Film Festival Reports

Our coverage on the latest film fests.

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.

TIFF 2018. WAVELENGTHS: BLUE BY APICHATPONG WEERASETHAKUL & ARENA BY BJÖRN KÄMMERER

By Aldo Padilla

Insomnia can be defined as an intermediate state between dream and reality. Apíchatpong builds or simulates this scenario through tableaux that slightly change the dream, the possibility of voluntarily changing what we see in this intermediate state, part of the will of staying in that limbo. The lead character of Blue turns around in a bed while there’s a flame that extends through her, but without burning her, an illusion generated by a transparent screen that seems to ward off the spectator from the privacy of the inaccessible dream. The fire moves forward and the screens keep changing, while Apichatpong transposes the ideas of his cinema and his installations in five minutes, where the color blue associated to a peaceful dream, appears sporadically to remind us that we’re in the night, something that counterpoises the crepuscular passages of the exchangeable paintings.

TIFF 2018. WAVELENGTHS: BEFORE MY EYES BY LINA RODRIGUEZ, MUMOK KINO, INVISIBLE CINEMA 3 BY PHILLIP FLEISCHMANN

By Ivonne Sheen

Thought and Film. Several filmmakers have been in this galaxy, the one in which film thinks itself. One could say that experimental filmmaking focuses in a way of thinking film, as medium, as phenomenon, as life, from its own nature as a medium. Three films from TIFF’s Wavelengths program think about film, one from a landscape documentary perspective and the two others from an inherited structuralism.

TIFF 2018: WAVELENGTHS. THE GLASS NOTE & WORDS BY MARY HELENA CLARK, PLANETS BY LAIDA LERTXUNDI

By José Sarmiento Hinojosa

The crushing of lemons, a welcome parallel (an imagined parallel, to be honest) to the manipulation of the possibilities of cinema. Laida Lertxundi, as many other filmmakers in her camp without a proper formation in cinema, has achieved the freedom of a person who manipulates an object the first time it sees it without knowing what it is. This possibility, this immense advantage for the eye, has gave her particular brand of cinema a certain liminality between the discourse and the image, the object and the subject matter.