Film Festival Reports

Our coverage on the latest film fests.

MEDIA CITY FILM FESTIVAL 2018: CHOOKA, BY FARAZ & PARASTOO ANOUSHAHPOUR AND RYAN FERKO

By Ivonne Sheen

In Susan Sontag’s famous book, On Photography, she argues that we are living in Plato’s cave made out of reproducible images, questioning about our visual imaginaries, which are not only fed by concrete experience, but also by reproduced images. This argument can be read in Parastoo Anoushahpour, Faraz Anoushahpour, Ryan Ferko’s refined film Chooka (2018), which was part of the Media City Film Festival’s International Competition. 

MEDIA CITY FILM FESTIVAL 2018: DRESDEN DYNAMO BY LIS RHODES & LANDSCAPE (FOR MANON) BY PETER HUTTON

By Alonso Castro

Dresden Dynamo (1972) is one of the films that Lis Rhodes made in her years as a student in the media course at the North East London Polytechnic. Lis Rhodes belonged to the group of avant-garde British filmmakers of the 1970s. Rhodes’ work is recognized for having experimented with the audiovisual language, linking its aesthetic proposal with a political questioning of the conventional forms of both the film field and society.

25FPS FILM FESTIVAL: THE SHAPES OF CONTEMPORARY IMAGES

By Petra Belc

More than half a century ago a group of film enthusiasts gathered around cine-club Zagreb to initiate what would decades later be recognized as one of the first festivals of experimental cinema in the European context: GEFF, the Genre Film Festival (1963—1970). In its first edition, inspired by a series of cine-club conversations revolving around the theme of antifilm, the GEFF organizers argued in favour of a pure exploratory cinema

TIFF 2018. WAVELENGTHS: 1986 SUMMER BY TOSHIO MATSUMOTO

By José Sarmiento Hinojosa

Made somewhere between Sway (1985) and Engram (1987), Summer 1968 can be considered a transitional work that carries many of the elements of latter-period Matsumoto. For many, Matsumoto is the author behind the masterpiece Funeral Parade of Roses, but little more is popular on his experimental work through the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Many titles such as For the Damaged Right Eye, Atman or Engram carry out a variety of styles, manifestations and intentions, different classifications of  the author’s obsessions and milestones of cinema in their own right.

TIFF 2018. WAVELENGTHS: THE LABYRINTH BY LAURA HUERTAS MILLÁN

By Mónica Delgado

In The Labyrinth, Colombian filmmaker Laura Huertas Millán proposes a bifurcating road: the tale about the ascent and fall of a eccentric drug dealer in the middle of the Amazon jungle, something that little by little is left aside to give place to a local testimony that connects with the environment: the description of a trance and the encounter with the figures and gods that rule those lands.

TIFF 2018. WAVELENGTHS 2018: RAY & LIZ BY RICHARD BILLINGHAM

By Aldo Padilla

A woman builds a puzzle, while wearing a dress with a pattern much like the pieces of the game she’s playing. The image seems to show her trying to reconstruct herself through her broken and disperse personality. In the wall of the same room there are many Venetian masks that also serve to accentuate her multiple facets. The tattoos of her big arms represent posing birds on multi-colored branches, part of a strange nature that opposes us seing the woman in the exterior, whose name is Elizabeth, or also Liz.

TIFF 2018. WAVELENGTHS: ALTIPLANO BY MALENA SZLAM

By Mónica Delgado

It seems like filmmaker and visual artist Malena Szlam enters new territory in Altiplano. Now, the deserts and steppes of Atacama, her object of observation, look almost naked, even clearly tactile, graspable, barely transformed, while in her previous work, the sense of abstraction of those subjects of contemplation, (like the moon in Luna Almanac, his 2013 short film, or the fragments of persons and cities in Chronogram of Inexistent Time of 2008) produced a study on light, its matter and absences. Instead, in Altiplano, the day light encounters other way of being grasped, through the textures and a component which Szlam handles to perfection: the superposition and the flicker.

TIFF 2018. WAVELENGTHS: THE TRIAL BY SERGEI LOZNITSA

By Aldo Padilla

Montage declares, before anything, an idea of intentionality, the idea of showing something according to an artistic or communicational intention. When the term “montage” is used in the media, it is generally referred to a trap that seeks to manipulate a segment of society. Governments with a totalitarian tendency are experts in constructing parallel realities, both to reaffirm the loyalty of its followers and to intimidate its opponents. The communicational montages that are built or denounced pretend to hide the root problems of their dubious regimes.

TIFF 2018. WAVELENGTHS: A RETURN BY JAMES EDMOND, TREES DOWN HERE BY BEN RIVERS

By Alonso Castro

Cinema and poetry can be bonded strongly, but such association doesn’t occur gratuitously, and one can’t expect it to happen out of the blue. The cinematographic language has the potential to explore narrative and aesthetically, achieving a harmony between what’s been represented and the representations through symbols or concrete facts.

TIFF 2018. WAVELENGTHS: FALLEN ARCHES, FAINTING SPELLS, WALLED UNWALLED

By Nicolás Carrasco

A few months ago, I had the chance to watch in NY for the first time, a film by Simon Liu. Projected in four 16mm projectors, Highview (2017), impressed me for its capacity of formally combining two concepts that refer back to, for example, Mekas, but with a completely different language. Liu’s work, if well could be identified with any of those “styles”, explores its own roads, completely unseen and singular.

TIFF 2018. WAVELENGTHS: POLLY ONE BY KEVIN JEROME JEFFERSON

By Mónica Delgado

Unlike other experimental filmmakers that have shown a fascination for the eclipse as a metaphor of the auscultation of cinematographic support in in its materiality (a reality superimposed to another, like the position of the stars), in Polly One, Kevin Jerome Everson captures the intensity itself of this phenomena of the skies to take it to the possibility to become real spectators of an event of this nature that it’s barely intervened.

TIFF 2018. WAVELENGTHS: ADA KALEH BY HELENA WITTMANN AND SIRA BY ROLLA TAHIR

By Aldo Padilla

The history of the extinct island of Ada Kaleh reminds us of the background story of Jia Zhang-Ke’s Still life: a hydroelectric plant whose construction destroys the surrounding towns, with the excuse of the unlimited need for energy. The case of this Turkish island had a similar fate with its disappearance during the 70’s. The idea of ??a ghost or a submerged island is represented by Wittman in the beginning of her short film with a wall where the humidity has left traces of a kind of map with the remains of paint that cling to the surface, while a mandarin voice talks about people in search of territory in a poem. The invented map of an imaginary island, the pccult map of a submerged island, with people floating in its nonexistence, a map that seems to show countries that do not welcome the wondering ghosts, because they cannot be determined.