Death of an era black bagged torrent

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death of an era black bagged torrent

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There is a lapwing on the right bank of the dry stream in the foreground. Trees are reflected in the water to the left of the bank, and some iris is growing in the foreground. Overall it is a view of an opening within a closed canopy oakwood that has ground flora and fallen, dead wood. R eference points for realism in landscapes.

Over a month ago, I took the opportunity to go to the Forests, Rocks, Torrents exhibition of 19th century Norwegian and Swiss landscape paintings at the National Gallery in London The exhibition achieved what I thought it might, in giving me a reference point for that realism in landscapes, and a counterpoint to the accusation of Cronon. A s with the importance of the early history of strictly protected areas in Europe Swiss National Park, Lagodehki State Reserve, Sasso Fratini State Reserve there is an unexplored parallel in the artistic realism of these Swiss and Nordic landscape paintings that gets away from the aesthetic and in to biophysicality.

I was excited by this. It is a visual historic record of known and recognisable locations - not a fantasy mash up that is presumed of much else in European landscape painting. I was particularly taken with the order and precision of the work of Swiss painter Alexandre Calame 18 The painting by Calame of Mountain Torrent before a Storm The Aare River, Haslital shows the forces of nature strongly acting within the landscape, and especially in its bending and shaping of the montane conifer forest.

The painting was commissioned by Prince Nikolai Borisovich Yusupov, a Russian patron of the arts who, because of poor health, would likely not have been able to view the scene in person. As it is, Calame included a couple of very small human figures standing besides the river on its right bank, and at the point where the river first appears. It was some time before I noticed them even in the full scale of the painting. Perhaps it is Yusupov accompanied by Calame, put into the landscape by Calame so that Yusupov sees what Calame has seen.

Beech Grove, Rocky Foreground about is another close-up view by Calame, and it is suggested that its composition is reminiscent of the studies of the Barbizon painters who he met in during his visit to Paris in of rocks in the forest of Fontainebleau, but certainly not of their rough and ready style. It shows the textures of rocks and bark, of mosses and lichens, and is an intimate corner of nature with nothing of the dramatic.

It is this very lack of sublimity that is thought to signal a new direction of realism for Calame at that time. Other paintings in the exhibition that eschewed this sublimity, and some of which also had an intimacy coming from their proximity to the woodland or rocky landscape of their scene were Lake Brienz and the Hintersee, near Berchtesgarden by Johann Gottfried Stefan Swiss, ; and Tree study, by a Stream, Granvin and View over Romsdal with Romsdalshorn in the Background both in Norway by Thomas Fearnley Norwegian, Fearnley was a pupil of fellow Norwegian Johan Christian Dahl who in spite of overlapping with the Romantic era was able to go from the drama of The Lower Falls of the Labrofoss — small hut and felled logs in the river to the closeness of Study of a Rock from Nysttuen on Filefjell Shortly after visiting the exhibition, I bought a book Authenticity in Nature by Nigel Dudley, in which the author had also walked a similar route in looking at what paintings may reveal about landscape I met Nigel earlier this year at a meeting in Cardiff on protected areas, but he didn't then mention his interest in art.

To my delight, he explains in his book that he always tries to drop into art galleries in the countries in Europe that he has worked in, and can often find paintings from the 19th century of the landscapes that are now protected areas. He found paintings in the Ljubjana National Gallery of the park area in the midth century by painters like Marko Pernhart. The whole range is instantly recognizable to me as the view I would have on entering the national park near Gozd Martuljek, on a walk up through the forest following the Martuljek river to Spodnji Martuljek Slap the lower Martuljek waterfall.

There is also a reference in the book to a work in the National Gallery in Prague that he considered to be the earliest example of a state commission that was an explicit attempt to paint an ancient forest in a realistic way so that it became a visual record. The history of forests in Europe shows that primary forest without human impact has only survived in areas that are either inaccessible or are unsuitable for agricultural use, because of their difficult terrain and soil conditions, such as in Scandinavia, the Alps and the inaccessible mountains of the Carpathians and the Balkan range It is not surprising therefore that sublimity would be a characteristic of these landscapes since these are where the wild forests survived.

They are landscapes of mountain peaks, chasms, torrents, thunderstorms, danger, vastness, infinity, magnificence. They are also landscapes without many people or structures; places where modern human society does not, cannot or struggles to inhabit, except temporarily as a visitor. Painted today, their scenic composition would owe nothing to a cultural movement such as Romanticism, and everything to do with a wild state that even Cronon could recognise as wilderness.

I will return later to the primary forest in Europe. There are 29 countries in Europe that report that they have primary forest, which is defined as wooded land where there are the natural forest dynamics of native tree composition, occurrence of dead wood, natural age structure and natural regeneration processes, and where there has been no known significant human intervention or where the last significant human intervention was long enough ago to have allowed the natural species composition and processes to have become re-established It will surely tell us much about naturalness in Europe and the attitude towards protection of the wild.

Mark Fisher 13 October , 14 November The exploration of landscape in paintings is proving to be a rich vein of interest. While at the National Gallery, I had sought out a work by Thomas Gainsborough of Cornard Wood, near Sudbury, Suffolk 27 as a cultural landscape that would give me a contrast to the paintings in the Forests, Rocks and Torrents exhibition.

It is a predominantly woodland scene that Gainsborough is said to have viewed from the grounds of Abbas Hall in Great Cornard. Some of the mature oaks in the woodland are growing on earth banks, and others are mirrored in a pool to the right. There is a scrubby ground layer but no dead or fallen wood. The latter is no surprise since this was a worked woodland, as the variety of people in the painting shows.

A man is tying a faggot of sticks. Next to him are neat piles of timber. Another man is walking through the woodland on a well-used, wheel-rutted track accompanied by his dog and toting a bag on his back, and a third is leaning on his spade in a pose that seems to impress the women sitting next to him. There is an area of excavation into the earth bank behind him. There is one cow, peeping from behind a tree, a couple of donkeys, a few other dogs, and a horse rider further up the track.

This level of humanisation is likely to have been very realistic, even if it is a montage of events that Gainsborough accumulated from his observations. A woodland still exists there today as Abbas Hall Wood. It is small, apparently unworked now, but surrounded by ploughed fields. A few weeks after seeing this painting, I went to a specialist brick works at Bulmer near Sudbury, and only a few miles from Great Cornard.

It was like stepping back in time, as the bricks and tiles are made by hand from clay dug from the field at the edge of the works. The circular kiln buildings resembled pre-historic round houses, and there were many lines of bricks and tiles drying before firing. The trip to the brick works explained something for me that I had seen in the Gainsborough painting - the excavation of the bank was for clay that would have been used in making bricks, tiles and pottery, and the faggots of wood were used to fire the kiln.

I corresponded with Nigel Dudley about my impressions of the Forests, Rocks and Torrents exhibition, and the rationale behind our aesthetic pleasure in landscape. He thought that there was scope for much work to be done in using older paintings to show changes in vegetation up to today. Karelian wild woods and lakes. I got a similarly interested response about the emblematic use of art from Olli Ojala, who recognised that it could be a powerful tool for promoting natural processes.

Olli is seconded to the Nature Unit of the EU Environment Directorate in Brussels, working on incorporating wilderness into the implementation of EU nature conservation policy. I met Olli at a couple of conferences last year, and I would have again if I had been able to get to the European Wilderness Days conference in Estonia this September. However, I watched a video of his presentation there, and saw that he was using landscape paintings to illustrate his talk Olli described the woodland scene as including many aspects of wilderness, such as the vastness of the landscape; the lack of obvious human influence; and the natural structures of the woodland that portray function, such as the deadwood and the presence of burnt wood indicating that a natural forest fire has been there sometime in the past.

OIlli saw a tie-in between this depiction of natural processes and the approach to nature conservation in EU legislation and policy that sees functioning ecosystems as being essential for the protection of biodiversity. Halonen was a Finnish painter whose themes were the Finnish landscape and people, and whose artistic approach was always rooted in Realism through plein-air painting. Perhaps this is why his painting of a woodland wilderness is so arresting, but it is also because it seems surprisingly modern in style.

Halonen set up his home and studio on Lake Tuusula in southern Finland, after visiting it often as a source of views for his art. However, the woodland of the painting is likely to be somewhere in Karelia, where Halonen stayed with his brother in the summer of For over 30 years, I have lived in the same place, surrounded by woodlands.

It shows a great black woodpecker, perched on a dead tree amongst the mass of wild woodland surrounding the lake. The woodpecker represented a symbol of loneliness and freedom for the artist. He described the red splash on the bird's head as "the cry of an individual's life in the silence of the wilderness" They were united by the notion of a Finnish national identity and the desire to create a naturalistic depiction of the life of the Finnish people.

The painting Koli is of a view from a cliff-top lookout across forested hills and over Lake Pielinen. S implified ecology of a landscape. Next to it was another painting by Courbet - The Banks of a Stream Its a delightful, close-up view of a relatively inaccessible shaded stream running through a wooded ravine, with a rock scarp rising up to the right. The picture is said to have been painted in the studio, but I agree with the description which suggests that extensive use of the palette knife to spread and smudge the paint, gives it the rough spontaneity of a sketch done out-of-doors The Ashmolean also yielded up a contrasting cultural landscape in a technically superb painting of the Scottish Highlands on Skye by John William Inchbold - Inchbold was born in Leeds, trained at the Royal Academy, and came under the influence of the Pre-Raphaelites, amongst whom he established himself as a leading landscape painter.

Unfortunately, online reproductions of the painting are poor, but the realism of moorland landscape is seen in water flowing and cascading over rocks and into the burn, the remnant flowerings of heather and taller perennials around the burn, and in its depiction of the chill, sharp light of a November day in North-West Scotland when the sun hardly rises above the horizon.

Mariko Kaga, in multiple roles, holds the film together with her haunting central presence. Number Three Killer is a member of the Tokyo underground with a fetish for the smell of steamed rice. Branded to Kill follows the hits of this nihilistic hero played by Joe Shishido through a delirium of breathless action, exuberantly exhibited in black-and-white widescreen Nikkatsu Scope.

Considered by many the ultimate yakuza thriller, the film cost Seijun Suzuki his position as director in Nikkatsu studios, but also transformed him into a counterculture cult figure of world cinema. Nikkatsu accused Suzuki of making films nobody could understand, and perhaps they had a point. But who needs meaning when greeted with such a feast of visual bravado and startling editing?

His film also critiques the societal structures that granted them such terrible power. A stimulating filmmaker and sharp critic, Toshio Matsumoto left behind a rich trail of experimental shorts in which he sought to dismantle the traditional visual aesthetic of cinema. All of that same sense of play and investigation into the medium is up there on the screen in his feature-length debut, Funeral Parade of Roses.

This groundbreaking queer manifesto mixes documentary, animation and avant-garde techniques to tell the story of a young trans woman of Shinjuku and her lover. Although less celebrated in the west than contemporaries such as Oshima and Imamura, Yoshishige aka Kiju Yoshida is one of the outstanding figures of the New Wave. Working in vital partnership with his wife and star, Mariko Okada, he realised a sequence of films probing themes of politics and transgressive sexuality.

Widely considered his masterpiece, it juxtaposes the life and loves of an early 20th-century anarchist with the experiences of two students researching his theories in the late s. Seventies exploitation never looked so stylish as when realised within the Japanese studio system, which fell back on more sensationalist fare to get it through the decade. Its jailbreak narrative, as the eponymous Sasori Scorpion leads the gang of inmates flying their coop, unfolds in striking colours and widescreen compositions, with an unforgettable kabuki-inspired break midway through the proceedings introducing the convicts and their crimes.

Over five films, released across 18 months in and , the series lobotomised any romantic notions of gangsterdom that had been percolating in both Japanese and western cinema the first Godfather film had been released the previous year. To help families to survive, underage girls were often sold to brothels, and some were sent overseas, labelled as karayuki-san.

Directed by Kei Kumai, a filmmaker renowned for his passion and approach to social issues, Sandakan No. The painful reality of voiceless and forgotten women is laid bare here, and leaves a lasting impression. Some documentarians find themselves fixated on a subject. This is certainly the case with Noriaki Tsuchimoto, whose deeply humane interest in the after-effects of a devastating mercury poisoning incident in the seaside town of Minamata resulted in several masterful longitudinal films covering the disaster and the resultant disease.

It was a game changer for the legendary actor Ken Takakura, previously typecast for his roles in Toei-produced yakuza films of the 60s including our choice, A Fugitive from the Past. Taking home a slew of domestic awards on release, The Demon tells the horrific tale of a father driven by his sadistic wife to abuse his children after their mother — his mistress — abandons them.

This feverish, Dr. It features national rock star Kenji Sawada in the main role of Makoto, who assembles an atomic bomb in his tiny apartment with stolen plutonium and uses it to make demands on the Japanese government, among them allowing The Rolling Stones — then barred from Japan for narcotics possession — to play a concert in Tokyo.

Though more evidently cast in the arthouse mould than the action B-movies he is remembered for, his first independent production, Zigeunerweisen, is much more representative of the Suzuki spirit. Set during the Taisho Era , when western ideas, technologies and fashions began permeating everyday life, this dreamlike supernatural drama revolves around two former colleagues from military academy linked by a record of the titular Sarasate violin piece and several women bearing uncanny resemblances to one another who may or may not be dead.

The protagonist is a boy whose father runs a shabby diner on the banks of a river in Osaka. One day the boy spies a brother and sister duo emerging from the cabin of a moored boat, and decides to make friends. His father warns his son not to visit the siblings after dusk, as it turns out that their mother Mariko Kaga is a sex worker receiving clients at night. Playing out like a blues song, Muddy River offers gorgeous black-and-white visuals to offset the pathos and desperation of its evocative setting.

The late Nobuhiko Obayashi began his career as a pioneering figure in Japanese experimental film in the s before making his feature debut with the surreal, nay bonkers, haunted house tale Hausu — still his most famous film in the west. In the s, his work branched out in a more commercial direction. This scabrous, funny and visually inventive satire on the Japanese family and the bourgeois obsession with academic achievement was the first major work of director Yoshimitsu Morita, a fascinating presence in late 20th- and early 21st-century Japanese cinema.

Yusaku Matsuda gives an outrageous performance as the tutor hired to coach a wayward adolescent; sadly this talented actor died of cancer, aged only 40, in Juzo Itami son of the respected pre-war director Mansaku Itami was long established as an actor, and had won acclaim playing the father in The Family Game the year before, when he made his belated directorial debut at the age of 50 with this pointed black comedy.

One of the rare masterpieces of the s, this brooding, breathtaking fable is the most significant work of independent filmmaker Mitsuo Yanagimachi, who mingles the earthy and everyday with the mysticism of Shinto lore. A lumberjack in a remote fishing village resists the development of a planned marine park, stirring tensions in the community, as the story builds slowly and implacably towards a devastating climax. An admirer of Mizoguchi and Robert Bresson, Yanagimachi directed a sequence of austere and haunting dramas.

Playing for the most part without dialogue, it drifts between illusion and allusion, toying with the conventions of both the silent film and hardboiled detective genres in a mobius-strip narrative that leads the viewer through a maze of such baroque locales as a carnival fairground and a deserted film studio. The sets are by Takeo Kimura, known for his work with Seijun Suzuki in the s, while cameos from a host of veteran talent include the benshi silent film narrators Shunsui Matsuda and Midori Sawato.

Despite losing footage shot in New Guinea, Hara spent five years editing the remaining material to produce this extraordinary documentary, still screened every summer in Japan, reaching new young and curious audiences. Adapted from his own manga of the same name, its exhilarating mix of explosive and precisely animated action and a paranoid, dystopian narrative had a lasting effect on sci-fi, inspiring a new wave of cyberpunk anime and many western imitators.

The cult director has gone on to make a number of vivid deconstructions of sexual repression and a will towards violence see the equally gruesome Tokyo Fist, , but Tetsuo will forever be his rawest: anarchy seared onto black-and-white celluloid. Schoolgirls have become a fetishised icon in Japanese cinema in the modern era, but The Cherry Orchard predates all that. Following an Italian fighter pilot cursed to live as a pig after the First World War, its plot may appear simple compared with much of his filmography, but there are complex emotions at its heart.

Porco Rosso favours romantic adventure over sombre realism, in an unforgettable and high-flying anime that walks a delicate line between brightly-coloured derring-do and a melancholic reflection on lost love. An offbeat yakuza thriller, Sonatine sees the prolific TV superstar-turned-auteur throw his best punches as both performer, playing a tragic gang boss, and writer-director, as he offers up his poetic brand of minimalism, machismo and violence.

His portrayal of a kingpin caught in a war between clans is full of despair, laying the groundwork for a nihilistic finale. It focuses on a year-old boy with an unrequited crush on his straight best friend; he in turn has feelings for a new girl in school, who has her own secret… Hashiguchi charts the shifting dynamics of the triangle with poise and precision in this gently paced and freshly observed film. Superstar Koji Yakusho had himself worked as a municipal clerk before taking up an acting career, so was a good fit for the role of Sugiyama, the deskworker who glimpses a beautiful woman real-life ballerina Tamiyo Kusakari giving social dance lessons from the window of his commuter train and decides that he too must learn to waltz.

Dancing provides Sugiyama the kind of joy that had always eluded him, and this uplifting story of reinvention turned out to be hugely appealing to audiences worldwide, making it a substantial hit. Few directors have managed to articulate such an air of cold desperation and emotional abandonment from the cityscapes of post-Bubble-era Tokyo as Kiyoshi Kurosawa does in Cure. Evil seems to linger behind each blank building facade or facial expression in this unique take on the psychological thriller, whose spare and detached approach often feels like it is holding back on the very thrills the genre trades on.

The ubiquitous Koji Yakusho stars as anguished police detective Takabe, whose obsessive investigations into an apparently perpetrator-less string of homicides lead him through a labyrinthine narrative. Mesmerism, amnesia and appropriated identities present various paths of an enquiry that take him further from a spiritual emptiness much closer to home.

Based on a novel by Koji Suzuki, it derives its frightful potency from riffiing on the traditional vengeful spirit onryo archetype of Japanese folklore, while tapping into a very modern sense of technology-induced anxiety. Sequels became a franchise, and an American remake followed, while Nakata freaked us all out again with Dark Wate r in Another pre-millennial J-horror release that plunged a stake of fear and shock into the hearts of cinemagoers worldwide, it finds a director whose stories often involve men decapitating each other in a rare, quasi-feminist mood.

You can then practically hear him chortling with glee when, in the latter half of the film, Aoyama pays dearly for his actions. A fantasy film telling the story of Chihiro, a young girl whose parents undergo a mysterious transformation in a bizarre punishment for greed, this coming-of-age tale is imbued with a Shinto perspective on responsibility and the natural world.

This is the debut film of one of the most widely known and respected female directors in contemporary Japan, Miwa Nishikawa. A former assistant to Hirokazu Koreeda, who serves here as producer, Nishikawa also wrote the original script of the film, constructing a brilliant story about the secrets and lies behind the apparent normality of a middle-class family. With Maborosi and After Life , Hirokazu Koreeda emerged as a major new force in Japanese arthouse cinema, his quiet, observational mode and domestic focus drawing frequent comparison with Ozu.

After a best actor win at Cannes for teenager Yuya Yagira, the youngest performer ever to win the award, Nobody Knows cemented his position as a festival darling and subsequently became his most widely seen feature thus far. Heart-rending, and with a tragic finale. Four schoolgirls form a rock band to participate in their high school graduation festival. In the hands of Nobuhiro Yamashita, this simple storyline becomes an intimate coming-of-age film that reveals the trials and dreams of youth with delicacy and a pinch of nostalgia.

Paprika is a testament to the power of animation, blurring the line between the dreamscape and the real in a way that live action could never replicate. This day siege saw five members of the United Red Army left-wing radical group occupying a remote mountain inn, and two police officers and one civilian killed and many injured in the ensuing shootout. Instead, he provides an assured and insightful account of the moment the turbulent world of s political activism turned toxic.

A comedy-action-romance-movie with a runtime approaching four hours about the wayward son of a Catholic priest with a penchant for upskirting might not seem an enticing proposition on paper. However, if maverick bad-boy Sion Sono has ever made a masterpiece, then this is it. It unfolds with such brio and unpredictability that one barely notices the ludicrousness of its premise, nor even that the opening credits occur a full hour into the action.

Its loopy sci-fi concept and hyperactive action is consistently grounded by sincere and down-to-earth family drama, as in The Girl Who Leapt through Time before it, and Mirai to come. Summer Wars is memorable not just for its unique approach to spaces existing outside of reality, but for its attention to how these spaces affect his characters. Its central figure is Yuichi Satoshi Tsumabuki , a young working-class loner suffering from a traumatic childhood, who meets Mitsuyo Eri Fukatsu , a shop assistant, through an online dating site.

The pair fall in love, but when Yuichi becomes prime suspect in a murder investigation, their romance faces a desperate future on the run. Reflecting dark issues in contemporary Japanese society, it poses provocative questions of the nature of good and evil. The second Koreeda title on this list — the sublime Still Walking fell inbetween — finds him again working with child actors, inimitably drawing out their natural talent and potential.

It proved the sleeper hit of in Japan, opening three months after the East Japan earthquake that subsequently triggered the Fukushima disaster; I Wish was perhaps the kind of cinematic balm that audiences needed to see. Flashback Memories 3D is an unorthodox documentary portrait of a didgeridoo player, Goma, who is unable to form new memories following a traffic accident. The relentless, hypnotic throb of his playing and inventive use of 3D contribute to this overwhelming sensory portrait of a man frozen in the moment.

It could have been a realist film, about the daily lives of locals and urban exiles, and the conflicts over the construction of a tunnel that will inevitably bring the outside world closer. Yet in its length and visual grandeur, it has the scope of an epic.

Director Tetsuichiro Tsuta a native of Tokushima Prefecture where the film is set and cinematographer Yutaka Aoki employed the now rare medium of 35mm, capturing the dramatic mountain vistas to stunning effect. It brought a then relatively new female director, Mipo Oh, to sudden stardom on the domestic and international stage with a rush of awards and acclaim, including the chance to represent Japan in the foreign language section of the 87th Academy Awards.

Marshalling superb acting, camerawork and music, Oh, who is always interested in family bonds, sensitively created a dynamic love story from a female perspective. Becoming a major force on the international festival circuit, Ryusuke Hamaguchi is one of the most promising Japanese filmmakers of the new generation.

On completion of a graduate programme in film at the Tokyo University of the Arts, he came up with his degree project, Passion , a mature drama concerned with the fragility of human relationships. The title refers to the organ that the young daughter struggles doggedly to get a tune from, providing the only real soundtrack to the delightfully observed absurdities of family life before things take a much darker turn.

That the then year old Obayashi had been diagnosed with cancer and given mere months to live before embarking on his minute opus is impressive enough. That he followed it with the equally ambitious crowning achievement of his career, Labyrinth of Cinema , is simply astonishing. Shoplifters paints a portrait of a makeshift family of outcasts living on the outskirts of Tokyo.

Existing on the outskirts of the city reflects their marginalised existence within society, reliant on shoplifting to survive. After studying filmmaking in Tokyo, Natsuka Kusano announced her talent in with Antonym. Her second film, Domains, is more ambitious still, offering a stark deconstruction of the cinematic experience. As for why, the question is momentarily left unanswered. Skip to content. Director: Daisuke Ito. Yasujiro Ozu: 10 essential films.

Director: Shigeyoshi Suzuki. Buy I Was Born, But

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