves a horse.

Indeed, there are horses about.

Donkeys.

Sheep.

But this one horse is very important.

Because Tony and Evaristo have “borrowed” it…from their grandfather.

This is really a transcendent story of mercy and love…of patience…and of the brilliance of nature.

Animals are smart.

And miracles can be in the wise words of grandfathers…

Forgiveness.

And wonder.

-PD

Ted Bundy [2002)

I have long noticed the phenomenon of people being obsessed with serial killers.

In my experience, those who obsess over these troubled murderers are (perhaps surprisingly) women.

And so I am bucking that trend and delving into the serial killer biopic genre with 2002’s Ted Bundy.

I must say up front, I wasn’t particularly impressed with this film.

Everything about it was more-or-less half-assed.

I did, however, make it through the entire thing.

And there’s something to be said for that.

What I am interested in is a question which Godard has applied to Spielberg’s Schindler’s List.  More or less.

Did the film under consideration do justice to the memory of the slain by way of depiction?

A key point should be, “Did this film faithfully evoke the horror of its subject?”

I would have to answer with a resounding “No!”.

Michael Reilly Burke (as Bundy) doesn’t even get the charm right.

Yes, remember ladies:  serial killers can be quite charming.

We might think of serial killers as “shady looking”.

So a real (successful) serial killer might attempt to appear blameless.

Nice clothes, nice hair, a clean shave…

Burke gets close to this charm.  But it’s too subtle.

Boti Bliss (as Bundy’s girlfriend) is probably the best thing about this film.

It’s hard to have scenario and mise-en-scène work together to dramatically show the psychological break which must have happened when Bundy was about 27 years old.

What is most problematic is that Ted Bundy isn’t really a horror movie.  It’s a drama.  Perhaps in order to reach a wider audience, the blood was toned down.

There’s even a camp aspect to this film which really undercuts its aspiration for greatness.

Literally, the film delves into a sort of dark humor.  It is an odd, out-of-place element every time it pops up.

Ted Bundy is a low-budget film.  Ted Bundy the personage was of such complex psychic energy that he (and his victims) deserved a more dedicated production.

I would therefore have to describe Matthew Bright’s directorial effort as uninspired.

At least they could have gotten the color of Bundy’s VW Beetle right.

The call center was brilliant (yes, Ted Bundy was an operator for a suicide hotline), but even more artful (if one is looking for such cinematic threads) is that he worked for a government agency in the state of Washington while said agency was looking for girls that (unbeknownst to them) HE had kidnapped.

In an interesting twist of fate, Bundy appears to have murdered a girl with the last name of Manson (although her remains were never recovered).  Donna Gail Manson was a 19-year-old student at The Evergreen State University in Olympia, Washington.  She left her dorm to attend a jazz concert on campus and was never seen again.

Bundy was an extremely-failed law school student.  This was very troubling for him.

Bundy worked his way from Washington and Oregon down through Idaho, Utah, and Colorado.

Ted Bundy is not clear in delineating that Bundy was stringing along two women (in relationships) at once [all while killing and raping other young women].

The scenario or metteur en scène failed to exploit this subplot.  It was, rather, inserted hesitatingly as a sort of afterthought.

The film misses another crucial detail.  While Bundy was in Utah, he was baptized as a Mormon.  [The church later excommunicated him.]

I must credit the filmmakers for getting the “rape kit” right (in comparison to a photo of Bundy’s own such collection of items).

But I must protest again.  Bundy was a photographer.  Sure, they were Polaroids…of people he’d killed.  But how does that detail escape a creation in a field bound up with the ontology of the image for so long?

The failure, then, was that our director could not imagine himself as Ted Bundy.  In all other areas of life (perhaps besides criminology), that would be a blessing.  But as a filmmaker framing history, it’s a curse.

Plaster of Paris.  Monmartre.  Bundy’s fake casts.

Arm in a sling.  Crutches.

“All warfare is based on deception.”

 

-PD

 

 

We Need to Talk About Sandy Hook [2014)

From a group called Independent Media Solidarity comes this excellent exposé concerning what was almost certainly a false flag:  the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting of 2012.

I had researched the topic rather extensively for the simple reason that it happened on my birthday.  There I was headed over the frozen highways of Utah and Colorado and this pall hung over what should have been a more-or-less festive time for me.

The event pulled me in.  It seemed incredible.  And as I followed all of the false leads which came out about the case (espoused by all of the major American media outlets), I began to see that something was terribly amiss.

But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.

Back to the film at hand.

What we are talking about here is essentially a YouTube phenomenon.

The Independent Media Solidarity group have produced quite a professional piece of work.

The documentary’s setting is Newtown, Connecticut.

Ah, Newtown…

It’s sort of like Scrabble.  James Brunot.

And it’s definitely like the phantasmic “Woodchipper Murder” (the basis for the Coen Brothers’ Fargo).

Charles Ives might have called it the Housatonic at Stockbridge.

Robert Underwood Johnson.

Sandy Hook is a community within Newtown.

Newtown counts among its progeny the “Father of Robotics” Joseph Engelberger.

So too Renata Adler (who famously ripped Pauline Kael).

Perhaps most notably (as Dr. Steve Pieczenik has pointed out), the town counts among its residents Suzanne Collins (author of The Hunger Games trilogy).

Collins even lives in the Sandy Hook portion of Newtown (where our massacre ostensibly occurred).

Yet Collins has given no statement.

If this had been a real event (the “school shooting”), then Collins would have been among the first likely to be interviewed.  This seems to be the point Pieczenik made some weeks back on the esteemed Dr. James Tracy’s radio show Real Politik.

But we push on through the parade:

-Charles Goodyear (rubber vulcanization)

-Caitlyn Jenner (actually, quite an interesting angle given the media blitz surrounding her and Sandy Hook)

-Elia Kazan (the genius sell-out…and most germane to my subject)

-Mead Treadwell (very interesting angle, but he’s a Republican).

What we mostly find is a lot of power.

Newtown.

About 27,000 residents.

U.S. Congressmen.  Connecticut governors.  Dept. of Justice.  U.S. Treasury.

A well-heeled community.  A bedroom community for New York City.

Then there’s Sherman…three-time mayor of Chicago.

And, perhaps most of all, an inordinate number of children’s authors.

But the pithy name we need to understand the film under consideration is that of graffiti artist Emit.

Yes, we have to take a different logic to understand this new brand of filmmaking.

These are filmmakers who dig deep.

They seek to understand Robert Crafts and how he could put his wife Helle Crafts through a woodchipper at Lake Zoar.

Maybe hoaxing goes all the way back to Luther Meade Blackman in the town of Sandy Hook.  Blackman was accused of forging the Bat Creek inscription (an engraving on a dubious Native American artifact unearthed by the Smithsonian [actually, Bureau of American Ethnology] in Tennessee in 1889).

Our auteurs first focus on the Fairfield Hills State Hospital in Newtown.  It was the setting for the Hollywood film Sleepers in 1996 (a mere one year after the facility [of 1930s vintage] was closed).

Our auteurs further flesh out the tale of Fairfield Hills by relating the story of MTV’s Fear television show (which filmed at the abandoned mental hospital in the tunnels beneath the facility).

The point is that, for all of Fairfield Hills’ psychiatric crypticism, Sandy Hook suddenly replaced the sanatorium as the town’s defining mystery.

It is at this point which we meet the protagonist (who may or may not have actually existed):  Adam Lanza.

Dr. Steve Pieczenik asserts (elsewhere) that Lanza indeed did not exist.

Nevertheless, we are presented with the mainstream cover story (a bit like Lee Harvey Oswald’s or that of the 19 hijackers).

Adam Lanza.  Autistic.

Vs. equally dubious characters like Natalie Hammond (celebrated at a Boston Bruins’ game).

Nancy Lanza.  Dead in bed.

I will admit that the footage of Robbie Parker really started to make me suspicious.

Our auteurs point out that all of the parents (who got copious primetime news coverage) display characteristics at odds with truly grieving parents.

In other words, none of them are very good (crisis) actors.

That is the realization we are faced with:  these are crisis actors.

Valley girl reactions.

The laughing coroner.

All of these personages seem nervous.  Not comfortable in their own skin.

Is it perhaps because they are playing the roles of their lives?

They would, therefore, be breaking the law to a significant extent by helping to foist this false narrative on the American public.

Is this real world or exercise?

Ah, now we are getting somewhere.

Because once you get to the bottom of one of these false events, you are able to chop through the BS of other similar events with a metaphorical machete.

Why should you watch this film?

Because one of the parents (Lenny Pozner) has apparently been harassing Independent Media Solidarity [going so far as to hack or have hacked their Google Drive].  Oops…

Public Service Announcement from IMS: Unauthorized Access

Dr. James Tracy lost his tenured position at Florida Atlantic University for standing up to the media barrage of senselessness which narrowly-framed the Sandy Hook debate.  Tracy has made it very clear that Pozner and his HONR Network (think Jewish Defense League…terrorizing the targets of their opprobrium) are a stalking Internet gang inconsistent with grieving parents.  The dialogue between HONR Network group members (which has been exposed at Tracy’s Memory Hole Blog, the ostensible reason for his termination from FAU) can be characterized as being more like a band of hired thugs than true vigilantes.  In other words, their essence is the real terror of a fake terror event.  They are the clean-up crew.

Lenny Pozner’s HONR Network: The Fine Art of Online Stalking and Harassment

The mastermind of Independent Media Solidarity appears to be a YouTube user named “mrstosh314”.  “MrStosh” pops up again as one of three credited producers of the follow-up to We Need to Talk About Sandy Hook (that being The Life of Adam [another great documentary which I hope to review soon enough]).

Other excellent contributors to We Need to Talk About Sandy Hook include:

-Sherrie QuestioningAll

-Swan Song (editor of insanemedia.net) [whose voice sounds a lot like that of David Knight from infowars.com]

-TyrannyNewsNetwork

-Odinrok

-FreeRadioRevolution

-Sandy Hook Research

-Professor Doom1

-QKUltra

-UpNorthOfThe49th

[keep in mind that these are all YouTube “handles”]

To clarify, the end credits list MrStosh314 as writer and director of this film (which is slightly at odds with the ad hoc structure presented).  Regardless, his efforts are much appreciated.  I wasn’t sure (until I checked further) whether he was the same person as Peter Klein (another of the listed producers for The Life of Adam).  [It seems he is not.]  As even Lenny Pozner acknowledged in a pilfered series of messages, Klein “has skills”.  Of course, Pozner doesn’t entirely break character.  Talented but “evil”.

That’s the pot kettle black.

 

-PD