Category Archives: STYLE ON SCREEN

STYLE ON SCREEN: MORGIANA

Actress Iva Janžurová plays the roles of sisters Klara and Viktoria in Juraj Herz’s Morgiana, a not so classic tale of sibling rivalry gone wrong. Charming, bubbly, outgoing Klara inherits the majority of their recently deceased fathers estate – much to the dismay of jealous, bitter, and sadistic Viktoria.

After consulting a fortune teller, Viktoria ops to poison Klara. The poison fails to kill Klara, but produces ongoing hallucinatory effects which cause her to question her sanity. Eventually Viktoria feels remorseful, but by then then the provider of the poison threatens to blackmail her. Hoping to gain sympathy, Viktoria opts to stage a suicide attempt… only to be sabotaged by her cat, Morgiana. Interestingly, many scenes are viewed through the perspective of Morgiana.

Considered the last Czech new wave film, it’s a visual hybrid of Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. Though set in the early Edwardian era, the costuming consists of Victoriana meets medieval dresses, Bedouin jewelry, and 60s mod eye makeup. Needless to say, it’s an aesthetic that resonates very, very well here at Goldmine Trash. A must see for witchy fashionistas. See what I mean > Continue reading

STYLE ON SCREEN: THE COLOR OF POMEGRANATES

Some films are so highly visual that each frame resembles an artistic photo. Sergi Parajanov’s ‘The Color of Pomegranates’ on the other hand, resembles paintings from centuries past (albeit with a Bunuel-esque twist). An artistic take on the life of Armenian poet Sayat Nova, it depicts Nova’s humble beginnings as wool dying child laborer to his days as a provocative courtier, then his later years as a monk. Dialogue was kept to a minimum, so traditional music and costumes set much of the mood. Needless to say, The Color of Pomegranates is a masterpiece unto itself. And like most masterpieces, it was initially suppressed in it’s native country.

Rich in religious iconography, this Georgian film went against the grain of Socialist Realism (read: propaganda), unlike it’s contemporaries in the USSR. It proved to be influential though, so by 1973 the authorities persecuted Parajanov. The last two decades of his life were spent in and out of prison, despite international outcry from the likes of Federico Fellini, Yves Saint Laurent, Michelangelo Antonioni and Jean-Luc Godard. Thankfully Parajanov continued to create while incarcerated; 1,000+ drawings, collages, and miniature dolls, most of which exist to this day. Parajanov came to a tragic end; his health was compromised in forced labor camps, and by 1990 cancer claimed his life. Shortly after, the USSR too faced it’s bitter end. And thanks to this, Parajanov’s films were once again allowed to exhibit at film festivals worldwide.

Today, much of his work and personal belongings are permanently housed in the Parajanov Museum of Yerevan, Armenia. His work continues to gain in popularity, namely among fans of other controversial directors such as Pier Pasolini and Alejandro Jodorowsky. In the spirit of artistic freedom I highly encourage viewing The Color of Pomegranates. Once you’ve seen it you’ll never forget it, and will hopefully draw inspiration from it… as well as from the courageous spirit of Sergi Parajanov himself.


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STYLE ON SCREEN: VALERIE AND HER WEEK OF WONDERS

Menstrual blood. Jealous lovers. Incest. Pedophilia. Ritualism. Bestiality. Lesbianism. Orgies. Violence. Vampirism. Torture. Partial nudity. Public Executions. .. and an animal killing for good measure. Not exactly your average film, even by 70s European standards, and how it stayed off the banned lists is beyond me. But what’s even more odd? A 13 year old girl (Anna Karina-esque Jaroslava Schallerova) played the female lead.

Like the Annunciation and Maladolescenza, one can’t help but wonder who the target audience for Jaromil Jires’ gothic fantasy film Valerie and Her Week of Wonders was. At first glance one might assume this is a childrens movie, yet it’s anything but. Its overt darkness lies in perfect equilibrium with the innocence of the young girls flaunted throughout. The line between ingenue and lolita blurred.

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STYLE ON SCREEN: IMPRESSIONS OF RUSTAVELI

Shota Rustaveli’s 12th century poem The Knight in the Panther’s Skin is regarded as Georgia’s national epic. A medieval tale of brotherhood, courtly love, bravery and adventure, it’s said to epitomize the humanistic ideals of Medieval Europe.

T’hinat’hin, Arabia’s newly crowned female king (!) sends her admirer Avt’handil on a quest to find a mysterious knight clad in panther’s skin. Should Avt’handil’s succeed in the mission, T’hinat’hin will agree to marry him.

Avt’handil locates and befriends the knight, who turns out to be an Indian prince named Tariel. Tariel grieves the disappearance of the Indian princess Nestan-Daredjan; who he loves and is searching for. Sympathetic to one anothers causes, Tariel and Avt’handil vow to be lifelong friends, and to assist one another on both quests. They succeed, and the story ends with double marriages.

Nana Tchitchoua’s ‘Impressions of Rustaveli’ is a seldom seen Georgian/American short film based on The Knight in Panther’s Skin, and is 14 minutes of visual splendor! Taking her cues from directors such as Kenneth Anger, Vera Chytilova and Sergei Parajanov, Impressions of Rustaveli is a love letter to period costume. Turbans, fez hats, beadwork, long veils and ethnic prints abound. Instantly, you’re whisked away to the Byzantine era via Near East perspective.

Despite being made in 2001, Impressions of Rustaveli was shot in a frontal style devoid of camera movement. Combined with a soft focus and often dim lighting, the film has a distinctly retro feel. As you’ll see, it’s stills could pass for Sarah Moon photos.

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