32 Black Sun

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Bikey
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2005 4:09 am

Re: 32 Black Sun

#26 Post by Bikey » Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:04 pm

franco wrote:Half of the time when I was watching this, I had tears in my eyes. This is easily the most beautiful and enthralling "documentary" I have ever seen.

Nevertheless, I wonder whether Tarn is consciously avoiding an obvious illustration of the narration by showing Korean characters when Hugues talks about Chinese airport officers. Does the sequence make anyone ponder? It threw me into a head-scratching moment, wondering whether the director wanted to show Chinese characters but all he could find were Korean ones. Then I decided not to nitpick.
Franco, I asked Gary Tarn about your head-scratching moment. It's great to see that he wanted me to reply to you - first, he said how glad he was that you cared so much for Black Sun and then explained:

Regarding the comment about Korean characters : We are so attuned to temporal and descriptive association between sound and image that if there is any kind of slew, it can be unsettling.

The method for constructing the film was to collect images, often without any real consideration of how they might be used later; travelling with a camera. I remember being in New York, late one evening after a Chinese meal (funnily enough), and outside in the street was a pair of little billboards of the type that have a continuous roll, so the image changes every 20 seconds or so. And they were this curious collection, so I shot a roll of film in single frame mode (quite fun now to watch that sequence frame by frame, which is how it was shot - it's almost a mini film in itself). And much later, when I had edited the narrative, and I was playing with sequences, I put that roll up, and for me, it just kind of clicked. So I don't worry about it being Newark airport, and not Singapore, and Korean rather than Chinese characters. I was trying to pull at these links, to loosen them a little, if you will.

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franco
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 7:32 pm
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Re: 32 Black Sun

#27 Post by franco » Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:21 pm

Hi Bikey, thank you so much for taking the trouble of asking Gary Tarn for me. His explanation is very satisfying.

karmajuice
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 10:02 am

Re: 32 Black Sun

#28 Post by karmajuice » Sun Feb 01, 2009 12:40 pm

Very interesting film. I'm not sure exactly what I think of it -- I know I like it, but to what degree? It's an elusive film, especially in the way one remembers it. Most films have images that remain with you, that stick in your memory. Moments from this film are harder to grasp, since so few of them are concrete, recognizable images.

Comparisons to Sans Soleil are inevitable: the similarity of the titles, the voice-over, the cinematic essay form, the Zone-like segments of Black Sun, the exotic locales. They are quite similar, and Black Sun is indebted to Sans Soleil, but it stands alone as a powerful and distinctive work in its own right.

Since watching it, I've been thinking about an important element of Black Sun's structure which makes it not only distinct from Sans Soleil, but from the majority of films ever made. Film is so often considered a visual medium, and as such it strives to engage the audience visually. This film is different. That is not to say the visual aspect is unimportant, or even less important, but it functions in a different capacity. The visual element is passive. It seldom corresponds with the voice-over (the actively engaged element). Instead, the camera is content to see: it people-watches, it revels in light and refraction, it visits other cultures (where, notably, it also people-watches; the film has a remarkable concern with seeing people, specifically). The camera doesn't force some vision upon us, but allows us to see whatever we choose within the context of the frame. It tells us, "You can see, so watch these things. See what there is to be seen." It is not so much what we see, but that we are seeing. I hope I'm expressing myself clearly; this is a difficult idea to convey.

Much of the film consists of visual abstraction, too. I don't think this is an attempt to simulate blindness, but a way of opening up different avenues of sight, translating the world into different "languages" of perception. Not only, "See what there is to be seen", but, "See how it can be seen." By transforming the world, Tarn encourages us to capitalize on this sense -- sight -- which we DO have. de Montalembert says that sight is not an act of perception but of creation, and Tarn supplements this through his visual sense, these altered visions. He is offering a new way of seeing, which changes how the world IS (at least within the context of the film: think of the smiling girl on the swing who looks very sinister).

That's all I have to say about it for now. Fascinating film. I have been planning to write an essay about my nearsightedness (which remained uncorrected until I was twelve); this film might be a useful reference, since it has a lot in common with what I want to say.

One final note: Black Sun would make a great double bill with the short animation Orgesticulanismus, about a man deprived of movement. Both films celebrate the faculty that their narrators have lost, and do so beautifully. (It speaks to the awesomeness of this forum, that I discovered both films through the membership here.)

Orgesticulanismus

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Bikey
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Re: 32 Black Sun

#29 Post by Bikey » Tue Aug 11, 2009 7:34 pm

Delighted to let you all know that there will be a special screening of
BLACK SUN
on SUNDAY 23rd AUGUST at 12 Noon
at the CURZON SOHO CINEMA, LONDON

Director Gary Tarn has kindly agreed to attend this screening to introduce his film and do a Q+A onstage following the screening. As sevenarts has said above, it's an absolutely stunning film and we really hope that you will try and come to this screening.

BLACK SUN
A film by Gary Tarn
UK, 2005
(Second Run DVD 032)

'...one of the most remarkable British films to appear for a long time. Scratch that: it's one of the boldest, most beautiful and haunting films to have appeared from anywhere...An extraordinary evocation...' - Sukhdev Sandhu, Daily Telegraph

Gary Tarn's remarkable film BLACK SUN, nominated for a BAFTA and presented and produced by Alfonso Cuarón (Y tu mamá también, Children of Men) and John Battsek (One Day in September), tells the story of Hugues de Montalembert, a French artist and filmmaker living in New York, who was blinded during a violent assault in 1978.

In telling the story of this unique man and his extraordinary reaction to a life-changing trauma, Tarn has created an expressionist film whose power lies in visualising a world from the perspective of the blind de Montalembert. Part- survivor's testimony, part- philosophical meditation on the nature of perception, BLACK SUN is a celebration of life that makes us see the world anew.

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Bikey
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Re: 32 Black Sun

#30 Post by Bikey » Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:45 pm

Delighted that this week's Time Out has picked our Curzon screening + Q&A event as their CRITICS' CHOICE, and also reviewed the film as 'essential viewing'.

To remind you, the screening is this Sunday 23rd at the Curzon Soho and starts at 12 noon. We'll be there and look forward to meeting some of you there too.

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Bikey
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Re: 32 Black Sun

#32 Post by Bikey » Mon Aug 24, 2009 3:41 pm

Thanks, weemikey, for your good words about this wonderful film; and welcome to the Forum.

As far as we know, there are no immediate plans to release the soundtrack but, if you PM us, we will keep you informed about it.

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Bikey
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Re: 32 Black Sun

#33 Post by Bikey » Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:00 am

Gary Tarn's beautiful new film THE PROPHET screens tonight at 8:45 at ICA Cinema follwed by a Q&A with Gary Tarn.
The film then plays daily at ICA from tomorrow, September 21st.
More info and traier at THE PROPHETs' official website

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