How to Get Out?
THE ANNAPOLIS conference is a joke. Though not in the least funny.
Like quite a lot of political initiatives, this one too, according to
all the indications, started more or less by accident. George Bush was
due to make a speech. He was looking for a theme that would give it some
substance. Something that would divert attention away from his fiascos
in Iraq and Afghanistan. Something simple, optimistic, easy to swallow.
Somehow, the idea of a "meeting" of leaders to promote the
Israeli-Palestinian "process" came up. An international meeting is
always nice - it looks good on television, it provides plenty of
photo-opportunities, it radiates optimism. We meet, ergo we exist.
So Bush voiced the idea: a "meeting" for the promotion of peace between
Israel and the Palestinians.
Without any preceding strategic planning, any careful preparations,
anything much at all.
That's why Bush did not go into any details: no clear aim, no agenda, no
location, no date, no list of invitees. Just an ethereal meeting. This
fact by itself testifies to the lack of seriousness of the entire
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18 - Middle East trip - Jewish Cemetary, the Wall, Amman Jordan, Al-Aksa Mosque, Settler's road, Palestinian Road, General Aoun, President of Lebanon Lahoud, Christian General Hezbolla candidate, American Embassy Damascus.
All Photographs + Text Copyright 2007 Bob Keeley goto
Julian Schnabel, with Tina, in his studio in Brooklyn. His latest film, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” opens Nov. 30
Don’t Call Him a Filmmaker, at Least Not First
THE paintings on broken plates that made Julian Schnabel an art-world star in the early 1980s seemed to announce their importance not just by their retrograde swagger but also by their sheer weight. Hanging one on a wall was like suspending a cabinet full of Buffalo china.
The other day in a former smelting factory near the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn a bunch of new paintings that he had hanging on the walls seemed by contrast to be almost weightless, looking as if skeins of smoke had settled on the canvas. But they were actually digitally printed blow-ups of antique French hospital X-rays that he had come across last year in northern Normandy. And as such they were pieces not simply of art but of argument, Mr. Schnabel’s pointed way of saying that while his life as a filmmaker may be threatening to eclipse his life as a painter, he still has his palette firmly in hand.
He found the X-rays in a building near the naval hospital at Berck-sur-Mer on the Normandy coast, where he had just finished directing “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” his movie based on the best-selling memoir by Jean-Dominique Bauby, the former editor in chief of Elle magazine in France. In 1995 Mr. Bauby suffered a stroke that left him with a condition called locked-in syndrome, conscious but paralyzed, with only his left eye remaining functional, and he composed the memoir painstakingly by blinking that eye to select letters on a chart.
The movie, which will open Nov. 30 in New York and Los Angeles, has proved to be a kind of hat trick for Mr. Schnabel, whose first film, “Basquiat” in 1996, got a respectable reception considering his inexperience and his share of detractors in the art world, where it was set. His second movie, “Before Night Falls” in 2000, about the gay Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas, established him solidly as a filmmaker, earning an Oscar nomination for its star, Javier Bardem. And “The Diving Bell” has been even more widely praised in the early going, winning Mr. Schnabel the best director award at the Cannes Film Festival and fueling Oscar dreams on the part of Miramax, its American distributor.
The only problem with this track record, of course, is that it has a lot of people describing Mr. Schnabel as a director who paints, and not the other way around. This development does not always sit well with a man who has made thousands of paintings — and millions of dollars from them — over the last 30 years and who once declared that he was the “closest you’ll get to Picasso in this life.”
“I’m a painter; that’s what I do,” he said in his Brooklyn studio, adding that a failure to acknowledge this properly was ultimately the result of ignorance.( Collapse )