Tuesday, August 21, 2007

2nd Quadrant 8/27 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of August 27, 2007

“The Lives of Others”

Plot summary for “The Lives of Others” from IMDb: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's movie debut focuses on the horrifying, sometimes unintentionally funny system of observation in the former East Germany. In the early 1980s, the successful dramatist Georg Dreyman and his longtime companion Christa-Maria Sieland, a popular actress, are big intellectual stars in the socialist state, although they secretly don't always think loyal to the party line. One day, the Minister of Culture becomes interested in Christa, so the secret service agent Wiesler is instructed to observe and sound out the couple, but their life fascinates him more and more...

Dana Stevens of Slate says, “The Lives of Others is the best surveillance movie since The Conversation.”

“The Lives of Others” won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

“Inland Empire”

Plot summary from IMDb for “Inland Empire:” A blonde actress is preparing for her biggest role yet, but when she finds herself falling for her co-star, she realizes that her life is beginning to mimic the fictional film that they're shooting. Adding to her confusion is the revelation that the current film is a remake of a doomed Polish production, “47”, which was never finished due to an unspeakable tragedy.

The three hour “Inland Empire” is David Lynch’s first feature in five years since “Mulholland Drive”, and took three years to make.


Michael Smuin’s, “Shinju” is based on an 18th century Japanese play about a centuries-old legend of two star-crossed lovers. It is a tale of love and bloody death in old Japan.

The Star-Ledger reports that "Shinju's" chilling hara-kiri scene borrows the protracted movement style of butoh and incorporates such devices as the off-stage sound effects with wooden blocks and the "invisible" black-clad attendants of kabuki theater and noh drama. Yet even in this work, inspired by Smuin's travels around the world and his appetite for spectacle and surprise, the women in a deadly love triangle dance on pointes.

Michael Smuin collapsed and died of a heart attack on April 23, 2007 while teaching a company class. He won an Emmy in 1984 for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography “Great Performances: Dance in America,” and won a Tony Award in 1988 for Best Choreography “Anything Goes.”

The Smuin Ballet performed through last Saturday at the Joyce Theater.

Seventy-nine Short Essays on Design

From the publisher's website: Seventy-nine Short Essays on Design is a collection of writings by Michael Bierut. The 272-page hardcover book brings together twenty years of essays on subjects that range from New York’s faulty “Push for Walk Signal” buttons, to the disappearance of the AT&T logo, to the implications of Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire for interaction designers.

Many of the pieces first appeared on Design Observer, the popular blog that Michael edits with Jessica Helfand and Bill Drenttel. Seventy-nine Essays also includes pieces that appeared elsewhere and pieces that have never been published in other collections, like “Waiting for Permission,” “How to Become Famous” and “Ten Footnotes on a Manifesto.”

If you seek a design book that navigates with aplomb between French semioticians, typographers, movie stars and Mad magazine cartoonists, Seventy-nine Short Essays on Design is the one for you.

The Voyage That Never Ends

The New York Review of Books writes that, “Notorious for a misspent life full of binges, blackouts, and unimaginable bad luck, Malcolm Lowry managed, against every odd, to complete and publish two novels, one of them, Under the Volcano, an indisputable masterpiece. At the time of his death in 1957, Lowry also left behind a great deal of uncollected and unpublished writing: stories, novellas, drafts of novels and revisions of drafts of novels (Lowry was a tireless revisiter and reviser—and interrupter—of his work), long, impassioned, haunting, beautiful letters overflowing with wordplay and lament, [and]fraught short poems ... “

“Here, in The Voyage That Never Ends, the poet, translator, and critic Michael Hofmann has drawn on all this scattered and inaccessible material to assemble the first book that reflects the full range of Lowry's extraordinary and singular achievement.”

Malcolm Lowry was born in Wallasey, in the English county of Cheshire, and by the time he graduated from college had developed the twin obsessions of alcohol and literature. His Wikipedia page goes on to say that when Lowry died, certainly alcohol, and possibly an overdose of sleeping pills, contributed to what the coroner recorded as 'death by misadventure'.


Dave Egger's Moleskine Notebook Video


Birdman said...

Dang! What a genius!

Abu Ayyub Ibrahim said...

Birdman, Thanks for the comment.