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‘Detective City Angel’: A short film by Alessandro Cima

Of his latest film, Detective City Angel, director Alessandro Cima says:

‘I think if you show this film to one thousand people, two will finish it. One of those will hate it. The other one won’t understand a damn bit of it. It’s too long and most people just won’t put up with it.’

A harsh and unfair summation from such a talented and original film-maker.

I like Alessandro Cima’s work, for it demands the full attention and response of its audience - it’s not enough to watch, Cima wants you to think about what you’re watching and question it. Dangerous film-making in these days of empty CGI spectacle and the worn words of scripts edited by focus group.

Films should be dangerous, and as Orson Welles once said:

‘A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet.’

Which is a fair description of Cima’s vision.

Even so, he’s correct. Detective City Angel will not be to everyone’s taste - why should it? It’s a dream film that crosses genres, and plays with identity and authorship. it also hints at Goddard, Anger, Polanski, and Jarman, but is very much Cima’s film, in his own distinct style. Alessandro explained some of the ideas behind Detective City Angel to Dangerous Minds:

‘It’s a dream noir about Los Angeles and the unconscious creative mind which has several parts in conflict at all times. That conflict is deadly and life-affirming at the same time. The detective is perhaps an imaginary threat of failure, inertia or the eventual exposure of an artist’s feelings of fraudulence. The city is both muse and death dealer. Its outward mask presents sexuality and beauty which conceal a vicious survival of the fittest. The angel is seemingly innocent and always threatened with extinction. Its creative spirit is neurotic but ultimately pure. I try to balance all of these and keep them in some sort of pleasurable conflict.’

What was your intention in making it?

‘To make something totally mystifying. I wanted to mix genres in several ways. To mix the fundamental viewpoint of noir with documentary, abstract film, and narrative film, without any concern for reproducing the look and technique of noir. To make abstraction that collapses into a narrative, which sort of has the effect of making the viewer forget having seen the abstract part. I’m not sure if that works. It’s sort of like having a dream and not remembering what it was later in the day. I see no reason why experimental film should not mix freely with narrative film. In addition, I wanted to use the tendency toward secret identities in the world of street art and pull that into the crime genre. I think it’s a perfect fit and presents enormous possibilities for crime films.’

What drew you to the subject?

‘I’ve been somewhat involved with the art world and felt that the concealing of identity was in itself an interesting artwork. I was also intrigued by the surprisingly deep and wonderful history of Los Angeles. Noir and the crime film are the best available forms for representing L.A.

‘I make films in a rather dream-like state. I allow my thoughts to wander and actually spend time following false leads. I tend to operate in a general mode of playing with identity. No one is ever who they seem to be or think they are. The layering of image, sound and meaning demands that a viewer watch with extremely focused attention - a demand which is nearly impossible for a web viewer to fulfill. The film is a secret revealing itself very gradually and with many false impressions. It incorporates images that are both invented and real but it doesn’t want you to know which is which. Layering unrelated things, if done with seriousness, creates new meanings and propels a film in a direction that is not entirely under the director’s control. If something happens with layered images on any given day that suggests a new course for the film, then I take the new course. I use a few black & white found footage clips in this one to punch up certain noir/crime aspects.’

Previously on Dangerous Minds

Alessandro Cima’s ‘Glass Boulevard’


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The art of resurrecting dead animals

Thanks to the fine folks at Morbid Anatomy I just discovered the fascinating web show “The Midnight Archive” created by Brooklynite Ronni Thomas. It’s the first offering from online network

The Midnight Archive is a new web series which aims to document the exotic, the strange, the eccentric and the truly unique. Often dark and always on the fringe, the series puts an honest look into some of the most fascinating people, places and artifacts that many people are wildly unfamiliar with. From a woman who mummifies pets to the largest collection of automata, the idea is for the subject matter to tell its own story and give the viewer just a taste of something ‘unusual’. No dramatic stings, no editorial drama - just the facts.

In this episode, we visit Sue Jieven who in addition to being a tattoo artist is an anthromorphic taxidermist which is the art of “taking an animal’s skin, preparing it, and putting it in a human-like setting.”

“The Midnight Archive” consists of six episodes so far and they all make for compelling viewing.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
The Lifecycle of a Mushroom: Inspired by 1920s animation
02:05 pm



Brought to you by Spectacular Science, “a collaborative project between the University for the Creative Arts and the University of Kent, which aims to provide a wide audience with access to scientific knowledge and support the education of students in science subjects.”

Trippy Disney-style animation by Thomas Beg.

(via Mister Honk)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
David Bowie: ‘Aladdin Sane’ photo session outtakes
11:04 am


David Bowie
Aladdin Sane
Brian Duffy

How to Be a Retronaut has these wonderful photo outtakes shot by photographer Brian Duffy in 1973 of David Bowie as “Aladdin Sane.” I’ve never seen these images before.



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One minute and 23 seconds of some kind of weird bliss
01:57 am


Jian sword dancing

This makes me ecstatic - the music, the sword moves and all the odd little details within the frame. I love the old lady sitting placidly like a Buddha, the plump little dog who couldn’t care less, the giant boom box, the way the boy casually hands off his beer to Buddha granny and gracefully slips into the girl’s vortex immediately getting into the groove, the thrift store art hanging on the door, the mop, bucket etc. It’s extraordinarily ordinary like some kind of super-realist painting set in motion. I don’t know, it’s just fucking inspired.The Tao flows through suburbia on Jian swords of bliss. Who are these people and how do I become one with them? I did not want this to end.

Via The Whoa

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The only known film footage of the inside of Max’s Kansas City

Ciao! Manhattan director David Weisman claims that this is “the only known footage of the inside of Max’s Kansas City.” Of course, he’s not including all the films and videos of performances shot at Max’s. But those don’t reveal what the club as a whole looked like.

A brief glimpse into New York’s epicenter of cool when everything and everyone seemed larger than life.

Viva, Richie Berlin, Ara Gallant and Paul America make fleeting appearances. This was shot in the late Sixties. Weisman narrates.

Thanks to Leee Black Childers for the photo.

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Occupy Your Mind: An Interview with Alejandro Jodorowsky
04:06 pm


Alejandro Jodorowsky

The great Chilean-born director, artist, writer, shaman and “criminal madman, ” Alejandro Jodorowsky interviewed via Skype from a hotel room in NYC on October 30th.

Topics include Occupy Wall Street, why revolutions fail but mutation succeeds, the magical side of reality, the search for gurus and wisdom and why Twitter is the haiku of this century!  Jodorowsky’s films El Topo and The Holy Mountain are available on Blu-ray from ABKCO.


Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Trailer for ‘Eames: The Architect and The Painter’

This looks splendid! Eames: The Architect and The Painter opens on November 18, 2011 at Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles. For more playdates go here. From the movie’s webiste:  

The husband-and-wife team of Charles and Ray Eames are widely regarded as America’s most important designers. Perhaps best remembered for their mid-century plywood and fiberglass furniture, the Eames Office also created a mind-bending variety of other products, from splints for wounded military during World War II, to photography, interiors, multi-media exhibits, graphics, games, films and toys. But their personal lives and influence on significant events in American life—from the development of modernism, to the rise of the computer age—has been less widely understood. Narrated by James Franco, Eames: The Architect and the Painter is the first film dedicated to these creative geniuses and their work.

Eames: The Architect and The Painter

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Charles and Ray Eames: Mystical toys
Eames Inspired Prosthetic Leg

(via Kotte)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
60s and 70s Asian album covers

David Greenfield has amassed a collection of records from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Japan which are all available for purchase online. I liked going through his collections from the 60s and 70s. It’s a great resource for loopy graphic design inspiration!


More after the jump…

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‘Twin Peaks’ in Red Vines® by Jason Mecier
12:52 pm


Twin Peaks
Jason Mecier
Red Vines

Endlessly creative artist collage/mosaic artist Jason Mecier’s new exhibit “Licorice Flix, Edible Movie Mosaics” also features portraits of Harry Potter, Willy Wonka, ET, Elizabeth Berkley in Show Girls and Freddy Krueger rendered in Red Vines®. As usual, they’re pretty amazing.

Appropriately, there is a portrait of Charlie Chaplin included. It’s a little-known fact that the shoe the Little Tramp boils and eats in The Gold Rush was made of licorice by the American Licorice Company, the same company who make Red Vines® (and who are sponsoring the art show).

The show is opening at the IAm8Bit Gallery at 2147 W. Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles, with a reception for the artist on November 4 from 7-10 PM.




Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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