Each year, the [S8] Mostra de Cinema Periférico, celebrated en A Coruña, remains as an unbeatable space to affirm the brilliance of several personalities of experimental cinema, and also, a space to proclaim the validity of a way of making cinema from the resistance.. This year, the festival not only showcases the work of Aldo Tambellini, filmmaker linked to the New York’s counter culture scene of the 1960’s, and Helga Fanderl, a master of Super 8, but also explores the work of the historic Joseph Cornell and the Americans Luther Price (a first in Spain) and Steve Polta.
But the [S8] also offers a panorama of the “interior”, of visions and voices of Spanish and Galician experimental cinema, and in that spirit, a series of new short films are presented, films that reflect the state of Galician film scene, which in the last years had a exemplary and unseen creative bump.
Here´s an overview of some of the best material showcased in this showcase:
In the notable Rapa das Bestas, by Jaione Camborda, also projected in the last edition of BAFICI (Buenos Aires Independent Film Festival) images of a festivity of Galicia are shown, a party where horses’ braids are cut. The way that Jaione builds his atmosphere (from the texture of a black and white Super 8, portraying the faces of men that try to tame indomitable horses, the movement of the dancers and shots of the audience in this moment of touristic attraction) seems to propose an anachronistic celebration, lost in time, of a Spain nostalgic for ancestral traditions.
In a different style, but coherent with her different works as a video artist, Carla Andrade directs El paisaje está vacío y el vacío es paisaje (the landscape is empty and the emptiness is landscape), an 18-minute short film where fixated shots of the Atacama desert in Chile are shown to shape different morphologies and climates among this physical space of horizontality. Beyond the philosophical touch that Andrade gives to her film (equating the nudity of the desert with a necessity of filling a void), what this work allows is a conjunction where the sound has a special place: giving the landscape a movement from the audible. From this treatment, the work seem to take flight, a different dimension beyond what’s shown in the frame.
BARBARA METER, MÓNICA SAVIRÓN
One must thank Barbara Meter for this symbiosis of the visual and sound universes, even from her most intense expressionistic abstractions: Portraits (1972), magnificently musicalized by Steve Reich, is an apparatus of memory where the artist portrays several of her friends, and presents this portraits under the premise of a footage that is conceived from a particular soundscape. The images take rhythm, appearing and disappearing, seem to abandon their own nostalgia of time to be presented in a luddism of apparitions. The music piece by Reich is fundamental, it is a sound pattern of organs which repeats itself with insistence, where the sound structure varies almost imperceptibly from phrase to phrase, punctuating some notes and disappearing others, generating a particular drama in the instrument performance, a delay and advancement that perfectly conjugates with the images of the filmmaker. Convalescing (2000) uses the resource of silence to the service of this partial statism that seems to abstract time, a phenomena that works each time when someone convalesce of a certain illness: ghostly images that permeate the interspersed blinds of a room, a sensation that immediately abandons the projector to melt with the intimate process of thinking in images. The almost absence of sound generates a stupefying intimacy, a sort of mechanic meditation that belongs to the filmic material.
Answer Print (2016). Monica Savirón understands perfectly the emphasis of sound in communion with images, this time, in a document of popular culture and migrant realities in America. To work with the frailty of a deteriorated material which will be ruined eventually, is a gesture equivalent to sculpting on ice, trying to perpetuate the inevitable. However, for Savirón, this is a starting point for the dialogue that she tries to establish with the spectator: here lies the answer print, my first sketch, in which I reproduce the sound mechanism of the manipulation of celluloid, where I show the frailty of the image, of this process that is a desperate attempt to safeguard something which will exist no more. The crimson tonality of the image is similar to the color of sunset: an inevitably finite process in which duration one can perceive the magnificence of the cosmos.
The films of Steve Polta feel like treasures that one discovers in the depths of a filmic ocean of light. They embark the spectator on a diving trip in the depths of celluloid, to find a paradise of light particles that constitute the cinematographic image.
The Berries, interval Oakland 99, Minnesota Landscape, Estuary #1, 1997A (Red Sketch), 1997B (Departure), invade our visual perception, our eye, and dive ourselves in the interior body of the cinematic image. Besides its abstract nature, light fluxes occur, similar to the fluctuating lights we perceive when we close our eyes. The infinity of an interior gaze. The work from the interior space of the medium, deepens the dimensions of the image, and the visual stimuli departs from any kind of reference, to take a life of its own and show us its own poetic nature.
In Summer rain for LMC Side A & Side B and House Full of Dust, the referent of representation becomes briefly unintelligible. In the first ones, we observe points of light that are affected with the transit of other particles of light and water. The image is similar to an image of a moist window, which blurs the outside images. This abstraction is corrupted by a thunder that unveils the spaciality of representation and situates us in a highly transited street. In House full of Dust, the space comes and goes among its light reflections and its conventional characteristics. Polta pushes us and picks us up, as a tide, from an abstract representation to an objective one.
The living being that is Luther Price (akaTom Rhoads, aka Laija Brie, among others) has become in a sort of cinematic chameleon which has invaded the minds of spectators with his film cathartic rituals, films of an apparent emotional rigidity, transgressive in its spirit, recycled objects from the dumpsters of hell that brings to light a decidedly rough universe in its edges, a filmic proposal of emulsions, cuts and overlays that becomes too near to the human reality that we desperately try to avoid. The cinema of Luther Price is a necessary artifact for any film lover, or human being.
Raw, emotional, pulsating. The apparitions in Sodom (1989), both a sacred and profane film of blasphemous images, appropriated from a discarded gay porn film, are like ghosts that overtake the 8mm, faces, genitals, sex acts in an apparent erotic performance accompanied by an abstracted and sometimes reversed Gregorian chant. To understand the intention, to capture the moment in which Price manifests the sin a a religious and perverse construct towards sexual freedom, allows us to appreciate this work in all its dimension: In Sodom, the sin, manifested in fellatio and anal sex, the ejaculation and self exploration is punished with the destruction of the film, with this abstraction that alludes to an infernal realm, where all the images rest disconnected, inserted in another universe, penetrating each other.
OFFICE OF LOST OBJECTS
In By the time we go to expo (Eva Kolcze, Philip Hofmann, 2015) a visit to the Expo 67 festival in Canada becomes a glimpse into a sci-fi future. We become passengers of a futuristic ship that moves adrift, in a matter of textures, sounds and colors, openly manipulated to give an eighties’ sci-fi feel. The photo chemical reaction that awakes these new textures allows us to capture the futuristic atmosphere, in a film that sets its gaze in what’s to come.
Self Improvement (Clint Enns, 2013) is the arcade of software and the digital as the new religion or new wave fad of men. The computers build and destroy people in small particles that travels the web as information. The human being stops being an organic being when the virtual reality becomes integrated in our body, and everything becomes part of the world wide web. This discourse of self improvement lands in the binary realm, in the dark universe of zeroes and ones, that seem to overtake human spirituality.