Friday, October 1, 2010

Short Film: Live Life (Israel, 2007)

One of my favorite songs is an easy listening classic entitled Enjoy Yourself, which was written by Carl Sigman and Herb Magidson and first made popular by the great Guy Lombardo. Back in the days when I was till spinning discs (under the moniker DJ Otto Normalverbraucher, a “name” that would roughly translate into “John Doe" or “Joe Blow” and that has since appropriated by an electro DJ) — I played songs, not a music — I’d sometimes end my set with it. The lyrics are great (if slightly sexist) and relevant, though perhaps not to die-hard scenesters still hanging around a club at 4 in the morning. It is not the song playing in the background of this pleasant little film entitled Live Life, but the ditty sung here very much echoes the same sentiments — as does film.

Live Life is the second short film to be featured here on A Wasted Life after Smile that comes from Israel, and like the earlier film, it too is a product of a former student of the Bezalel Academy of Art & Design in Jerusalem: Jonathan Pasternak. There is relatively little information about him on the web, but according to a pdf of the exground filmfest of Weisbaden, he was born in 1982 in Kfar Sabba, Israel, graduated from Bezalel in 2007, and puts his bacon on the table (NOT!) as a graphic designer, animator and director. The spoken-word song that underscores Live Life, entitled You’ll Have Time, was written by Ben Folds and is “sung” by William Shatner; it comes from Capt. Kirk’s second album Has Been from 2004.

Live Life is about a monk coming to terms with death as people drop around him during the Black Death, and is loosely inspired by an allegedly "true" story: that of a half-blind monk supposedly put in charge of exhuming and stacking the bones at the world famous and wonderfully bizarre Sedlec Ossuary at the beginning of the 16th century. (Much of the truly bizarre creations found there, however, including the coat-of-arms, the chandelier and skull garlands were actually created in 1870 by the woodcarver František Rint.) The roughly 6-minute short serves to remind us that life may be short, so we should take advantage of it; and if death does indeed surround you, fear it not but be inspired.

By the way, the Ossuary, filled and decorated with over 40,000 human bones, is an easy and worthwhile day trip from Prague by train, if you happen to be going there anytime soon. As an added visual attraction, and to give you an idea about what you would find there, here is the 1970 film Ossuary by the great Czech surrealist Jan Švankmajer.

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