Great moments in cinema: Karate Girl

You may remember our occasional series “Great moments in cinema” where we showcase movie you may not catch on tv any day soon and the scenes that are mostly responsible for that. It looks like our archive is missing a couple of older editions and we really should do something about that, but today we’ll focus on a brand new edition. And by ‘new’, we mean a Turkish movie from 1974.

We’ve seen bits of this scene before, but we’re proud – we’ll have to redefine ‘proud’ – to show you the full-length scene. And an intro to boost… our Karate Girl is beating up a girl in order to get vital information. This is a Turkish film and it’s hard to figure out what’s done worse: the English dubbing or the acting skills that went into pretending this is a real fight and not an ode to a German folklore dance.
But fear not, after 20 seconds of almost being hit in the face, the girl caves in and tells where the evil guy is hiding. In fact, he’s apparently so evil he has to keep up his disguise while lying on the bed and browsing an adult mag. Actually, sorry for spoiling that… because maybe you hadn’t noticed our baddie was wearing a wig. After all, it looks so convincing…

However, it’s not as convincing as what comes next: our heroine fights the baddie and then shoots him… more than once (as we hear the voice of her sensei say: “After shooting him once, you must shoot again. You may think he is dead, but he may be alive.”)

Wise words and a true masterpiece.

Millionaire – Champagne

Looks like this blog could do with a little energy and what’s more energetic than a rock song or a short movie with rollerskating action? Erm, what about the combination of both? The short movie seemed to fit perfectly to the song, so Millionaire asked to use it, way back in 2001 (when they released their album Outside The Simian Flock). A bit of music from yesteryear and a short movie: looks like a good deal for an update.

R.I.P. Adam Yauch

Reasonably late, we would also pay some attention to the death of a Beastie Boy. After all, this is the first update since May 4, the date of MCA’s unfortunate death. And while critics may argue if it’s necessary that the Avenue – largely a film blog – should pay tribute to a deceased rapper, there are two reasons why it is appropriate: 1) the Avenue occasionally devotes a lot of attention to music and 2) there is a noteworthy link between the Beastie Boys and a cult movie. Their video for Body Movin’ is an ode to a movie by one of the Avenue’s favourites: Mario Bava is the director of the schlocky joy that is Danger Diabolik. In the olden days, VJs would take some time to draw your attention to this, but this is the 2010s and music channels hardly play any videos. Therefore, by way of tribute to the deceased MCA/Adam Yauch, here’s the video for Body Movin’ back to back with the trailer for the movie. Rest in peace.

And now the (American) trailer:

Soap&Skin – Narrow

No update for the 15th and this update is just over a day late. This week I’m working on my novella, you see. There will be an update for the 25th and a bonus update on that rarest of days, 29 February.

When logging into the Avenue, I noticed the Soap&Skin concert review was this week’s most visited but one. Not without a reason: Anja Plaschg has just released an EP, Narrow (Europe only – the rest of the world will have to wait until March). One of the songs is a cover of “Voyage Voyage”, in a way you instantly decide not leaving home may be the better option.  “Did I just watch a concert or an exorcism?” was the question I asked myself after the concert and that is still a good way to describe Anja in action. (Don’t believe me? Then watch her in action during her cover of a Clint Mansell track.)

The “single” (if that is an appropriate title) of the EP is “Boat Turns Toward The Port”. For days Anja’s cry/chant has been hollering in my head. Much like many of the other tracks of the EP, by the way. If four stars indicate a masterpiece, Narrow deserves at least three. And the missing star is left out because sometimes the tracks seem a bit too arty, too created – but accept my apologies for what’s up next: I don’t know if that’s a bad thing. The world of Soap&Skin isn’t always like the world of us, mere mortals. Opening track “Vater” is an elegy to her deceased father and we don’t know too many that have lines like “I drink thousands of bottle of wine in your honour, but I preferred to be a maggot”. Much like we don’t know too many artists who have chocolate as merchandising, especially this kind: “Black cumin is hiding under a cream of white poppy seeds and white incense, followed by a jelly of dense red wine. In the centre an antique pink beetroot ganache with pig’s blood. The blue flowers (cornflowers) come to rest next to black sesame on a blanket – of dark chocolate, manufactured in the tradition of the American Indians whose cocoa was very carefully processed and not heated.”

Any two-word summary of Soap&Skin should contain the words “extraordinary” and “intense”.

Forward tales to tide
The boat turns toward the port
With fire and mud stained sky
Bright aft time
Bright aft time
My whole burden is laid down
Stay here
Stay here

Simon Werner a disparu

Having the soundtrack for your debut feature made by Sonic Youth… how cool is that? Never mind that gimmick, is Simon Werner a disparu (or Lights out, which is – for some reason – the international title) a good film? Let’s review and find out.

The original title says it all: Simon Werner, student, has disappeared. Or has something happened to him? The film opens with a party to the tunes of Love Like Blood. After all, the film takes place in the early nineties. Because the film offers more than one perspective on what’s happened, Killing Joke‘s song features a couple of times – yet it didn’t get the same amount of press as Sonic Youth’s tracks. Not unsurprisingly so, because the band actually compared a full album of instrumental tracks for the movie. At the time of release who could predict Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore would break up and Simon Werner A Disparu OST might become the final Sonic Youth release?

Maybe I’m noticing this because my upcoming novel also exists of multi-perspective angles, but this seems to becoming quite the rage (I better hurry then with the rewrite or I’ll be accused of jumping on a bandwagon – never mind my having started working on it in 2009). Truth be told, unlike some of these movies, Simon Werner doesn’t always have the strongest stories for them to be retold again, but at its core there’s something much more frightening than the disappearance of a young man: teen anxiety. Set in an obviously not very poor neighbourhood, it’s all about being part of the group here. Thus for some, the school becomes a place with nice hideouts.

All that leads to only question: what has happened to Simon Werner? It looks quite likely that he hasn’t just disappeared, but if that’s the case, who knows more about the disappearance and possible murder? At the end of the movie, you’ll know this, but the ending left a lot of people with an uncomfortable feeling. Cult fans (especially those who’ve watched a giallo or two) will not be surprised that it isn’t always the most likely suspect who’s responsible for a (possible) crime. If that worries you, Simon Werner says more about you than about the 1990s. There’s lots of gossiping in the film and eccentric or asocial characters are just ready to be served as scapegoats. (Just like Alice seems born for the role of femme fatale.) And that is the true story behind Simon Werner’s disappearance. A simple whodunit, this is not.

Good movie, good soundtrack and a fair bit of nostalgia for the previous century. Are we content? Yes, we are. Have we mentioned that the film also looks good? No, not yet, but I’m sure you can come to that conclusion just by looking at the trailer below.


Cults – Abducted

One of the best videos of the year is this oddball, which is quite reminiscent of David Lynch‘s work. In a good way, unlike Drive (more about that later this year). As an inbetween update, enjoy the video and don’t forget to look below to see when we’re posting next:

Update schedule:

10 December – postponed until 18 December (Simon Werner a disparu)
15 December – today’s update: Cults
20 December – here’s a teaser
25 December – something will be posted, but nobody knows what it’ll be

Amatorski – Soldier

Originally I’d intended that the next update would be posted on 10 October, but after the previous post it seemed a bit cruel to have you wait until late December to discover the brand new material by Amatorski. (Sure you could tune into Radio Kurtodrome.) Their first full-length album is called TBC and it’s only seven songs long, but it’s still worth your investment. You can stream (and buy) the album on the band’s official site.

Below is the official video for “Soldier”. Be sure to darken the room and turn the volume up for full effect.

The next update is on 10 October and I’ll review a recent movie.

Best of 2010 (part 2)

Regular readers of this blog may remember that earlier in the year a severe virus destroyed both my computer as well as my laptop in just under ten hours. At that point the Democratische 99, my annual “best of” for music, was nearly finished.
It took over four months to get my computers working again (on Linux) and there was a non-official list (compiled by the songs that were played on Radio Kurtodrome), so this site decided that compiling a list based on all the rough material would be too much work. This makes 2010 the second year without a definite D99. Given that the first list was compiled in 1994, that’s saying something.

Anyway, had there been a list, who would have made it to the top? This weekend we look at the five tracks that would have made it to the top…

Continue reading

Red Riding Hood

The days when Catherine Hardwicke launched her career with Thirteen are very much over, it seems. Since helming Twilight, the director seems to have found a new path: Red Riding Hood (or RRH, as I want to keep this very much a mini-review) is a classic fairy tale for the Twilight generation and was very much billed that way.

Here are a few reasons why I wanted to try this movie out:

– like Twilight: New Dawn, RRH had an interesting soundtrack. Well, it couldn’t beat the Twilight sequel (which after all included the likes of Lykke Li, Bon Iver and Thom Yorke), but it did offer an OST with instrumentals that swirled around two tracks by Fever Ray. One track came straight off the band’s debut album, one was the first new thing the Danes had released in a while. Which only begged the question: would Hardwicke’s movie do justice to the glorious tracks? (Especially new song The Wolf, which howled as much as its title does.)

– the Red Riding Hood of the title is Amanda Seyfried, of Veronica Mars and Chloe fame. (Allow us to gloss over Letters to Juliet and Mamma Mia.) Ms Seyfried has a mysterious look, so anything that vaguely looks like a mystery should fit her like a glove – or, the Committee for Corny References forces us to say this – a red hood.)

– at a movie quiz I won a RRH letter opener and it’s always nice to see the movie a gadget belongs to. Unless it’s Date Night underpants, in which case you have found a cheap present for people with different movie tastes.

Enough reasons to check out the film then, but was it worth investing time? Well, yes and no. While  it is unmistakenly better than most of those teen gloss “Aren’t vampires sexy?” movies, that in itself is not yet a guarantee of a good film. In my opinion, the very best scenes in the film are those with a Fever Ray song underneath them. I say “underneath”, but they are very much present in the scene, so much even you feel the film is becoming more of a video to the song at those moments. And this happens it such a way you realize you’re watching far from a perfect movie. In fact, the film resembles a glossy video for a song or a background for a David Lafayette photograph. Which doesn’t have to be bad: Hammer horrors weren’t always looking like documentaries either, but at least they were good enough to suspend your disbelief. My initial thoughts here were: “So when’s the photoshoot gonna start?”

However, Amanda Seyfriend looks mysterious enough to sit through the film and discover the identity of the wolf – because, in this day and age, the wolf has to become a werewolf. Surely you weren’t expecting anything else?

In two sentences, the soundtrack overclasses the letter opener, which in turn is better than the film. Yet, nothing is awful.


P.S. Here’s what former DV colleague Nekoneko had to say about this film: Red Riding Hood review

– Next update: 02 October –