Friday, November 27, 2015

Rainbow Bridge (1970)

Perhaps the most political statement Jimi Hendrix made during his career. According to author Harry Shapiro, "the idea was to shoot an antidote to Easy Rider showing the positive side of the youth movement" In this sense the film begins with a shooting, as Easy Rider ended with one. The loosely documentary-style film is centered on the experiences of a New York model, who travels from San Diego, California, to an occult center on the island of Maui, Hawaii. While there, "she encounters various devotees of surfing, clairvoyance, zen, yoga, meditation, Tai-Chi and the odd ufoloist". As it unfolds, a free concert by Jimi Hendrix is staged in a former pasture in the upcountry region (2,000 feet above sea level) near Olinda, southeast of the center of the town of Makawao, on the northwest, upcountry slope of Haleakalā. A few hundred island hippies, surfers, and local residents show up to witness the event. Hendrix performed with the post-Jimi Hendrix Experience "Cry of Love" tour group, drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Billy Cox. A group of Hare Krishnas chanted "Om" for a few minutes and Wein introduced the group. Although Hendrix played two full sets (approximately 50 minutes each), due to technical problems, only about 17 minutes of film footage was deemed usable.

A soundtrack album, also titled Rainbow Bridge, was released in October 1971. Although it contains some incidental studio recordings by Hendrix used in the film, the album does not include any of the recorded performances from the Maui concert. Hendrix's performances are edited for the film. Complete recordings of both sets (about 20 songs) have been released on several bootleg albums, sometimes being mistaken for official releases. 

Song performances included in the film (all from the first set, except where indicated): 

"Hey Baby"/"In from the Storm" (the complete recording appears on The Jimi Hendrix Experience box set) 
"Foxy Lady" (included on Voodoo Child: The Jimi Hendrix Collection) 
"Hear My Train A Comin'" – first part 
"Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" 
"Purple Haze" 
"Star Spangled Banner" 
"Hear My Train A Comin'" – second part 
"Hey Baby" (second set) – intro only 
"Ezy Ryder" (second set) – audio only 
Studio recordings by Hendrix used as incidental music for the film include (all on the 1971 Rainbow Bridge album, except where indicated): 

"Earth Blues" 
"Dolly Dagger" 
"Bleeding Heart" (1972 War Heroes and 1997 South Saturn Delta) 
"Pali Gap" 
"Look Over Yonder" 
"Star Spangled Banner" 
"Room Full of Mirrors" 
"Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)" 

The version of "Hear My Train A Comin'" that appears on the album was taken from the first show on May 30, 1970, at the Berkeley Community Theatre in Berkeley, California. In 2014, the original Rainbow Bridge album was reissued in both CD and LP formats.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Tales Of The Grim Sleeper

This very disturbing documentary examines the so-called 'Grim Sleeper' murders where possibly hundreds of women were killed in south Los Angeles between 1985 and 2010. The prime suspect, the misogynist Lonnie David Franklin Jr was arrested in 2010 and is expected to face trial in December 2015, although the case has been postponed multiple times.

The disappearances of hundreds of African American women in south LA and the inability of the police to catch the killer is the starting point for this film, with the bizarre, sadistic, horrid and sinister life of Franklin examined in detail. However what really shocked me about this film is the conditions people are subjected to in these communities, particularly the women. Poverty, lack of access to education, intimidation and violence from the police and in the home, punitive measures for relatively small infringements of the law and a grinding cycle of exploitation and struggle characterizes the communities from where the Grim Sleeper took his victims. Drugs and crime are the only respite from a hopeless set of circumstances for many people.

One of the few high points in the film is the documentation of the work of the Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders, a group of activist women who have taken back the power and made a stand against a horrific set of conditions that are imposed upon them by a system that simply disregards the suffering of black women and basically does not care about them.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Saints - Stranded Documentary 2015

This film explores the unique set of circumstances in 1970's Brisbane that fostered The Saints; the sweaty rebellion of Brisbane's oppressed youth as punk counterculture challenged QLD's notorious police force. Featuring interviews with the members of the band, including its leaders Ed Kuepper and Chris Bailey, as well as the likes of Sir Bob Geldof, former Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra and Buzzcocks guitarist Steve Diggle, the documentary is set to examine how the oppressive and conservative government of Joh Bjelke-Petersen in the 1970s helped act as a catalyst for the rise of punk rock in Australia, and how as a result The Saints went on to be one of the most influential bands this country has ever produced.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Joy Division - The Documentary

I've been waiting for a guide to come and take me by the hand
Could these sensations make me feel the pleasures of a normal man?
New sensations bear the innocence, leave them for another day
I've got the spirit, lose the feeling, take the shock away
It's getting faster, moving faster now, it's getting out of hand
On the tenth floor, down the backstairs into no man's land
Lights are flashing, cars are crashing, getting frequent now
I've got the spirit, lose the feeling, let it out somehow
What means to you, what means to me and we will meet again
I'm watching you, I watch it all, I take no pity from your friends
Who is right, who can tell and who gives a damn right now?
Until' the spirit, new sensation takes hold, then you know
Until' the spirit, new sensation takes hold, then you know
Until' the spirit, new sensation takes hold, then you know
I've got the spirit, but lose the feeling
I've got the spirit, but lose the feeling

Monday, September 29, 2014

Tibetian Yoga Masters

Tibetian tantra masters. Very rare colore video.

Two masters meet, and touch Milarepa's dorje.

Very rare color video. Tibetian monks in retreat.

The last 3 faces you'll see in the video are:

1) His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche, head of the Nyingma lineage in India

B) Venerable Kalu Rinpoche, great realized master in the Kagyu lineage.

C) His Holiness, the 16th Karmapa! The head of the Karma Kagyu lineage. A legendery realized master, said to have attained the 'rainbow body' feat.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Peter Clifton’s Superstars In Concert

Peter Clifton (born 1945), is an Australian film director and producer, best known for directing the Led Zeppelin concert film The Song Remains the Same (1976).

Clifton was born and educated in Sydney, Australia. He began his career by filming clips for Top of the Pops, and working with record label Immediate Records. Setting up his own film company called Star Films in Kensington, his first experience in film production was a 30 minute documentary short on the Easybeats tour of the United Kingdom in 1967 called Somewhere Between Heaven and Woolworths, with Australian film maker Lee Pearce. Clifton also directed the famous film clip of the Rolling Stones' performance of 'Jumpin' Jack Flash', as well as clips for the Beach Boys, Jim Morrison, and Eric Clapton. Between 1967 and 1969, Clifton began assembling his first feature film, an experiment in colour, music and effects with performances by the Rolling Stones, Vanilla Fudge, the Bee Gees, Joe Cocker, Traffic, the Animals, and Twiggy, entitled Popcorn (1969). The film established Clifton as one of the leading live music film directors of the period. Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant, and guitarist Jimmy Page met Clifton in 1970, in a bid for his services to edit Stanley Dorfman's footage of the band at the Royal Albert Hall, however the project was cancelled due to the below average quality of the print. In 1971 he directed Superstars in Film Concert, shot in 16mm monochrome featuring John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, and Ike and Tina Turner. Released in 1973, Clifton oversaw the filming of The London Rock and Roll Show held at Wembley Stadium on 5 August 1972.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Wild Angels (1966)

The Wild Angels is a 1966 Roger Corman film, made on location in Southern California. The Wild Angels was made three years before Easy Rider and was the first film to associate actor Peter Fonda with Harley-Davidson motorcycles and 1960s counterculture. It was also the film that inspired the outlaw biker film genre that continued into the early 1970s.

The Wild Angels, released by American International Pictures (AIP), stars Fonda as the fictitious Hells Angels San Pedro, California chapter president "Heavenly Blues" (or "Blues"), Nancy Sinatra as his girlfriend "Mike", Bruce Dern as doomed fellow outlaw "the Loser", and Dern's real-life wife Diane Ladd as the Loser's on-screen wife, "Gaysh".

Small supporting roles are played by Michael J. Pollard and Gayle Hunnicutt and, according to literature promoting the film, members of the Hells Angels from Venice, California. Members of the Coffin Cheaters motorcycle club also appeared.

In 1967 AIP followed this film with Devil's Angels, The Glory Stompers with Dennis Hopper, and The Born Losers. Other films by the same group includes The Trip, Freaked Out, and Easy Rider.

Peter Fonda plays 'Heavenly Blues', the leader of Hell's Angels chapter from Venice, California while Bruce Dern plays 'Loser', his best pal. When they both botch their attempt to retrieve Loser's stolen bike, Loser ends up in the hospital. When the Angels bust him out, he dies, and they bury him. Nancy Sinatra plays Mike, Blues' "old lady" and Diane Ladd plays Loser's wife (Dern's real-life wife at the time). The plot is basically a buildup to the last half-hour of the film in which Loser's funeral becomes another wild party.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Pandit Bhimsen Joshi

This is a biographical film on Bhimsen Joshi who is undoubtedly the singer of this century.An exponent of the Kirana Gharana he is equally at ease with lighter varieties such as 'Bhajans' and stage shows. His guru's have taught him not to be gimmicky and therefore he remains one of the most sought after vocalists at most prestigious music concerts.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Immigration Nation - Independent Australia and the Dark History of Immigration

Australia, built on the backs of migrant workers, now claims to be a beacon of human rights and equality. But not so long ago, racism reared its ugly head in the form of the 'White Australia policy' – a policy designed to keep people of colour out.
Australia began the 20th century as a ‘social laboratory’. It lead the world by initiating reforms and innovations that entrenched basic freedoms, fairness and opportunity decades before they were tried in Europe, Britain and the US.
Yet at the heart of this experiment lay a dark racist policy, and it would take more than 100 years to resolve a fundamental contradiction.
"Immigration Nation", a three-part special series, is the story of how Australia has met its challenges, and how it still tries to overcome a legacy of social exclusion. With thousands of immigrants arriving on the shores of Australia, immigration remains a burning issue.

Episode 1: When the Commonwealth of Australia was founded in 1901, the very last thing the nation wanted to be was multicultural. The measures taken to ensure this would be the case not only caused great human suffering, but in a supreme historical irony, actually helped create the very threat Australia feared the most -- invasion from the Asian north.

Episode 2: The Second World War had far reaching effects on the history of the 'Immigration Nation'. With no Asian migrants allowed and the pool of available Britons decreasing, Australia faced a crisis. Not only were there fears that Australia couldn't defend itself, experts also believed the country would not grow economically without more people. So the nation's first ever Immigration Minister, Arthur Calwell, made a momentous decision to bring in non-British European immigrants for the first time.
Episode 3: Despite causing widespread criticism overseas, in the 1950s under the Menzies government, Australia’s whites only immigration policy seemed as popular as ever. Indeed the rise of Communism in the region added extra justification to the need to prevent Asians entering the country.
When the Czech communist and anti-Nazi agitator Egon Kisch attempted a speaking tour of Australia in 1934, the Lyons Government tried everything to stop him achieving landfall, bouncing him in Fremantle, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. When – in desperation – he leapt off the boat in Melbourne, breaking his leg in several places, he was taken into custody and processed under the Immigration Act, which at the time required new arrivals to take a dictation test in a nominated European language. He passed tests in several languages, but flunked when asked to write out the Lord’s Prayer in Scottish Gaelic. Later, the High Court overturned the decision. Not because of the situation’s utter absurdity, but because Scottish Gaelic was not a European language.
In more recent times, we have Liquid-Papered whole chunks of our coastline out of our migration zone, so that people arriving in Australia cannot be said to have actually arrived; tried to tackle the people-smugglers’ trade in human beings by organising a people-swap with Malaysia or dumping the refugees in Cambodia, or paying the smugglers to go away, and now, we make boats disappear by ignoring them.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Barfly (1987)

Barfly is a 1987 American film which is a semi-autobiography of poet/author Charles Bukowski during the time he spent drinking heavily in Los Angeles. The screenplay by Bukowski was commissioned by the French film director Barbet Schroeder – it was published, with illustrations by the author, in 1984 when film production was still pending. Barfly stars Mickey Rourke and Faye Dunaway, with direction by Schroeder, and was "presented by" Francis Ford Coppola. The movie also features a silent cameo appearance by Bukowski himself.

The Kino Flo light, now a ubiquitous tool in the film industry, was specially created by Robby Muller's electrical crew for a scene in this film which would have been difficult to light using the conventional lampheads available at the time.