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The Man from Calanda (An Inevitable Bit of Discussion)

March 5, 2007

A screenwriter named Jean-Claude Carrière once stated that if Luis Buñuel had been born in a different time, he still would have been the same Luis Buñuel. Fortunately, for us, Buñuel was born in a great time that seemed suited only for him. The time of the Surrealist.

From the moment he showed the slicing of young girls eye by a straight edge razor on screen, we knew that he was to be the czar of all filmmaking oddities. We also knew that he was to be a giant of controversy. His general dislike towards the message of Christianity was a constant theme in his films, and was never subliminally brought across; it was in the open for all men to see.

As odd a man he was, and fundamentally disagreeable to myself, he is one of the most influential giants, of whom’s shoulders I stand upon. His work contains a sheer magnetism that cannot be surpassed (especially by the filmmakers of today). The fact that he openly stated his beliefs and disgusts towards society, and was not afraid to do so, is quite inspiring.

His work wasn’t always dealing in the sanctity of religion, but sometimes in the throws of sex. It was his second most talked about subject. Another inspiring aspect of the man’s work; the ability to talk about the taboos of “S” word in the time 1920s-1970s world.

The funny little bastard would have never survived the Reagan era. I guess that’s why it seems so appropriate that death came to him when it did. When he died just before the “dark years” of cinema, he left a note in his work that said he would never be tied down, never be stopped. Not by the church, not by politics, and not by the weak stomached. Sure some of his work had been once banned, but not by the likes of which the 80s would have dealt. It shows that it was not meant to be.

It’s safe to say that Luis Buñuel was born at the right time and he died at the right time.

Kyle W. Sutton

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Of Mice and Mold

March 4, 2007

They cross the world’s great oceans to spill their blood upon the sands of a one day forgotten desert. They perish for a land that is not ours. Their end is one of sacrifice, yet many of them return unsung. Most of them.

The Wounded SoldierThose who return from their call of active duty with the wounds of battle upon them, are promised a caring treatment from our great government along with one of it’s appointed curators, Major General George Weightman. They are given the privilege to stay in the halls of building 18 of the Walter Reed Hospital; the rotting, pest infested, molding infrastructure that houses our heroic wounded.

How devilish that “our boys” are sent to a hell across the globe, and return harmed (mentally and physically) only to find recovery in a wet paper bag. It is a testament as to why so many have come to distrust our great government. They constantly prove that the objective matters over the human element, and that a casualty is statistic; not a human life. It is then us who have to shoulder their great follies for the rest of the world to see.

Their mistakes like this reflect the people of our society in the eyes of every other nation. We can only hope that they can salvage the pieces of their sunken act, before our empire makes it’s great fall.

Kyle W. Sutton

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Ode to the Tale of the Over-Coddled (The Work Considered Second Best)

February 28, 2007

“The magnificence of the Ambersons began in 1873. Their splendor lasted throughout all the years that saw their midland town spread and darken into a city.” – The Narrator

The magnificence of Orson Welles began in 1941 with a film (in and of which he starred, wrote, produced, and directed) about America’s own Kubla Khan; a man who bore the name Charles Foster Kane. A film tender, radiant, and poignantly beautiful was Citizen Kane. An exciting piece of artwork that took the toll of 150, 000 dollars upon the company of Radio-Keith-Orpheum. But no matter was the commercial failure of Kane, for it opened the gate to the new standard; the one of avant-garde beauty.

Following the beauty of one, The Iconoclast (we will call him) crafted the beauty of another; the story of the well-to-doers, who fell from their grace with the evolution of society and industry (the low and poetic dialect of Welles pushed the tale forward with a delightful narration). The second film was as beautiful as the first, but this was something society could not and cannot see.

How ignorant that the film known as The Magnificent Ambersons, is overlooked by the society of now. How truly sad that so much poison can seep into the cracks of the mainstream Hollywood, while this film goes unnoticed by the so-called lovers of art. It’s an exceptionally odd act to portray a man’s first film as the greatest ever made, and not give mention of his equally incredible second.

I can truly say, of The Iconoclast’s film, that it exceeded my hopeful expectations and expanded my thoughts on what I considered “the best films of all time”. I also say that it’s quality was on par with the greatest aesthetics I’ve ever known. A tender, lyrical, yet topsy turvy illustration of a defining era of America. I find it necessary to hereby rate this among my top films and top works of art, thus granting it a place in my heart and ever-expanding mind.

From myself and all the others, who know: To Orson Welles, The Iconoclast, we salute.

Kyle W. Sutton

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Behind the Eyes of A Sphinx

February 3, 2007

Greta Garbo by Clarence Bull

Here we speak of a woman named Greta Gustafsson. The Swedish Sphinx, they called her under another name. She came from Stockholm and captured the eyes of the entire world. They, at first, did not know her voice, but soon fell in love with it when she ordered a whiskey.

She was a woman of strength. She persevered through silence and sound, felt love and loss at it’s worst, and shaped the dreams of audiences everywhere. After a life in front of cameras she quickly changed, spending her latter days strolling up and down the streets of 5th Avenue and buying antiques for her spacious New York apartment. Then a life of near seclusion followed. Hidden by her fear of overzealous fans and selfless mobs always hounding her. Setting herself apart from those, who without shame, photographed her from atop great high-rises as if she were an oddity. Her life was puzzling in ways that many cannot understand.

Those who knew her called her a woman of great humor. But, behind that humor you saw something of pain in her eyes. On the film rolls you saw a woman, often crying for help. “What is this pain?” you asked yourself. It had to be true, if it resonated so on the screen. You wanted to push through the walls of the screen and protect her from the world that was troubling her.

You wanted to hold Anna Christie in your arms, in spite of the profession she held, of which her new-found beau and absentee father disapproved. You wanted to tell Grusinskaya, the Russian ballerina, that Baron Geigern was dead. You wanted to save her the pain of wondering why he would never make it to the train. You wanted to give Christina, queen of Sweden, a bit of comfort after the loss of Antonio, for whom she gave her crown away. You then feel guilt. If only you could have grabbed Anna Karenina before she took her own life, you could have told her that Vronsky still had feelings for her. And you’d tell Marguerite Gautier that Armand, wherever he was, still loved her.

You wanted to bring yourself to tears. You felt all these things. It made you realize that someone who could bring about such a selection of feelings, could possibly have been the greatest actress in all of the world. And that’s what she was. She was Garbo.

Kyle W. Sutton

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The Feeling Begins…

January 17, 2007

The man with the silver hair believes that he knows all that can be known. He stands in the pulpit and screams down upon the name of Kazanztakis. What has that name done? Has he used his God-given imagination to identify with his savior? I’m sure of it. He made a safe haven for men like you and I to wonder, and feel inspiration beyond the words of our beloved Gospels. “Blasphemy!” Yells the church. “We’ve not the need for free thinking,”

They don’t care to read the disclaimers at the beginning of the masterpiece. If they do, they will only scoff. That is their nature. They don’t believe it a good thing for you to believe what you want to believe. And they don’t know of anything other than what their stuffy traditions tell them. They don’t care to know.

To them it is unconceivable for a messiah to deal with the pain of tempation. We the people should have no way to aspire to the true body of the son of God. That’s how they see it. That’s what they believe. To them the forty nights in the desert were some sort of picnic, and Satan was some door to door salesman. We’re not interested, and that’s that with a shut of the door. You can hesitate to turning that stone into bread with no effort, for no man feels tempted.

They strike at art like brood of vipers. They don’t sit around to hear the message. Just make sure you stick around for their’s. “Look, the Messiah has come down from his cross,” They shout, and run out into the world to spread lies. They never wait. They never hear the words, “It is Accomplished.”

Kyle W. Sutton

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A Place Called Sleep

December 16, 2006

I dreamt a little dream. I dreamt a dream of Merian C. Cooper with Ernest B. Shoedsack. I dreamt of the Great War, The land of Grass and Life, The drama of the wilderness, and of an island Southwest of Sumatra. I dreamt of The Most Dangerous Game with Robert and Fay, I dreamt of Flying Down to Rio. I dreamt of these things that are apart of the world’s past, but their existence shapes my future.

I dreamt again. I dreamt of Ishmael’s midlife crisis. I dreamt of Queequeg and his shrunken heads, and of his coffin; the life buoy. I dreamt of Ahab, and of his leg. I dreamt of how he turned his cheek from The Rachel, and refused her aid in her search for the “lost children”. I dreamt of The White Whale and the blood upon his tally. I then dreamt of Starbuck, Stubb, Tashtego, and of little Pip. I dreamt of Elijah and his dark foretells. I dreamt of an aspiration.

The aspiration brought on the dreams of the worlds I’ve not yet created. Things I’ve not yet seen with my eyes, but have known in my mind. The aspiration then gave a cue to release the things I’ve concieved in the dark that have waited for proper revealing.

I still don’t wake up. Smoking Pipes, Harpoons, darts, whales, dogfights, neo-sainthood, blood, and God. Do I have your attention yet? A Debrie camera, a caged tiger, a stampede of Elephants; the animal called Chang. A country in need, a man with no god, a man with visions and addictions, I dream of my world.

These are the things that I think about constantly. The pieces of art, film history, and the work I would like to accomplish. All of it holds significance to me. I place it here for you, so you don’t have to ask who I am, or why I am. This is it.

Kyle W. Sutton

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May Angels Sing Thee to Thy Rest

November 23, 2006

           

Robert Altman
20 February 1925 – 20 November 2006

In a world where heroes are scarce, we find it tragic to lose an influence. Today is one of those days.

Director Robert Altman has died. He was 81 years old, and has left behind him a great legacy. He helped make a great impact on the photo-play industry with his innovative ways of directing. His use of overlapping dialogue and improvisation helped push plot lines along with a sense of never before seen realism. His career has been broad, stretching from The Cold Day in the Park, M*A*S*H (for which he won the Academy Award for Best Directing), The Long Goodbye, Thieves Like Us, Nashville, The Player(Nominated for Academy Award), Short Cuts(Nominated for Academy Award), Kansas City, Gosford Park(Nominated for Academy Award for Best Director), and his latest film A Prairie Home Companion.

In 2006 he accepted an honorary Oscar for a lifetime achievement in directing.

In my mind he was one of the greatest. There is no amount of words that can express how his work has shaped my thoughts and feelings about film and the use of dramatic comedy. With M*A*S*H, he taught us that in the midst of hilarity, true drama can shine through. The final result is a strong connection with characters that could usually be very two dimensional. This is a lesson that has stuck out to me as an aspiring maker of films, and I am ever thankful for it.

He has been a major influence in the lives of many young filmmakers, including mine. My condolences go out to his family and friends. He will truly be missed.

Kyle W. Sutton