From the very first moment that Evan Glodell’s writing/directorial debut, Bellflower, starts the audience knows that they are about to watch something at once slightly familiar and yet remarkably unique in almost all aspects. Bellflower is not quite any movie you are likely to see. Without giving away any spoilers the film begins as a rather humorous and sad relationship between two late twenty-somethings obsessed with apocalyptic movies and creating weapons in preparation for the end of times.
They fill their days and time day dreaming about the ultimate apocalypse in which they will each play the roles of Mad Max/Road Warrior types playing in the Hell that will be left after the world as we know it ends. All the more interesting is the fact that these two “dudes” do not even have any sense of their own immaturity or the irony that their adult feet are planted so firmly in adolescence.
The plot takes a turn for the romantic when the main character, Woodrow, played by director/writer, Evan Glodell, meets Milly. Like Woodrow and his close pal, Aiden, Milly seems to be stuck in a rut of narcissistic immaturity. Milly and Woodrow fall in love but both lack the maturity to navigate the wild woods of a relationship. It isn’t long before the relationship quickly takes a dead end turn. At that point Bellflower truly takes the audience into the darkest corners of damaged heartbreak and rage. Bellflower becomes a devastatingly disturbing apocalyptic journey filtered through the eyes of insanity.
Though, filmed on a “shoe string” budget, Glodell, his crew and actors have created a masterful piece of cinema. Certainly there are flaws along the way. Some of Bellflower plays with “Mumblecore-like” approaches that don’t quite work. However, any flaws are hidden by the style of the movie. Brilliantly filmed – the cinematography, lighting, acting, editing and music bring Bellflower an rage filled life of it’s own. The special effects do not seem like special effects. They look and feel all too real and unexpected. Glodell has cleverly created a highly artistic and powerful study of Love Wounded Man Walking and metaphor that when merged almost make a cinematic masterpiece like Coppola’s Apocalypse Now seem like a Disney movie. That in itself is quite a feat.
Just the fact that Evan Glodell’s Bellflower deals with pains that every young adult feels in first loves but literally blows them up and delivers it with a punch that would make the strongest of people bend over or at the very least squirm in their seats.
And, of course, this film is tapping into a current vibe shared by many as we enter the 21st Century. So much is unknown. So much is uncertain. Uncomfortable changes and misadventures seem to be in the air. And, <strong>Bellflower plays with that creepy societal feeling to the an extreme that turns to an almost manic glee of vengeance.
The failure of the characters to have grown into mature/adjusted men and women is presented as a reflection of a generation weaned on TV, bad movies and low expectations grinds into the psyche as a reminder of generation of people largely misplaced and lost.
Bellflower, like the amped up apocalypse car named Medusa — speeds, twists, turns, shoots out the very flames of fury and spins out of control into crashing oblivion. Horrible heartbreak speeds through the veins of Woodrow without the boundaries of emotional understanding to work through it all. Bellflower takes the audience into an apocalypse it will not soon forget and does so without any signal of regret or apology. This is hardcore/punk cinema close to completely unbridled.
Bellflower is a testosterone fueled vision of war resulting from romantic harm. And, it takes no prisoners. No one is spared and no one is innocent as Woodrow’s Medusa takes it fast cruise into Hell.
This is not a film for all tastes but no one can deny it’s raw power and artistic play out and pay off.
Bellflower is, in my opinion, one of the Top 5 Films released in 2011.
It will not leave you feeling good. It refuses to play by the rules. Best to simply get out of Medusa’s way and allow Glodell’s angry vision to wash over your senses.
The film has been assigned a well-deserved R-rating for adult themes, graphic sex, nudity, violence, drug use and foul language. However, it should be noted that all of these elements are crucial for the story that unfolds. It is not for the faint-of-heart.
Off the grid and unhinged, Bellflower is a work of cinematic art that refuses to be ignored. It has been a very long time that a new filmmaker has created a movie this impressive.
As I continue further into therapy and attempt to get to the point where I can build a bridge to communication to the other aspects of myself who seem to go by different names and each possess different needs or desires, I begin to find myself in a horrific and strange place. This place is somewhere in my psyche, but it feels like a real location.
Hazy and confused, I emerge from this place often left with only a strong lingering scent in my nostrils and an overwhelming sense of dread. I suppose I am one of those folks who emerge from “switching” with temporary head and leg aches. And, I come back feeling so very tired.
I am trying to piece it all together and hold on to the memory of this place. This room. This appears to be the place where “everyone” stays. “Everyone” must be waiting for his chance to come out. And, “everyone” seems to be competing to get out and gain control over the shared body. And, “everyone” seems to feel entitled to this one body as if it is his own.
Currently it is a battle of sorts. A fight for control. The goal is to get “us” all together. To get “us” all on the “same page” — working together toward integration. A shared psyche that will allow me — or “us” to function in life as one. There is a block coming from “me” which is keeping this from happening. So, the exploration continues as my therapist and I work to break down the block (or blocks) and bridge a way toward communication.
But, for now, I’m left with my thoughts, nightmares, and odd discordant memories from that place “we” go when “one of us” breaks out and takes over the real-time action of life. …disconnected from each other and rather lost. A scary exploration of the mind. A mind damaged by years of child abuse. A mind splintered off into odd emotional segments designed to protect. Trying to figure it all out and remember…
first i notice the smells
the scent of vomit, sperm, blood and wet grass
i notice the damp feeling
the repugnant odor of what must be rotting flesh
the grimly lit room
i can see
or is it “sense” the beds lining down against the cracked wall
how many beds?
but, there are more than a couple.
my eyes can only make out the feet
the uncovered dirty feet hanging at the end of each bed.
like from some european film?
are those feet blue?
are those the feet of a dead person?
is that a child in the back of the room?
he is trying to hide from me.
is that child me?
he looks like me.
who is speaking?
it sounds a bit like me
in a disguised voice or dialect.
“come in here. take your place.”
i touch behind me.
started to gag from the scents
that permeate this place.
i want to leave.
where is the door?
“you can’t leave. why don’t you lay down and rest with us?”
Yesterday my pal, Bethie, and I “did” a sort of brunch thing here in the city. The odd thing was how oddly quiet San Francisco was. For well over three hours I heard no sirens, slamming of brakes, horns, crazy homeless people yelling, junkies roaming about lost, crack whores peddling their goodies, teens screaming in languages unknown to me or scantly glad gay men. After Bethie returned to her home, I took a walk down to the ocean and only saw soccer moms and happy white children frolicking about. and faithful looking dads strolling about in cargo shorts. Where were all the tat’d surfer dudes and hippie chicks?
Well, this morning I rode with the hubby, Mr. B, to San Rafael so that he could take measurements and photos of a building for which he must do some re-design work. Then, I drop’d him off at his office. As I drove from downtown San Francisco back to Sutter Beach San Francisco, I am happy to report that charming and “normal” aspects of my city had returned to form. Yes, as I drove up Sutter and back down via O’Farrell to Divisadaro to Haight to Geary Blvd I saw that things were truly back to form. A stoned psuedo hippie stepped in front of the car as I was turning a corner. Horns were blasting all around me. Cantonese, Spanish, Korean, Polish, and English obscenities and joys were being screamed about. Gay men disguised as in shape gym bunnies were romping about inappropriately next to nothing despite the deceptively sunny morning with temp at about 57 degrees. The rest of us in our various forms of layering for the day looked on in confusion. Those boys nipples are going to just pop off! And even the crack whores were starting to get an early jump on the day. I only saw one soccer mom struggling with one of those strollers that requires an engineer to unfold. And, even then, a homeless veteran was hustling her for some money. She ignored him.
Yes. I was home and the Mayberry Pod People had not taken over!
Thank Goodness! …I was getting worried!
And, I felt a great stir of pride as I walked by the evil empire known as Starbucks and walked into my fave independently-owned coffee/donut shop where they know my name and got a kick-ass cup of java. I drove to the ocean and watched the surfer dudes struggle to find waves to catch and all the hippie chicks watching them as they shared a joint. Yep. I was home.
“The other day” could mean last month. “About a month ago” could end up translating to last year.
And, even further to the point, I seem to forget the order of the days and events that happened on them. Sometimes I can remember every detail of something that happened, but can’t pinpoint either when the “thing” happened. Just that it did.
And, other times, I know something happened on Monday around Noon but the memory of whatever happened is too cloudy to fully recall.
Part of this could be attributed to the boredom of my days and inability to work right now. But, the bigger piece probably relates to the phase of the “process” I am in as I try to get to the core of me.
Yes, I am living in a really lower than usual budget LifeTime Movie of the Week which has been rated TV-21. …a new rating devised by the network to allow it to air after 10pm.
Well, one just pushes forward. …and pushes. …and pushes.
Tricky. …this life of mine.
So, everyone seems to be creating their list of “The Best” movies of the first decade of the naughts. I take exception to the term “best” because all art is subjective. Entertainment, like beauty, is in the eye of the viewer. But, I wanted to compile a listing of the movies that I feel are not the best, but perhaps the most significant or important for the first decade of the double 0’s. These would not all make a list of my personal faves, but after a great deal of thought I do think that these are among the most important films made/released in the first decade of the 21st Century. I think these films will be watched, studied and continue to influence/inspire/provoke both filmmakers and audiences in years to come. Now, this list is just my opinion. I’ve tried to curb it to 15 movies with a nod to 5 others that didn’t quite make my list. The numbering of the list bears no importance. In my opinion, these films are all equal on some level or another.
2. PUNCH DRUNK LOVE (2002) – Paul Thomas Anderson’s highly original take on love, alienation and loneliness in the 21st Century. Especially important for film buffs is the experimental use of music, sound editing and light.
3. BEST IN SHOW (2000) – Christopher Guest’s ultimate comedy! His ‘stock’ of exceptional improvisational actors and clever editing make this the comedy to aim for — so many classic comedic moments!
4. OLDBOY (2003)
4. O’ BROTHER WHERE ART THOU? (2000) – I know that most are citing No Country for Old Men as the Cohen Bros primary contribution to cinema for this decade. But, for me, this re-imagining of Homer is their absolute finest hour. The style, wit, highly effective performances and music merge to create an entertaining and hopeful view of humanity which pacts quite a whallop.
5. THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES (2007) – Andrew Dominik’s film is about as perfect as any movie can get. If you’ve not seen it, you should. Stunning in every aspect.
6. INLAND EMPIRE (2006)
7. UNDER THE SAND (2006) – Francois Ozon’s complex examination of grief and the human struggle against the sheer horror of unresolved loss. I suspect this will be a movie that people will be talking about and studying in years to come.
8. ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND (2004) – Michel Gondry’s film of Charlie Kaufman’s intricate screenplay is so creative and complex that it mystifies the viewer and rewards upon repeated viewings. Using top notch film technology and effects — Gondry and the impressive cast lead us through the all-too-real story of doomed love. And, the sad realization that great love may not always last for all of us, but what a joyfully melancholy ride life can bring. This, in my view, is a very important film in the realm of cinema history.
9. GRIZZLY MAN (2005) – Werner Herzog’s tragic and fascinating documentary finally provides him with the perfect subject to match his own personality. Tho, the film breaks a lot of the “basic rules” that I tend to impose on documentaries — the power of this film and it’s maker is undeniable. A pure genius turn of film work.
9. CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON (2000) – Ang Lee’s brilliant film forever changed the face of martial art and epic filmmaking. And, at the same time, he created a movie which resonates in the human heart.
10. BRONSON (2008) – Nicolas Winding Refn’s film pays homage to Kubrick and carelessly tosses viewers into a sensory overload telling of the true life of Michael Petersen, Britain’s most notorious prisoner. Filmed without much thought of linear plot or character development — Refin creates magic. The film causes us to reflect on the impact of confinement, alter-ego, socialization, art, crime, punishment and the darkest corners of the human experience. Every frame is brilliant and Tom Hardy’s performance is one of the best I’ve ever seen.
5 OTHER NOTE WORTHY FILMS OF THE FIRST DECADE:
PALINDROMES, IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE/2046, FINDING NEMO, 3 IRON, THE DEATH OF MR. LAZARESCU.
…all of these movie absolutely blew me away!
Indie critics pretty much slammed this CD which Devendra Banhart released this past fall. My understanding from what I read was that many felt he was trying too hard to push into the area of commercial pop. So, when I finally heard the CD I was left to scratch my head trying to understand why critics would take this view point. In many ways, this CD is less commercial than his previous release. There is a rather filtered feel to the music on “What Will Be” — to borrow a word from one of his new songs — the music, at times, feels a bit muddy and murky. But this is not a negative thing. There is something so oddly dense and warm about this music. It sort of makes me want to pull up a blanket and just create a sort of sonic cocoon as it plays. Bums me out that it doesn’t seem to be getting the attention I think it deserves.
There seems to be so much re-hash and crap out there right now. It is so refreshing to hear something with a newly fused energy. Not at all commercial pop, but it deserves to reach the commercially successful level. I guess it won’t. But, sometimes, it is cooler when you find some music that feels more like just your own. …Your personal discovery. A sort of musical treasure.
Life continues to throw curve balls. I manage to dodge most of them. Sadly, I end up catching a few. Worse yet, I’ve been hit in the head by a couple. But, one must push forward. Especially when one finds one self using lame/cliche sport metaphor — and one knows nothing of sport.
I wish therapy days did not fill me with such dread and drain me of so much energy. I am told “we” are making exceptional progress. Yet, it feels like it is getting worse before it gets better. It is a feeling. I suppose it is not truth, but feelings are what I run on — so it can get quite grim from time to time.
However, then, something perfect will happen. I’ll see a surfer catch a wave with perfect balance and grace. Or, my lover will kiss me in that way that only he can. Or, I will hear an artist hit that one note that fills my heart with joy. …Or, I will catch a glimpse of what makes the struggle of life so brilliant.
And, it is in these moments of pure hope that I find the strength to keep pushing forward.
Several months ago, my hubby decided to devote more time to his true love: pursuit of his artistic drive. We are quite blessed to live in San Francisco which is filled with a wide variety of options for artist’s studios. We visited just about all of them, but The Islais Creek studios really seemed a great fit for Byron. This gallery of artists is varied, open, unpretentious and creativity flows with a sort of genuine friendliness that just felt right.
As Byron is a professional architect, his work projects a strong architectural structure, theme and feel. I’ve always found it quite interesting to watch Byron as he approaches a professional project. Very often, when he is about to design a project, space or building — he will start by taking a hike in the mountains or on the beach to collect objects which inspire him or resonate the concepts, surfaces, function and general aesthetic of the project. He brings them back and begins to carefully construct a sculpture that goes well beyond that of an architectural model. He actually constructs a piece of art which then takes him to the functional level of the architectural process: blue prints, CAD, design, etc. As a person who knows a limited amount about architecture, the resulting projects or designs or buildings seldom seem connected to the original sculpture which sent him out on his professional mission. Equally interesting to me, is that Byron often finds it odd that I don’t see or “feel” the connections between these sculptures and his designs.
But the power of the sculptures and drawings is often staggering to me.
Everything about his pieces seems to be constructed of sharp, industrial, organic and metal objects. A quick glance and I start to think of “edge” but once I look at any of his pieces I almost immediately begin to feel a sensual and quite beautifully soft elegance leaking out of connected bits that, on their own, hold no emotional appeal. I find myself wanting to touch this work. Several of Byron’s pieces have, for me, a strong sexual or erotic vibe that I am unable to articulate. Byron’s sculptures pull me in and fill me with a passionate sense of the true sensual.
So, I was thrilled when he decided to devote more of his personal time to the creation of his art.
This past weekend was his first ever Open Studio. It was held as a part of the Bay Area SFArtSpan Fall Open Studios 2009. Last weekend included The Islais Creek Studios. He intended this Open Studio to be a sort of “dry run” — so that he could perhaps get a feel for some unbiased feedback, chat more with the other artists at Islais Creek and determine how he should best approach the next phase of his artistic career. He had not yet finished his website and it is still not activated to ‘live’, his art card is a temporary one and he only had two days to establish his presentation. I was confident he would receive positive feedback. I’m not so sure he was.
The feedback surprised us both.
Not only was it quite positive — from the very beginning last Friday night individuals were asking Byron for a price list and were wanting to purchase pieces. Byron had not yet even gotten to the point of formulating the cost of his work. He is working on that now. And, I know that the SFArtSpan Spring Open Studios 2010 will allow him to fully present and show his work as he desires. The real work is just beginning — his website must go live, unfinished and unstarted pieces must now move forward and cards must be printed. However, as he approaches this new phase I can see the energy and positivity blooming in his eyes.
This is an exciting moment for Byron. And, for me.
For more info about Byron B Kim’s work stay tuned for a link to his website.
For more info about Islais Creek Studios and surrounding Bay Area San Francisco Art Studio Spaces following this link:
For more info about the Bay Area or San Francisco Art Scene check out ArtSpan here:
I suppose most think of New York City as THE PLACE for the art world in the US, but there is a very powerful group of artists in the Bay Area creating innovative and unforgettable work!
I meet so many cool artist: Rebecca Jackrel, Enrique Aquirre, the esteemed Eric Joyner (YOU MUST GOOGLE ERIC’s WORK! YOU SIMPLY MUST!), Rebecca Fox, Min Hwan Park (truly inspirational metal work and jewelry), Marlene Kwee and the esteemed Yong Han ( LIKE THE ERIC, YOU MUST GOOGLE TO SEE SOME OF YONG’s WORK! YOU MUST! )
I also met several artists who visited Byron’s studio — one of whom really blows me away with her work! I am attaching a link and one of the many incredible photographs you will find there.
This is “Street Scene” by Maria Bartola Mejia
— I hope she will not be offended that I placed this incredible image here, but I can’t fight the urge to share her work!
And, of course, there is the powerful work of my best pal, Alan Kropp, at his website — URBANE LIGHT. By the way, he will soon be publishing a book of his work!!!! Stay tuned for more on that!
I’m just filled with thoughts of art today. I wish I were an artist. I know, I know. I’m a writer, right? I don’t feel like a writer. True. I wrote a book — but few have read it and I don’t think it holds much merit. I’m not fishing here. I’m just being honest.
I think I have all the angst of an artiste but none of the talent. I feel like the little sister in Woody Allen’s INTERIORS.
Whey would someone spend this much money and not tell me who they are. And, tho, the box is beautiful — I immediately recognized it as the sort of box which Clive Barker has used as a fictional device of evil which brings demons into the lives of his characters in more than a couple books and movies. And, as I read the card I thought I remembered the line on the card — I google’d it and — yes, it is a line used in HELLRAISER.
Now, I might be being silly — but does this gift carry a certain creep value? And, I LOVE the DVD of the British Television Series/Experiment called JAM…but, JAM, too is so very sick & twisted I can’t help but wonder: does this gift give like me or are they trying to “tell” me something about his/her opinion of me?
I love looking at this box, and winding it up to hear the sweet but haunting little melody — but are demons going to sprout out if I ever press the part of the puzzle box which opens it — does this gift come with bad tidings?
Why would someone spend this much money and not tell me who they are?
So, if the gift giver is reading this — I want to express my thanks. I really appreciate these gifts. I do. And, I would really like to know who it is that has sent these incredible works of art into my life. …I loved the book, too. Tho, I will not share in public what the book is or is about — but that, too, in its own way is a bit worrying.
If the gift giver might be so inclined — perhaps he/she could drop me a line and let me know why they are. Because, I am a bit creep’d out.
Do you like me or hate me?
Fingers crossed that this individual who sends me gifts has no grudge against me for some reason.
love and kisses,
My mother has been creating some interesting art. Much of it is really quite good and of merit. She is going to be bringing some of it to a couple of galleries for evaluation.
The above is not representative of her work, but it makes me laugh. She has developed the rather “unusual” habit of drawing me as various people or personnas. She explained to me that the above is me as Rock Star. She has also drawn me as a black homeless man, a sort of black Jesus and a black female power executive. I’m not sure why she enjoys drawing me as a person of color, but I rather think it cool.
I stole Rock Star Matty from her.
Thought I would share the wonderment of my rock star self! I feel I look rather dapper in this one.
I did it! My book is published. Ok, ok — so I self published thru Amazon.com, but I did finally do it. And, as Sid once sang — or was it Frank? — I did it my way!
You can find it on Amazon.com — “Donut Holes” by Matty Stanfield!
No one will be reading it, but I did do it! Yay for me! It will also be in many of the indi-book stores throughout the Bay Area by mid June.
Between various personal issues, this is what I’ve been working on. Now, if I can just figure out how to format it into the Kindle mode! Damn technology!
…I’ve been listening to Juliette & The Licks as of late. …One hot kiss!