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Blonde bumblebeeLeft picture is a blond bumble bee roaming around on the grass near our apartment. So far this is the best picture of a bumble bee I have taken. There are lots moving around I have noticed.  I read a book and saw a dvd story I liked.  I wrote my reviews about them below.

In the last two months I viewed a film and read a book, which really inspired me: Los Muertos by Lisandro Alonso released in 2003 and Janis Ian, Society’s Child, My Auto Biography published in 2008.

I viewed Los Muertos last night on dvd. I checked it out from the local public library.  Returned over due Janis Ian book by two days to the library last night.  Sure enough my guess paid off, what I chose.  Sometimes it isn’t always right on, but last night it was right on.  The film was about an Espanol man, Vargas in his late 50’s or early 60’s who is released from a rural prison in Argentina.  The prison does not seem so ugly.  The character seems contented and even about his life.  He served his sentence for the crime he committed.  In the beginning visuals, a man kills a boy in the jungle. Before he departs the prison, an arrangement is made for him to visit his daughter.  A row boat is given to him so he can row in the river. Slowly he makes his way home. In the small town where he hitches to, he buys a blouse, candies for his daughter and some bread at a store.  He also visits a local prostitution house and has sex. 


In the town he finds his sister’s place where a boat is located. He stays the night. Next day when the Vargas departs, the man who shows him the boat, questions him about the murder of one of his brothers, but Vargas does not talk about it much.


As he rows the boat to find his daughter, he seems to know what to do. He gets off the boat to find food. He finds honey in a honey comb. He eats it on the land near the river. He continues on.  Then he sees a goat eating grass on the side of the river.  He backs up and picks up the goat, cuts open the throat and butchers it quickly.  He takes out the intestines and stomach with his hands and throws them away. He keeps only the outer parts of the goat. He takes this to his daughter.  Dine’ people eat sheep, too, but when they butcher sheep, they keep the intestines and stomach.  The blood of the goat is poured into a container. Then the blood is poured into intestines to make blood sausage.  However, he threw the internal organs into the river.


In another scene, a boy walks around and hits things with a machete.  He eats a fruit off a tree.  As the boy peers at the river, he views a man row a boat close to the shore.  The Vargas asks if he knows a woman, (his daughter). The boy says that’s his mother, but she isn’t home so the Vargas has found his daughter.  It ends when he brings his stuff into the house where the boy lives.  We never view his daughter.


The story did not have a climax like a typical classical dramatic film story line.  The cinematographer shot long pan takes. Characters did not speak very much dialogue.  The filmmaker tried to tell the story through the cinematography, pictures and audio.  I’ve been to Argentina myself. Mostly I stayed in Buenos Aires, Argentina in August 1973.  The train took me from Santiago, Chile to Mendoza. I stayed a few days in Mendoza, then travelled to Buenos Aires, Argentina.  From Buenos Aires I took an airline to Montevideo, Uraguay and then travelled to Porto Alegre, Brazil by bus.


Actually I liked Los Muertos  because it reminded me of my video The Graffiti.  I was the videographer who shot it. I shot long pans and takes. In the beginning of the video I used very little dialogue to tell the story.  I kept dialogue to a minimum for the story.  The cuts were long. Los Mertos had long cuts as well.  I still think my video The Graffiti is as equal as his. The Graffiti story centered around an Indian woman, a similar lonely character like the male character in Los Muertos. She is without any close personal/physical male attachments in the story, except her girlfriend she confides in. Now in reflection upon it, I definitely think that when a filmmaker shoots in 35mm, he/she receives more respect as a filmmaker than a person who shoots in mini dv or hd dv.  This male filmmaker received recognition for what he did. Not many women filmmakers or to further say, women of color filmmakers do not receive that kind of recognition as this.  Some women filmmakers have shot in 35 mm.  Not a lot.  I feel sad about it on one hand that male filmmakers receive more recognition than women.  Usually men are more focused upon by other male film/video journalists. Women write journalism as well, but the world is dominated by the mens’ clubs. The people or the women who use video are not even talked about sometimes in the larger arena. Such discrimination and segregation exists underneath. I’ve observed the history of cinema as long as I’ve existed as a filmmaker since I lived in Los Angeles in 76 and Vancouver BC in 97 in regards to the males and females who make and work in it.  Filmmaking is a sexist media. 


However, above all this I can respect Los Muertos film that Lisandro Alonso made: the effort/style created to make this film because it’s a style I like and seek to continue as well.  My influence stems from viewing the new wave and neo realist films by Jean Luc Goddard, Luchino Visconti, Frederico Fellini and Jean Cocteau, my very, very favorite filmmakers.  Now-a-days, the general public and film/video juries are far too conservative and close minded to view other types of storytelling dramas, which are not classically screenplay written.


Reading Janis Ian, Society’s Child, My Auto Biography was good too. I read a lot of auto biographies or biographies written about male rock and roll groups or male performers. They dominate. Some of my favorite songs are What It’s Worth by Buffalo Springfield, Blowin in the wind by Bob Dylan and Under the Bridge by The Red Hot Chili Peppers, written by males and male groups, but I like women song writers and performers too. I always liked Society’s Child the song she wrote. She wrote other songs: Jesse and Seventeen. In the book she described the back story behind the hit song. Sometimes she received racist and verbal taunts by some members of the audience when she performed it. She was only fourteen or so. She performed Society’s Child on stage while still in high school. That’s pretty fantastic.


She described the great pressure from record companies to make a second album and other albums, how the higher ups expected another song hit from her. Also, she wrote about a huge financial crisis she was unaware of until one time she was told by the IRS they were going to take any savings she made from performing and use this to pay off her IRS income taxes. It didn’t leave her any money to survive on. It took her a while to find out how her accountant manipulated her money and didn’t pay her incomes taxes throughout the years. What a shock to hear the news, but she had to deal with it. From reading all the bios about rock and roll groups, many of the artists had legal problems where some corrupt manager squandered the money for the group. She wasn’t the only one who experienced corruption. If a person hires a person to do a job who is thought to be descent and then turns it opposite, it can be a tremendous shake up to find out the person always acted purposefully. Seems like whenever a huge amount of money is involved with the person who makes the money and people he/she hires, that person has to be very savvy about corrupt human beings.  A person can naively get conned believing in the beginning she/he has hired an okay person.  Guess it is why police checks are done with some employers.


She was friends with Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. She hung out with Jimi Hendrix to listen to B.B. King sing and play at a small club in New York. He told her about him. She met Jimi Hendrix when he wanted to turn a night club into Electric Ladyland, a recording studio. Janis Joplin and her were friends. I could tell she likes being around women, to do what women like to do such as shop for clothes. She met Bob Dylan. She met all the greats and various musicians during that time.


Janis Ian had a lot of ups and downs to survive in her music career. She branched out to write science fiction books. What I liked about her auto biography is, although she is a gay woman, she wrote from a very female point-of-view, what women like and do. Her perceptions and influences are not too different than mine. I grew up as a teenager in the early and mid-sixties. All the musical inspirations she liked, I liked. All the influences from mainstream culture I was influenced by, the rock and roll music, social dance, the fashion and the politics, she was influenced by as well. I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and did not grow up on the Reservation. I just happen to like rock and roll music since I was ten or eleven years old and it continues presently. I do not read and view enough of that from women performers: how they feel or think about things, males and the world. She did not hold back. She described the positive and negative attributes about being a song writer/musician, being recognized and known and not being recognized and known. Her relationships with her partners were described, why they worked and didn’t. She described her parents. She related how does it become to be older, how the body changes and perceptions change. Compared to Bob Dylan’s Chronicles, Volume One, he described his partner, his wife as a nameless persona. His wife had hardly any description. He said he loved his wife, but that was it. Her auto biography is detailed, human like. I related very well to her auto biography.


So I was really impressed in July to read this book and view this film on dvd last night. They both took me out of my every day existence into moments of dream making. Art work does that.



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