Main Articles

Featured pieces on different film subjects.

WHEN I SLEEPWALK INTO YOUR ROOM: NOTES ON JONATHAN SCHWARTZ

by Claudia Siefen

A time may come when the films and pictures which we admire today will crumble to dust, or a race of men may follow us who no longer understand the works of our poets, thinkers and filmmakers, or a geological epoch may even arrive when all animate life upon the earth ceases. But since the value of all this beauty and perfection is determined only by its significance for our own emotional lives, it has no need to survive us and is therefore independent of absolute duration.

IN PERSON: GOH HARADA

by Claudia Siefen

The films by independent filmmaker Goh HARADA present both narrative and experimental cinema. They are equally accessible to audiences interested in practice and theory alike. HARADA does not focus on people as privileged actors or performers, but rather on the emotional network of relationships between the elements “technology” and “physical living worlds”.

PANORAMA: NEVER TWICE THE SAME COLOR BY GULI SILBERSTEIN

By José Sarmiento Hinojosa

Unpacking Guli Silberstein’s Never twice the same color, a portrait of his life in New York prior to 9/11, is a daunting task. Previous to this documentary, Silberstein had already created a body of work leaning quite a lot to the political spectrum, specially in his remarkable shorts Cry havoc (2017) and  Stuff as dreams (2016) where the resource of glitch media and noise (much abused gimmicks in contemporary moving image but proper tools of emphasis in Silberstein’s hands) is used as a testimony of the fragility of the image, as document and memory. 

PERMANENT GREEN LIGHT: THE STARTLING DREAM OF A TEEN’S SECRET SELF-EXPLOSION

By Hyemin Kim

In Dennis Cooper’s world, kids are like the special herds – the group of quiet and strange animals whose gaze and intensity for their undisguised desire and dream captivate us. Perhaps like any other iGen kids, they also would talk through the screen, exchange freaky teenage vernaculars, and shift around fantasies of drug, sex, and every little evil imaginable in the wi-fi world. Cooper doesn’t negate it. Rather, at its heart, he casts the figures of their dreamlike collapse and memory by carefully observing and embodying their singular desire, obsession, and fascination, through his artistic means – recently, cinema crucial to his continuing creativity.

PIXELVISION: THE AFFINITIES WITH THE LOW-RES MATERIALITY OF THE WORLD

by Hyemin Kim

Film Society of Lincoln Center’s series of Flat Is Beautiful: The Strange Case of Pixelvision (August 10 – 16, 2018) surveys the American independent movies that have channeled the toy camcorder PXL 2000’s obsolescent media specificities into the affinities with the low-res materiality of the unexplored desire, flesh, and historicity of the ’90s America and beyond.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS REPETITION: THOUGHTS ON GERTRUDE STEIN AND CINEMA

By Claudia Siefen

I think, given her century and its modernist sensibilities, Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) sought a less normative understanding of emotions than what was implied in her theories. Also, a less narrative approach to theater, as her plays and poems show. How would this have been with cinema, which she so successfully refused?

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.