Passepartout is all about documentaries and visual stuff I find worth seeing.

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A country where reality has been arrested and executed

I always wanted to know how communism and its altered reality impacts a human life. One human life. One person. Then another one. In the end, you’ll have a full image of a country.
This interest has to do with me being Romanian. I couldn’t understand my family’s past and stories without knowing the context of these past and stories. For example, I couldn’t understand why years after communism fell, my grandma still stuffed the fridge with food even through we had supermarkets around. And besides these kind of many more other examples, I also wanted to put my few childhood memories in context.

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MOSCOW

Cherry picked ‘spam’: fly around in four distant places

I get tens of mails everyday from family and friends. Those kind that quote the Dalai Lama, that tell a sexist joke, ask me to share a drama, or they show me a cheesy power point with emotional text at the end, asking me to send it to five friends in the next hours.

Yesterday I got this. And this was something I didn’t regret opening. It’s a 360 tour of (I selected) four places, a bit of eye candy and a bit of curiousness. The latest because even though the view is three dimensional, the places are ‘frozen’ and yet so real.

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Man on Wire (2008)

Rating: ★★★★¾ 

Man on Wire is a story about the courage to take risks and do something unique that defies any common acceptance. It’s the story of Philippe Petit, a French high-wire artist who transformed fear and risk into challenge and in 1974 he danced on a wire tied between the two World Trade Center Towers, 417 meters (1368ft) high from the ground.

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Manufactured Landscapes (2006, directed by Jeniffer Baichwal)

I don’t think anyone can have the vaguest idea of the scale, extent and impact of industrialization on the Earth, until they see Edward Burtynsky’s photos and this amazing documentary. In Manufactured Landscapes, large scale changes of the environment have a bitter beauty and it’s something of their massiveness that’s necessary to perceive in order to get it. Get what? Get a mind image of what we talk about when we talk about over-consumption, overly-populated cities, about way too cheap labor force and about the price of being an ‘individual consumer’.

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National Geographic Photographers: The Best Job in the WorldNGCUS Ep Code: 10306NGCI IBMS Code: 042776NGUS Wild Ep Code: 10306

1981 picture and the story behind it

I saw this picture in National Geographic some years ago. It stood in my mind and I recalled it at different times. Its caption read that this little boy was inconsolable after a taxi killed his flock. I remembered his face, his clothes and a strong feeling of how important these sheep must have been for him and his family. He must have spent so much of his time with them.

I didn’t remember anything else about, nor did I know how to find it again. But I ran into it accidentally and discovered that this little boy and his story stood in the mind of many others like me. I saw people writing and describing it, mentioning where they first saw it and asking how they can find it again.

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Art made out of old cars: Finnish dairy metal cattle

Finish artist Miina Äkkijyrkkä (can you pronounce her name?) combines agriculture and cattle-raising with “high” culture and the visual arts. In her work but also in her daily life.She’s known to love cattle and she’s also known to have a passionate and eccentric character.

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This must be underwater dog

Seth Casteel is not only a photographer but also a genuine animal lover. He took these unusual photos of which you can see more on his website. Casteel not only exhibits his work, but also promotes giving animals a second chance through adoption.

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Renaissance Chucky: ‘the kids are not alright’

Something went wrong. Terribly wrong. Not sure it was the painter’s dubious imagination or the ‘little sweethearts’ that served as inspiration. Too late to find that out.  Read more…

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Collages from the SOUP nobody wants

This ‘garbage constellation’ might be charming at first sight. But when you find out that this is what covers a large part of the Pacific Ocean, forming the world’s largest landfill then it starts to be worrying. This is what fishes, turtles and sea birds have for breakfast. And it’s a killing breakfast. Read more…

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Unusual art and marine conservation

What you see is not part of an extravagant art project. What you see is an underwater museum and at the same time, an artificial coral reef installation. These statues are meant to attract tourists and give the damaged natural coral reef the space to breath and recover. Read more…

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Mary and Max (2009, directed by Adam Elliot)

Mary is a neglected kid from Melbourne and Max is a lonely obese middle aged man with Asperger syndrome. 

What they have in common is their loneliness and an accidental connection that grows into an unusual and bitter sweet friendship. Read more…

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The land of pigs and bunnies with truly unexpected behaviors: the surprising art of Michael Sowa

Michael Sowa paintings are absurd. Surreal. Astonishing and captivating. And funny. All together. I discovered him accidentally. That kind of accident when you discovered something that made your eyes become bigger for a moment or two. And then your heart beats a bit faster. Read more…

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