Shine A Light

Films, Photos, Music, Fashion, Aesthetic, Narrative, Style, Image, Dialogue....

Monday, 29 March 2010

London Pirate Radio - Palladium

Palladium started making shoes in the 40s after successfully making really tough tires since the the 20s....their shoes look good and are great to wear if your going exploring.

Palladium have made a series of short films about exploring, including this new one about London Pirate Radio and the history of Pirate Radio in the UK.

The film takes you into the heart of the modern London pirate radio scene where the likes of Wiley, Dizzee Rascal and Kano developed their skills and from this platform took over the mainstream of contemporary popular music. The film also goes back to the roots of Pirate Radio...3 Miles out of the Thames to a group of WW2 anti aircraft towers still sitting in the sea that were taken over in the 50s and 60s by the original Pirate Radio DJs who illegally broadcast Rock&Roll during a time of government controlled radio.

With some great shots from the roofs of modern London, to rusty creaking old towers in the middle of the sea, the film visually portrays the extreme lengths people will go to to share and express their music.

Although there are differences between the grime scene of today and the rock&roll music of the 60s and indeed the different backgrounds of those who were broadcasting out at sea and the inner city lives of those broadcasting today may seem strikingly different, the overall ideas, reasons and themes are the same and the music keeps coming....always informing 'legit' radio of what they will be playing in 5 years time!

Have a watch

You can see more films of exploring and check out some pretty cool foot ware at the Palladium website

I recommend the one on the folk who live in abandoned missile silos in the US....the one about he town with a massive crack running through it is pretty cool too....

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Blue Collar - A prelude to requiem

The recent TV documentary Requiem for Detroit got loads of people talking and interested in seeing how a city effectively destroyed itself. But maybe people new that was coming 30 years ago.

The film Blue Collar was released in 1978, its not well known nowadays and maybe wasn't even back then, but without it you probably wouldn't have The Wire, it helped fuel the careers of its stars Harvey Keitel and Richard Pryor, and it clearly showed the messed up state of the city Detroit and the fragile infrastructure of corporate America and the unions and the continuing racial tensions that is now painfully obvious for everyone to see.

The film centers around 3 friends who work in on an auto assembly line in Detroit and their lives and struggles as working men.

In some ways the film has aged, but the tightness of the script by Paul Shrader and the improv, style and flow of the dialogue delivered by Keitel, Pryor and Yaphet Kotto was incredibly fresh and new at the time and holds up today. Pryor in-particular moving away from the comedy performances he is/was commonly associated with delivers an incredibly diverse and well rounded performance, both comedic and dramatic, of a character who could be seen as both heroic and villainous.

The film is significant for talking bluntly, openly and critically of strong American institutions, such as the auto industry and the unions, but also attacks the idea and ideals of 'the American Dream'. As if the film itself (the story, the characters and the themes) are in stuck a losing position where they have to rebel against everything.

The film has clearly inspired many other conspiracy themed movies and films about working men and the urban environment, and the style of low budget, location shooting and a script written and delivered in a naturalistic way is now common place amongst mainstream movies.
The clever way the film portrays the main characters as not always heroic and their cause is not always the just one, instead they are also portrayed in a negative light (its not always a simple case of the struggling working man against the evil corporations and feds). This duality of the main characters being people that the audience empathizes with but doesn't necessarily like and do things that are shocking and wrong, is now common place in films and shows such as The Sopranos and The Wire.

The film's use of music (awesome blues/rock soundtrack by Jack Nitzsche) was also inventive, by using music associated with the characters and their lives in both a diegetic and non-diegetic way gives the film another layer of believability, by helping to fully portray the world is depicting.

This is definitely a film to check out if you have ever worked a day in your life, lived in a city or listened to music....

Also..its has a perfect title sequence....Enjoy...go watch it!

('this is my two hundred and sixty-thousandth piece of glass')

Future Shorts - Rebel Yell

Future Shorts bought another fine selection of short films to Brighton (one of the best line ups ever I feel)

The programme included a story of an elderly lady discussing her best shag and a career in porn, in the film Paradise Circus (Toby Dye, 2009)

A charming and ultimately endearing stop frame animation about a weasel living and working in a traffic light, in Signalis (Adrian Fluckiger, 2008)

One of the most funny and touching movies was Thompson (Jason Tippet, 2009). A kind of coming of age story of two childhood friends who shared a bond over their speech impediments, weapons and things that go fast. But as they grow up and life takes over, their bond may not be enough to stop their lives from going in separate directions. Filled with scenes of hilarity and then tender emotional moments this is like Napoleon Dynamite but the real thing!

By far one of the most technically accomplished films was Miracle Fish (Luke Doolan, 2009), it tells the story of a young boy at school on his birthday, after being bullied he falls asleep, and he wakes to find the whole school empty and some truly horrific things....

Filmed in a way that creates an eerie tension throughout and with a shocking final act, you should watch this film with the lights down and the volume loud! right now...

(keep checking Shine A Light for stuff about the makers of this film)

This was probably my favorite of the night...and I really hope its true story...

Dock Ellis & The LSD No-No (James Blagden, 2010)

"They all new I was high, but they didn't know what I was high on! They had no idea what LSD was other than what they seen on TV with the hippies!"

So, another brillant showcase of short films showing the variety and talent from a medium that is often too quickly disregarded. There is probably more creativity, emotion, comedy and style in these films than in most mainstream feature movies. So go check out more short films....and here is a perfect place to

There will be another screening of different films next month, check out the Future Shorts facebook group..

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Movies and Tuuuuunez

I watched the new movie Crazy Heart, Jeff Bridges won an oscar recently for his performance as Bad Blake...a washed up old country singer. The film was ok, and this is not a review...but the music in the film was all good!...This is mainly down to T-Bone Burnett!...any thing to do with contemporary American roots music thats been any good probably has his involvement somehow...he's worked the music on films such as The Big Lebwoski, Cold Mountain, O' Brother Where Art Thou, Don't Come Knockin', and Walk The Line...but this isn't a piece about him either (I'm still working on that)

This song he co-wrote with Ryan Bingham won the Oscar for best original song...'The Weary Kind'

Personally, I thought there were better songs in the film, but never-the-less, films and music are often a perfect combination, and sometimes Oscar lists are handy in pulling some random things together, like, great songs and great heres a little list of perfect songs to perfect films that are all oscar 'winners'.

'Over The Rainbow' - The Wizard of Oz (1939) Music, Harold Arlen, Lyrics, E.Y. Harburg

'Chim Chim Che-ree' - Mary Poppins (1964) Music and Lyrics, Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman

'Theme From Shaft' - Shaft (1971) Music and Lyrics, Isaac Hayes

(the trailer was way better than any music vid I could find..."ask your Mama!")

'Take My Breath Away' - Top Gun (1986) Music, Giorgio Moroder, Lyrics, Tom Whitlock

'Under The Sea' - The Little Mermaid (1989) Music, Alan Menken, Lyrics, Howard Ashman

'Streets of Philadelphia' - Philadelphia (1993) Music and Lyrics, Bruce Springsteen

'Lose Yourself' - 8 Mile (2003) Music, Eminem, Jeff Bass, Luis Resto, Lyrics, Eminem

There's loads I havn't included like stuff from Bob Dylan, Bing Crosbie, Burt Bacharach, (I'v already posted something on 'Moon River'), a lot more Disney, some more potent 80s stuff, the songs from The Lord of The Rings films and...errr...'Blame Canada'!

But Iv got to mention these...two amazing tracks from two amazing films....

(not that it really matters, but some Barbara Striesand song from a film I'v never heard of beat this to an Oscar...?!)

"...but I can make you smile when the blood it hits the floor."

Is there an interesting study here on the trends of popular movies and music through the course of the past 100 years, where both mediums have developed and flourished and become part of the common psyche?

Or could this just be the most random playlist for your next disco?...

Isaac Hayes at the Oscars, 1972


Monday, 22 March 2010

The Vice Guide To Film

Vice magazine founders Shane Smith and Eddy Moretti have made a new series of films exploring the other side of film and film making...The Vice Guide To Film

The series will be look into film industries from around the world, looking at the alternative, dark and taboo sides film and its place in the world and the people who make it.

From the the bizarre propaganda of the North Korean film industry, to the film and video industry of Mexico and its involvement with the devastating drug trade....from Palestinian refugees in Lebanon struggling to make a comedy, to a study of some 80s soviet Russian movies called 'Parallel Cinema' (which apparently includes gay Zombies eating brains as a reference to the decline of the Soviet Union!)....from a major new film festival in Iran to hanging out with movie director Gaspar Noe (Irreversible) in Japan....this series will show a true alternative to the normal understanding of film and the industry and what it means to people.

In a similar fashion to other VBS.TV shows such as The Vice Guide To North Korea and The Vice Guide To Liberia, The Vice Guide To Film using alternative, twisted and dark subject matter will be able to draw attention to issues that can be enlightening, shocking and engaging, telling stories that may otherwise go by largely unnoticed by the wider world.

The series will be be staring on VBS.TV from March 23rd

Saturday, 20 March 2010

I'm Here....(is now actually...HERE!)

I'm Here the anticipated new short film from Spike Jonze can now be seen...all you have to do is go HERE

A robot love story, following Sheldon, a melancholy kinda robot, living in a Los Angeles where robots and humans co-exist but not as equals. He meets Francesca another robot who shows him the fun side to life, including punk gigs, cruisin' the streets, magicians and the Californian countryside, and he in return gives himself to her.

The film could be seen as a comment on the state of immigration and the inequality amongst immigrant groups in LA, or it could be seen as a contemporary take on today's views of love and technology....or its simply about Sheldon the robot finding his perfect match...guess when you watch it you can decide for yourself.

The film uses animatronics and puppetry combined with CGI to create characters and a world that are both believable and fantastic. With some great set pieces and a lovely soundtrack, I'm Here is a great little film.

It still probably wont get a proper release, but the website is showing for free...but you may have to wait your turn as the film is not streamed and it is only shown at certain times in the day...but the website is pretty cool to look around while you waiting...and like all good things it is worth the wait.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Blind Willie Johnson and Music Matters

Music Matters is a new event in collaboration with Future Shorts, bringing you through the medium of film why music does matter!

They do stuff like this short but awesome animation about the great blues man Blind Willie Johnson

Check out info on their upcoming event at Cargo in Shoreditch here...

sounds like a good night!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Requiem For Detroit...

Detroit is the city where cars, Motown, Eminem and The White Stripes come from, It's in the north (east) of the United States near Canada, and its fucked. Massive population decrease, factories, schools, department stores and houses abandoned, up to 70 property fires a night, and something like a 43% illiteracy rate...

This BBC documentary, Requiem For Detroit, is an enlightening account of the city's rise and fall and how it came to be.

From Henry Ford figuring out how to make cars quick and cheap to illegal bootleggin' of moonshine (via Canada) during prohibition in the 20s the city prospered, then the Wall Street crash messed that up, then the rise in manufacturing during WW2 made stuff ok again, then the cars started to look more attractive but still ran like they did 30 years ago....meantime black folk arrived for the all the newly available jobs...this always leads to fights in the states...Detroit being no white folk left with their new money, on the new highways in their new cars to the new suburbs....then other countries started making cars that were better than American fewer cars were being made in Detriot...then in the 80s as someone in the film says...'they made cheap cocaine that you can smoke' the place got even more messy....

(the films explains all this (and much more) a lot more fully and assertively...)

So basically, today Detroit is a grizzly image of what the post industrial world could easily look like...

Julien Temple's documentary uses interviews, stock footage, new footage and interesting projection techniques to tell Detroit's story, that (perhaps only with hindsight) is tragically predictable and almost painful to watch as both economic and social issues consistently collide together to leave a once prosperous city left as not much more than a burnt out frame (literally).

However, people and nature are capable of great things, and luckily this film recognizes that...and hopefully Detroit's tragic fate may have another positive chapter to come.

With some great imagery of urban decay, insightful, funny and passionate characters and an awesome soundtrack going from Woody Guthrie to John Lee Hooker, to the sounds of Motown, to Punk to Eminem...this documentary is a wonderful document of city, of people and society.

There has been lots of comment about the state of Detroit and similar urban situations so go out and look for them as they seem to be a constant source of great creative material, and the uncanny joy of looking at burnt out, abandoned man made structures is always an intriguing pleasure...rightly or wrongly!

This is a good place to

But lets here it for Detroit!

"why it wasn't the skillest
To be walkin this borderline of Detroit city limits
It's different, it's a certain significance...
Then I turn and cross over the median curb
Hit the 'burbs and all you see is a blur from 8 Mile Road"

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Under Great White Northern Lights

The White Stripes are one of the most prolific and iconic bands of the last decade, and this new documentary The White Stripes Under Great White Northern Lights looks like a perfect accompaniment to their music, whilst being striking documentary in its own right.

Directed by Emmet Malloy (one half of the Malloy's, who have made loads of music videos for the likes of The Shins, Cold War Kids, Blink-182, Metallica, Santana, The White Stripes, Oasis...and many more). The film follows The White Stripes on their tour around Northern Canada, playing gigs in buses, cafes and doing shows for native indian elders. The film also focuses on the unique relationship between the Jack and Meg White.

No doubt this film will have a great soundtrack and fantastic visual style given the iconic imagery associated with the band.

The film is playing FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY at the Duke of York's this Friday really should go!

This will be Jack White's second screen appearance at the Duke's this yeah after his appearance in the awesome guitar documentary It Might Get Loud!

Here is my one of my favorite White Stripes videos to one of their best songs...Icky Thump (video directed by The Malloy's)

"White American's, What? Nuthin' better to do?/ Why don't you kick yourself out your an immigrant too..!"

and here is my one of the best Jack White he is with old school country singer Loretta Lynn...this Jack White produced album Van Lear Rose is one of the best contemporary country records you will find...its soooo good!

"well sloe gin fizz works mighty fast when you drink it by the pitcher and not by the glass..."

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Heavy Metal In Baghdad

I heard of this film about a year or so ago, but it only got a very limited release in London, and I was not able to get to a screening, but now the good people at have put it up for all to see!

Heavy Metal In Baghdad is a documentary about Iraq's only heavy metal band, Acrassicauda (means black scorpion in Latin), after the fall of Sadam Hussein. I personally don't care for heavy metal or the conflict in Iraq...but you gotta admit, both are important things.

This is a strangely compelling, personal and intermit story about a group friends who are in the middle of a war zone and have no freedom to express themselves, but still cling onto the heavy metal beliefs and ideals. There's actually very little music in the film, because (as is shown) it's nearly impossible to put on gigs and shows in Iraq (even harder now than during Sadam's regime!). Things aren't made any easier when your rehearsal space get blown up too!

But like heavy metal itself, this film and these guys are about more than the music, it's their lives and their situation that drives them and this story casts a refreshing new light on the people of Iraq and what they have been through and what they want from life.

Unfortunately, the news media in Europe and especially the US will no doubt continue to portray the situation in Iraq and it's people in the same depressing way, this film however opens up a new look on a country,it's people and the situation that is both thought provoking and inspiring....leaving you not just sympathising with these guys and their tragic, unfair and undeserved situation, but you end up having the most respect for them...

...also their lead guitarist Tony is fuckin' SICK! (dude!)!!!

Monday, 8 March 2010

'That's A Bingo!'....

The 82nd Annual Academy Awards...The Oscars...are happening right now!

It's not the most inspiring of things, but this is good news...

Christolph Waltz has won for best supporting actor...

The best performance from the best film of last year. I doubt Inglourious Basterds will win any more golden statues tonite...but all the nominations it received are an encouraging suggestion that people in Oscarland do like and acknowledge more than just predicable award grooming movies.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

I'm Here....(still)

Spike Jonze as you know has directed 3 of the most interesting and original films to come out of Hollywoodland in the last decade....Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Where The Wild Things Are. He was also heavily involved in Jackass franchise, has made classic music videos for likes of Beastie Boys, R.E.M., Bjork, Fatboy Slim, Chemical Brothers....and has made some of the most creative and memorable skate videos everrrrr!

So, hot of the back of Where The Wild Things Are comes his new short film I'm Here....a robot love story from the looks of it...


This looks awesome!

Unfortunately you probably wont get to see it. It doesn't appear to have a release date, and because it is half an hour long, it would probably be too long to to shown at short film screenings (Future Shorts style) and too short to be exhibited by it's self....Frustrating!

Hopefully it will appear on TV somewhere, or could be combined with other similar projects for a theatrical release...however thats seems doubtful given the nature of theatrical cinema exhibition in this country...(maybe you can find it on the internet?!...)

In the meantime this...even if skating is'nt your thing...this is still a beautiful and superbly crafted piece of film making...Fully Flared (directed by Jonze) came out a few years's awesome!

...and that's just the opening!!!

also...iv been listening to a bit of R.E.M. recently (cool yeah?!)....but this is a good song and Spike Jonze did the video too, so double win....