TABLE OF CONTENTS

PRINT February 2013

TOP TEN

Grant Singer

GRANT SINGER is a filmmaker based in Los Angeles. His most recent movie, IRL, will be released this spring.

  1. JOVAN JOVANOVIC, MLAD I ZDRAV KAO RUŽA (YOUNG AND HEALTHY AS A ROSE, 1971)

    Shot against the backdrop of Communist Belgrade, this hyperexplicit Serbian masterpiece was deemed so offensive on release that it went virtually unseen until 2006. It also happened to foretell the corrosive effects of socialist and capitalist ideology to come. Jovanovic depicts the unholy trinity of drugs, sex, and violence, yet refrains from glamorizing or criticizing it, while the cinematography—schizophrenic and unpretentious—was the epitome of punk, before punk was even a thing.

    Jovan Jovanovic, Mlad i zdrav kao ruža (Young and Healthy as a Rose), 1971, 35 mm, color, sound, 76 minutes. Jovan Jovanovic, Mlad i zdrav kao ruža (Young and Healthy as a Rose), 1971, 35 mm, color, sound, 76 minutes.
  2. LEIGHA MASON, EXPULSIONS 1, 2010–12

    Encompassing painting, film, and performance, this body of work by New York artist Leigha Mason uses “play” and “abjection” to illustrate the expulsive properties of the human form. Sketches for Baal: Reel 2, 2012, is part of this project; it followed from Mason’s experience of being stabbed in the chest during a visit to Athens a year into the project. Channeling its Brechtian namesake, the film simultaneously conjures demon and deity with seductive allusions to flesh and fruit in various stages of decay.

    Leigha Mason, Expulsions 1: Sketches for Baal: Reel 2, 2012, 16 mm transferred to digital video, 18 minutes. Leigha Mason, Expulsions 1: Sketches for Baal: Reel 2, 2012, 16 mm transferred to digital video, 18 minutes.
  3. JAMES ELLROY: DEMON DOG OF AMERICAN CRIME FICTION (1998)

    This ultimate LA documentary features the ultimate LA artist, writer James Ellroy, driving around in a Cadillac convertible, capturing the wild spirit of the Western world’s last frontier. As he stops off at the real-life LA crime sites that have inspired his novels (1987’s Black Dahlia and 1990’s LA Confidential among them), we hear him say to director Reinhard Jud, “I wanted to be Tolstoy. I wanted to be Dostoyevsky. I wanted to be Balzac. I wanted to be all those guys that, you know, quite frankly, I’ve never really read.”

    Reinhard Jud, James Ellroy: Demon Dog of American Crime Fiction, 1998, 16 mm, color, sound, 91 minutes. James Ellroy. Reinhard Jud, James Ellroy: Demon Dog of American Crime Fiction, 1998, 16 mm, color, sound, 91 minutes. James Ellroy.
  4. ALPHONSO LINGIS, TRUST (2004)

    To be born is to arrive in the world as a foreigner dependent on those already living there. Reflecting on his vast travels in this book of essays, philosopher Alphonso Lingis proposes that it is to this infantile state, and the trust it requires, that we return when experiencing other cultures or lands. For example, in “Love Junkies” he tells the story of Wayne and Cheryl, two inmates (one a transsexual), both dying of AIDs, who meet in prison, fall in love, and share a cell for ten years. Cheryl, released for good behavior, is heartbroken without her partner. So she holds up a McDonald’s, slipping the cashier her name and address, trusting that the law will find her and reunite her with Wayne.

  5. STEPHEN DWOSKIN, BEHINDERT (HINDERED, 1974)

    Originally made for German television, Behindert is a heartbreaking portrait of a love affair encumbered by disability. Dwoskin, crippled by polio as a child, stages himself as the protagonist across from the real-life lover from whom he had recently separated. And it is his point of view, both conceptually and literally, that we are shown. From this vantage, we see the object of Dwoskin’s desire as though she were behind glass. But restriction gives way to powerful visual control, causing even the smallest movements to appear monumental through his lens.

    Stephen Dwoskin, Behindert (Hindered), 1974, 35 mm, color, sound, 96 minutes. Carola Regnier. Stephen Dwoskin, Behindert (Hindered), 1974, 35 mm, color, sound, 96 minutes. Carola Regnier.
  6. LUSTMORD: THE WRITINGS AND ARTIFACTS OF MURDERERS (1997)

    One of the most disturbing and intimate trips into the depths of insanity, this compilation features essays, drawings, letters, and confessions of cannibals, sexual sadists, and mass murderers selected by Brian King, cofounder of LA’s Amok Books. Convicted serial killer Herbert Mullin pens the foreword to this relentlessly terrifying curatorial presentation, opening the gates to a hell wildly unknown.

  7. JOHN THE BAPTISTE

    This new solo project from John Holland expands the industrial electronic sound his band Salem is known for into something bigger, darker, and more symphonic. As John the Baptiste, Holland renders trap-house beats orchestral and to ominous effect, capturing precisely the emotion and psychology of living at this moment in history. Right now, there’s no other composer I’d rather work with.

  8. SANDY KIM

    The uncompromising intimacy of Sandy Kim’s photographs follows from her compulsion to constantly document her own life. It’s a contemporary habit, yet Kim’s images—often really raw, but at the same time intensely sensitive—brilliantly freeze the present only to confront the human and the primal. As Kim records her world, one I feel fortunate to be part of, it’s as though she is shooting not just her friends but all of the things and ways they’re connected.

    Sandy Kim, Sleep Over, 2012, digital C-print, 20 x 30". Sandy Kim, Sleep Over, 2012, digital C-print, 20 x 30".
  9. HECTOR BERLIOZ, REQUIEM, OP. 5 (1837)

    I have spent the past six months listening to this piece as I write my next film and have yet in my lifetime to hear anything more haunting and powerful. In signifying life through mourning, Berlioz offers a sense of peace and the feeling that one can begin again.

  10. MARKUS SCHLEINZER, MICHAEL (2011)

    In the directorial debut of Markus Schleinzer (known for his work as casting director for Michael Haneke, Ulrich Seidl, and Jessica Hausner), we are shown the daily life of a pedophile and the young boy he holds captive in his basement. The camera moves rarely, at most panning or tilting toward the action. And there is nearly no music—the infrequent occurrences (1970s disco playing on a car stereo) as detached as the camerawork. With Michael, Schleinzer has produced Austrian minimalism at its finest.

    Markus Schleinzer, Michael, 2011, HD video, color, sound, 96 minutes. Markus Schleinzer, Michael, 2011, HD video, color, sound, 96 minutes.