Visage Villages (Faces Places), Chance gave JR, an iconic contemporary photographer/muralist with over a million Instagram followers his first camera. He found it, abandoned on a subway. Destiny introduced him to his biggest idol, legendary filmmaker, director, writer, visual artist, Agnes Varda.

Go see this heart expansive art, story, documentary by two of this worlds best photographic visual artists and filmmakers.

Oscar nominated for Best Documentary in 2018, Visage Villages (Faces Places) by Agnes Varda and JR, I was blown away by their vision of what is possible when life is appreciated through our senses first.

I watched this documentary with my 11 year old daughter, a budding photographic enthusiast and loved when she said at the film’s end, ‘that was a good movie mum. I liked it’. 

Chance gave JR, an iconic contemporary photographer/muralist with over a million Instagram followers his first camera. He found it, abandoned on a subway. Destiny introduced him to his biggest idol, legendary filmmaker, director, writer, visual artist, Agnes Varda.

Together, their love of imagery, of capturing the beauty of story in art and the story in impermanent faces resulted in their outstanding French documentary – Visage Villages (Faces Places).

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What they do with a simple black and white selfie is sheer artistic magic. As the pair travel through rural France ensconced in JR’s incredible photo truck– an instamatic camera on wheels – they unearth the extraordinary in the ordinary story rich faces of rural French villagers.

JR (34) dangling like a dapper clad Spiderman scales colossal heights on scaffolding – think six shipping containers high –with acrobatic ease he pastes up giant scale photographs, high upon walls.

Just as the edges of a face blur in recollection and memory, there is a sense of urgency as Varda and Jr attempt to make permanent a shifting landscape of time.

Through a photograph, Varda and JR immortalise the fragile impermanence of the face, that one moment in photographic time where the face and body stand heroic, silent in their quest to guard the permanent, to remain emeshed within the bricks and concrete of industry and remembered.

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None more tellingly shown than in the pasting of a young Guy Bourdin, pasted low tide, on a beach in Normandy, onto an abandoned German blockhouse, . Varda (89) had spent time with Guy, shooting the image back in the ’50s.

The image has survived over six decades but the following morning when  Varda and JR return, the blockhouse and beach remain, forever mismatched together, but the image, washed away overnight has vanished.

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Everything is always changing. Varda and JR remind us that permanence exists in engraving and appreciating the present moment. Great art and film after all is all art that lives on, either in form, or in the way it affects us when we greet it.

There are surprising, great and unexpected stories in the worlds behind the faces we meet, worlds we know little about of the lives and stories of French villages, workers and farmers.

Like a goat farmer who bucks convention by refusing to burn off her goats’ horns at birth.

Or the speechless tears of a woman – pasted street front upon her home – the last inhabitant in a row of miner’s houses. The miners have vanished but their homes stand heroically stoic and although abandoned and  crumbling, the row of houses unite as constant reminders of stories past.

Time and chance are lead roles within the documentary, Varda and JR had no plan other than to meet the people of the landscape and to let them, their amazing personal stories and the landscape dictate the mood and feeling of the art and documentary.

Within Visage Villages (Faces Places), Varda and JR supercharged with the power of improvisation, triumph in their tender exploration of human lives.  Varda and JR embed the faces and places of rural France within our psyches and as with great art, these images haunt and remain.

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Written, Directed and commented by Agnes Varda and JR

Executive Producer Rosalie Varda

Associate Producer Emile Abinal

Co-Producers Julie Gayet and Nadia Turincev, Charles S. Cohen Nichole Fu, Etienne Comar

 

Images with thanks from Pinterest

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2018 resolution – ‘Less judgement and more nuts’ ‘A Nut Job 2, Nutty by Nature’.What can go wrong is what makes this film so right.

 

2018 is finally here! I couldn’t be more excited. I have just come back from 4 glorious days in Sydney, catching up with old friends, sailing, swimming and sleeping on Sydney Harbour –  afternoons dozing in a sea breeze with champagne lips – the best! Then doing it all again!

There are so many new things I am excited to dive into in 2018. I haven’t made any resolutions only that I’m not going to overthink too much and I’m just going to get out of my own way and enjoy all I have, a bit like the characters here in  Nut Job 2, Nutty by Nature,  my first 2018 movie review, published for Go Movies.

Enjoy! Simmon X @theloveauthentic

Cal Brunker wanted to make A Nut Job 2, Nutty by Nature, bigger and more fun so he took the most loved elements of the first movie and mixes nuts, drama and the deft flick of an artist’s eye to bring to life a little band of insurgent parkland animals, a corrupt greedy human oppressor -and turn it into a visually stunning action packed sequel.

 Stuffed on a fast food supply of nuts from the abandoned basement of Nibbler’s Nut Shop, Surly and his animal friends Andie (Katherine Heigl), stray pug Precious (Maya Rudolph) Buddy (Tom Kenn) live happy, lazy and fat in nut luxury without a survival worry in the world.

Nut feasts of every kind are just one furry paw breath away for the hunter gatherers. But their lifestyle of easy pickings ends explosively one night as the nut shop comes tumbling down in a gas explosion.

Unbeknownst to the animals their survival problems are just beginning.

Surly discovers that the local Mayor, a corrupt self-serving meanie Mayor Muldoon (Bobby Moynihan), plans to get rich by bulldozing their beloved Liberty Park and ripping it apart turning it into a hellish carnival ground full of decrepit rides bought on the cheap.

The animals strike back when they team up with some muscle in the adorable fluff ball form of a tough city mouse and Kung Fu master Mr. Feng and his army of displaced mice. Mr Feng has one outstanding flaw, he absolutely loses it when you call him cute.

Mayor Muldoon brutally enlists pest exterminators to eliminate Surly and his friends. Mayor Muldoon packs a pint-sized weapon of his own, his daughter Heather – an armed brat with psychopathic urges, a tranquillizer gun and itching trigger finger.

Heather delights in doing horribly wrong things to animals if she can just get her hands on them.

All appears lost as the animal’s face hunger, homelessness and destruction by a predator they are not equipped to battle

What can go wrong is what makes this film so right for its target audience.

A simple movie with big themes: inclusion, diversity, unity, purpose and quest and we, we’re cheering the little guy all the way.

Cal Brunker injects the drama with ever higher stakes with the completely unexpected plot twist of my favourite character, Surly’s best friend a non-speaking rescue rat named Buddy (Tom Kenny).

In his scraggly body Buddy the silent heroic outsider captured my heart as he faced off against the destructive power of corrupt human greed.

Nut Job 2, Nutty by Nature is a thrilling ride with unexpected plot twists.  At one moment I sat misty eyed with shock in the cinema with my 11-year-old daughter, My thought at that moment was, ‘this can’t happen in a kid’s movie!’

As I watched this movie with my daughter I was given the gift of escaping into the movie with the eyes of a child.

My daughter loved A Nut Job 2, Nutty by Nature.

The Nut Job 2 draws you into an enormous canvas of animated movie magic. There is enough colour breathing escapism, relentless slapstick smiling animal chaos and rocket fueled action married with characters we care about that makes Nut Job 2 a perfect school holiday movie.

The Nut Job 2: Nutty By NatureDirector and Co-Writer: Cal Brunker

Producer and Co-Writer: Bob Barlen

Screenwriters: Scott Bindley, Cal Brunker, Bob Barlen

Producers: Harry Linden, Jongsoo Kim, Youngki Lee, Li Li Ma, Jonghan Kim, Bob Barlen

Starring: Will Arnett, Maya Rudolph, Katherine Heigl, Jackie Chan, Bobby Moynihan, Gabriel Iglesias, Bobby Cannavale, Jeff Dunham, Peter Stormare and Isabela Moner.

Rated: G

 

Images not owned by theloveauthentic and are used for promotional or illustrative purposes and their copyright remains the property of the original owner.

A Ghost Story – The paradox of living with love separated from the adored one’. #davidloweryaghoststory

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After dashing madly about the Cinema Nova in Carlton, Melbourne from the wrong pitch-black-cinema screening the wrong movie lurking out into the shadows and chatter of the right cinema – its seats filling with the right audience of media with their right glasses of red wine and roasted popcorn, I squirrelled myself away to sit back and be mystified by  David Lowery’s film, A Ghost Story.

And this big screen movie experience is definitely unlike anything I have met before.

In fact I had a really hard time what to make of it.

But through the perfect timing of an incredible birthday trip to the Mildura Writer’s Festival  mere days later – to be surrounded by friends, old and new – one, Australian acclaimed poet Les Murray (Les convinced me to eat his ‘tripe’ – a dish specially prepared at a candle lit feast cooked by Stefano, washed down with incredible wines, all on the banks of the Great Murray River.

To be honest the tripe was delicious, kind of comforting in a toasted marrow fat kind of way – I like marrow and I love lamb’s fat but I have years of child-tripe-protestations-saying NO, never ever eat tripe again! I think a cousin must have teased me about it being stomach’s lining – as an older, wiser taunting cousin does.

But here surrounded by the majesty of the Murray River I found what I needed, the space to let this movie imprint it’s haunting imagery upon me.

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The Beauty of the Murray River.

 

Written and Directed by: David Lowery A Ghost Story

Producers: Toby Halbrooks, James M. Johnston, Adam Donaghey

Cinematographer: Andrew Droz Palermo

Starring: Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck.

A Ghost Story invites us into the tender space of young love shared by Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck and the tragic aftermath of grief as a fatal car crash leaves C dead and transformed as a ghost throughout the movie.

Landlocked by love in one state of being and one place, C remains beneath a sad and forlorn sheet with cut out holes for eyes, to witness time and his lover change without him.

Lowery (Pete’s Dragon, Aint Them Bodies Saints) had been wanting to tell a ghost story for years with the classic iconography of the bed-sheet ghost and with Affleck as no ordinary ghost he achieves that.

Lowery sets the visual tone that this is not a traditional motion picture by shooting the film in the 1:33 aspect ratio, meaning the image width is only slightly greater than its height.  This film technique enabled Lowery to create a towering presence of the shrouded ghost, a still and dominating presence within each scene.

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The cinematography is pared back with the glare and grit of everyday realism and it is in the familiar and the known that Lowery captures us.
Through doorframes – a fascination of Lowery’s – both dark and functional, they frame Affleck and Mara in ordinary rooms of no import, but it is in their lack of adornment where the intimate confrontations and revelatory keypoints are revealed without massive movement or violence.

There is something to a movie with long stretches bereft of dialogue, we remain in the stillness as the ghost does and without distraction we sink further into the tragedy of love lost without goodbye and time moving forward where the loved one occupies no space only in memory.

In an unforgettable scene, Mara’s luminous distinctive features convey all the profound grief you thought you’d need dialogue for. In isolation, she stuffs an entire family size chocolate pie in a single four-minute take. The body of food is ill equipped to replace her loss of C.

In a later scene, we witness the profound pathos of love and of lost hearts craving connection through the ghost’s presence.

A Ghost Story

When M finally leaves their home, she embeds a lover’s note into a door frame. The repetitious scratching by a ghost without hands is both tragic and beautiful and as he seeks to unearth the note oblivious to the passage of time without him, we are reminded his sense of identity is derived from his attachment as the beloved.

As I left the cinema into the noise and bustle of my ordinary world, I was unsure how I felt about the movie, in fact I had to sit with it for a few days.

I felt haunted by the film’s imagery of tender grieving and the paradox of grieving a love torn apart by unforeseen tragedy of living with love separated from the adored one.

Through the art of film Lowery poses the aesthetic as a response of grief and catastrophe.

A Ghost Story penetrates as a poignant reminder that the blessing of our good luck is to sit in witness to an event that is possible to each of us.

Our shared humanity wants to vouch safe the journey of love and for it not to leave us ill-prepared for the space that remains in the absence of the loved one.

Read my full review of A Ghost Story by David Lowery, published here for Go Movie Review X

via A Ghost Story — Go Movie Reviews

 

My beautiful work space for the day – at Cinema Nova, Carlton Melbourne.

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Body shaming, plus-size and grace in action with cake.

An inspirational mum, Carrie Strongman is a woman who’s attitude embodies an unapologetic confidence in being a beautiful plus size woman.

She also happens to be my mum.

My mum is plus size and has always shown me how beautiful her curves are.

If as a child, my raised eyebrows teased her as she sashayed past, she would tackle me with kisses until I surrendered out loud just how beautiful she was.

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My mum pictured above with my two daughters Saskia and Scarlett

I love these memories of my mum, from them my mum taught me how to love boldly, with strength and out loud.

My mum is incredibly independent, fearless, creative and intelligent. My mum with all her strength is also one of the funniest and wittiest people I know.

But I remember one moment wishing I could be her strength when two Parnell Village fashion-retail sales-women tried to shame my mother because of her plus size.

Parnell Village in one of Auckland’s most affluent suburbs with historic, cobblestone- paved charm, remains one of my favourite places in Auckland.

My mother grew up on her father’s sprawling Waitakaruru dairy farm before moving by herself at the age of 13 to the city of Auckland to study and board at New Zealand’s prestigious all girl’s Queen Victoria School. Situated in the equally affluent suburb of Remuera, a 30-minute walk from Parnell Village.

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My mum in her Queen Victoria day uniform

In my teenage years, my mum and I would travel from our home in the Coromandel Peninsula, for special mum and daughter days out in Auckland city. Together we would shop, lunch, visit family and visit sites from her teenage years like the Auckland Art Gallery, a favourite.

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The beautiful Coromandel Coast where my mum and I grew up X

My mum would then take me to one of her favourite cafes in Parnell Village for hot chocolate and cake.

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The nostalgic charm of Parnell Village, Parnell, Auckland.

The first and last time I saw my mother experience body shaming we were about to get hot chocolates in Parnell Village. I remember this detail because I didn’t want a hot chocolate after our encounter with two-fashion retail sales woman. I wanted to leave and hold my mum.

The doorway into their store was abnormally narrow, I glided in and then mum confronted by the fact that she could not fit easily through the door turned herself sideways and shimmied inside.

My mum smiled and looked up at the two women, I smiled too.

Then mum said, 

‘gosh that was a tight squeeze, I almost couldn’t fit in’.

The sales woman from behind her counter said,

‘well perhaps people like you shouldn’t squeeze themselves in here. There is nothing for your size in here.’

They turned and grinned at one another and smiled without any warmth in their eyes.

 

I still have feelings of sadness in my heart recounting this. I remember being so unprepared for their raw and unmasked meanness, I couldn’t believe that well perfumed and well-dressed people would say such mean things out loud.

For a moment, I saw a vulnerability in my mother that made me want to come back one day and buy that shop and fire those women. I was 14 years old and I just wanted to protect my mum.

I don’t remember what my mum said but I remember the proud carriage of her posture as we left.

I wanted to leave Parnell Village but mum hushed me and sat me down in the café directly in front of their store and ordered my hot chocolate, her coffee and two French pastries.

We sat and my mother told me to enjoy our lovely waiter, our lovely steaming drinks, our pastries and the beautiful day.

A powerful lesson I learned that day from my mum.

Their meanness did not define us or how we enjoyed our day.

The meanness of the two fashion sales women was their problem and not ours.

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My mum and step dad pictured here together in their hometown of Coromandel

I love my mum out loud.

#family #growingup #prejudice #bodyimage #women #writing #nonfiction

I am blessed and grateful to be the daughter of a woman who has taught me how to remember to love myself fearlessly and out loud.

And to remember most importantly that with all the energy and strength I give to others to remember to love myself first.

I love my mum.

A Melbourne Bladesmith’s one-of-a-kind love at first Slice.

Melbourne bladesmith, Aidan Mackinnon loves nothing more than dedicating 15 hours or more to transforming a raw hunk of steel and a block of wood into a one-of-a-kind, high performance, heirloom knife.

And creating a one-of-a-kind, high performance knife is what fuels his dedication and uncompromising creativity for his craft.

Cut Throat Knives was founded in 2014, after Aidan fascinated with the ancient craft tried his hand at making a knife. It was love at first slice.Resin Knives

   When I started, I immediately knew this is what I wanted to do. It just made sense to me, it combined my interest of food with design, with working with my hands and then elements of art as well.

   I was hooked from day 1.

Each of Aidan’s hand sculpted knives are bought to life in his fingers and it is this collaboration between the raw materials – Aidan likes to work with Australian materials – and his own humanity that Aidan believes makes each piece flesh alive in quality and function.

In our long-distance interview, I caught up with Aidan as he was training with some Master bladesmiths in the United States whilst I was here in Melbourne.

I admit as an interviewee he couldn’t have been more generous with his time and personable with intimate details of Cut Throat Knives and a craft that he loves.

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1.Hi Aidan, you are currently in training with some bladesmiths in the United States, what so far has been the best learning you have received there?

Hi Simmon, the best thing that I’ve learnt is that I’ve demystified some of the aura around the celebrity knife makers. It can be easy when you work in a certain field to put people on pedestals and the knife making community is no different.

 It has been fantastic learning from some of the thought leaders in my field but also realizing that they are just makers like the rest of us.

2.Where did your fascination with knife making first begin?

 I’ve always been into food and through that you gain an appreciation for well-made tools. When I first moved out of home I bought a Global Knife and then slowly just kept on upgrading through the various factory made options.

Then about 5 years ago I came across the work of Cut Brooklyn and Blok Knives and just found the concept fascinating, that there were these guys making beautiful tools by hand.

After a little bit, I decided to learn how to make a knife and did a course in Australia and I really fell for the craft. Within 7 months I had launched Cut Throat Knives.

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3. At the beginning, tell me about the first knife you ever made?

The first Chef Knife I ever made was with Tharwa Valley Forge in Canberra, they are a blacksmithing and bladesmithing school.

 I hammered out a piece of steel under the tutelage and glued on a handle and shaped it. By anybody’s standards it was rough, even my own but I saw it as a stepping point. I still have it in my workshop acting as a reminder of how far I’ve come.

4. You believe the human element of crafting a handmade knife is of the utmost importance in creating the fine detail of a bespoke blade, how so?

Every element of a handmade knife is about attention to detail.

The lines of the blade are a little more refined, the blades are ground very thin, and often have complex compound grinds. The heat treatment is done to the highest standard possible (something that is difficult when factories are bulk heat treating blades).

 Finally, the choice of the materials in the handle and the contouring of the handle.
These improvements however slight stack up and produce a better end result.

As a knife maker, we have to be about pushing the envelope, getting the most out of the materials so that it is a lifetime purchase.

craftsman5. Will you share your design philosophy behind the crafting of your beautiful knives?

First and foremost, they are about function, if they don’t excel where they need to everything else is moot. Beyond that my goal is to create a kitchen heirloom, in that sense I’m trying to create an object that has an emotional connection to it.


For example I did a collaboration with a florist, where we lasered peonies onto the blade and had a handle that was resin cast that contained a single flower. Not only will it perform well, but for a florist this is a tool that takes their work passion and embodies it in a kitchen object.

6. What plans do you have for the future of Cut Throat Knives?

We are about to launch our own range of Damascus and San Mai blades. These will be complete bespoke custom work where we work with the customer to create a truly individual piece.

Leather and Knife

We are also revamping our leather range to include a greater selection of options.

We have some other projects in the works but for now they will remain a secret

7. And for all the budding bladesmiths, home chefs and others you have knife making classes starting soon. Very exciting, please tell me about them.

Knife making classes will be starting shortly.

They will be run as a two-day course where we teach the basics of knife making and sharpening with a heavy focus on kitchen knives.

8. The food industry is ever evolving and ever inspiring, from whom do you draw inspiration from?

 Within my own field; Blok Knives, Cut Brooklyn, Maumasi Fire Arts, David Lisch

Outside of my craft; the Dapper Dead, Sauer and Steiner, Kylie Kwong, Grafa Garden, Brooklyn Copper, Borough Furnace, Black Tide Tattoo, North St Botanical (the list is long)

Within the culinary world (this list is very, very long); Adam Perry Lang, Kenji Lopez Alt, Josh Niland, Dan Barber to name just a few.

 9. Why should people buy a handmade knife as opposed to a commercially made one?

 I would encourage people to enhance their cooking experience through good produce and good tools. Maybe that means buying one of my knives or maybe it is the cheap Santoku that you bought when you lived in Japan and every time you use it, it reminds you of your time there.

I think that there is something special about holding a well-made tool and knowing that there is a person and a story behind that object. If that connects with you and enhances your cooking, then absolutely I encourage you to give me a call.

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  1. And finally, what is the best way I can take care of one of your beautifully made Cut Throat Knives?


There are a few elements to taking care of a well-made knife,

  1. Take care of the tip and the rest takes care of itself.
    When sharpening get it professionally sharpened, or use whetstones. Never use those pull through sharpeners, they are terrible.
  2. Store on a magnetic knife block or in a wooden knife block with the edge facing up (don’t rest the edge on the wood).
  3. Never just throw it in the draw.
  4. Hand wash only. It takes 5 seconds to clean the blade and dry it.

As Cut Throat Knives says on their website’https://www.cutthroatknives.com.au/

Quality has no substitute; throwaway culture deserves disposal; and time-honored skills are worthy of recognition.

Thanks Aidan!

Look forward to your return to Melbourne!

With images courtesy of Cut Throat Knives and Aidan Mackinnon.

#cutthroatknives #handcraftedknives #melbourneknifemaker #handmadeknives #artisan #melbourneartisan