David Guttenfelder and the Mass Games

North Korea Armistice

Asia Associated Press Chief Photographer David Guttenfelder is currently in North Korea covering the 60th anniversary of the country’s armistice with South Korea. As expected when documenting the country’s Mass Games the spectacle is visually incredible, yet subtly disturbing in their homogenous achievement.

Times have collected some of his photos here, whilst AP’s Big Story has got a slightly wider scoped gallery of the country itself here. Of particular interest though is his instagram account that’s got some pretty remarkable images, particularly of aged Korea War veterans, and videos of the countryside and military parades.

Worth mentioning, if not seen yet, is the 2003 documentary A State of Mind where two British filmmakers got then unprecedented access to North Korea and followed two young girls with dreams to train and participate in the Mass Games for their dear leader Kim Jong il. It certainly doesn’t attempt to unmask the horrors of the country’s regime, but it gives a very rare insight into the lives and psychology of some of its inhabitants.

Chasing Ice trailer

This looks good. Fingers crossed it’s less heavy handed than The Cove which, while excellent, was pretty self-indulgent in the filmmakers portraying themselves as the ‘framing subject’. The same thing looks to be going on here, but much more justified considering it’s just ice. And holy crap, that is some amazing footage of a lot of ice.

The History of English in 10 Minutes

Created by The Open University, this witty and informative ten-part series details the creation and history of the wife-swapping bastard that is the English Language.

Just to do something different too, I’m posting the rest ‘after the jump’ on it’s own page, cause 10 embedded videos in a row can be considered a little overkill.


Burt Talks to the Bees: Worker Bees

In association with Burt’s Bees, Isabella Rossellini has made three educational shorts, the first on the behaviours of worker bees.

The second on the nympho queen bee.

And finally the lowly male drone who makes up only 1% of the colony.

If you’re already familiar Isabella Rossellini’s Green Porno, then this won’t seem too odd; but if you’re not, well, welcome aboard to the bizarre and awesome world of Rossellini’s educational short film series.

Green Porno is a series of short films written and directed by Rossellini, where she reenacts the mating rituals of various animals and insects in a format that’s both visually entertaining, educational and often enough disturbing (example: whales).

Boxing Lessons with Eric Kelly

Having a job is a blessing. Doing something you love is a blessing. Even if the people are… miscreants.

Eric Kelly is a four time US amateur boxing champion who had to hang up his gloves after taking a pool cue to the eye on a night out.

He now trains Wall Street bankers how to box at the Church Street Boxing Gym in New York using one the classic approach to teaching: barraging them with verbal abuse and insults in order to toughen them up.

A Brief History of John Baldessari

This is a short film about famed artist John Baldessari. It is narrated by Tom Waits. This short film needs no more prompting for you to watch it.

Into the Abyss

Spent quite the bit of this weekend going over some Herzog material, particularly Into the Abyss, his recent documentary film that revolves around capital punishment and its subsequent TV mini-series On Death Row. Both are chillingly astute observations, not so much of the United State’s justice/prison system, but more about the microcosm that the people involved now live in. Very recommended.