10 Ocak 2011 Pazartesi

Against the world!

The more I listen to Kate Bush, the harder it is to categorize her music. It's impossible to guess her next move and every stop shows a constant process of reinvention. Same goes for her vocal style: It can be avant-garde, lyrical, pop, operatic, screaming...anything really. To me she's the ultimate proof that art is not about style but a visionary, brave attitude towards the world. Just like at end of "Burning Bridge", the way she sings(or rather shouts): "It's you and me babe, against the world!"

23 Temmuz 2010 Cuma

Discovering Aclan Uraz

A few days ago, I attended a lecture at IFSAK(Istanbul) by Aclan Uraz on photography. It was a very basic course but extremely interesting, thanks to his intensity and precision. At one point, he said that one could guess the character of a photographer just by looking at his use of lenses. He associated wide-angle/deep focus photography with extroversion, and telephoto/narrow depth of field with introversion...noting, of course, that this is not a law but a generalization. Still, food for thought.

Uraz himself is a very(to repeat myself) intense character, a bit unpredictable, terribly intelligent, and at times irritating for these very reasons. So I decided to look up some of his photography online: What a wonderful discovery! I guess Uraz's rule works also the other way around: One could guess a photographer's art by simply observing his character.

Here's an interview and some more pics of his from the "Children Workers" series.

5 Mayıs 2010 Çarşamba


Jim Jarmusch's latest is a hard film to defend. There's little pretention of character or dramatic arc, just some mytical stereotypes in search of a storyline. It's his most surreal, dream-like film. While the sturcture follows that of his earlier "Broken Flowers"(lonenly voyager, rituatalistic stops along the way, objects full of unrealized symbolic potential...etc), there's little narrative drive. Whereas Bill Murray was looking for something(outer and/or inner), Isaach De Bankolé's path is shaped by outside forces. He is a hired hitman, an idealized professional who has no personal emotions. He doesn't search anything. He follows his clues, glances around silently, meditates and enjoys his two espressos in separate cups(as one critic noted, never a double espresso!). Meanwhile, the world around him is as active/surreal as it can be, populated by quirky characters and philosophies. Everything is both meaningful and meaningless, from the birds that suddenly fly from the roofs, the paintings at the museum, to the coded meassages that come in a peculiar matchbox. It's up to our character to give meaning and decode these messages. While Jarmusch leaves us struggling with these issues, our hitman walks trough all this like some kind of a Zen master, contemplative but never to be detracted by any complications.

The ending is a symbolic death, but it's handled in a true professional/Zen master spirit. Here's the final stop of the journey, the moment our hitman is about to accomplish his goal, and yet, it's just another stop along the way: No sentimentalism, no climactic impact. The scene is anti-Hollywood both in terms of narration and its view of life. After all, as the film elegantly implies, there are no final destinations but ony new beginnings.

18 Şubat 2010 Perşembe

I Will Give My Love an Apple(English Folksong)

Last night's concert by the great Andreas Scholl included a beautiful English folksong. The openness and clarity of the lyrics was perfectly conveyed by Scholl but it can also stand on its own, as a poem. On another level, the sense of intimacy shared with the anonymous poet is quite intriguing. Here it is:

I will give my love an apple without e'er a core,
I will give my love a house without e'er a door,
I will give my love a palace wherein she may be,
And she may unlock it without any key.

My head is the apple without e'er core,
My mind is the house without e'er a door,
My heart is the palace wherein she may be be,
And she may unuck it without any key.

30 Ekim 2009 Cuma

The Obsession of the Well-Tampered Clavier

Bach's Well-Tampered Clavier is all about an obsession. If it were a movie, the tagline would be "Discover the fetish of prelude & fugue!" Granted, there's a diversity of styles, especially in the preludes. But this is a work of an obsessive genius, who could have easily written yet another 48 pieces. In fact, it's almost sad that there's limit to the chromatic scale because unlike the Goldberg variations, the Well-Tampered Clavier doesn't have a direction. It's not meant to end. It's not about a singular journey. It's variations on a theme ad infinitum. The only reason it ends is that Bach runs out of keys! Yet the WTC is cohesive for this very same reason(the limit of keys), which smells like a paradox to me.

(Now, these toughts come to my mind as I listen the way Rosalyn Tureck drills the keys of her piano. It's not always pretty, but it's certainly obsessive.)

Maybe the form of the WTC is that of a fugue. A form that reinvents itself again and again, that looks at the same idea from different angles and prespectives...hopefully ad infinitum.

7 Ağustos 2009 Cuma

L'Eclisse (1962)

These days, I am obsessed with art that leaves empty spaces and uses the viewer's imagination to fill it. Antoni's L'Eclisse, despite its grim atmosphere, plays around with this idea with incredible joy. To qualify any film as good or bad, one first has to decide what the film is trying to accomplish. L'Elisse exploits this very idea: Scene after scene, Antoninoni teases the viewers' emotions and intellect with unmistakable precision, yet it's somehow impossible to pin him down.
Instead of giving answers, he let us navigate, contemplate, and figure out something relevant for ourselves. His aesthetic approach is not arbitrary: It's reflects his(and Monica Vitti's character's) worldview, where meaning and chaos constantly flirt with one another.

15 Nisan 2009 Çarşamba

35 Rhums (2008)

After seeing Claire Denis' "35 Rhums", I checked the summary from the Istanbul Film Fesitval Guide. It turned out to be different from the one I had in mind - at least in certain points. Well, who got it wrong? I was not %100 sure. In a way, that's what's so fascinating about the film. Denis doesn't spell out things, she rather "feels" her way around. She never shows off, she never goes for sentimentality, and even avoids poetry(that includes an impressive dream "sequence"). I had my mind and heart working non-stop to hear the delicate sounds of her cinema. In the end, "35 Rhums" is a conversation with a great filmmaker. Does it really matter who said what line? I think not.