Main Articles

Featured pieces on different film subjects.

ON JACQUES PERCONTE’S “RADICAL LOVE STUDY” SERIES

By José Sarmiento Hinojosa

Digital alchemy. Jacques Perconte is a modern alchemist, a master magician of the image. The pixel, that underwhelming element of measure of the digital image, becomes a whole palette of possibilities, a fine brush or a plank vibration, technology in the realm of plastic arts, binary poetry, romantic anarchism, a feverish hallucination of distorted images; always the eye, deceived by the underlying magic of what it sees. A universe behind a universe, like the machinations of algorithms always pulsating to discover the true reality of light: in what we see lies a hidden veil, a fantasy of representations. Manet, Monet, Degas, Cezanne, Matisse, the canvas, or Perconte, and the computer. 

PANORAMA: ON KEVIN A. RAUSCH’S “BEST EGYPT”

By Claudia Siefen 

Rausch’s paintings are always sedimentations of materiality and results of an intensive process-oriented energy. Despite all its seductive depth suggesting a landscape space, his canvas is primarily a field of trails and traces. The painter Rausch gets to work spontaneously and with a heightened physical energy: the same goes for the film director Kevin A. Rausch. 

VÉRÉNA PARAVEL AND LUCIEN CASTAING-TAYLOR: REFOCUSING THE SUBJECT

By Pamela Biénzobas

Humans, animals, landscapes, machines… There has always been a clear hierarchy among the subjects according to their nature, in any kind of discourse. And of course in the creation of art – with cinema, and documentary cinema, not being an exception. Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor have been challenging that hierarchy for the past decade, in a body of work that a homage held at the 20th edition of the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival allowed to revisit.

RUTH BECKERMANN AND THE WALDHEIM WALTZ

By José Sarmiento

Ruth Beckermann’s last film, The Waldheim Waltz, it’s a rotund denunciation of Austrian former president Kurt Waldheim and his troublesome past with the former German National Socialist Party (the Nazi party) but, beyond that, is a profound gaze on how right wing politics are making a comeback in some European nations, and how people have or are basically forgotten crucial parts of the past. In this context, Desistfilm managed to interview her after the premiere of this important work.

PERFORMING THE UNSPEAKABLE: BEYOND FICTION AND DOCUMENTARY

By Claudia Siefen

Amerikai anzix / American Torso by Bódy Gábor shows us the fate of a group of exiled Hungarian revolutionaries in 1848 and follows them into the American Civil War. The main character is a surveyor, a freedom fighter, a true war technician. The observation of the landscape is combined here with the observation by the film camera. The film thus sees and registers the ongoing war from the point of view of the surveyor. Will the camera’s point of view be that of the audience? Because an audience will also give it in multiple edition.

PANORAMA: MESCALINE BY CLARISSE HAHN

By Jose Sarmiento Hinojosa

Clarisse Hahn is no alien to foreign territories. For years, she was personally involved in documenting the phenomena of migration, identity and post-colonialism. Hahn’s bodies are an element of intrusion, a physical manifestation of resistance against the apparatus of power. In her documentaries, the skin is explicitly symbolic: deprived of every right, the last human resource lies in what is intrinsically theirs, what can’t be stripped off, the biological equivalent of a shield, or a banner. In this exploration of the flesh, the organic is a particular vessel for sexual manifestation, or political struggle.

PANORAMA: SONGS OF REVOLUTION BY BILL MOUSOULIS

By Mónica Delgado

The new film by Australian-Greek filmmaker Bill Mousolis is an unusual experience. It’s not a conventional documentary on music, and it’s not a musical that looks to materialize songs of anger and deception. Mousolis goes beyond and proposes an eclectic mise-en-scène which oscillates between the uncertainty of being or not in front of fictionalized moments in film of documentary spirit.

FAIRY TALES FOR THE CYNICS: ADOLFO ARRIETA’S BELLE DORMANT

By José Sarmiento-Hinojosa

For someone who is not aware of Ado Arrieta’s career, which spans over 50 years and has produced some outstanding avant-garde films such as The Adventures of Sylvia Couski (which is basically a mixture of Mekas’ Walden and Smith’s Flaming Creatures), the ease of manner with which he handles this adaptation of the tale of Sleeping Beauty can be confused with a naive exercise on story-telling, an innocuous practice on futility of a story which could be handled on its many political undertones, breaking apart its narratives to approach the social conflicts that underline his film.

PHANTOM THREAD: THE INDISSOLUBLE RELATION BETWEEN LOVE AND FOOD

By Mónica Delgado

In Phantom Thread, Paul Thomas Anderson builds a game of correspondences through an elemental figure, food as a life drive. In its first minutes, the act of eating becomes a situation which defines sensibilities, attentions, rites and goodbyes. But this series of acts surrounding food (which draw the character of designer Reynolds Woodcock and his relationship with his new lover) is not completely explicit, but carefully inserted with an ingenious subtlety inside the first frivolous layer of fashion’s world.

CINEMA AND LITERATURE IN SEARCH OF THE BALKAN SOUL

By Pamela Biénzobas

Could the spark born from the life-long romance between literature and cinema create a privileged light under which to see the soul of a region? If so, what would the complex Balkans look like? Through eleven films inspired on stories and novels from Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Turkey and ex Yugoslavia (Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia), the tribute From Words to Images within the Balkan Survey section of the 2017 Thessaloniki International Film Festival (November 2 to 12) sought to seize a kind of particular soul as conveyed by the cinema of the past six decades – from 1961 (Boštjan Hladnik’s Dance in the Rain) to 2015 (Grant Gee’s Innocence of Memories), though mostly from before the mid-seventies.

PANORAMA: PHANTOM ISLANDS BY ROUZBEH RASHIDI

By Mónica Delgado

If there’s an intention to elaborate a discourse towards this indissoluble dialectic between documentary registry and fiction, through the mise en scene of some dispositives (handheld cameras, subjective points of view, naturalistic shots, presence of the community), Rashidi lets himself get carried by a poetic pretention that ultimately draws upon this confluence of “realities” presented to the camera. The phantom island remains too “materialized” in its intentions and fears.

NEWS FROM AFAR – SKETCHES ON IIMURA TAKAHIKO

by Claudia Siefen

Iimura Takahiko started his filmmaking in the 1970s, concentrating on questions of time and speech of pictures and sounds. Mainly focusing on the rhythms of language and its theories, his means of expression investigated and developed the semiology of video art, and connected to that, the performing arts. As a non-native speaker, he is still interested in the use of the English language, observing the evaluation or even interaction of his own artwork. What happens to the way of your artistic expression, when your rhythm of language changes, how does this impact your personal way of expression?