Author Archives: Amos

“Homoculture”— A New Series

 

HOMOCULTURE VOLUME ONE

THE FIRST IN A NEW SERIES OF BOOKS FROM PUBLISHER OUTTHERE, HOMOCULTURE VOLUME ONE TRAINS A UNIQUELY GLOBAL LENS ON LGBTQI CREATIVITY AND EXPERIENCE.

LIMITED EDITION COLLECTORS’ ITEM, 1000 COPIES
160 PAGES
COVER IMAGE: ROY ANTHONY BROWN BY ANDREAS H. BITESNICH
INNER COVER ARTWORK BY JACOB LOVE

SERIOUSLY QUEER.

EXPLORING THE VIBRANCY, DIVERSITY, SPIRIT, TRUTH AND FUN OF THE LGBTQI COMMUNITY AWAY FROM ASSIMILATIONIST MAINSTREAM LORE. 160 PAGES OF ORIGINAL, THOUGHT-PROVOKING CONTENT FROM CONTRIBUTORS FROM AROUND THE GLOBE.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE (VOLUME ONE):
HOMOCULTURE VOLUME ONE TRAINS A UNIQUELY GLOBAL LENS ON LGBTQI CREATIVITY AND EXPERIENCE. EXPLORING SOME OF THE WORLD’S MOST FASCINATING QUEER TRIBES, FROM AMERICA’S RADICAL FAERIE MOVEMENT TO TRANS* ACTIVISTS IN AFRICA, FROM A LA LATIN ART-BEAR COLLECTIVE TO THE DELIRIOUS EAST LONDON DRAG DIVAS WHO WORK GLASTONBURY FESTIVAL.

WE MEET ROSE WOOD, NEW YORK’S DOYENNE OF EXTREME CABARET, CONTROVERSY-COURTING RUSSIAN ARTIST IN EXILE SLAVA MOGUTIN AND THE LEGENDARY LONDON CLUB KID, MODEL AND MUSE TURNED SINGER-SONGWRITER (AND OUR COVER STAR) ROY BROWN. WE PROFILE TALENTS INCLUDING BRAZILIAN CHOREOGRAPHER JEAN ABREU, GERMAN FETISH DOCUMENTARIST JAN SOLDAT, AVANT-GARDE JAPANESE PERFORMANCE ARTIST TAKAO KAWAGUCHI AND MANY MORE.

OUR FIRST ARTIST’S RESIDENCY FEATURES THE PROLIFIC JACOB LOVE, CONTRIBUTING A GORGEOUS PHOTO ESSAY AND BESPOKE ARTWORKS, WHILE THE FETED NOVELIST JONATHAN KEMP REVEALS A NEW SHORT STORY.

SERIOUSLY QUEER, HOMOCULTURE SEEKS TO RECLAIM FROM ASSIMILATIONIST ENCROACHMENTS A SACRED SPACE WHERE WE CAN EXPLORE THE SPIRIT, TRUTH AND FUN OF OUR COMMUNITY’S RICH DIFFERENCE. NOT FOR NOTHING HAVE MANY ANCIENT AND NON-WESTERN CIVILISATIONS REVERED OUR INNATE NON-NORMATIVITY AS A NEAR-SUPERNATURAL GIFT. WE ENTHUSIASTICALLY CONCUR, AND THIS VOLUME IS OUR INVITATION TO ALL QUEERS, DYKES, FAGS, BIS, TRANS, INTERS, UNDECIDED AND OTHERS TO CONNECT, COMMUNE AND SET FREE THEIR HIGHEST SELVES.

CHAPTER ONE / CREATORS
CHASEN IGLEHEART / JEAN ABREU / BISHI BHATTACHARYA / BERTIL NILSSON / JAN SOLDAT / TRAVIS RIDLEHUBER / TAKAO KAWAGUCHI

CHAPTER TWO / VOICES
JACOB LOVE + TIM MARSHALL / JONATHAN KEMP + JENNIFER TYBURCZY / CLIFFORD LANDON PUN + RICHARD YAP + KHALIL WEST / CHARLES O’BYRNE / PAOLA REVENIOTI + PANOS H. KOUTRAS / SURAT KNAN + AJAMU + PAUL BONHAM

CHAPTER THREE / TRIBES
NYC DOWNLOW + BLOCK 9 / GABRIELLE LE ROUX / MARICON COLLECTIVE / RADICAL FAERIES / JACOB LOVE

CHAPTER FOUR / OUTRIDERS
ROSE WOOD / ROY BROWN / CARLOS PONS GUERRA / ANDREW LOGAN / SIYA NGCOBO / CHUCK HOLMES / SLAVA MOGUTIN

FURTHER READING
GREGG CIHANGIR MASUAK / EMIR CAKA ERKAYA / JONATHAN KEMP

ABOUT HOMOCULTURE MAG:
HOMOCULTURE’S CORE TEAM IS JUST THAT – THE CORE OF A PLANET-WIDE NETWORK OF COLLABORATORS AND FRIENDS IT’S OUR MISSION AND PLEASURE TO CONTINUOUSLY GROW. WE AIM TO FORGE AN ORIGINAL, AUTHENTIC, ENLIGHTENING AND LIFE-AFFIRMING PLATFORM FOR VOICES, VISIONS AND EXPRESSIONS OF CREATIVITY THAT ILLUMINATE THE COUNTLESS WAYS THE WORLD’S LGBTQI POPULATION MAKES UP A UNIQUE COMMUNITY – AND CELEBRATE THE HEROIC IDIOSYNCRASIES THAT MAKE EVERY ONE OF US AN UNPRECEDENTED INDIVIDUAL.

INSPIRED BY LUMINARIES FROM JEAN GENET TO DEREK JARMAN, FROM GRACE JONES TO FRANCIS BACON, FROM C.P. CAVAFY TO THE COCKETTES AND FROM PENNY ARCADE TO DV8, HOMOCULTURE HONOURS TRAILBLAZING CREATORS ACROSS SPECTRUMS OF GENDER, RACE, AGE AND GEOGRAPHY. WHILE WE’RE THRILLED TO DISCOVER EMERGING TALENTS, WE’RE JUST AS EXCITED TO PROBE THE NEW PERSPECTIVES THAT OUR EVOLVING CULTURAL LANDSCAPES OPEN UP ON ENDURING QUEER ALUMNI. WE’RE PROUD TO SHOWCASE THEIR WORK ALONGSIDE COMPELLING ACCOUNTS OF DAILY EXPERIENCE THAT CAST LIGHT ON LGBTQIS’ PLACE IN TODAY’S WORLD.

EDITORIAL TEAM: RUPERT MELLOR (EDITOR), MARTIN PERRY (CREATIVE/EDITORIAL DIRECTOR), UWERN JONG (PUBLISHING DIRECTOR), EMILY CARLTON (MANAGING EDITOR), STEVEN EAST (SUB-EDITOR)

CONTRIBUTORS: AJAMU, BEN WALTERS, CHARLES O’BYRNE, CLIFFORD LANDON PUN, EMIR ÇAKA ERKAYA, GREGG CIHANGIR MASUAK, JACK GIBBS, JACOB LOVE, JENNIFER TYBURCZY, JONATHAN KEMP, KHALIL WEST, LEO MORGAN, MICHELLE OLLEY, PANOS H. KOUTRAS, PAOLA REVENIOTI, PAUL BONHAM, RICHARD YAP, GECKO AKA STEPHEN FLEITZ, SURAT-SHAAN RATHGEBER KNAN, TIM MARSHALL, TOM RASMUSSEN, TRISTAN VERRAN, ULI HAEMMING, ZACK CAHILL

Regular price $29.99

On REVRY in AUGUST

Revry is proud to announce the launch of it’s new updated app along with new and original content for August.

August Content Trailer:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ko1edl3a5dy1yyh/outnowextendedfinal.mp4?dl=0

Enjoy LGBTQ+ film, music, series, podcasts, and originals with the new and improved Revry app – the first in global queer streaming! Enjoy Revry’s international queer content FREE instantly with ads! Revry has redesigned and reimagined the way you stream queer content with new features like Collections, to find specially curated selections or the easy-to-use Categories to find the specific content you’re looking for. Discovering new content easy and seamless with smart suggestions for related content based on what you’ve previously watched. Download the all-new Revry app today and discover thousands of hours of truly queer content created by and for our communities! Enjoy Original films, series, music and podcasts. Available on the web, iOS, Apple TV, Android, Amazon Fire, Android TV, and Roku. stream. out. loud.

New Content List Below. And here is a link to artwork of the New Content:

ON REVRY IN AUGUST

AUGUST 3RD

Loss Prevention (Revry Original Film):

When an old-school bar owner and his unruly daughter get caught up in a cat-and-mouse game of corporate espionage, it will take brains, brawn, and help from the lesser of two evils to make it out alive.

Barbelle (Revry Original Series):
Following the overnight success of their music duo Barbelle, Veronica and Alice go from unknown couple to internet pop-stars in a blitzkrieg of record deals, performances, and an invasive public. As instant stardom puts its toll on their relationship leading up to their second record, Veronica and Alice learn that it’s not just the internet shipping their romance but a contractual clause keeping Barbelle a couple.

Little Sista (Revry Original Series):

Commitmentphobe Charmaine must learn to grow up when she is paired with an at-risk youth in a Big Brother, Big Sister program.

Joey Suarez (Revry Exclusive Music Artist):
Drawing from a wide range of musical influences including Linkin Park, Miley Cyrus and Daft Punk. Joey Suarez has crafted a style of music truly unique to what we currently hear on the radio.

Pushing Dead (Feature Film):
When a struggling writer, HIV positive for 20+ years, accidentally deposits a $100 birthday check, he is dropped from his health plan for earning too much. In this new era of sort-of universal care, can he take on a helpless bureaucracy or come up with $3000 a month to buy meds on his own?

Eixos (Digital Series):
It’s 2060 and the Brazilian nation is thrown into disarray. Its once proud capital Brasilia has been left abandoned and forgotten, inhabited only by a handful of wandering citizens – until, that is, they start mysteriously disappearing.

Happy Playland (Digital Series):
Billie, an anxious actress caught between her passion for stage, and her parents’ dreams of the silver screens starts a new job at a desolate indoor playground, managed by wannabe-insta-star Cris. Billie quickly develops feelings for social justice warrior, Zara, who is sadly, 23 and not looking for anything serious.

INA (Music Artist):

INA is a Swedish pop artist who’s been seen on MTV, LOGO TV and performed at the American Music Awards. She’s a voting member of the Grammy recording academy, winner of IndieNation Awards, LA Hard Rock Rising and LA Music Awards. INA performed the main stage at this years Long Beach Pride and had her EP release party at Tigerheat, Avalon. She recently signed with Revry and had a screening at Out Web Fest Awards for her latest music video “Overthinking”. The video will premiere on Revry TV.

Matt Palmer (Music Artist):
Matt Palmer is an LA-based Pop/R&B singer-songwriter, and he is preparing to release a seven song Visual EP entitled Get Lost. 2014’s Stranger Than Fiction marked his debut as an openly gay artist, and Get Lost delves even deeper by telling the story of a
specific relationship from start to finish. The visual co-stars Instagram celebrity Max Emerson, and the dance-inspired tracks were produced by A-Minor, Drew Scott, and NAKID (formerly Edwynn x Tikal), among others.

Gabe Lopez (Music Artist):
Gabe Lopez has recently crossed the US and UK opening for Belinda Carlisle on her 2014-2017 tours. His songs are currently on Sirius XM Radio, iHeart Radio, and FM radio – most recently his new singles “LASSO” and “CALIFORNIA BLUES,” which features the pop icon BELINDA CARLISLE. He has produced and written for BELINDA CARLISLE, NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK, JOEY McINTYRE, JAMES BROWN, KRAYZIE BONE, CHARICE, TYLER HILTON, MS. TRINITI, SHINEE, TAE YANG, SUPERJUNIOR, STREETLIGHT HARMONIES SOUNDTRACK, EMERY KELLY, VARSITY FANCLUB and more.

AUGUST
17TH

Edge of Normal (Digital Series):
Six teenage girls have a secret. They all possess extraordinary, mysterious and dangerous powers and struggle to grow up in a world where their mistakes have deadly repercussions.

John Loos: Too Big for this World (Digital Series):
“John Loos: Too Big for this World” is a sketch comedy series in the vein of Key & Peele and Inside Amy Schumer, but not like those at all, and 500 times gayer.

She (Short Documentary):
“She” follows Tanesh Nutall, a black transgender woman from Rahway, NJ, who was dismissed from using a women’s restroom in downtown San Francisco. In addition, Tanesh revisits her family as a transgender woman after not having seen them for 20+ years.

Golden Boys (Short Film):

Scott, Dylan and Carter, three longtime friends on an unexpected bender, break into their old private school looking for some reckless fun. But soon, long forgotten memories come back to the surface, reminding Scott of his confusing friendship with Dylan and the difficult reality of his private school past.

EB Rebel (Music Artist):
In 2016, EB Rebel released her EP “TRANCE” with the lead single “Don’t Care”. The song received mounds of favorable press including a feature in the national publication Afropunk. “Don’t Care” was also featured on the soundtrack for “Stay Woke” a BET documentary produced by Jesse Williams, which also featured hip hop greats J.Cole and Kendrick Lamar. Rebel released her latest EP “Mama, I’m Ok” in May 2018.

AUGUST
24TH

Putting On (Revry Original Series):
“Putting On” is a docu-series following On Mekahel, a model and entrepreneur who starts an underwear company with his ex-boyfriend.

What’s the T? (Feature Documentary):
“What’s the T” is a documentary that explores the challenges, successes and lives of five transgender women. These five women represent normality and abnormality, seamlessly in their daily efforts to achieve a balance of feminine and masculine as the day may require.

Naranja (Animated Short Film):
A woman endures harassment and catcalling, reflected in the spots these acts leave behind.

Cocoon (Short Film):
An adolescent girl in China discovers her mother’s secret, which disrupts her family life.

AUGUST
31ST

Shopping For Fangs (Feature Film):
A lesbian and a man, who believes he might be a werewolf, find out who they really are.

In This Family (Short Documentary):
What is it like coming
out as a gay teen in the Philippines? In a country imbued with traditional Catholic views, coming out is received with disapproval and anger, especially from one’s own family.

About Revry
Revry is the premier queer digital media network for the inclusive 21st century LGBTQ+ community. As the first-ever global queer streaming service, Revry offers a uniquely curated selection of domestic and international entertainment that includes iconic, award-winning narrative and documentary films, cutting-edge series and originals along with the world’s largest queer libraries of groundbreaking podcasts, music albums and videos. Revry is available worldwide on seven OTT, mobile, and online platforms, and hosts the only exclusive LGBTQ linear channels on Pluto TV and XUMO, reaching up to 70 million people in over 100 countries. Headquartered in Los Angeles, Revry is led by an inclusive team of queer, multi-ethnic and allied partners who bring decades of experience in the fields of tech, digital media, and queer advocacy. Follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @REVRYTV. Go Online to: https://revry.tv.

“SILA AND THE GATEKEEPERS OF THE ARCTIC”—Weather, Consciousness and Universe

“Sila and the Gatekeepers of the Arctic”

Weather, Consciousness and Universe

Amos Lassen

Director and cinematographer Corina Gamma uses incredibly beautiful images and Jorge Corante’s music to show us a world where Sila is slipping out of balance as a team of international scientists tries to find out why, the Inuit struggle with its consequences. I must admit that I had no idea what the word “Sila” means or that the word even existed and even when I read about this documentary I was still not sure of the meaning of it. I have since learned that “Sila” is a Greenlandic word that means weather, consciousness and the universe.

To the Inuit of Qaanaaq, 1,200 miles above the Arctic Circle, “Sila” is the weather, the sky – “all that is out there.”  The film opens with interviews with Inuits and focuses on the disorder of Sila due to global warming. We meet a team of NASA funded researchers at who are led lead by climatologist Konrad Steffen. These people measure the climate on the ice to aid and help us understand the past and predict the future. We get images of the area and the people who are there and these images capture Arctic culture in an “elegant, humanistic way.” While the topic of the film is scientific, the language used is for the layman so that we can easily learn about “Sila”. We are constantly aware of climate change and we the ethereal connection between man and nature.

The gorgeous landscape of Greenland is the star of the film and it is on this landscape where climate change is most visible. We meet two independent groups of Inuit subsistence hunters and a group of polar scientists, who have seen the transformation of the environment. It is through their interwoven stories that we really understand the meaning of sila in the world of today.

When the film was made, the sun set on October 25 for the winter until it rose again on February 17. We understand then why those who live there feel that their lives are made of sun and ice. We see, however, that this is changing. We cannot deny the effect of global warming on a once-thriving culture that is now struggling to survive. We gain insight into the culture of the Inuit. What the Intuits have to deal with is a representation of the challenges of many other indigenous cultures all over the world, who depend primarily on a healthy local ecosystem. Many of these systems are declining because of invasive pollution and Greenhouse Gases.

Isolated communities are threatened by climate change and their culture and languages are defenseless against the influences of our Western culture. This film is a look at an important and critical moment in the history of the Arctic. “The film humanizes the impact of the warming Arctic and demonstrates the interconnectedness between these small Arctic communities and the larger global society. It presents a small part of the earth as a sample of the challenges we face as a global community in an ecologically unstable and increasingly unsustainable and globalized world.”

Director Corina Gamma explored the many settlements and towns from the southern tip to Greenland’s most northern village Siorapluk. In the spring of 2011, she spent three weeks with renowned Swiss climatologist Dr. Konrad Steffen and his crew on the inland ice sheet at Swiss Camp, a climate research station. SILA and the Gatekeepers of the Arctic gained her several nominations and awards.

“THE HIRED HAND”— The Cost of Loyalty

“THE HIRED HAND”

The Cost of Loyalty

Amos Lassen

Peter Fonda in his debut as director chose to make a movie about the American West, “The Hired Hand”. He also stars playing Harry, a man who deserted his wife and child to explore the wide-open plains with his best friend Archie (Warren Oates). Tired of the roaming life , he decides to finally return home in order to rekindle his marriage and to get to know his daughter. This is a beautiful and elegiac film that ranks with the best westerns ever made.

 

It is the story of a young man who grows up into responsibility. We meet him after he has abandoned his wife and child to go back to the simple life of a cowboy journeyman. Then he decides, after several years have passed, to go back to his wife and start again.

He returns with Archie and along the trail they come into contact with a malevolent villain named McVey (Severn Darden). They injure McVey and when they arrive at the ranch, the cowboy’s wife takes him on as a hired hand to begin with. But he has changed and grown old enough to be the husband of a woman 10 years his senior, and at last she takes him back into her bedroom.

All of this happens in a succession of beautiful photographic images— this is a very quiet movie. Good Westerns have always been morality plays, most of them have arrived at morality after a journey through a violent and action-oriented story. That doesn’t happen here; the villain simply kidnaps the best friend, and announces he will cut off one of Oates’ fingers every week until Fonda comes to rescue him. This leads to a foredoomed confrontation and to a death that is inevitable.

The first five minutes of “The Hired Hand” is visually unique but you will have to see it to understand what I mean by that. We realize that director Peter Fonda was trying to make a new kind of Western that fit the sensibilities of the early 1970’s. The film also has great acting. Warren Oates as Fonda’s sidekick is tailor-made for the role. The woman of the story is played by Verna Bloom who is a tough, independent woman who perfectly fits her role. Fonda himself is understated as the laconic ‘hero’ and he performs most of his emotional actions with his eyes and restrained gestures.

“The Hired Hand” is unique because of its distinctive look and mood but in the way that it deals with the more internal elements of characters in the old West. It is not a traditional Western in the sense that there is a shoot-em-up in every other scene; although there are a couple of those. Instead it is about the loneliness of hired hands in the West who find if difficult to both pursue their dreams and settle down. It’s also about the sacrifices that one must make for loyalty.

This special edition includes:

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the feature, transferred from original film elements by Universal

Uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM Audio

Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

Audio commentary by actor-director Peter Fonda

The Return of The Hired Hand, a 2003 documentary containing interviews with Fonda, cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, composer Bruce Langhorne, actor Verna Bloom and others

Deleted scenes

The Odd Man, Charles Gormley and Bill Forsyth s 1978 documentary portrait of Scottish screenwriters, including Alan Sharp

Interview with Martin Scorsese

Warren Oates and Peter Fonda at the National Film Theatre, an audio recording of the actors’ appearance at the NFT London in 1971

Stills gallery

Trailers

TV spots

Radio spots

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Kim Morgan.

“Trans Teen Survival Guide” by Fox Fisher and Owl Fence— All you Need to Know To Know

Fisher, Fox and Owl Fox. “Trans Teen Survival Guide”, Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2018.

All You Need to Know

Amos Lassen

Frank, friendly and funny, The “Trans Teen Survival Guide” is “frank, friendly and funny”. But more than that, it is filled with valuable information for transgender and non-binary teens. It is a book that keeps them informed, empowered and armed with all the hints and tips, confidence and practical advice that are needed to navigate life as a trans teen. Fox and Owl Fisher try to answer every question that has to do with trans life. There are chapters on coming out, on proper pronoun usage, how to put on a packer and how to get through cross-hormonal therapy to name just a few.

Fox and Owl are Trans youth activists Fox and Owl put the focus on self-care, expression and pride your unique identity. Because they themselves are trans Fox and Owl are able to tell what it is like to be trans teen and help save some with potentially life-saving advice on dealing with dysphoria or depression. Here is a look the major issue of gender identity and we see that gender is a complicated social construct and is a difficult concept to define.

Being trans means being different and I believe that no harder one tries, the definition becomes more and more difficult. Here is where this book really helps. It is such an important addition to our literature.

 

“Yes, You Are Trans Enough: My Transition from Self-Loathing to Self-Love” by Mia Violet— Not Fitting In

Violet, Mia. “Yes, You Are Trans Enough: My Transition from Self-Loathing to Self-Love”, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2018.

Not Fitting In

Amos Lassen

Mia Violet shares her deeply personal and witty account of growing up as the kid who never fitted in. Now at age twenty-six at 26 she has come to understand that she was ‘trans enough’ to be transgender. She had never before had the language to understand why. Her childhood and early adulthood were filled with bullying, heartache and a botched coming out attempt, counseling, Gender Identity Clinics and acceptance. Here she faces the ins and outs of transitioning and she explores the major questions in the transgender debate and confronts what the media has gotten wrong. She takes us step by step through her quest to obtain personal acceptance and realness.

Mia Violet is brutally honest in this memoir and gives us a look into the lives of trans people. As she does, she corrects the mistakes and misinformation of the media. She shares her story by talking about the ups and the downs and we see that transitioning can be a life long process with many life-changing experiences that can lead up a happy existence. Violet is a good writer and knows how to use humor to tell her stories.

This is a book that cries out to be read. I was totally amazed at the amount of information here and there were moments that I was moved to tears.

“Phoenix Goes to School” by Michelle Finch and Phoenix Fitch— “A Story to Support Transgender and Gender Diverse Children

Finch, Michelle and Phoenix Finch. “Phoenix Goes to School”, illustrated by Sharon Davey,  Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2018.

“A Story to Support Transgender and Gender Diverse Children”

Amos Lassen

As Phoenix gets ready for his first day of school, her mother tells her to be herself and to listen to her heart. Like most kids, Phoenix is excited about going to school but she is also a bit tense because she knows that gender identity expression leave her open to being bullied. She did not have to worry—when she arrives at school she finds help and support from teachers and friends. She also finds that she is brave enough to talk to other kids about her gender.

This book for children was written for those children who have passed their fifth birthday. It is filled with wonderful illustrations and it is an empowering tool. It is meant to help children engage with gender identity in a fun and uplifting way. The day will come when we can live in the world as we want but for now we have to be thankful for what we have relating to transgender issues. Phoenix inspires brave young people to share their stories and be proud of who they are and she shows us what can happen when communities come together to celebrate diversity.

This book is not only a clever story about being oneself and it is also a critical tool for trans children, their families, educators, and everyone else. I believe that the majority in this country wants to understand the lives and realities of transgender youth.

The prose, the tone and the illustrations are perfect for are perfect for guiding young children on how to treat others with kindness and compassion.

What a cute and simple way to help children learn, understand and accept transgenderism. There are great points for discussion about diversity and inclusion, something we need more of today.

“BETWEEN LAND AND SEA”— A Year in the Life of a Surf Town

 

“BETWEEN LAND AND SEA”

A Year in the Life of a Surf Town

Amos Lassen

In “Between Land and Sea”, the viewer experiences a year in the life of a surf town at the mercy of the Atlantic Ocean. The film is set against the backdrop of Ireland’s west coast and the film is at times intimate and at times epic and looks at the story of Lahinch’s passionate surfing community. We meet and follow a group of diehards who want their local waves to be known around the world. We sit as observers and watch this documentary as gorgeous and exhilarating footage combines with insightful, moving and often humorous portraits of the surfing natives of County Clare.

We hear from Peter Taras of Surfer Magazine who says, “While the craggy Atlantic Irish coast might not be the surf wilderness it once was, the culture among its dedicated community of surfers is as hearty and wholesome as any in the world. We see here the Emerald Isle’s “embarrassment” of natural riches in one of Ireland’s most beautiful surf towns.

Man has always been obsessed with and inspired by the sea. It has been an inspiration to a multitude of writers, poets and musicians who have been guided by their relationship with bodies of water for centuries. There are those who want to tame it and those who want to ride it and there are those who just want to observe its beauty. Surfers are infected with an addiction to test themselves against the biggest waves. To master them. Surfing makes us usually think of California or Australia, but here director and filmmaker Ross Whitaker takes us to Ireland.

Beginning at New Year, Whitaker charts a year in the life of the coastal town in Liscannor Bay. The town is at the mercy of the Atlantic Ocean that has been a beacon for those wishing to tackle the big waves. Surfing plays an integral role in the local economy. However, because of the local weather, it can be a struggle to make a living. This documentary is about those there who are drawn to surf the mighty Atlantic waves.

Because the climate is so hostile, may work hard to make a living there and there are those residents who are professional surfers, instructors or those just trying to be self-sufficient in the face of the elements. West Clare has a beautifully rugged coastline and “Between Land and Sea” is in part a study and a marketing initiative of those whose hearts belong to the water.

“BLOODY SPEAR AT MOUNT FUJI”— A Tragicomic Road Movie

“BLOODY SPEAR AT MOUNT FUJI”

A Tragicomic Road Movie

Amos Lassen

Praised by Japanese film critics, director Tomu Uchida nonetheless remains a little known in the west. His 1955 masterpiece “Bloody Spear at Mount Fuji” is set during the Edo period and is a tragicomic road movie of sorts, following a samurai, his two servants including spear-carrier Genpachi (Chiezô Kataoka) and the various people they meet on their journey, including a policeman in pursuit of a thief, a young child and a woman who is to be sold into prostitution.

The film functions by playing on your expectations and then slowly transforming into a more substantial statement than it first appears to be. It leads off as a lighthearted road movie with an ensemble of diverse characters loosely traveling together— a samurai and his two servants, an orphan boy, a Buddhist pilgrim, an itinerant shamisen (an instrument with three strings) player and her little girl, a morose middle-aged man and his beautiful daughter, a highway policeman and a paranoid fellow hiding a large sum of cash who’s suspected to be a thief on the loose. The first half of the film is really funny and charming, but as we come to learn the secrets that various characters have been hiding hide an air of tragedy.

The central character is Gonpachi, the lancer or spear bearer serving his samurai master Sakawa. Gonpachi seems to be getting over the hill and worn out, but he continues to conduct his duties with utmost earnestness. Even though he’s stricken with a blistered foot, Gonpachi proudly refuses when the other servant Genta offers to carry the spear. On the road, Gonpachi befriends the orphan boy Jiro, who says he wants to be a samurai when he grows up. After Gonpachi explains his duties, Jiro says he’d like to be a lancer. Gonpachi is so touched at the thought of a kid aspiring to his lowly post that he lets Jiro try holding the spear.

Traveling to Edo to take some valuable ceramics to his mother, Sakawa is a kind-hearted samurai who treats Gonpachi and Genta more like his friends than his underlings. Sakawa’s major weakness is that drinking turns him into a madman and servants have been charged with keeping him away from alcohol on the journey.

After Sakawa catches Genta sneaking out for sake, the master takes his servant out for a drink. Genta is alarmed at this, not only because alcohol is off-limits but also because it’s a huge breach of protocol for a samurai to socialize with his servants like equals. Sakawa assures him that he’s not going to drink, he just wants Genta to be able to enjoy his sake without sneaking around. But of course, the pair of them end up getting drunk and Sakawa goes on a tear against some innocent bystanders until Gonpachi comes along to get the situation under control.

Later the travelers’ progress is blocked by a group of aristocrats holding a formal tea ceremony in the middle of the highway. Jiro is suffering from indigestion after eating too many persimmons he bought with money Gonpachi gave him. Gonpachi helps the boy make it to the high weeds by the roadside in time to relieve himself. The fancy tea ceremony downwind is disrupted by the horrible stink.

The story takes a turn for the serious as we learn the back-stories of the characters and for that you will have to see the film. When Sakawa learns that some of their fellow travelers are in dire financial straits, he takes his prized spear to a pawnshop to get the money to help them. But he discovers that the spear, an heirloom supposedly given to his family is actually a worthless replica. Meanwhile, the identity of the thief is revealed, and Gonpachi inadvertently apprehends the escaping criminal at the tip of the counterfeit spear. The local authorities grant Sakawa an award for his bravery in capturing the thief, even though Sakawa protests that Gonpachi should get the credit. The officials contend that a servant acts for his master.

Sakawa shows his resentment that the award is a piece of paper instead of money but has to laugh in resignation over all the layers of falsehood and emptiness. Sakawa heads out for another sake binge accompanied by Genta. When the two drank before, no one objected. But this time a rowdy gang of drunken samurai takes exception to the sight their peer drinking with his servant. When Sakawa stands up to defend Genta’s worth, swords are drawn and there’s a horrible outcome.

The movie has been described as both a scathing political statement and a tribute to Uchida’s friend Sadao Yamanaka, who was killed in combat in Manchuria. Class distinctions could be profoundly unfair during the Edo era, but sometimes they cut both ways. Here a poor but honorable samurai and his faithful servants become increasingly aware of the injustices of the world as the make their way to the capitol. “Bloody Spear” is an excellent film that combines the outrage at injustice with an affectionate needling of the common folks’ foibles..

SPECIAL EDITION COTENTS

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation

Original uncompressed mono audio

Optional newly translated English subtitles

Brand-new audio commentary by Japanese cinema expert Jasper Sharp, recorded exclusively for this release

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Corey Brickley

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic and filmmaker James Oliver

“THE DAY OF THE JACKAL”— Simply Put: A Movie About a Terrorist

“THE DAY OF THE JACKAL”

Simply Put: A Movie About a Terrorist

Amos Lassen

In 1971, Frederick Forsyth’s first novel, “The Day of the Jackal” was the bestselling book. It seemed that everyone was reading it and it was taut, totally plausible and almost documentarian in its realism and attention to detail. Two years later, director Fred Zinnemann turned a gripping novel into an unforgettable nail-biting cinematic experience.

Set in August 1962, the latest attempt on the life of French President Charles de Gaulle by the far right paramilitary organization, the OAS, ended in chaos, with its architect-in-chief dead at the hands of a firing squad. Demoralized and on the verge of bankruptcy, the OAS leaders meet in secret to plan their next move. They decide on a last desperate attempt to eliminate de Gaulle and decide to use the services of a hired assassin from outside the fold. They hire the Jackal (Edward Fox), a man who is charismatic, calculating and cold as ice. As the Jackal closes in on his target, a race against the clock to identify and put a stop to a killer whose identity, whereabouts and modus operandi are completely unknown.

The film is tense, exciting and convincing in every detail. Edward Fox  as Jackal performs chillingly in what may still be his best performance. The movie belongs to him and he owns it but he is supported by strong work from an excellent Franco-British cast including Michel Lonsdale, Alan Badel, Eric Porter, Cyril Cusack, Delphine Seyrig, Donald Sinden, Tony Britton and Timothy West. Director Zinnemann achieves an extremely high level of tension and suspense despite the audience’s pre-knowledge of the plot’s outcome. The film is attractively shot on a huge number of striking European locations by cinematographer Jean Tournier. The clever, intelligent screenplay is by Kenneth Ross and there is a notable score by Georges Delerue to add to the mood and tension.

It’s a riveting cat-and-mouse game between the mysterious lone wolf hired assassin known only by his code name of the Jackal and the French Inspector Lebel (Michael Lonsdale), the master policeman in charge of the investigation. Zinnemann’s technique emphasizes the details of how the cold-blooded contract killer will complete the job and eschews the politics, keeping the action restrained and building in tension to the concluding assassination attempt.  The new leader of the OAS, Colonel Rolland flees to Rome where he and his three top aides secretly hires the Jackal to assassinate DeGaulle. They pay him $250,000 down and another $250,000 on completion of the job, and allow him to execute his own plan. 

The French police are watching Rolland carefully and through their many informers learn that another attempt on DeGaulle will be tried. Failing to come up with more information they kidnap Wolenski, one of the extremists living with Rolland, and torture him until he gives up the code name of the hired killer. With little else to go on the cabinet ministers call upon the best cop in France to get the assassin, Lebel, who is sworn to secrecy about his mission and chooses to work only with Detective Caron (Derek Jacobi). Through a mixture of skill, luck and hard work they begin to close in on the Jackal, as they trail him between London, Paris, Vienna, and Rome. The heart of the film consists of the Jackal’s elaborate preparations for the assassination and Lebel’s attempts to nab him. Jackal has fatal flings with the wealthy married woman Colette (Delphine Seyrig) and the homosexual Bernard (Anton Rodgers) as Lebel works the phones contacting his counterparts in the British police and meets with the bureaucratic cabinet ministers to report his findings, who treat him more as a servant than one of them. 

The film was well-acted by this mostly British cast of established character actors and the narrative is presented in such a precise way despite offering no psychological analysis or humor. There was never any suspense as to the outcome, because history already told us De Gaulle was not assassinated. But, nevertheless, Zinnemann’s direction keeps the viewer involved with the story line, even though everything was so obvious. Zinnemann gave us an engrossing film about an unsympathetic ruthless terrorist, someone who can be only admired for his efficiency. Now with the state of terrorism in the world today, this film from another generation is still relevant. 

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation

Original uncompressed 1.0 mono audio

Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing

New interview with Neil Sinyard, author of Fred Zinnemann: Films of Character and Conscience

Two rare archival clips from the film set, including an interview with Fred Zinnemann

Theatrical trailer

Original screenplay by Kenneth Ross (BD-ROM content)

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Peter Strain

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector’s booklet featuring new writing by critic Mark Cunliffe and film historian Sheldon Hall