Film Festival Reports

Our coverage on the latest film fests.

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.

OLHAR DE CINEMA 2018: VALERIA STREET BY JANIE GEISER

By José Sarmiento Hinojosa

After watching most of Janie Geiser’s work for Olhar de Cinema, I came up with the term “steoroscopic artifacts” in search for a proper definition for her cinema that would make me understand what I was watching. It’s not that Geiser’s films are unlike anything I had seen so far (an immediate connection with Rhayne Vermette comes to mind), but it was the particular use of layered images, each one with its own particular significant, (which reminded me of Val Del Omar’s words about his expanded work) that allowed me to coin such a term.

OLHAR DE CINEMA 2018: JANIE GEISER’S STEREOSCOPIC ARTIFACTS

Not to subvert the proper definition of what stereoscopic is, but meddling with some of the images of Janie Geiser’s oeuvre kept me in incessant agony while trying to get a word that was remarkable enough as to describe her unique language of animation. Stereoscopic is then, an easy (sort of easy) way to describe the transmutation of the multiple overlayed images that recreate this sense of stereo-visual game, a game that is expanded in Geiser’s multiple work as an installation artist, visual artist and performer. I was able to grasp a wide panorama of her film works while covering her program at the last Olhar de Cinema Film Festival. 

(S8) MOSTRA DE CINEMA PERIFÉRICO: A BALANCE

By Mónica Delgado

There’s no doubt that (S8) Mostra de Cinema Periférico, in La Coruña, is one of the most important spaces for exhibition of experimental cinema around the world. Each year, its careful programs, the performances, installations and masterclasses, affirm the festival as a space for dialogue and enjoyment, in projections of 8, 16, 35mm or video, which transform the film experience in a survivor, in the middle of an international crisis of projection, distribution and exhibition of films.

(S8) MOSTRA DE CINEMA PERIFÉRICO: TWO EXPERIENCES BY OJOBOCA

By Mónica Delgado

In the latest edition of (S8) Mostra de Cinema Periférico, inside the “Desbordamientos” (Overflows) sections, which contains different performances through live projections, a couple of works of Ojoboca (“Eyemouth”) were presented, a short film and a performance. Ojoboca, formed by Anja Dornieden and Juan David Gonzáles Monroy, based in Berlin, is characterized for the configuration of a fictional world around their films and performances, which provides a rarefied ambiance, which evokes many of the production and exhibition mechanisms of cinema from the nostalgia of phantasmagoria.

(S8) MOSTRA DE CINEMA PERIFÉRICO 2018: CHRIS KENNEDY: DE(RE)CONSTRUCTING A GAZE

By José Sarmiento Hinojosa

Ah, the ways of seeing. Wittgenstein wasn’t alone when he tried taping his window as to recreate a screen into which he would locate a particular element of the landscape before him. Piece of tape after piece of tape slowly framed correctly what the philosopher’s wanted to see, as if creating his own proto-cinema. Tsai would reconvene with these images (knowingly or not) in Visage (2009), when Laetitia Casta, in an attempt to deny her view and obscure her room, would also tape her whole window, in a painstakingly slow shot, which attempted to drain one’s spirit, the mere exercise of blacking out, the loss of sight as a declaration of impossibility. While watching Chris Kennedy’s outstanding program at (S8) Mostra de Cinema Periférico, I came upon his Tape Film (2007), a simple exercise on stock material and the labour of the filmmaker, and immediately I recalled these early images. This would be a proper start to the discovery of this Canadian author and his particular obsession with the human gaze, the ways of perception, the image collages of nature and the edification of stories from different perspectives.

(S8) MOSTRA DE CINEMA PERIFÉRICO 2018: EXILE BY ROBERT TODD AND AS MUCH TIME AS SPACE BY KATJA MATER

By Mónica Delgado

This edition of (S8) Mostra de Cinema Periferico carries the name Lux Algebra, something which defines mostly its entire program dedicated to structural cinema. Paraphrasing the concept by film historian P. Adams Sitney, it’s about a type of simplified cinema of predetermined forms (even of rhythmic patterns or algorithms) where the explorations of nature or film materiality are primal. This is why the fundamental presence of canon structural cinema by Ernie Gerhr or Kurt Kren are exemplary in these days of projections, along other works by younger or posterior filmmakers, than are inspired or revisit their works.

(S8) MOSTRA DE CINEMA PERIFÉRICO 2018: SLAUGHTERHOUSE AND VULTURE (WORK IN PROGRESS) BY PHILIP HOFFMAN

By Mónica Delgado

The first session of Canadian filmmaker Phillip Hoffman at (S8) Mostra de Cinema Periférico in La Coruña, was contundent enough to help us defined his so-called Vulture Aesthetic, a kind of worldview that governs his way of doing and understanding cinema. The figure of the Vulture is not only assumed as a simple metaphor of a being hunting for archival material or “detritus” but also the one that has the capacity of reviving and transforming time through celluloid, re-catch it and recreate it. Or like someone with an acute vision, who isn’t afraid to be attentive to adopt the irruption of the unexpected and the environment, even for a brief period of time, and be part of it.

(S8) MOSTRA DE CINEMA PERIFÉRICO 2018: SHORT FILMS FROM GALICIA

By Mónica Delgado

In Pezas imposibles, Lara and Noa Castro realize an immersion to the materiality of bodies inside the water. Through 14 minutes we’re witnesses of the registry of an inverted submerged camera in a lake where two women dance and swim, in almost all moments with the head on surface. This resource of inversion, allows us to imagine the natural terrain of these bodies, the water, while their heads, breathing outside, seem to be subjected to a type of pressure or torture. Thus, the atmosphere that the young sisters create through this kind of new arrhythmic and unreal dance, points to achieve a total abstraction, despite the cuts, in the nine chapters or fragments that look to give a narrative to this freedom of the female bodies under the water.

(S8) MOSTRA DE CINEMA PERIFÉRICO 2018: THE THINKING IMAGE BY MARÍA RUIDO

By Mónica Delgado

That the ninth edition of (S8) Mostra de Cinema Periférico complemented its program with the Le Paradis expo at Luis Seoane’s Fundation in La Coruña, and at the same time, displayed a selection of works under the title La Imagen que Piensa (The Thinking Image) about the work of visual artist María Ruido, allowed for a lecture about the relation of official history, subjective and personal memory as present motives in this essential filmmaker’s work.