ridiculous dancing and a greenscreen is all you need for one ridiculously amazing videoclip.
A good little look into a small but pretty influential New York record label DFA..otherwise known as the Department of Funny Americans, Dumb Fucking Acronym or Death From Above.
So a year ago I rested my legs on the sticky tiles of our Puerto Viejo paradise house by the beach. It was our second documentary class and Aubrie played us a bunch of good little doco’s.
One of them stuck out for me, not only was the editing superb, and the fact that it was set in a city I have been drawn too, it was the character, an extraordinary man with a complicated but fascinating story that let this one linger above the rest. Odysseus Gambit made me question my ideas on identity, our connections to place, and how helping can sometimes do more harm.
Here is the film we watched:
Six months later I found myself walking out of the ground into Union Square with a strange feeling of familiarity. It was a cold day and out in the square was a line of chess tables where some men sat playing. As we started walking towards them, my mind was gathering itself to tell my friend about a film I had once seen, when a little agitated cambodian man rose from his seat, flinging his hand up at the man across from his chessboard. ’A Dollar for a Game? I’m a movie star! I’ve been in Sundance!My film is in Sundance!’he yelled.
The other man started to snub him and prepared to leave, you could see in his face he was categorising this agitated gentleman as a right loony. I approached hesitantly into their exchange and explained, he wasn’t lying.
While his retort of being in Sundance was a little off the topic, he was clearly insulted by the amount that was on offer for a chess game. The men at Union Square make their living from challenging passerby’s to a game. Being homeless does not mean you need to beg or are without pride.
With him yelling ‘She’s come all the way from Australia! She’s seen my film, I’m a displaced person!’ I felt like I had been stuck right in the middle of the Odysseus Gambit film shoot. We sat down to chat. The film had left me with so many questions unanswered and the brief time spent with him on that day was nowhere near enough time for me to contemplate his life’s story. He is an intelligent man with a troubled past and a stubborn heart. He seems to have a real community at Union Square but still has a strong calling for his homeland. He feels he has been denied his home after the US Government air lifted him out of Cambodia as young orphan. With only permanent residency in the US, and no citizenship, he is without a passport to leave and without a place to call home.
Next time you are in New York and are around Union Square you should go and say Hi. For your sake I hope he’s still there so he can give you a cd of his beautiful songs, but for his sake, I hope he has returned home, even for the a little while to allow the mind to rest.
Today I sat on my kitchen bench eating a sandwich and innocently clicked on a link to watch this film. Fifteen minutes later I found my face was wet, outside a sudden rush of melbourne hail exploded on the verandah.
Manoeuvring the weight of his pain and suffering behind him to jujistsu reality. That’s a pretty great metaphor for life.