Archive for the clockwork orange Category

‘Clockwork Orange’ manga: “Outer Alec” (アウターレック)

Posted in clockwork orange, japan, manga with tags , , , , , , , on April 17, 2009 by reccaphoenix

Not going to give a lot of background here, but the other day I got a chance to flip through a 1973 issue of the Japanese weekly shounen (boy’s) manga magazine Shounen Jump.  While perusing this, I came across what appeared to be a manga-style Alex deLarge lookalike:
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"Outer Alec" title page, the only image of this manga I can find anywhere on the internet.

"Outer Leck" title page, the only image of this manga I can find anywhere on the internet. The subtitle for this chapter is "man-eating beasts."

This manga is called “アウターレック” which transliterates to “Outer Leck” or “Outer Alec” (I’ve seen it written as both アウターレック and あうたあれっく, but people in the manga seem to call the main character “Leck” [レック] most of the time.)  “Outer Leck” seems to be a sci-fi story packed with (ultra-)violence – Leck is some kind of wanted criminal with a price on his head.

Leck’s appearance (bowler hat, haircut, and dark false bottom-eyelashes) heavily resembles that worn by A Clockwork Orange‘s hero Alex deLarge in Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 film version of the novel, and his name (with adjustments for odd Japanese transliteration) is similar to Alex, which is アレックス in Japanese.  The manga came out in 1973, so similarities to the film are likely far more than coincedental – Leck even has a cane-sword almost exactly like Alex’s.

This manga is virtually unknown and was never issued in tankoubon (book compilations which re-publish the story outside of the magazine).  The only info I can find is in Japanese, and has not told me much.  This manga only ran for 19 issues in 1973 (Shonen Jump 1973 #8-27) and was written by the author of the popular series “Worst,” Koutarou Komuro.

This comic constitutes another example of A Clockwork Orange‘s widespread international influence.  It’s an interesting find, indeed, and I only wish there were some way that I could read this manga.

Malcolm again.

Posted in artwork, cinema, clockwork orange, comix, shameless parody with tags on April 24, 2008 by reccaphoenix
…Why is it that almost everything I post here has to do with A Clockwork Orange and/or Malcolm McDowell (the star of that film), by the way?

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If you don’t get it….it concerns the prevalence of nudity in McDowell’s more well-known films, namely if…, Clockwork Orange, Caligula, Britannia Hospital, and Cat People.

Talk about typecasting.

I think once a film actor/actress gets seen doing nudity in one film….it just takes off from there (and not necessarily for the better).  Helen Mirren said in an interview once that she is well-known in the UK for similarly doing a lot of roles with nudity….

And yes, the half-head visible by the camera in the ACO scene is Stanley Kubrick.

Similarities – Funeral Parade of Roses and A Clockwork Orange

Posted in cinema, clockwork orange, mod, reviews/opinions, video with tags , , , on April 20, 2008 by reccaphoenix

It’s a fact – A Clockwork Orange emulated the visual style of several scenes and elements of Funeral Parade of Roses, which came out several years earlier in 1969. This article will discuss the similarities between the two, and my overall impressions of said “borrowing.”
First of all, this article is not meant to say that A Clockwork Orange is a bad film because of this – the films’ plots and overall constructions of timespace are vastly different, and ACO is still a brilliant film. And besides, many people who have seen Funeral Parade of Roses did so because they heard about how much Kubrick loved and used things from the film.
First there’s the sped-up long take set to electronic, happy classical music. FPR uses it during Continue reading

Review – Funeral Parade of Roses [薔薇の葬列]

Posted in cinema, clockwork orange, mod, reviews/opinions, video with tags , , on April 18, 2008 by reccaphoenix

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Funeral Parade of Roses (1969, Japan) dir. Toshio Matsumoto.  Feature film.  B&W, 35mm.

(Japanese title “bara no souretsu” 薔薇の葬列)

Funeral Parade of Roses tells a twisted, doubled, postmodern Oedipus Rex story with Japan’s gay bars as the setting. The main character, Eddy (played brilliantly here by the actor Peter), a beautiful transvestite, strives for a better position at the gay bar in which he works. However, as he gets closer and closer to displacing his “mama-san” Leda (Osamu Ogasawara), flashbacks from his violent past become more and more frequent. Eddy finds himself involved with a group of druggies and experimental filmmakers that includes the mysterious Guevara (Toyosaburo Uchiyama) along the way.

But reducing this film to such a simple “plot” summary does it no justice. I can’t even begin to describe the amazing structure of the film, which uses documentary footage, parody sequences, postmodern pastiche, and a non-linear timespace structure to create a mesmerizing yet disheartening material world. The movie also involves several films-within-a-film: a documentary, Guevara’s art films, and possibly another film very similar to Funeral Parade. At any one time, are we watching a fiction film, a documentary, or some kind of “metafilm?” And are the characters meant to be taken seriously? The line between art, protest, and ridiculous nonsense becomes blurred, and we find it difficult to discern what we are meant to see in any one scene. Leda primps in her evil queen mirror.

The film references multiple sources of all types, whether through movie posters on the street or direct visual cues. For example, the “evil” boss Leda is often seen in a mirror like the evil queen in Snow White. As you can see from the image, the black-and-white cinematography is absolutely gorgeous.

Speaking of references, I noticed several cinematic techniques that closely, closely resemble those used in certain scenes of A Clockwork Orange, which was made two years later. These similarities will be the subject of a later article.

Fans of the 1960s will love this film, it has everything from mod clothes to go-go dancing to drug-addled parties. The documentary sequences, when they can be discerned, also offer an interesting look into the time period.

Peter’s acting is fantastic between Eddy’s present and past selves, as well as the coy/dangerous dichotomy that dictates his actions.

Many scenes seem out-of-place or not part of the film at all…until we cut to the next scene and realize what they were. Constantly sorting out the film’s broken-up timespace, exploring Eddy’s past and present, we are disoriented, yet the film’s plot still comes through. Similarly, the multiple “references” to other works don’t have to be understood or registered for one to enjoy the film, although they certainly add deeper dimensions to one’s appreciation of its complexities. A wonderful balance of experimentalism-disorientation and dramatic plot moments is created.

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However, breaks from the “main” narrative in the form of drug parties and multiple scenes of parties at the gay bar take away a lot from the film. They are fun and ridiculous to watch, but go on for too long and for

too many scenes. It’s an interesting “realist” break from a strict narrative (which does reach a resolution), along with the film’s many dangling plot threads, but just like the pot party scene in Blow-Up, it only makes me feel impatient. The same issue is present in the sex scenes – there are too many of them and they go on for too long. It’s very funny to hear the disjointed carnival music used throughout the film ironically enter and exit during parts of these “love scenes,” but it feels as if the point could be made in one or two shorter scenes. What we do see is in extreme close-up, difficult to discern, and very uncomfortable. But perhaps, knowing this, Matsumoto deliberately drew these scenes out to excess.

Thus the “pointlessness” of these scenes and my impatience just shows how far I am from the era and from the real message of this film – that there is no message, that ultimately the line between parody and drama is almost nonexistent.

Rating: 9/10

Availability: The UK DVD and Japanese DVD (both region 2) both have English subtitles. Unfortunately there is no Region 1 DVD for the USA yet, but for those with region-free players….you know what to do >: )

Trailer: http://youtube.com/watch?v=-nY9hXSumMU

Time & Place

Posted in advertising, artwork, cinema, clockwork orange, kitsch on March 29, 2008 by reccaphoenix

I just watched Helvetica, (I highly recommend it for anyone remotely interested in any aspect of design) and it really got me thinking about some of the more “invisible” factors that give away what decade something comes from. So I did a markup sheet of some “Reccalux™” (my “movie studio”) logo/ad things. I would love to hear your suggestions and comments. The ’60s one was hard to do, and the font, Timepiece, is actually from the ’70s (it was used for the title of A Clockwork Orange).

I didn’t really do any research, though. I feel like I should’ve.

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’60s modernist/early ’90s/’70s modernist/’50s commercial art styles (an attempt)
©2008 by Recca Phoenix

Trainspotting and A Clockwork Orange

Posted in cinema, clockwork orange, reviews/opinions with tags , , , , , , on January 23, 2008 by reccaphoenix

I recently saw the movie “Trainspotting,” and noticed many eerie similarities between the film and “A Clockwork Orange.” You could write it all off as coincidence except for the fact that when the guys are in the nightclub where Rent Boy meets his underage lover: there is a room with black walls with (“Voloko” + something) written on them in the same font and style as the Moloko bar in ACO. Also, the shot there where it slowly zooms in to the guys is basically a reverse of Kubrick’s opening shot in ACO. So, given that the director/set designer directly references ACO, the similarities don’t seem all that coincidental!

“But Trainspotting was based on a book!” you say. “I’m sure the book didn’t have that shot in it!” This is true. And all these concurrences could be a matter of synchronicity. But I thought it would be interesting to point ’em out. So, here we go… Continue reading

Clockwork Orange – new DVD + Alex’s OTHER favorite music

Posted in cinema, clockwork orange, music with tags , , , , , on January 3, 2008 by reccaphoenix

So one of my favourite new Xmas presents was the new special edition DVD of A Clockwork Orange….Malcolm McDowell’s commentary really makes it interesting! While watching the film through again, I noticed this….

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^ ^This is the tape Alex removes from the player to listen to Beethoven. ^ ^

If I’m not mistaken, this is one of the “top 10” records at the music store, Goggly Gogol, the type of crappy pop music that book-Alex condemns. HA, but he was listening to it!

Now hold on, you say, it could be a leftover of some OTHER time he invited girls over. That could be true Continue reading