Blog March 2009 -
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Saturday 14th March

Sita Sings the Blues

I linked to NinaPaley in my fourth ever blog post, back in December 2001(!) - though some content on this site dates way back to 1994!

Anyway, Nina Paley is a great animator and strip cartoonist, I first noticed her political stuff like Binge-o , and I see she's now active on copyright issues , releasing Sita Sings the Blues under a "Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License" - I.e. you can copy the film, show it, even re-use bits to create new work, all without asking or paying, as long as you acknowledge that Nina Paley as the author of the film!

Now if you want to give her money , you can. The donations go towards getting 1920's songs used in the film out of copyright jail .

I really enjoyed the film, showing as part of Flatpack 3 . It retells the (indian epic) story of Rama and Sita, and took Nina five years to make, following the break up of a relationship when her partner decided he liked India more than her (at least, that's the story).

You can watch it online , and why not donate the price of some pop-corn, or a bit more!

Friday 13th March 2009

Lunar Lights

Wandered along to the Floodgate Kino, cafe, chill-out and art-space for Flatpack, to see Moon Dreams, a collection of films about the moon (and the stars). Repeated from Weds, was Georges Melies Le voyage dans la lune (YouTube with english commentary or french and piano ).

Also showing was Scott Johnston's atmospheric film of Brian Duffy's Optophonic Lunaphone (YouTube) performance, in which star-light was transformed into sound. Really made me feel like I was there, which was great as I was unable to attend the original as I was out of the country. I was praying for rain in the UK, so they would defer it to the next week when I was back!

The evening was rounded off by Andrew Smith, author of Moon Dust, reading his account of Apollo 11 landing on the moon, with the un-edited film from the lander, showing exactly what the astronauts saw. It was a hairy landing, and very well read. Think I'll get hold of a copy of his book.

Weds 11th March 2009

Curzonora with the Destoyers

Part of Birmingham's great Flatpack Festival , Curzonara featured some of the earliest films to be shown (and made!) in the city. Waller Jeffs is cinema entrepreneur, setting up his amazing "moving pictures" in the (now demolished) Curzon Hall. Initially, the shear novelty of anything moving was enough, but Mr Jeffs guaranteed audiences by going out and filming the people of the city (who, we know, according to The Destroyers, have to learn to live as one ).

Speaking of The Destroyers , they provided music for all the films, including many specially composed pieces, and really showed their musical versatility.

My favourite film of the night had to be an early "Lassie" style short, in which a dog rescues a stolen baby. Nice pictures of "slum" style housing, and an amazingly well trained dog!

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