Annakarinaland

Annakarinaland
Anna Karina in Pierre le Fou

2010-06-01

Eurovision: A Phenomenon, Swedish Style

Sweden's ABBA's win in Brighton's 1974 Eurovision with Waterloo launched their career (the hit is on soundtrack for Muriel's Wedding). Almost every European cuntry had it as number 1, 2 or 3 on their hit list that year. ABBA's clothes by today's standards were ridiculous, but the song was very popular.This year for the first time in 17 years, Sweden did not make it to the Eurovision finals. The rules are changing to make more contests possible, and this year more semi finals than previous years thus more chances to be dissed. Each country is supposed to send their "folk music" or pop music favorite to the city of the previous year's Eurovision winner. Of course folk music has changed through the years and is more pop than folk. In Sweden one form of folk music is called "Schlager", basically a driving "hit" , and it has a real gay following and the songs are light, about love and hope. The form usually includes an obligatory key refrain that goes up one octave("obligatorisk tonhöjning". Schlager is a Scandinavian and to a lesser extent Baltic State music form, but is also common in Germany and Austria.
Sweden's popular Melodifestival which paves the way to Eurovision also has increased the number of regional semifinals before the final selection. Veteran Pernilla Wahlgren's (top photo) bouncy Schlager tune Jag vill om du vågar (I Will if You Dare) this year gave way to a young person's song of hope (17), Anna Bergendahl: This is My Life. Young people usually vote on their mobiles for the telecast. Wahlgren, and other established Swedish pop singers are trying to improve their ratings entering Eurovision, but the fans see through this as a comeback or self-promotion to an already decorated career. But Wahlgren's song and performance was better this year anyway than Bergendahl's even with her pink sneakers.
Eurovision is a national sport, a sit home event; the streets of Sweden are virtually empty, for everyone is at a "Schlager fest". It's the music of the people, it's the thrill of being young, although older programmers and promoters commercialize the event with all their gimmicks and angles. Countries in Scandinavia usually vote for their neighbors in the Baltic area, countries in the Mediterranean for their neighbors. Its not a really accurate tally but still it is, for competition ignites the passion of a country and her allies. Maybe what you get in the end is the best of block votes, but not necessarily the best. Since it is a phenomena it's not possible to analyse this song contest intellectually - popular culture is hard to dissect. Eurovision is huge, yet ratings went down in Sweden since their was no winner at the final.
These Eurovision winners should give you an idea of the vitality of the contest, the finely combed yet raw young talent, the uproar of the audience, and the feel for national singers that break their ass with ambition in their life's defining moment, intoxicating! Elena Paparizou - Number One, (Swedish born-Greek background) singing for Greece 2005, Kiev. The lyrics are queer enough ("you're my lover, undercover"), and Schlager in Sweden is a true gay art form. "Number One" was frequently played in gay nightclubs and remains a classic.




The torch to Elena was passed from Ruslana, Ukraine, Wild Dance, 2004. Ruslana was guest of honor at Gay Pride Stockholm 2004....this song is REALLY different from Number One, but yep, there she is Xena: Warrior Princess, subtext and all, without Gabrielle! But according to Eurovision enthusiast Adam Clack, this year the Ukraine sent Gabrielle! Aloyosha arrived on stage in a magical hood and belted out one of the strongest ballads of the contest singing Sweet People.
This year's winner comes from Germany and the upbeat pop song with a jazz beat shows exactly how, at least for this year, the Eurovision song contest is going and how far from the Schlager tradition. Lena Meyer Landrut had a hard time believing she won for Satellite, a song that describes the frenzy of new love and getting it, no matter what. Gone is any indication of German folk music, in this Euro vision of American jazz pop, sung in American English.

2010-05-27

CAE: Daughter of the Dust

« Daughter of the Dust » by vocalist Cae will be available on Spotify, Rhapsody, iTunes, Amazon on the 28th of May.

Cae has sung alongside Australian guitar virtuoso singer sonwriter Jeff Lang and Blue Note up and coming Blue Note artist Zahra Hindi. Now, French-Haïtian Berklee Alumni singer and songwriter Cae, releases her own music : "Daughter of the Dust" her first 7 track E.P. whose subtle pop material draws its strengh and authenticiy at the roots of soul folk jazz and blues influences.

Cae was a vocalist or the soundtrack to Little Senegal (2001) by French director Rachid Bouchareb starring Sotigui Kouyaté, who recently passed away on April 18. Bouchareb's latest film Hors-la-loi (Outside the Law) was nominated for a Palme d'Or this year at Festival de Cannes.

«Take a listen to « Daughter of the Dust », and find out why Cae just might be considered the spiritual sister of a Yael Naim, Emily Loizeau or Hindi Zahra, just to name a few of her talented contemporaries she could be compared to. »Mysoul.Fr

« A new soulful, jazzy and thrilling voice » Bintou Simporé, R.F.O, Cargo, Radio Nova

« Between philosophie and literature, between lyrics and words, between France and the Carebians, she sings her very groovy folk, and her blues and voice reveal African overtones »
Marijosé Alie, France Ô, Studio M

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63:e Festival de Cannes Ends Virtuous

"When a film-maker, an artist, is imprisoned it is art as a whole that is attacked, and it is against this that we should react."

This statement was made by French actress Juliette Binoche in reaction to the incarceration of filmmaker Iranian Jafar Panahi for over two months. He was just about to go on a hunger strike and was released a few days ago. Panahi was to have served on the Cannes Jury this year for the official selection; his seat was vacant with his nameplate at the festival to protest this action.
Juliette Binoche won the best actress award at Cannes for her role in probably one of Iranian filmmakers Abbas Kiarostami’s most commercial films to date, Certified Copy.
During the awards ceremony Binoche held up Panahi’s nameplate.

Virtually no one tipped off the film that took home the Palme d’or winner this year: Apichatpong WEERASETHAKUL from Thailand
for 
best
film and screenplay - Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, his fifth entry at Cannes. His film Tropical Malady received jury prize in 2004.
Here you have a director who has by made a fascinating tableaux of images from six locations, full of emotions and ideas that create a dialogue with the spectator.
The story is about Uncle Boonmee who is suffering from acute kidney failure, who wants to spend his final days with his loved ones in the 
countryside. During this time the ghost of his deceased wife comes to comfort him, and his long lost son returns home as a spirit Boonmee goes with them to a cave on the top of a hill the birthplace of his first life.

Weerasethakul’s award is a tribute to experimental film among a terrain of traditional narrative features.

2010-05-14

BONJOUR CANNES

Official competition CANNES 2010:

Directors: Mike LEIGH, IÑÁRRITU, KIARSTOMI, TAVERNIER,
WEERASETHAKUL, BEAUVOIS, BOUCHAREB, LUCHETTI, MIKHALKOV MUNDRUCZO MUNDRUCZOKITANO, LEE, and WANG are all Cannes veterans.

OFFICIAL SELECTION

Mathieu AMALRIC makes his directorial debut with Tournée but several times at Cannes as actor.

Only , Doug LIMAN , IM Sangsoo, Sergei LOZNITSA and Mahamat-Saleh HAROUN are newbies at this year's Cannes official competition. (Above: Sergei LOSNITSA)

Out of competition at Cannes - Oliver Stone's Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, nor does Michael Douglas who keeps on and on like a Duracell battery. Oliver Stone explained that although the film would not be released until September, he did not feel the need to chase the press in lieu of recent economic setbacks. The film was actually planned for 2006.


Doug LIMAN, on the other hand, is Cannes newbie and Hollywood veteran, director of "Bourne Identity" and "Mr and Mrs Smith", now thriller "Fair Game", in official selection. Starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn, based on "Plamegate", the CIA leak of uncover agent Valerie Plame after Joseph Wilson's OP-ED article in NY Times.

2010-05-09

Lucy Lawless Honored for Spartacus in Monte Carlo

Lucy Lawless who plays Lucretia in Spartacus: Blood and Sand has been nominated for an outstanding actress award at the 50th Monte Carlo TV Festival slated for June 1-6. Andy Whitfield and John Hannah are nominated as outstanding actors. Lawless's husband, Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi, Joshua Donen and Steven S. DeKnight are on the list for outstanding international producers. What can this team not do?

Accompanying Lawless to Monte Carlo will be Peter Mensah who plays "Doctore" in the series.
The Monte Carlo TV Festival begin in 1961 and was launched by Prince Rainier III of Monaco. The regent remarked on the occasion that he "wished to encourage a new form of artistic expression, in the service of peace and understanding for mankind".

The festival has competitions for outstanding television movies, news, and mini series with categories in documentary, comedy and drama. There is also an international TV audience award for best comedy, drama and soap opera series.

The winners will take home a "Golden Nymph" statuette. That would be appropriate for Lawless's role. But a little background to why she took this role after Xena:Warrior Princess, is that she really wanted to someone "naughty". Her favorite character in Xena, she reveals, was bad girl "Meg".

Lucretia" seems to be the strongest role Lawless has had since the series ended in 2001.

2010-05-08

Spartacus: Blood and Sand on Way to 50th Monte Carlo TV Festival

Spartacus: Blood and Sand on Way to 50th Monte Carlo TV Festival

Lucy Lawless as Lucretia in Spartacus: Blood and Sand
Lucy Lawless as Lucretia in Spartacus: Blood and Sand
Starz

2010-05-05

David Fincher to Direct American Remake of Swedish "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"


David Fincher to Direct American Remake of Swedish "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"


David Fincher at Director's Guild of America Awards
David Fincher at Director's Guild of America Awards
DGA

2010-03-31

Grace Slick and the White Rabbit Society

White Rabbit is a ballad about the hypocrisy of the American"establishment" and the disenchantment of the 60's. This is Grace Slick's song and lyrics, with riveting musical accompaniment by band members of the Jefferson Airplane. 

Slick takes to task in this chanson one of the classics of children's literature. She is amazed how parents  read to their young children "The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland" , a surrealistic adventure not unlike an acid trip, and still criticize the rebellion of youth during this time.

White Rabbit retells the story of Alice who grows taller -  expands her mind -  and smaller losing her feminist power,  and who envisions all kinds of magical creatures. It can also be seen as an allegory of American youth who were lost during the Vietnam War. Some went down rabbit holes and died and others protested. ("Tell 'em a hookah smoking caterpillar has given you the call"). There has been no similar student movement since. After the turmoil, a middle class was created and silenced by consumerism. This was a battle cry to reconnect to the earth with  mind and heart.

Slick's version of Alice is a box within a box. Just as everything is confusing to Alice and she distorts what she sees, she also becomes a distortion for readers. In Slick's rendition of the story, she calls the Queen of Hearts “The Red Queen “(she is after all as red as the hearts, but has no heart). The "White Knight talking backwards" evokes the double speak of the time when war was rampant but was forged in the name of peace on earth. This message is still true today. When "Men on the chessboard get up and tell you where to go", was the power of the presidency to initiate unilateral military intervention and the disruption of civil liberties of American citizens.

The dormouse in Lewis Carroll's "The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland" (1865) could not remember anything but probably would have if he had time to think, to learn, to improve his mind and slow down. Slick's ballad indeed spoke to a numbed part of American society that watched an infamous war continue. The mesmerizing White Rabbit is a battle cry for awakening. Student protests and civil liberation movements grew exponentially during this time. Corrupt forces of the status quo include the Johnson administration installed after Kennedy’s assassination, which pounded Vietnam with bombs. The futility of this military venture led many young people to "drop out", " sit in", burn their draft cards, and expand their consciousness in news ways of living that invigorated the culture with color, flowers, poetry, music, film and art. For some, the experimentation of psychedelic drugs to reach the fourth dimension was part of the journey. For others they were catapulted to nirvana through poetry and protest.

Drugs are not what all the song is about, and it is limited to see it only as that. If one was unsure about protesting during this time, Slick proclaims, "Go ask Alice" who should know that "logic and proportion had fallen slowly dead" in the US.  The chessboard, the battlefield for white and black Kings, Queens, bishops, knights, rooks and pawns symbolize the patriarchal military industrial complex of American society in the 60's.

White Rabbit is a Freedom Song, a rally call to transcend the patriarchal order of the time and enter the world of creativity and knowledge. That call is still valid. Slick’s final message spoken through the Dormouse is a response to the beheading of Mary Queen of Scots by her cousin Elizabeth I - after a conspiracy of deception and treachery -  “feed your head” -  improve your mind and become aware.

Why should the FBI have this song out on their list of subversive music? . "You'd laugh so hard you'd crack the walls!" , retorts Grace Slick. The drug metaphors kept her out of the White House when she ironically was invited to a (Mad Hatter) tea party. Could it have also been because Slick often performed in a green girl scout uniform to provoke the "decent people" of America? Or her solidarity with civil rights included painting her face in black and raising her fist on national television was too provocative?


The bravado of the Jefferson Airplane marching in time to Slick’s slick phrasing with drums, lyrical guitars and then solid soul piercing base tones, builds in momentum into a riveting and masterly mosaic of energy. Each stage of the journey is related in the cadence of a Spanish bolero with castanets, drums and electric guitars. Slick sticks to clear and powerful phrasing as she explains the need to get smart like Alice, or else! Although the "white rabbit" is not referred to in the song other than in the title, he is the ultimate messenger of truth, for without him Alice would never have seen her own reality above ground.

The Jefferson Airplane(formed 1965) recorded White Rabbit in 1967 on the album Surrealistic Pillow:Marty Balin (vocals, rhythm guitar); Jack Casady (bass);Paul Kantner (rhythm guitar, vocals); Jorma Kaukonen (lead guitar, some vocals); Grace Slick(vocals, piano, recorder) and Spencer Dryden (drums).

White Rabbit - Jefferson Airplane

One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don't do anything at all
Go ask Alice
When she's ten feet tall

And if you go chasing rabbits
And you know you're going to fall
Tell 'em a hookah smoking caterpillar
Has given you the call
Call Alice
When she was just small
When men on the chessboard
Get up and tell you where to go
And you've just had some kind of mushroom
And your mind is moving slow
Go ask Alice
I think she'll know

When logic and proportion
Have fallen slowly dead
And the White Knight is talking backwards
And the Red Queen's lost her head
Remember what the dormouse said;
Feed your head, feed your head

2010-03-21

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: New Swedish Crime Thriller Hits San Francisco



Poster for Original Swedish film title: Män Som Hatar Kvinnor (Men Who Hate Women).
Poster for Original Swedish film title: Män Som Hatar Kvinnor (Men Who Hate Women).