subota, 9. ožujka 2013.

Paul Bush - Babeldom (2012)


Dugometražni sf-esej o "budućem" gradu u kojem se prošlost i budućnost sjedinjuju u sadašnjosti. Ljudi se ne mogu sjediniti jezikom, osim matematikom, koja je potpuno neprirodan fenomen. Najveće samougađajuće pseudointelektualno sranje ikada napravljeno, kaže jedan kritičar. E, pa to onda zaista treba pogledati.

Babeldom is a city so massive and growing at such a speed that soon, it is said, light itself will not escape its gravitational pull. How can two lovers communicate, one from inside the city and one outside?
In his debut feature film, award winning British experimental animator and filmmaker Paul Bush presents an elegy to urban life. Against the backdrop of a city of the future, a portrait is assembled from film shot in modern cities all around the world and collected from the most recent research in science, technology and architecture.

Released on 8 March, Babeldom is Paul Bush’s first full feature film. Starring Youla Boudali and Mark Caven the film was part of the Official Selection for the Rotterdam International Film Festival and Sao Paulo International Film Festival. Built around a city, with the same name as the film, in which the past and the future were united with the present,  Babeldom is so massive and growing at such a speed that soon, it is said, light itself will not escape its gravitational pull. How can two lovers communicate, one from inside the city and one outside?
The film begins with an archaeologist stating:  ”The past is here, under our feet, we can’t retrieve it, but we walk over it every day of our lives, until we die and become a part of other people’s past.” Around this theme, Bush presents an elegy to urban life through experimental animations. Against the backdrop of a city of the future, a portrait is assembled from film shot in modern cities all around the world and collected from the most recent research in science, technology and architecture.
Within the film is animated data visualisation from recent science that show the latest results in the research of nanotechnology which offer a counterpoint to the poetic representation of the  city, in the past and the present. Referencing the Tower of Babel, the film uses images from some of the largest cities in the world, including London, Dubai, Berlin, Shanghai, Barcelona and Osaka. These reference points build up a conceptual idea of the modern metropolis, a poetic narrative which is rooted in its almost mythological beginnings. -

A science fiction film using buildings of today, or a documentary about tomorrow? Paul Bush’sBabeldom might be the first film to use the laws of thermodynamics as a denouement, as the film wonders quite literally what our world is coming to. With the film explaining that as we try to give order to chaos using human, mechanical and electronic means, so we are adding dispersed heat that leads to the rapid movement of molecules, and more chaos. Better to do nothing at all, perhaps, as the narrator’s friend decides to lapse into silence. A film full of provocative paradoxes, this is hardly an anti-eco friendly documentary, but for those who have often felt sympathy with the eco doc’s position, but wondered whether the message was somehow starving the brain of oxygen, here is a film addressing the subtleties of the mind as well as the problems of the world.
Using a mixture of footage from various urban centres as well as computer graphics, the film’s narrator reflects on her present condition and recalls her conversations with an intimate from the past, a lucid voice in making sense of what has happened. Whether telling us that the living are so numerous that they now outnumber the dead from all the previous centuries, or informing us how all our sexual fantasies can be met, the film illustrates the thesis with images of ant-like humans swarming the urban centre, and CGI strippers capable of meeting every fetishistic whim. It is not that we have to assume everything we’re told is true; more that we need to go with the provocative threnody as sci-fi dystopia.
Chris Marker (Sans soleil) obviously comes to mind, but Bush seems more like a vertical Patrick Keiller (London), interested in projecting into the urban future rather than, like Keiller, chiefly concerned with the urban past and using the present to archeologically investigate it. But it is also (like Marker and Keiller), a work of literature in the density of its voiceover and might bring to mind anyone from Borges ('The Library of Babel') to Alasdair Gray ('The End of the Axletree'). - Tony McKibbin
There's a sort of refrigerated strangeness to this cine-meditation on the concepts of cities and the future, the debut feature-length piece by established short-film maker Paul Bush. It's about a fictional megacity called Babeldom, glimpsed initially through breaks in an icy fog: the Tower of Babel, as imagined by the elder Bruegel. Fascinatingly, it's not an actual model, or an animation, but something in between, and this image segues into perspectives of actual cities – lonely, dark, eerily untenanted places. Bush's own prose-poetry, decanted into two reading voices, tells us how the archaeological past is compacted underfoot while the future wafts airily overhead. These ideas are juxtaposed with computer-modelled graphics, whose purpose is to simulate, re-enact or anticipate the forms and growth patterns of future worlds and cities. There is something of Iain Sinclair, JG Ballard and Italo Calvino here, and of the night-time Paris in Godard's Alphaville: dark, cold and unromantic; a new city of the future. - 
Where does one start with Babeldom? Let us begin with the walkouts. Saturday night’s Gala screening at the Ottawa International Animation Festival saw a mass exodus of patrons fleeing for the doors. I have never seen so many cinephiles exit the theatre. Smart folks they were. For those of us who stayed and survived, however, we certainly played witness to the greatest turkey on the festival circuit this year. (Breathe a sigh of relief, Passion.)
Babeldom is a high-faulting’ essay film about a city yet to come in which the past and the future are united in the present. This seems like a faulty gap in logic. I.e. “city of the future” + past + future = present? The preposterous equation of Babeldom’s foundation gives way to a pretentious premise of jibber-jabber and academic inanity that debates mankind’s inability to unite through language, save for mathematics, which the film describes as a wholly unnatural language. The point thus remains unclear.
The film continues with an endless stream of circular voiceovers matched to meandering visuals of sewers, streets, escalators, and animated algorithms. The film contains little animation for a feature film screening at an animation festival, and the non-live action scenes are easily the least attractive pieces of the whole. The animated aspects of Babeldom look as if they were made on a computer program from the 1980s, with the clunky, jerky figures accentuating the ham-fisted philosophy of the narration. The only animated sequence that has any life to it is a strange montage of cartoon strippers who twirl around and spin their breasts. Babeldom is the Piranha 3DD of essay films.
With its rambling musings and mish-mash of visuals, Babeldom says a lot without actually saying anything. This is arguably the most artless, self-indulgent, and plodding piece of pseudo-intellectual bullshit I have ever seen. This fraudulent film might appeal to self-consciously highbrow cinephiles who love to chat semiotics over scotch on a Saturday night, but Babeldom is simply so empty and tortuous that one cannot be bothered to debate it.
The latter observation is the film’s greatest disappointment, for while essay films can often be among the most difficult film experiences, they can also be among the most rewarding. Films like Sans Soleil or, more recently, The Prophet excite the mind and the senses with their melding of form and thought. It’s what comes after such a film that should yield its greatest reward. The journey is not worth the struggle, however, since Babeldom only conjures a feeling of time misspent. -

In his feature debut, Babeldom (2012), award-winning British experimental animator Paul Bush has made an old-fashioned visual essay exploring the very concept of a city. Referencing the biblical 'Tower of Babel', the film numerous incorporates images from London, Dubai, Berlin, Shanghai, Barcelona and Osaka, to build up a palimpsest vision of the modern day metropolis for the watching viewer. As an archaeologist states at the beginning of Bush's unconventional effort: "The past is here, under our feet, we can't retrieve it, but we walk over it every day of our lives, until we die and become a part of other people's past".

Across this concrete landscape in which past and future are united in the present, two isolated lovers attempt to communicate, one from inside the city and the other from outside. The intention, presumably, is to debate the ability of mankind to unite through language in the confines of a modern city that has outgrown their needs. However, it's actually the unstable interactions of the film itself that leaves the two lovers unable to communicate fully. Their voiceovers - delivered by Youla Boudali and Mark Craven - accompany disconnected footage from a series of urban landscapes and attempt to give order to the chaos of machine age by reclaiming the human means that created it.

Bush is preoccupied with places in which architecture has surpassed the ordinary requirements of everyday life and the human is at the mercy of the metropolis. A series of journeys through the tunnels of nuclear shelters reveals new shapes as the camera moves through them. Set to a mix of operatic music and a great cacophony of grinding noises produced by the clatter and whirl of modern city life, they become portals of space and time, voyages through history and into an unknown future. Yet, although Bush's Babeldom raises philosophical issues of time, space, history and memory, only as a purely sensory experience does the film achieve anything close to resembling truly passionate meaning.

The poetic representation of the city is counteracted by specially animated sequences (which look like they have been made on a 1980s computer), incorporating the most recent research in science, technology and architecture - as Bush did in his 1996 short, The Rumour of True Things - but these detract from the central redeeming quality of the film. At its best, Babeldom recalls Chris Marker's La Jetée (1962), Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927) and Dziga Vertov's Man with a Movie Camera (1929) - but like the modern city, is harsh, unyielding and emotionally distant. - 
Chris Fennell 

This hallucinatory portrait of a future city is a dull and laborious watch, thanks to its undeniable pretentiousness, substandard dialogue and inability to create any sense of narrative momentum.

What’s it all about?
Written and directed by Paul Bush, Babeldom is a documentary that uses shots of modern cities (including London, Shanghai, Dubai, Berlin and Barcelona) to create a portrait of Babeldom, an imaginary city that will supposedly exist in the future. In Babeldom, anything is possible. The past and future have come together and have created an environment in which, supposedly, the gravitational pull is so strong that soon light will be unable to escape from it. Using research in science, technology and architecture, Bush creates a love story where two lovers are trying to communicate from one side of the rapidly expanding city to the other.

The Bad
In his first full-length feature film, Paul Bush proves he has ambition and imagination, but sadly, Babeldom falls rather flat in its execution. First of all, the plot (or lack thereof) and narrative are completely absurd and pretentious, with nothing from the film making much sense or successfully engaging with the viewer. Secondly, the supposed love story is so unbelievable and unconvincing (it’s worth pointing out that apart from random city dwellers, no ‘real’ people or characters are actually shown in the film) that it’s extremely difficult to care about what’s actually happening and the monotonous voiceovers by Youla Boudali and Mark Caven are irritating and can feel very laborious to stick with.

The Worse
To put it frankly, Babeldom is just utter nonsense. When a film has little plot, a lot of atmosphere and strong visuals are required as a substitute; but sadly Babeldom provides neither, with its random sequences failing to be effective and the animations being far from impressive. The dialogue also pretends to be smart, but it’s undeniably contrived. Finally, the score, which contains ineffective chanting clips, is also below par and is unsuccessful in providing the film with an essential flow and rhythm.

Worth seeing?
With its bizarre narrative, far from impressive visuals and irritating narrations, Babeldom is headache-inducing and not enjoyable in the slightest. Avoid. -

Sight and Sound, review

Isabel Stevens
"This a film – and a city – to get lost in
Bush"This is a film – and a city – to get lost in
Bush inventively crafts his urban labyrinth not only from fragments of filmed footage of subterranean ruins and sparkling metropolises, but also from cutting-edge graphics and moving-image research culled from various scientific and mathematical institutions.” inventively crafts his urban labyrinth not only from fragments of filmed footage of subterranean ruins and sparkling metropolises, but also from cutting-edge graphics and moving-image research culled from various scientific and mathematical institutions.”

Još od Paula Busha:

A composite portrait of the human body, revealing it as it is only rarely seen in our most intimate relationships - erotic and comic, beautiful and vulnerable.
2012 - 6 mins
Swiss skiers stop for their portraits during a busy holiday weekend on the mountains. The second in a series of time lapse portraits of strange people in unusual places.
2006 - 8 mins
Paul Bush tries to talk about the making of While Darwin Sleeps and his aspirations for cinema but all the time the film itself tries to take over and in the end completely overwhelms him. Commissioned for Canal + France.
2006 - 2 mins
watch movie...
Twenty six citizens of Tokyo stop for a moment in front of a time lapse camera in the busy Shinjuku entertainment district of the city.
2004 - 6 mins
Thousands of insects pass through the film each for a single frame. It seems that the genetic progamme of millions of years is taking place in a few minutes. It is like a mescalin vision dreamt by Charles Darwin.
Prize winner at L'Alternativa, Barcelona and Media Forum, Moscow.
2004 - 5 mins.

A thoroughly modern Geisha gets ready for a fun night out. First of a series featuring the heroine of artist Lisa Milroy's recent paintings.
2003 - 3.30 mins - Paul Bush/Lisa Milroy
During village celebrations a father and daughter dance but a quarrel begins, other villagers take sides and events turn to violence beyond control. Set to the songFather and Daughter by Percy Grainger. Prize winner at Madrid and Krok (Ukraine).
2002 - 3.30 mins
Busby Berkeley's tribute to screen sex goddess Mae West as imagined by director Paul Bush. Due to the explicit sexual imagery a picture cannot be shown. Festival opener in 2003 Annecy Animation Festival and prize winner at I Castelli Animati, Rome.
2002 - 1.20 mins
Imagine that the camera is possessed with a psychosis similar to human schizophrenia; suppose that this disease subtly changes every single frame of film while leaving the narrative superficially intact. Prize winner at Siena, Montecatini and Holland Animation Festival.
2001 - 5.15 mins
A parasitic presence has completely taken over the body of its host. A classical pas de deux from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake is restaged frame by frame with the original dancers replaced by four new dancers. Prize winner at Napolidanza, Italy.
2001 - 5.30 mins
However much he wants to lie there is one part of a man's body that always tells the truth. Due to the explicit sexual imagery a picture cannot be shown. Micromovies Grand Prix, 2002 Tampere International Film Festival.
2001 - 1.20 mins
Five hundred thousand years into the future life continues to exist. Humanity has ceased. Their progeny are electronic creatures with memory banks stuffed with useless information. Due to the degraded state of their circuitry most are stupid beyond belief.
2000 - 2 episodes of 3 mins - Paul Bush/Phil Mulloy
How can you prove this table does not vanish or alter shape the minute your back is turned? The film-maker contributes to this philosophical debate by changing tables, chairs, jugs, fruit and everything else lying around his house.
Transmediale award, Berlin 2000- Directors Fortnight, Cannes 2000
1999 - 5.15 mins
Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner illustrated by 19th century wood engravings and brought to life by scratching directly into the surface of colour filmstock. Awarded at Zagreb, Hiroshima, Cinanima, Bombay and Bilbao film festivals.
1998 - 15 mins
A contemporary portrait of the western world seen through the transient images of computer games, production line monitoring, medical diagnosis, research, military, etc., in which traces of our society are indirectly but strikingly etched. Grand prix, Bonn Videonale 1996.
1996 - 26 mins
A radical re-working of an etching by Italian artist Giorgio Morandi, brought to life by engraving fame by frame into the photographic emulsion of colour filmstock. Awarded at the 1996 Zagreb Animation Festival.
1995 - 3.30 mins
A journey into the centre of Hell; Dante's The Divine Comedy, illustrated by Gustav Dore's wood engravings and animated by scratching directly into the surface of the film. Awarded at Melbourne, Cinanima and Bombay film festivals.
1994 - 8 mins
Two love affairs - between a man and a woman, and man and the moon; the action takes place between the time the first astronauts land on the moon and the premature cancellation of the Apollo programme. 1992 ICA Biennial and international touring programme.
1991 - 13 mins
He was moving back through time but encounters on the way a woman he falls in love with and for a moment time stops still. A love story... a collection of conceits about time taken to an extreme with results that are both comic and tragic.
Awarded at 1991 Chicago Film Festival
1990 - 34 mins
A site specific project for TV in which images from one day's transmission are selected and re-presented at the end of the day. This version was broadcast on BBC2 6th June 1990.
1990 - 1 min

In a series of tableaux resembling medieval illuminations the story of the building and eventual destruction of a great medieval church is told through the words and sacred music of the period.
1987 - 44 mins
The simplest story; a cow in a field, two days pass, articulated by a sequence of small events. Between the days a farmer sings three traditional songs about work, love and death. 1984 The British Art Show UK touring exhibition.
1984 - 38 mins
Room2 (illustrated) was awarded for best commercial at Cinanima Film Festival and toured British cinemas in the public programme of the 2002 British Animation Awards. The commercial for National Panasonic won the 2001 Japanese ACC award for best animation. Bush directs commercials through the London production company The Film Club.
This section includes work in progress, gallery installations and projects that have been developed but have not been commissioned including the short animated film about London for Imax projection The City (illustrated).

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