Shine A Light

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

Monday, 31 May 2010

Ladj Ly

Is a French filmmaker who mostly focuses on socially aware documentaries. The racial and social situation in France is unfortunately still similar to that of the early nineties when Mathieu Kassovitz made the truly sensation movie La Haine (a huge influence on Ly).

This is a clip from a documentary he made about the student riots in the Paris suburbs in 2005.

Ly along with his label/company 'Kourtrajme' are making inventive and relevant films, that are both socially aware and have an understanding and sense of humor to the art of cinema and the power that that approach has. (such as using that Queen song over the images of the riots, adds a tragic sense of humor to the images whilst being socially aware and creating a reaction and conflict within the viewer.)

He is also trying to aid the ever dwindling African film industry, which has for years been underfunded and ignored despite the amazing talent and potentially outstanding resources the continent has for filmmaking. However, this subject deserves a much more in depth reading than I can offer here and now.

Ladj Ly is certainly a filmmaker to look out for and be aware can follow him and his work at The Creators Project including this short doc introducing him...

Pop Quiz Hotshot - Dennis Hopper 1936-2010

Dennis Hopper succumbed to cancer the yesterday. He will be missed. However, he can still be remembered as a true character of the world of cinema and he was responsible for some of the most iconic and memorable movies of all time, as actor, writer, producer and director...

Pop Quiz Hotshot

One of my personal favourites

If it wasn't for Easy Rider (1969) that he directed, co-wrote and co-stared in, then there would have been far fewer cool, influential and rebellious American movies and maybe fewer cool European movies that Hopper himself was inspired by in his approach to making Easy Rider and then in turn inspired them back.

Cowboys on wheels!

Through his work from Rebel Without A Cause (1955) to Easy Rider to Apocalypse Now (1979) to Blue Velvet (1986) to Speed (1994) you can see an understanding of the other and dark side of modern culture both in terms of character, time and place.

Apparently he has a sick art collection too...

God bless Dennis Hopper!

Friday, 28 May 2010

Simian Mobile Disco...& Smirnoff!!!

Simian Mobile Disco have been marking a pretty special live show with the aid of some fine vodka!

Check this out...

Pushin' the boundaries of audio visual fusion!!!

Saturday, 22 May 2010


A few weeks ago hard core punk band The Bronx played Concorde 2 in Brighton. I couldn't go to the gig and to be honest I wasn't too bothered as my hard core days are now far behind me (mostly). However, my friends Sam and Sally went along, and it turns out I missed an awesome show.

This was not just because hard core punk is still awesome, but because The Bronx also unleashed Mariachi El Bronx!!!....having never heard of this hybrid before it came as a glorious surprise when my friends later played it to me....Punk meets Mariachi!...this is no's real and it works...and the outfits are pretty special too...

Photo by Sam Hiscox

See more Bronx photos at Long Time Dead

'These prison walls, they couldn't hold anything in at all.'

With songs in the traditional style about revenge, love, longing, despair, betrayal, Mariachi El Bronx have somehow managed to take the piss, be ironic, be genuine, still rock and bring Mariachi style and sway to town!.....Makes me wanna head straight to the border with a young Senorita, a warm bottle of tequilla and a longing for Taco's and refried beans....

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The Creators Project - Diplo

The Creators Project is a new thing for a new time...about making and creating cool stuff!

They explain themselves

The site includes some really cool and interesting documentaries and some really cool and interesting people doing really cool and interesting things...

Including this one on Diplo...the guy behind Major Lazer, M.I.A and most of the freshest music of recent times, fusing dancehall, raggae, hip-hop, electro and pop into some fresh heavy mix....


If you haven't seen Major Lazer live...then your missing out on one hell of a show/party/riot...they played Digital in Brighton end of last year and they tore the place dowwwwwwwn!

They have a new E.P out in July 'Lazers Never Die!' featuring M.I.A, Thom York and others.... it will certainly be worth getting into...

The Creators Project appears to have grand plans and is already showing of some pretty good shit!....keep your eyes on it!

Monday, 17 May 2010


The farm that was used in the 1989 classic Field of Dreams is being sold with the house and the baseball diamond.

The movie is about a man (Ray...played by the one and only Kevin Costner) who hears a voice in his corn field in Iowa. The voice tells him 'If you build it, he will come'...referring to a baseball field and some old baseball players from America's past. He does and it turns out the voice wasn't lying.

The movie is basically centered around baseball in the same way The Big Lebowski is centered around the other great all American pastime of bowling.

By using baseball as a theme and setting the movie can transcend into other themes and thoughts on the American dream & nostalgia for the game, a requiem for the counter culture movement of the 60s and a tale of family relationships....

' I think it's more than just about the field like the movie was - it wasn't really just about baseball.' (Ray Liotta - who played 'Shoeless Joe Jackson')

Any film with the tag line like 'If you believe the impossible, the incredible can come true'
is going to come across as a bit lame and wet, and It is easy to call this movie a cheesy bit of Hollywood filmmaking. But this is like the best cheese on toast with extra Lea & Perrrins Worcester cant get much better. Literally...James Earl Jones, Ray Liotta, Burt Lancaster, the baseball uniforms and the fields of Iowa are the Worcester Sauce to Kevin Costner's romanticized all American wholesome family cheese....together....knocking it out the park!

and baseball is just pretty cool...

Photo By Toby King


American Apparently

Jon Stewart is a comedian and satirist who goes on TV every night on 'The Daily Show' and makes jokes out of whatever has happened in the news, or more often, makes jokes at the people giving the American public this 'news'.

He's very good at it....

Don't worry if you don't know who he's talking about at the start of makes sense as it goes on...enjoy!

"The American people want...."


'The Daily Show' is on 4oD and you should watch it...

In some circles Stewart is regarded as one of the most trusted news broadcasters in America....which is kinda worrying on account of him being a comedian...but if you don't want to watch it for an accessible dose of contemporary politics, then watch it for the troubling hilarity that is 'Fox News'....they're actually keeping this show running which is also kinda messed up.....but despite everything you've gotta laugh...and here you will.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010


Tetro the new film from Francis Ford Coppola and it looks as if it will be one of the cinematic events of the year, (perhaps a lo fi cinematic event in this era of 3D).

It has been argued that Coppola saved Hollywood and American filmaking in the 70s with the films The Godfather, Apocalypse Now and The Conversation, but his career effectively fell through and his work of more recent times has not been nearly as creative and compelling.

Tetro however appears to be a return to some kind of artistic form, although as mentioned, on a smaller scale.

The film is set in Argentina and centers around two brothers, Bennie (Alden Ehrenreich) who travels to Buenos Aires to find is long lost older brother Tetro (Vincent Gallo). The plot revolves around a family feud, secrets and also the arts, especially music and ballet as the brothers father was a famous composer and is the center of the dramatic opus.

The first three minuets are on you tube and the title sequence echoes ideas from the opening of Apocalypse Now. Filmed in gorgeous high contrast black and white Vincent Gallo's intense eyes and check bones are doing all the acting for him as his face fades into a close up of moth flying in and around a light bulb, accompanied with great enhanced sound effects courtesy of Coppola’s long time collaborator in sound design and editing Watler Murch. Then follows a striking title sequence of the kind that the legendary Saul Bass constructed for Hitchcock and later Scorsese, until it reveals what looks like a young sailor (Ehrenreich) arriving off a bus at night to a Buenos Aires apartment building.

Tetro is released in June and reviews so far have been positive. Tetro seems to be coming across as maybe not be as ground breaking as Coppola's work in the 70s, but this certainly seems to be a film with his name all over it for the all the right reasons, so for that alone Tetro is definitely worth looking out for.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

This Bitter Earth / On The Nature Of Daylight

Dinah Washington died three years before Max Richter was born in 1966.

She was a Soul, Jazz and RnB singer....'What A Difference A Day Makes', 'Mad About A Boy', Unforgettable'..that kind of thing!...She was called the 'Queen Of The Blues' and was married eight she clearly had an eventful life before her untimely death at the age of 39.

Max Richter is a classical pianist and composer. He has also worked with Future Sound of London and shares production credits on the Roni Size Reprazent Drum 'n' Bass classic 'In The Mode'. He also worked on the movie Waltz With Bashir.

Martin Scorsese and Robbie Robertson somehow figured these two artists would mesh well together...and they were right.

(back in the day!)

Robbie Robertson and Martin Scorsese first worked together on the awesome rock concert movie The Last Waltz about ‘The Band’s last show. Since then the two have become great friends and collaborators working together on the movies, King of Comedy, Casino, Gangs of New York (Robertson mostly working under the title ‘Executive Music Producer’).

"It’s a shame that Marty wasn’t gay, the best relationship he ever had was probably with Robbie” Sandra Weintraub (Scorsese’s ex-girlfriend)

On the soundtrack to Shutter Island Dinah Washington's soulful voice and stark haunting lyrics of 'This Bitter Earth' (lyrics by old school song writer and producer Clyde Otis) sit strongly on top of Max Richter's majestic and flowing melody of 'On The Nature Of Daylight'.

This track plays over the end credits of Shutter Island (the instrumental appears in the main film)

The haunting and atmospheric piece of music echoes the themes and ideas portrayed in the film, despair, hopelessness, and possible redemption.

The use of the 'mash up' is interesting and can be seen as being simply a good piece of music that fits the overall ethos of the movie, or there could be a more in depth reading of it.

By using a vocal track from the 50's (when the film is set) and a contemporary score in the style of older classic music (see the rest of the movie's soundtrack) the soundtrack combines many aspects of the film’s setting, style and production, such as a new twist on an old genre.

In Shutter Island Scorsese combines a mixture of styles and cinematic genres, films noir, horror, thriller (and the styles of filmmaking commonly associated with these genres) to create a unique setting and an unsettling world that Teddy Daniels has found himself in. The score (especially this track) helps to convey the feelings of the protagonist and keep with the visual style and messages portrayed throughout the film. So the unique blend of musical styles accompanies the blend of filmic styles used to portray an aesthetic and emotes the narrative and characters of the film.

The soundtrack as a whole with its eerie mix of sinister and somewhat harsh classical pieces of music along with songs from the period (songs by Johnnie Ray, Kay Star, Lonnie Johnson (think 50s period in Goodfellas)) accompanies the blurring effect of Teddy Daniel’s mind. As the barrier between what is real and what is happening in his head and the dark images from his past continually haunt and conflict him.

The mash up effect on ‘This Bitter Earth / On The Nature of Daylight’ is a perfect example of the soundtrack and its use in the film, both in terms of aesthetic and diagetic filmmaking style and invokes the contradictions and torments of protagonist. Thusly serving as much more than a mere homage to the styles of earlier filmmaking and music that inspired the whole production.

Regardless of any of this, both the song and piece of music stand strong in their own rights and that is probably why they hold even more sway of the over the whole mélange of the film.

The soundtrack also boasts a piece of music with probably the best title ever…’Uaxuctum: The Mayan City Which They Themselves Destroyed For Religious Reasons – 3rd Movement”….(I just had to slip that in there).

Monday, 3 May 2010

Gentlemen Broncos

Jared Hess is the guy who directed the now classic Napoleon Dynamite and the now still pretty lame Nacho Libre. He has now made the kinda cool Gentlemen Broncos.

The film is kind of about about science fiction writing and plagiarism. It follows a young science fiction writer called Benjamin (who writes Heavy Metal style sci fi, but tamer) who's story ('The Yeast Lords'(?)) gets stolen by an 'acclaimed' writer (Chevalier, played by Jermain Clement from Flight of the Conchords) and in the midst of all this some weird guy makes a home movie from the story and the young writer's mother is trying to be fashion designer whilst hiring her son a 'guardian angel' who ends up being the star of the awful film adaptation of his story...and there's a vague love interest between the boy and the girl who produces the movie.....all the time the film cuts away to the 'Yeast Lords' story (both Benjamin's and Chevalier's version following the character 'Bronco'/'Brutus'...(formally 'Bronc-anuss' but consistently played by Sam Rockwell in different wigs) in a weird sci-fi world that looks like something from the Mighty Boosh, Flight Of The Conchords, Monty Python, Dr. Who. early Star Trek.

Makes sense?!...but that doesn't matter much...

It is also another example of a bizarre and unique visual outlook of the world...or at least of Utah.

Which is where the film largely succeeds (as did Napoleon Dynamite) by portraying the 'real world' (of Utah) in a super stylized and consistently bizarre andsurreal manner...Jared Hess uses a consistent, bold mixture of mise-en-scene, colour palette, characters & costumes, and framing to convey his vision of a place. This is how the movie succeeds...whether anyone cares or not is another matter!

But Gentlemen Broncos is highly visually aware and striking, with great comedic performances and an awesome soundtrack to accompany it......but unfortunately it probably isn't as good as any of things it is like and/or inspired by....(except may be better than the real Utah....)

...I have never been to Utah....and I do not mean the place any disrespect...I would in fact genuinely like to go there...and experience the real thing for myself!....

This is the Utah flag!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Carolina Drama

Is a song by the Raconteurs (and i haven't been able to stop listening to it!!!), people are talking lots about The Dead Weather right now and thats cool 'cos they're awesome!!!....but this song is true and real narrative story telling in proper song form!'s like a kind of song that either Bob Dylan or Robbie Robertson or Van Morrison or Richard Thompson or Bruce Springsteen would write, but no...this is contemporary song writing with traditional methods that just doesn't appear in most contemporary's got characters, a narrative and concise plot....and the main moments of drama happen in the music!....and also Jack White's vocal is fucking remarkable as it drives the whole damn thing!!!!

Carolina Drama

"...and the white milk dripped down with blood and the boy-friend fell down dead for good..."