Mischa “intent” and “motivation” – i.e. Mistakes and failures make your work honest and human, and … to find the honesty, beauty and humanity in failure – rather than to the artworks in-themselves.
The manifesto itself was widely successful in that it got notoriety and a wiki. If had been called Remodernist Community and listed the intent and motivational values they share, there wouldn’t have been any notoriety.
People are responding to the feelings rather than content.
….something outside of one’s own personal experiences (à la Stravinsky’s Le sacre du printemps)… thus, Stravinsky was attacked from some perspectives as being a “trickster” for his lack of “self-expression” in his art.
Yeah, manifestos do tend to be prescriptive rather than descriptive and that is antithetical to artistic process.
In fact, Remodernism’s call upon the past means that to the POMO years have to be made up somehow.
… prescriptive rather than descriptive and that is antithetical to artistic process
Bhagavad Gita (transl. Sri Aurobindo): 4. 19. Whose inceptions and undertakings are all free from the will of desire, whose works are burned up by the fire of knowledge, him the wise have called a sage.
4. 22. He who is satisfied with whatever gain comes to him, who has passed beyond the dualities, is jealous of none, is equal in failure and success, he is not bound even when he acts.
The artistic process: problem solving i.e. creating solutions to the problems of hierarchical elementary constructions (in whichever medium); momentary inspirations; no egoistic thought for failure or success. In other words, a preoccupation with intrinsic formal problems of creating artworks.
Thus, being preoccupied with the extrinsic motivations and intents of other people (i.e. the Remodernist’s preoccupation with Kubrick’s so-called attempt to make “objective” and “dishonest” art) ought not be an element of an “honest” artistic creed, imo.
Sorry if I seem to be nit-picking here, but in my mind these are important things to consider when an artist decides to put forth his/her creed: imo it ought to be either a) defended with compelling logic, or b) withdrawn altogether.
A rebuttal of sorts to my objections has been offered: the opening statement of the Manifesto (Art manifestos, despite the good intentions of the writer should always “be taken with a grain of salt”… ), and Peter’s statement that “They would not come on here defending this document, because, like a Buddhist would say ‘there is nothing to defend. literally no-thing” – but this is not a very intelligent rebuttal imo, because it leaves begging the question: why bother writing the Manifesto for us to read in the first place if there is literally nothing within it to defend (from the point of view of the actual artistic process)?
Hence, my bafflement at the existence of the Manifesto.
Anyways, very soon I’m gonna watch those Remodernist shorts which were linked on the previous page of this thread, and I am in high anticipation for the experience!
The manifesto itself was widely successful in that it got notoriety and a wiki.
Notoriety and a wiki = success? Come on, Robert.
Okay, I just viewed So tell me again, Self Portrait, Liska and Tulp/Tulip.
To be sure, this style of filmmaking does indeed interest me a great deal.
All of these films gave me aesthetic emotions upon viewing, though not incredibly strong ones, to be honest. However, I find interesting that Remodernism is influenced by filmmakers whose technical aesthetics involve long and smooth steady takes with lush cinematography, etc (i.e. Tarkovsky, Tarr, etc); and so after reading some more articles about Remodernism on MungBeing, I initially expected to see such techniques employed in the shorts because they were mentioned as influences, but was pleasantly surprised to see a wildly different visual aesthetic (apart from Liska, and particularly in So tell me again, which reminded me more of Jonas Mekas’ style).
In Self Portrait, Peter claims a gift as a filmmaker which he must fulfil if he is going to be “honest” with himself and God, or something to that effect, and this seems to me to be the element of “spirituality” which he is attempting to obtain in his films i.e. “honest self-expression”; but again, I strongly disagree with this notion of “honest spirituality”, because I feel that it is too self-absorbed, egoistic and narcissistic to be genuinely spiritual. I personally find spirituality to be more about “killing desire, the enemy of the soul”, and renouncing the ego, in an effort to “connect” with reality.
When I mentioned in an earlier post that the creative process involved focusing one’s energy upon the intrinsic properties of their creation, I was not trying to suggest that an artist ought to work within an isolated bubble, ignoring other artistic practices of other people; on the contrary, influences are natural, but I would hope that for the sake of creativity, inspiration and improvisation that artists would stay open-minded to all kinds of artworks (including Kubrick films) in the hope of achieving an aesthetic emotional response from any particular artwork (its intrinsic properties) which one comes into contact with at any particular time. In other words, being overly exclusive to specific styles of art would be a killer of creativity to at least some extent, imo.
Alright, I of course admire the fact that you guys wanna be “true” to your own style, etc, and not just copy the Hollywood system in an attempt to be “successful” filmmakers, etc. But I think that the problem with bemoaning the lack of interest in a more personal style of artistic expression is actually counterintuitive, because of course there will be a smaller interest in the more, shall we say, “unusual” stylistic and formal techniques of art.
For instance, in music, many, many people are simply content to listen to mass produced pop on the radio in the car on the way to and from work, and also in clubs when dancing, etc; for them, music does not function as an expressive artform, as a mode of “self-expression” or “deep spirituality”, but rather as something in the background to pass the time and the boredom of silence, etc, or in the background during a social activity, for instance.
It’s a similar deal with other artistic mediums. And so, as I mentioned above with the Bhagavad Gita quotes, an artist, imo, is better off focusing their creative energy on realising their projects themselves, rather than focusing too much time and energy upon getting angry about what the masses are interested in, such as Kubrick films.
So anyway, I’m gonna watch some more of those shorts, but to be honest, I still don’t understand the necessity of the “Remodernism” moniker; you guys could surely make just as good – if not better – films without it ;)
I have read the manifesto, i have seen Jesse’s vids and read something online. I felt inspired to shoot something. I have done research on Mono Aware and Miksang. I have tried to “experienced” the process more than anything. Restrictions and restraints can bring interesting results or Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen like Bresson used to say.
Honestly I have to say that if a manifesto brings a bunch of filmmakers together who can make the work that the remodernists are making, hats off — we should have more of them!
@Z Notoriety and a wiki = success? Come on, Robert.
The first order of business is to raise awareness – get yourself noticed !!!
^ well raising awareness doesn’t come with success unless your work is good, or you know someone.
I think in this case, the work is good.
I’ve seen Heidi Beaver’s Lost.
Can we get some links for other films that are available online? And if people can prioritize them—giving a few that I should see first—that would be greatly appreciated. Mahalo!
I’ll try to find some to post later today!
As Peter said, “Jesse would be the first to say that he doesn’t want to talk about this anymore, (which is probably why he isn’t chiming in here) he wants the work to speak for itself.”
this is pretty much the case. I wrote a manifesto, some essays (as did Peter) about Remodernism, I’ve been interviewed multiple times (including the recent Filmink article), did two podcasts (one with Peter) and one coming soon from Syndromes and a Cinema. So I feel like I’ve said quite enough for now concerning Remodernism. It’s all there to find online.
again here: “The bottom line is that this thing was written for filmMAKERS, not film lovers or film theorists or film historians. The films themselves are for everyone.”
so yeah, I don’t really feel like I have to chime in much here. It just doesn’t seem needed, for precisely the reasons Peter mentioned.
I am working on making “In Passing” more widely available, now that we have done the premiere. When there is news on that I will share it.
Jazz and others asked about other remodernist films. I am embedding some things here. Please go to the page and watch them full screen and in the high quality option, ok?
OK here’s some stuff in random order:
Peter Rinaldi (Self Portrait) from Peter Rinaldi on Vimeo.
Shutting Up from Peter Rinaldi on Vimeo.
Short Film from Peter Rinaldi on Vimeo.
Poor Edward from EFS Film Archive on Vimeo.
Lost from Heidi Beaver on Vimeo.
Closure of Catharsis (Trailer – A Feature Film By Rouzbeh Rashidi – 2011) from Rouzbeh Rashidi on Vimeo. (trailer only)
Zoetrope (Trailer – A Feature Film By Rouzbeh Rashidi – 2011) from Rouzbeh Rashidi on Vimeo. (trailer only
days gone not forgotten from Jesse Richards on Vimeo.
so tell me again from Jesse Richards on Vimeo.
wonder about patterns in your head from Jesse Richards on Vimeo.
Shooting at the Moon from Jesse Richards on Vimeo. (low resolution early edit version for dialup from around 1999. Better quality version possibly lost on dead hard drive).
Sex and Lies from Jesse Richards on Vimeo. (trailer only, film lost)
Unfortunately there are A LOT more films by Harris and others that are not available online, (and there are more online too) but this is what I had time to find and post at the moment.
Thank you, Jesse — this is fantastic!
And also, for working on making In Passing accessible to Mubi members. I can’t wait to discuss it with everyone!
Just to chime in, I think that there are three aspects of the conversation that could still use more discussion, and I’d like to highlight them because they pose important questions to our juncture in cinematic history.
1) The critique of postmodernism here relies on an understanding of postmodernism that could use some serious work. While postmodern art is generally associated with the foregrounding of form or ideas and generally associated with irony, those theorizing the postmodern as a moment of cultural history go quite a bit beyond that and diagnose the contemporary moment with a precision that I don’t think the critique would suggest. Lyotard’s Postmodern Condition refers to this not as a movement or as a passing fad but as a condition, which has important implications below. What about Baudrillard’s hyperreal? It seems to me that film needs to address these ideas to a certain extent, and before we start talking about the great evacuation of spirit and feeling that postmodernism supposedly represents, we should probably come to some agreement about what postmodernism is or what it might have to offer.
2) The most important question is how these films meet with our current moment. That’s the question that keeps getting pushed to the fore in this thread but one that’s not been answered (as far as I’ve been able to read). To me, an adequate understanding of postmodern philosophy would likely help (postmodern as a term may be the problem…as Mr. Richards points out above, the work’s more important than the term anyway). Why not extend postmodern film to encompass works like Drive and Enter the Void, which are both concerned with some of the Remodernism’s central questions/concerns?
3) An important thing to consider is the postmodern as a condition. A condition is not something subject to a dialectical opposition, and philosophy of the past 30 years generally regards the patterns within culture and politics as being a condition. So, as a condition, we can’t break out of it by doing the opposite, so the project of refinding modernism seems to me a false one. Postmodernism can’t really be considered a definite break with modernism anyway but a space and time in which the central tenets of modernism (axiomatic truth, teleological or unilinear history) became untenable. What I mean to say is that we can’t go back, and to attempt to carve a future out for cinema by going back to the old greats seems retrograde and pointless to me. To find one’s way out of a condition, one must work that escape out of the terms of that condition itself. So, something I’ve been interested in is seeing ways in which artists have used the facts of modern (post-modern, whatever) existence to gesture toward an escape.
So, what I guess that means for a movement is that rather than outrightly rejecting the current patterns in art that it can’t uphold, to attempt to find a way out through their current significance rather than through some return to a past that’s most likely in the imagination anyway.
And, a word on manifestoes: they typically serve to carve out a space for one’s work. Truffaut’s Certain Tendency of French Cinema and the work in Cahiers carved out a space for those directors to participate. Dogme 95 clearly sets itself a problem to be solved and thus carves out a space to work. Maybe part of the issue people are having is with the tag of a movement being attached to what seems to me like a pretty heterogeneous group of films and videos. If you want to make the case for this as a movement, that’s fine, but if so, I think making a case for these films outside of the scope of Dogme, mumblecore, American structural experimental film, and the work of directors like Tarr, Denis, or Martel seems somewhat necessary. It might end up that like most movements, we’ll end up with a series of some interesting and some uninteresting directors loosely connected with their affiliation with a manifesto that may or may not actually do work.
ToddJ, thanks so much for this thoughtful contribution to the discussion.
One point among others you posted above that I find interesting is this:
So, something I’ve been interested in is seeing ways in which artists have used the facts of modern (post-modern, whatever) existence to gesture toward an escape.
Let’s talk about how this movement is doing that, because I think that it clearly is, and I’d say in a decided way, trying to move away from the way film is usually used to express well, many things.
Nice piece, especially fleshing out POMO as a condition.
A couple of things:
Remodernism wants to embrace the good aspects of Modernism. Western ‘movements’ have at their core the notion of progress in terms of insights. ( Mondrian: I don’t paint to make pictures I paint to figure things out.) Obviously, embracing the past is counter to this and why there is in Remodernism a tilt towards an Eastern outlook i.e. tradition or as they put it ‘convention’.
Far from being a rebellion or revolution Remodernism is quite conservative. The next generation, two generations removed from Modernism, really isn’t gonna gave much to rebel against; thus, what we have is passing down of a more traditionalist approach.
To sit in front of the proverbial ‘blank canvas’ in a cynical, ironic, self-reflexive condition must be really quite daunting – I have to empathize with the post-POMO generation.
FWIW: To approach the spiritual in art, one will make as little use as possible of reality, because reality is opposed to the spiritual. (Piet Mondrian)
Robert I don’t know that it’s a return to something old-fashioned so much as an acknowledgment and statement that not everyone thinks the same. This is a different aesthetic, period. A return to the past is neither possible nor desired. We’re not talking about Ms. Havisham here. Nor Norma Desmond. Come on.
Remodernism existing does not negate other movements/ways of doing art. It just, as ToddJ says, carves a place for itself among all the work going on around it.
Not to mention that the concept of “modern” as we know it via design, for example, is really actually rather old-fashioned in this day and age.
^ Yes. Thank you Jen. Remodernism is neither particularly traditional nor conservative.
Also we are getting the film out to Mubi (mailing the DVD to the Paris offices imminently).
^ YAY! :D
Thanks for posting the videos, Jesse. I enjoyed Peter’s “self-portrait.” (Hopefully, it was meant to be funny—at least the part when he gets to Heidi’s house and the third person.) Btw, I tried going to the vimeo page, and I didn’t notice an high quality option.)
Is the film, “Tulp/Tulip” above Heidi Beaver’s “Lost”, also her film?
I must say that I don’t watch a lot of shorts, and I’m wondering if there is a different aesthetic and way of approaching/thinking of short films (especially the ones that are less than five minutes). My sense is that they are more like abstract works of art. So maybe we’re meant to see interesting images or maybe the filmmakers have a very simple idea and they want to see if they can execute it in an interesting way. ?
Sure Jazz, my pleasure. Tulp/tulip is by Roy Rezaali.
Hmm… I’m reluctant to speak for the other filmmakers, but I can say that for me, I don’t usually have a specific plan for the length of a film beforehand. I may know that it will be a short, but because I improvise the whole thing from beginning to end, I just follow the path until I feel that it has reached the point that it needs to reach. So it’s basically a feeling that I follow to a conclusion- or at least the place where it stops (which maybe isn’t always a conclusion). I’m curious what the others might say about their process of doing a short…
Does that answer your question?
^ That’s how I work, except in special cases like the Ergodic and #Occupy Cinema, in which case there’s a little more structure. But not a whole hell of a lot.
Well, to be honest, I’m not even sure about what I’m asking. I guess in my limited experience with short films, many seems very abstract and more like sketches of a concept or idea (that could be developed into a feature length film). They feel fragmentary, and not very unified. So in a way, these shorts don’t feel complete or whole, but feel like rough drafts, preliminary films for something later on.
This not always the case, of course. I think Rinaldi’s “Self-Portrait” seemed fairly complete. Your “Days Gone But Not Forgotten” also feels that way, too.
I imagine there isn’t one answer, or one right answer to this, but it would be interesting to hear filmmakers to share their attitude and approach to short films and if there are different to feature length films.
When you say you’re films are improvised, does that mean you don’t have a general idea or framework for the film? For example, many different forms of jazz utilize a framework—based on chord changes and a melody and a structure for the improvisations. For example, the group will start of playing the melody of the tune, then the musicians will take turns improvising and then end the song playing the melody or the head. This is all understood before playing the song. So it’s not pure improvisation, but improvisation within a preconceived structure and approach. Do you have something like this before you approach your films?
Is there a different purpose and approach to making short films (less than five minutes) versus more feature length films?
Jazz I won’t speak for others but in my case, making the kinds of shorts I make is like writing poetry. Very different from a novel.
For me, the idea is to capture a thought or a feeling and impart it to the viewer. Very simple. Almost like a meditation on a short period of time, an experience in a particular moment, an emotion, a thought. It isn’t about an epic story, stretching over time, but an experience in the present, even if that experience contains some memory of the past.
Here’s an example, which I made for STL Video:
I really like what you said. It seems to fit a lot of short films (including the one you made), and I find your response helpful in approaching and appreciating some of these short films. I’m assuming that at the very least you have some vague notion of the feeling or thought you’re trying to capture. I’d guess that there would be some forethought about the concept of the short, too. So for your short, prior to shooting, did you know you wanted to focus on the side-mirror and then eventually end with the car speeding off? (I’m just guessing about different aspects you might have known prior to filming.)
Btw, I liked your clip.
But I do feel uncertain about evaluating these shorts.
I take footage. Then I put it together when I have a certain feeling or thought. I work very instinctively, this comes from painting and drawing from my own inspiration. With film editing, it’s almost a little like collage and painting together, but with sound and pacing. I just really love working with a moving image, and everything that comes along with it. It suits me.
But are you saying you randomly shoot footage and then when you get a feeling, you dig through all of this footage and assemble it? That’s pretty interesting. I wouldn’t have guessed that with the short you posted. On the other hand, the “fire” does seem to be something added on; but the shots with the side mirror.
Yes. Exactly. I feel, think, find, assemble, make it move, make it speak. :)
With the exception of the Ergodic project, and my #Occupy Cinema project, which were somewhat more deliberate in intent — i.e. shooting what I thought about shooting.
Well ok other times, I do this sort of thing, which is totally spontaneous. I shot this not long after I woke up. The crows in the trees were footage shot at random not many days before. But shooting myself here was deliberate:
So I guess, as I talk about my own work, it all depends…
There is always however, even when there is some deliberation and planning, like for my Ergodic piece (Letters), an element which is just like Jesse describes — it goes where it wants to go.
Odi said, …it goes where it wants to go.
You mean while you’re filming? I think it would be interesting to make a film where you start filming something and you let the “movie” go where it wants to go—without any edits or post-production work. That would be something truly improvisatory. I’m not sure how good the films would turn out, though.
Doubtless that kind of “it goes where it wants to go” exists.
However, I do know that Straight 8 does something like this — i.e., no editing.Garage also has a project page for Straight 8, check it out.