Saturday, January 10, 2009

Rewind #23

JoAnn Kelly: JoAnn Kelly (1969)

"A chief event of life is the day in which we have encountered a mind that startled us." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

What a lost gem! I was randomly traveling the interspace and discovered JoAnn Kelly. I haven't delved very deeply inside the blues but Kelly's sound is simply amazing. It's strange that music this profound and wonderful could fall so below the radar of our cultural iconography. I know that our culture doesn't cherish anything that might be deemed too obscure or that doesn't conform to the standard accepted practices of "excellence". I know that there was a great war between the women's progressive movement and the grand patriarchal agenda during the seventies. I understand that corporate elements tend to dilute any type of art that carries the potential of power. I get all of that but come on people, let's get this fucking American Culture Experiment back on track! Everyone should know about JoAnn Kelly in the vast understanding of our musical heritage, much in the same way that we know of Muddy Waters or Bob Dylan. I'm so glad that, today, we have the opportunity to indulge in a broader expanse of art and culture. The world is growing so large, so fast but it's also shrinking at the exact same time. We can see and hear and learn about so much of it. It's so wonderful to turn on my computer and discover bands that I would've never had the opportunity to hear two decades ago, or open a copy of Bitch magazine and find an amazing voice or finally stumble upon the aural prosperity of Ms. Kelly.

Cries & Whispers: Ingmar Bergman (1972)

There are a few moments in life when everyone contemplates the meaning of it all on a deeper more profound level. Even if you are the most shallow person in the world, things like birth and death have to bring out some type of reflection. Ingmar Bergman, the master of Swedish cinema, spent his entire life making movies that explored these precious moments. Cries and Whispers was nominated for an Oscar in the best picture category when I was two years old and it languishes in a surreal landscape as two sister's, Karin and Maria, await their other sister Agnes' death with Anna, her caregiver, lingering close by. Very emotionally open and full of anguish, the film is shot almost entirely inside a mansion with bright red walls engulfing the torment and pain of the four women involved. With a few flashbacks to help with the narrative, it is the type of movie that is revealed rather than told. Much of the story is expressed through the stark visual aura of the film or through heated and expressive acting. The women bury themselves in their waiting and spiral from despair into delusion and the entire ordeal begins to turn nightmarish as Agnes finally lays her burden down. This is my first Bergman film and it was an incredibly different movie experience for me. Though I enjoy deeply emotional films like this that really pull the viewer in with tender fingers, Bergman is definitely diving way down below the surface. It's become so difficult for American film-goers to hold our breath for such a long time before needing some sort of plot device or transition to provide air. But I must admit that I was intrigued by the film long after it was finished and I'm completely curious about what drives this famous auteur (check out the clip below for more insight). So I'm already searching for more of his films and because his repertoire is so long and diverse, it looks like we'll be sharing his company for awhile.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home