Archive for the video Category

Manyoshu and Kokinshu art films

Posted in cinema, japan, video with tags , , , , , , , on July 30, 2011 by reccaphoenix

Made for a premodern Japanese literature class by me and my friends. Our project (3 separate films) translated poems from the Kokinshu, Manyoshu, and Shinkokinshu (3 Japanese poetry anthologies) into the content and visual styles of our films.  Unfortunately I have lost the Shinkokinshu film file.

See my friend Susannah’s Kokinshu film here:

My main influences here were Antonioni’s ‘Red Desert’ and ‘Blow-Up.’ I tried to reflect the ambiguous yet simple voice in the Manyoshu poems in a cinematic style reminiscent of Italian Neorealism.

Concept, Cinematography, Direction, Production – Recca Phoenix
Boy – An Hoang
Girl – Susannah Davidson

Edited in iMovie
Titles edited in Final Cut Pro

(c) 2007 Reccalux

Liberty Eyes – my experimental film

Posted in animation, cinema, movie posters, video with tags , , , , , , on May 26, 2011 by reccaphoenix

I now present the blogosphere debut of Reccalux’s greatest film to date: my experimental collage animation “Liberty Eyes”.

My main stylistic influence was Ken Jacobs.

My film examines colonialism and its aftereffects in Ghana via handpainted movie posters and Nana Agyemang Ofosu’s poem “Virgin Liberty”. It also comments on cultural “dumping”. “Liberty Eyes” screened at the UC Berkeley Pacific Film Archive in 2010 as part of the Film And Video Makers At Cal program “Fleshed Out.”

Why women like Top Gear – speculation

Posted in cars, reviews/opinions, television, video with tags , , , , , , , on February 16, 2010 by reccaphoenix

The 3 presenters of Top Gear, a.k.a. one of the best shows on TV ever, in my humble opinion, appeared on this Australian TV show and discussed a whole bunch of things.  One of the topics that comes up is how women love Top Gear as much as men, and why this is so.

Jeremy Clarkson chalks it up to Richard Hammond’s supposed “sex appeal” as the nicest (and youngest) of the three, but I have some other opinions on why this show manages to appeal to women (and to non-car-lovers).  I’m not your typical female human by the way, but I think I can provide a bit of insight into this question.

  1. Blokes love cars.  Now believe me, I’m not trying to say that women go about their whole lives doing things to impress men, but there is some truth to this.  If you are a girl with a car-loving boyfriend, husband, or love interest (or even a bunch of petrolhead friends), you can always have a great time watching Top Gear with them or sharing the car knowledge you have gained by watching Top Gear.  How rare is it for there to be a program or movie that both men and women enjoy equally and can watch together without compromise?
  2. Celebrities.  I know a lot of girls who love celebrity gossip, interviews, and all that stuff.  Top Gear has a “talk show” segment in the form of its “Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car” segment, which of course these kind of people would really enjoy.
  3. Humor! This applies to male AND female non-car-people; funny stuff is always funny, whether it’s in the context of a car show or not.
  4. Charismatic presenters. These guys are just so much fun…  They may not be conventionally attractive or look like celebrities, but they make up for it with personality and a genuine love of what they do.  As for the “sex appeal” theory, I think that is presuming a bit much.  Hammond is not what I personally would call “hot,” but this has nothing to do with why he (and the other two presenters) are awesome.  And besides, I think there are many girls who appreciate a manly man’s man who loves cars and driving.  All three presenters have also been voted #1 in Heat magazine’s “weird celebrity crush” poll at various points as well.
  5. It’s just THAT good. Let’s face it, we can’t pretend that all people of a certain gender act a certain way.  The truth is that women and men both like good television, whether or not it’s about something that they stereotypically enjoy.  I know my fair share of men (straight men, mind you) who enjoy Project Runway, so does Top Gear’s appeal to women really require some justification by way of Hamster’s “sex appeal”?  Not particularly, in my opinion.

It’s kind of funny that the show had less appeal to women back when one of the presenters was female (during the old format show) than it does now….although she was a professional driver.

Review: Tokyo Drifter (1966)

Posted in cinema, japan, mod, reviews/opinions, video with tags , , , , on June 20, 2008 by reccaphoenix

Tokyo Drifter (1966, Japan) [original title Tokyo Nagaremono 東京流れ者] dir. Seijun Suzuki.  Feature film.  Color/B&W, 35mm, Nikkatsuscope.

Tokyo Drifter is a story of Tetsuya, a gangster who has quit after his syndicate disbanded. Another gang boss wants to kill him to make sure he won’t reveal the details of some undercover scam of one type or another, so he starts “drifting.” Truth be told, I was so distracted by the incredible visuals in this film that I didn’t really catch all the details of the plot. But ultimately, the plot is of very little importance – this film is a primarily visual experience, using a vague plot to allow for action-packed stylish fight scenes in minimal yet stunning expressionistic sets. And the main character, like many yakuza (Japanese mafia) heroes, is a bit of a cardboard cutout to some extent, as are most of the characters in the film.

But oddly enough, it makes no difference. Though the plot and script are most certainly B-movie material (laden with such supposed-to-be-profound gems as “I can’t walk with a woman!”), I was quite stunned by the quality of artistry in this film, as well as the good film stock (though it may be a result of the Criterion restoration). The director, Seijun Suzuki, got in huge trouble with his studio, Nikkatsu, when he made too many films that weren’t easily understandable, and utilised his unique expressionistic style (Suzuki was later unable to find work for almost 10 years because he was blacklisted by the studios). The result of these high-art visuals and B-movie sensibilities results in something truly bizarre, yet absolutely stunning. The film isn’t too long, so it’s able to pull this odd combination off quite well.

I’ve begun grabbing a few screenshots to accompany my reviews and to highlight films with otherwise-bland pubicity materials. With Tokyo Drifter, I encountered the unusual problem of having too many screenshots; nearly every shot in this film is outstanding in its use of framing, color, and expressionist set design. Some of the most stylish and visually stunning gunfights I’ve ever seen occur within these gorgeous modernist sets, looking like a mix between Decima Vittima and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari:

The opening plays out entirely in high-contrast black-and-white, standing in stark contrast to the rainbow-colored kitsch of modern Tokyo. The opening credits, set over images of 1960s industrial Tokyo, accompany the film’s main song, “Tokyo Nagaremono,” which repeats itself several times in the film, being sung by Tetsuya’s nightclub-singer girlfriend in her club, as well as Tetsuya himself (in a bizarre, musical-like sequence in which he trudges through the snow). Ultimately, I got the feeling that this commercialized, neon, “pop” environment is as empty and present-minded as the characters that inhabit it, the film’s ending (which I won’t give away here), leaving one with a nearly-Antonioni-like ennui of the modern age.

(Above): The hi-contrast opening scene.

(Below): Echoes of German expressionism – violence reflected in the mise-en-scene.

Fans of camp won’t be disappointed. Nor will those who love stylish action films or Tarantino’s Kill Bill (which draws from several Suzuki films). Mod-lovers will appreciate the sets and costumes, as well as the go-go music played in the club beneath one gang’s hideout. Most importantly, this film proves that expressionist cinema didn’t end with Caligari and other German films of the 1920s, and that even B-movies can be entertaining and aesthetically pleasing.

Rating: 8/10

Availability: Criterion Region 1 DVD, VHS (both with English subtitles)

Trailer: The official trailer for this movie was incredibly corny and didn’t show any of the good scenes, so check out this fan-made music video with a new cover version of the movie’s theme song.

—Recca 6/20/08

Mystery Date! OoOoooOoo~~

Posted in advertising, comix, mod, shameless parody, television, video with tags , , on June 13, 2008 by reccaphoenix

This is a real commercial for a real board game from 1965, “Mystery Date.”

If you ask me, those girls look a little too young to be going on any date at all, much less a “mystery date.”

An updated version was made in 1972 (to replace all those squares with dudes of the longer-haired vest-wearing variety, I bet). It kept getting updated, adding multicultural boys and other stuff. “Mystery Date 2000,” which I remember, had a fake phone where the dude would call you or something.

And here’s the obligatory shameless parody (click to view fullsize):

gee I hope I don\'t end up with Mick Jagger!

The photographer is the main character from Blow-Up, notorious for his treatment of women. John Entwhistle was the extremely talented bassist for the Who. And yeah, I do play bass (and I prob’ly would steal Entwhistle’s bass).

New “Cartoon”: Spoof of “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”

Posted in animation, cinema, shameless parody, video with tags , , , , , on April 30, 2008 by reccaphoenix

Here’s the latest product of RECCALUX “animation” studios (a.k.a. me).

Enjoy! And please rate the video on YouTube

It’s a parody of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, a famous German silent film. If you’re wondering about the irritating music: the DVD distributed by KINO used a crappy “modern” score done on synth and guitar that sounded just about as bad (if not worse) than the soundtrack I created by mashing up 2 unrelated songs. It’s about what the real thing sounds like >: )

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