Ben Rivers – There Is a Happy Land Further Awaay (2015)

A hesitant female voice reads a poem by Henri Michaux, recounting a life lived in a distant land, full of faltering and mistakes. Island imagery of active volcanoes, underwater WW2 debris, children playing, and wrecked boats transform into intangible digital recollections of the island, made on the opposite side of the world. Images of the eroded land merge with eroding film, a lone figure on a boat drifts at sea. Continue reading

Errol Morris – Demon in the Freezer (2016)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Smallpox was always present, filling the churchyard with corpses, tormenting with constant fear all whom it had not yet stricken, leaving on those whose lives it spared the hideous traces of its power, turning the babe into a changeling at which the mother shuddered, and making the eyes and cheeks of the betrothed maiden objects of horror to the lover. (1848)

— Lord Thomas Macaulay, History of England. Continue reading

Nicolas Klotz – Low Life (2011)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Synopsis
A group of young people are organizing. One night, they face the police who came to evacuate an African squat. Carmen meets Hussain, a young afghan poet. Crazy in love, they don’t leave each other. But a curse hangs over the city, papers are carrying death, bodies are falling. Panicked at the idea that he could get arrested, Carmen forbids him to go out, and locks herself with him. Gradually, Hussain get the feeling that she is watching him… Continue reading

Michael Obert – Song from the Forest (2014)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

SYNOPSIS
“In my memory, I retained such a dream-like impression of my stay in New York that I sometimes wondered if I had really been there.”
Louis Sarno

As a young man, US-born Louis Sarno heard a song on the radio that never let him out of its grasp. He followed the mysterious sounds back to the Central African rainforest, found his music with the Bayaka pygmies – and never came back. Today, 25 years later, Louis is a full member of this community of hunters and gatherers.
Louis has a son with a Bayaka woman, 13-year-old Samedi. As a baby, Samedi became seriously sick. As he lay dying, Louis held him the whole night and promised him: “If you survive, one day I will show you the world from which I came.” Now it is time to keep his promise, and so Louis travels with his son from the African rainforest to a different jungle made of concrete, glass and asphalt – to New York City.
Soon after their arrival, there is a first surprise: Samedi, who had never left the rainforest and does not speak a word of English is far more comfortable with the US than Louis. The rapprochement with the world that his father wanted to forget and that his son now wants to conquer is slow, quiet and not free from setbacks. Joined by the contrast between the rainforest and the urban US, the unequal couple grows ever closer on the road. Continue reading

Ben Rivers – Things (2014)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Things is a travelogue in which the filmmaker leads himself and the viewer through a tour of the four seasons, without ever once setting foot across his doorstep – focusing on unexplored things inside his own four walls. A year-long journey through domestic surroundings that at the same time is a trip into imagination and collective memory – revealed in the collected fragments of images, film, objects and sounds, a bed, books and, observed through a window pane, a squirrel in the garden.

As the seasons change, parallels and associations are made with things previously seen; an intricate web of clues to a life, there for the viewer to unpick.

Commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella and Gareth Evans. Continue reading