Archive for June, 2008

Hors de prix

June 24, 2008

Look at that shot above and tell me it doesn’t arouse even the faintest of curiosities deep inside you, underneath all that flea-infested swag that Hollywood regularly thrusts into everyone of us. Well, Hors de prix is not far from brusque Hollywood-ish sentimentality, but it does seem to withhold enough mystery about its characters to keep the film interesting for some time. Whip together a sly sense of humor carefully crafted by the leading characters’ lack of morality and a seemingly endless supply of charm and sexuality coupled with lavish decors of upper-class living in southern France and the carnal weaknesses of their affluent elderly counterparts, and we got a delectable yet frivolous comedy about a man’s unrequited love for a high-class “prostitute”.

Hors de prix (or Priceless, as it’s known in the Western world)  has one of those disgustingly romantic-sounding taglines – “She only dated men with money…until she met a man with a heart“, and the film maneuvers dangerously close to cloying ineptitude. But the characters are quite fun to watch, especially Irene (Audrey Tautou), who reveals a boyish charm underneath all her shrwedness and insecurity. There are of course “recurring” moments that get recalled just enough times to make a dint in the audience’s temporal memory, but none of these really should be anything new to the experienced wayfarer of cinema. While it does posses minor social commentary on the relationships between the wealthy and the working-class, given a choice, I think I’d probably prefer Leconte over Salvadori for contemporary French comedies.

Street shots

June 15, 2008

Over at WNYC, there’s a nice piece featuring six video interviews (although only four are up as of now) with street photographers from New York. Personally, I find street photography a challenge, never being able to surmount the fear of approaching strangers armed with just a lens and an excuse that photography is my hobby. Bruce Gilden (in the first interview), who’s quite a famous name in street photography, has no such restraints. He even uses a flash right in front of his subjects, which I find alarming and frankly a tad disturbing. What amazes me more is that the people (in the video) appear unflustered by a blistering flash of light smack in their faces in the middle of the afternoon! Gilden’s technique is blunt, unflattering and baroque; it is also candid, raw, and a little frightening. But it works – for him. For everyone else, we all have to find our own crack in the wall.

Rod Y Gab

June 2, 2008

It’s been a few months since I last listened to Rod Y Gab, and I just stumbled across them a few days back. Reliving the acoustic dynamics that throbs from the guitars of this tempestuous duo, their melodious thumps made my heart convulse like never before. An excerpt from this review of their live performance at New York describes them as “Mariachi Metal”, a fitting description to this high-tempo metallic cadence:

It’s as if a roaming band of mariachis met up with a nomadic pack of Metallica die-hards on the road somewhere, and nine months later, two stars were born. One-part satanic rock, one-part angelic classical; sheer fuck-your-face acoustic awesomeness in totality.

I simply cannot wait to catch them live later this year.

[image from last.fm]