Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Age of the Marvellous and Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge

Emotions of awe, wonder, surprise and astonishment.

In his 1998 book Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, Wilson discusses methods that have been used to unite the sciences, and might be able to unite the sciences with the humanities. Wilson prefers and uses the term "consilience" to describe the synthesis of knowledge from different specialized fields of human endeavor. He defines human nature as a collection of epigenetic rules, the genetic patterns of mental development. He argues that culture and rituals are products, not parts, of human nature. He says art is not part of human nature, but our appreciation of art is. He argues that concepts such as art appreciation, fear of snakes, or the incest taboo (Westermarck effect) can be studied using scientific methods. Previously, these phenomena were only part of psychological, sociological, or anthropological studies. Wilson proposes that they can be part of interdisciplinary research.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Big Blue: Home, Europa, Plato's Atlantis and Our Avatar

BLUE - a colour that always tells a story. My fascination has a declaration now... A connection of visual epic moments which made me believe that Atlantis still exists in our DNA. We have only to understand the message. We are searching for our AVATAR.

1. HOME, THE BIG BLUE on THE BLUE MOON In 200,000 years on Earth, humanity has upset the balance of the planet, established by nearly four billion years of evolution. The price to pay is high, but it's too late to be a pessimist: humanity has barely ten years to reverse the trend, become aware of the full extent of its spoliation of the Earth's riches and change its patterns of consumption.

HOME is a environmental documentary about Earth produced by Luc Besson and directed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, an acclaimed aerial photographer. Glenn Close does the English narration and everything is sublime.

It was launched on You Tube in the same day with its theatrical release.
YouTube, in a post on the company blog, said the event "marks the first time a global audience can watch a movie online, in movie theaters, on TV stations, and on outdoor screens around the world at the exact same time." You can watch the full movie on you tube. HOME
I loved LUC BESSON from his first movie , THE BIG BLUE. He spent his childhood following his parents around the world. They were scuba diving instructors. His early life was entirely aquatic.
Following a serious diving accident at age 17, Paris-born Luc Besson left behind his childhood ambition of becoming a marine biologist to try his hand at filmmaking.

The Big Blue, my favorite movie, (French: Le Grand Bleu), released in 1988, is the first English-language film made by Luc Besson. The film stars Jean-Marc Barr, Rosanna Arquette, Jean Reno and depicts a fictionalized account of the sporting rivalry between two famed free divers. It is inspired by Jacques Mayol's life, the DOLPHIN MAN.

The movie was dedicated to his daughter Juliette Besson who required surgery, having become ill whilst he was working on the film.

Luc Besson's production company is called EUROPA Corp. Logically the name comes from Jupiter's Moon, Europa.

A scientist at Kennedy Space Center claims NASA has discovered evidence for dolphin-like creatures living under the ice on the BLUE MOON Europa. A metaphysical theory states that life on European is connected to the dolphins on planet Earth, communication via telepathic tones.

First described by Plato, Atlantis and its catastrophic downfall is one of popular science's most enduring controversies - the original location of the vanished civilisation is still hotly debated.
Quite why a story written 2,500 years ago by the Greek philosopher Plato continues to capture the public imagination is a mystery in itself - a mystery fed by countless books, films, articles, web pages, and now a fashion show. It has spawned a rich populist sub-culture (much of it internet-based) which pits the passions and imaginations of committed 'Atlanteans' against the orthodox analysis of the scientific mainstream.

PARIS, October 6, 2009
McQueen's collection, Plato's Atlantis, was live-streamed on Nick Knight's SHOWstudio.com, intercut with the photographer's premade video footage.

According to Style.com, this latest collection entitled “Plato’s Atlantis” was created to cast an apocalyptic forecast of the future ecological meltdown of the world. With humankind made up of creatures that evolved from the sea, McQueen used fashion to demonstrate how man may be heading back to an underwater future as the ice cap dissolves.

In a section in which it looked as if McQueen was envisaging a biological hybridization of women with sea mammals, there were trousers whose bulbous flanks mimicked the skin of sharks or dolphins.


James Cameron's long-awaited, much-touted 3D motion-capture technique is a step towards the future. What we see on screen during Avatar is nearly impossible to explain with words.
Avatar is Cameron's latest magnum opus is probably one of the most anticipated movies since Titanic and now it seems that the visionary director has indeed created a film that'll revolutionise the world of cinema.

In a distant future, humanity discovers the planet 'Alpha Centauri B-4', and for those scientists and astronauts who've traversed the gulf between neighboring suns and arrived on its alien soil know it as 'Pandora'. A world filled with an incredible diversity of beautiful and deadly ammonia-breathing lifeforms. Its also a world that harbors treasures and resources almost beyond price. But just as the original Pandora's Box wrought devastation on those who would use it for their own gain, so too this world may destroy not just the Pandorans home, but ours as well.
Avatar is the story of a wounded ex-marine, thrust unwillingly into an effort to settle and exploit an exotic planet rich in bio-diversity, who eventually crosses over to lead the indigenous race in a battle for survival.

Cameron's blue creatures, a genetically engineered hybrid manufactured by blending human DNA with that of the native Na’vi, McQueen's hybridization of women with dophins and sharks, Besson's dolphin man are all together fruits of our imagination. They feed our hungry memory.

Directors are the chosen ones. They can see what we need to see, helping us to remember who we are.

Remember HOME. One day, from a distant Blue Moon, we have to tell a story.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Andreea Perminov, my second story

I met Andreea in 2003 during the casting for the The Fall. I didn’t pay much attention to her because she was an extremely shy kid, and had little in common with the character I was casting for. But her beauty did strike me, and I decided to keep her in mind for other projects. Meanwhile, she was selected to do a few commercials, and TV shows, but nothing special.

In fact, the persons who “discovered’ her were Laura, my colleague and Oltin, the photographer who captured her essence in the snapshots. In the beginning of 2006, after her photo shoot, Oltin requested another session with Andreea, ASAP. The result – general shock. I don’t think I had ever seen such a unique, such a sophisticated look. Pictures say a lot about the potential of a future character, but, surely enough, Andreea’s pictures were a character in themselves.

A friend of mine contemplated her picture and resolved that her eyes come from somewhere. He was right…. Andreea’s family history is quite peculiar. Her grandfather on her father’s side, Victor Perminov, a reputable physician and scholar, comes from an ancient military, and aristocratic, Russian family, reputed to have been among the founders of the city Perm during the reign of Peter the Great. Victor’s wife – a scientist and mathematician – has German origins, and comes from a well-known intellectual family. She is the granddaughter of Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the former German foreign affairs minister, one of the architects of the German reunification. On her mother’s side, Andreea completes her genetic bloodline with the legacy of a typical Romanian family, natives for generations of the village Rasusceni, in Giurgiu County.

In the beginning, Andreea was almost alarmingly shy and detached. The only thing she liked to converse about was shopping, whereby some people’s conclusion that her “simplicity” alluded more to a modeling career, rather than acting. And yet, Andreea finished 6th grade as the top student in her school. That she is extremely intelligent, you can tell by just looking into her eyes.

Aware of her refined beauty and intelligence, she can become very manipulative in close circles; she is one who always gets her way. But her attributes do more than make her conspicuous; she has that je ne sais quoi that makes her extremely intriguing.

She is highly sensitive, but she has developed numerous ways of hiding it. Thus, she can manufacture quite a devious persona, acting downright impervious, cold, distant, and even arrogant, but that is just a form of camouflaging her emotions, to protect her delicate nature.

She has a fantastic potential, and can can seduce anyone on the spot. Joel Schumacher, who discovered giants like Collin Farewell, Julia Roberts, Kiefer Shuterland, gave her first role in a Hollywood movie. Schumacher is one man who thinks Hollywood spells a great future for Andreea. When Schumacher first saw her picture, he stared at it for a full half hour. The video session that Andreea had recorded set her aside as completely unique and unexampled, and granted her the part in Town Creek on the spot. In fact, Schumacher didn’t ask for anybody else to come in to audition. She makes a very good role in Town Creek as a girl who rescues her family, metamorphosing from the victim that she was at the beginning of the movie.

In 2007, she was distributed in the Clown by Marco Valerio Pugini, producer of The Sopranos, Angels in America, Rome. She did a very complicated role as a homeless girl who dies at the end of the movie. Her interpretation was so amazing that she was compared to Charlize Theron in Monster. One thing that moved even the director was that she wanted to immerse herself into the life of the homeless child she was portraying on film. She often went into the dark alleys, and smelly sewers, squatting down on her feet, and talking to these unfortunate children, touching their pain and anguish. She was never satisfied with what she imagined a homeless one would feel, think, and bear, but she wanted to know the reality of their lives. She endured the cold, the stench, and dreadful privations of these children as she got deeper into their underground world. One would almost never suspect this strong human dimension in such an exquisitely beautiful girl.

Andreea is not a conscious actor, she is a believer. She not “schooled” in acting; all that she has to give in front of the camera comes naturally from the inside, from a deep understanding of hers of the character she interprets. She is genuine, and real. I have a strong conviction that she is a special talent able to take on the most difficult roles. There is an aura about her, and she explodes in light. Andreea Perminov is a natural born star.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

You Tube - The New Cinema Incubator

On December 4th, 2008 I posted on my blog "An Anthropolgy on You Tube", a video by Michael Wesch, an anthropologist from Kansas who presented a talk to the Library of Congress about the sociological effects of YouTube.

A comment about Wesch's presentation, written by Jennifer Hightower on filmmaker.com has anticipated the incredible investment in a five-minute short film posted on YouTube.

The video was really long, but eye opening. Anyone who is a filmmaker should watch this, because this youtube phenomenon effects us all. So now, has the the notion of a filmmaker completely changed? Youtube is proof that high budget movies, and A-list actors do not necessarily a great film make. As film makers we are faced with the very real question of wether we will ignore this new phenomenon, or embrace it. To ignore it would be a great error, I think, because to ignore the power youtube on our society, is to ignore the needs of our audience. There is a huge gap between high budget films (and even Indie films) and films that are circulating on youtube. If someone could figure out a way to bridge that gap, I think that person would revolutionize media as we know it. It's an idea that deserves consideration sooner rather than later, because it seems to me that there is going to be an inevitable change in the way we make movies all together, and anyone who is stubborn about the change is going to be left behind. Not since the introduction of talking motion pictures has something so profound hit the publics interest, and it's very exciting!"

One year after my post, the notion of a filmmaker needs a new definition.

Ataque de Panico, a film by Fede Alvarez - A budding filmmaker from Uruguay, whose $300 low-budget alien invasion short became a viral video hit, has landed a $30-million US movie deal in Hollywood.

full story @ http://www.cbc.ca/arts/film/story/2009/12/17/alvarez-youtube-hollywood-movie.html?ref=rss

Still from Fede Alvarez's Ataque de Panico!

Many thanks to my filmmaker friend, Tanyeno Wotorson (Honor Pictures) for sharing this historical news with us :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Catinca, Lula and The Magic

This year in february, I received a request for Catinca from Lula Magazine, a poetic and somehow cinematic fashion magazine. Later in the summer, one day, one photographer from New York wrote me an email telling me that he is assigned by Lula to do the fashion editorial with Catinca. From his emails he seemed to be a very kind and warm person. I met him in the airport and I knew from the very first time that he has wings.

His name is Martin Sanmiguel and here is a glimpse from our magical journey in Bucharest and Sighisoara.

Today I checked some statistics about Catinca on Twitter. From Twitter a link has challenged me to search more. Then the algorithm of Google has brought me a lost story. It was Catinca's blog on Myspace and a post that she made on September 2008, 6 months before Lula's request. I was stunned. Her powerful subconscious has predicted almost perfect her story from Lula Magazine. Only a pure soul can create this kind of magic.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

sasha and the town

She has big blue eyes. long dark hair in two pony tails. She is wearing a beautiful girl dress and I always see her in a field with tall grass and multicolor flowers which smell exactly the same as the flowers on the field where I have rode beautiful Luck at Sighisoara.
She is named Lula and she is 5, maybe 6 years old. I see her calm, I look at her in the eyes and I saw she is sad. I thought she was always happy, so then I saw her big blue and sad eyes I refused to believe that Lula is somehow unhappy." I am just dreaming "I said to myself. Lula always laughs, about everything. I've never saw her sad. I went to her and asked her what happend, why is she sad." Leave me alone Sasha!" She said. After that I realized that Lula was the child inside of me and that she needed all my affection. From then I always remembered about the child inside me and accorded him a lot of attention every day.-story by Sasha (a girl who published her story in a magazine)

Catinca Untaru, my first story

My first words about Catinca written on myspace blog one year later

I have never written about Catinca, but I spoke of her a million times. Catinca comes from a fairytale. I often look at her and and have the feeling that she is surreal. She inspires me to believe she is an elf.

Catinca is the resort that set things in motion with my project, 10. She has special powers that she is not aware of yet. I have always known that she would bring something special in my life and in the lives of those around her.

It happened while I was doing the casting for The Fall. It was a fortunate coincidence that I got to do a casting at her kindergarten and the principal recommended her insistently. I agreed to see her, even though she was older than what we were looking for. Our first meeting was incredible! I was casting in a kindergarten classroom, where all furniture was very small sized; I felt like Gulliver in the land of the dwarfs. When she came in, she sat in a little chair in front of me and gave me a photo album with pictures from when she was a baby. For minutes, I wasn't able to ask her anything because I was somewhat hindered by her reaction. She looked at me, curious, shy, unbelievably attentive… I was absolutely struck with her gaze that I could feel burning on me, and I was too embarrassed to lift up my eyes to her, as if I had just entered a forbidden world of the elves where the roles of investigation were inverted irrevocably. She was dainty, and ethereal, but I was looking for someone else – a small, thin, dusky little girl, with big, dark eyes. We had a simple discussion, and it was enough, because her state was so special that I needed no confirmation of her intelligence or acting talent. I decided to call her for an audition, well knowing that directors can change their minds about the outer appearance of their characters.

We saw each other again at the beginning of December 2003, after she had passed the first selection. At the first video session she came with her grandfather. I remember I had just read a book about Nadia Comaneci by Ioan Chirila, where Bela Karoly, Nadia's coach, said that a very important tool for him for selecting gymnasts was observing their parents. If the parents were not corresponding physically and empathetically, he would refuse the young gymnasts, as talented as they had been. I often applied this method, including in the case of Catinca. Her grandfather looked like a fairytale grandfather, like a character from the interwar period in Bucharest that I could almost see standing in the doorway of a candy store, surrounded by hordes of children, smiling, affable, and generous.

We saw many children that day, but the image of Catinca with her grandfather were by far the most special to our minds. This association served to bring even more focus on her little figure, and the audition strengthened the conviction that she was perfect for the part. I realized that it was not at all acting with her, that she was merely playing, with the most heartwarming candor. Watching Catinca, so genuine and pure, so innocent and powerful, I remembered just how incredible childhood is. I could write volumes on this subject! I think, when I have the time, I will.

Evidently, the long series of casting calls ended with her as the absolute winner. She had competed with children from around the world, and her success was on the emotional level rather than the more rational questioning. We were wondering how she was going to hold up during filming (3 months long, on 3 continents.) We discovered she has a fantastic strength, that she is extremely resilient and very serious. Almost like an adult. Catinca has the mindset of a director rather than an actor. During filming, she would spend time analyzing what was going in every shot, then she would build her own frames, and use her ebullient imagination to conceive small scenes inspired by what was going on on the set and the discussions of the adults…

Catinca was raised in the fairytale world. Her grandfather confessed that he must have read a thousand stories to her growing up, and that she never grew tired of them, and of stepping into that otherly world. She learned English from a flight attendant who kept her attention vivid to a story about her air travels, about how she would borrow the accent from every country she visited. It's quite a smart story that became hilarious during the filming of The Fall, because Catinca would "steal" the accents of the country she visited. The director ended up having to redo all of Catinca's lines in the film, because her accent changed from country to country.

Catinca is a total fairytale addict, without even suspecting anything unreal about them. She is both happy, and sad, laughing and crying when she goes deep into the story. Her sensitivity is extraordinary. Probably this sensitivity is her key to the imaginary and the supernatural. I think she inherited it from her mother, with whom she has a wonderful relationship. For Catinca, the greatest joy is being cast in The Fall and set on a marvelous journey with her mother. Many times I felt like they were more like sisters or the best of friends than mother and daughter.

When she wants to, she can be extremely funny. The trick is for her to feel comfortable and safe. She can make you fall down from the chair laughing. She is very self-reflective and honest. I remember that she loved listening to Tarsem tell the story of how she was first perceived on the movie set. The entire team was expecting to see a skinny, woebegone little girl, but to the amazement of many, this fluffy little girl shows up, striding around like an elephant shouting, "A butterfly! A butterfly!..." She laughs with thunders when she hears this story.

Catinca is a very special child. She is not a mere child actor or a child star. She is entirely a fairytale

Here is her first headshot

Martin Scorsese Presents Robert De Niro with AFI Life Achievement - Award

Pony Pony Run Run - Walking on a line

Director: Romain Chassaing.
Production: Premiere Heure / SoLab (Edouard Chassaing)
With : Clémentine Poidatz, et Arthur Delair

Only the kids know better. The urban design potential of snow

In Bucharest it is like in fairy tales. The snow has saved the magic. Time to reflect about the divine scenography.
Here is a great article from The Design Observer written by Sergio López-Piñeiro about the potential of snow in urban design.
Sergio López-Piñeiro is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

"We are conflicted about snow in cities. With the first storm of the season, the city becomes silent, bright and spatially renewed — the snow absorbs the sounds of traffic, reflects the low winter sun, and makes irrelevant the signs that warn “Keep off the grass” or “Stay on the path.” Yet we react to the new-found peacefulness by combating the fresh snow, by salting roads and sidewalks and revving up noisy plows and diesel blowers. In cities we constantly push around the snow — we move it out of our way, shovel and plow and mold it to ease our commutes and comply with regulations. It is contradictory: we react to the serene landscapes of new-fallen snow with loud and mechanized aggression.

No wonder that we have responded with so little creativity to the poetic presence of snow.

Only the kids know better! "

Read more @ http://places.designobserver.com/entry.html?entry=11907

Picture by mechtaniya from Russia posted on Deviant Art
"All hello! I young mum, the photographer, have a daughter of Alinochku whom madly I love and often I photograph"