Mr Turner : A Film Review

MR TURNER : Director Mike Leigh, UK, 2hrs 30mins.
Cast. Timothy Spall, Paul Jesson, Dorothy Atkinson.
A Sketch At Margate
Few painters can express in paint the union of sea and land where neither is what is and the line of difference is less than the hair of an artists brush.
So finite is the allegory of unshifting nature beyond our understanding still, the medium of paint continues to be relied on, more than film, than science in its numerical data chase as we stand in awe when confronted with something akin to the emotions conjured up through our brief understanding lives. It was not a suppression of detail that John Turner relied on but the re-calibration of the art of painting he saw fit to pursue.
It was a different way of painting with both fine drawing and abstraction in harmonious fusion. Quite different from being a form of abstraction which unfortunately is the route the film tends to take and represent rather confoundingly.
JMWT was a talisman of paints complex behaviour; of the complex correlation with the ‘abstract’ which JMWT unleashed signaled his the genius. He created a certain body with the touch of realism in his finite detail.
He is known as the seascape painter but I have seen gardens of stately homes painted in moderately sized landscape as a deliverance with a few balustrades, evenness of a lawn in the foreground peppered with a few fallen leaves or the cut of an upturned edge chopped by a croquet stick or such. There is a draughtsmanship apparent in those paintings putting away the false perception of ‘abstraction’ and the moderate size of the one I refer to also gives notice to the fact he was in fact a studious miniaturist and his sketchbooks were the beginning for larger works.
That country scene is an imperious view out to a formal exposition of perspective laid before in the carefully planted trees and curvilinear lines of a country estate managed as far as the eye could see. And it could see, into the plain peintre célèbre of the master sky containing minisule rendering of red over white and under blue.

So he was not only the master of painting the wild sea or lofty ships pulled into harbour by the David tugboats returning the exhausted hulk of the floating ship. The sea eating the land, the land swallowing the sea.
All was before JMWT.
Canvas Cinema
To discover something of the person who created those paintings Mike Leigh has cast the lion hearted chivalrous character of Timothy Spall.
That symbol of plucky, high spirited, undaunted, mercurial thespian open to the odd moment of self indulgent hubristic self flattery.
There is no self doubt in JMWT. His life is cluttered up with his willfulness. Of his domestic life there is a disarrangement only he could explain without the added question of justifying it. It is a side of him which casts him as restless mentally. His painting did not make him alert to persuasive, meaningful intellectual discovery. It was not something he appeared to think possible and this made his mental state and need to paint a fury.
It was part of the driven intensity which broached other whose path he crossed. The film has him in an important element avoiding his fame and how he is perceived. His need is to discover himself through cunning and a retrieval of his true self identity by entering other worlds under plain anonymity.
The film opens with him in Flanders. Mike Leigh introduces us though a long take of a couple of Dutch maids, one shouldering the tressle carrying the milking buckets as they happily talk as they walk the pathway alongside a canal. In the distance is the focal point of a still windmill. The soft landscape is swept through in a continuum. The rough grass with the hidden pathway. High in silhouette on the opposite elevated dyke is the portly figure of John William Turner who is enthrall of the Flemish scene.
It is a ponderable start as he would be more likely to be looking and sketching the characters in the ‘plain’ well documented landscape, so ML has taken his first broad sweep beautiful and meditative as it is.
The light is fading and his furrowed brow shows his intimate reading of this large landscape and he fixes this in his sketchbook in rough and carefully placed notational strokes of a broad pencil. This is the notion of TS of the painting, sketching style. TS took some direction trying to capture the hold of brushes, the mixing of pigments and materials and with it he takes plenty of liberties being the dramatic beast that he perceives him to be.
Indeed a hams head appears on a dinner table and perhaps a linear joke – one is heard – ‘do you want some more cheek!’ Well to make a film you have to have certain arrogance otherwise the character is empty played truly or not.
19th Century London
Enter London and the iron oxide red brick blend; posher streets have more red content, are with the bricked up windows recalling the window taxes and the blocking off of the carefully designed Georgian rooms.
The symmetry, human scale of the well ordered streets and the ornamented doorways and railings place this film in the midst of many well conceived period depictions of London. You expect a horse drawn carriage has been parked to hide some 21st c. piece of corporate intrusion! Well with my architectural eye, I deploy the aghast interventions present, here concealed.
The temerity of the streets appearance is contrasted with the JMWT swagger as it shows his choice of living quarters. It immediately settles the eye into a sumptuous panoply of familiar beautifully decorated and furnitured houses.
Interior Incarnate
Up the steps to his own door in Chelsea he fumbles with his keys and into the subtlety lit fern green hallway. The architraves skirtings and wall dado are all of a similar hue. It is like a temperate greenwood forest and intimates, hints at the oddments of character infused with every part of this master painters life.

If you think I have been too descriptive, maybe, but it is compelling and only the beginning of a compelling and wonder filled story.

Domestic Liberties
Hannah, (Dorothy Atkinson) his housemaid, the adoring, middle aged woman he capriciously and routinely uses to expunge his sexual urges which she openly accepts as affection even under abuse and has his domestic routine recorded delivering drinks, paint, frames, to his hand a second before asked.
She has a kitten like coquettish but pragmatic coyness which is deployed to take us closer to knowing how this reading of his character is to unfold.
The housemaid is an invention in the biographical sense but Hannah is a foil for which much of the unsavory and challenged humanity of JMWT is vexed.
Also at the house is his father William, a retired Gentlemans Barber of good fortune, played with honorable whimsy by Paul Jesson who is devoted to the exploits of his son.
It is he who attends to frames and paints and probably the books.
Familial Eschewal
When the door knocks a further part of his family enters. His irascible wife who is not with fortune and his two daughters. One holding his grandchild.
They are in need of help and he immediately addresses them abruptly as an estranged husband he keeps them at a distance and sends them to a drawing room to await him. This completes his family for its complexion it is another directorial indulgence to drive this ferocious wedge between the husband and wife though their separation and his neglect are most probably true by the accounts.

It is the lot of JMWT that he must move with the wind and respond to his patrons and his painterly invention is noted by such as Lord Egremont whose estate contains many couriers and the withdrawing rooms are full of portraits and fine works of art carefully chosen. A white stockinged leg is visible in one scene of a man standing wide astride much as Henry VIII would be seen so maybe a hint of royalty acceded to.
The house he goes to meet the Lord at is Petworth in East Sussex and its stately interior is beyond grand and is opulent and possibly egregious and flagrancy of the kind only the slave trade could have brought such fortune to it. These are not gimcrackeries or baubles of an aristocrat but the finest decorations and exuberant manifestation of taste as can befit his station.
The slave painting Detail.
This is the environment of the most disturbing fallacy of understanding the human and the art of JMWT cannot and dare not utter anything of the depravity which is his master and patron.
There are some extrordinarily well conceived scenes. One where the song of Henry Purcell is given a heart felt rendering by JMWT in a connection he makes through simple conversation. Another later in another place where his only politically charged painting is carried off with the willingness of JWT by the buffoonish John Ruskin Junior. There is a cadence and momentum to the story which is so difficult to convey being of a very widely known artist and it is of very great credit that pace and attention to only the most edifying of encounters are given a degree of prominence.

The way of films of this kind, the soporific, cloistered, confined, ordered, worthy, glorification of a true genius with whom temerity requires a delicate hand, it is the actors license to go beyond that heft and become garrulous, effusive and obsequious.
Broadbrush School of Painting
JMWT spends a lot of the time unsurprisingly at his large canvases. Again ML and TS have fell into the snare of over exaggeration. Both in the way Timothy Spall uses his brush like a dauber and dilettante with added spit and egg. ML has for the most part framed a dialogue but he allows actors to improvise in a not very convincing happy chappy way at times.
There is a battlefield in which quite a lot of the film is played out and with an illustrious roll call the steps of the Royal Academy are taken and the reputations are cross haired and slipped upon. I get refereeing some of these are without lines and improv. Queen Victoria pays a visit and her reaction to JMWTs work states its difference and raises its value.
That has been the way through many films Mike Leigh has achieved a British noir for the portraiture of English moderated eccentricity, be it working class, period based or location driven.
The fact is the reality unseen is far more colourful, has greater depth and unhinged, happenstance story and personality that any film can only, autobiographically pick a pot of paint and splash the canvas before it and the actors dry up for lack of knowledge of the inner thoughts; who on earth could imagine, of the extremis obitum.
Eminent Women
The women in his life we are shown as helpful obstructions. That is until he encounters under his other name a lady who has outlived two husbands and is a warm hearted and nature loving woman. She lives in a place which is known as the last place in England the sunsets. It gives up much of the beauty this film mines and it is to MLs credit he depicts England of the South and East coast in such vivid gorgeous variety. As such it could well have the tableau Tracey Emin knew alongside its municipal subsequent vandalism.
The Burning of the Houses of Parliament
With the direction requiring the application of paint in sessions, distractions turn up to colour the intensity absent but present in the geniuses head.
Torment and rage. Invention and rejection. Ingenuity and extraction.
The energy of paint is nuclear in his hands. This is the equivalent of E=Mc2.
When the speed of two protons is so fast they cannot repel they combine each giving up that energy. It is the substance presently we cannot capture ( scientists currently have combinations that have 3% payback – they expend too much to achieve that!) that is infinitesimally mercurially out of our reach but within a hair on a brush applied by the real John Turner.

No such animadversion is intended to anyone surrounding this film with the accepted outlet of no one having an overriding fulcrum of the obit.
It is instead a visually splendid sacrament illuminated through a lens of prismatic content of JMWTs anointment with oil, the pigment not his own and the recital of prayer ghostly hung in staves of exhubrance played out by clinging to the mast of a fixed ship to be washed of sin and given Gods wisdom. No one disbelieves the degrees and hardships JMWT went through to achieve his goal and the reward was not only for it to be acclaimed but the thought to him he had discovered new ways with paint that would survive and outlive him.
Turner and Seven Hills
The question is does it shed any light of the character of JMWT?
As some films explore even more well documented painters such as Picasso, the Bloomsbury set or authors such as Virginia Wolff with very specific paradigms it is apparent no such insight is available here.
We do not learn what Roman painters, Italian and Dutch painters influenced him.
This is again the nature of Mike Leigh films.. They interest as the heft of the actors and a story which has a beginning middle and an end with little exploratory or problematic themes to last and continue way beyond the films delivery.

Conclusion. ####4
This is one of the best British films made as a period piece as well as biographic cinematic examination. it probably marks the highest point of Timothy Spalls acting with a superb but inaccurate portrayal of one of the worlds best painters. He is splendidly cast and brings an energy which few others could have portrayed this driven working class painter rising up through the ranks to become highly regarded by his contemporaries except for a few who knew little other than replication. The performances alongside are very convincing across the whole range. From the abused and put upon Dorothy Atkinson to the army of artists and RA fixtures and the direction is exquisitely accurate and cinematically it is in keeping with its subject. It is not as morally or emotionally intense as MLs Secret and Lies but it has confirmed the breadth of the conviction to Cinema as a victorious means of supplying us with a large compass of the thought provoking exterior we encounter across our common existence.
Well worth the effort of seeing and it is another film showing how the BFI and the British film community ( NI has a TV community!?) knows its country so very well and indeed knows the people who modeled it.

John Graham

31 October 2014


On at QFT Belfast From 31st October through to Thursday 13th November

Mondays and Tuesdays are £4.00 ticket days. So what’s stopping you getting out to the lovely little place that is QFT?

Put your own comments in my own reply box below after you have seen it or what you make of any of my blogs.

The Margate House

Art : Royal Ulster Academy 2014

A poor picture of a beautiful little painting by academician Harry Reid.

Yes it is reduced to RUA but lots of people are quite annoyed the emblematic Royal is ridiculous in 2014.
And I agree with them whole heartily.
The obstruction will exists if and when the Riddell building becomes an offshoot. A time to reduce it now to the Ulster Academy.
Vote now.
Telling in kind.
What art is sympathetic to the telling. RUA has a very limited lot of paintings and other forms they would eschew given another disposition so it is here to prod the visitors into an annual excursion around academy art chosen by academicians and then opened for public opprobrium except much will delight.
The typical distilled landscapes without the Kavanagh or flowers without Piper or a white flame of dog or horse imperiously investing gravitas or reworking of an old remembered place by BB it is a journey round a mere four rooms that is constantly creating voids.

The works off the wall are most constantly creations of persuasive strong presence. From the small Graham Gingles symphony in broken shards of glass. Within a glass box. To Brendan Jameson’s two sugar memorials, one a tidy Thiepval tower,
the other mausoleum for Tate door open with an inscription befitting one half of the empire for which dentists became an essential health enhancer.
The glass box large and free from the flies or humidity of passing humans. It sits on a wooden floor. Stately absurdity. Another piece by Claire Gibson takes the ordinary as if found yet changes the ordinary object into a formal object of modern beauty.
The object seen is a screw top light bulb of around 8″ diameter x 2. They are treasure in a wine crate or apple box with chain as other found object.
They have imprinted images as reflections where they are of the elegant classical architecture and imply the former surroundings.
All three of these artists reproach our sense of remembrance in this year of remembering. To that can be added several other narratives.
The other sculpture taking my eye was less a sculpture and more an applied raised set of (possibly resin paper mâché) blue faced ‘bars’ with their impression continued in paint on the wall they are fixed too.
This is a little understated but very well considered and presented piece.
It seems concurrent with pattern, colour and minimal art forms that have an architectural as well as natural derivation.
In a corner, poorly hung are two little drawings/paintings one like a Polaroid the other like a family photograph circa.fifties. See the shadow fixed.
The top one is a very neatly executed painterly view of a beach populated with camper type awnings and lightweight furniture. No one is to be seen.
Only the essence of heat and little shadow.

The top corner is literally overshadowed by the painting to its right. Another mishap. Other paintings, without a bevel framing board have their top intruded on by fractions but annoying as an itch. Giving a dark shadow at the top of the artists image.
Higher on a wall is a very monochrome drawing on paper, showing an interior of a redundant factory somewhere in Belfast.
Firstly it is a new way of looking. Instead of the realism of a photograph of which there occur some examples here of the distemper of plaster or the ‘natural’ brickwork with human presence of one or other form, this drawing picks out the discarded Eames type chairs, the electrical switchboxes and paraphanalia undisturbed. The paper barely has any pencil damage and the uniformity of the drawing is raw. The style of object drawing is stationary elsewhere. This is an image correct in scale and carrying in its composition a beautiful presence and weight of place. This is also a remembrance of inventive workplaces destroyed by the greed and parasitic commerce putting the whole economy on its knees.

My favourite piece is the David Crone painting.
It is a form of four squares.
These are not defined but there as a key formative attention point of unseen entrance from the outside square the viewer reads each element and the depth of colour, radiant, deep and shaping Indian, Egyptian, ebullient vigorous themes of anti-apathetic settled thought.

In keeping with Nietzsche he proposes perhaps through this painting at least my understanding brings it, the Dionysian life, that of chaos from unrestrained, uninhibited, reckless exhuberance, outside the fragilista visions returning little, the relativism, the obsequeence of unseeing is here present. It is looking into the discord finding an underlying truth and some evidence of natural shapes are there I cohabiting our and their space.

As you may gather I really am appreciative of this painting. There are no standard meanings but its relevance is that for me it created the connection with my own preoccupations. It is positive and revealing all at once. It certainly is light years away from everything else seen here.

What David Crone is saying to me in this is that the way forward is to not intervene with or recreate rules in order but to allow the self and others to rely on their innate natural ability to ascend the safe unreasoned haven and fragile dependancy model. This is where so many images meet and relate in our own conference of enlightenment.

Jeremy of Blackheath is a very good painter. I have seen his expansive views of Greenwich, the portraits without allegory but he has entered an altogether epilogue fate of recuperative art. Paul Muldoon collaborates to co-author this work. A narrative best left in the Trafalgar or whatever bar they dreamt it up together. Pouring out beneath the rafters of a studio setting is the orchard. The forbidden fruits.
Muldoon looks his normal curmudgeonly self, the one were the muse has left through the eavesment of the ancient but modern home of the type Blackheath is full of. Dark foreboding homes.
Far removed from ‘In the Stairwell’ where light enters. He sits florid in a floral shirt, with a cauliflower ‘brain metaphor?’ such parody in one palm, a knife balancing a mushroom in the other. Arch is the idea and the Orchard court of fertility.

A painters noir in somber tones and permeated by a feeling of disillusionment, pessimism, and despair is one where a five minute journey round the painting delivers the Telling, poems, Apple on his head, Just William Tell.
A horseshoe in suspenseful hubris upturned to catch the fallen epitaph. The missing instrument the ghastly Greenwich ships surgeon like skull implement possibly savoured in the Maritime Museum on the Royal Parks Lawn.

That instrument, for Trepanning, where the pin is gently pressed against the skull at the location of the preferred entry upon which the mini saw wheel circulates cutting out a calcium rich biscuit from the crown.
The operation is a success but doomed to failure if reflection/infection sets in.
Both turn to vegetables and are wheeled to Nine Elms Market by daybreak.
Back to the rotten borough and needs of the people.




More to be added at a later time.

John Graham

28 October 2014

Art : My Own

What do you see?

The photograph above is included in the Art in the Eastside Billboard 2014 exhibition across parts of East Belfast.
If there was a theme I took it to be inclusive of whatever aspects of the City and its cultural life , its people, its uniqueness. The callout was fairly generous and it has been approached in so many different ways the return is a very diverse collection of photographs depicting various artists take on the challenge.

What do you see?
I saw straight away, on a break from a charity stall nearby I was assisting at, the 12th July bands; it was taken this year, had stopped and instead of having the customary rest started a game. They formed a large circle, the whole lot of them gathered in a huge circle on the road and did the hokey – cokey. It was people being right in the moment, spontaneous fun.

It shows a community band highly spirited and highly involved in the whole day out experiencing together not just the common thread of being in the band but the camaraderie of community and collective joy.

It is so rich an image and contrary to the normally viewed antagonistic propaganda fed concept of Loyalist marching, this in its proper frame of mind. What effect can a March have? How inferred, an act of conjecture, managed perception is present? In the present it is the outsider who collects and makes a complete new history of what is being seen.
The inferences concerning the military and army groups are seen from banners related to events past. They are not now, they do not represent the present. They are the mere cultural collective narrative as it has advanced, how it has been and is articulated.
When the new tendency to march in period uniforms, made in the finest versions of the woolen and cotton representations, with belts in nickled metalwork the purpose is to antagonises. They do not create the theatre that the men going to their deaths faced. It is sickening both sides try to perform the part of the soldier, the part of the fighter when they dress up witless of past history and kid themselves of their assurity of projection.
They are the opposite of com reactive, they are deeply insulting of each and every soldier, man or women who for whatever their motives where found themselves facing the prospect of war and the chance of being killed or killing. Into the intervening period with risk dramatically reduced by acts of terrorism it is a bizarre transition to see balaclavas on people marching – out in the open – as if they were in the open in whatever circumstances they represent. They instead would be totally concerned with not being visible being hidden. Now the cowardly act is theatered as a march. Mindless.
History is a Memory
From a clear background they are up for and not afraid to pay respect to the past history they have been handed and carry on with traditions set down long before.
Hangers On
The hideous side of things is the hijacking by drunks, trouble makers, godless folk, violent minded people who denigrate the very group they claim to support. No one has any pretensions that this celebrates none other than the Battle of the Boyne. A battle with Imperialism that created a virulent imperialism.
The Orange
In an earlier blog I celebrated the fact this picture showed that it as cultures throughout Europe, in far off places, Brazil, Mexico in common with people with a particular history get to experience the feeling of connection back down the ages. The rituals, uniforms, music, celebrations, displays are very evidently rooted in something. It is the shared something which many self – identify with.

So the title of the photograph has several meanings.
First up I see it describing the people thinking of the day they are in.
Being conscious and mindful of other people they share a common interest with.

The overriding outcome they desire is fun and friendly banter and reconnection.

To see it derided and categorized as a component of conflict renewed and conflict reaffirming a past is far from the reality. In the days before certainly there were many lives lost in the heat of battle and many a false move twixt hand and glove. The banners portray simplified victors. The portray keepers of the history and create a myth and eulogies people whose part has been brutal and of themselves conflicted.

The history like opposite histories contains a pile of dangerous perceived and untruths carried forth as the document.
For the local case history book to be opened, opened at any page from the story comes another complex contradiction.
Seeing our Times
Seeing our times is about realising what it is that represents today, now in and of itself. The actual gathering of who, people you know and people you speak with in other parts of your life. The mix is vast. So many differences already exist within the group that the dynamic shows the closest way to be a fellowship is to take part in what you identify as yours.

Some other photographs in Art in the Eastside.









John Graham

28 October 2014


Art : They .. Abortion rights


Platform arts
Emma Campbell

‘They put their hand out like scales.”

In the book of the images When they put their hand out like scales, Emma Campbell quotes various people across the island of Ireland.
Paradoxically; david Ervine who was implacably opposed to a United Ireland and not exactly in touch with women’s issues as a cross border joint issue, is quoted. The quote above. Art from the crude language; he starts ‘They are not women they are people.. Bless, he instantly may as well be saying, not just women, not simply women, he takes an authority of judging the women seeking an abortion.
A representative of organised terrorism unplacated and vile and violently encouraging young people to do his dirty work and kill human beings already born and fully alive he recoiled at the fact among his neighbours there were young women who, if they had found the means to travel at a minimum, went to England for an abortion. He used the phrase”they put their hand out like scales.” mixing the metaphor having right and wrong in each hand. The morality of it only being wrong on one hand and right on the other displacing the separation being made.
Law and Justice
In our justice system, the law is inexorably cast with degrees of right and wrong. The person acted for a reason….but that reason carries wrong …being against the Law. In the case of the individual it is not like that. The individual has to divide in their own hands, into the right hand and into the left hand the right in the right, the wrong in the left. The moral judgement is theirs and the terms of their decision is going to weigh on one side or the other. This is the unambiguous truth. Into it once made come the social impediments. Into it has to be created a process in concert with her decision to enable it. These are the issues the state and authority act and intervene to hinder or enable the woman to act.
Politicians unwitting disconnection
Going back to the conflicted David Ervine I wonder what regard he had for the men on whose orders they acted who took their own lives, of the soldiers seeing the opposing forces inflict terror and death on each other’s community who took their own lives, of the people who shot people from their own community for their non-compliance. It was before Ervines time I think when a friend expressed his views in a pub in his community which because of its left leaning contempt of violence and killing of people of another religion he was taken to a toilet in the Pub and executed by people of the same community and religion. So the leaders had become the rulers of live and death and in their sacrament they murdered a fellow human being.
The Woman as a person alone and individual
Often it is put to women that the conction and the merging of chromosomes is a new life. It cannot be purely because at that time her womb carries a fertilised egg wholly dependant on her and of her body which includes her mind. Nothing else is involved. She has an extension of herself which she can grow to the birth of a child. It is a division of will or want and if unplanned and not willed it is for her to decide on a termination as soon as she has made the decision. The decision is probably already framed in her mind as conception is a continual presence in her sexual life but when the actual occurrence of pregnancy occurs it shifts to another level when the question has to be considered now it is present. The decision to have children is a life changing one and it is weighted in one hand.
No directions or Law can intervene.
In either event support and all help and assistance is required and in many places equipped to deal with both eventualities and decisions are less fraught.

John Graham

24 October 2014


Serena : A Film Review


Cast : Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Rhys Ifans, Toby Jones, David Dencik, Sean Harris, Ana Ularu, Sam Reid, Conleth Hill, Charity Wakefield, Douglas Hodge, Christian McKay, Philip Zanden, Ned Dennehy.

The pairing of Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper are is a proven combination. Having been made in 2012 by the Director and part Producer, the Danish attendee to close detail and a comprehensive storyline without too much diversion is Susanne Bier. A distributed is clearly now in place and we get to see what has been held back for a few years.

This is a period drama set in East America, the North Carolina Forests, soon to become State Parks. The time is 1929 and the colonial fore bearers are gone and the land is allocated on a lost continental basis. The victors took the spoils of much land and the forests were an enormously valuable natural commodity. Like the mining, oil and agricultural wealth grasped post civil war, some winners were founded sufficiently to create their own banking systems.

The character George Pemberton (Cooper) is a young entrepreneur with a vision for making heaps of money from deforesting large sections of forestry which is mainly relatively cheap and easily accessible Pinewood.
He has enlisted a partner to share the risks and also to be an additional pair of eyes.
This is the redoubtable, advisor Buchanan (David Dencik) whose homoerotic attraction to George is a slow burner ignited by the return after a trip to retrieve more funds from a Bank, of George with a wife. Swept up from an encounter his sister who is in the closed elitist society set, is the formidable attractive, fair and astute alluring Serena. The fair fine features of Serena are not reduced as she puts a white horse through its paces.
Her commanding positive teamwork with the animal are enough to impress George from a distance. George’s sister gives him the tale of her loss of her entire family. From her father a large scale timber baron whose empire was many leagues above the North Carolina operation George has started.
To call a woman feisty is I am given to understand an unfettered insult and demeaning as often applied ingloriously to women.
Hot, quarrelsome, courageous and single minded on the other hand can not have those accusations leveled and it is only part of the character summation this beautiful horsewoman turned married woman.
In marrying she thinks she finds her soulmate and fellow adventurer with plenty of common direction and interest.
As a partner in business George is confident of what she can bring outside the house. The comparability of the couple have no sexual shortcomings and she quickly becomes pregnant.
As an operator of business from a horse or in her boots on the hills she carries every action out without error. Her countenance is accepted.
The person who we see most put out by her presence is the directionless Buchanan. There are a couple of head woodsmen that all three rely on to enforce their instructions

These are familiar actors which is a feature of this film.
II is odd to see Douglas Hodges as a fiery logsman with a passable impression of a doughty American shouting the odds of the new America.
Also the squat doleful Toby Jones is cast as the righteous Sheriff of the adjacent town. He is implausibly plausible given the cock a manny story.

Sean Harris and Rhys Ifans are the two dependable.
Rhys Ifans under his ten gallon hat does a mean meany oddball.
Serena accepts his judgement if not his outsider withdrawn, need to be an outsider. Rhys paces alongside things. Rails freshly laid. Logs freshly felled and houses freshly inhabited. He acts feral (not unlike the feral under-panted 4W+1Funeral wimp) as the other dependable Harris we recall from the newly released ’71 in which he plays the Long haired beatnik guised Spook of her majesties finest. He is here an only mildly less savory self interested pugnacious beetler in the wood pile.

It is a right ant-heap and by way of relation Serena sends for a trained Eagle to take care of the snakes which have killed several of the needed workers.

The first section, well over halfway into the story little hens of any consequence. The anti-romance is played. George does not meet her expectations and is easily given instructions without being aware of them, she has a major plan in mind. She has to in my mind emulate and better the achievements of her lost Father. The Father lost in the fire and the ghost of the loss of an entire family explains much of her driven nature.
She is not conscious of this herself and is therefore not able to forgive readily for minor transgressions.
George on the other hand is reflective and cautious. Serena is the risk taker.
When the film becomes a highly intense crime thriller it is complete with murder, conspiracy, corruption and revenge all told.

A side story involves George’s child conceived with his ‘maid’ the delectable Rachel (Romanian actress Ana Ularu), whose continued presence upsets Serena on occasions, despite her instruction to George when she realises, as soon as she arrives that this past and child exist.
Only occasionally does she have cause to make anything of it but on the triangle swings several twists.

Serena is at the centre of this melodrama and with flawless imperious portrayal of restrained imploding self confidence the magnetism I for one see, as many others recognise, Jennifer Lawrence delivers a brilliant performance with the panoply of emotions suited to her poise and beautiful face and stature. It is a character that for the reasons addressed earlier requires the unbelievable passage of the story at times to be delivered in the manner which makes you think of the wider possibilities.

To this it has to be added the impression I took of Bradley Coopers performance was it was wooden not only in the material but delivery. He may have drilled to much; making him out at times was a problem hopefully most didn’t experience. Don’t worry as most of the best lines are Serena’s. Rhys Ifans just comes out with cliches through clenched teeth.
The forest as it turns out is in Czechoslovakia – presumably they have stopped deforesting large sections of North America and now have a preference for Fracking.

I would like to see Jennifer in a political Drama. I wonder if she would play the courageous life of a French woman scorned and driven to show the guys what women can do in Politics. Beware what you wish.

The story turns into a very suspense driven implosion of the relationships which have taken you to the North Carolina timber rough sawn America.
The lush scenic background of the Smoky Mountains and the attention to costume detail are (Czech shoot aside!) very natural and give the film the cosmetic of convincing cinema.

Conclusion. ###3

The full dynamic of the film is from my viewing the character of Serena shaped by the events. That makes it succeed on a couple of levels but it has some one dimensional aspects which takes away from what could be a more incisive film. If the one to one scenes between George and Serena were more complex; after all it becomes a complex relationship.
The challenges and the difficulties of making a life in this territory is there but folk like Toby Jones who succeeds in making a Good guy fighting for the locals acerbic. A bad turn – I dread to think how he will turn us against Captain Mainwaring – yes currently being filmed and Michael Gambon – is the hired ace to play a Buffon – how does that work? What the hell is happening to the Film Industry.
Can you not rely on the actors to choose their parts wisely and to embrace the craft of cinema without looking at the paycheck first?

This film will appeal as a kind of un troubling drama and will hardly bring down too many trees. The he digital age. Will newsprint ever cease?

John Graham

23 October 2014


On at QFT from Friday 24 October to 6 November 2014
Check times

This Week
Fri 24th Oct – 6:40pm
Fri 24th Oct – 9:00pm
Sat 25th Oct – 6:40pm
Sat 25th Oct – 8:50pm
Sun 26th Oct – 6:40pm
Sun 26th Oct – 9:00pm
Mon 27th Oct – 6:40pm
Mon 27th Oct – 9:00pm
Tue 28th Oct – 6:40pm
Tue 28th Oct – 9:00pm
Wed 29th Oct – 6:40pm
Wed 29th Oct – 9:00pm
Thu 30th Oct – 6:40pm
Thu 30th Oct – 8:50pm
Fri 31st Oct – 6:30pm
Sat 1st Nov – 8:40pm
Sun 2nd Nov – 8:50pm
Mon 3rd Nov – 8:50pm
Tue 4th Nov – 8:50pm
Wed 5th Nov – 9:15pm
Thu 6th Nov – 9:15pm

Art : Amanda Beech A Wall

Uses for Art are collected, codified, narrated and presented, product of many triumphs and editorial of truth and falseness, each thrust energetically into a ‘suite’ of the act of creation.
The collection occupying the mutated space, the Catalyst Gallery is known a All Obstructing Walls have been Broken Down in two rooms.
The familiar open Gallery has a wall ironically separating creating a foyer where mingling, conversation takes place, three pockets of space are therefore realised. Music in the form of sound design vibrate and permeate.
In the first room are four works on paper. Graphic works each, signaling through word, power. Power. Infiltrated. Displaced. A hand in Land Triumphs is terminal perhaps, burial mode. Patterns of dots form the hand. A thin hot rod maybe making each hole burning and drawing into paper rough cuts of forms around the message. The word, the conveyed.
On these words come allegiances to vocabulary of the Post Planetary Capitalism continuums Amanda Beech has occupied her mind with in configuring her work.
The writing accompanying this Catalyst Gallery promotion is – in a sleeved handout – is in two folded card leaflets.
One is a dialogue concerning this exhibition and its related subjects.
from the other another view is dispensed by a writer gathering in separate works in an essay that includes Sanity Assassin (2010) so plenty of mileage out of this as it is reconstructed here in the limits of CatLyst Gallery. Gone are the Yellow chainsaws of the Spike Island Gallery describing the format of rooms requiring the artists required journey of the audience taken to the triptych large screens. Absent are the chainsaws on a mirrored base.

The sound design steps in to be an inferior soundtracked prelude as you hear it before you see the screens. A central screen is a focus primarily showing digitLly rain close up in darkness falling in real time. This relief is replaced by belief systems or analytical text dragged up as a composite which AB has written (anti-philosopher) Rottweiler as personage, identify assumed from critical writing from an enlightenment analysist who is named as Adorno in the sleeved notes.

Neither get the enlightenment. AB Anglo Saxon libiterian Whig is probably the former life occupied. The smell and foreign South Bank London Politics presaging the Plague , the Fire and rooted in the North London feudal side of the River now looking back at an enlightenment. The where the fuck did the enlightenment come from paradigm is core.
The reality is the Artist via. HARLISTIC CONTAINEROPIA that non environment sought by artists everywhere, (Little Kingdoms fantasies end exactly the same) Henry Moore, Futurist Architects, Goldfinger escapism and metamorphic rehumanising and reinventing the work already created by God only to deposit that notion like a wasteland. Literary criticism would be of value to the work if it were not important for its brilliance in misunderstanding the actual, phenomenology covered by real, not imagined people responsible for delivering new vocabulary.

Forgetful of Shakespeare and the need for additional words.
Women were given a life, came to the fore through the Charles II Byzantine life bringing as Dryden said ‘Freedom as an English subjects sole prerogative.’ After which times where moderates like the mind of ABs alter ego fought on both sides. Deplored in Drury Lane and in this English
Look over your shoulder at your own roots as rejected through Art and he Charles II dissected Religion into the most enlightened state having first encountering the humanIty of Catholics and the dour Scottish Presbyterianism.

Where AB goes with her experience is to a place where neither her or an audience vision of the inferred beauty of self knowledge is validly devoured. The cannibalistic which is how this distant Los Angeles logic depicts it.
Very 2014. Not knowing one end from the other. Upside down History, ruminating in the place of FFs End of History, projected by the bog standard recoiling against unseen, undefined enemy’s.
The Mulholland Drive, drive is dark and curved. Meant to depict our road much travelled. I could not give it any value other than Heh, Here we are, here, a location. Likewise the Stationary stations of cars lawns and homes.
No climate except the centralized reign.

Then there is the sucked it magpie architectural Autocad programmed rendered, sometimes un-rendered frameworks of objective modelling.
All very discardable rubbish design or interest.

Then the LA nature pornification of a garden hidden away from West Hollywood are the clutter of cut flowers. Dead horticulture now slightly referencing the nature of Frank Llyod Wrights post colonial homes and gardens.
So what. So culture is. Everyone knows LA is a place of contrast.
You would need to be living in a hut in Calcutta and even then down the Satellite rubbish TV will reveal it to the less than impressed poor.

You are I take it expected to suck it up and your crituque – AB tries to disown and embrace criticism. It is valid as it always is in somewhere, not here, a truth is revealed.
There is never a truth merely a motion of time interspersed among us. The literary criticism of years gone by is part of an education, learning different ways of seeing.

This art is an applied criticism of a personal examination. The artist as their own critic. John Berger a real person in the essay ‘Permanent Red’ put forward ‘Imagination is not, as is sometimes thought, the ability to invent; it is the ability to disclose what exists
For me there was no disclosure only repetition. Regurgitation. Exoneration of the personal psyche.
It would create further tedium to bring it more words.

The following is a narrative of disassociation.

Though a word about the part played. The caraciture. With strong persona and weak character a blend of elemental urges, at odds with almost all around, the physical, the dogma of the times, yet the closest to human will cornered, glorious never benign. Once the necessity is satiated like sex the infinite becomes possible once more.
A Word and Presentation
UU University of Ulster Art College is for learning
Have a shot across the loosely held campus of creativity.
Any word with a P attracts the artist and first up is the psychology of the human which she plainly presents as people avoiding themselves and presenting images as actors in the world which the artist widely travels.
A studio is important. A local is needed for the work to spring from.
Location is embedded not only in the graphic fixity of words as slogans but those words represent the carried culture the observed not understood but slog aniseed crude mirrors of words look back angry, disembowelled or whimpishly

The Conflation
No single or unique God
It is not a humanist world either.
The Occupy movement she observed is not where power exists.
It never was you could reply, it does not diminish the movement.
That is the scene changer in Amanda Beech staging with a clumsy rhetorical gesture to enlighten a largely young audience of students and practioners..

Much more complex – more diverse – the art world is in crisis what is the rubric that it has?
Art fails? Central failure is rationalization – implication.
Everybody is implicated. Those questions asked, the void is not filled.
The direction of divine travel is it appears – a screen of PowerPoint text which inhabit the written work and seems to be the direction this lecture will go – is the Art as the rubbing of the stones, except their cells of AB.
Instead of rubric however comes rubout. Like an LA detective novel; of Dennis Lehane, Michael Connely? the location AB resides, Phillip Marlowe chastises the new neighborhood and hunts down the perpetrator of the crime. Less compelling jeopardy than the ‘Tempest’ of the novel.
This is as close as I’m ever going to get to finding a message from ABs work given it is noir fiction delivered as noir fact. It borders on the banal and mediocre but its extracts of flash envelop all our configurations of the meaningful daze we encounter. This rubric of one persons Art is sometimes needy and subjective plageristic cannibalism of others creative genius.
Cinema all around LA no triple screens no triptych.
The creative of critical analysis used is hubristic. Leviathan is opining while the locked eyes of AB juxtaposes the powered up lone crusader from the 24 from box of delights AB tells us she devours like film as a life’s arrived appetite for – well it seems the z source.

Zenith is God speaking.

Human subject without any ground – real world goes on without us – artists – setting themselves outside.
It has consequences on your politics this unfixed love of this freedom idea.
All ideas from liberal to right this indifferent world marks a crisis point where lost grip all agree on chaos and unstable space. All eschewed.
Artists intentions and outcomes not trusting function.
It always was in crisis, you only relate to the seen the never seen polemic you will never know, so how come you are so certain a new time exists.
Becket quoted. The playwright not the overure politicised grandeur.
Object oriented philosophy is the by word.
Never convinced in those practices.
Hunch was conclusions is they know it all failure is certain idealist fantasy contradicting knowledge ( not in my experience of insight information and knowledge hungry not a reversal of the art t has in mind.

Art comingles with the real of sensory affect
Feel it man
Art s free by nature
Art is must work to manifest this freedom in the realm of the political
Art commits to freedom
Is an agent of dispersion, producing instabilty its a myth, and indeterminacy.
Art is incapable of organizing and planning
Art is a
Ways dismantling the form of power.
Art is sad abut confronting art.
Images with power
Albert Speer he used light?!!!!!!
Josef Thorak she is attracted to the phenomenon of its expression she called it differently
Thomas Hobbs was working with Kings validation we will all kill each other
A belum of all against all
We cannot trust so we need organisation.
Ey ond the law 24 he represents the ethos of violent replacement
Consistent investment In this from the artist
My big problem with art
Idealistic connection between knowledge and power

Art as the process of difference and change – its attempt to escape from itself brings itself back into the circle of critique!

Art as enlightenment – making us aware assumes that art is already different
And can transform

Can Art think in a wholly different paradigm?

Life is always a couple of hours north – the very nature of Little Kingdoms.

Hardly the garden city, the island of Aldous Huxley or the narrative of Thomas More whose Utopia was an island.

the place of Harlow Essex is a location of nothingness which Sir Fredrick Gibbard bonkers as he was devised as arnegade GLC architect.

These artists do not follow the BIG dots of this approach She is so niave and displaced or not on a real insightful journey.
Thather gets a mention the ramofications
Let’s build a gallery
Circus festival – it HAS AN AESTHETIC heavens above

Michael Stuot

The accelerationist
The norm the normalcy is their landscape






THIS IS AS A DEGREE OF LOOKING – we are meant to look – express your thoughts – have power of rejecting the violence of mere rhetoric.
Rhetoric is functional – this is having your cake and turning it into art and have -Donald Davidson write supportively

This Is empowering someone who agrees, accepts has a connection.
AM at UU Central Belfast.

James Ellory uses the force of rhetoric.
Didn’t Hemingway lay a trail of middle clas. Paper materiality for dank consumption.

I am going to tell you everything

If only AM OR JE

John Graham

27 October 2014


Scent of Dust as Memory

imageNo poverty of Poetry
Such is our fortune in Belfast and on this island to have a people who know the immense importance of all kinds of Poetry it is treated with great appreciation by many in the community.
Writers readers alike, aplenty, axiomatic, liking and writing mastery alongside the double jointed realism of words limitations which yield and weld solid lines and canons in some hands, none to many, greater than Michael Longley who would tell you winking there are far better than me.. Not a quote more a guess.
Those revered Poets to last longer and as art; in concert with the words of the poet Austin Dobsons lines –
All passes. Art alone
Enduring stays to us;
The Bust outlasts the throne-
The Coin, Tiberius.


Of another art once said-
Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.
So warns us wisely, of the stature less statuesque words descending a page, onto another and an other. You know the kind.
Another accolade if such trite words are necessary, in ML poetry is he himself readily puts out, is the brevity he favours. Ten volumes and the rest of writing in other forms will go far in quenching the thirst born in the mind satiated like Jameson alongside the friends absent and around.
Two pillars Seamus Heaney and the building stands with the hand reaching down holding the air supporting our own Coliseum. To put no finer point on it. It stands and time no respecter is confusing as once again it’s yesterday.
The sounder this becomes; the brevity, when ML has found each cast of a poem embarked on.
The works of Oscar Wilde have many subsequent orations and many times assiduously pertained in the oddest contexts. The learned teacher in ML will know education itself is a limit so future forgotten teachings evinces the confidence of memory deep and putting the matter at hand to rank and order however forgetful you maybe.
Reflections within poems are so.
The poet offers in precision of line material and insight further heights of connection rapidly flowing in the rafters of your mind.
They construct the architecture with words modern ancient and of others souls reworked as the devil and spirit of God or fashionable disbelievers.
Poems made of things.
The poet pulls the strings.
Telling by reading
ML reflected on a choice of coma, of a lateness in putting down a written word which prevented him as poems dictate a measure found once writing to be obeyed Homer like, restraint, from appending or including favourite common local names of flowers or a roll call of a places collection of villages, even the outlying hills.
This book of Poems is sheer wordcraft.
From the title ‘The Stairwell’ unexpectedly set in America. Others cast out visions if that shore from this edge of Europe. Several rest in Mayo others next door. The scaffolding has been up and down for years in this immensely career defining passage of a book given the changes most recent.
At the heart of the murmurations.
ML is a bit like- but not an ultra obsessive kind who becomes fixated on a particular thing it eventually becomes the scene of his destruction; – that person the brilliant Architect Charles Jeanneret. Corb. who so admired his once lover Eileen Grays house it called him – once rejected – to reside across from it merely or fixedly to admire its motionless form in the ever changing storms of the south of Frances environ. ML has a penchant for having the Homeric sensibility enter into his mind as a route through to the thought embedded taking shape. Sometimes the direct reference, other times the tonality.
Form of ‘The Stairwell’ is a piece of mastery to invert the accomplishment without pretence of any countervailing realisation. It simply is a modern and timeless work. Like most binding capturing time present for presentation the work cannot nor did carry all. Once completed the new building had gathered another Poem ‘Starling’ like nature requiring another roost. The willow bends but tends not to be uprooted so the building takes on another outlier. The ever near birds and continuing memorial a memory throughout this work of ML’s twin late brother Peter the practical Engineer whose perimeter had also no boundaries but a place to live. That place coastal North East England.
A place honoured and mythical by ML’s account in that here and now.

Footnoted prologue.
The QUB Great Hall was full as full can be 9 October 2014; hereafter remembered besides, as the day UKIP attained their first MP to sit on Commons benches. From one perplexity of unknown Politics in a querulous affectation known in daily passing as Democracy. The Battenburgs at tea were sweet as catastrophe and Wall Street took in the other other places recitations on the day today.
To all and forcthe next they have to be cited and marked. ML no less interested in the matters all around kept out the world beyond the ex-gothic famine dated college walks fenestrated to let in an approximation if a calm place outside mothering by. Tungsten lights competing with the hanging rings of candesent mock flames over our heads.
The appointed time was forward by enough time to see the gathering and ML emerge, circulate, visit the Chancellors facilities in case discomforted mid sentence or between the amplitude of anecdotal, or as allowed, some rich story and reasoning accompanying the muse.
At a point when he hesitated once, allowing an audience member who was making a discreet to most eyes exit, he proffered advice assigned for such occasions, by I think it was the discretionary lady Enda, that the best way to internalise any conjecture of slight was to put it down to the persons likelihood of a weak bladder.
Astute he shared it and on other occasions sequestered Gynaecological footnotes or birth notes. By sense or sheer persist acne he also placed a footnote on the poem dedicated and about his long neighbour, present this evening, the eminent and retired paediatrician Claude Field who shared
His anemones as a gift to the divide between their houses. A growing act which like nature occurred with an unexplained self will. He made, in the poem, he relates, CF of the age of 93 prefrontal to abide with the Poems rhythm to replace CF’s correct age of 96. Another act appreciated no doubt, having 3 years in limbo perfectly still and held all the time in natures revered presence alive and still.

I dislike long introductions and set about a Poem I had recently come across in the style of its own manifestation. Of that see the authors apology at the foot. A tactic to reach the bottom – you can skip as Churchill when sometimes asked about a book he recited – “I have read it- in a general way” so mea culpa.

Summer brings occasional dryness
Through the ever open door
Wave after sunlight wave of dust
Has come indoors to lie in shade

Will it be disturbed this day?…..
It may lie until tomorrow, after sleep
shall I sweep or stir it with a cloth, maybe
gather a small community of dust

No. The dust may be a friend blown in
Returning after many years as visitors
Or the scraps of other nature maybe
Flowers or perished bark oak alder or beech

From where? the Yorkshire hills carried ?
Or Skye or the Hill of Slane? Curragh Plain
Could this dust be a warrior, sailor, Holy man
Or a victim of Gods refrain

On walls, doors, picture frames, a layer cast
Like a exotic creature in watchful rest
Regarding, replenished, open eyes observe
Around each room the dates unveiled past

Sun framed through garden window bars
over the threshold worn and grey
Light splits, spills on the table bright
Revealing on polished hardwood the dust

A dining rectangle, two triangles
Hesitation brings a thought
Wet a finger draw the fish in dust
With the open eye, the unscaled dead
Fish in air stare fixedly aghast to die

Psalms call the morrow on, Sunday
Simeon cradling the infant Jesus
Prophesies Jesus to die happy
Jesus looks up, shares the moment long

When winter calls the dust stays on
I let it rest, memory merges past
with the future skin I cast afloat
Bedfellows with the stories shared

Like a mind the cells link life’s
art of obtaining evaluation of
Dissent or assent? ever graduated
as education espouses to each an end

That theory becoming more, a fact
Prepared for long it will repeat
Gods patten revealed in halos last
Circling floating crowns, dust to dust.

All along the peace a layer outside
of snows crystals representing as life
bound water in constructed frames
To speak of all the kingdoms, us,
of futures evergreen, free words

John Graham
After ‘Dusting’ by Viola Meynell whose work is kept by Jacob Dallyn
VM who ‘imitated’? ‘translated’ a Poem by Theophile Gautier.

In the words of the beautiful Sade – ‘Is it a crime’ what price contentment?
Striking up a few words should be compulsory but wait then it would seem a chore which it clearly isn’t but it does bind you to the limitations of langauge and inform how that can be turned to advantage.

Ida : A Film Review


Directed by Paweł Pawlikowski. Black and White. 12a
Written by Rebecca Lenkiewicz and Paweł Pawlikowski
Filmed in Denmark, Poland Released 2013, Language Polish.

Music by Kristian Eidnes Andersen
Cinematography Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski
Agata Trzebuchowska as Ida Lebenstein / Siostra Anna
Agata Kulesza as Wanda Gruz / (ciotka) Aunt Anny
Joanna Kulig as a singer
Dawid Ogrodnik as saksofonista Lis
Adam Szyszkowski as Feliks Skiba
Jerzy Trela as Szymon Skiba
Anna, a young novitiate nun in 1960s Poland, is on the verge of taking her vows when she is advised to visit her Aunt Wanda an odd fish, who is a Magistrate formerly of higher office who is us widowed and seeks uncomplicated friendship but who has been or wasn’t up to adopting her sisters child and now she responds to a call by the Covenant as Ida is about to decide on her future.
Meeting her Aunt comes with a dark family secret dating back to the years of the Nazi occupation.

This is a journey from child to woman as a rite of passage of an orphan whose childhood began in war torn Poland and her growth into the woman whose character is internalized and is full of history never opened to her. The journey is archaic and modern with a clash of intrinsic values occupying the new Poland and Ida alike.
The step back both in time and to another form of Cinema has many moments of brilliance and other times mild censure. The censure is mostly the sometimes over reliance on image when for example close ups take it on another course, having been as a viewer, immersed to that point in the sparseness of the space filled voids of interiors and exteriors. It upset the subtlety of space and the narrative occasionally.
It is simply a beautiful film despite the minor irritations and perhaps because the subject is a face of Polish history without the complexities of managed versions of history as has been prevalent ever since the Holocaust emerged.
Single stories are well delivered as here are so fundamentally important as an antidote to the propaganda.
A journey ‘Through the Narrow Gate’.
This was the title of a Karen Armstrong book as she proceeded to take her vows and enter a convent aged seventeen She came from a Worcestershire family full of life. For a calling that takes as a requirement of giving up hope in their body for Christ. To remove their own feelings, we observe, sit watching these Nuns sit as they eat and commune in the dining hall at the start of the film; these Nuns who have sacrificed for God another life.
Their austere surroundings and daily rituals and consumption of the fruits of the earth at the table provide this film with the Levantine societal structure, like an extraordinary behemoth animal living among the other human beings and residing in the plain Convent while worshiping in the idolatry of the public spaces of the Churches.
Vermeer Beauty
There is little wonder this film, Ida, has enormous beauty. It has the revered beauty of Ida herself. A young spare thin girl with a magnetic countenance of beauty. Pawel found Anna in a cafe. He found the story in reflecting on his childhood. the period when Poland was recovering from Stalinism.
To Poland the world was now a newly opened book and the imagination stretched in all directions not least in all the art forms.
He directs as though he cannot get away from the Vermeer paintings of mirrored rooms, real earrings, draped beds and florid glass.
Bewitching, displacing, functional, beguiling, it is all those and more.
This was the pared simplicity of the Convent life. It has the skill of a master film maker assuredly, in his first embarkation of a narrative set in his homeland, a depiction of that society, that intercourse with life following the war and the preparedness to be shocked while carrying on with the visceral life at their fingertips. He avoids a lesson in history. The film despite this outlines this expertly and acutely takes us there.
For us unknowing of the minutiae we are given memory held in the body of this generation.
I use the metaphors of Levantine and Behemoth as the clumps of Churches in Eastern Europe, Russia and modern Europe sit in the landscape as huge regarding animalistic symbols. Even in Northern Ireland and throughout rural Ireland the presence of Religion is not only the invisible cloak of ancestors but the large dominant presence in flat landscapes and hills of Churches. The Convent is a feature you would not miss.
Ida cuts into this reality. The shock is also it is so modern and commanding, being set in a seldom apparent Poland of the sixties and perhaps the absence of colour enhances this. A culturally curious dissonance.
Of its very austere tableau it creates the light and air of the breathing living space with, the form of the Covent like a regal moth with folded wings, as the roof over their lives. The only acceptance Ida will require is the acceptance of these Nuns and as her future companions.
That journey is the the same here as Ida is sent from an orphanage where she has grown up to find her last remaining relative, an Aunt Wanda who is a former Communist Prosecutor and was disregarding initially of the dilemma faced by Ida. Choices are self made. The purpose of consulting with her is to place her own life in context and it appears quickly that we can understand she has a Jewish background and the Holocaust features prominently in her family life.
The theme of the film is the basis of choice in the eyes of the startlingly filmatic, thin features of the aqua line face and stillness of character which Agata Trzebuchowska portrays vivaciously. Her sexuality is escaping her body in stray invisible sensual gestures and with an adult gravitas, she knowing her duty within is to allow this element of self to surface to proliferate, propagate, generate amongst the people of this new world, that which she encounters where it surfaces, emerging. To follow her every move seems natural as the intriguing curiosity of the viewer and the viewed is where the art falls on each.
This discovery for us is through the visual and body language of Ida in this life and when the road trip happens upon the rhythms of a dance – on the road a hitchhiker is picked up – and turn trance like with a trio of the Aunt, the hitchhiker, and Ida all conscious of her beauty and entrancing bloom.
The scene into the city is important as there now is a another human being whose easy nature Wanda nourishes in the experiment of triggering notions in Ida of herself. It lasts only a minute or two but it is essentially there, gently story telling. The gift of the film is in these small magic moments.
It is so heartfelt also when a simple act of Ida and Aunt Anny sitting relaxed on a sofa sees them connect softly over the very act of caressing memory.
It is such a broad gesture in a tiny filmic simplicity it truly relates as nothing less than truth. That and the fact the are seeing the people gone.
The hitchhiker gives a relevance to this newly encountered world where other forms of love are found.
All life which seems so much full to the top with strange interactions and the happenstance, perchance radial whirlwind which heads of in unexpected directions and is the normal life of all outside the Convent.
4:3 Top heavy Lower burden
4:3 is the Art house boxed like screen compact used. It is the frame which draws you into a room like observance and claustrophobic presence even in the Polish forest.
The frame very seldom moves. This is not intrusive as we tend to accept the story as if we are looking through Pawels eyes into album of pictures which he them animates for us, shaking the pages, the leaves to reveal another part of the story. The implement the profound simplicity of a film well made and of gathering wisdom.
The black and white is not only the religious contrast of God of the light and the human of the darkness, it assembles contrasts across the frame and pronounces the fabric of the buildings, furniture, landscape and the air sitting over tables and drawn through windows, through trees and along cloisters. Very deliberately the repetitive theme of a person occupying, on many occasions, only the lower third of a frame builds a heaviness laden with the Poland under their feet.
This is a land, so wonderful, yet hiding destruction of lives and pushing the past into the faces and memories with relentless haste. A continual reckoning. Something we are so aware of, the refusal of the past to retreat.
Dave Duggans words ‘ The dead abound the dead abound, How do we keep them in the ground?’.
When Pawel decides to place a character in the top of a frame and talk down to another lower and whose face is close conveying the reaction to the spare dialogue he equips you with an imagined heightened realism. The top of stairs in the Hotel where they take time to discover the past is often used.
Of the significance of these little moments of the higher spirit seen in the elevated person and the person beneath we/I may dwell too much.
Inwardly the film may indeed be looking for answers but on the surface it plays out the harsh wider reality of connivance, of treacherous endeavor and the ultimate failures of humankind into which Ida is craning her beautiful delicate neck to discern where her future lies and how it, this, that, all, everything becomes a real proposition to discover.
War and Hurt
In war everyone gets hurt. The victim and the victor are never the same and they live afterwards with reconciliation happening in each and every cell. Agata Kulesza is a harrowing beauty with a great tragedy of her own which is immeasurable.
The fact is her Aunt is embroiled in the litany of vulgarities of war presiding over a conquest seeking righteousness, new faith in justice, after the new dawn when fresh souls are born to become new victims of war. Truth is the elders choice, to find it where before it never was clear. The mustiness of that preference John Newman has of a veil being our foil is lifted; that veil which kept our fear of others less apparent than was actually the case.
The violence an ever present being.
It is out there and Wanda is intent on delivering as much truth again as she feels ready to give to Ida. Through the lanes, along the roads, Wanda drives a very old car which is her very own rust bucket and is cast as another character I feel as it points to this being a road movie to some true extent.
Wanda is also framed gorgeously in the cars windscreen and in the role of the person in the driving seat of the film. In the cars seat she is comfortable as it hugs her and she has a coy relationship, almost Cronenberg like a gear shift or two down. Another fascinating relationship usually with a cigarette in hand or something else.
Film Cuttings
There is a lovely old cinema; the film has me thinking of earlier times. I never was a light blue (I wish) no matter how much a difference that might have made of me but I spent many a weekend in Cambridge and loved the old cinema which I hope is still there and relatively unchanged.
Apparently Wiggenstien had a habit of going to the Cinema a lot when he was in Cambridge and he took with him buttered toast to eat during the film. That must have been interesting for him and those around him. Consumables never really caught on with me in the cinema but it apparently is a requirement even in the esteemed echelons of philosophical critique or was he hopeful not to be taken by the escapism Cinema provides.
If you want a great depiction of Cambridge in a time post Darwin then look out for Period Piece by Gwen Raverat if you haven’t come across it. She illustrates it showing the house in Cambridge the Darwin’s of whom she is but one grew up. It not only tells the story of her family and her own life and relationship with Cambridge growing up but it puts neatly into context another viewpoint on Darwinism and its progenitor if that is the right plume. Her own illustrations and freestyle writing made the book when it was first published a very good seller with this ingenious story telling of a prominent family life. Publishers decried the fact Charles Darwin wrote in a dry style but famously and irredeemably the basis of scientific expansion.
####+ 4+
This is a very human tale and it posits the mystery of God alongside our mysterious world and the sacrifices made. The events are seemingly random and immense yet the fragile human appears as strong as a stalk of living growing corn in the field. As the corn it is cut down and rendered into something other.
The beautiful playing by all involved, the principles never fail to give the best of the story gives this film an almighty puch. It is vivid and surreal watching this near history rand the viewer is left with another film which will last long in the memory.

John Graham

1 October 2014


On at QFT from Friday 10th of October and through to Thursday 16th October 2014


The History Makers


Not in My Name

The rejection of Liberal Democracy has taken decades. It has been seen unable to infiltrate Ancient Civilisations. Advanced nations hinge progress on Hegel cloaked in the enlightenment. The restoration is fought for in lands destroyed by science. Irrational causes weaken human nature twisting contorting God. In the present you can choose between the orthodox theories leaning towards the Hegel – Kojeve pole suggested by Fukayama oft revised for the new revolution of synthesis of natural products, a legacy of recognition if ever there was one or the lottery of the notion of the last man in the box of Nietzsche or if you prefer the lyrics of Alice in Chains their song man in a box has unorthodox meaning.

Man in the Box

I’m the man in the box
Buried in my shit
Won’t you come and save me
Save me

Feed my eyes, can you sew them shut?
Jesus Christ, deny your maker
He who tries, will be wasted
Feed my eyes now you’ve sewn them shut

I’m the dog who gets beat
Shove my nose in shit
Won’t you come and save me
Save me

Feed my eyes, can you sew them shut?
Jesus Christ, deny your maker

He who tries, will be wasted
Feed my eyes now you’ve sewn them shut

Feed my eyes, can you sew them shut?
Jesus Christ, deny your maker
He who tries, will be wasted
Feed my eyes now you’ve sewn them shut

Some claim it is an anti-cruelty to animals (the specific desire of United Irishman and Minister William Drummond) which the song has been interpreted being about with those taking that meaning believing us to be born in a box fed basics.

“Read the lyrics. It’s not new territory. It’s not a political thing, like railing against the church or a faith. It’s just “What the fuck? Really?” There
are some things that don’t work here anymore. Can we incorporate some facts into our belief system? Can we be nicer to each other? Can we accept somebody that believes something different than you, and we can try not to hurt them if they do?”
These are the bands Jerry Cantrells words.

Then there is – “We went out to dinner with some Columbia Records people who were vegetarians. They told me how veal was made from calves raised in these small boxes, and the image stuck in my head. So I went home and wrote “Man In The Box” about government censorship and eating meat as seen though the eyes of a doomed calf” – Layne Staley words.

The song is also interpreted as an shout out for the homeless and a homeless man related he thought it was about his life living in a box.

They wrote of the denial of Christ which is as close as any philosopher got and is a surreal vision from another generation trying to understand the world they live in.


Ax an instrument of axis inflicting arbitration congress on the world by denial. Splinter time into history and revolution. The periodic table collected dispersed into minds reaching the central processing unit and replicated in theoretical programmes of its nature.
Harvest out of and into degradation are the components of infinite displacement. The nano challenge to the macro intensively depicting the history of reason undercast by futile liberal ideas reflecting humanities soul.

As Hegel preceded Darwin, Hawking has preceded infinite distillation. In his era conflict has become democracised and restraint has no border or boundary. The soul cries out on behalf of the dead who know the nature rejecting the biotech advance and its indulgences. Instead they know not how similar and reflected their imagery is as they use the ax to destroy their fellow humans. Hawking has seen a glimpse of God leaving his mind intact as he compensates for time encroaching on life unmet by the return.
Given to the man of Luciana, given to mankind, given by the grace of God.
Luke 11: 2>4
The Lords Prayer



TdyYrLove wrote on songmeanings

Now let’s look at the chorus. Feed my eyes is a reference to the Book of Genesis Chapter 3.

2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,
3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.
5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

This parallels the “feed my eyes”. Adam and Eve ATE from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and they’re EYES WERE OPENED.

But now they know good and evil and this is a very troubling fact. They immediately realize they have disobeyed God and “denied their maker”. The chorus begs to reverse the clock and “sew them [opened eyes] shut”.

“Jesus Christ” – blatently brings about the belief in which God is True. “Deny your maker, he who tries, will be wasted”. The “wasted” is a reference to Hell. This sentence is a warning, for those who deny their maker.

“Feed my eyes now you’ve sewn them shut”. This goes back to Genesis Chapter 3. After man has eaten from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, God banishes them from the Garden and closes off their way to the Tree of Life.
By TyrYrLove

It may seem ridiculous to be analyzing song lyrics but art is an expression of things we cannot explain by other means. But even more meanings are apparent.  It applies to the Prisoner and the Prison and the waste of as Lord Denman had it of human life, sacrificed to show a societies disdain/disgust at a crime.

And in the languages of Russia who had their access to religion made common interpretation in the 15 th C the following are their versions of the Lords Prayer which seems to transcend boundaries as you would expect if you were paying attention.

Russian Lords Prayer versions


Source: “BASHORATI KHUDOVANDI MO ISOI MASEKH. Injil Akhdi Jadid.” Noviy savet na tadjikskom yazykye.
The New Testament in the Tajiki language. (1983)
Contributed by Wolfgang Kuhl – E-mail
Another version


Contributed by Libor Sztemon – E-mail
Another version


Contributed by Libor Sztemon – E-mail
Another version


Contributed by Libor Sztemon – E-mail
Another version


Source: “Das Gebet des Herrn in den Sprachen Russlands” (“The Lord’s Prayer in the languages of Russia”), St. Petersburg, 1870.
Contributed by Harri Mürk – E-mail




John Graham

1 October 2014


The garden of Eden is here unseen by the many whose eyes are shut.