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The Past | The Previous

The Blue Mountains are on fire, the outer suburbs of Sydney are full of smoke, and it's fucking hot. Summer, finally.



The smoke was a few days ago, but I wanted to keep the Hate stuff at the front of the blog, so I refrained from posting the image.

Anyhow, the American born director Robert Altman died during the week, and a lot of people wrote in a lot of places about how much they liked his films, and how much of a loss it was, but I was cold to the work he produced. I can't remember a film of his that did anything for me, though at the same time, I don't remember hating any. Still, that's how it is at times, and I don't need the recommendations to change my mind. Plenty of other films out there that I have to watch by directors who interest me.

"Retirement?" Altman said, once. "You're talking about death, right?"

Indeed.
 

Comments

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strangedave
Nov. 25th, 2006 05:49 am (UTC)
Film buffs have convinced me that Altmans enormous filmography had much in it of great value - I doubt I'll ever do more than skim it. One such had my favourite Altman film (Gosford Park) rated at his 9th best on their list - which is obviously a subjective list, but indicates that there is some real depth there. He certainly had some distinctive stylistic touches that he used again and again, some of which are unlikely to be to everyones taste (big ensemble cast, anthology style film, dialogue that with speaker that overlap in a way thats natural but hard to follow). As it happens, I like all of those. And I also liked that he wasn't afraid to give his films a bitter cynical tone when appropriate.

And as it turned out, he was right on retirement - he was due to direct a film early next year.
benpeek
Nov. 25th, 2006 08:12 am (UTC)
i remember seeing GOSFORD PARK when it came out. it was okay, i thought, but afterwards i just forgot about it. i've got nothing against the assemble cast, etc stuff, either, but you know, some times things just miss the mark for you, y'know?

i did know about the next film--that's why i liked the quote.
strangedave
Nov. 25th, 2006 09:36 am (UTC)
Yeah, exactly - its a taste thing. Altman generally floats my boat, but like Gene Wolfe (or Joss Wheddon for that matter), while the quality is undeniably there its a quite distinct style that will really work for some people, and not for others.
benpeek
Nov. 25th, 2006 09:44 am (UTC)
on an aside, i don't dig what wolfe does, either. there's something about his style that just annoys me. i actually dislike the way he writes. i couldn't even tell you why--pure taste.

on the other hand, i don't mind whedon, though i don't think he's the genius a lot of others do. but i've dug what he's done in the past a fair bit.
ex_chrisbil
Nov. 25th, 2006 11:10 am (UTC)
Ah, it was this time two years ago that I was just departing Australia. *le sigh*

I'll be back.

I remember a guide mentioning that when Europeans first arrived in Australia, they were dismayed to see the Aboriginals fucking chippin' it through the blue mountains dropping fire behind them, torching the whole place. They later found out that they do it to kind of renew the area, burn it down, have it grow up a fresh almost immediately. He made out that it's the only way they can survive/thrive?

Anyway, I would say something like "Stupid White Men" or the like, but it's just not true. It's funny, but I have to admit that in the same situation I would probably be like "Shit! What are you doing!"
benpeek
Nov. 25th, 2006 11:18 am (UTC)
i'm not quite sure how the burning went. it has a name, but fucked if i can remember it right now--fire stick burning? dunno. it was, of course, what the aboriginals did, and it worked all well and good, but without having any real knowledge in the area, i do seem to remember reading articles that said that it isn't the solution for the area now, given the larger population or something.

but i wouldn't quite me on it. the country has been in drought for ages now--it's just dry out there. rub two sticks together and half the mountains go up, or so it seems.
(Anonymous)
Nov. 25th, 2006 03:13 pm (UTC)
The English word for it is firefarming. It's believed that Indigenous Australians radically changed the country's flora through firefarming - now, the only trees that are left are the ones that either thrive on or can survive frequent fires. Supposedly other types of flora were pretty much weeded out by firefarming. Harmonious co-existence of man and nature? No such thing. We take, take, take.
Agnes
benpeek
Nov. 27th, 2006 11:47 pm (UTC)
see, this is what i like bout my blog: always smarter people round to help me out.
leelowe
Nov. 27th, 2006 03:43 pm (UTC)
Hating Ben Peek
OK, Ben, I'm new here - came via Clare Dudman - but am always willing spread a little hate.

benpeek
Nov. 27th, 2006 11:46 pm (UTC)
Re: Hating Ben Peek
that's cool. welcome to the blog :)
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