The 17th edition of the Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy opens on 23 April with a concert by the great Joe Hisaishi, who will perform his music for films by Hadao Miyazaki and Takeshi Kitano with the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra.
Tonari no Totoro from My Neighbor Totoro
Even if we have committed the crime of not having seen every single film by Miyazaki, hearing the music of Joe Hisaishi elicits a powerful reaction.
Of course we have a Pavlovian reaction to the new trailer, because of the John Williams music and the sight of Han Solo and Chewbacca. But it is best to view all matters pertaining to the new Star Wars movies with extreme caution. Remember what happened last time: basically they took our childhood and turned it into compost.
True, the three prequels whose titles we won’t even mention set the bar so low that any new Star Wars movie that is Not Terrible will get rave reviews. Cheer for mediocrity, we must not. Prove himself, J.J. Abrams must. Diverting entertainments he has made but thus far greatness has eluded him. “Visionary”, he has not yet earned.
Other things we learned from Kim Gordon’s candid but dignified memoir, Girl In A Band:
– Thurston Moore broke up their marriage and Sonic Youth because he cheated on her with this hanger-on who had always wanted to be connected to the band. Before the woman had gone after Thurston Moore she had tried to get close to Kim.
– The cheating was discovered through text messages.
– Kim is a punk rock purist.
– She does not like Courtney Love and Billy Corgan and was especially grossed out when those two were dating.
– She was very fond of Kurt Cobain but was not surprised when he killed himself.
– Henry Rollins was twerking before there was twerking.
– She does not recognize New York today. She arrived there in 1980 when she was poor and New York was bankrupt. Larry Gagosian gave her a job and claimed she was his ex. She knew Jeff Koons and Julian Schnabel and does not think much of either one.
– She was a fan of Madonna in the 80s, hence Ciccone Youth.
– Gerhard Richter allowed Sonic Youth to use one of his candle paintings as the cover of their Daydream Nation album because she was a friend of his wife.
We found out that While We’re Young is showing in cinemas and we have no memory of a Noah Baumbach movie ever showing at the mall so we rushed to see it and were very glad because it’s about people our age.
“People our age” being those who, when filling out forms, hesitate at the blank for “age”, subtract the year of their birth from the current year, then re-compute because that can’t be right, that’s too high.
Being in your 40s feels strange because you’re not young anymore, and suddenly things you mocked when they first came out—the entire Lionel Richie discography, Sylvester Stallone movie themes—are adored by people in their 20s, except that their adoration is ironic so you’re not sure exactly where they stand or whether they stand for anything at all, but you know you still loathe “Hello” and “Eye of the Tiger”. But David Bowie, even minor David Bowie, is cool forever.
You don’t want to hang out with your older friends because they’re bitter or depressing or openly disapprove of your refusal to “settle down” or you’ve already heard all their stories, which were boring when you first heard them 20 years ago, or you’re not prepared to live in eternal nostalgia just yet, or you just don’t have anything in common anymore.
You are flattered because your 25-year-old friends seem to look up to you and want what you have, but they want it now, fast-tracked, and they don’t realize that your failures have a greater impact on how you turn out than your successes do. Early success is particularly tricky because when people have too much to lose they stop taking risks and get fossilized prematurely.
The sketch in the Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary special that caused food to shoot out of our nose: Bill Murray as lounge singer Nick Ocean singing the love theme from Jaws. (Remember his theme from Star Wars?) Here he is, introduced by Maya Rudolph’s spot-on Beyonce.
The musical number that made us shut up and listen: Miley Cyrus singing Paul Simon’s 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover. In the lower register, none of that screeching every pop singer now resorts to. Her country style really works for the song. When she tires of being an easy target, that singer must be taken seriously.
In other music news, here’s an astute analysis of Madonna’s increasingly desperate attempts to get attention: Madonna Kisses Drake. It was recommended by our friend who has just realized his “mother” is fallible.
It’s like having your aunt kiss you at the graduation party. You know, the creepy old one who wears too much makeup and winks at you when you’re in the kitchen… The one who’s unmarried and seems to want to sleep with no one so much as YOU!
I get it Madonna. There’s ageism in the music business. But you can’t complain about it if you don’t ACT your age. You’re acting like a twenty year old. With all these publicity stunts, getting the brain dead press to fawn over you, because you give them access.
This goes out to the 5 people who read our Whiplash review.
There’s a lot going on this month, including several plays we must watch (Dangerous Liaisons, Jean Genet’s Prisoner of Love, and Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard in Filipino). We asked Rody Vera why everything has to be crammed in the same four weekends, straining our powers of bilocation. He says it’s because it’s Arts Month.
We propose that the NCCA make it Arts Quarter, so the audience doesn’t have to do the headless chicken dance to see everything.