Sunday, 27 February 2011

Film Review - The Long Goodbye

Out of all the movies shown I enjoyed Robert Altman’s ‘The Long Goodbye’ the most. My initial thoughts whilst watching the film were occupied with counting how many cigarettes the main character Philip Marlowe could light in such a short space of time, however, after concentrating more on the story I found myself drawn in. The story itself, that of a chain-smoking private detective trying to find the true story behind his best friends wife’s murder, is captivating in a typical ‘who-dun-it’ way, the audience are left curious and their interest is held. However, the story was not the element that held my interest; the camera movements and the music were a key part to the film’s success; the music being the same song ‘The Long Goodbye’ being repeated in a range of styles and tempos, each suiting the particular scene perfectly. The detail in the movie is vital; the camera is constantly moving, picking up on tiny details that would otherwise go ignored, and picking up bizarre background scenes such as that of the two dogs humping upon Marlowe’s arrival in Mexico which the camera focuses on for at least 5 seconds which appears odd seeing as the camera rarely settles on one point throughout the film. 

The camera is very important for drawing the audience in; we see things from Marlowe’s perspective, therefore we only know what’s happening once Marlowe does, such as in the scene where Marlowe is talking with Eileen Wade by a window, the. scene focuses on their conversation whilst through the window we see Eileen’s drunk husband stumble towards the sea, anticipation builds as we wait for Marlowe and Eileen to spot the disaster waiting to happen outside then the desperate race to save his life. This allows us to empathise with Marlowe’s character, we sit looking in on the scene as though we are there waiting desperately for the characters to realise what is about to happen the anticipation which is created in those few tense moments.

From reading other film reviews of ‘The Long Goodbye’ I found a quote that I found very interesting; “[Robert Altman] pokes fun at it at every junction. Marlowe often speaks the way we’d expect a movie hero to, and so do his adversaries. The gatekeeper at the Malibu community offers stunning imitations of quintessential movie stars, ranging from Jimmy Stewart to Cary Grant by way of Walter Brennan. And part of the theme is Richard Whiting’s Hooray for Hollywood – the other part being a single John Williams song, performed in umpteen different arrangements. It’s Altman’s way of saying: ‘Here’s a film-noir type detective story, set in Los Angeles in the 1970’s. Go figure.’”
 It’s true that the main character lives a wealthy lifestyle in a lavish gated community, however, there is no glamour in this film, there is no sign of excess, snobbery, whatever location the main character finds himself in be it the county jail or an expensive beach front house, he remains the same
I feel that the music throughout the film is key to expressing the mood of the scene, we feel what they feel, the music changes depending to setting as well, proving environment is important for the music and that all factors are interlinked. The recent Turner Prize winner Susan Philipsz used sound as her medium. Her work is based on more than just a good singing voice, the way Philipsz sites recordings of her voice is as much to do with place as sound placing speakers under bridges and across lakes which are a much more suitable location than an empty room in Tate Britain, as the setting encapsulates the emotions of the songs. This links as it shows locations as well as music choice have a strong effect on expressing the mood of a scene.

My new favorite book

My copy of Pattern Magic by Tomoko Nakamichi finally arrived yesterday (I ordered it like 2 months ago grrr bad Amazon!) and it is actually amazing. The book is full of detailed instructions on how to create these beautiful pieces, taking you through step by step with pictures to fully explain everything. Although I'm not a fashion student, I do have some experience with pattern cutting, and I love making garments, so this book really is perfect, especially after seeing the 30 years of Japanese fashion at the Barbican a few months ago which was incredible as all the work as so different and so inspiring, especially the more creative designs.

Finger Knitting

As part of my fmp, I have been looking to different ways of knitting; different techniques, methods, materials, etc. This week I chose to look at finger knitting; I used it in previous projects just as small material samples, however, I finger knitted a whole ball of yarn, then knitted normally with my new chunky yarn, it created a thick, beautiful knit, which I'm still in the process of making. It's a great technique, however it takes like a day to finger knit all the yarn which doesnt last very long as its so thick so it is quite time comsuming, but worth it. I was hoping to have a sample to put in my portfolio for Chelsea Textiles last week, as my portfolio is lacking in colour, however, I was successful in getting into Chelsea with my colourless portfolio so all is well. Hopefully I'll have a sample for my next interview this wednesday at Brighton, fingers crossed.

lovely chunky knit

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Knit Kicks

Whilst researching knitwear designers I came across this amazing website, which has become a God send. Knit Kicks has a huge range of knitwear designers and artists, many of whom are recent graduates, so the work on show is bang up to date. Some of the amazing work I have found:
Hanako Narahiri
Hanako Narahiri 
Barbara Í Gongini

Jillian Carrozza

And sooooo many more...

Docklands Light Railway

After a discussion with my tutor about my FMP I have decided to develop the idea of scale and environment a lot more. As my project is based around the idea of extreme knitting, I will now work into the idea of how the environment of the piece will effect its scale. I will extend my research into dolls houses and miniature villiages as an example of tiny scale, it will be interesting to see how a normal sized piece of knitting will look in a tiny dolls bed. As an example of large scale, I took a trip down to the Docklands to look at ship-parts, machinery and the general gigantic metal things there. After travelling for about 45minutes to get to the docklands from my house in north london, I realised there isn't actually much left in the docklands related to shipping and docking, as it's now full of lovely new flats and other regeneration schemes. However, I visited Trinity Buoy at East India Docks as I have been there for art exhibitions and remembered they had some buoys and lighthouses and other shipping paraphernalia lying around. To be honest, I found more useful images and information in books in the library at Chelsea, most of the images were from the days when the docks were in full use. I like the images of the thick ropes and heavy chains, these have been useful in providing ideas for possible knitting samples.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Sandra Backlund

I have chosen to look at this designer for my final major project. As my project is based on knit, especially the unique, bizarre and extreme, I thought this particular designer was perfect. Her pieces are striking and the intricate detail in each hand made piece is inspiring.

I am under no illusion that I'll be able to knit anything like her work, however, the scale and size of the pieces are details I could use in the pieces I create in my project.
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Sunday, 13 February 2011

deconstruction samples

For the final crit for this project we were told to select 3 pieces of our work to show at the crit, these pieces would have to be what we thought are our strongest pieces, and which would best interpret  our concept without us having to explain it. This selection process was useful as it allows us to look through our work and be selective, this is useful as it is what we are having to do with our portfolios. These are some pieces I felt were my strongest:

I used a number of techniques throughout this project, including embossing into leathers and wadding which i thought was most effective, as well as very loose knitting and furrowing. I realised the importance of scale, as I made a few large samples which had much more of an impact, and look a lot better.