Tag Archives: drugs

Enfant Terrible: Ed van der Elsken

Ed van der Elsken isn’t a name you come across often in the mainstream world of photography. Partly because he steered clear of commercial work and partly because of his reputation as the ‘enfant terrible’ (loosely translated as the troublesome child). Like a lot of great artists, he refused to play by the rules, photograph nice people and pretty landscapes, instead he aimed to photograph all aspects of reality – the best and the worst of human nature.

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“I report on young, rebellious scum with pleasure … I rejoice in everything. Love. Courage. Beauty. Also blood, sweat and tears.”

Born in Amsterdam, der Elsken started off his career with the intention of becoming a sculptor before moving to Paris and discovering ‘la bohemes’ of Saint-Germain-de-Prés who would become the focus of his photography. Though much of his work purports to be documentary, it remains closely intertwined with the theatrical and surreal reflecting on the drug hazed bohemian society in which he lived. That said, the pictures are clearly rooted in the everyday rather than the transcendent, recording ‘characters’ in their intimate daily routines of drinking coffee, dozing and daydreaming. These are people who really existed despite polite society’s attempts to believe otherwise…

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der Elken also made a pretty hypnagogic film, Death in the Port Jackson Hotel, which features the star of the artist’s most famous photography series, Love on the Left Bank, Vali Myers, and is worth a watch if you can handle drawn out interviews with doe eyed hippies and bizarre sequences of toads mating.

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Film of the week: Y Tu Mamá También

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First things first, don’t get put off by the fact it’s in Spanish. Yes, you have to follow the subtitles and yes, that does require a fraction more concentration than an English film, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a strenuous watch. To the contrary,  ‘Y Tu Mamá También’ is about as easy as watching an episode of ‘Friends’, but about 100% sexier and without an ounce of Hollywood commercialism.

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Directed by Mexican-born, Alfonso Cuarón ‘Y Tu Mamá También’ is a road movie (not to be confused with ‘The Road’, there’s no pretentiousness around here) about two best-friends whose girlfriends have gone travelling leaving them to look forward to a Summer full of drink, drugs and sex. Typically, Tenoch (Diego Luna) and Julio (Gael Garcia Bernal) spend their first few days of freedom getting high, passing out and drooling over anything in a skirt, including the wife of Tenoch’s cousin, Louisa (Maribel Verdu, Mercedes in ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’) who they invite to come on a road trip to invented paradisal beach, Heaven’s Mouth. To their delight, Luisa agrees to join them on their trip to escape troubles back home and ends up sleeping with both of them (they’re Mexican what can you say?  It’s all about the free love, man). Even though it’s the scenario every teenage boy dreams of, Tenoch and Julio’s friendship becomes increasingly strained as secrets are revealed and boundaries are drunkenly crossed.

VERDICT: Hotter than a jalapeño.

DOWNSIDE: It makes you want to take a road trip to Heaven’s Mouth, which, let’s be honest, probably doesn’t even exist. 

Hit the jump to watch the trailer:

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