Tuesday, July 31, 2007

R.I.P. Antonioni

„I feel like a father towards my old films. You bring children into the world, then they grow up and go off on their own. From time to time you get together, and it's always a pleasure to see them again.”

(Antonioni, 29 September 1912 – 30 July 2007)

Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni died peacefully yesterday evening in his home, surrounded with family members. He was 94 years old. Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni announced a public viewing of Antonioni's body tomorrow at City Hall.

I can hardly believe it... because lately I spoke a lot about him and Bergman and here they are, dancing together away. Both died on a same day. It is a bit hard for me to say anything at this moment. I am truly overwhelmed with emotions. This is just too much at once…

I remember seeing Antonioni’s movie called Blowup, made in 1966. I saw the mentioned movie much later, because I wasn’t even born when the movie was released. I can tell you one thing. The title was perfect because I was definitely blown up and I knew I had to see all of his movies right away! I remember staring in the screen long after the movie ended, and the more I thought about the movie, the more I find it to be absolutely unique and brilliant. You got me, Antonioni! You got me forever. The audience was silent. The first comment I heard was: “Did I miss something?” This will never change in the following years. Antonioni’s movies will always have that kind of impact on the audience as he was no ordinary storyteller and his subjects were simply different. Antonioni made great use of insinuation. He tantalized us with the possibility of what could have been. He believed that reality is unattainable as it is submerged by layers of images which are only versions/perceptions of reality. He said on one occasion: “Reality changes so rapidly that if one theme is not dealt with, another presents itself. Allowing one's attention to be attracted by each little thing has become a vice of the imagination. All one has to do is to keep one's eyes open: everything becomes full of meaning; everything cries out to be interpreted, reproduced. Thus, there is no one particular film that I would like to make; there is one for every single theme I perceive. And I am excited by these themes, day and night. However, opportunity and other practical considerations limit and direct the choice.”

I’m off to watch Al di la delle nuvole :)

Monday, July 30, 2007

R.I.P. Bergman

"Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls."

(Bergman, 14 July 1918 – 30 July 2007)

Ingmar Bergman, the Swedish film director and one of the greatest masters of cinematography died in his home on the Baltic islet of Faro today. He was 89 years old.

Bergman’s grandmother introduced him to the cinema and went with him to several shows when he was a little boy, always in secrecy, since he wasn't allowed to go to the movies by his strict father who was a Lutheran pastor. On one occasion, Bergman said: "I hope I never get old so I get religious."

I have no wish to actually speak about his life and ghosts that tormented his soul from early childhood. You can read about his biography here. I would rather say that these ghosts have made a great impact on his cinematography, filling his movies with the questions and motives of mortality, sexual desire, loneliness and faith. Even he said that he was depressed by his own films and could not watch them anymore.

During his long career, Bergman remained devoted to the cinema and to the mysteries of the human spirit and soul. His early work was dark and brooding, his middle films intense and virtuous, and his last films intimate and self-revealing. He never lost his passion for drama and never got tired of his primary subject that was deeply human with all its faces, masks and aspects.

Bergman's family has not set a date for his funeral yet, but they have confirmed it will be attended by a close group of friends and family. I can not express my sadness due to this great loss… Bergman was one of my all time favorite directors, together with the long gone Andrei Tarkovsky and Federico Fellini. They won’t be forgotten.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Photo Workshops

This summer Canon offers free photo workshops to visitors in Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Parks. All you need to do is show up at the right time in the right place.

In Grand Canyon National Park, the workshops will take place from 9 - 29th July. Then they will move to Yellowstone National Park, where the workshop will be open from 6 – 12th August. Each workshop will have three or four instructors, and on weekends these include members of Canon's prestigious Explorers of Light group. In addition to all tips and field advice, participants will get a chance to try out Canon DSLR cameras and an assortment of wide-angle, telephoto, and macro lenses. They can also get a free CD of their workshop image files and a selected print to take home or use it to enter in the Canon’s Parks Photo Contest.

For more details, check out Canon’s Digital Learning Center.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Free Bilal Hussein!

It has been over one year since Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein has been imprisoned by the United States military forces in Iraq. His camera and videotapes were seized. And despite his CBS press credentials, which were checked out and found to be legitimate, he was arrested by U.S. authorities and imprisoned. Much of his time over the course of the next year was spent in solitary confinement at the Abu Ghraib prison, where he was subjected to coercive interrogation and other indignities.

Bilal was part of an Associated Press team who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005 for the coverage of the Iraq war. The US army major general Jack Gardner said that the information available establishes that Bilal has relationships with insurgents and is afforded access to insurgent activities outside the normal scope afforded to journalists conducting legitimate activities. Associated Press executives said that their review of Hussein's work did not find anything to indicate inappropriate contact with insurgents, and any evidence against him should be brought to the Iraqi criminal justice system. They also claim the military has not provided any concrete evidence to back up the vague allegations they have raised about Bilal.

No one has yet presented formal charges against Bilal who is behind bars for having the courage of photographing Iraqi insurgents. Bilal Hussein has been held in violation of Iraqi law and in disregard to the Geneva Conventions. His arrest and imprisonment are a serious affront to the press as a whole and to democratic traditions. Bilal’s colleagues from around the world are seriously concerned for his life in view of the amount of time he has been locked up and the prison conditions which he is being submitted to. For the reasons stated above, they demand his immediate release.

Please, sign the petition.

Free Bilal

Associated Press: The Detention of AP Photographer Bilal Hussein

Monday, July 02, 2007

Greetings from Switzerland!

Hello guys! How is everyone?
Anyone missed me in the meanwhile? :D

Yes, here I am, in Z├╝rich, trying to complete all paper work and to get my residence and working permit. Bureaucracy is driving me crazy but one can't avoid what must be done. I'm learning Swiss German, I'm also looking for a job and I'm having fun in my new surrounding. So many things at once! I will keep you updated as much as possible, considering that I don't have my PC with me and not much time on my hands at this moment.

I hope each one of you is fine.

Here is one wallpaper of the castle Chillon for you :)

You can read about the castle on their official website: Castle of Chillon